Predicting the Future?

January 17th, 2013

Like the author Jules Verne and futurist Michio Kaku, you can take a look at current technology and technology on the cutting edge, and use that information to predict what the future may hold. You may at times think something is not possible, but as you read about innovators revolutionizing their industry, the possibilities start to open and anything is possible. As long as the laws of physics aren't broken, according to our current understanding of physics, the impossible can become possible with a dream and the hard work of those who dare to believe.

Kitchen of the Future

So the rest of this article may not seem as epic as the first paragraph, but this is what our near future may hold.

One of the problems facing our planet today is meeting the demand for agriculture in regards to land, volume, agriculture logistics, and the affects on the planet associated with growing, transporting goods, and waste. You may have read articles about the average American family throwing away thousands of dollars every year in expired food. As a nation and planet, we will have to learn to use our resources more efficiently with less waste.

With the advent of RFID (Radio-frequency identification) chips, we may soon keep track of what's in our refrigerator without opening it up. RFID chips can be installed in everything from shirts to your milk cartons. Product information will be stored on the chips such as expiration date, best by date, manufacturer, ingredients, and more. As we see smarter appliances, they will be able to interact with RFID chips and provide feedback to the consumer. With enhancements, it may even tell you how much of the product you have left by weight.

Hearing your kids say "There's nothing to eat" may be a phrase of the past (wishful thinking). Even though you may not be an Iron Chef and able to throw something together from nothing in the pantry (unlike my sister-in-law) you may someday open a helpful kitchen app on your favorite mobile device. This will pull information about the food in your pantry or fridge and search a database for recipes that include the ingredients you do have. Not only that, you may request recipes that use ingredients that are close to expiring so that you are less wasteful.

You may no longer have to write a grocery list with these smart devices. Your fridge might be able to learn what you buy frequently, how quickly you go through each item, and even notify you about recalls of tainted food products and suggest alternative brands. This can build the base of your grocery list and you just have to add on those midnight delights that add those wonderful love handles. Of course, it would be all voice activated.

Healthcare of the Future

Over the past few years, healthcare has caused heated debates. Okay, longer than a few years. In regards to outcomes and cost, the United States is not on the top of the list anymore. We need to gain control of costs and become more efficient before healthcare eats this economy alive or dead.

The United States is already starting to move into the 21st century with our healthcare system and infrastructure. In 2010, the Memorial Care Network adopted an EMR (Electronic Medical Records) system. The idea is to help reduce the waste and administrative fees associated with maintaining those records as well as improving the quality of patient care. It's estimated that 72% of office-based physicians have adopted an EMR system.

At CES (Consumer Electronics Show) this year, there were lots of peripherals to add to your Smartphone. Some were zany and some may be in everyone's home in the coming years. Of those that peaked my creative juices, though have been out already, are those that can monitor our vitals and analyze our environment. Sounding more like a Star Trek Tricorder?

Have an emergency? No longer will you need to call 911, you will open your environment to 911. Not feeling very good and not sure if you should go to the emergency room? Start a video chat with 911. Upload your vitals and stats about your environment for possible contaminants. Perhaps it's a carbon monoxide leak. Maybe it's just cold or flu. Trained professionals will be able to direct you to the proper care. Diverting people from the emergency room to urgent care can help save money and relieve our overburdened emergency rooms. With the right software, a 911 operator could also provide visual assistance on how to keep someone alive until an ambulance can arrive.

Shopping in the Future

The world of manufacturing has grown in sophistication with the assembly line and robotics, to name a few. We are now seeing 3D printing or additive manufacturing. This allows manufacturers to make products stronger and more elaborate while also reducing costs by eliminating waste. This manufacturing process is still in its infancy, but we are already seeing consumer products come to market.

In the shopping mall of the future, with your internet connected device, you will no longer need to go somewhere to buy anything. If you order it online, you won't have to wait for it to be delivered. The blueprint of your purchase will be sent to your 3D printer sitting next to your desk. Buy and print your very own GearPower Ultra Capcity Mobile Power Station by IOGEAR.

When products don't have to be manufactured, shipped, warehoused, distributed, and sent to a retailer for profit, you may be able to buy products much cheaper. This will also reduce the costs for entrepreneurs to get their product to market allowing for greater diversity of products and brands.

Pushing this type of technology even further and combining nano-technology, we could really create what ever we wanted Gene Rodenberry may not have been too far off with his imagination of the replicator. But it also leads me to ask, how will this kind of technology affect our monetary system and the drive to work hard?

I am certainly no futurist, but I was able to connect some dots with today's technology. What do you think the future may hold?

About the Author

Brandon Orth

Brandon Orth

Brandon is a web developer with knowledge in HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, Javascript, and jQuery and has been developing since 2005. Brandon has been with IOGEAR since 2010. He is recently married with one kid, a Chihuahua, name Cisco (he was adopted with that name). Brandon enjoys playing golf, baseball, programming, science, technology, movies, music, and much more. Always make a side dish without onions and cilantro; he's allergic. Isn't that weird?