Isaac Asimov first popularised the idea of robotics (and artificial life) with his seminal work, including the Three Laws Of Robotics (which supposedly meant they could never harm humans, or through inaction allow any human to come to harm). Still, there have been popular novels and movies about our fear of being supplanted by robots with malevolent intent (think of The Terminator series, for example)
There have been enormous strides in the field of robotics over the last 50 years, and the rate of development is increasing exponentially. It’s no longer a question of if we will see a lifelike, sentient robot – it’s a question of when. It seems likely within the next 20 – 30 years.
The potential for making money from this is of course enormous – imagine one that could clean, do your boring jobs and anything else you can think of and you will see why this would be THE thing to own for every household. Eventually prices would drop which would make it affordable for the average person too.
Holography – using light in very clever ways to give the illusion of a real life 3D life form of substance. Think of the potential applications of this technology – you could have your favourite pop star playing right in your front room (with crystal clear sound, of course), you could send virtual greetings, gifts and cards to your loved ones – the possibilities are endless. Think of the possibilities for advertising too and you can see that this is going to be a hot market with huge money making potential in the future.
8) Fusion Energy
Other than the occasional power plant blowing up and causing massive devastation, most people know nothing about Nuclear energy, how it works, and its enormous potential.
The challenge is of course to harness the enormous power of nuclear energy in a safe way. Scientists have been working for decades on this very challenge and have made enormous strides but right now there are still risks associated with the unbelievable power of Nuclear Energy. If it is ever worked out (and we’re pretty sure science will find a way), the entire planets energy needs could be met easily and cheaply. Whoever cracks this will make No 1 on The Forbes Rich List..Forever!
There have been long running debates about the ethics of cloning – which basically boils down to creating exact replicas from even a single strand of DNA. People talk about Eugenics, playing God, etc. However there is unquestionably a huge fortune and an infinite number of applications for this powerful technology, so
development work will doubtless continue.
Think for a second of the possibilities in the medical field – imagine being able to clone healthy human tissue and you can see you could basically revolutionise healthcare overnight.
There are of course considerable challenges ahead but within 20-30 years this technology could well be changing lives and making its owners a fortune in the process. We await it eagerly!
6) Artificial Intelligence
We’ve been hearing about Artificial Intelligence forever, so it seems – and it’s a terrifically difficult challenge for scientists. It seems that it really IS next to impossible to mimic the learning capabilities and patterns of the human brain.
However, progress is creeping along. Think about computing power for a second, and ponder how quickly the get increasingly powerful, smaller and more efficient. So called SMART technology is continually advancing at a similar pace – giving the computer the power to experience, absorb, and analyse information in much the same way as humans do. Right now we already have self driving cars (that will be widespread in 10 years or so if Google has anything to do with it), and AI controlled home defence systems that secure your home like a fortress and repel any invader in an intelligent manner (rather like your own private police force)
Other technologies will develop though the terrifying prospect of being supplanted by intelligent beings seems very remote.
5) Virtual Reality
This technology has been talked about since about 1970 and is virtually with us now (see the pun I did there?). Virtual Reality is creating a realistic, fully interactive world that envelopes you , stimulating your senses in the same way as the real world. Think about that for a second – a real world created right in your living room where you can explore, touch, smell and hear. You could watch lions hunting on Savanna of Africa, or take a trip back through time and watch the dinosaurs.
There are of course limitless applications for this powerful technology and it’s going to be fascinating to see Sony and Nintendo battle for supremacy in the Virtual Reality gaming world over the coming years. One thing is for sure, a fortune will be made and a genuine paradigm shift is only just around the corner.
Now THIS one is incredibly exciting (especially for men, we feel). Bionics is described as:
“…the application of biological methods and systems found in nature to the study and design of engineering systems and modern technology.”
Remember Steve Austin as the Bionic man? The cool stuff that he could do is well within the capabilities of bionics. Imagine being able to lift up a car one handed, or jump over a house. Having bones that don’t break and joints that never wear out. This is all possible with bionics.
Again, the possibilities are virtually limitless and since there is a truly staggering amount of money to be made, research and development continues apace. If you’re under 30 you may well have replacable bionic body parts by the age of 60. You lucky devil!
3) Memory Streaming
Remember Total Recall (this was actually based on a very cool book by Phillip K Dick, incidentally – who also wrote Blade Runner (the book was entitled “DoAndroids Dream Of Electric Sheep?”.
In the movie, big Arnie has the experience of “memories on demand”, implanting memories and living out a life much more interesting and dangerous than his own. Who wouldn’t want to be James Bond, or a top flight martial arts expert, or Boudicca, or any other famous historical figure?
Research and development continues at a brisk pace on this fascinating technology, though we doubt the nightmare scenario Arnie experienced will ever occur.
2) Inter-Species Communication
Do you have a pet? Imagine being able to communicate back and forth with it! We suppose the conversation might be somewhat one sided with a dog though / along the lines of “give me food” “stroke me” “pay me attention” “I want to go out for a walk”.
It might seem unrealistic but there is currently credible, well funded research into this very technology going on right now as you read this. Whilst you may not be all that interested in what your dog is thinking, there are limitless other possibilities – and trillions of dollars to be made, so one day this weird and wonderful concept may be a reality.
1) Commercial Space Travel
Yep, this is the biggest of them all. Imagine being able to see the beauty of your planet from space, experiencing what only a select few astronauts have ever experienced before. Well, it could happen and it’s not too far away either. Companies like Virgin Galactic are already taking pre orders for commercial space travel, and they have no shortage of customers. EVERYONE would love to do this if they had the chance!
The laws of economics mean that this will initially be only for the super rich – but within 10-20 years the average person may well be able to fly around the earths orbit at hundreds of miles per second. Wow, is all we can say – and the technology is almost with us.