In the latest study conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, over 700 technology experts were asked to evaluate an assortment of scenarios in an attempt to determine potential trends for the year 2020. With responses from representatives of the World Wide Web Consortium, ICANN, the Association of Internet Researchers, and major corporations like Google and IBM, the report reflects the perceptions of “Internet pioneers,” more than half of whom “were online before 1993.”
Experts Believe the Future will be Like Sci-Fi Movies
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Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker.
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2006-09-25 2:49 pmVenomousGecko
As far as flying cars go…I am not sure where you live and what type of drivers you have to deal with but where I have been, most people have a serious problem driving properly on a 2-D plane let alone in 3-D space. I cringe to think of some of these people flying anything! I for one think it is best to stay on the ground for most.
2006-09-25 3:13 pmdylansmrjones
You hit the point.
Flying cars are perfectly possible. The problem is steering them
I’d like people to stay on the ground as much as possible. Or at least wait until good automatic pilots have been designed for flying cars
2006-09-25 3:51 pmbolomkxxviii
People will not be allowed to manually drive their cars in a 3-D space. The flying cars will all be controlled by Windows software and part of the EULA will obsolve MicroSoft from any liability for death or dismemberment in the event of a system crash at 3,000 feet moving at 235 mph. I am sure they will have a groovy new startup sound for your car though.
2006-09-25 4:07 pmGet a Life
How about the obvious enormous waste of energy that flying cars would entail? If you thought a Hummer was a waste of fuel, wait until you drive the flying Hummer around. One of the more interesting things about the fancies of speculative fiction is how readily-available energy is and how mercilessly it is wasted for the most trite activities.
2006-09-25 9:59 pmflanque
I never said we would be. I’m refering to what some of the so-called experts of the past thought.
Do they run Vista in the future?
2006-09-25 3:13 pmdylansmrjones
Shouldn’t Blackcomb be around at that time?
that the future will be, uh, futuristic and our current technologies will have evolved. People will continue to be pissed off. There will be more people online.
Wow, didn’t see that coming.
Human kind will have real issues to deal with in the forseeable future. Living without oil and all the products made from it: plastic, pigments/paints, pestidices, etc. and the increased threat of global warming and excessive population growth.
I envision the movie Soylent Green accurately depicting what civalization may be like a couple centuries from now.
Total chaos where human survial instincts run rampent and futuristic bulldozers scoop up rioting people on streets.
Edited 2006-09-25 08:13
2006-09-25 4:21 pmGet a Life
Chemistry is everyone’s friend. Products made from hydrocarbons in petroleum like plastics and paints are produced that way because it’s cheaper than other sources, such as plants. As petroleum supplies are exhausted, we will simply move to the currently more expensive production. We can look at our usage of petroleum as us wasting our “easy supply” in a lot of areas, but when it is gone we won’t revert to savages. We are certainly making life more difficult for hypothetical future civilizations that due to external factors lose much of the knowledge that we have collected. We’re also probably racing toward a point where a lot of the things we take for granted will be more expensive in the future, possibly meaning that future generations will be in effect “poorer” than we are.
2006-09-25 4:32 pmbryanv
I sure hope the people are at least smart enough to jump out of the ($%*$ing scoops instead of waving their arms over their heads like stupid, helpless little morons.
I laughed at that movie.
I think the future will be not 100 percent opposite but very different from whatever today’s experts predict… and all the cool stuff thay concentrate their attention on will be irrelevant (as in not so important) as today’s microwave ovens or fluorescent lights or digital watches. I mean we’ll just take it for granted, there will be other things to worry about.
..will these experts still be obsessed with old episodes of Star Trek? 😉
“[…]today’s experts may lack the foresight to perceive the future with the clarity of Hari Seldon.”
Asimov did mention that Hari Seldon was determining “human” tendancies. Where is humanity in all that?
Progress happens when there is a real scientific breakthrough. The last time a bunch of real breakthroughs took place was at the beginning of the previous century (1900-1930). Therefore all the technological wonders we admire in shows like Star Trek will not happen unless Physics has a major breakthrough to allow us to have anti-gravity, faster-than-light travel, and quantum computers.
The only thing I wonder about is if Duke Nukem Forever would have been released by 2020 :-).
2006-09-25 9:09 pmdStreSd
Well actually the biggest periods of technological improvement were the First Industrial Revolution (led by Britain primarily with [unwanted] help from America and various European nations), the Second Industrial Revolution (led by America and it’s large scale use of railroads and steel to bolster it’s manufacturing output) and Post-American Civil War (from the hundreds of technological developments created by the war) which extended to about the late 1920’s since then technology development has kinda leveled out.
Desert everywhere, no trees, grass, animals, wars for water, food, oxigene, …
I disagree. Here is my prediction for the future for 2020. Non-petrol cars such as pure electric cars, solar powered cars will be widely affordable by anyone in the same way like today’s petrol cars. Flying cars will still be in testing stage. Today also exist flying cars but they are nothing like the ones in Back to the Future film. The 2020 flying cars although still not commercially wide spread will however resemble the ones from the Back to the Future movie.
There would be one more mission to the moon and one mission to Mars and that’s about it. Teleportation will still be highly unreliable and experimental. I know, today they have succeeded in teleporting light however teleporting living things is a different thing.
MS would have released two more OSes, possibly Windows core might be replaced with the Singularity OS or whatever they call it. So Singularity OS with a Windows GUI and there will be a third OS being in beta stage tested by people pretty much like Vista is being tested today. Computers? Well, I do believe we will be able to use air as a display device via some type of special computer device that projects the signals in the air. The larger the projection area, the more expensive the device will be.
Edited 2006-09-25 11:33
2006-09-25 11:47 amtwenex
Electric cars? I hope not. People will think that because they run electric cars they are being environmentally friendly, so they will use the car even more often than now, causing governments to build more and more power stations.
2006-09-25 12:02 pmOSGuy
hehehe hey it’s only my prediction I could be completely wrong
2006-09-25 3:15 pmdylansmrjones
We’ll be running on hydrogene, so no problem
2006-09-25 1:08 pmg2devi
Hmmm. Let’s see. It’s near the end of 2006 and 2020 is almost 13 years from now, so let’s look at 13 years in the past and see how things have changed. In 1995, Windows 95 burst on the scenes and it was the first MS operating system that all but killed DOS (Win 3.1 sure didn’t). The internet was called “The Information Superhighway” and it was going to change the world, so people started becoming interested in web browsing without having a clue what they were browsering for. It didn’t matter. Back then, electric cars and recycling really didn’t have that much prominence (at least in north america) but programs were starting. Politically, the death of the cold war brought the US into the realm of working with the world instead of claiming dibs before the russians did. The Maastricht Treaty was signed a few years and the EU was starting to get its act together. Not much else is different from now.
Today, The “Information Superhighway” is less commercial than was thought it could have been, GUIs are everywhere and people care about frivilous things like wobbly windows. Recycling is a natural for most industrial cities. Electric cars exist but aren’t that practical or affordable yet. The natural assertation of power and the backlash against having a winner in the cold war has happened. Other world powers started to emerge, including the EU, India, and China.
14 years from now? I predict the same trends will follow. The internet will be even more diverse than it is today. GUIs will be even more fancy and in more places, electric cars will be affordable. The world powers will solidify further. Not much else.
In the crowded world we live in decent public transport would make WAY more sense to me!
And why should the f’king thing need to fly? Exactly what benefits does that give me?
As life will probably be mostly online in the future, you will simply order most things online, no need for driving.
Instead of more technical feats I would really like the things we have today to actually _work_ – failure rates are really ridiculously high, they should be somewhere like 1/1000.
The main problem is to find a way out of the energy and population crisis of this planet, the latter becoming even worse if you consider that producing fertilizers needs oil.
I can only hope that physicists manage to achieve self sustained nuclear fusion (one of the holy grails of physics) or find some other way out of this crisis.
In the long run mankind needs to establish more than just a few little labs in space – we need real space settlement.
Otherwise it’s just a matter of time until we die out – be it a virus, an asteroid a nuclear war…
We cannot depend on just one fragile planet – by which I’m not saying we should send this planet to hell as fast as possible.
And it is especially sad if you consider that there is absolutely no new technology needed.
Hell, we had sufficient technology by the 1970s!
2006-09-25 4:38 pmGet a Life
In a little over 13 years I doubt that the vast rural expanses of the world will exist in a state where “life is mostly online.” The people for which that is true will most-likely be those with “Internet addiction,” with normal people continuing to traverse distances to work, socialize, and shop.
The main reason things fail as regularly as they do now is a matter of diminishing returns. It can cost significantly more to obtain marginal increases in reliability, with greater levels of reliability costing absurd amounts of money. Understandably people do not wish to pay, in general, much larger sums for little added value.
In the developed world the “population crisis” is naturally correcting itself, in that the move from agrarian societies correlates with a reduction in birthrates. In such places the “population crisis” is an aging class of people expecting social programs for retirement that cannot be shouldered by the shrinking younger populations. This will doubtlessly lead to people retiring later in life.
And it is especially sad if you consider that there is absolutely no new technology needed.
Hell, we had sufficient technology by the 1970s!
We did not have the technology in 1970 to colonize other planets. We don’t even have it now. We have remarkably little success even constructing artificial biospheres capable of self-sufficiency. Shooting a rocket at another body in space is only one part of the problem.
2006-09-25 11:11 pmRandomGuy
“In the developed world the “population crisis” is naturally correcting itself, in that the move from agrarian societies correlates with a reduction in birthrates.”
The question remains if this happens fast enough.
“We did not have the technology in 1970 to colonize other planets. We don’t even have it now. We have remarkably little success even constructing artificial biospheres capable of self-sufficiency. Shooting a rocket at another body in space is only one part of the problem.”
Wow, slow! First of all you don’t really have to tell me it’s more than shooting a rocket to a planet. I know pretty much about the subject.
Next I would like to clarify that I’m not talking about colonizing other planets. That’s just a waste of time because of higher transportation costs caused by their gravity, …
No, I’m talking about about colonies in space, built from lunar or asteroid material (after some factories have been installed using earth based material, of course).
Regarding our lack of success constructing artificial biospheres:
It’s not a matter of technology but of experience!
If only those NASA $$ had been used for doing real experiments in this area instead of the usual “We got to the moon first and our shuttle is so fancy”-garbage.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of talented guys working for them but it’s mostly design by committee – especially in case of the shuttle.
It was decided the poor thing should be a Jack of all trades (carry both: astronauts and cargo and be capable of performing military missions as well)
and because of inconsequent funding (“Thats cool! Err, wait, we don’t have enough money!”)it became what it is:
A billion dollar mess!
Btw. the shuttle was planned to be placed on top of the external tank; a plan that was changed later on to reduce costs which made the tragic accident possible.
I’d suggest you just google “NASA Design Study, 1977”,
“Gerard K. O’Neill” or “The High Frontier” in order to get an impression of what I’m talking about.
Especially using pure physical processes (catalytic burning of wastes) for the more difficult parts of a LSS (life support system) I’m convinced it would have been possible to develop a regenerative LSS pretty quickly, adequate funding provided.
So here I say it again until I get some _real_ reasons to believe any different (and don’t give me this biosphere 1 or whatever crap):
We did have the neccessary technology by the 1970s although we may have lacked experience.
I see alot of gloom and alot of hope for the future.
Technology currently relies alot on minerals from below the earth.I believe that over-exploitation of the environment will get worse resulting in higher temperatures,stronger waves ,higher winds etc to a state of destruction.
So ultimately man will capitalise on using these conditions for alternative forms of energy to bring a new age of peace and inspiration.
You don’t have to be a “technology expert” to know such a thing. Just look at some headlines at digg.com and see what cool stuff has already been invented.
Take a look at predictions about the future that were made forty years ago. A few came true but many others now seem silly, such as a pill that provides for all your food needs. I never saw any futurist or sci-fi writer predict anything like the internet.
Why should we start to believe them now?
2006-09-25 4:56 pmwhenney
I never saw any futurist or sci-fi writer predict anything like the internet.
I guess you never read any William Gibson then.
I tend to ignore this stuff. I guess no debating went on, they just went and posted whatever. First, an Artifical life form would be easy to destroy with an EMP weapon. Sure the world’s population is growing at a rapid rate, but I believe we will experience a pandemic and that will wipe out at least 25% of the world’s population.
It’s a cyclic thing, it happned in the past, I believe it will happen again before we can do anything about it.
Energy, I believe alternate energy will evantually take hole. we orbit a huge nuclear furnace that harnasses both fussion and fission.
In 2020, the largest economy will be China. And the whole Far East will be ‘The Global Economy’.
In 2020, Chinese will be the most used language on the internet. Most people will understand at least some Chinese (like in FireFly).
In 2020, Europe will finally get its act together and have a president/parliament, a single army, and a voice in the world.
In 2020, Microsoft will innovate, Vista will still be used (as will XP and 2000), Open Source will be accepted everywhere and have 75 percent of the Desktop market.
In 2020 the joint ESA/NASA/China/Japan mission to Mars will be planned. The second space station is bigger than the current IIS.
In 2020 nanoprobes will run through our vains, killing deseases before we even know we get them.
In 2020 most of the house-cleaning and garden-work will be done by robots (Roomba’s successors).
enough for now 😉
I don’t believe that there is anything gloomy about what is ahead. Nature will always run it’s course no matter what you or I may decide to do or not. It knows no order, no rights, no wrongs and the invisible hand has a play in everything.
Future looks bright, I hope it’s a very spiritual one.
How do bats navigate the 3d space, considering they flight at night without any sort of good vision? bats never collide with each other, even in large quantities. They have a sort of radar system using sound; wikipedia calls it a ‘biosonar’. Flying cars should have the same system to avoid collisions, and the cars should not be allowed to be totally manually driven (a limited manuevrability should be available that has lower priority than auto control).
But I guess it would take more than 13 years of research to put such a high tech marvel to market…
“Take me to your Lizard.”
Soylent Green is people!
Edit: for you who might wonder: the events in the movie do take place in 2020. Also, Sci-fi is right-smack in the title of this article.
Edited 2006-09-25 05:50
We’re still waiting.
Weren’t we meant to have cures for cancer, flying cars, teleportation systems and all other manner of scientific wonders?
Hard to believe all this.