- Innovations of the near future will dramatically improve our efficiency, longevity, connectivity and environmental impact.
- These changes will require that we think differently about our health, our jobs and investment opportunities.
- Tools of the future are likely to include drones, block chain, AI and VR. Get familiar with these technologies.
Remember the Jules Verne novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, with Captain Nemo and all the fantastic technology he had on his submarine, the Nautilus? When I first read the book as a child, it really blew mind and fueled my imagination of the future.
A similar thing happened to me last month when I attended Peter Diamandis’ Abundance 360 conference in Los Angeles, which focused on emerging technology. Ray Kurzweil, a machine learning and language processing expert for Google and other companies, has been remarkably accurate about his many predictions for the future. How does he do it? Not by reading tea leaves. He said it comes from understanding Moore’s Law–that computer processing power doubles every 18-24 months–and the price and performance of information technology.
Here are some of Kurzweil’s predictions:
- Fifteen years from now, we’ll be able to tap into the cloud with our brains. We’ll be able to remember all sorts of pattern recognitions from our life experiences and literally expand the capabilities of our brains.
- By 2029, a computer will be able to pass the “Turing Test”, which measures a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior or conversation equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human.
- By 2025 we’ll have 3D printed organs. That’s right. If you need to replace an organ, Kurzweil thinks, within 10 years we’ll be able to do so by replicating our own cells via a 3D printer.
- By 2030, 100 percent of our energy will be solar. That’s pretty significant since the sun is our largest energy source by far.
So how do these predictions fit into our lives today and in the future?
- We’re going to live longer. With 3D printing, we’re going to dramatically extend the life expectancy of people who have problems with their heart, kidneys or other organs.
- Jobs. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of information jobs today did not exist 20 years ago, and that trend is likely to increase going forward. So you always have to be looking at the horizon to see whether your job is going to be replaced by some new innovation or technology coming down the road.
- In 20 years, energy will be environmentally benign, which is highly possible if we go 100 percent solar.
What’s coming up in the next two years?
- Autonomous cars. Tesla and Google are at the forefront of this technology. Imagine being able to read or sleep while you’re driving down the highway! Google’s self-driving car has logged over 3 million miles with virtually no accidents. That’s going to have a significant impact on how we transport ourselves and make use of our time.
- Visual reality. Phil Rosedale, CEO of High Fidelity, also spoke at Abundance 360 about visual reality (VR). Thanks to 4K technology, you won’t be able to distinguish the pixels from reality. Not only will we be able to track the intention of our eyes, but soon we will track the intention of our hands and manipulate with them via VR.
- Augmented reality. There’s also augmented reality, in which you can flip anything up on a wall and view it in 3D as Tom Cruise did in the movie The Minority Report. This technology would enable you to hold meetings anywhere. You wouldn’t have to transport people around the country to meet. You could stay in your home or office, interact with co-workers in 3D and move things around with your hands through the intention of your eyes. Once we go wireless and get rid of the cables required for this technology, it’s going to be a whole new world.
- Drones are the next big game-changer, and the FAA and other regulators are frantically trying to address many of the issues. Drones are essentially replacing satellites for information-gathering and giving us inexpensive real-time views of the world from above–especially from within 400 feet of the ground. For instance, if you’re a farmer with a mile-wide crop circle, you can use a drone to see which part of that circle needs to be watered or fertilized and which part doesn’t. This will make farming more efficient and more environmentally responsible. If you’re an investor, you can use drones to see what’s coming in and out of the manufacturing plants and distribution sites of companies you’re thinking of investing in. Drones can also give you a snapshot of parking lots of major big box retailers to determine density and traffic patterns.
- Block chain is another big advance on the horizon. Developed by Bitcoin a few years ago, block chain eliminates the need for banks, clearing firms, brokerage houses or other intermediaries in financial transactions. It’s about laying down blocks in order as computer networks verify transactions. For example, you have Starbucks issuing a million gift cards during the holidays in a variety of locations. The $50 gift card you buy for a friend or family member has a specific identification number. In the past, that number would be added to big spreadsheets for various retailers, which made it easy for cyber-thieves to find and grab it. They’d wait for you to purchase (activate) your card and then grab the $50 before your gift recipient could use it. Block chain and other cyber security advances prevent that from happening.
The innovations covered in this post will have a major impact on our investments of the near future and on how we collect information. By 2029, artificial intelligence will be better than humans at making decisions relative to investment management and related areas. It’s really going to expand our capabilities and opportunities.
I thought you’d like this update about important new technologies on the horizon. My imagination hasn’t been stretched like this since I first read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea as a kid.
Until next time, enjoy.