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Things to Look Out For in the Next Ten Years

May 11, 2015

There was a remarkably poor article on the Huffington Post today, supposedly the predictions of top science-fiction writers for advances, changes, and developments over the next ten years. I found them singularly lacklustre, uninspiring, and frankly out-of-touch, missing all the blindingly obvious stuff that’s just around the corner. So here are my candidates for the biggest changes we’ll see in the next 10 years. Let me know how you think I’ve done. πŸ˜‰

  • brain/computer interfaces become practical and wearable. You’ll be able to “move your mouse” just by thinking about it, in a simple and non-intrusive way.
  • “Kinect”-style camera technology monitors your expressions, gestures, and voice commands with great efficiency, letting you control online and realworld stuff easily.
  • Oculus / Google Glass style interfaces become mainstream, and we may even see direct in-eye HUD projection or “sonic holo” displays.
  • We get transparent viewscreens. Then we get *flexible* transparent viewscreens.
  • with ubiquitous fibre-optic, telepresence becomes feasible. Suddenly avatars become real, animated, 3D, and highly customisable.
  • also with massively increased bandwidth and developments in quantum computing, we see the first instances of AI passing the Turing Test. The first AI you meet will probably be your TV, or a telesales representative.
  • telepresence makes a huge difference to the music industry. Suddenly, all the worry about MP3 piracy becomes less important as musicians realise they can perform subscription gigs to audiences of millions. Recordings become the “take home” goody bag after attending a sub-gig.
  • early steps for actors and writers to exploit the sub-gig phenomenon. In particular, telepresence story apps are hungry for content, especially for worldbuilding (one for me there… πŸ˜‰ ).
  • Haptic technology becomes mainstream for all screen and sonic holo tech, including telepresence applications. The Kids on the Street start wearing hi-fashion haptic gear – it replaces phones.
  • first steps in cosmetic retro-DNA become available–tanning pills, slimming pills, endurance pills, anti-hangover pills, skin/hair/eye pigment modification pills.
  • Massive impact of 3D printing technology on home industry – a new stage of the industrial revolution – spreads from buttons and toys into the fields of medicine and food, transforming both developed and developing worlds. Big business and patent lawyers try to stifle this.
  • longevity treatments are in human trials and people are wondering how long we can live. The big issue becomes avoiding decrepitude.
  • extra-terrestrial life is confirmed. Probably Martian microbes, but we may have a probe on Europe, Enceladus, or Titan sending back wild signals too.
  • the first head transplants.
  • ubiquitous exoskeletons for physically challenged people and the elderly.
  • people get bored of taking potshots at Amazon drones.
  • widespread environmental instability and food shortages persuades people to jump on the GMO bandwagon. This will lead to problems further down the line.

A few outliers:

  • propulsion tech breakthrough such as EMdrive or even Alcubierre warp makes interplanetary travel cheap and quick. Suddenly we’ve sent humans to orbit Mars and maybe even send drones to the gas giant moons, and are planning way stations.
  • that antigrav stuff turns out to be real after all (possibly linked to the propulsion research). Suddenly “null vehicles” (floaters) become possible.
  • SETI detects a signal.
  • Further Western economic collapse leads to war, setting us back several decades (the Official Star Trek History).
  • Climate change speeds up, unpredictably. Mass migrations force further armed entrenchment in areas of climatic stability and fertility.

So… what have I missed? πŸ˜‰

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