We didn’t get real hoverboard or flying cars, and self-lacing shoes don’t come out until next year. But there’s plenty of new tech, and dramatic changes in the way we live our lives that show us that the future is already here, and it’s amazing AF.
Here are just a few things happening right now that show us how bright and shiny our present actually is.
During the past quarter-century, there have been several attempts at making VR a thing. Now, it is a thing, and it’s really awesome. In March, both the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive hit the market as the first consumer-level VR headsets. While the tech is still early on, and the investment is expensive, this could be the beginning of a huge shift in the way we interact, watch, shop, read and more.
If “I, Robot” got anything right, it’s a world where cars drive themselves and we get to nap on the way to where we’re going. Google’s self-driving cars have been taking cross-country trips for a couple of years now, and this leaping automotive tech is slated to become a widespread feature in cars by 2020. Tesla already has the tech revved up and ready to go. It’s a little scary, but it;s going to be hella convenient.
Speaking of scary, job automation is real, and it’s likely to affect a ton of industries in the near future. Factory, warehouse, restaurant and retail jobs are on the path to automation within the next 20 years. The biggest industry impact is projected to be in transportation, thanks in large part to that self-driving technology. Imagine this: Uber will be driverless, and all those big rigs traveling down the interstate will have no one behind the wheel.
“The Internet of Things” is a major buzz-term in the tech industry, and is a major focus. Even today, you can control your heat and air, your lights, your coffeemaker, your fridge, and even your toilet with a smartphone app. Pretty soon, pretty much everything in your house could be set on a timer or started on a prompt, and all you’ll have to do is walk around the place being waited on hand and foot. Here’s to hoping the toaster doesn’t become sentient.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Elon Musk’s SpaceX program successfully landed a Falcon 9 rocket on a freakin’ drone in the middle of the sea. What makes this remarkable is that it made history as the first commercial rocket to land back on the surface of the Earth as a complete vessel. It’s the closest we’ve come to the sci-fi concept of a spaceship that can take off and land in one piece, and will do more for the history of space travel than it might seem. Among the importance here is that we’re getting really close to full-on leisurely space travel. With Musk and Virgin CEO Richard Branson committed to the idea, and deep pockets to help make the dream a reality, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where we are headed.