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Miscellaneous Monday - Predicting the future at the turn of a decade

This article was originally published on 18 December 2009 and shared what experts and other noted prognosticators thought would be in place in 2010 when looking from 1999 or 2000.

  • "Ninety percent of all consumer goods will be home-delivered." -- trend forecaster Faith Popcorn
  • Biomonitoring devices that look like wristwatches will continually update you on your blood chemistry, while microchips implanted in your forearm will interact with the heating and lighting systems of the buildings you enter. -- World Future Society
  • Animal-to-human transplants will be routine, as scientists will learn how to prevent human immune systems from rejecting the animal organs. -- Dr. Jim Raymond, associate dean at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine
  • A "skycar" that can take off and land like a helicopter will hit the market -- San Antonio Express-News
  • "By the end of the decade, Americans will be fed up with substituting virtual life for real life. A backlash against facelessness will prompt a resurgence of person-to-person interactions."  -- The Daily Herald
  • All schools will be year-round." -- Dubuque, Iowa, Telegraph Herald columnist Rebecca Christian
  • We'll see "smart mobile robots used in homes and factories." -- George Washington University Forecast think tank
  • "Wearable computers ... will free many people from offices and ... commuting." -- PJ Wade, author, commentator, strategist and futurist
  • Within five years, 70 percent of the new cars sold in the U.S. will be connected to the Internet." ---- InfoMove, a manufacturer of customized Internet content, quoted in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine
  • "'Smellyvision' ... technology will be available to plant microchips loaded with chemicals into our TVs so we can enjoy the aromas that go with fashion, cookery, travel and gardening." -- The People newspaper, London
  • A fourth-grader on his way home from school will be able to punch a button on his bicycle that will "activate the microwave oven to heat his snack so it'll be ready when he walks in the kitchen." As he rides he'll have one eye on a computer monitor on which he's getting a head start on homework.-- Charlotte News and Observer
  • Kids' dolls, trucks and other toys will use artificial intelligence to talk and "evolve" with your child as he grows, a process you'll be able to track dramatically with holographic photos. "Land line phones will be a thing of the past" and "there will probably be a single international currency." -- The Melbourne Herald Sun
  • "Universal preschool." -- The Oregonian
  • Instead of a newspaper you'll read "a small, lightweight computer the size of a cigar that scrolls out the news you choose (on) flexible, high-resolution color screens ... linked wirelessly." -- Bob Ingle, president of Knight-Ridder Ventures, the investment arm of Knight-Ridder's new-media operations
  • "Quantum Generators" that tap into the energy of space will be "available in portable and household units" and be able to "produce electricity indefinitely." Central power stations will close and the grid systems will be dismantled. -- inventor and futurist Arthur C. Clarke, author of "2001: A Space Odyssey"

It is interesting how many of these are part of life now and what ones are still on the universal to-do-list.

 

What predictions do you have for the next decade?

Which of the above predictions from 20 years ago do you wish was or was not true now?

3 comments

That's a pretty good list of predictions. Some of which came true in one way or another. While we still don't have the flying car. It's one that I would love to see but only in a self driving format. I can't imagine a sky full of todays drivers, (i like to watch dash cam videos). 

The one that strikes me the most as far as coming true is the one from Knight Ridder, about the news being read on a small high resolution screen device. Which kind of falls into wearable computers. Our smart phones that have become so integrated into our lives.

Some predictions I have for the next 10 years.

- Our phones will evolve so much that we're going to need to find a new name for them as they move well beyond the capability of a phone. 

- Biometric devices will become more common. Being able to more easily track our health, and a more secure form of cyber security. 

- Our farming industry will become more dependent on technology for tracking growth, yield, and crop turnover. Creating a more abundant and higher quality product, but will suffer from a lack of innovative transportation of these goods. 

Thanks for the topic this was fun to think about!

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Scott_Theus Community Leader Jan 03, 2020

-Biometric devices will become more common. Being able to more easily track our health, and a more secure form of cyber security

I'm looking forward to the day I can get my first cybernetic implant, maybe a pair of Tleilaxu eyes. Probably not in this decade though. 

This list is unreal to read! I'm disappointed that smelly television didn't become a thing...I think.

I think (or really, really hope) that the next decade brings about the following changes:

- I'm not sure we'll need physical banks anymore. I could see us moving away from physical currencies, too.

- Telemedicine! I'm excited about the programs that are testing administration of commonplace medical care over the internet. Paired with all the biometric data we can reliably collect on ourselves, this could cut back on healthcare costs in interesting ways. I'm simultaneously concerned about the security of that data, though.

- I think our connection to technology will grow in such a way that we'll be having discussions on whether internet access is a basic human right.

- I hope we see major changes worldwide to improve our planet's ecological outlook. I'm excited about new meat alternatives and shifts toward greener packaging.

- I think the average person will continue to learn and adapt to new tech, allowing them to inexpensively automate more of their daily tasks and freeing up additional leisure time for the middle class. That may sound obvious, but I forget how many people are still learning about these tools! (See also: I'm giving my mom until 2030 to start ordering her groceries online. ;) )

Thanks for your reply Samie. 

Currency - in the last few years there were significant earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand. In the days following there were issues as only physical currency was able to be accepted by business as they did not have connectivity for electronic payments. Something to think about as we carry fewer coins and notes.

Telemedicine - this is an important area especially as around the world many countries expect 50% or more of their GPs to retire in the next 10-15 years. This is especially worrying for rural communities and those that need regular monitoring but would be better served in their homes.

Right to Internet access - In 2011 the UK Court of Appeal ruled the internet was an “essential part of everyday living” (from https://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2012/01/11/is-internet-access-a-human-right/)

Before the creation of the internet, if a defendant kept books of pictures of child pornography it would not have occurred to anyone to ban him from possession of all printed material. The internet is a modern equivalent.

 In November 2019, the UK Labour Party promised to provide free broadband to every British household by 2030 if it wins the election (from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/internet-access-human-right-politics-labour-party-uk-government-a9208841.html).

Ecology - I am skeptical about how much change there can really be until the corporations involved in the retail sector get seriously committed. My reusable bag is minuscule against the levels of packaging used throughout the manufacturing and distribution process. Not to mention the (lack of) ability to recycle items at their end of their useful life.

 

I'm not convinced we need smell-o-vision.

Wow, thanks for all the worldwide context here! :) 

The internet "as a right" idea is super interesting to me in particular. I think the US would have a hard time making internet access a nationwide, government-run utility. It was a few years ago here that one in four households didn't have an internet subscription. It'll be interesting to see how that number has changed!

I'll join the prediction fun.

 

Politics

Government voting will be run fully online and real-time in 3 of the world's biggest nations.

Carshare

Per-use rental will be the norm in most major cities in the world

Banking

All major banks will allow owners to hold any currency in the account and convert from one to another at market rates.

I enjoyed the benefits of using car sharing back in 2009. It is a shame that it still is not mainstream for CBD dwellers.

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