Technology has been increasing at ever increasing speeds for centuries. The technological change used to come slowly, but with each passing year it’s increasing faster and faster.
There are many side effects to this technological change that we encounter in our families and communities. These changes affect how we shop, learn and raise our families among many other things. Read on to learn more about some innovative technology that has the possibility of causing huge disruptions in life as we currently know it.
According to Wikipedia, in 3D printing “additive processes are used, in which successive layers of material are laid down under computer control. These objects can be of almost any shape or geometry, and are produced from a 3D model or other electronic data source. A 3D printer is a type of industrial robot.”
How often do you go to Wal-Mart or Target to buy something? Imagine if you could make many of those things in the comfort of your home by using a 3D printer that only required you to input a few raw materials - like some plastic or metal. You would no longer need to travel to the store to buy something. All you would need is to find the directions online and then print it out yourself.
This innovative technology could revolutionize the way we shop and live our lives. By keeping a few raw materials around the house, we’d have the ability to create much of what we needed at home. How convenient would that be?
A study out of Oxford University suggests that nearly half of all American jobs are at risk of being automated in the next decade. This includes many different jobs that robots or computers could perform instead of paying people to do them.
This would have a major effect on labor markets since so many people would become unemployed as a result. Self-driving cars and trucks could revolutionize many industries. Taxi drivers would no longer be required and long distance trucking companies wouldn’t need to employ truck drivers. This same technology could be used to operate forklifts and agricultural equipment, further reducing the number of jobs lost.
Many other jobs could be automated as well. Take for example fast food workers. If robots or machines are developed that can properly cook the food that is currently made by fast food workers many, or most, of those jobs will be lost as well.
Of course we’ll also need people to set up, maintain and repair the machines, but in all likelihood the net job loss would be significant.
3. Life Extension
It should come as no surprise that people are living longer. Improvements in medicine have increased the lifespan over the centuries and that trend is expected to continue.
Scientists have now been able to reverse the ageing process in mice and have started experimenting with the same process in humans, saying the results look “promising.”
According to an article on www.abc.net.au David Sinclair, Professor of Genetics at Harvard University, says "We've discovered genes that control how the body fights against aging and these genes, if you turn them on just the right way, they can have very powerful effects, even reversing ageing - at least in mice so far."
It’s too early to tell what kind of effect this will have on humans. It’s possible we’ll be living much longer and much healthier, or the results may not be able to be replicated in humans. It’s also possible it won’t extend the length of life, but that people will be much healthier into their later years.
This future technology could drastically change the way humans live their lives. Many are already delaying retirement past the traditional age of 65. If given another 2-3 decades of good health, many might decide to continue working even longer which would change the demographics of the workforce. People might also delay having children if they know they will have more years of good health to raise them, thus changing the family structure as well.
4. Augmented Reality Technology
The idea behind augmented reality is that through technology we can blend our physical and digital worlds. Imagine training for a high stress job that requires someone to make split second decisions. If this training was done through augmented reality you would get real experience working in an environment where a mistake could cost lives - say firefighting or police work, without the real life repercussions doing something incorrectly would result in.
There are many applications beyond just that scenario as well. By blending our physical and digital worlds, we’d have a wealth of information before us at all times. We’d be able to connect with people and our devices in many different ways that aren’t available right now. Microsoft has put out a great video that shows some of the many applications this technology could have.
I think this looks fascinating and depending on how the technology develops could prove to have a big impact on our future lives. Can you imagine sitting in a meeting with other people who are hundreds or thousands of miles away, but look like they’re sitting right next to you?
It’s possible not all of these technologies will become reality or that they’re decades away from being a part of everyday life. Even so, it’s fun to think about how innovative technology is going to shape and change our future. We live in a world that is constantly undergoing change and the rate of that change is the fastest it’s ever been. It’s definitely an exciting time to be alive!