The Future and Innovations That May Rock Your World
We’ve been on the verge of so many fundamental technological, sociological and psychological breakthroughs in this adolescent century that it’s tempting to nod and smile and get all adult about just how exciting the future will be – once it gets here, of course.
But the threshold scouts at Fast Company haven’t lost their childlike fascination with life’s potential to change for the better. They recently explored 14 bold movements and innovations, some of which may rock our world before this century is out of its teens.
On a personal level, there’s the growing possibility that we’ll one day witness an end to poverty as governments embrace the concept of a guaranteed basic income. While this movement may only become possible because the global one percent finds itself in desperate need of consumers with pocket change, can you imagine a world, finally, with no have-nots?
The basic necessities of food, housing, clean water, medical care and Netflix are already spurring innovation in these amazing ways:
- Farms are morphing into highly-efficient, network-optimized living produce machines half their previous size, overseen by drones and protected from harm by handheld pathogen detection systems.
- Americans are installing solar panels and not only moving off the energy grid, but selling their home-baked kilowatts to their neighbors and even back to the power company.
- Lightweight, luggable bicycles are the trendy new/old transportation option for urban dwellers.
- The “Internet of things” is creating interactive homes that can clean themselves, appliances that learn our preferences and patterns, and cars that will soon drive themselves. There’s even a move underway to grow synthetic leather for home furnishings, car seats and haute couture.
- The doctor is always in, thanks to a dizzying variety of home health monitors and devices that tell your physician all they need to know about you remotely without your physical presence.
- What’s more, it’s going to become much easier to stay fit in the comfort of your own home, thanks to designers who are figuring out ways to make our furniture less comfortable for our own good.
Once we’ve managed to eradicate poverty and hunger, futurists predict we’ll turn our attention to addressing global sustainability. Data collection companies are already capturing satellite images to catch companies in the act of destroying the environment. They may soon use their technological tools to combat drought, carbon emissions and even global warming.
With much less on our global plate to worry about, forward-thinking designer Julien Thomas plans to introduce one more giant step for mankind next year when he unveils the first London coffee shop that automatically blocks all wireless signals.
Then again, maybe we should linger on this threshold for just a little longer!