Thursday Thirteen: Tech predictions for 2040 AD

We are heading for a brave new tech world. Most of these predictions are things that could probably happen in ten years, but I’m giving them a little extra room to be on the safe side. Some of these predictions are rather scary when taken in combination — some are even scary by themselves.

It is important to remember, when thinking about future technologies, that almost every area of technology is currently on an expontential growth curve. Things are accelerating.

  1. Passwords are Obsolete: Improvements in face recognition and other biometrics will make them unnecessary.
  2. Displays Everywhere: Flexible, transparent displays could cover many surfaces: clothes, tables, or even cover the walls of your house.
  3. The End of Paper: I know, you’ve heard this one many times before and are skeptical, but once you can make displays that are as easy to read and convenient to carry as a book, books will go.
  4. Cyborg Animals: This is like a page from “Lord of the Rings,” Saruman uses birds to spy for him.
  5. A Cure for Obesity: A host of medical problems will be solved by 2040, and obesity is one that we’ve already made significant scientific progress toward curing.
  6. Self-driving cars: I’m not talking about the use of special tracks in the road, but cars that drive with humans on the same roads.
  7. A cure for cancer, one current avenu for progress in this area gold coated nano-particles. However, there are many such promising advances.
  8. Creating new organs on demand: Imagine you can just print organs! But there are a number of technologies that could give us new supplies for organs. Some think that pig stem cells will be used to grow them for us.
  9. Brain Interfaces (without surger), also this. But most importantly, a paralysed man can walk through a 3D virtual world just by thinking about it — and we can do this now. This may also mean we someday have infallible lie detectors.
  10. Computers will be 1,000,000 times faster and have 1,000,000 times more storage: This just assumes computers keep doubling in speed every 18 months (Microsoft Word, however, will continue to feel slow and consume your entire hard drive). Soon we will be able to record our whole lives, carrying a camera wherever we go. I believe this is probably my safest prediction.
  11. The space elevator gets off the ground: LiftPort answers objections. Actually, some other cheap method of transport to orbit might make this obsolete.
  12. Death Rays: The old mainstay of science fiction will finally come to pass. It is close to happening already.
  13. Terraforming of Mars — OK, I don’t really think this one will happen. But maybe we’ll get started. It’s more of a stretch goal, something to hope for. In the meantime, however, you can always get a job on the moon.
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