“To boldly go where no man has gone before!” ~ Star Trek television series, 1966-1969
In every decade, we await the next technological invention to take us into the future. Some gadgets, such as the computer mouse (1964), e-mail (1971), the home computer (1981), and cell phone (1982), have become integrated into our daily lives. Television shows like The Jetsons predicted the 21st century would include flying cars, robots, fact-time chats, and instant gratification with the press of one button. With the integration of multiple science and technology advancements, new trends allow us now in 2020 to peek into our future to see what’s on the horizon and beyond.
5G and Beyond: In 2019, the public received the release of a ten-year project, 5G. It is the fifth generation of wireless technology to enhance more efficient power and people to a single base station. The next stepping stone will distribute 5G’s power across the nation to influence public safety and infrastructure, autonomous vehicles, remote control, and surveillance devices. By supporting the medical industry and healthcare, 5G’s influence will aid telemedicine and laser surgeries. Currently, but still in development, a virtual program specifically designed for physical therapists will help patients anywhere in the world.
The Intelligent Vehicle: With the popularity of Uber arrives the invention of an autonomous vehicle; in other words, a self-driving or robotic car. While the concept may appeal to disabled individuals and senior citizens, scientists believe autonomous vehicles can reduce accidents and fatalities by eliminating human error. One day in the future, your vehicle will be driven based on information within your daily calendar.
“Where we’re going, we don’t need roads!”
~ Back to the Future II, 1989
Advancements in Voice Assistants: Verbal searches are a technology quite different than physically typing an inquiry into a search engine. The statistics speak for themselves. From 2017 to 2018, ownership of smart speakers rose from 17 to 30%. The current projection suggests 50% of all searches will utilize voice leads in a demand for broader technology. The next generation of voice assistants are reportedly smaller in size, ten times faster, and possess new abilities. To create hands-free capability, users will access their inboxes, compose and send e-mails, and use demands to attach gallery photos, all by voice commands.
Fun Fact: Most voice inquires use a combination of 25 keywords. The top three are: “how,” “what,” and “best.”
The Multi-Experience: Once a common element of the science fiction genre, with movies like Tron (1982), The Matrix Trilogy (1999-2003), Avatar (2009) and the New York Times’ bestselling novel, Ready Player One (2012), the concept of virtual reality is closer than you think. From a shift from two-dimensional interface platforms using a keyboard and screen, technology soars towards an immersive experience in virtual reality. Overlaying cat whisker filters on selfies is one application of image enhancement. Beyond visuals and graphics, expect businesses to create calm, smart environments to interact with people. Construction workers, pilots, and surgeons could practice their trade without risk or hazard. Patients, on the other hand, could enter a relaxing atmosphere post-surgery to reduce anxiety levels and promote wellness. Augmenting natural environments within a virtual space will appear within ten years.
Advanced technology is already part of your life. Learning about home computers, cell phones, and the Internet was just one step to transition to a computerized lifestyle. Whoever thought hoverboards, robots, flying vehicles, and drones would step beyond the pages of a book or film?
“I kept dreaming of a world I thought I’d never see. And then, one day, I got in.” ~ Tron, 1982