The critical question today is no longer “What can we do?” but rather, “What should we do?”
The advancement of science and technology has undeniably paved the way to what seemed to be “impossible” just 50 years ago. We’re already seeing self-driving cars, human robots and cyborgs, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence.
With current trends like implantable devices and wearable technology, it’s now a whole different ball game where the critical question is no longer “What can we do?” but rather, “What should we do?”
Based on a recent survey by World Economic Forum on 800 industry experts and executives, here are 6 technologies we can expect by 2030.
Robots have long been replacing human workforce in the manufacturing industry, but by 2021, they will be entering the service sector as pharmacists. In fact, there are already robot pharmacists (under human supervision) in operation today in several medical centres around the United States. Based on statistics from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), their robot pharmacists have worked for 5 years with 100% accuracy and at a faster pace than humans too. Nevertheless, medical experts believe robots will not ultimately replace pharmacists as as the latter continue to cater to new niches in the industry.
3D printed liver transplants
Also in the healthcare industry, 3D printers are are being designed to create human parts like the rib cage and other vital organs. With the success of 3D-printed rib cage transplants in 2015, bioengineers and doctors are expecting to grow artificial 3D-printed livers and perform a successful transplant by 2024. If this comes to pass, we could potentially overcome organ shortages and save thousands of lives.
Implantable mobile phones
Admit it, most of us can’t live a day without our mobile phones (yours truly included). Industry experts predict that the first implantable mobile phone will be commercially available by 2023, so we can literally be on our phones 24/7. The device will likely be implanted in the arm or head, with the ability to monitor health and improve learning and memory. However, this raises the question – could we potentially be affected by viruses and susceptible to GPS tracking our every move?
Unlimited data storage
One day, we can finally stop worrying about the “storage almost full” warning appearing on our phones and devices, thanks to unlimited data storage. Due to the continual drop in hard drive cost per gigabyte, that day may arrive as soon as 2018 for a majority of us, though we may have to live with the ads on the data storage platforms.
Digital contact lenses
Google has previously introduced the Google Glass, an optical head-mounted display which connects the wearer to the Internet and displays information in a smartphone-like format. Their next step is to create contact lenses with a similar concept. By 2023, we can expect to see digital contact lenses equipped with lasers and micromirrors to project 3D quality images onto the retina. The lenses will also provide direct access to Internet applications and enhance the augmented reality experience.
When we hear the term “wearable technology” today, we think of smartwatches and fitness bands. Five years from now, the term may encompass clothing as well. As objects become increasingly connected to the Internet, experts predict that 10 percent of us will be wearing clothes with embedded chips that connect us to the Internet by 2022. We are not sure how it would work or if it is even a practical idea to begin with, but we have to admit that the idea of having “smart” clothing is pretty cool.