In the future ...
See also my page on inventions:
Wearable Personal Experience Streaming
- People will wear personal video and audio recording devices that are interconnected. They will be able to share experiences out in the world with others who will also share their cams, and others who merely want to watch. The video and audio will be indexed and searchable across groups of people. See my Laramie/Inventions#Personal_Experience_Streaming page. Currently, people are working on wearable computers.
Human Brain Project
- There will be a massive Human Brain Project, similar to the Human Genome Project. It will involve massively parallel computer processing, and a distributed group of people mapping out all the neurons, pathways and connections in the brain. Amazing things will be discovered about human thought and human need for certain types of thought and experience, in areas of music, art, learning, religion, philosophy, dreams, metaphysics, telepathy and social relationships.
Computers to be Monitored
- All work computers will be monitored. The idea of personal privacy on a work-provided machine will be gone. Currently, scanning of eMail is allowed and practiced. And currently the trend in Corporatia is the house workers in "bullpens" -- areas with all the computers facing outward from a central mega-cube. Thus all workers and anyone walking through the space may see everyone's desktop at all times, and the worker's back is to everyone else, so the worker can't really tell who is watching. Also, corporate firewalls are getting more restrictive in what sites they allow. At my current employer, I'm not allowed to visit any site that is a discussion forum, or any site that is webmail. These policies will be extended to monitoring the virtual desktop via remote control software and keyloggers, such that at any time throughout the day, someone, maybe your boss, maybe a security person, will be seeing your virtual desktop on his desktop. You won't know when, so you'll behave as though it is omnipresent. From there, video recognition, API level monitoring, and keylogging will be used by datamining applications to recognize patterns of behavior, under the guise of "security," but extending to protections against "insubbordination," "inappropriate use of work resources," "harassment," and eventually chilling any expression (eMail, discussion, chat, blogging) or privacy (surfing, personal files) on computers for the vast majority of workers.
Computer-Routed Modular Rail Transportation and Shipping
This is more of a wish/invention, because I don't actually believe Americans will ever get their act together enough to implement anything this socialist. Perhaps if you can view it in the most exploitable, free-market way, then that could actually be the future.
The nation's rail lines are updated to connect every district in the country via the main trunk lines, and some high-speed lines are installed in major corridors. Freeways are converted to have rail lanes. Personal vehicles ride double-decker along with frieght on the train, all routed by computer.
Personal vehicles are lightweight, and have little electric, direct-drive motors. Each vehicle holds two people and a few packages. If you need more space, you hook up two vehicles. If you want a mini-van, you hook up three. Once you get to a main arterey, you hook up to other cars. Anywhere you need to go that goes over 25 MPH, your car gets loaded onto a train. All the cars a small -- about the size of a box that has a two-person bench seat in it. So the loading on the train compartments is fast an efficient. You program your destination and preferred route into the console of the car or your PDA or home terminal before your trip. When you leave, your trip hooks up with other compatible trips on the grid, and you can physically hook up with other cars as you approach, thus, you only need one fail-safe driver for a string of cars all hooked up in an ad hoc train, and the hooked up cars become more efficient and safe. When you approach a divergence in your route, your car un-hooks at stopping points or intersections. The network would be able to optimize car hook-ups and trips for short distance (and long distance over real trains).
Shipping items have similar motorized carts, and are accumulated at shipping points, and motored over to the train pickups. Chips in the carts help to route the carts via the train system country-wide, unattended. Communities get larger carts and then distribute the contents like a food co-op or book co-op. Standard shipping containers will come in modular sizes (1x1, 1x2, 1x4, 2x4, 4x4, etc.) and will have tracking chips built-in. The containers will have hard plastic shells and have built-in padding inside. You just grab the container you need, put your stuff in it, and wheel it or carry it to the nearest container-accepting bin, which securely and automatically accepts the containers. The containers are then picked up by truck, and routed, possibly in larger containers, to the train system, and routed all the way to last-mile delivery.