Friday, October 25, 2013

My Predictions for 2020

The documentary Transcendent Man is a great look at what the future might be like for us. In the documentary Ray Kurzweil talks about the snowball effect that technology has on itself that allows exponential and rapid growth in new technologies.

While 2020 seems like such a long way off here are some of my personal predictions of how life will be different:

  • Wearable tech is the norm - Google Glass and smart watches are in their infancy. By 2020 it will be more normal to check your watch for a text message than to pull your phone out of your pocket. Wearable tech will totally sync with your house, car, phone, and watch. It will be commonplace to use smart devices to make payments, unlock doors, adjust lighting, and other menial tasks from one centralized smart network.
  • Cloud ownership over physical ownership - By 2020 I predict cloud ownership will be more normal than physical ownership. Photos, documents, music, movies, will all be in the cloud and lead to the ultimate death of removable media and physical storage.
  • Driverless Cars - Self-driving cars will be a reality for the at least some of the mainstream population. The only hold up will be because of new regulations needed to work out the legal kinks. By 2020 at least some main roads and freeways could possibly be okay-ed for self-driving vehicles. Ultimately as the technology advances self-driving cars will be the norm on all roads and greatly improve traffic flow without having to add more traffic lanes.
  • Improved Night Vision - Night-vision car windshields and prescription night-vision glasses my be available by 2020. Researchers have made great advancements in night vision technology over the last few years that will allow everyone a chance to use night-vision in a useful way in their daily lives.
  • 3D Printing - By 2020 many homes will own 3D printers. This will be the death of many factories and brick and mortar retails stores. Instead of buy a wrench from Home Depot you'll probably be able to log on you their website and buy a "digital" wrench you can print right at home. Traditional regulations will get much more complicated as outlawed products like some weapons will be able to be printed at home.
  • Extreme Personalization - We are already seeing personalized results from Google & Facebook - more about that here. The days of a "one-size-fits-all" mentality are ending. Instead by 2020 more products and services will be tailored to your individual likes and dislikes. Databases will store and remember your preferences and will shape your interaction with the world.
  • Change in Shopping Patterns - Amazon has started slowly rolling out its home delivery service in a few cities nationwide. By 2020 many people will be using this service, or one similar, instead of going out to shop. Huge distribution centers are being constructed now instead of huge shopping centers. In 2020 people will order groceries and other basic items via their computer, TV, and tablets for same-day home delivery. The days of fighting crowds at the mega-store are coming to an end.