Published May 09, 2013
Buckle down for the ride.
Just when you thought speech-enabled tablets were cool. In the future, your car won't just find a parking spot, it will know where you like to park. The dollar will be replaced by not just an encrypted currency like bitcoin, but by a currency of knowledge and social connection. And your home will become a digital, customizable expression of your tastes.
1. The currency of you
Tech pundits have predicted the age of encrypted currency for years. And it makes sense: you’ll purchase a piece of encrypted data like a bitcoin, storing them in a protected digital vault. Bitcoins could eventually replace the digital (or paper) currency we all use.
Yet, according to security expert Tal Klein at Bromium, the far-future trend will shift even further. Someday, your currency might be tied to your own identity.
“You will be worth what you know and can contribute,” he told FoxNews.com. “That will be measured on an open exchange that will remind you of your real-time worth. It will be like a mash-up of NASDAQ, bitcoin and LinkedIn.”
2. Robots everywhere!
Robots are already popping up everywhere -- the iRobot vacuum cleaner, a swimming pool bot that doesn’t need any oxygen to go underwater, or that Audi A8 that brakes for you.
Dmitry Grishin from Grishin Robotics says robots in the future will be even more common than phones and tablets today: there will be small home bots for cooking, laundry, and decorating. But, they’ll be like the vacuum bots, not androids you see in movies. (Think: small and mobile enough to move around the whole house.)
“There will be robots in agriculture, defense and medicine,” Grishin said. “These robots will protect us, cultivate our raw food, and take care of our health -- and look after our parents.”
3. Cars with an “intent engine”
The term “intent engine” is a little hard to understand. After all, we have nothing quite like it today. Yet, the car of the future will know your intentions and predict what you like.
Nick Pudar, a vice president at OnStar, says the future car will keep track of your day, recording where you go and bookmarking interesting sights. For example, you might pass a restaurant and log (probably by voice) that you’d like to dine there someday. A few months later, the car might remind you of your intent. It might even direct you to the parking spot you usually like, say, by a shady oak tree.
“[The future car could offer] geolocation bookmarking for later serendipitous retrieval,” he told FoxNews.com. “It could track not just where I’ve been but also where I want to go.”
4. Direct brain interfaces
We might not all have bald heads and power cords stuck to our ears, but we could be wirelessly connected to computers at some point in the future -- much like the Borg on "Star Trek." (Hopefully, we won’t be as scary or bent on world conquest.)
Tom Furness, a University of Washington engineering professor and co-inventor of the Visualant ChromaID, a chemical scanner, told FoxNews.com that a direct brain interface will mean “typing” a document with our minds, thinking of a command and making it happen (“turn on sprinkler system”), and even imagining something and then printing it on a 3D printer.
Robots will be everywhere, of course -- and we’ll have them do our bidding without saying a word. “Computers will communicate with humans in the form of interactive robots that can serve as counselors, playmates and teachers,” he said.
5. The customizable home
The connected home of today already senses when you get home from work and can turn on the lights or raise the temperature to a desired level. In the future, much like how your car can predict what you want, your home will be more automated to meet your needs.
Jeremy Warren, the vice president of innovation at Vivint, a home automation and security company, says home customization will change in subtle but important ways. One example of this: a new form of paint might emit a soft glow and change during the day to match your mood or the weather conditions outside. He says new research will show how lighting affects us, and the home will respond in kind.
Display technology and security features will also evolve. We might not have a fixed camera on a wall or on a desk; the entire home might be able to show information. “There will be a paradigm shift to a display in the home that’s more flexible and does what you want -- say, a kitchen countertop that makes a recipe appear as soon as you look at it.