With the pace of technological development increasing at an exponential rate, life could drastically change in a shorter time than expected. In a few years time, some of the technologies listed below will become commonplace even though some of us do not even know that the technology exists. Take a look at the list below to get a glimpse into the future.
1. Drinkable Ocean Water
Desalination on an industrial scale may become very common by 2030. With development in solar power advancing at a fast rate, we may be able to use the residual heat from photovoltaic cells to remove the salt from sea water. According to experts, the growing freshwater deficit could be covered using this technology by 2020. Massive concentrated solar power plants (CSP’s) will become very common across the globe and will provide potable water even to areas where it is currently unavailable.
2. Military Autonomous Robots
As frightening as this concept might be, it is almost virtually guaranteed. There are already a number of weapons systems that have some degree of autonomy, such as cruise and patriot missiles. Many naval ships are equipped with the Aegis Combat System that has an autonomous mode which uses powerful computers to take down targets. Despite protests against the idea of killer robots that require no human input, military leaders would always prefer to spare the loss of a human life and we could one day be looking at an arms race that includes these machines.
3. Lab-Grown Meat
Many of the benefits of biotechnology are just now beginning to take the front stage in the eyes of the public. One of the projects sponsored by Google has led to the production of synthetic meat that was grown using stem cells extracted from the shoulder of a cow. With lab grown meat and drinkable water from the ocean, the future could be a lot different from the present.
4. Interplanetary Internet
It might not sound amazing but the concept of interplanetary internet is certainly one that will have great applications, when we start travelling to other planets. Whether it is a government agency or private enterprise, we are bound to end up on Mars someday, and when that day comes, explorers will need to access and share information instantly. The Interplanetary Internet (IPN) will provide the necessary bridge to share information across space.
5. Anti-Aging Intervention
While we may have many cosmetic solutions to stop aging, we have yet to develop any method to reduce or completely reverse the effects of aging. While futurists are unsure about what form this intervention will take, it could be a number of possibilities that are currently being researched. These include genetic tweaks that have been shown to increase the lives of roundworms by 50 percent or therapies that could restore the length of our telomeres, or replenish our mitochondria.
6. Personal Fabricators
We could be closer to this than any of the other technologies in the list. 3D printing has drastically changed our lives and had an impact on a wide range of fields that ensure its development into the future. Currently while 3D printers are only able to print parts, we may see them evolve into household factories that will produce almost any item we could need, including vaccines, robots, androids and even handguns. Initially people will have to pay for specs, but with the open source movement, even this may change.
7. Artificially Intelligent Personal Assistants
We have seen early examples of this technology in the form of Microsoft’s Clippy and Apple’s Siri. But in future, the development of these AI’s could mean that we could have personal assistants that will be customized to our needs and will communicate and understand our idiosyncrasies. These AI’s could even have a certain degree of general intelligence that will allow us to have conversations with them.
8. Megascale Geoengineering Project
With negative changes taking place across the globe (low levels of sea ice, record temperatures, etc.), geo-engineering projects are inevitable. The ones in the future will be of a massive scale that will include artificial trees, advanced weathering, ocean fertilization, ocean alkalinity enhancement and even weather control.
9. Unseen Computers
Since our gadgets are getting smaller and smaller, there may come a time when the computers that we use will be invisible. They will be embedded in our clothes, our fashion accessories and even our contact lenses. These gadgets could use tactile feedback or have a level of “ambient intelligence” that will allow them to perform actions according to specific external conditions.
10. Virtual Animals
While we may be a long way off from creating a digital version of the human mind, we can emulate the minds of simple organisms. In the future we can create digital copies of the minds of ants, bees and even mice. This will mean that we have created animals that live inside our computer. And maybe we can even upload these digital avatars to mechanical bodies and create robots.