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      CommentAuthorJoe Paoli
    • CommentTimeJan 5th 2008 edited
    You've probably seen this picture - probably on this board:
    Juxtaposition: antique and modern 1 gig of computer memory

    One gig of computer memory 20 years ago and yesterday. I say 'yesterday' since you can now get 1 gig in a much smaller microSD, and what's pictured is a plain ol' SD that comes in 8 gig (or possibly more now).

    So here's my point. Here's a 'before' picture from modern times: a 3cm flying machine:
    Robot fly flying robot.

    It doesn't have onboard power yet, and it's unclear to me whether it has any kind of guidance capability, but it flies. Where is this thing gonna to be in 20 years? I'm betting it'll have onboard power, GPS, a camera, programmable CPU and memory, microphone, and transmitter, and be at least halved in size - if not indiscernable from a live insect to a casual observer.

    What do you think about this and other gadgets' future states?

    And for the pessimistic among you:
    Let's call it the 'red goo' problem.
    • CommentTimeJan 5th 2008
    Eventually we are all going to end up back in the stone age. I am fairly convinced that the more technology we create, the lazier we become.
  1.  (443.3)
    Technology will be the death of us because we can't ever say, "ok, that's enough." And, since it is a fact that they've had fiber optic technology since at least the 30's, I think it's safe to assume that whatever they allow us to see is light years behind what they really have. Think about it, if the people in charge had a device that allowed them to track and monitor every single thing you do, would they tell you about it?
  2.  (443.4)
    That went to conspiracy and end times logic quickly.

    Nudging in the other direction, the pace and direction of technology in the next 20 years are best viewed as two separate issues. There is no reason to think pace will slow down, but cultural mores and ethics tend to impact direction, which will continue to slow biotechnology down from the rate we need to see to deal with many problems.
  3.  (443.5)
    Sorry to jump to conspiracy so was a natural move for me. I have lost all confidence in the world that I see being cut and dry. But I can see that this discussion would benefit by going the other way.
      CommentAuthorJoe Paoli
    • CommentTimeJan 5th 2008 edited
    Yeah, the discussion I was looking to foment was a little different that what we've gotten so far.

    It's cool if you think society and technology are on an express elevator to hell, just take a look around the handbasket on the way down and imagine and describe what gadgets will be in there with you right before we reach the ground floor (or stygian sub-basement 0, whatever) - based on the level of innovation in the first photo.

    That's all.
  4.  (443.7)
    I can not imagine where we will be 20 years from now, but I would assume it will be like a hyper version of what we have today. We will have Ultra definition televisions, the Playstation 6, crazy little insect gadgets like in the photo above. I see us moving in the same entertainment advances only direction. Which is sad because I think with the level of our technology we could make great strides in medicine and space travel. We could probably perfect cloning which would allow us to clone body parts for sick people, etc....
    • CommentTimeJan 5th 2008
    "I have no faith in human perfectability. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active - not more happy - nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago." - Edgar Allan Poe
  5.  (443.9)
    Two predictions:

    1. We're going to be completely blind-sided by at least one technology nobody's really paying attention to.

    2. At least one apparently promising technology is going to prove a total dud.
  6.  (443.10)
    In terms of consumer electronics, everything's going to get smaller and faster, and it won't really make a difference to anything except for refining ergonomic and visual design. Personal computing is going to be streamlined with a paper thin home-integrated pc, and a paper thin portable device that work hand in hand (a la iMac/iPhone, except, y'know, hyper). Wireless broadband is going to completely replace all other communication methods (i.e. VOIP is going to remove the need for phone lines and cellphone reception, internet radio will replace normal radio, etc.) I could see wireless power rising up in a big way too.

    Humanity's biggest problem, after all, is cables.

    Other technology, I can't talk about without switching over rant format.
    • CommentTimeJan 5th 2008
    I expect to see Info-Mica storage make a comeback in a big way.

    For the unenlightened Info-Mica is a translucent postage stamp sized holographic storage medium developed by NTT Japan.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeJan 5th 2008
    "It is the business of the future to be dangerous." -- Alfred North Whitehead
    • CommentAuthorSolario
    • CommentTimeJan 6th 2008
    I could see wireless power rising up in a big way too.

    Wireless power is interesting, but I have no idea how it would work. How would energy differentiate from biological outlets and technology? Or would wireless energy mean we wouldn't have to eat anymore? Would plants grow at explosive rates due to be fueled non-stop by it? And how is wireless energy any different than an explosion?

    (I'm not being rhetorical, I want to know.)
  7.  (443.14)
    Wireless power means transmitting electricity through the air so you can run electrical equipment without the need for wires.

    It's been theoretically possible for ages and Tesla claimed to have found a way to make it work.

    The basic problem with wireless power is if you just broadcast out in all directions most of the power is simply wasted.

    In 2007, a research team claimed they'd found a way around that using a reasonance effect.
  8.  (443.15)
    They've started using wireless power to a certain degree with some kind of charge plate, on which you can place whatever rechargeable battery operated device on it, or very near it and it will charge without necessarily being plugged in. If its safe, I'm down.
  9.  (443.16)
    teleportations come on leaps and bounds in the last decade ie: they can do it (you guys probably are way ahead of me on this) but hopefully in the next 20 years they will do it with something more complicated/larger/whatever than a proton.
    • CommentAuthorlex
    • CommentTimeJan 7th 2008
    I am pretty convinced that real technological innovation will be driven by the improvement of power sources. If scientists manage to build some kind of clean, small, and hyper-efficient fusion (or whatever) cell, we will see lots of new technology built around it, like household robots (we had the killer robots discussion, no need to repeat it here), clean cars or whatever our personal transportation devices will be called by then... However, 20 years will probably not be enough.
    On a different level, I am curious about what biotechnology will bring us in the next 20 years. Adaptive medicine custom-built to perfectly match your DNA structure? Cure for cancer/aids/...? Again, all this might take more than 20 years.
    I also believe that we will have absolutely horrible new fashion tastes, a mix of the worst from the 50ies to the 80ies on steroids.

    By the way, the idea that technological progress can only lead to total annihilation, depravity, yada yada... is as old as the discovery of fire. Not that it is not true...
      CommentAuthorJoe Paoli
    • CommentTimeJan 7th 2008
    I expect to see Info-Mica storage make a comeback in a big way.

    This is pretty cool tech. It's like microfilm's descendant. Is it visible to the naked eye? The thing just looks like a clear plastic sheet.

    I am pretty convinced that real technological innovation will be driven by the improvement of power sources.

    It's also possible that the converse will be true; I just replaced a 5 year old Canon Powershot camera. The new camera does more, has a larger viewscreen, and runs on 2 less AA batteries. So increased efficiency in electronics and other areas will also play a part by increasing power available for other tasks in a given widget as it shrinks.
    • CommentTimeJan 7th 2008
    I'll take it into a different direction, what about bioware?

    Finding ways to augment living organisms through technology both physically,through obvious enhancements like increased strength, speed, etc (think bionic man, but more elegant technology) and not so obvious, removing need to sleep, pheromone control, and all kinds of possibilities

    Also finding ways to allow humans to control machines not through current interfaces like buttons, joysticks, but hot wiring control directly into the nervous system, like allowing an amputee to control an artificial limb like he would a normal leg. Or allowing someone to think-control an external device, like the above really 3m flying machine.

    in essence using the human machine as the next technological base.
    • CommentAuthorlex
    • CommentTimeJan 8th 2008
    Another direction: entertainment.

    I am pretty confident that we will have software-generated movie scripts in the near future. Just set a few parameters, couple it with a real-time CG-renderer, and voilĂ : Instant personalized movie featuring whoever you like (or don't).
    They will probably suck, but so do mainstream blockbusters. And who cares for sophisticated plot lines when it's just porn anyway?