Top predictions for the future:
A list of predictions for the future of the world has been drawn up by
Urmee Khan, Digital and Media Correspondent
Last Updated: 8:48AM BST 02 Apr 2009
1: Citywide free Wi-Fi ( by the year 2010)
And not just supplied by the local authority.
"A crowdsourced Wi-Fi network would be created if everyone turned off the encryption on their home Wi-Fi." Saul Parker, anthropologist
2: Rapid bioassays (2013)
Studying the effects of drugs on the body gets simpler and quicker, thanks to biosensitive computer chips that can give accurate, instant readings.
3: Care robots (2014)
Not robots with true AI, but helpful machines nonetheless.
4: Life-browsing (2014)
"As more of our lives go digital, we may use a program to sort our data. And it could hook up to software that understands the things people forget." Eric Horvitz, Microsoft Research
5: Intelligent advertising posters (2015)
Advertising gets personal. Posters that adjust to your presence and address you personally become as common as TV ads tailored to your profile.
6: Window power (2017)
Environmentally sustainable buildings aren't just carbon neutral, they will also make a clean contribution to the power grid in the form of solar-powergenerating windows.
7: Intelligent packaging (2017)
Using smart RFID chips, the food packages in your cupboard will talk to each other, then suggest what you can make if you combine them.
8: Energy-efficient buildings (2017)
The architect Norman Foster reflects that "architectural tastes will probably be driven by the global ambition to develop a sustainable way of living," although these new buildings will still have to be "a great place to be".
The problem is that glass and concrete structures are not that energy-efficient. Richard Silberglitt, senior physical scientist at the RAND Corporation, imagines new buildings using lightweight "third-generation solar collectors" instead of glass for windows. An example of this would be the Grätzel cell, which is based on a "nanoparticle of titanium dioxide and a dye that's a solar absorber". Jim Cramer, co-founder of the Design Futures Council, sees most buildings as being energy-neutral in ten to 15 years' time.
9: Teledildonics (2018)
Remote-control sexual stimulation. "There are Japanese scientists who are focusing ultrasound into a pinpoint, creating sound that you can touch in
the air." Violet Blue, sex columnist
10: Active contact lenses (2018)
These will project words and images into the eye. We will also be able to download software to influence our dreams and share them with others.
11: Meal-replacement patches (2018)
A patch will deliver all the nutrients you need without your having to open your mouth.
12: Non-touch computer interfaces (2018)
Operate a computer without touching anything, using gestures instead. "Still ten years away partly because of the need for accurate tracking." Vint Cerf, Google.
13: Nanotech drugs (2018)
Treatments will deliver themselves directly to the site of the problem. Office video walls Networked offices will take video conferencing to the next level. This could develop into "holographic projections" by 2030. Jeremy Gutsche, trend-hunter
14: Everything online
Internet-protocol (IP) addresses, the numbers that identify computers on a network, are running out. But their replacement, IPv6, will create such a vast amount of new ones, Vint Cerf tells us, that a very large number of devices can be part of the interactive environment.
"I'm anticipating that several hundreds of millions of devices will be online. A lot will be very small things – sensors, for example, for local ambient information such as temperature, humidity and possibly the detection of biohazards. Or they might be used to monitor and control building conditions or security devices." Chris Bishop sees this as leading to the fully automated home in ten to 20 years – and we are already on the way. "Some estimates show a typical modern house has around 100 fully programmable computers and this looks set to increase."
15:Folk-art revival (2019)
"Media production tools will be in the hands of the people, and theline between pro and amateur media is blurred." Douglas Rushkoff, professor of media culture,
Wired predictions collected by Charlie Burton