There have always been predictions of how the world will be in the next 10, 20, 30, 100 years. From the typical ‘Flying Cars’ to ‘Cloning body parts’ most of the tech upgrades over the years are pie in the sky with a side of absinthe, though there are a few occasions where the predictions are bang on.
Lets have a look into the past future predictions for the present day.
As early as the mid-50s, robot only warehouses were being touted about wherever the tech hub was before silicon valley. These were large individual mobile robots just taking over a humans jobs with no need for breaks, holidays, hangovers and time restraints.
In a way we do already have warehouses and plant lines that consist pretty much of robots/machines working with robots/machines with minimal human input. A good example of this is the VW car plant in Wolfsburg where over 5000 robots build cars from start to finish with a very minimal amount of human interaction. The robots know what goes where, when and how even what colour things should be. They can produce almost 1 million cars per year from the 6.5 Million sq. metre site and sell over 8 Million sausages. (These figures are provided by VW and are to be taken with a pinch (large) of salt if it was the guy doing the emissions testing!!!)
Effectively the humans are just there to keep an eye on things and keep them running and on time.
In all of Amazons warehouses items are picked, packed, transported and readied for delivery all by robots and conveyor belts. And people wonder how the Bezos keeps raking in the cash!! Essentially if your workforce can work 24/7 without whinging and be as close to perfect and as efficient as you can currently get, you’ll make buckets of dosh.
Isaac Asimov predicted that by 2014 personal service robots would be easily available though not massively common.
Who wouldn’t want a mental (not metal) butler kicking around looking after the house and yourself as it beeps and clicks its way around. Cold beer and slices of hot pizza on standby.
Unfortunately, at the moment the best we have is ‘Alexa’ and a bloody Roomba. 1 listens in to every aspect of your life and no doubt will leave you red faced when you ask for a certain things and Celine Dion starts up. Always with the Celine Alexa, always!!
Surely the best temporary path to take while we wait on a Kryten appearing would be to have kids and use them as slave/family labour and call it “chores”. It could well be a long time until we have some peoples dreams of a robot servant who has the programable AI of your favourite ‘Fans Only’ person.
Pogo Police Cars;
Yep, this seemed to be a bit of a thing back in the 50s and 60s, how best to make police officers lives more difficult and amusing for the crims.
These insane inline wheeled vehicles were supposed to be a replacement for the ‘bobby on the beat’ or ‘cop on the street’ depending on if you are from the right side of the pond or not.
It was supposed to make pursuit easier by having a high vantage point and the manoeuvrability of a motorbike. It however turns out by the time the Po-Po have even made it into their seats the perp will be away and counting their ill gotten gains or have just nipped into a multi storey car park where the height restriction barrier would wreck the Pogo Car.
Luckily for us (and the criminal classes) the police force has stuck loyally with the finest mode of transport for intimidation and pursuit in the form of a Vauxhall Astra Diesel. It’s bad enough giving some officers tasers and real guns, no need to add in a mode of transport that would cause utter chaos.
The Internet(World Wide Web);
We weren’t necessarily given any real predictions on how dominant the internet would become, it was thought to just be a simple aid like a new age teletext! I don’t think anyone could have predicted the extreme success of bringing people closer together and having a wealth of information at your fingertips that the World Wide Web has become. From its humble beginnings in the US of sharing information between research organisations and for academic suitability’s, to being able to order a pizza while watching YouTube clips and booking flights to a non-extradition country.
The leaps and bounds the useability and information you can get your hands on legally or not is remarkable, we all remember watching the worlds slowest picture reveal only for someone to use the house phone and ruin an hours work. Now you can have people live into your room and be able to communicate vocally and visually.
The availability of information has perhaps ruined life a little though as the art of a good debate down the pub on a subject is solved by some smart git in seconds by Googling the answer. No phones allowed during the quiz please.
Back in the early 80s when Apple MacIntosh released their home computer it looked like the future was here and to a large degree it was. Even when you look at the size of a desktop computer 30 years ago, other than the monitor getting slimmer, the actual tower bit with the gear inside is about the same size, they just now have massive amounts more power that you may have had to build an extension onto the house to put it in back then. You can get laptops the same size as an A4 pad of paper or ‘notebook’ that have as much computer processing power as it took to get man on the moon.
The mobile phone has came on major leaps and bounds too to the point that it essentially is a personal computer that fits into your pocket where you can video call people on the other side of the planet, write essays, use the internet, play Farmville, and run your businesses. Also does anyone remember your teacher saying to you that you need to learn long division and the like because it’s not like you’ll have a calculator in your pocket all the time? Well, well, well Mr Adair, who’s the idiot now.
The Gold Standard of future tech predictions, the flying car. I think if you even look at early cave paintings there are pictures of some kind of hovering transportation device. Just kidding, they didn’t even have Tetris back then!!
Flying cars of varying designs have been portrayed since the car became mass produced, flapping wings like a bird progressed to rotors and plane engines on to jets and whatever the Jetsons used (probably nuclear as you never saw them fill up with gas.)
Cars that can fly are becoming a reality but realistically they are a logistical menace and also if you are going down the motorway/highway at 160 mph and unfold your wings, id say the local constabulary may wish to have a word with you. Currently the best possible mainstream ideas are pretty much wings bolted onto a cars roof.
The practical usage of any of the produced cars now is very limited as wings are pretty big and cumbersome and most roads, car park spaces, drive throughs etc aren’t really accommodating.
People have a hard enough time passing their regular theory test never mind needing to know how to Golf Tango Foxtrot in the Arizona fly through corridor on a Tuesday evening.
There are several prototypes being produced all of the time but I suspect it’ll be a wee while before warp speed I possible to get home for your tea.
Meal in a pill;
Another classic prediction that you’d just need to pop a pill once a day to get all the calories and nutrients you need. We’ve all seen the movies based in space where there is spheres of Vimto floating around the space module. While you can have condensed and dried food like the military ‘K rations’ that are packed with energy and tick the technical boxes of what a body needs, they are still some distance away from being in pill form.
Currently there is no possible way to have all the calories etc packed into one pill for your daily allowance unless that pill is a horse suppository, in which case you might as well just have a cheese baked potato and a side of onion rings.
There are 3 types of people in the world of tracking. 1- manufacturers and end users, 2- general public who couldn’t care less so long as it doesn’t interfere with their lives or send ‘at the pub’ alerts to spouses, 3- criminals, “rights” defenders and the paranoid. These are either people who know or believe the tracking systems are being used against them to either catch or spy on them and in perhaps an illegal manner.
Tracking is absolutely everywhere, if you want to find out someone’s location they are going to be normally leaving a massive visible and paper trail. From so many businesses and now private properties having cctv to be caught on to using bank cards, cars, cell phones an being online where your location is usually gathered automatically.
The average person would find it very difficult to avoid all of the modern tracking systems even if they are not designed for that purpose, like trap cameras for recording animal movement. If you were on the run from someone and went into the wilderness, as remote as it may well be you could trip a trap camera and have your face recognised or simply be spotted on a petrol station cctv as you fill up your truck.
Even when you are at home electronic devices are learning your habits from ‘Alexa’ to your webcam having a little spy on you to your smart fridge knowing when and how to place grocery orders for you.
Weather Manipulation ;
Now we have all heard of cloud seeding, this is a chemically altered cloud system spread by firing rockets into specific area. More commonly it has been used to disperse clouds to create better weather for large events like outdoor gigs, an Olympics opening ceremony and one country regularly uses it to afford good weather during their national anniversary military parades.
Seeding is also being attempted to create cloud systems to initiate rainfall in drought areas. There is no evidence so far that this is even remotely successful yet. I’m sure once it is there will be a huge clamor from massive companies to have a piece of the action. Obviously this type of seeding would be a savior to many African nations as well as large parts of the US like the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. After all, water is life and there probably is a few dollars to be made out of it.
There is also digital and aesthetic Manipulation of happening. There are many ‘magic window’ products where the seemingly normal windows can change to TV or computer screens or project selective views with desired weather, i.e. if its raining outside you can make it appear like a sunny summers day. There are also window and blind systems that can be used to limit the effects of jetlag by controlling how much light and when the light comes into a room.
Casinos are the masters of making time disappear by simply having no windows, clocks and even serving breakfast 24 hours a day so that guests don’t know what the time is and keep spending
- Very close to future tech inventions:
There are hundreds of ideas people have to make our lives easier and revolutionise the planet of which most are utter crap and the dreams of someone who watches too much Star Trek and Logans Run.
There are however a few that are worth a good look at that seem achievable in the word we live in.
- Personal Jetpack:
There have been many attempts at this over the years but it all comes back to the sheer expense and how dangerous these Jetpacks are. Basically you are strapping directional explosives to your back hoping they haven’t been made by ACME. As with all of these things, range is an issue as well as the safety aspect and cost but also, can you imagine thousands of people flying about in the sky with a bomb on their backs?
Saying that, there have been some great developments made but don’t expect to see parking spaces at your local supermarket any time soon.
- Delivery Drones:
Automated drones delivering your takeaway to your door or window, what could be better for obese nations. Jesting aside, the drone delivery service will in the next short few years be used to get medication, food etc to hard to reach places and even items out to troops on the battlefield without risking extra human lives. Amazon are apparently trialling these out, so expect to open your door one day to having rotor blades buzzing around head height looking for a signature or trying to put your package under the doormat.
- Human Clones:
There is ongoing testing in this field on rats, mice and monkeys so the day will come soon that humans will be getting cloned. This will either be used in a productive manner i.e. for body parts and seat fillers at the Oscars or some evil genius will have an army of JCVds made to kick ass and take names.
Either way it is a very dangerous road to go down so maybe ease off on that one and stick to cloning Sunday lunch.
- 3D Holograms:
Static holograms have been around for some time like the ones on money. The desire though is to have a full-sized hologram that can be communicated with live and not restricted to a portal or hologram pad. Think more Rimmer from Red Dwarf than Princess Leia’ in the original Star Wars.
For the moment the best we have is a hologram that can play recorded messages.
There are some huge benefits to be had using holograms like in the medical field where you could look inside a 3d body and diagnose so much easier.
The day is coming though, keep your eye on the adult industry as they will make a fortune out of holoporn. Credit card details definitely needed for that one!!!
- Working Toaster:
Wouldn’t we all just love a toaster that has a setting where the bread is toasted well and golden, not either just warmed of cremated. How can there be such a difference between 2 and 3???!?!