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Many are in awe of the technology we have today. Indeed, if you took someone from just a century and exposed them to the technologies of today (something forbidden by the Prime Directive), the person’s head would likely explode (a major reason why the Prime Directive forbids it). Cell phones, the internet, live sports on TV, microwaves ovens, cruise control, solar powered devices – previous generations would no doubt be very impressed by the technology.

However, I’m convinced that the future if we took a trip into the future, we like similarly be amazed by technological advances. I won’t try to look forward 100 years, but just 20. What will the world look like in 2031?  Here are a few of my thoughts.

Flying cars?

Flying cars have been on the drawing board for a long time.  There are a lot of advantages to flying cars.  There wouldn’t be wear and tear on roads, it would be easier to avoid collisions with other cars (since can move in three dimensions), and trips would be shorter as you could fly as the crow flies.

On the downside, planes (and by extensions, flying cars) are more difficult to operate (having a plane engine stall out is far worse than having your car engine stall at an intersection) and tend to be considerably more expensive.  Will be get there some day?  Probably – but not by 2031.

Automobile auto-pilot

Cars already have cruise control, crash avoidance systems, stability control, GPS, and some have the ability to parallel park themselves.  The next logical step is to take a page out of airplane handbook and add full auto-pilot technology to cars.  Pull up the GPS navigator, tell it where you want to go, kick your feet up, and let the car do all the work.

Electrified roadways

Researchers at MIT have developed Witricity – a technology that allows wireless transmission of electricity.

While it would be great to be able to cut the cord to consumer electronic devices, I think the real promise of this technology is related to automobiles.  Imagine driving down the road at 70 mph and have the battery in your electric car be recharged by Witricity stations in the roadway (powered by wind energy?)


There’s a basic rule when it comes to video screens.  As you get further from a screen, the screen needs to be larger in order for you to read it.

Conversely, the closer you are to the screen, the smaller it can be.

I wear prescription eyeglasses.  It would be great to watch whatever I wanted to via my glasses.  Books, movies, live sports, the internet, even the outside of my house could be flashed onto the lenses of my glasses.  This could make traditional videos screen redundant.

Expanded use of biometrics

I hate carrying around keys, credit cards, money, and other physical devices that do nothing but give us access to things.  I’d love to see expanded use of biometric – fingerprints, eye scans, or even implantable chips.  It would be nice if I could get into my home, office, or car just by being me – without needed to carry anything on my person.  Likewise, it would be great to buy things without having to pull out my wallet.

On a tangent … I’m a huge fan of NCIS, but they had a massive blooper in one episode.  A couple of people with high clearance were killed and their electronic chips were stolen so that some bad guys could gain access.  If this happened in the real world, you’d simply cancel the chip’s access immediately.  There are two basic components to a security system: authentication and authorization.  An id/password combination or biometric may authenticate who you are, but there needs to be authorization on the back end to actually grant you access.  Without both the proper authentication and authorization, you don’t get access.

Self-cleaning environment

You don’t have to be in the pew every Sunday to know that something’s wrong when we live in a country where we can send astronauts to an international space station but can’t get a toilet clean without getting down on our hands and knees.

Cleaning the house, washing dishes, and doing the laundry take a lot of time for the average family.  Surely there’s some technology that could allows things to be cleaned automatically, with not human interaction.


Seriously, if Calvin could invest one, why hasn’t the scientific community be able to duplicate his efforts.  Shameful.

While you’re at it, how about working on the food synthesizer from Star Trek.  It would be great to have a Monical’s pizza whenever I wanted one!


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