Future Predictions – By Kirk
Nobody can predict the future right? Well... Here is my attempt to predict some of the times and functionality of several technologies. Why? Because its FUN!
The Future Is Bright
The “What” of the future is not as difficult to predict as the “When”. In this article, I will attempt to predict the “what” and the “when” but also the impact which is the most important aspect.Lets start out with a timeline:
- 1. Virtual & augmented reality (a virtual revolution) – 2016 and dominance by 2020
- Fully autonomous military robots – 2020
- Fully autonomous vehicles (dominant) – 2025
- 3D printed houses and buildings common – 2025
- Essentially FREE energy – 2026
- Lab grown foods common – 2026
- AI dominated workforce (more than 50%) – 2026
- The end of the current monetary system – 2026
- The singularity event – 2030
- Aging optional – 2030
- Controlled human evolution – 2040
My Predictions Explained
- Virtual & augmented reality (starting 2016 mature and dominant in 2020) will change the way that we interface with computers the way that the Apple Macintosh changed the way we interface with computer using a mouse and graphic user interface. Beyond that, this technology will change the way that we interface with the real world blurring the line between the real world and the world on our PC’s. In fact, I predict that this technology will fundamentally change humanity! So pay attention! If you think that the Internet has impacted life on Earth in a big way, I propose that “you ain’t seen nothing yet!”
- When I was a kid I enjoyed and marveled at the “communicator” that Captain Kirk of the Star Ship Enterprise used to interface with the environment and then to call up to the space ship to tell them to beam him up. I get that sense of wonderment now every time I whip out my smart phone and make a call or ask for directions. If you are like me, your smartphone is attached to you everywhere you go. It’s like having a genius in your pocket and at your beacon call. More than that it is a useful tool because you can use it to track a storm coming in or discover quickly how far from a lake or river you are. You can quickly map all the garage sales in your area and set appointments. It truly is a future technology in your hands today.
- Virtual and augmented technology will take our relationship with computers to the next level. Right now, its like the internet was to us in the 1990’s. It was available, it had lots of hype and most people (nearly everyone) was wondering what the big deal was. They speculated on this new thing called email and would anyone really use it or why would we need it. But in a very short amount of time we are all so dependent on it that we check it several times a day. Virtual and augmented reality will have that kind of impact! We will be completely immersed in a virtual experience that seems so real, our brains will not be able to distinguish the difference.
- Imagine that you are Stephen Hawking and have been confined to a wheelchair for most of your adult life unable to move anything other than your eyes. Now imagine that you are suited up in a near zero friction environment, fed intravenously and fitted with a skull cap and VR immersion visor. All of a sudden, you can walk, run and interact with a virtual world with such detail that your brain eventually sees it as the real world! The skull cap will pick up basic signal patterns from your brain for use of your limbs and digits!
- Augmented reality will allow us to integrate our PC world with our real world to enhance our real world experience. Imagine that you want to remodel your kitchen. You put on your AR glasses, your builder puts on his. You then collaborate together seeing the cabinets change, superimposed on the real kitchen as you are watching. Or imagine you are trying to fix your furnace and with the AR glasses, you get an instructional walk through that shows you exactly what to do and how to do it in real-time while you are looking at your furnace! How about a social network where you and your friends all seem as though you are in your living room but you are actually in different parts of the world!
- These new ways of communicating with each other and interacting with a virtual and real world at the same time will change EVERYTHING that we know. Nobody can predict the good and bad of it all because its like discovering the wheel. We just don’t know what the impact will be but you can be sure that the impact will be awesome!
- Fully autonomous military robots (2020) most probably already exist today! We don’t know about them because our governments don’t want the cat out of the bag. What we do know is that semi-autonomous military robots have been in trial in actual combat situations since 2010. Several countries are in an almost desperate race to master the technology so that they can have fully autonomous robots do everything from patrol and guard a perimeter to spy on activity from above and report suspicious activity. In early 2016, China demonstrated an autonomous robot deployed to control large crowds with an ability to detect threats and misbehavior’s resulting in a non-lethal shock.
- Does this mean that future military conflicts will be fought with robots? I think the answer is obviously yes! Any situation that could spare the lives of our military and potentially give us an edge over an adversary will be exploited. We are embarking on the age of machine wars and many of our greatest scientific minds believe that this could be disastrous for human beings. Everything from robotic killer satellites that are programmed to destroy other satellites to killer tanks and missile launchers that engage enemy threats.
- The good news could be that when entire armies are autonomous, and one dominates the others, the final blow may be that instead of killing people, they may simply take over by siege. It could become a matter of the last robot standing wins. Pretty wishful thinking I guess but the more likely outcome will be robots that are killing and destroying everything in sight that looks like a threat. Shutting them down when desired may be the greatest challenge. Human beings are pretty creative though and whatever we come up with, someone else will counter it with something bigger, faster and more fierce. The cycle continues until we are finally intelligent enough to know that the cycle must end and that we can do better.
- Fully autonomous vehicles (2025) are already advancing quicker than predicted and most of us can’t wait for them to become the primary mode of transportation. What many don’t see and don’t understand is the impact that this single technological achievement will have on society. Our relationship with regard to travel changes which will have a social impact but the economic impact and the fundamental impact on a huge number of other technologies growth make this a real game changer!
- Overnight, entire industries will shift. For instance, all the truck drivers currently employed will no longer be needed. This will effect more than 8.7 million people in the U.S. alone! 3.5 million truck drivers directly and 5.2 million related jobs. Trucks will likely be more dominant simply because more can be on the road at any given time without the physical limitations of humans. More trucks means more maintenance and more road work and likely many factories will have to change their schedules to accommodate the increase in available and demand for materials.
- Auto sales will likely be diminished because more people will share vehicles between families and within families. Uber drivers will no longer be needed as entire fleets will be deployed by Uber and the big car dealerships who are positioned to get in on that game will certainly offer some competition.
- The demand for cameras, sensors, lasers and bandwidth will all go up. The need for insurance will greatly be diminished and the burden of insurance will likely shift to the manufacturing and leasing companies.
- The demand for medical, funeral and body-shop services will all be greatly diminished as their will be a huge reduction in transportation related accidents. This fact will also reduce the demand for life and medical insurance. If you’re in the insurance industry this is bad news but for the rest of us who can’t stand that companies profit from betting on the misfortune of others, we will be over-joyed and will celebrate those corrupt and bloated companies going out of business!
- While one may speculate that the ease of using fully autonomous vehicles could increase energy consumption, in fact, energy consumption should be reduced. Vehicles will drive more efficiently not even having to stop at intersections as they will coordinate to maintain their speed and trajectory. A family that now owns 2 vehicles may actually only need one or maybe even none as they share the use of their transportation. A vehicle that now sits in a parking lot all day while you are at work, could easily be redeployed to pick up little Johnny or be jobbed out to ferry passengers to and from the airport until it is time to take you home. Trucks will not likely drive very far without a full payload and because their is no labor union to worry about, the vehicles themselves will be picking up and delivering with maximum efficiency.
- But the automation doesn’t apply to land vehicles only! Boats will no longer require experienced sailors. In fact a whole land and sea nomadic society could blossom! Image having the AI on your motor-home or boat programmed to set to move you around to the nicest weather and accommodations year round and you would avoid paying land taxes!
- The Uber type companies are best postured to take advantage of the new transportation paradigm. Recently (2016) Uber put reportedly ordered 100,000 autonomous vehicles from Mercedes. If this sounds like a big order consider that Uber has proposed to purchase the entire production of Tesla in 2020 of 500,000 autonomous cars! Let that sink in for a minute… in 4 to 9 years, the ENTIRE transportation industry will be turned upside-down! The burden on government agencies to accommodate that kind of transformation is staggering in and of itself! But now consider an entire change of life similar to the impact that computers had on the world in the 90’s. This change will be quicker and it will disrupt commerce on so many levels that it is truly hard to imagine the fallout. Automotive dealerships will see fleet leasing skyrocket and initially sales will too. But, eventually sales will diminish and the dealerships must adapt to leasing and an Uber type service model in order to stay alive. If the automotive manufacture doesn’t adapt and compete with the largely amenities based attractions, they will fade quickly.
- 3D printed houses and buildings common – 2025 Okay, so lets get back to something we can get our minds around! Printing houses and buildings using giant 3d printers will be pretty common by 2025. There are companies around the world who are currently doing this with a high degree of success and economically enough where it really makes sense from a business perspective. Its pretty easy to imagine that in nearly 10 years from now it will be common.
- The greatest advancements will be in the various additional substrates used to accomplish the job and the ability to automatically integrate plumbing and electric. Make no mistake, this will happen and it will likely be a great equalizer for housing as it will allow quality housing to be built for a small fraction of what stick built homes are constructed for today!
- Essentially Free Energy (2026) is one of the cornerstones to allowing human beings to thrive. It is a great equalizer who’s time has finally come. One of the limits keeping us enslaved in this monetary paradigm is scarcity. Abundance is created when we have the tools and energy to power them. Everything from the essentials needed for survival like water, food and shelter are relatively easy to obtain if you have the right tools and energy. Tools like water pumps, filtration, plows, saws etc are fairly easy to come by but it takes power to use them. What if power were not an issue? People could pump water from the ground or extract it from the air 24/7. People could cut wood, plant seeds and drag fish nets across the water. We could keep cool in the warm climates and stay warm in the cold climates. We could transport something a thousand miles as easily as we could transport something across town.An unlimited source of clean, free energy will exist and may already exist. With the progress in nano-technology, we may already have the ability to eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels. Solar, wind, wave and tide power generators are becoming very efficient because of the developments in nano technology. Hydrogen fuel cells have gained so much in their ability and cost have come down to the point where it is now economically feasible to use them in vehicles. Tesla Motors has made battery power extremely efficient and they have managed to mass produce not only for their automobiles but also for home power generation!
- The realization of essentially free and abundant energy is a fundamental game changer for all of humanity!
- The singularity event is something that most people have never heard of in 2016. Yet, when Vernor Vinge popularized the term in his 1993 essay “The coming Technological Singularity”, Ray Kurtzweil built on those ideas and popularized it even more in his best selling book “The Singularity Is Near”. So… What does this term mean? And, why is a singularity event important?
- Lab grown foods common (2026) Everything from a steak dinner to a fish fillet will be grown in a lab process instead of harvesting from a living animal. This is important because currently the factory farming is not only a disgusting abuse of living, feeling animals but it is also unsustainable! Advances in nanotechnology may even provide for molecular assemblers in every home that will simply construct and 3d print the meal that you are looking forward to eating. These devices will be as common as a microwave oven is today!
- AI dominated workforce (more than 50%) (2026) will be exponentially taking over virtually all the jobs that human beings currently perform. And I don’t mean just the labor jobs in factories and fast food! It is already apparent that even in countries like China where labor is relatively inexpensive, hundreds of thousands of human workers are being displaced by inexpensive robotics. We are now at the critical tipping point with the robotics technology where companies have no choice but to replace labor with robots in order to remain competitive.
- Professional jobs are not safe either! In fact even today you would never suspect an artificial intelligence could do better than a human in writing sports articles or producing a naturally speaking, written narrative that previously was limited to a well paid analyst. But the new AI such as Quill Engage and many others are not only doing those jobs but they are doing them better and faster than human beings can. Attorneys, diagnostic medical specialist, pharmacists, Judges, Politicians all will begin to be replaced by AI and many already are.
- AI will control traffic, autonomous vehicles, and just about every aspect of transportation. AI will build houses, buildings and come up with new architectural and engineering designs that are superior to what we can conceive of.
- Many many good things will come out of this exponentially quick development such as cures for disease, cost of manufacturing, better everything and the one downside is that human beings will have to find something else to do with our minds and our time!
- The end of the current monetary system (2026) is inevitable! Think of this as the perfect storm for humanity to leap into a whole new era of existence. Technology will begin replacing humans in just about every job on the planet, people who don’t work will have no method of earning money to pay for the product and services even though the cost of those products and services will be reduced greatly by increased efficiency and lower production costs.
- Many people realize that our monetary system is already broken but somehow in our denial we keep figuring out the next clever trick to keep it all from collapsing! If it weren’t so desperate it would be comical! It won’t take long, from this point to see that the entire monetary paradigm is ridiculous and cannot work anymore!
- I suspect that after a short time of absolute chaos as the economy collapses, we will adopt a plan of making sure that everyone on the planet has their basic needs met for housing, food and transportation as well as for healthcare and education. Beyond that it will be up to each individual to find creative ways of contribution in order to have more.
- The singularity event (2030) is the event where civilization changes so much that its rules and technologies are incomprehensible to previous generations.- gizmodo.com This will undoubtedly be the most significant event for humanity in all of history!
- I predict that by the year 2030, one of two things will occur. Either a general Artificial Intelligence will emerge that will quickly develop into a super intelligence or human beings and technology will be combined to the degree in which human beings will now evolve by choice and will possess the intelligence to do things beyond our current comprehension.
- It can be sort of a tough thing to get your mind around and it may seem unrealistic but in fact, the integration of man and machine is already happening on a more elementary level. Cochlear hearing implants is a good example. With this implant, a person who is deaf, can have the function of the inner ear replaced by wiring electronics to the brain. This is now common place surgery! Everything from artificial limbs that work from brain or nerve signals to devices that are warn on our head to read our thoughts. It is all happening today 2016! So the next step of integrating artificial intelligence with our brain so that we can think better is not too hard to imagine. What about bionic eyesight or access to all the knowledge on the internet just by thinking about what you want to know. How about super human strength and pure logical thinking.
- AI is currently able to preform better than humans in many areas that were once thought to be the exclusive domain of human intelligence. It’s more than just math, its the ability to understand language, comprehend what is being said and delivering the correct answer through logic, knowledge and reasoning. In 1997 IBM’s super computer (Deep Blue) defeated Garry Kasparov in chess. By 2011 IBM’s Watson super computer defeated previous Jeopardy champs Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings at a game of Jeopardy. If you consider the difficulty of a machine understanding language well enough to answer natural language based questions you sort of get the magnitude of the accomplishment! Now, fast forward to 2030! I think you could guess that if technology went from bruit force AI to beat a chess champion to natural language in just 15 years and we use Moore’s law to predict, it isn’t hard to believe that we will reach AGI or Super AI by this time.
- So… What does this singularity event mean to humanity? Nobody really knows. That is the short and probably most responsible answer. To get an idea think of having all the knowledge of all of of humanity since the beginning of time at your disposal with the ability to instantly recall all of that knowledge, access it and logically apply it. Yeah, we can’t conceive it!
- Aging optional (2030) is something that mankind have dreamed of nearly since the beginning of human life on earth. The fountain of youth however will come in the form of a scientific discovery as a result of either Super AI or a combination of AI enhanced Human intelligence. This discovery will not only allow us to suspend the aging process but reverse the aging process to what ever age we desire. At a cellular level we will have the option of being young while retaining the knowledge and wisdom gained to our true age. Immortality is at hand!
- Controlled human evolution (2040) is when things get really weird! As if they weren’t already!! For the first time in history, we will have the ability to integrate and regenerate our species by design and we won’t have to wait millions of years for the morph to take place! Who know what this will look like and where it will take us but we certainly will evolve.