Five Technological Advancements I Realistically Hope I See in My Lifetime

The progress of technology in today’s day and age is both extremely fast and incredibly slow. Eighty years ago, people thought we’d all be driving around in flying cars and living on the moon by now. But conversely, no one ever really predicted how the world would evolve because of things like the internet or devices like the microchip.

But there are some things I would like to see before my short time on this earth is over, and in this post, I’m going to try and be realistic about them. If I’m lucky, I’ve probably got another 60 years left, and in that time, here’s what I’d like to see.

Self-Driving Cars

Yes, I’m going to stop you right there, as I know these already exist. Google has been working on this project for years, and has a self-driving car that works almost to perfection. What I’m looking for is mass adoption of the concept.

Driving, while fun some of the time, might be the biggest waste of time in a human’s life. If self-driving cars became the standard mode of transportation, everyone would increase their work or leisure time by a significant margin, as driving falls into neither category for most.

Add in the hope that these cars could all run on something other than gasoline, and the planet would be a lot cleaner. Not to mention the fact that auto accidents, a huge cause of death in the world, would be significantly decreased with driving free of human error.

A Man on Mars

Everyone keeps telling me that we’ll have a “manned mission to Mars” in 10-15 more years. I’ve been hearing that my whole life, and it’s a sentiment that’s been around for decades.

But with our space program cut down to nothing, it’s clear we’re going to have to wait a lot longer for this to become  a reality. Sadly, I think this is the one on this list that might be the most unlikely, as if we haven’t gone back to even the moon since the ’70s, who’s to say that in another 40 years, things will be any different?

Our space program is the only technological sector that actually seems to be going backward rather than forward. It’s not the scientists fault, but the earth has just deemed what they do not relevant enough to our current problems to give them any significant research and operations cash at all. I hope to see that change in my lifetime, and to see a man on Mars would be one of the most amazing moments of my life, even if it is just a baby step out into the universe.

A Cure for…Something

Medical advancements are continuing at a rapid pace, but though new treatments exist for the worst diseases on earth, cures are another thing entirely.

I really hope that in the next 60 years, an actual cure is developed for a major ailment such as HIV, cancer or both. How likely this is, I do not know, but honestly I give it a better chance of happening than the moon landing.

But is there money in “cures”? Don’t healthcare companies just want to sell treatment indefinitely? I would hope they aren’t actually that malicious to withhold something like that, but I can’t be sure.

True AI

We’re getting there, and I hope to see robots with fully formed personalities in my lifetime. Concepts like this exist, and pieces of advanced robotics are everywhere, but they have yet to combine themselves into one truly impressive machine.

I do not fear the robot apocalypse, as if you do, you’ve been watching too many sci-fi movies, but I think the old dream of a robot in every house (that isn’t a Roomba) might actually come to pass within my lifetime.

When I get my robot butler, I shall name him Sparks.

More than a Two Party System in America

Yeah, thought all my things were going to be sci-fi, didn’t you? Though even past Mars, this might be the most tricky of all.

It’s no secret to anyone in the world that US politics is a joke, with one side being pretty bad, and the other being even worse (I’ll leave it to you to decide which is which). The famous South Park choice between a “giant douche and a turd sandwich”  illustrates our false dichotomy of choice which has existed for way, way too long.

Before I die, I’d love to see the rise of a true third, fourth or fifth party which would actually give us a range of candidates to vote for, rather than a coinflip where neither option is particularly palatable. As for the “technology” qualifier that reflects the title of this post, I would love if one of these parties was tech, science and education focused as their main platform, as they’d have my vote every single year. I can dream, can’t I?

What about you? What do you want to see in your lifetime.

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  1. Be careful what you wish for. We have something like 40 Political Parties in my country, and used to have 4-7 candidates for presidency. They were all shit anyway, and now we’re stuck with a bad president and just having him up for reelection against one of the oposition candidates.

  2. I would support a technocrat party, but good like finding engineers and scientists willing to put in the time to learn how to talk and talk and talk…without saying anything of substance.

    Per cures, we have a much better understanding of a variety of physical problems we didn’t understand before. For example, complex diseases were often lumped together into one massive label, not realizing the scope of the problem. Cancer is caused by almost everything, yet treatments are constantly improving. Small Pox is completely preventable. Does anyone remember how devastating that was? My dad tells me the story of how a nun entered his classroom to tell his 1st grade class that doctors were there to vaccinate them against small pox and the class erupted in a party because everyone realized they weren’t going to die or be crippled like their parents’ generation. HIV/AIDS (maybe I am dating myself here) is no longer a quick death sentence. The biggest problem facing medicine, just as in food production, is not creating it…its getting it out to the people that need it. Its often used as a political tool (such as access to medicine and food in Africa used as a way to keep ethnic groups under control).

    China is going back to the moon in our life time. I would put it around 2040-2050 though they claim 2030. This is in support of a continued commitment to put personnel on Mars eventually. The civilian investment in low earth orbit is incredible exciting as it allows a low cost, timely availability for low or zero G research without having to depend on NASA which is expensive and impossible to get scheduling with them to support any independent research. What I mean is this…say I want to do research on grain structure development in a zero G environment. Even if a ticket costs $10,000 for a two hour ride, I get two tickets, one for a technician, another for my test chamber and equipment (give me a weight and volume requirement and I can make it work), that is nothing compared to the cost of getting NASA to do it and the waiting list for one of their missions. Its going to be like an event horizon where research into space is going to rapidly increase when there are more than just one US government agency controlling access to research.

    Its very difficult to predict the future because as humans, we tend to imagine that our current situation is like it always has been and will remain the same. Its an exciting time to be alive!

  3. Here in Mexico there can be as many parties as can comply with certain rules. It’s usually about 7, but many of them are too small to actually get any votes, so it comes down to 3: a giant douche, a turd sandwich, and a pus taco.

  4. The problem with Libertarians is propaganda: Look it up on Wikipedia and all you read about is Anarchy.

    But the definition of a Libertarian is: A person who is conservative on Fiscal issues and a liberal on social issues.

    I loathe the fact, “Frothy mixture” is getting votes from religious crackpots who don’t understand that in this Democratic society, you can push your views onto people who don’t have the same values PERIOD.

    Meanwhile, the other side has no idea how to create jobs and run an economy (unless of course their goal is to loot the 99% for the 1% which is what they’ve done so far).

  5. The cure for AIDS is much, much, closer than you think. I’ve read about some huge breakthroughs. I wish these kind of news got better coverage. Want better news? A vaccine for Malaria is being tested and will be ready in just a few years. It will save like a bazillion lives.

    I want to see the battery of the future already. Super small, able to power any gadget for months.

    Oh, and the condom of the future. For decades we’ve only had different variations of rubbery that still fail ocassionally. We deserve better.

  6. I forget where I read it, but pharmaceutical companies do want the cure for things, there’s no conspiracy to “keep people sick”. Once they have the cure, they already have the network to: manufacture, patent, test, and distribute. AIDS is a world wide disease, and any possible cure is going to be way more complex than something easily counterfeited or generic-branded like aspirin or viagara. Those type of drugs are just chemicals that alter the body’s homeostasis to relieve a problem. An actual cure to AIDS is going to have to target a very specific virus, and that means a very specific drug manufacturing process that most companies simply won’t be able to match. That, and, in places like Africa, where they can’t afford the cure for everyone, the disease will still exist and in a widespread way, so charities will still be frequent customers.

  7. True Virtual Reality? Or at least some kind of contact lens or implant that enables us to see an enhanced reality without having to look through a phone.

    Just imagine, you could put make-up on every ugly person around you (or a paper bag) without them knowing!

  8. I don’t necessarily want to see a third party in this country until they revamp the entire government so corruption is actually recognized as corruption and not as “Just the way things are.” For example, company X makes widgets. Widgets sell for huge bucks, because Company X holds all the rights to Widgets. Widget production also pollutes the hell out of the atmosphere, if they are produced cheaply. Company X wants to continue to produce Widgets as cheaply as possible, because the head execs want to buy gold plated airplanes as stocking stuffers for their children. So, Company X donates several million dollars to both parties, so that when it comes time to vote on that bill which would say that Widgets are going to have to be produced in a less polluting way, no matter who wins, they will think twice about messing with Company X.

    The United states is no longer a country run by the people, for the people. It is run by big business. And any additional party that comes along will be corrupted right along with the others. So, I think we first need to take this country back, to make it for the people, by the people… then and only then, can we have additional parties. Parties that won’t allow Company X to make their Widgets using coal, when they can make them using solar power instead. Companies that won’t let Company X be the only one allowed to make Widgets. And that Company X cannot donate to any election in order to “buy” favors.

  9. You people saying AIDS is about to be cured and big pharma really does want to help you are incredibly delusional. AIDs is still pretty much a certain death sentence, unless you have the funds to pay for ridiculously expensive drugs and that’s no guarantee either. You don’t need to be in Africa to not be able to “afford the cure”. The cost of those drugs only goes up the farther it goes out and the more hands it passes thru.

    Pharmaceutical companies aren’t charitable organizations that only want to help.

  10. A viable third party won’t happen until we have proportional representation. Given that to have that happen either the notoriously lazy American public would have to overthrow the government or the main benefactors of a two party system (politicians) would have to change the system from within, I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.

  11. You didn’t mention space elevators. Also, I’m concerned about AI technology only because legislation always lags when dealing with technology which means corporate enslavement of living beings.

  12. I’m a medical student at a Canadian university. The thing about “cures” for diseases, including things like cancer and HIV/AIDS is that the public idea of a cure is a pill you can take once, and not have a disease anymore. Medicine is so much more complicated than that, and while there are diseases we can cure, its extremely rare to be with a one stop treatment (the only example I can think of off the top of my head is a short term course of antibiotics to treat a simple bacterial infection). And even the word cure doesn’t really have medical meaning. To the public/media it means “to remove the disease state from a person.” Doctors use terms like treatment and therapy, because in medicine nothing is absolute, and just because you have an excellent treatment and prognosis for something, doesn’t mean it will work for everyone.

    Example: most breast cancers, if caught early enough, can be treated to complete remission (a word as close to cure that medicine uses) with surgery, +/- radiation, +/- chemotherapy and hormone therapy. But we can’t do that for everyone, as it depends on the type of cancer and how advanced it is at discovery, and whether its spread, and even if we could, it still wouldn’t be viewed by a cure by the media, because it is a prolongued, exhausting treatment protocol that still has to be undertaken. So breast cancer is still researched and interest groups still raise money for a cure, which I absolutely agree with, because you can always improve on the treatments you have already.

    There are many medical problems can be treated with indefinate use of medication to stop long term symptoms or complications of disease, but because the treatment must be taken forever, the public doesn’t think of it as a cure (example: taking blood pressure medications, or using daily steroid inhalers to prevent asthma attacks).

    Additionally, the media misinterprets a significant amount of scientific research and data. I can’t read about media interpretation of scientific breakthroughs without thinking that they got something wrong – just because research found another gene linked to cancer doesn’t mean that a cure for cancer is around the corner.

    A really good resource for this kind of stuff is the book “Bad Science” by Ben Goldacre. He writes in a way that most people can understand and explains how a lot of the medical system works, and mistakes that have been made and are still being made. It includes things like how pharmaceutical companies work and how medical advances are made and understood. Its really well written with a lot of humor/hilarious examples (much more humor than my very dry blog comment).

    And, end ridiculously long response to your blog.

  13. I would like to see the whole world organised like Scandinavia, with their free education, high standards of living and low crime rate.
    On the technological side, genetically modified humans, which is what I’m aiming for (I’m studying genetics at university for this express purpose).

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