Ever since the early 1900s, and even before that, people have always fantasized what the future might have in store. What sort of unique trinkets and achievements will we achieve? From little gizmos in our hands to crossing celestial planes out in space, the dreams ran wild over the years. And slowly, but surely, progress has been made. But what some people thought would be around by the late 1900s, still hasn’t been made or is in it’s infant stages right now. While humanity’s never-ending pursuit of knowledge and creation goes on, let’s take a look at what sort of things people dreamed of in the future and the probability of it happening.
Yes, we already have it in our modern era and who can forget one of the original founders of eye wear technology: Google Glass. But there are still vast limitations to this soon-to-be commonplace item. Some of them rely on the phone clicking in to the giant headpiece, while the other is connected through your entertainment system. There can be wires that limit how far you can walk around, or controllers in your hands that don’t feel smooth. Even the viewing experience can be hit or miss. Some look pretty decent, while others you can still see the limitations when you look outside the view-box.
What we imagined as a virtual reality experience, like as seen on TV, was the lack of restrictions. No cords so we can roam freely. Hands free, or gloves, to truly capture our motions in this virtual world. A full 180 degree experience that runs smooth. I won’t say smaller headset, because typically in every example (besides Google Glass) they’ve been a little on the clunky side. Maybe one day we’ll have sleek visors for VR headsets, but the clunk is fine today. Some headsets appear as if they run programs or connect to our minds to construct the virtual worlds.
We’re nowhere near that, as mentioned, due to reliance on phones or systems to create it. One day, this could be real as people can live their wildest fantasies from their mind; both common and mature. 4D experience is another thing that would be difficult to obtain, however people can be creative at home to make the experience even more real. A problem that can occur is addiction, and wanting to stay in the fantasy world; avoiding the painful reality one might live in. Being trapped inside, because in there you might feel loved or want escapism from other things. As this advances and becomes more surreal, mental health is definitely something that will be affected and something that must be researched and kept an eye on before trouble begins.
While companies are currently working to make the Hyperloop a reality, the closest thing we have are subways (aka tubes) that travel at moderate speeds with a container full of people. There’s also bullet trains around the world that try to increase the speed of travel, especially from one city to another distant city. But it’s that hyperspeed that people are craving; the rush of 760 mph breezing by. Going from across town in a minute flat, or going to a city (that’s normally a 4 hour drive) in just 30 minutes. It’s something that can definitely happen, but it may look different than what we imagine.
For one, the cost to lay the tubing down across cities and countries is a huge expense of it’s own. Also, the cost of running such a system and it’s security will run up the tab. How will the actual delivery occur? Will people sit in chairs in a pod or will we lay down and go individually through tubes? There is also the risk of serious threats such as malfunction while people are being transported. Imagine being stuck in one of those things as you’re going across town or, even worse, across cities. You could be stuck in the middle of nowhere trapped in this tube with little air flowing; not only in the tube, but the container you’re in as well. Let’s not forget people come in different shapes and sizes. Can this tubular transportation be suitable for all of us? It is a nice concept to think about, as we would all love faster traveling, but the reality of it being expensive and risky might derail it. A more realistic future might just have to settle with the bullet trains that are being made now.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
No matter how many times we warn ourselves about something, our curiosities never go away and we keep going further to push the envelope. Despite all the books and videos of utopian/dystopian futures where AI are among us, we often shake our heads and say “Oh we’ll never get to that point!” as we slowly make our way to it. We already have AI on this planet in it’s infancy stage slowly creeping into adolescence. It wasn’t long ago that a story came out about AI robots creating their own secret language, which ultimately led to them being shut down. Eventually, though, they will be among us; just not seen as equals to start.
With things like Siri being able to listen to us and give us pretty good responses, or Emotech’s attempt with Olly to infuse some personality into it’s AI as it learned about you, the quest to give AI “life” is becoming more apparent. Some AI are being made to keep people companion, or check on their health. There’s also attempts to make AI pets, including cats and dogs. Some are being made to be babysitters, while some just do the housework everyone is slowly getting lazy to do. It’s happening now, though not super realistic, but they are even being given skin to resemble us. Eventually, the synthetics will be so realistic that we may fail to see what is human and what is machine.
Besides the cost, maintenance, or even eventual uprising there’s no sign of stopping the creation and advancement of AI. We’re so driven to learn more about how they think and act, and how we can influence them, when we don’t fully understand our own kind right now. Nevertheless, right now we’re in the Robbie the Robot stage of AI. Soon we’ll head towards Sonny like in the movie I, Robot. Then the top of the artificial mountain is getting AI that look nearly exactly like us such as in the videogame Detroit: Become Human.
Psychology studies will soon be populated on this topic, because with our ever-growing dependence on technology it’s already effected our human interactions. Someday, we might treat each other a bit more coldly while leaning mostly on those in our inner circle. And who’s in that circle? Your AI who’s with you everywhere you go. It’ll do everything for you, as you relax and leisure. Job opportunities will fall with AI being able to clean, deliver, and do whatever else. People might one day even have stronger relationships with AI than other humans that, yes, might even be physical. It’s already happening since a few years ago, as seen here in this YouTube video. The next decade, or so, will definitely be interesting for researchers, humans, and AI alike.
Prosthesis & Human Advancements
Many are familiar with the stereotypical pirate with a peg leg, which did exist. Since then, though, we’ve evolved much of what became known as prosthesis. From the way it’s engineered and designed, to the materials used to not only help but improve human functioning. However, it’s still not perfect and not seamless. Imagine if it was though.
Gone are the clunky attachments and wires, that may connect to your mind, that try to do the job of what you previously had. Imagine not struggling trying to grab something several times, and get it on the first try with an actual gripping motion. Or being given an eye that does see for you, rather than just look the part. With advancement in technology, so will the way we are able to reconstruct ourselves should anything ever happen. From artificial hands that feel and act like a real one, to a foot that can throw an effective kick like when you played soccer, engineering prosthesis will take huge advancements that all start with connections.
I’m talking both mentally, and physically, to where it no longer has to come off or be replaced. No more struggling everyday to remove and put it back on. A device so in tune with you, that it cooperates with your mind and movement to do exactly what you want to do. Research is going on today on this, and soon it will be more public. But what about the flip side to this?
If you have seen plenty of sci-fi shows and movies, you’ll know that in the future human and science can become one as well. Forget AI, when we can become machine ourselves. While we can put machines inside of us now, like pacemakers, we have yet to go beyond to where our capabilities are immensely boosted by machines being a part of us. Imagine ocular advancements to where we can surf the web through our retinas, as if we had Google Glass in it. Or hyper-sensitive touch that can adhere to things like Spiderman. Yes, it might sound ridiculous at first but that isn’t stopping people from trying to figure that out. Can we make ourselves more. . . superhuman? Can we have bionic arms or legs to give us some extra strength? Can we input a chip into our mind with all the languages in the world to become an elite polyglot?
Again, more research is needed and if it ever becomes a thing it will definitely cost a pretty penny. Almost assuredly, it will fall into military hands as it will be seen more as a priority than those who medically need assistance. It can certainly be a greed factor as once such a thing comes to light, those in power will want this god-like feature to go to them. Becoming a cyborg may take the longest on this list, but it’s not entirely out of the realm. As for the prosthesis, it’s coming around the corner as advancements to the way they are produced come quickly. Soon they will be more seamless, but again the cost of it might still be high in this ever growing medical-costing world.
Health and Relaxation
As mentioned in the AI segment, we’re growing more dependent on technology to do things for us. From work to social life, it even found it’s way to our homes. Now imagine it growing and taking over our humble abode. Yeah, things like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home have begun the process as all you have to do is call out to it and give it orders so it can control things around the house. Now imagine it doesn’t need to be called. What if it knew what you were thinking and did it for you?
That might be looking way too far into the future, but it’s reasonable to think that after Alexa and Home the future of housing will mean inclusion of smart technology all throughout it. Imagine every home from now on having such devices where you talk to it and it’ll turn off the lights for you, tell you who’s at the door, and when the mail has arrived. Now give it a personality, and suddenly it feels like you’re not the only one living there as it can engage in conversations with you. Now it can go one of two ways: either it’s okay and we have a unique house that gets us and our routines or we have a Smart House type situation where we eventually become prisoners of our own homes. We like to think technology is always good, but let’s not ignore that possibility of it turning bad on us.
Regardless, the cost of such houses can be a little more expensive and routine maintenance and updates will be needed. But like in any futuristic movie, where we live and sleep tends to have luxuries. Another such luxury can be in the form of healthcare. Have you ever seen the movie Elysium or Prometheus? If so, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. I’m referencing those advanced medical bays each film had where the person can lay in it, and the machine will diagnose and heal whatever ailment you had. Seriously, imagine everyone having such technology right there.
Of course, such technology will take years and years of development as well as in medicine to find such quick remedies. But if we can heal broken bones in seconds, or cure a skin virus, while laying there it will be up there as one of the greatest discoveries we have ever had. Imagine a future where you’re health and well-being can be taken care of all at home. Lay in bed, and you’ll be told if your blood pressure is too high or if you have a fever. A bed that adjusts it’s firmness and positioning to help with your sleep and back posture. Want to go dancing with your friends, but are dealing with a bad stomachache? Hop into the med pod and in 20 seconds you’ll be good to go. While a smart house/smart bed might be more realistic in the coming future, it’s not entirely impossible for some sort of medical assistance device to be made. It may not cure diseases, but it might handle easier ailments. Again, this second one depends on how far we advance in medicine and technology. The smart house is well on it’s way sooner than later.
Self-Driving and Flying Cars
Last, but not least, is probably the top thing people have wanted in the future ever since the early 1900s. I’m talking more about the flying cars than the self-driving ones, but both are prevalent in any conversation about the future. Let’s start with self-driving cars.
There are two types of people when it comes to self-driving cars (SDCs): it’s either great as they leisure around while being transported or they hate it because of the uncertainty about safety. While not having to be fully alert and use that driving time to do something else like reading or talking to a friend sounds great, we often forget the ramifications for everyone else around us. No car company will ever make SDCs that will go fast, already due to the high legal ramifications if something went wrong. So for people like me, who sort of enjoy the need for speed, the thought of being restrained to a certain limit is not fun. As well as having the feel of a steering wheel being useless comes with it.
And if SDCs become more common, laws will favor them over the manual drivers since the former will be programmed to drive safely and lawful. No SDC will be caught speeding or passing red lights. Such technology stems from it being able to detect everything around us, which is still sketchy as of this year. They’re working on it, but it’s still maybe a decade from being commercial. Having smart windshields that display time, speed, temperature and other information would be useful in any car. We have similar stuff in the center console of the car, but to be on the windshield so that we can swipe away or with voice control would be better than looking down and pressing buttons. Could it be a distraction? Certainly, but it’d more than likely fit perfect for SDCs.
Flying cars on the other hand? Never going to happen in my opinion. Can it be made? Probably, but would it be wise? No. All one has to do is think about regulations. How can we keep an eye on hundreds, if not thousands, of people flying cars in the sky where there’s no roads? What will happen if a car gets in the way of an airplane? Drunk driving in the air could be catastrophic. Even if somehow they were only permitted to hover or go only 5 stories high, it still changes regulations immensely and would be more trouble than helpful. A lot of people are terrible drivers to begin with. And think of the cost to own one, or charge whatever it runs on. Honestly, working on a alternate energy/fuel source would be the most likely advancement. I’ve always imagined a magnetic force propulsion system for cars. One where it hovers over the roads, lined with magnetic tracks, so no tires or gas is needed. Speeds are controlled, and running into others is next to impossible due to the magnetism keeping you in your lane until space is present.
Will that happen? Who knows, but cars are definitely evolving for the modern world. Technology is advanced in the newer models, self-driving research is continuing, and alternate fuel is being tested. If SDCs do become the norm, it’ll actually be sad because one day manual driving will be forgotten, and those cars may be outlawed as everyone is forced to get these supposed safer cars. And you just know the design won’t be as attractive as, say, a Dodge Viper or Lamborghini. Nevertheless, advancements are coming and will be more prominent in the next decade or two. I hope we don’t have flying cars, but like all other stuff mentioned here that won’t stop people from trying. Not every futuristic dream was mentioned on here; only some of the top ones typically brought up in conversation and internet sites. If there’s any you thought of that’s not on here, or had thoughts about the ones mentioned, feel free to share!