An Infinite Regression

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Reddit discusses new advances in technology, both past and present.

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Reddit user ‘michaelti‘ posed the question in an AskReddit thread simply titled “What are your legitimate, realistic predictions for the 2020’s?”. His suggestions included:

  • ~60% of new cars will be electric
  • Holograms begin to appear in Times Square
  • All phones are smartphones
  • More tablet computers and less desktops
  • First private flights into space
  • NFC catches on and more people pay with their phones
  • Mac OS X 10.15 “Catfish”
  • 3D with glasses won’t catch on
  • No 9th generation consoles yet (still on PS4)
  • Global life expactancy begins to accelerate
  • Stock market recovery from 2015 crash

User ‘ifeelazy‘ posted a link to a website called FutureTimeline.net which contained many predictions of the future.  This is what they have for 2020:

  • Generation X is reshaping global politics
  • Internet use reaches 5 billion worldwide
  • The 5G standard is released
  • Texting by thinking
  • Complex organ replacements grown from stem cells
  • Progress with longevity extension
  • Ultra High Definition Television (4320p) is available in domestic homes
  • Holographic TV is going mainstream
  • Africa and the Middle East are linked by a trans-continental bridge
  • Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway (MTR) has been significantly expanded
  • Completion of the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link
  • The UK has expanded its offshore grid connections
  • Smart meters in every UK home
  • Public smoking is banned across every US state
  • Glacier National Park and other regions are becoming ice-free
  • BepiColombo arrives in orbit around Mercury
  • Video games with truly lifelike CGI

However user ‘pizzlewizzle‘ disagreed; stating that 2020 is only a mere 7 1/2 years from now and most of the items on that list were idealistic. Many of the users were quick to rebut with recent leaps in technology that is really quiet eye opening when you think about it.

CelebEX sums up many of the technological advances in the past 8 years:

“Most mobile phone users now have a computer in their pocket capable of doing pretty much anything you can desire, and if it cant do it now, you can download via the airwaves in under 30 seconds, and app which CAN.

Major steps forward in electric powered cars… ok, they are not quite there yet, but we have taken HUGE steps forward, and within another 8 years, theoretically, we will have fast, powerful, gas/petrol-less cars, capable of keeping up with the best of the rest.

Holographic technology takes a huge step forward

Biggest and most advanced exploration of Mars begins.

The first big commercial wave of the tablet era begins.

Skype.

Social Networking.

CD, DVD, and even downloading media files is rendered obsolete, by the ability to stream movies straight to my TV, music straight to my laptop, and store none of it myself.

Cloud storage takes a significant leap forward

I can stand infront of my games console and control the lot by waving my hands or talking to it. <– in reality, its poor atm, but its a stepping stone.

….Ok…so these are just a few things, and a lot of it isnt exactly revolutionary… a lot of what has happened in the last 8-10 years have either been great advances in things that already exists, or its a decade that has produced the first little steps in what will be able to be significantly built on, especially within the next decade…

Im not saying breakthroughs like flying cars or hover boards (how cool!) are around the corner, but some serious advances that we will more than likely just take for granted will come.”

As well as user ‘Henkkaaaaa‘:

2000-2009:

  • Personal computers broke the 1GHz barrier (2000)
  • Wikipedia is launched (2001)
  • We had our first space tourist (2001)
  • 911 happens (2001)
  • Euro enters circulation (2002)
  • Myspace is launched (2003)
  • Web 2.0 (2004)
  • Facebook is launched (2004)
  • First one gigabyte SD card (2004)
  • YouTube is launched (2005)
  • USB flash drives replace floppy disks (2005)
  • Twitter is launched (2006)
  • Pluto becomes a “dwarf planet” (2006)
  • Apple debuts the iPhone (2007)
  • Amazon releases Kindle (2007)
  • Google street view is launched (2007)
  • Major advances in CGI (2008)
  • Water is discovered in Moon (2009)

Source

Another notable prediction was made by ‘jarretwold‘ who made a neat list; some serious, some fun:

The Good

  • Full genome sequencing becomes as cheap as an STD test. Your medical treatment becomes preventative based on statistical likelihood of illness.
  • Google’s car self-driving efforts pay off, as the first mixed mode (drive yourself or have it drive you) vehicles roll off of the assembly line.
  • Rapid research in GM crops begins to address climate change.
  • The first FDA licensed 3D printers arrive in medicine. Used to print prescription medication.
  • Modest method patent reform happens
  • Progressive states enact legislation directing judges issue treatment first before punishment for non-violent drug offenses.
  • The widening political divide snuffs itself out, and a push back toward moderate politics begins.
  • First asteroid mining mission lifts off.
  • Multinational, earth orbit, debris field cleanup mission begins.
  • Batteries are finally improved. You don’t have to charge your cell phone battery for days at a time.
  • Further dramatic advances in medical imaging/analysis pinpoint targeted treatment and cause of mental disorders.
  • Medical advances provide even greater life expectancy.
  • Video games are even MORE awesome than they already are.
  • Half-life 3 gets a release date.

The Bad

  • Food scarcity rises dramatically, affecting first world countries for the first time.
  • The first GM crop mishap occurs, becomes an invasive species
  • The middle class ceases to exist
  • A distinct and widening age gap begins to appear between the rich and poor.
  • Longer lives lead to compound increase in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • All other patent reform methods fail.
  • US/China fight their first proxy war.
  • root zone fragmentation occurs due to legal and moral disagreements between countries
  • People begin to reminisce about dubstep.

The Ugly

  • Surveillance becomes ubiquitous.
  • US Courts start enforcing criminal penalties for downloading pirated anything. New felony and misdemeanors added to state law over “lost sale doctrine”
  • Litigation is automated as courts start accepting online filing.
  • Significant 1 in 1000 years, natural disaster event occurs. Likely massive earthquake/tsunami on the west coast.
  • Climate change accelerates. We can do next to nothing with present technology.
  • European Union fails. Eliminates gains from recovery after The Great Recession.
  • Global pandemic fails to occur, but causes widespread localized death in China.
  • QWOP becomes a widely loved, retro game.

It’s really interesting to think about how far we’ve come technologically and in such a short amount of time. I certainly hope that some of the things on this list come up by the time 2020 comes around, guess we’ll just wait and see.

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