The Future And You
Ideas and opinion about the future based on verifiable facts of today.
January 13, 2010 Episode

Celebrating the new decade with Part Two of the summary of the changes your host expects we will see during the next ten years.

Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the January 13, 2010 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 31 minutes] This was recorded on January 2, 2010.


By the end of this decade a wide variety of nanomaterials will be in almost all consumer products, and nanomaterials will become a mature field of engineering. Molecular manufacturing, however, will probably not be a mature engineering field, though many of the steps need to get us there will have been made.

The US war on terrorism will spread to many progressively tinier places scattered all around the world--places which are poorly governed, or not governed at all.

Atheism will increase, and the geographical locations where it carries a stigma will continue to shrink, but religions will still enjoy widespread popularity.

Cell phones will become increasingly computer-like, and increasingly Internet connected. However, cell phones will be replaced almost completely in the second half of the decade by eyeglass computer cell phones which will have full-color 3-D displays in their lenses which can highlight and label what you are looking at in your surroundings or show you the TV show you missed last night.

The Democratic Party might be foolish enough to split into two parties.

By 2020 there will be more robots than humans in the developed nations. These robots will perform a wide variety of tasks, and a great deal of work, but it will still be a decade or so before they are as smart as people.

A thousand miniature mole-like robots arrayed under the ground in a grid patten, and oriented like a vertical wall, will sweep once through an archaeological dig site and examine every grain of dirt for evidence of some past civilization. On that day archaeology will be changed forever.

By the end of this decade there will be at least a hundred digital video cameras for every human being in the developed world. Their ownership will be split between individuals, corporations and governments; but the balance of power will shift to the individuals because they have a thousand times more eyes than the corporations and a million times more eyes than the governments; as well as because individuals are quick to post online what annoys them so that it can annoy everyone else too. This ocean of cameras will cover the earth with a relentless scrutiny which will change civilization in many ways. For example: Although new crimes will be invented, the traditional crimes we are familiar with today such as smuggling, auto theft and burglary will become more an more impossible to get away with. Terrorists too will eventually fail and fade away under the relentless watch of six billion eyes: it will become increasingly impossible to hide their equipment, their actions, and finally themselves, in a world in which Google Earth can display every square inch of the planet in real time. Even the biggest and most powerful dictators will cringe under the coming scrutiny. Law abiding citizens will find it simultaneously annoying and reassuring.


Direct download: TFAY_2010_1_13.mp3
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