So now that we know what futurism is, what sorts of things do futurists predict for us? That’s the exciting bit, right, peering into possible futures? Well the fact of the matter is that “the future” covers an incredibly wide range of ideas. Everything from “futuristic” technology that’s already been invented, or is in the process of being invented, and is only known about by geeks and the rich who can afford it, all the way out to the point where we throw our hands up and say “look, we have no idea what’s going to happen after that.” And that’s not even covering how much you could say about just next year!
Luckily, I have a plan! The goal of this blog is to give readers a passing familiarity with the broad strokes of the subject, and I’ll be starting with what technologies futurists think may play a big role in what the future looks like. These can be categorized into 3 different groups, as follows: 1) technology that has already been invented, or is expected to be invented within 5 years, 2) game-changing technology, and 3) everything else. Game-changing technology is that stuff for which we’re uncertain when it will happen, sometimes even if it will happen at all, but if it does happen it’s going to change the future a lot.
Category 1 is actually pretty broad, and is what we’ll be covering first. It includes things you might not have expected so soon. After all, just a decade ago, good facial recognition was basically a pipe dream, and no one would have dreamed you could run it on a phone. The big players on the list are self-driving cars, semi-autonomous robots, virtual reality, augmented reality, chatbots, robotic exoskeletons, brain-machine interfaces, DNA sequencing, DNA editing, cloning, nanotechnology, neural nets, 3D printing… Gosh, the list is pretty long, isn’t it? And I’m pretty sure I’m missing half-a-dozen topics.
Now your first thought may be that some of the things on this list are old news, and some of them are crazy science fiction. Nanobots, for example – if you know what nanobots are, you’re probably relying on pop-culture, and you’d assume nanobots are crazy-advanced and decades away. (For those who don’t know, nanobots are tiny, tiny robots – as in, too small to see without a microscope.) Lots of applications of nanobots are crazy-advanced and probably decades away. And yet, this very year, nanobots capable of walking and small enough to be injected through a syringe were invented. You can read about them here. This was reported by the American Physical Society, the world’s second-largest organizations of physicists – this is real.
Because the thing is, in the world of futurism, you have to acknowledge that the general public considers things “crazy science fiction” right up until they’re considering them old news. You have, on your phone right now, software that people thought just 10 years ago was literally impossible. Really.
So, to get back on topic: you may not know what some of the things on that list are. It doesn’t matter if you don’t recognize a single thing, because I’m going to explain all of them, and what they could do to change the world, and exactly where the state of the art is right now, to the best of my knowledge. Now I’m not an expert in any of these wide range of technologies, and I’m only aware of what the news is talking about, but I do my best to stay up-to-date and if worst comes to worst, do your own research, and tell me when I’m wrong so I can correct things.
But the important part is this: we are in the middle of a big change in the world, right now, this very second. Discoveries are being made that most people don’t know about, but which will change our lives as much as smartphones did. You have an opportunity to a front-row seat to the greatest show on Earth, to be the one who’s one step ahead, to know that things you may have thought were impossible are happening now. Don’t pass this up.