12 things that’ll seem ludicrous in our lifetime
WITHIN our own lifetime, people will scoff at the thought of sitting on a flight for 22+ hours across the world.
It's one of many things that'll rapidly seem unfeasible to the upcoming generation.
Elon Musk recently revealed plans for a next-generation spacecraft that could fly to "most places on earth in under 30 minutes and anywhere in under 60 - with the cost per seat the same as a current full economy fare."
What else will become ludicrously outdated? I spoke to some futurists whose predictions show that some disruptive innovations may be coming sooner than you think. Here's a list of what could become a quaint thing of the past before you've even begun withdrawing your pension:
IN THE COMMUNITY
1) Schools being used just once a day
"As population density increases in urban areas, infrastructure like schools will double down on their resources" says James Fogelberg, former 'Head of What's Next' at Adshel. "Schools will be used twice in one day. They'll offer parents the option of sending kids to either morning or afternoon and even evening school."
2) Leaving your house to vote
The blockchain will create the security and opportunity to vote digitally in elections. It's already happening - overseas Australians were able to vote online in the postal survey on same-sex marriage.
Futurist Dave Yeates says: "The blockchain works with currencies like Bitcoin right now, but it'll change how we digitally certify both ourselves and our ballot papers. That's right: no more awkward queues at school voting booths." Shame about the traditional democracy sausage then (more on meat later).
3) Stopping at traffic lights
Business futurist Morris Miselowski says: "Forget traffic lights, speed limits and roundabouts. In a world where vehicles, roads, and infrastructure are constantly chatting to each other, we'll soon be able to figure out how to dynamically adjust the traffic lights, road conditions and available parking to best suit the traffic it's trying to cope with at that moment."
IN THE HOME
4) Paying for your own Wi-Fi
"In the sharing economy, wificoin and other blockchain technologies will mean sharing Wi-Fi with your neighbours will become common, leading to you paying four times less than you currently do" says Matt Hoggett, co-founder of Prezzee. "It'll also enable you to earn money via micro-payments. It's a win-win for everyone."
5) Using a mobile phone
Futurist Bachir El Khoury says you can say goodbye to your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy: "In five to ten years, people will look back at smartphones as we look back at the Nokia brick phone. It only took ten years to have the iPhone, and now only ten years after having the revolutionary touch screen, we speak to them! Phones will be replaced by smarter sensors and devices, such as glasses (Microsoft Hololens) and in particular virtual retinal display technology."
6) Typing and reading
Brain machine interfaces will mean you can plug your brain straight into external technology devices, says Morris Miselowski. "Within a couple of decades, we'll not only be able to get information out of our brain and into technology, but we'll also reverse it and input information into our brain. Turn on lights, open doors, command a wheelchair, learn a new language, see a new sight, or if there's too much going on in your head, maybe download some of your thinking into offsite storage."
7) Doing your own tax return
"Don't worry about telling the tax department what you spent last year, they already know. All your transactions have been collected, audited and analysed by artificial intelligence. All your deductions, refunds and obligations have been worked out by your robo financial adviser" says Morris Miselowski.
8) Human surgeons
Within the next thirty years, it's likely that a robot will perform your triple heart bypass, according to futurist Sankar Gopinath. "The development of minimally invasive, smarter, automated, precise, and effective medical technologies means that nano-robots could be used for complex operations where a surgery is deemed critical but dangerous. This tiny equipment can help doctors diagnose the problems with much less blood spillage."
9) Human doctors
Instead of visiting doctors, we'll swallow them, according to Morris Miselowski: "These tiny hair-width nanobot doctors, ingested or inserted, are your own on-board specialist team of medical researchers, diagnosticians and physicians. Programmed to deliver tailor-made medicine to just the right cell, or perhaps take a good look at your colon or bowel and send real time information back to your doctor; they'll even perform minor internal procedures."
10) Single use toilets
"We'll look back at our toilets and be amazed they were only used to transport waste." Danielle Storey from the Eastern Innovation Centre is developing a system whereby toilets "become diagnostic tools for early disease. We'll self-manage our health rather than awaiting a doctor's opinion."
11) Eating meat
Author Richard Dawkins predicts that we'll "look back on the way we treated animals today as something like we today look back on the way our forefathers treated slaves."
12) Awkward bill splitting in restaurants
"We'll read the menu on our phone while we're there (often seeing video or chef comments, or a cooking demonstration), order in an app and pay for it all digitally often without speaking to a waiter. In China this is already the norm and mostly done through WeChat" says Morris Miselowski.