Technology is evolving at such a rapid pace we can sometimes lose track of how far we’ve come and don’t realise it means more than just “our phones take better pictures” or “I can stream videos super quickly”. Right now, scientists and engineers are hard at work on everything from implantable health monitors to computers that can essentially think for themselves. Every single one of them would change our world in such a major way. And guess what? They’re all going to be hitting our laps in the next couple of years so right now it’s time to get excited (and prepared).
1. Smart People, Smarter Cities
You might be familiar with Google Home which is essentially a smart home assistant. Then you have tech that communicates with your phone and sends your location to your thermostat which automatically adjusts to your ideal setting before you walk through the door. Now that’s smart tech. But it won’t stop there. Far from it. In the not too distant future, we’ll have smart cities to play around in. There are a few recently constructed cities, with Songdo in South Korea being perhaps the major example, that play right into this idea. All of its buildings have automatic climate control. Security is handled by automated computerised access and everything from its roads to its utilities to its waste systems are all armed with electronic sensors.
2. Better and More Accurate Health Tracking
If you suffer from an illness like diabetes, asthma or sleep apnoea you understand that managing it is a daily ritual. But wouldn’t it be better if you had a more accurate way of tracking your illness? Wearable health trackers are not that far off. In fact, there’s a piece or tech that’s like a Fitbit of the future, that already has a tracker that monitors oxygen levels and keeps an eye out for sleep apnoea. It would allow the wearer to share the data with their doctor instantly which can save time and free up appointments for other patients.
3. The Rise (and Flight) of Autonomous Vehicles
While health trackers and smart cities are easy to wrap your head around, autonomous flying cars still feel very futuristic for a lot of people. So, to hear that companies like Uber and Boeing are already in the early stages of creating one, seems a little far-fetched. While consumer confidence in self-driving cars is on the decline, perhaps the idea of a self-driving car that takes to the skies might be enough to sway even the most traditional driver. Oh, and yes that means you might one day be Snapchatting your flying Uber ride home after a night out.
4. Teaching Computers to Teach Themselves
Another concept that has been around for a while is that of machine learning, but in the last few years in particular there have been some major breakthroughs with some massive implications. Engineers have already developed brain-like chips that can essentially “think” on their own. Not only can a computer essentially learn to complete a task on its own that once needed human intervention, it can also continue to learn and get better at it as time goes on. Researchers are even teaching artificial intelligence to learn in much the same way you would a child. Because of that, we’re very close to a time where many menial, administrative tasks (and even larger, infrastructure-oriented ones) can be totally automated, leaving human beings to focus and bigger, better and more critical things.