Technologies that will change our lives by 2050

    08 Jun 2021

    We live in an era of fast technological development. Almost every day there’s news about another know-how, thanks to which life will turn upside down. But sometimes it’s difficult to say what is in front of us – the next breakthrough or nothing. 

    Let’s check the three predictions of the British futurist Jan Pearson collected by Chas News.

    To find out which of today’s growing technologies will radically change everyone’s life in the next 30 years, we’ve read the comments of Jan Pearson, a British futurist with 30 years of experience, inventor, and writer. Here are the innovations that promise humanity rapid and great change, in his opinion.

    Artificial Intelligence

    This is one of the most controversial technologies that people are working on today. On the one hand, AI promises to make our lives easier and accelerate progress, and on the other hand, it frightens us with the prospect of enslaving humanity with intelligent machines. Such fears are felt not only by Hollywood filmmakers but also by thinkers and innovators such as Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking. But no matter how bright or scary the prospects, AI is already on the doorstep.

    “Early in my career, before Google started, I searched for information in libraries,” recalls Ian Pearson.

    This lesson took a long time, but after launching the search engine it became much easier. A fairly simple form of AI reduced the time for this task from a few hours to a few minutes, increasing Pearson’s productivity.

    “Artificial intelligence will do the same in the future with other professions,” explains the British futurist.

    According to him, in every profession there will be tasks that AI will allow to automate, freeing a person from them. However, we should not grab our heads for fear that the cars will leave us without work. It is mostly about automating individual tasks.

    Three years ago, McKinsey Global Institute analysts studied more than 800 professions and more than 2,000 related work tasks. They tried to find out how possible their automation was. It turned out that only 5% of professions can be completely transferred to the control of artificial intelligence. But in most cases (60% of professions) you can automate only a third of work tasks.

    Let’s check a modern example. Today, healthcare is considered to be one of the areas that benefit most from the development of artificial intelligence. AI is increasingly used in diagnosis. For example, modern systems have learned to look for cancerous tumors in pictures quite effectively. This feature can be removed from people, but which patients would want to receive a disappointing diagnosis through an automatic message on a smartphone instead of hearing it from a doctor who can show compassion?

    Related to this is another change in people’s lives, which Pearson points out given the development of AI. “Professions based on human relationships that require emotional skills and personal contact will thrive,” says the British futurist.

    That is, as paradoxical as it may sound, soulless machines will push us to discover and develop our ability to be merciful. According to Pearson, later AI can learn the intricacies of relationships with people. However, for machines, this is a more difficult task than analyzing and processing information.

    As an example, a futurologist cites the Chatbot Replica, which mimics live human communication. The developers claim that you can create an emotional connection with him, as with a friend, romantic partner, or mentor. However, according to Pearson, Replica is not so different from the chatbot, which he personally wrote in 1983 on an old computer. He also analyzes sentences, looks for keywords, gives simple answers, giving the impression that he understands the interlocutor.

    “AI has already performed well in some areas, such as face recognition, but in areas where it has to deal with emotional skills, it progresses rather slowly,” says Pearson.

    No matter how human AI is, this technology will definitely become the next big thing that will change our lives. This view is shared not only by Pearson but also by his fellow futurist from the Institute for Future Research and Technology Assessment (IZT) in Germany, Andre Ul.

    “I think AI will be one of the main drivers that will radically change our lives in the coming decades,” he told Chas News, adding that the technology would change all aspects of life, from healthcare to shopping and dating.

    What else to expect in the next 30 years?

    Autonomous cars

    “Transport is one of the industries that could undergo the biggest changes in the next five years,” said Ian Pearson.

    The automotive industry is really evolving rapidly. Cars with an internal combustion engine (ICE) are gradually giving a market share to electric cars, from vehicle cars are transformed into “computers on wheels”, and manufacturers are experimenting with business models, implementing subscription systems for their models, as in Netflix. However, the most interesting trend is probably car automation.

    Cars that can move without human help already exist today. Waymo autonomous vehicles have been driving on the roads of California and Arizona for more than a year, about 2,000 Tesla owners are just now testing a new proprietary full autopilot system, and the number of drone developers continues to grow. 

    Such kind of technology has great prospects. And what will be the autonomous cars of the future? According to Jan Pearson, there are two ways to create them. First: take as a basis a relatively expensive car and equip it with all sorts of sensors and AI systems. The result is a very smart car that can move around the city. This is the traditional way that all modern car manufacturers turn to. But he has an alternative.

    “The second way is to create a very stupid car. In fact, a box with wheels that only has to move,” says Pearson.

    In this case, the computer equipment and sensors are not inside the car, but outside. Smart road infrastructure is responsible for building the route, as well as controlling the movement of the car, indicating where it needs to turn, stop or go straight. She can even be entrusted with the function of charging the vehicle, assuming that it will run on electric traction.

    At the beginning of the last decade, a road with an integrated wireless charging system was built in South Korea, on which electric buses ran. Later, similar roads appeared in Israel and Sweden. This solution allows you to reduce the size of the battery of an electric vehicle, respectively, reducing its weight. In the future, such roads may feed the same “boxes on wheels.”

    Pearson notes that such stand-alone cars would be much cheaper than what we see today, but that is why it is unlikely that car companies will create them. “Automakers want to make money, so they want to make expensive cars, not cheap plastic boxes,” – says the British futurist.

    In his opinion, for the situation to change, the “stupid” drones must have a strong ally. For example, a talented entrepreneur like Elon Mask who will believe in a different approach to technology. Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict the appearance of such a person.

    Smart lenses and electronic skin

    It’s difficult for a modern person to imagine life without smartphones. They help us to work, have fun, and kill time waiting for a meeting or event. But these devices can fall into the category of “last century” long before the end of the century. Moreover, according to Jan Pearson, they should already be there.

    “Fifteen years ago, in one of my speeches, I said that in 2025, mobile phone users will be considered dinosaurs,” he said.

    This forecast is a bit outdated, but the technologies that should replace our loyal electronic satellites have long loomed on the horizon. The first potential offspring are active contact lenses based on augmented reality technology.

    With them, the user does not need a smartphone display – all the necessary information will simply pop up before your eyes. Of course, the lens is too small and will require a computing unit to operate. But, according to a British futurist, it may well be placed separately. For example, fasten to a belt, bracelet on the wrist, or necklace.

    Pearson personally developed the concept of an active lens in the 90s of the last century. According to the plan, the tiny device would consist of three lasers and a system of microscopic mirrors and would create a projection on the retina. The futurist believed that the technology was quite realistic, and prototypes would have been born by 2010-15, and by 2020 – to become relatively common.

    But she is a little late. Last year, Mojo Vision announced a smart contact lens, but this project is still under development. About the timing of the launch of the product on the market, Mojo has not yet spoken.

    “I still believe in this technology. It would allow you to get rid of all gadgets: TV, virtual reality helmets, smartwatches, and of course, smartphones. I think this is the future of personal devices, ”says Pearson.

    But there is also a competing technology – electronic leather. “In the early 2000s, I saw that miniaturization was evolving rapidly, and we may soon be able to create devices the size of skin cells,” recalls the futurologist.

    The e-leather, created at the University of California Technology, is charged with sweat

    Built into the body, these miniature devices can perform many functions. For example, measure heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen, and sugar levels, i.e. perform the work of fitness trackers and smartwatches. If you go further, you can imagine how they create video tattoos or full-fledged displays of touch computers built into the hand.

    The same chemical compounds that saturate our body with energy, or simply body heat, can ensure the operation of implanted devices. According to Pearson, this is enough for the operation of sensors that need to be activated only for a short time for measurements. Video tattoos or displays may require an external power supply, such as a belt clip.

    Today, such predictions may seem too optimistic or even fantastic. But the high technology that we already take for granted is actually quite young. The World Wide Web, which many people mean when they talk about the Internet, has only existed for 32 years. The GPS satellite system has been operating for 28 years. And smartphones in the modern sense of the word appeared only in 2007. So the future is coming faster than we think.

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