3 Future Technologies
Life is moving faster. It isn't an illusion, it's reality and it's predictable. Studying the Law of Exponential Returns and applying it to technology you'll see a startlingly consistent and predictable increase in technology advancement.
Futurists like Ray Kurzweil make a living proving this exponential growth. You can use it to predict how fast a technology will grow, speed up, or become less expensive. One thing you can't see is exactly what new technologies will arrive and when.
These 3 technologies will be used in everyday life by most of us within a very short amount of time, 10-20 years.
1. Solar Power. It's been around a very long time which is why it is often written off as an effective means of our principal energy source, as well as just how little of our global energy we get from solar. Currently a little less than 1% of our energy comes from solar power. But Solar power is one of the technologies that is easily tracked against the Law of Exponential returns. We double the amount of solar energy in proportion to other sources every two years. What this means is that within 7-8 doublings, or 14-16 years we will be able to get 100% of our global energy from solar. The sun currently gives this planet 10000 times more energy than we can currently use.
The best aspect of Solar Energy is that it is the only energy source we currently harness that comes from outside of our isolated system. Coal, Oil, Hydro, Wind, Thermal, these all exist within our planet meaning if we take some of the energy from it there will likely be side effects. Since 99.999 percent of the solar energy that hits our planet just bounces off, there will be no side effect to this planet by harnessing a greater percentage.
The problems with solar energy at this point are getting batteries capable of storing the energy that can be reusable with little degradation over extended use. Fortunately battery technology also becomes predictably better year after year.
2. 3D Printing. Ever seen the Replicators from Star Trek and saw them as being impossible? Well, there are companies currently building machines that do that. Today it is much more primitive but like the other technologies here, becomes vastly better year after year.
In the future there will be no mass manufacturing, no shipping products from overseas, no millions of carbon copy products. We will pay for and download a file that will then be sent to our 3D printer in our home and we will have a working product within minutes. This product can be customised, modified and changed in any way we need, by us or through an easy to use tool provided by the company licencing the product.
The complexity of products will drastically increase as well. Because printing is additive instead of mold and cast, it doesn't have to be assembled. Electronics will be indistinguishable from the facade or structure.
It goes beyond products though. Currently there are a few companies printing out organic tissue. Forget the costly and controversial cloning of human organs, we currently have printers printing kidney tissues. In the future you won't wait for someone to die and give you a heart that barely fits and works in your body, you will print out an exact copy of your heart, only functional.
The way we sell pharmaceuticals will be completely antiquated. We won't get a prescription from a doctor, then go to a pharmacist to buy 10 different pills each with different dosages and special instructions. We will get a prescription file from our doctors, we'll input them into our printers and we'll print out a single pill with the exact dosage of each medication that we require.
A few companies have actually managed to print out pork tissue fit for human consumption.
Check out what 3D Systems, Stratasis, Organovo and others are doing in this space.
3 Nanotechnology. One of the easiest to predict is the size and speed of technology. It's easy to see that the computers in our phones are 10000 times cheaper, 10000 times smaller, and 10000 times faster than the first computers. These three factors are very predictable over time and we can see that within 10 years we will have computers as powerful as our cell phones as small as a red blood cell.
Having self replicating nanomachines in our bodies will solve the majority of our health problems we currently have.
All three of these technologies either already exist or have undeniable proof that they will exist in the near future. They will all fundamentally change the way we live. From the products we purchase, to our health and lifespan, to the health of our world.
What great near future technologies are you excited about? Add them to the comments below!