Ironically, Moore’s law may have doubled itself out of existence. Tech’s now moving so quickly that exponentially has become a mind-blowing but accurate generalization.
Predictions about what the future may bring are understandably tricky. However, they provide a fascinating window into where imagination is taking us.
Sometimes, we don’t quite get there; consider Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 vision that we’d be excavating the moon and traveling to Jupiter by 2001:
Other times, we blew past what we thought would take until the 25th century to become ubiquitous:
He spent time at the renowned Singularity University in the spring of 2016 and came away profoundly moved by how imminent a wide scope of tech breakthroughs either are or appear to be.
Gollub then posted a number of his observations on his Facebook page soon thereafter. They make for a compelling read, to put it mildly.
Here are a few of Gollub’s comments as to what he expects to see become commonplace within the next 20 years:
- Software will disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years.
- Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although it doesn’t own any properties.
- Artificial Intelligence: Computers become exponentially better in understanding the world. This year, a computer beat the best Go player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected.
- In the USA, young lawyers already don’t get jobs. Because of IBM Watson, you can get legal advice — currently, for more or less basic stuff — within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared to 70% accuracy when done by humans.
- So if you study law, stop immediately. There will be 90% less lawyers in the future, only specialists will remain.
- Watson already helps nurses diagnose cancer four times more accurately than human nurses.
- Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans.
- Autonomous cars: In 2018, the first self-driving cars will appear for the public.
- Around 2020, the complete industry will start to be disrupted.
- You don’t want to own a car anymore;
- You will call a car with your phone,
- It will show up at your location, and
- Drive you to your destination;
- You will not need to park it,
- You only pay for the driven distance and can be productive while driving;
- Our kids will never get a driver’s license, and
- They’ll never own a car.
- This will change cities, because we’ll need 90-95% less cars.
- We can transform former parking spaces into parks.
- 1.2million people die each year in car accidents worldwide. We now have one accident every 60,000 miles (100,000 km), with autonomous driving that will drop to one accident in 6million miles (10 million km). That will save a million lives each year.
- Most car companies will probably become bankrupt. Traditional car companies try the evolutionary approach and just build a better car, while tech companies — Tesla, Apple, Google — will do the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels.
- Insurance companies will have massive trouble because, without accidents, the insurance will become 100 times cheaper. Their car insurance business model will disappear.
- Real estate will change, because if you can work while you commute, people will move further away to live in a more beautiful neighborhood.
- Electric cars will become mainstream about 2020. Cities will be less noisy because all new cars will run on electricity.
- Electricity will become incredibly cheap and clean: Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can now see the burgeoning impact.
- Last year, more solar energy was installed worldwide than fossil. Energy companies are desperately trying to limit access to the grid to prevent competition from home solar installations, but that can’t last. Technology will take care of that strategy.
- With cheap electricity comes cheap and abundant water. Desalination of salt water now only needs 2kWh per cubic meter (@ 25¢). We don’t have scarce water in most places, we only have scarce drinking water. Imagine what will be possible if anyone can have as much clean water as they want, for nearly no cost.
- Health: the Tricorder X is ready for the public. There are companies who will build a medical device — called the Tricorder from Star Trek) that works with your phone:
- It takes your retina scan, Your blood sample, and
- When you breathe into it, you’ll receive analyses of 54 biomarkers that will identify nearly any disease.
- 3D printing: The price of the cheapest 3D printer came down from $18,000 to $400 within 10 years. In the same time, it became 100 times faster.
- All major shoe companies have already started 3D printing shoes.
- Some spare airplane parts are already 3D printed in remote airports.
- The space station now has a printer that eliminates the need for the large amount of spare parts they used to have in the past.
- At the end of this year, new smart phones will have 3D scanning possibilities. You can then 3D scan your feet and print your perfect shoe at home.
- In China, they’re already 3D printing and constructing office buildings and homes. By 2027, 10% of everything that’s being produced will be 3D printed.
- If it doesn’t work with your phone, forget the idea.
- Work: 70-80% of jobs will disappear in the next 20 years. There will be a lot of new jobs, but it is not clear if there will be enough new jobs in such a small time. Think seriously about becoming an e-commerce entrepreneur.
- Agriculture: There will be a $100 agricultural robot in the future.
- Farmers in third world countries can then become managers of their field instead of working all day on their fields.
- Aeroponics will need much less water.
- The first Petri dish-produced veal is now available and will be cheaper than cow produced veal in 2018.
- Right now, 30% of all agricultural surfaces is used for cows.
- Imagine if we don’t need that space anymore. There are several startups who will bring insect protein to the market shortly. It contains more protein than meat. It will be labelled as alternative protein source because most people still reject the idea of eating insects.
- Longevity: Right now, the average life span increases by three months per year.
- Four years ago, the life span was 79 years; now, it’s 80.
- The pace of increase itself is increasing;
- By 2036, there will be more than a one-year increase per year;
- So we all might live for longer than 100 years.
- Education: The cheapest smart phones are already at $10 in Africa and Asia. By 2020, 70% of all humans will own a smart phone. That means, everyone has the same access to world class education.
- Education: The cheapest smart phones are already at $10 in Africa and Asia.
- By 2020, 70% of all humans will own a smart phone.
- That means everyone has the same access to a world-class education.
- Digital currency: There’s no assurance that only one will prevail, but blockchain is the key to it all.