Cars & Gadgets
Tech Trends That Will Change Our Lives in 10 to 20 Years
Virtual chat rooms, airship tourism, designer babies, and artificial beef?
IMAGE COLLAGE JP Meneses
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Technology is evolving at an unprecedented rate and we are barely keeping pace. Come to think of it, our work desk filled with office equipment 20 years ago has now become the equivalent of just a bunch of apps in our laptop or phone. We can only expect technology trends that look too futuristic now to become the norm in a couple of years. Here are some noteworthy innovations:

Virtual Reality


VR has been in existence since the '90s but has only gained traction in the last three years. The things we can do with this piece of technology are quite promising, and will definitely change the way how we create, interact, and consume media content in the near future, so long as we don't mind wearing something that looks like one of Lady Gaga's bizarre headgears. Virtual reality will basically revolutionize how we live our digital lives. But don't worry, VR headsets are getting better and sexier each year, and besides, looking goofy (for now, at least) is a sacrifice we are more than willing to take if it means a better, more engaging way to interact with people, shop online, or plan vacations.

 

Clean Energy


Provided we can survive the consequences of Donald Trump's anti-environment agenda in the next four years, there's still hope that we can live in a world run by clean, renewable energy. China “unofficially” took the torch from the U.S. as the global leader in combating climate change, and several other countries have taken bold steps to become coal-free as well. Private companies like Tesla and its visionary CEO Elon Musk are investing heavily on solar energy and electric cars, and scientists are still hard at work in discovering innovations that make clean energy more efficient and affordable. Green energy is indeed the future.

Designer Babies


The rapid progress in genetic science in the last couple of years has finally made “designer babies” a reality. It's literally giving parents the choice of how they want their children to be. And it's not just the gender or physical appearance, as editing the DNA of the embryos itself can also correct diseases caused by bad genes and passing those genetic fixes to future generations. It's a very sensitive subject and is still highly debated in scientific circles due to complicated, ethical issues.  

Smarter Everything


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While smartphones have revolutionized the way we interact with the world, the new wave of smart devices will change our lives even more. Driverless cars are now a thing and have been gaining momentum in the last few years, in spite of the legal issues its production is currently facing. Artificial intelligence-assisted smart speakers (also known as home assistants), such as Google Home and Amazon Echo, have also been slowly but steadily taking over households. Smart wearables are also getting a boost, and are not just limited to smartwatches and fitness trackers anymore. Drones, on the other hand, have become a common sight and may eventually become the courier of the future. Printers have also become smarter in the form of 3D printers, and as its namesake suggests, is literally printing (or replicating) any 3D object of varying shapes and sizes. That's a lot of smart stuff! Let's just hope we don't end up like the humans in Wall-E.

 

Future of Air Travel


A cruise along the shoreline of Italy's enchanting Amalfi Coast or the majestic White Cliffs of Dover in Britain is a breathtaking experience, but why not try it from a different perspective? The airships of the future are here, and thanks to advances in engineering, luxury airship travel is safer, more accessible, and enjoyable for tourists. Aside from being able to access remote locations, these aircraft-engineering marvels can also offer tourists a stunning aerial (or birds-eye?) view of their favorite destinations. For the jet-setter, supersonic commercial jets are already in the works. The existing small-scale prototypes still have a long way to go, but researchers are optimistic that a full-sized, 45-seater supersonic jet will be available by the 2020s. It's just a matter of convincing airline companies to adopt this huge leap in technology. To put things in perspective, the average flight duration from Sydney to Los Angeles is around 13 hours. With supersonic flight, that same distance can be achieved in 6 hours! Imagine all the stuff you can cram in your itinerary if air travel is cut in half.

 

“Fake” Meat

The meat industry as a whole is fast becoming unsustainable. It doesn't just contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, it's also taking up huge swathes of arable land, and consumes a lot of water, food, and fuel. So as an alternative, a physiologist from the University of Maastricht and his team of Dutch scientists came up with the world's first cultured beef that they assembled in a lab in 2013. The research had a slow, expensive start, but gained a small but significant progress in the last four years. If successful, we will be able to efficiently produce comparable, specific meat products in a lab instead of slaughtering a full-grown animal for a portion of porterhouse steak. If the idea of consuming lab-grown meat doesn't suit your palate, then consider the impossible burger. It's made of plant-based ingredients that "look, sizzle, feel, and even bleed like (the real) beef."

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John Patrick Meneses
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