Predicting the Future of 2041
Welcome to October 21st, 2015, which has become known as “Back to the Future Day”.
This is the date that Marty McFly arrived at in 1989’s “Back to the Future 2”. Great scott! The future is finally here!
Looking ahead 26 years, these filmmakers actually got many of their predications for the future correct (flat screen TVs, biometric identification, drones), as well as some wrong (flying cars, fax machines at mailboxes, Jaws 19). There are even some of the wildest predictions in the movie, like hoverboards, that companies are actively working on right now.
In celebration of Back to the Future Day, we thought it would be fun to do what the filmmakers did and look 26 years into the future. We asked the people of Envision what they thought the world would look like in 2041. Here are some of our predictions:
There will be a large shift away from fossil fuels to renewable sources like solar and wind. Electric vehicles will be the primary vehicle out there due to large strides in battery technology
We will have implanted wearables – in your arm, contact lenses, etc. will be the norm.
Radio and TV will be in their death throes as everyone moves to a la carte and streaming consumption. There will also be “virtual” everything – from computer endpoints, to video games, to movies. Everything will be done through those implanted wearables and require the internet. This means that Internet outages will become infinitely more crippling.
Disney will own all forms of media entertainment (they already own Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, ABC, ESPN, plus the traditional Disney character library) and we will give all of our entertainment attention to the House of the Mouse.
We will have seen a manned mission to Mars.
Advanced 3D Printing
3D printers will be a household commodity and necessity for daily consumption of goods. These 2041 3D printers will have a selection print mediums to choose from and have the ability to composite one or more mediums (e.g. hard plastics and metals). Print instructions for objects would be sold as “one time use” online. Hence if you need a screwdriver, a set of solo red plastic cups, or a flower vase, you can order the instruction and it will be sent to the printer to be created.
Dynamic Biometric Scanners
Biometric security will be pervasive throughout the 2040’s, but the technology will have grown, moving from stationary press and hold tech to dynamic scanning on multiple surfaces. As the diminishing confidence in the security of usernames and passwords, society gives way to mandatory three factor authentication methods. There will be biometric technology integrated into payment methods, door handles, motorcycle handles, and safes.
As the automobile becomes more and more technologically advanced, so does the demands of the driver increase. By 2041, Heads Up Displays (HUDS) will be a standard feature of all new car sales. Just as ubiquitous as climate control is today. HUDS could display Google Maps in augmented reality, provide real time traffic notification, and display the interactive digital assistant (e.g. Cortana, Siri) for text, calls, and calendar appointments.
Power over Wireless
By 2041, wireless power will be a matured technology. Citizens will register use just like mobile data plans today. All new devices created will use this power over wireless technology. Legacy battery-powered devices can be outfitted with a power over wireless adapter to replace their lithium ion or AA/AAA batteries. Power over wireless will also be used for home appliances. This will give way to less reliance on the county’s aging electrical grid.
Digital Registration Administration (DRA)
Due to the decades of identity theft and cyber-crimes, the federal government commissioned the Digital Registration Administration or DRA, to ensure all US citizens on cyberspace are who they say they are. There will be a global idea that cyberspace will no longer be a place for anonymity and chaos. What was once the “Wild West” in 90’s and 00’s, the Internet is now a place of legitimate commerce and social existence. Therefore the DRA will require every citizen to be given a digital identity in lieu of self-created usernames for Internet use. The birth certificate process will include an assignment of a DRA-approved identity. By 2041, DRA-identity coupled with biometric data will replace the ancient SSN system. This will also lead to an accurate use of online voting for presidential candidates and census data gathering, as well as precise location-based accountability of all US citizens.
Laboratory Created Proteins
In 2041 there will wide public acceptance of laboratory created proteins. There will be large “Lab to Table” movement for cleaner, 100% sustainable meats. These soy-white meat hybrid proteins would be government regulated and be required to be packaged separately in green packaging.
One wishful prediction - hopefully robot bodies will be ready. This will help anyone whose poorly maintained flesh-body will be close to having run its course due to all of the greasy foods and poor upkeep.
See You in 2041
So will we see these advances in 2041? Who knows what the future will hold, but I am excited to come back to these predictions in 26 years to see what we got right, what we got wrong, and what incredible advances we hadn’t even considered for what I am sure will be an amazing future!