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  1.  (443.21)
    I'm all fascinated by the possibility of quantum computing!
    I can imagine a state of technology where we're no longer limited by the speed of light (the fact that we're limited by a speed that particles with mass can't even reach is pretty amazing in the first place), and data transfer and disk write speeds are instantaneous, meaning infinite bandwidth.
    I can also imagine a point at which the quantity of data we wish to store becomes proportionally dwarfed by the quantity of data we have the ability to store.... coupled with limitless bandwidth, you'd have computers capable of things we can only dream of now. And on a personal note, I'd be able to stop waiting for photoshop to choke on 600 dpi image files XD

    EDIT:
    "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 voilà"


    Oh dear god I hope not... If someone spends long enough categorising, analysing, structuring and then programming a computer to recognise and simulate the 'full' repertoire of genres, archetypes, story structures, plot vehicles, twists and deus ex machina you get in films and stories in general, then I wouldn't like to comment on the sorts of films that computer might produce.
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      CommentAuthorobliterati
    • CommentTimeJan 8th 2008
     (443.22)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    <i>"I am pretty confident that we will have software-generated movie scripts in the near future."</i>

    When I was in college there was software called "Kant Tools", which would write entire pages of neo-Kantian drivel based on just a few keywords you gave it before compiling. Like, give it the words "noumen" and "schematismus" or something and then tell it to write six pages and you were done! Somebody actually submitted a paper made in this way to some famous Philosophy journal and got it published, and then got a paper about the hoax published.

    My friend made a formula for writing Star Wars scripts, during a scene with Emperor Palpatine or some suitably evil bad guy with a suitably evil bad guy voice, just fill in the words: "Something something something, <i>Dark Side</i>. Something something something <i>complete</i>."

    Maybe In the future technology will develop to the point that finally it's discovered we built our own bodies millenia ago about the same time cetaceous mammals went back to the sea to make ambient records. Maybe it will be found that DNA is mostly hard drive space and the OS is hard to crack for very important reasons!

    "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke, "Profiles of The Future", 1961 (Clarke's third law)
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      CommentAuthorm1k3y
    • CommentTimeJan 8th 2008 edited
     (443.23)
    biology is where i reckon most of the new shiny things will be from in 20 years

    custom lifeforms, hacked metabolisms, cyborgs for real

    but also designer ecosystems, customised habitats..
    biological design of houses and cities

    leading to this
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      CommentAuthorUnsub
    • CommentTimeJan 8th 2008
     (443.24)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    I think we will see small answers to big problems. Like power for instance ,instead of huge hydro projects there will be small
    wind/solar generators for each house/building.

    File sharing will change the way media content is sold but in the end will make the artists way more money and take the power from the corporations and give it to the
    artist and consumer. The industry tried to stop VCR's and even said "the VCR is to the movie industry what the Boston Strangler is to a woman home alone".
    It turned out that VCR's provided a huge new market that they would never have had if we would have let them control us.

    As surveillance gets more and more out of hand their will be a back lash and a market for tech to give people back their privacy. If you give up your freedom for safety you will have neither.
    Encryption will be very important.

    The net will expand to a point we can't even dream of.

    The gap between rich and poor will be wider than ever. When the rich have eugenic advantages and tech advantages as well as the traditional ones it will be nearly impossible to breach that gap. The OLPC concept could really help though. Getting a whole generation of African kids growing up using and coding with linux could theoretically change the world. No wonder the big boys have started to try to quash it.

    Big changes will come from the innovative use of existing tech. Just wait until I finish my weather balloon/survelliance camera project. Big brother for the fraction of the cost of a sat.
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      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeJan 8th 2008
     (443.25)
    From Kosmopolit:


    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.


    My prediction for number one is improvements in batteries, specifically lithium-based ones.

    My prediction for the second one is nanotechnology. I think it'll take at least 50 years before we get the real magic out of that stuff.
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      CommentAuthorJoe Paoli
    • CommentTimeJan 9th 2008 edited
     (443.26)
    @unsub
    I think we will see small answers to big problems. Like power for instance ,instead of huge hydro projects there will be small
    wind/solar generators for each house/building.
    The idea of a personal generator revolution, where a wind or solar generating system is available to a homeowner for less than the cost of a good used car has so much potential to fundamentally change our infrastructure, it's astounding.

    Even something like the coming GM electric car, the Volt, which has a projected 100+ mpg will be huge. Then what happens when it gets covered with a paper-thin 80% efficient solar coating?

    Likewise, the idea of the US, as well as any and every country, becoming foreign-oil independant would so fundamentally change the world. The world economy would change, foreign policy would change, and our lives would change. For the better? Tough to say. I'd love to see a futurist 's book on how the world would transform if every country was powered by a combination of wind, solar, and domestically-produced biofuel.
  2.  (443.27)
    If I have to choose, I think the vastly underrated technology is nanotechnology - and the vastly overhyped technology is nanotechnology.

    That's because the word nanotech is used so broadly its almost meaningless.

    On the one hand it means nano-structured materials - stuff in which the arrangement of individual atoms and size of microscopic particles is precisly controlled to produce what are in effect new materials.

    That means stuff like the new coating for solar cells which reflects back about 90% of the re-emitted light, increasing the efficiency of the cells and new battery materials which drastically increase their capacity and their life,

    That stuff is going to have enormous impacts.

    What I doubt we'll see in the next twenty years is Drexler's microscopic robots. We can't build a robot at any size with the self-replicating ability or the degree of intelligence required for these nanobots. AI has proven one of the most intractable problems of the last fifty years and I doubt we'll crack it AND shrink the result to microscopic size in the next twenty years.

    The other insanely disruptive technology is going to be 4D printing. Remember all the scare stories about hackers invading Pentagon computer systems? What happens when they start pirating the design specs for the latest military robots and making their own knock-offs?
  3.  (443.28)
    evolutionary computation, quantum computing, t-mail, nanotech and the BMI (brain machine interface) will allow for conscious co-creation. also scientists currently have a bet going that the first person to live to be 150 is already alive today and is about 50 years old. it will only go from there. the term "alive" will lose all meaning and there will be no line between organic and inorganic nor virtual/real. we will build heaven on earth.
  4.  (443.29)
    the term "alive" will lose all meaning and there will be no line between organic and inorganic nor virtual/real. we will build heaven on earth.


    Also, cell phones will be much smaller. People will frequently lose their cell phones inside their very ear canals. The sight of someone whacking themself on the head violently to dislodge a lost mobile will become commonplace, and inspire many nationwide dance crazes.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2008
     (443.30)
    Another technology that could surprise us all: solid-state thermoelectric devices.

    Energy now lost as heat during the production of electricity could be harnessed through the use of silicon nanowires synthesized via a technique developed by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) at Berkeley. The far-ranging potential applications of this technology include DOE’s hydrogen fuel cell-powered “Freedom CAR,” and personal power-jackets that could use heat from the human body to recharge cell-phones and other electronic devices.
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      CommentAuthorUnsub
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2008
     (443.31)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    Man will finally have robots we can have sex with. I am rather looking forward to that one.
  5.  (443.32)
    We already have those. They are called "normal" people.
  6.  (443.33)
    in 20 years we'll be our parents... getting confused over the latest technology not knowing how the fuck it works, and we'll have to ask our kids how to do it.

    that's how awesome it'll become.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2008 edited
     (443.34)
    Yeah but on the other hand the kids will be demanding $50,000 so they can buy the new PS10.
  7.  (443.35)
    ha, true. but by then, $50,000 will be just like $500 nowadays... coins will become useless and we'll need to invent a new category for very rich people as most people will no doubt be millionares already,
  8.  (443.36)
    in the brave future when "gazillionaire" is a legitimate category.

    "...we ran out of words! so what??"

    following on from the glib remark before and thinking about the ridiculously overprescribed and unsubtle antidepressants we have today, psychopharmacology will be in a whole new era by then, with drugs able to target different transmitters/receptors ever more accurately, which could be fantastic or disastrous. drugs that induce meditative states? drugs that help maintain neural plasticity and cognitive adaptability throughout life (which would go a long way toward addressing not just senility issues but helping break down negative thought patterns in therapy, for example)? drugs for scarily effective mind control or personality wipes?

    and then of course there's the recreational side of things... yum.
  9.  (443.37)
    which also makes me think, given the extraordinary botanical knowledge afforded shamans in the amazon that they gain through (they claim) communion with spirits on ayahuasca - what happens if you get a physicist or an engineer in a technological environment to explore those realms in the same way? perhaps unforeseen breakthroughs in quantum computing or zero-point energy technologies will only come about when we (well, NASA) finally establish a crack team of dedicated technoshamanic noonauts, put them in a room with a supercomputer, an abacus, graph refill paper, some Slinkys and a lot of coloured pencils, put on an Eno album, and see what happens?

    surely 20 years from now we'll be mad enough to try.
    • CommentAuthoracacia
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2008
     (443.38)
    Everyone will have jetpacks in 20 years. I predict that Halo 15 will be the #1 in gaming sales for a week straight.
  10.  (443.39)
    While working the other day I read about a book in the chronicles of higher ed., It's called Robot Ghosts and Wired Dreams. It's about Japanese Scifi.
    I am not sure what is possessing me to share this, but I figured that I would respond with what came to mind immediately after reading the topic of present discussion.
    • CommentAuthorNadreck
    • CommentTimeJan 13th 2008
     (443.40)
    Medicine
    In five years, we'll start seeing the first of the adaptive pharmaceuticals hitting the market, which will negate building tolerances to a given medication.

    In 10 years, we'll have over the counter adaptive drugs. The prescription market will start collecting blood samples, and sending key data to the pharmaceutical companies to create a tailored prescription.

    By 20 years hits, we'll all be given pills to handle any and all deficiencies found in our physical makeup. Whether or not they're inserting other things into those pills too depends on how dystopian you want to go with this.

    Computing
    We're going to continue to see a shift towards solid state storage, with fibre channel (or similar) access to the processors. Multi-core processing will continue to grow, but we'll also see a shift towards quantum computer, and many high end machines will at that point start offering a secondary processing unit that is based on quantum computing. I don't foresee quantum computing becoming a new de facto standard or seeing mainstream adoption within the next 20 years, however.

    We'll see a continued trend towards ubiquitous computing. It's probably past the 20 year mark, but I can realistically see mini computers making a comeback, where a household purchases a central computer for the house, which manages the house and computing needs of the family. Carbon nanotube (or similar) wallpaper allows any wall to become a display, with significantly improved voice command support. Users will be able to purchase "personal interfaces", which provide a variety of forms of ways to interact in a more private manner (PDAs that talk to the computer; keyboard, trackpad, and monitor combinations vaguely resembling current laptops, though sans much of the weight and thickness; palmtop keyboards that track finger movement to determine the keystroke, combined with a display mechanism built into a pair of glasses; et cetera).

    Entertainment

    As brain-machine interfaces continue to advance, one of the most mainstream implementations will be sensoriums: ways for the viewer to "experience" something more fully, artificially engaging more senses. This could range from simulating smell and taste, to telling the brain that the user is being touched. (What? The porn industry has always been at the crest of technological change.)

    I think we'll also see a backlash in response, towards "retro" entertainment, and boutique use of older technologies will grow more popular (you're already seeing this with digital versus film).

    I also suspect that sometime with in the next TEN years, we'll see a major collapse and restructuring of the current entertainment industry, as well as intellectual property and copyright laws.