While there are some incredible and innovative gadgets on the market today, these are just our first steps towards a technologically integrated future. Within the next few years there will be some huge leaps forward which will change our transport systems, communications networks and even our jobs. So let’s take a trip to the future and see how tomorrow’s world will transform our lives.
If there’s one problem with roads, it’s that they’re just not working hard enough for us. There are a number of technologies which all aim to take advantage of all that surface space. There are some simple if useful developments like the photo luminescent road markings which absorb light during the day and then glow right through the night. Others could change the way we drive completely with the introduction of electromagnetic induction circuits. These would allow drivers to charge batteries on their electric cars as they drive, meaning the end to charges on long journeys and providing electric vehicles with mass appeal. Then there’s the prospect of photovoltaic roads which would generate power by collecting solar energy. Tarmac has never seemed so old-fashioned.
Many will wonder just how much further phone technology can go. Phones can already record 4K video, take great quality photos and do almost anything that a much larger computer can do, all in the palm of your hand. However, there are countless developments to progress the phones of the future. Solar charging could become the norm, augmented with charging plates which would mean no more messing around with wires. Battery technology itself will become far more efficient and smaller. The size reduction should come in useful as we move towards flexible screens when OLED tech becomes more viable. Then there’s the possibility of holographic screens and voice control. And let’s not forget all the connected, wearable peripherals that are sure to become part of our everyday life.
Return to space
In the 1960s, mankind went to the moon and that’s really been the highpoint of our ventures beyond the atmosphere. Sure, lots of great work has been done within the International Space Station but mankind has always looked to conquer what’s next, not just linger above the clouds. Certainly, there are great strides coming from outside the traditional space agencies, with private enterprise looking to utilise space for tourism, transportation and plundering the resources of the asteroid belts. Technically this should leave NASA free to explore the universe and the first step would be putting going back to the moon before even thinking about Mars. The latest vessel is the Orion which in look echoes the Apollo craft, but they are larger, safer and can be used up to ten times. It may be slow progress, but there could be manned flights to the moon within the next decade and with every space race, comes new ideas and technology that filter down to the masses.
Through digital communication, the world has become smaller than it ever has been before. There’s still one major barrier preventing many people from really connecting – language. Through apps and online translation tools, it’s become simpler to convey simple messages when you are in a foreign land. Many companies are trying to take this to the next level with the development of the universal translator – something which proved very handy in Star Trek when encountering numerous alien species. There is the slight issue of nuance and idiom but with the rapid increases in processing power and machines’ capability to learn, at some point, this should become a real possibility.
5G isn’t just a step up from the last generation, but a technology that will revolutionise the way that we communicate both at home and on the move. Unlike some of the other technologies on this list, 5G isn’t speculative but rather something that will happen and when it does, we won’t know how we lived without it. Firstly, we’ll be able to forget about any of the download problems we have today. This network will be able to carry vast volumes of data, up to 100 times faster than speeds today and that means your handheld smart device will connect you to the internet of things and make fully smart cities possible. The true possibilities have yet to be realised but you’ll have smart homes which you control remotely and trains which give you a live update on speed, arrival time and available free seats, all in real time. Low latency rates and unbreakable connections will even mean that sci-fi dreams like remote surgery will become possible.
Will a machine take your job? Well it’s a fair possibility. Machines will almost certainly take over many aspects of manual labour (and already have) but with every major technology giant working on driverless cars, this could also mean the end of bus drivers, lorry drivers and even taxi drivers. Postal services will face challenges from drones, as these flying machines deliver parcels direct to the door from a depot on the day of order. This will have a major impact on the economy but along with these new technologies will come new career pathways and new freedoms to enjoy life and perhaps all this automation could even mean a four day working week.