A comprehensive guide to the next half century
By Alex Stanton, Staff Writer
Technology as we know it today, considered a luxury by most in the 1990s, is an integral part of most people’s lives in the developed world. Smartphones, GPS, and the like have become deeply rooted in our daily lives. This, in particular, goes for the latest generation to reach adulthood—a demographic commonly referred to as the millennials.
Being a millennial and with conscious memory of the late ‘90s, I find the staggeringly fast rate at which science and technology have been developing in the past decade to be mind-boggling, frightening as hell, and incredibly humbling—all at once. Like most of you, I don’t particularly miss the days before all these advancements; that’s why we’ve got the future, and never has it been as visible to us as it is now. Countless experts, referred to as futurologists, have used the wonders of science to give us a glimpse decades into the future. Here are some of the technological advancements and innovations that we can expect to witness this year and in the foreseeable future.
By the end of the year
Engineered and tested back in 2013, the world’s first self-regulating artificial heart, created by French professor Alain Carpentier, is currently going through closed clinical trials and is expected to go on sale in Europe by the end of this year for about $250,000.
Japanese beverage maker Otsuka is expected to make the very first advertisement on the surface of the moon with a giant can of Pocari Sweat filled with drink powder and handwritten children’s dreams.
You can also expect electric cars to begin picking up traction in the automobile industry: by the end of 2015, electric car ownership worldwide is estimated to reach one million people. This obviously isn’t very much when you consider how populated the world is, but if compared to 2010—when the number of electric cars on the road was just about 2.5 per cent of this number—you may begin to be convinced that environmentally friendly cars are here to stay.
What has become arguably one of the biggest news pieces of the millennium so far is the possibility of human settlement on Mars. A non-profit organization in the Netherlands called Mars One is expected to send 24 people to the red planet—the objective of the trip being to colonize and take up permanent residence on Mars. Lift off is expected to take place in April of 2024 (though recent reports have the mission being delayed).
In what will become yet another milestone in the battle against cancer, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is expected to reach a five-year survival rate of 100 per cent in the entire developed world. As of 2015, that statistic sits at 85 per cent in North America.
For all the Netflix binge watchers and Call of Duty players out there, you’ll be happy to know that your ultra-high-definition television will be compatible with resolutions of up to 4320p; what’s more, they’re also expected to be readily available in holographic models. Video games will be designed to take advantage of the exponentially advancing picture quality and will have photo-realistic graphics.
By the close of this decade, nearly the entire planet—even the remotest of areas—will have access to fast, wireless, broadband Internet. This number is expected to reach 5-billion people (a massive chunk of the world’s population) in 2025.
The lines separating “Artificial” and “Intelligence” of “Artificial Intelligence” become increasingly blurred as robotic assistants become emotionally intelligent and technologically impressive. Predicted to become commonly owned by people of the developed world by mid-2030’s, robots will serve as avatars for a highly advanced technology and/or as your personal servants, doing basically whatever tasks you would want them to do like writing emails, cleaning, bathing the dog, and much more.
On the other side of that spectrum, keep an eye out for Terminator-like robots on the battlefields. Futurologist George Dvorsky states that “despite calls to halt the development of machine soldiers that identify and kill without human input, military leaders will not hesitate to use a robot when a human life can be spared”; this, according to Dvorsky, will lead to robot soldiers that would be superior to humans in every way and, quite likely, an arms race between the world’s superpowers. On a happier note, Dvorsky predicts that geneticists will come up with an anti-aging agent that isn’t a complete scam, and lab-grown organs will be widely available for those in need.
If you’re around my age, you came of age right around the end of the 20th century; you might have used your childhood imagination to compare what you knew about the time passed to what you thought about the time to come. Many find themselves wondering if they’ve finally reached the future that captured their imaginations as kids. Is the future here? I say so. But it’s only just the beginning.