Exciting Advances in Everyday Life?
What the Next 30 Years Could Bring
Imagine printing out your next meal or wearing contact lenses that know your thoughts and feelings.1,2
What if your house could learn about you … and then anticipate your needs?3
Mind-blowing inventions like these could be just around the corner. And they’re not even the wildest things that we may see by 2050.
Advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality, and nanotechnology are putting the unbelievable on the horizon.
This could change life as we know it in the not-so-distant future.4
In fact, everything from our mundane routines to our fanciest gadgets may soon be obsolete. If that happens, we could have new and totally different ways of experiencing life.
We could also have far better ways of improving it.
So, what’s the stuff of science fiction and what could really happen?
There’s no way to know for sure, but we do have some clues about what may lie ahead.
Let’s check them out and see how they could change our lives by 2050.
5 Surprising Ways Innovation Could Change Our Lives by 2050
Health & Medicine
Nanomedicine could be the future of health care. It uses tiny particles to diagnose and treat disease on a molecular level. Because that's where disease starts, nanomedicine could be far more effective at detecting and treating health problems in early stages.5
In practice, that could mean doctors are able to administer drugs in far more targeted and precise ways. Surgeons could even use cell-sized devices to perform surgeries with nanodevices that are inside of patients.6
In the big picture, all of that could lead to better outcomes in even the most complex conditions, like cancer and heart disease. It may also give us more predictive, personalized, and remote treatment options — and not just longer LIFE spans, but longer HEALTH spans.5,6
You could see nanomedicine in health care before 2030.6
Should smart robots have rights? Should they be protected by laws? Should they pay taxes?
We may be forced to answer these questions soon, especially as robots get smarter and better at "thinking," "feeling," and acting like humans.7
With these complex issues, more are sure to follow. How or when should robots be compensated for work? Can robots unionize? Who owns their inventions? When and how can robots be held responsible for bad actions or harm? And when can a humanoid robot be terminated?7
As technology evolves, so will the legal questions about smart robots.7
There's no telling when laws for robots may be on the books. While lawmakers may try to get ahead of some of these issues, technology typically moves faster than the law.8 That's why we could eventually see lawsuits involving robots.
Tech & Gadgets
Want a personal robot assistant, like Rosie from The Jetsons or C-3PO from Star Wars? We may soon be leaving smartphones behind for this AI-powered help.9,10
And we could be relying on these smart robots to manage our day-to-day lives. If that happens, the way we think and interact with each other might change — and human contact could become a luxury. Smart robots could also revolutionize entire industries, like elder care and law enforcement.11
Beyond smart robot assistants, we could also have smart, biometric clothes that monitor our health and respond to our needs. Picture your clothes sensing that you're dehydrated and then telling your refrigerator to pour you a glass of water.12
The smartphone could be replaced within 10 years.13 While smart, connected clothing is already here, it may take years before biometric clothes are in your closet. That's partly due to how expensive they are to mass produce.14,15
Soon, about half the jobs humans currently have will go to robots.16 As that happens, what workplaces look like and who runs them will change. In fact, robots may not just be working alongside humans to take care of low-level tasks — they could also be the bosses, managing efficiency and productivity.17
Robots aside, the settings of work are also evolving. Traditional offices and remote working may be replaced by a collective virtual workspace, a "metaverse," in the future.18
Those changes could shift our concepts of working and careers in general, especially as robots get more sophisticated and careers become more transient. Instead of career paths, we may start focusing on career flexibility and adaptability — and life-long learning.19
Robots have already moved into the workplace, and they could be doing most of the work humans do now by 2050.20
That's also when working in a metaverse could be the norm — and when we could see all sorts of brand new jobs for humans, like data detectives and ethical sourcing officers.18,21
Lifestyle & Travel
If AI and robotics handle a lot of our chores and routine tasks in the future, we could have more free time. How will we spend it? Probably in virtual reality with totally individualized experiences. That could mean seeing what furniture looks like in your home while you shop for it … or "traveling" to another country while staying on your couch.4
When you are ready to leave home in the future, a flying car could be waiting to take you where you want to go (just like The Jetsons predicted).22
And you may not be limited to destinations on earth. Soon, you'll be able to jet away to hotels in space for a truly out-of-this-world experience.23
The first space hotel is set to open by 2027, and you could be calling an air taxi for a ride as soon as 2030.22, 23 For personalized VR experiences, you may need to wait a couple of decades longer, until 2050.
"When we're able to stay flexible … we'll be able to adapt and make the most out of whatever the future throws our way"
Why Flexibility Is Smarter than Trying to Predict the Future
Innovation promises to alter life in some amazing and drastic ways over the next few decades.
Technology is clearly getting more and more integrated into our lives, and that could make some things easier and others more complicated. It may even force us to deal with new, complex issues and challenges we never saw coming.
That may be one reason why about 2 in 3 people aren’t optimistic for the future.24
And why we can’t help but worry about the uncertainty of it all.25
Even though there’s a lot we don’t know, we do know that innovation can make life better.
Things were never the same after some of the biggest inventions of the last few decades — like the internet and smartphones. And we really don’t even think twice about those things today (unless they aren’t working).26, 27
We also know that technology and time can change our beliefs and values.28
We just aren’t very good at predicting how — we usually underestimate it.
In fact, even though most of us admit we have changed in the past 10 or 20 years, we still think we’ll stay pretty much the same when we look forward a decade or two.29
That can make it difficult to plan ahead by ourselves. And it can create problems for those who refuse to adapt.
When we’re able to stay flexible and adjust our plans as things change, it doesn’t really matter if predictions miss the mark or the future brings something we never saw coming. We’ll be ready, and we’ll be able to adapt and make the most out of whatever the future throws our way.
SOURCES & DISCLOSURES
1 - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0924224421000844
2 - https://time.com/see-the-wearable-tech-of-the-future/
3 - https://time.com/5634791/smart-homes-future/
4 - https://www.iges.or.jp/en/publication_documents/pub/discussionpaper/en/7015/Society+and+Lifestyles+in+2050_Insights+from+a+Global+Survey+of+Experts_IGES+Discussion+Paper.pdf
5 - https://etp-nanomedicine.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Nanomedicine-SRIA-2016-2030.pdf
6 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2813556/
7 - https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/27/now-is-the-time-to-figure-out-the-ethical-rights-of-robots-in-the-workplace.html
8 - https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2019/02/government-cant-keep-up-with-technologys-growth
9 - https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/06/the-open-ai-ecosystem
10 - https://futurism.com/a-robot-that-will-replace-your-smartphone-is-already-in-the-works
11 - https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2014/08/06/predictions-for-the-state-of-ai-and-robotics-in-2025/
12 - https://www.wired.com/insights/2015/02/the-future-of-wearable-tech/
13 - https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/20/apple-facebook-microsoft-battle-to-replace-smartphone-with-ar.html
14 - https://atap.google.com/jacquard/
15 - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32275380/
16 - https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/academic/The_Future_of_Employment.pdf
17 - https://www.theverge.com/2020/2/27/21155254/automation-robots-unemployment-jobs-vs-human-google-amazon
18 - https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/11/roblox-rblx-goes-public-with-a-bet-on-the-metaverse.html
19 - https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/26/robots-could-take-over-20-million-jobs-by-2030-study-claims.html
20 - https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2019/03/21/the-future-of-work-in-the-automated-workplace/
21 - https://medium.com/swlh/careers-of-the-future-42-new-professions-of-tomorrow-5d3905f8513
22 - https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20201111-the-flying-car-is-here-vtols-jetpacks-and-air-taxis
23 - https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2019/02/government-cant-keep-up-with-technologys-growth/
24 - https://docs.cdn.yougov.com/9dnks44r2n/econTabReport.pdf
25 - https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/03/how-uncertainty-fuels-anxiety/388066/
26 - https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/03/remembering-first-smartphone-simon-ibm/
27 - https://www.usg.edu/galileo/skills/unit07/internet07_02.phtml#:~:text=January%201%2C%201983%20is%20considered,Protocol%20(TCP%2FIP)
28 - https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/it-moral-values/
29 - https://healthland.time.com/2013/01/04/our-personalities-are-constantly-changing-even-if-we-think-theyre-not/
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