Technology is a funny old thing. Back in the 1960s, science fiction authors envisioned a world where everyone would have a personal robot helping them with household chores by the year 2000, totally ignoring the possibility of smartphones altogether.
However, academics and researchers are, in general, getting better at predicting what’s going to happen in the world of technology. Their thirty-year predictions are generally way off the mark, but they are far more accurate over timescales of ten years or less.
The general public, however, still isn’t fully aware of the technologies coming down the pike. Most companies and individuals make linear projections of the future, basing tomorrow on what the world is like today. But that’s not how things really work. Instead, technology tends to emerge in an S-shaped pattern, according to www.globalxetfs.com – slow at first, and then incredibly rapidly after that. In this post, we take a look at some of the technologies likely to accelerate in their availability and applications over the next ten years or so.
The Quantum Cloud
Researchers are still trying to figure out what quantum computers can do, but suffice to say, most agree that they will be revolutionary. These impressive instruments will be able to calculate the solutions to problems currently outside of the ability of science. What makes them so remarkable is their ability to use the properties of the quantum world. They take advantage of the fact that particles can exist in many places at once to compute various calculations that would take classical computers millions of years.
You won’t have a quantum computer in your home by 2030 – that seems incredibly unlikely. However, you will most likely be able to access quantum computing services via the cloud. Companies, such as Google, will make their quantum technology available via the internet, allowing firms and perhaps individual users to make calculations they couldn’t otherwise perform.
Natural Language Processing
The writing is already on the wall for natural language processing. You can already talk to your phone – and have been able to for many years. We’re now at the point where AI voice algorithms sound virtually indistinguishable from human readers. And, eventually, the technology will be so good that people will be able to translate speech around them in real time.
The business uses of natural language processing are tremendous. Companies will be able to deploy chatbots, virtual editors and meta analyses of data without having to employ costly human subjects.
Robotics has allegedly been on the horizon for decades, so at this point, relatively few people think that it will happen. However, appearances can be deceiving. It turns out that robots are now far more advanced than the general public believes. Tremendous strides in servo technology and miniaturization now means that multiple companies have humanoid robots on the test bench. In the US in particular, things are developing rapidly. MIT spinoff Boston Dynamics now has robots that move convincingly like humans. They can navigate unstable terrain and even stand themselves back up after they fall over.
The applications are truly staggering. By 2030, we could be living in a world where robots are popular warehouses, supermarkets, public utilities and many other facilities requiring people with basic skills. Once labor becomes short – as it will over the course of the next decade due to demographic changes – the pressure for robotic technologies will rise. Eventually, we could see millions of these machines across the economy.
We’re not just looking at wholesale replacements of human beings either. Instead, robots are finding their way into all kinds of niche applications. Cobots, for example, will help to make regular work more productive by assisting human workers in sorting, filing, and machining – as well as a range of other activities.
As DrDrone.ca points out, the robotics revolution isn’t confined to the ground. We’re seeing the emergence of tremendous air-based technologies that are improving mapping, agricultural productivity, security and delivery services. As robotics as a field progresses, so too will drones.
The idea that in ten years time there will be factories and power plants in space seems crazy. But, the technology to make it happen is already here. Thanks to companies like SpaceX, the cost of getting into space has come down by around 100 times. This means that it is now feasible to fill the Earth’s orbit with all kinds of facilities.
One idea is to put solar collectors in space and then beam power down to the Earth. This deals with a couple of significant problems with current solar panel technology. The first is that solar takes up a lot of room on the Earth’s surface. To power the entire planet would require covering a region equivalent to the Sahara Desert – simply not sustainable. The other issue is the fact that solar doesn’t work when the sun isn’t shining. But if you can put collectors in space, then you can effectively deal with both these issues at once.
Space technologies will also enable other futuristic technologies. For instance, it will reduce the cost of accessing the internet in remote areas. It will also make it possible to mine asteroids by moving them closer to the Earth and harvesting rare minerals from them.
Commentators are yet to discuss many of the space-based technologies that could emerge, but new startups are coming online all the time. It’s an exceptionally innovative field.
By now, virtually everyone knows about cryptocurrencies, one of the first applications of blockchain. But there are many others. Blockchain is such a powerful technology that it could render entire financial institutions obsolete. It’s already disrupting the international payments system.
Blockchain is beautiful because it is censorship proof and seizure resistant. In other words, governments can’t impose their will on people in a world dominated by blockchain systems. There’s just no way to police it or prevent it, short of shutting down the internet and banning the use of personal computers.
Blockchain will make it possible to trade with people trustlessly for the first time in human history. This will open up a Pandora’s box of economic opportunities.