10 innovations are waiting to be embraced by society as integral parts of our everyday digital life this year or next.
In tech, five years is an eternity. Five years ago, it was 2007. You probably don't even remember 2007. I certainly don't: 2007 was 5,000 articles ago. IBM has a longer memory than us all, however, and based on its history, the company has five five-year predictions as to how technology will make our lives better within the next five years.
Here in the U.S.'s northeast we tend to get ticked off when the weather service fails to predict a major storm, but in Italy, it turns out that making inaccurate predictions about natural disasters could send you to the slammer for six years.
Back in 1973, eternally eccentric filmmaker Woody Allen made Sleeper. Set in the year 2173, Sleeper is, to date, Allen's sole venture into overt sci-fi. A slapstick comedy, Sleeper pokes fun at other sci-fi classics, notable amongst them Fahrenheit 451 and 2001: A Space Odyssey. The political and social aspects of the film are thinly veiled 1970s sentiment, set in a dystopic inept police state. What is truly interesting is Sleeper's perspective on the progress of technology, 200 years from its production. While Woody Allen did not predict technological miniaturization, he did get a lot of things right. Was Woody Allen a tech prophet? Here's a list of technologies predicted in Sleeper that already exist, 161 years ahead of schedule.
When you think about how it has come to take over our lives, it's easy to forget that the Internet landscape as we know it today is quite a recent thing. This hilarious 1995 PSA hammers that point home, with some fifth graders from Montana predicting what the Internet will become by the time they're in college.
Mars is the new Moon. Any ol' space program can hit up the Moon these days, but the real prize lies with getting a little red sand on your boots. Will that day ever come? Will Wright, creator of games such as SimCity, The Sims and recently Spore, envisions "Marstown," a settlement 8,000 strong in the year 2047.
Have you been watching the news? It's horrible out there! In fact, it's tempting to conclude that we, as a species, have entered into our final death spiral of savagery, unending recession and flesh-eating bacteria. While we shouldn't minimize these very real concerns, we shouldn't lose sight on one important thing: Technology has the power to make problems go away.
Remember 1997? That's the year when the Star Wars special editions began our long national breakup with George Lucas; the world was first introduced to the musical stylings of Limp Bizkit; and AOL unleashed an unyielding torrent of CDs on the world, promising ever-increasing amounts of free hours on the "world wide web." Crazy times. Now think back: what would 1997-You's reaction be if someone told them that in 10 years, they would be able to access a robust, video-laden internet via a buttonless, mouseless device the size of a calculator (oh, and it had a camera and you could make phone calls with it)? You would have thought this soothsayer got a little too much O2 at their neighborhood oxygen bar before watching an episode of seaQuest on VHS, amiright? However, looking back, there were many surprisingly accurate predictions of today's sci-fitastic tech (along with some notable misfires). Here we collected forecasts from top tech thinkers about how our electronic lives will evolve over the decade to come. We're sure there will be a mix of bullseyes and bulls%!t, so be sure to check back in every few years to see how we're doing.
If you look back at old predictions from decades past about life in the distant future, most are so laughably off the mark that they're hilarious to watch. Not so with legendary science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, whose prognostications in this clip from 1974 were frighteningly accurate.
Soon, we may all be living and working in the cloud. Analysts from Gartner, a major research firm, predict that by 2014 the cloud will replace the personal computer. It makes sense for the cloud to become our digital center, considering the proliferation of smartphones, iPads and other devices that require interconnectivity to be as effective as possible (or even effective at all).