Technology has advanced significantly over the past two decades, but it’s nothing compared to what we’ll see in the coming decades. From new digital assistants like Alexa and Siri to augmented reality glasses, expect to see some incredible developments in the next few years and beyond. While it’s hard to predict the future of technology with any accuracy, there are still plenty of trends that should lead us toward some very interesting innovations indeed. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most exciting possibilities on the horizon and how they could change our lives (and drive our pocketbooks) for generations to come.
While it may seem like something out of Star Trek, quantum computers are actually happening now. Quantum computing uses a unique property of subatomic particles called superposition to allow data centers to store and process exponentially more information than today’s digital systems. Scientists believe a quantum computer could perform certain calculations much faster than existing computers can—perhaps even factorizing huge numbers quickly enough that it renders today’s encryption methods obsolete. The most advanced prototype quantum computer today is housed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, and has already been used successfully to execute basic mathematical problems.
While there are many services available, one of our favorites is Amazon Cloud Drive. All you need is an Amazon account and an internet connection, and you can store as much music or movies as you want—for free. If you need more storage space, it costs just $1 per year (or 99 cents a month) for every 20 GBs that you add. How awesome is that? And all of your files will be available on any compatible device such as Kindle Fire HDX. The catch: You’ll only be able to access files in Amazon Cloud Drive from your compatible devices. Still, if price is not a concern and you don’t mind placing some limits on your files, then it might be a perfect solution for you.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
At CES 2018, Vuzix unveiled a prototype of its Blade augmented reality glasses, which will be able to overlay graphics on top of real-world surroundings. While there are AR glasses on the market now (the Microsoft HoloLens is one example), they’re currently too expensive and bulky for widespread use. Vuzix hopes its new offering, expected to be available in 2018, will be more consumer-friendly. On display at CES were two examples of how these glasses could potentially enhance people’s lives—by providing helpful information as they work on cars or delivering training instructions when a user is offsite.
Want to make a smartwatch, ring, wristband or patch wearable? You can do it with off-the-shelf parts and microcontrollers that are simple enough for beginners. In fact, you can create something pretty spiffy even if you’ve never soldered anything before. Just follow these step-by-step instructions from Ladyada at Adafruit and make your own IoT device. The process is fun and rewarding, whether or not your creation ends up being revolutionary.
Artificial intelligence is becoming more advanced all of the time. From smartphones that recognize our faces and react differently depending on who’s in front of them, to self-driving cars that use radar and GPS signals, AI is changing how we live our lives—and even changing what it means to be human. Although these technologies can seem far-fetched, they are already a part of our lives. In fact, many technologists believe that AI will become even more integral as smart devices become smaller, faster and better integrated into everyday life. As consumers begin integrating AI into their daily routines at home and work, there are questions about what effects it will have on society as a whole. Are we sacrificing privacy for convenience? Will AI change how people interact with each other in social situations?
The way we store and access information is changing. With cloud storage gaining popularity and accessibility, hard drives are becoming less popular. If you want access to a certain file from your laptop, but it’s stored on your desktop computer at home, what do you do? You can buy a $100 external hard drive with all that info on it… or you can simply log into your iCloud account, right?
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