5 Futuristic Technologies That Will Become Boring by 2020
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In recent years we’ve witnessed the advent of a number of futuristic technologies, each promising to change our lives for the better in the coming years, or to provide us with unique experiences that were previously impossible with existing tech.
But while these new devices or technological advancements are perceived as pretty ground-breaking and revolutionary right now, given the fast-paced nature of the tech industry they’ll likely become part of our mundane, everyday world come the end of the decade.
With that being said, here are 5 futuristic technologies that will become boring by 2020:
1. Virtual Reality
Right now virtual reality is being positioned as “the next big thing,” with it having an eerily similar trajectory to stereoscopic 3D (i.e. the 3D technology that movie distributors hoped would convince you to pay the price of a weekly shopping bill to watch a film in a theater), only with technology that isn’t fundamentally pointless.
The reactions to current-gen VR veer wildly from “wow, this is going to completely change the landscape of gaming!” through to “I feel dizzy, disorientated and I’m probably going to vomit all over my shoes,” but by 2020 it’s arguable that everyone and his/her mother-in-law will have experienced virtual reality in some capacity, so no longer will it feel like the next frontier in home entertainment. By the end of this decade you’ll be eating your cereal while sitting in a virtual recreation of Mars’ surface, before going for a jog around the Kremlin all without having to leave your living room.
2. Augmented Reality
Now onto another form of reality that allows us to separate ourselves from the crushing mundanity of our own existence for a few hours: augmented reality.
Augmented reality is currently all the rage thanks to the overwhelming success of Pokemon Go, even though the game offers only a small sample of what can be achieved using AR, with it largely utilizing this feature in order to allow you to place a Pidgey on top of your dog’s head.
The capabilities of this technology are best exemplified by the Microsoft HoloLens, a headset which allows users to browse virtual recreations of web browsers, play video games and browse photos by way of a graphical overlay laid upon the real world. Though the technology has thus far only been the recipient of a handful of stage demos, with it making limited appearances at the likes of E3 and Microsoft’s own Build Developer Conference, it looks suitably impressive and could potentially lead to a major change in how we interact with the world in the future. Given this increased push to integrate AR into our everyday lives, expect to be able to beam a projection of your grandma onto your kitchen work surface by 2020 without batting an eyelid, before being forced to listen to her hologram bleat on about Mexicans taking our jobs for 30 minutes, then regretting ever being complicit in allowing AR to become a thing.
3. Self-driving vehicles
There’s something inherently terrifying about self-driving vehicles, even if the statistics repeatedly inform us that they are technically safer than placing us humans at the wheel. I mean, it’s a car driving itself. This isn’t a Pixar film – that shit shouldn’t be happening.
But it is happening, with the likes of Google and Tesla all working towards a future in which we no longer have to bother steering wheels or putting our feet on pedals. Tesla may have faced a major stumbling block in this journey as a result of their Tesla Model S’s Autopilot mode failing to prevent a recent car crash, which resulted in the driver of the Tesla vehicle dying while watching a Harry Potter film, but to be fair to the car manufacturer for all we know he was watching the infinitely dull Deathly Hallows Part 1, so he may have simply fallen asleep at the wheel while watching Harry, Ron and Hermione fart about in a tent for two hours.
Whenever Google and Tesla manage to shake off the skepticism surrounding autonomous vehicles, they look set to become an everyday facet of modern life. Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently outlined the company’s 10-year “master plan” which included the development of autonomous public transport, something that seems much more viable right now than our roads being littered with consumer models of self-driving vehicles. So by 2020 expect to walk onto a driver-less bus, with the chair where a human used to sit now replaced by a void of nothingness where a job should be.
4. 3D Printing
Thus far the only step 3D printers have made towards infiltrating a broader demographic has been pop-up printers appearing in various stores, allowing passers-by to obtain miniature figurines of themselves that serve as points of reference for whenever they want to take a closer look at their physical flaws. But that looks set to change in the near future, with analysts predicting that the 3D printing industry will be worth $22.4 billion by 2020, as the technology makes the process of manufacturing more affordable for both businesses and consumers.
Though we’re still a way off from being able to print off a new pair of trousers before we head out to work, 3D printers are threatening the mainstream and when they do eventually arrive, we’re going to 3D print everything. Cars, chairs, firearms, lifelike recreations of deceased relatives – you name it, we’ll 3D print it.
5. Smart homes
Smart homes are taking an unpredictably lengthy amount of time to become ubiquitous, with it having been predicted as far back as the beginning of this decade that the majority of first-world countries would soon have households in which their toaster could strike up a conversation with their toilet. However, the growing presence of the internet of things – a network infrastructure that allows electronic devices to collect and exchange data between other devices – is now steadily making this prediction a reality, with experts claiming that there will be as many as 50 billion IoT-connected devices by 2020.
Though there’s an argument for smart homes being the next step towards society becoming terminally lazy, being able to eventually control every piece of electronics in your home via your smartphone or tablet will undoubtedly be useful. So what will this mean for the average home owner?? Well, by the end of the decade you’ll probably wind up having to politely inform your air con unit you’re going out for the evening, and your refrigerator and bathroom scales may collude with one another in order to force you to get rid of your love handles.