The last few decades have seen technologies that look like they come straight out of a science fiction movie becoming both available and mainstream. Today, it’s hard to imagine what your day would look like without cell phones, computers and gaming systems. That doesn’t even touch on the advances in medical technology or improvements in engineering and manufacturing. Future technology will continue changing many industries.
Looking forward is even more exciting. What future technologies will serve to revolutionize our world between now and 2050?
Nanobots for Medicine and Construction
Currently, when most people think of things like medicine and construction, they picture large buildings and heavy equipment. By 2050, you might have to think a lot smaller — microscopic even. Nanotechnology might be the stuff of science fiction today, but a fleet of programmable robots could soon become very useful. There is potential for both the medical and construction industries.
Some industry experts think that we might see nanotechnology in medicine as soon as 2030. This depends on if we’re able to create a safe and secure system that protects the users from potential hacks. Writer’s note: I’m terrified of nanobots, personally. The idea of microscopic robots in your body is cool until someone hacks them to take you apart one cell at a time.
On the construction side of things, nanotechnology could be the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to the creation of self-healing concrete. Today, researchers are exploring this technology by using sodium silicate capsules or calcite-excreting bacteria, but maybe nanobots will provide a more effective repair system.
Seamless IoT Integration in Smart Homes
We might have seen the first mention of smart houses in stories like “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury, but this technology has taken the world by storm. Today, you can buy a myriad of smart appliances, install smart lighting and more.
In the next few decades, we’ll start to see seamless IoT integration in these smart houses. Everything will be networked and connected to the internet, from your home’s HVAC system to the lighting and security. This isn’t a bad thing — smart houses are useful for reducing utility costs and making properties more energy-efficient and eco-friendly. But it does mean that cybersecurity will need to become a top priority for home builders.
What Will Scientists Discover Next?
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Artificial Intelligence Across All Industries
Artificial intelligence has a bad reputation for being the cause of humanity’s inevitable downfall. At least, that’s how it usually goes in the stories, and even some of today’s brightest minds adhere to that train of thought. Elon Musk, for example, is terrified of the implications of AI and what its creation might mean for the human race.
Current incarnations of AI programs are based on machine learning. These programs are capable of learning new things as long as they’re provided with enough data to process. In the coming decades, AI will likely become billions of times smarter than the average human. If that is the case, it will transform all of society. Industry experts believe intelligence will increase to the point where we’ll have to merge with these supercomputers in order to survive and keep them in check.
Widespread Drone Delivery
Amazon.com has been trying to clear the skies for drone delivery for years at this point. In the future, drones will likely become an integral part of last-mile deliveries, supporting an entirely new facet of the logistics industry. Unfortunately, the FAA is standing in their way. The agency has been actively discouraging the use of drones for commercial applications for decades.
Companies interested in drone delivery should work with the FAA to create laws allowing them to operate drones safely and securely. If they are able to invent technology that allows autonomous travel, we will likely see drone delivery take its place in the logistics industry between now and 2050.
Introducing Space Tourism
Right now, our focus as a species is on getting astronauts back to the moon and then to Mars. Our species is so enamored with space travel we won’t stop there. Elon Musk already offers rides on Crew Dragon as a form of space tourism with trips to and from the International Space Station. Hitching a ride on one of SpaceX’s reusable rockets will cost upwards of $50 million, which is something that’s well out of reach for the average consumer.
By 2050, space tourism may be as common as booking a trip to Bali or Hawaii. Experts believe that by the halfway point of this century, we will likely have settlements on the moon. Booking a trip to our nearest celestial neighbor might be something you can do in the next 30 years.
Future Technology to Look Forward To
Technology always changes things. It’s up to us to make sure we’re changing things for the better. What future technology predictions will emerge? Only time will tell. Nonetheless, if projections are anything like what’s actually going to happen in the next three decades, we have a feeling this is going to be a future worth looking forward to.