Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Top Ten Science and Technology Predictions for the 2010's

Looking at Science and Technology over the next year is one thing, but its far more fun and far easier to make wild guesses that cover the next decade!
  1. There will be at least one machine capable of carrying out a phone conversation that passes the Turing test. This is bigger than it sounds, because you can fail the Turing test and still be smarter than a lot of people, these days. The end of the decade will likely see annoyingly friendly automated phone services and websites, first as terribly novelties and slowly as useful, subtle additions to our user interfaces. When you click the wrong thing in Firefox and mutter, "Ugh, not that!" and it corrects it for you, you'll finally stop finding it annoying.

  2. Automated photo and video manipulation is going to get weirdly good. I mean, this stuff is going to creep you out. People will delete their ex from entire collections of videos and photos without a trace, like they never existed (not a bad thing). Weird, is inserting people into photos and videos. What takes a skilled artist to craft with stock, original media, and a wacom table today, we'll have it toy web apps in a few years. The technology is already here, and it only needs to improve and become more accessible. Both are inevitable.

  3. Combinations of nano-materials and solar cell advancements are going to make cheap, compact water filtration devices cheap enough to mass produce and distribute among the third world. Clean water will stop being something requiring a civil infrastructure to provide, and become something that requires only a cheap, donated pump with an integrated filter.

  4. Between eye and head tracking cameras and ever cheaper display technologies, billboards are going to start preaching to us. Literally.

  5. Broadband won't be an option.

  6. Rosie is going to be in our houses. Dyson is revolutionizing vacuums and doing equally impressive things all over the board. I expect to see combination vacuum/sampoo units within five years and to see them self-propelled and operating within the decade. They'll part in a charging unit with a drainage hookup near you washer and drier and clean while you're at work.

  7. Recycling is going to become digestion. Our garbage is already a huge problem and tiny solutions are going to start making inroads. Custom bred bacterial strains, nano-materials to filter and break down petrochemicals and other difficult materials, and plasma generation facilities are going to combine to get a bigger buck for our garbage. Hopefully this will mean we can stop paying them for the gold they haul away from our homes.

  8. Google (and other search engines, if anyone catches up) is already working on the natural questions being queried, like "What is Mel Gibson's top grossing movie?" It's only a matter of time before the next generation, seeing those questions get results, responds with even more natural queries right after it, "No, I meant the other guy." and the engines are going to have to follow the queries and start having conversations about what we're looking for. Context is going to be key and the context is going to be broad and personal.

  9. We'll still be using HTML and Javascript.

  10. We'll hit a roadblock on storage capacity, but it will have been driven so far down in cost and size that the paradigm will completely shift. We'll shift away from a monolithic storage units and into storage pools. We'll replace machines with a large drive or an array with a multitude of microstorage units (micro in size, storing petabyte or more each). We'll add "bits" to the pools when we need more space and toss out defunct hardware, if they aren't extremely reliable and long lasting. The storage will be replicated and spread out over the collection, much like a local distributed storage network. The same technology will scale between machines and locations.

1 comment:

Martin said...

Point 1 will properly be true.

But will it be because of software getting smarter or people getting dumber?

I write here about programming, how to program better, things I think are neat and are related to programming. I might write other things at my personal website.

I am happily employed by the excellent Caktus Group, located in beautiful and friendly Carrboro, NC, where I work with Python, Django, and Javascript.

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