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 Top Ten Technology that we will likely see in our lifetime

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Number of posts : 354
Age : 33
Location : Cemetery
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Registration date : 2007-10-09

Top Ten Technology that we will likely see in our lifetime Empty
PostSubject: Top Ten Technology that we will likely see in our lifetime   Top Ten Technology that we will likely see in our lifetime Icon_minitimeMon Oct 29, 2007 6:15 pm

Automated smart cars
Every father is waiting in the wings for the day when they can automate the driving on that long car ride to the Grand Canyon, climb into the back seat and smack some sense into his behaviorally challenged kids. Doing this without having to pull over the smart car is every kid’s nightmare and every parent’s dream. A recent contest dubbed the Grand Challenge by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) demonstrates that there are still several obstacles to overcome before automated smart vehicles could become a reality.

The Grand Challenge, not unlike contests sponsored by the X-Prize Foundation, is offering cash for advancements in this field, in the hopes of developing unmanned combat vehicles in response to a 2015 congressional mandate. Although several universities and industries have demonstrated great strides while competing, it is unlikely personal transport will benefit until years of testing and field trials by the military.

True volumetric holographic 3D display
“Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi; you’re my only hope.” This desperate plea by the quintessential damsel in distress was overshadowed by R2-D2, and the android’s ability to cast an amazing likeness of Princes Leia in true volumetric 3D. This projection into thin air has captivated techies for years, and we dream of the day when we can gather around the holo-display to enjoy Survivor while in the midst of the jungle ourselves.

Even though we have seen a hint of possibility, these are only illusions masking our inability to harness light and color in order to display an image with volume. Currently, projections of any sort require a backdrop that can reflect the light. Several attempts have been made to eliminate this obstruction by using transparent displays. More recently, a heliodisplay was unveiled that transforms air in order to float a free-form video.

Bio-robotic appendages
There are numerous robots that can emulate living biological organisms mechanically, but the prospects for fusing robotics with human biological systems in order to craft new appendages are low. Our bodies contain a complex immune system that rejects the introduction of foreign objects into our bodies, and that makes it difficult to attach mechanical devices to flesh and bone. This is especially true with arms and legs, where multiple nerve centers, muscle fibers and veins coexist.

Artificial heart and lung transplants have been successful in many instances, but the quality of life is diminished and life expectancy is negligible. It is certain that eventual attempts to devise and attach artificial robotic limbs would result in limited motion and reduced mobility. Although the technology is well worth the research and attention, it will be some time before external prosthetics are replaced. It may even be more realistic to assume engineering tissue for growing a new arm or leg is a better investment.

Invisibility cloaking
In 2003, Professor of Engineering Susumu Tachi duped us all and sent the media and Internet into a whirlwind with his luminous jacket. This sideshow was to be a predecessor to the much anticipated arrival of an invisibility cloak. Even though many of us were foiled by the grandstanding, the attention Tachi garnered was a testament to our deepest desires – there are times when we all want to be unseen.

In July, 2006, a reporter from Reuters published a piece on theoretical metamaterials with unusual properties that could bend light around an object, thus making it invisible. The sociological ramifications of inventing such a device are too many to discuss in this article, but it’s obvious there would be several parties interested. Our ability to understand and demonstrate a pseudo-technology that has some commercial application may be closer at hand, but authentic invisibility cloaking devices are still for Predators and Klingons.

Genetically engineering a new biological life form
Our squelched belief in an eternal, omniscient, omnipresent God leads us down a slippery slope of humanism. In an attempt to understand the creation before us and so as not to impede mankind’s progress, we inadvertently become demigods who gamble recklessly with biological sciences. In one sense, not understanding the Creator, we desire to create ourselves and create replicas of the natural world around us.

For a time however brief, science has been stopped temporarily by moral outrage. It would not be surprising to me though, if we already had the competency in this field to make scary stuff happen. Of the technological advancements listed here, this is one of the only that is not breaking new ground simply out of morbid fear for the future.

For a decent piece of fiction that probes these issues, try When The Wind Blows by James Patterson. For a more light hearted look at our bio-mechanical creations, visit www.ugobe.com, and read about Pleo.

Space colonization
According to the following MSNBC Web site article, the estimated dollar amount required to bring the International Space Station (ISS) to full completion will be $100 billion. This is a hefty delta from the original estimate of approximately $14 billion provided by NASA in the early 1980s. Excuse me for being pessimistic, but unless there is gold among them there stars, I think it’s time to pull the cord.

Measuring the benefits of colonizing the moon or another remote planet like Mars is a practice in fuzzy logic. A cornerstone of the debate was once centered around necessity due to overpopulation, but the steam has gone out of that engine. As we have seen by the successes brought about by the X-Prize, subspace intercontinental flight will become a commercialized standard decades before space colonization.

Cryogenic hibernation

Cryogenic hibernation received a revival of sorts in 2002 when the baseball great Ted Williams was suspended in liquid nitrogen at Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Arizona. The controversy was full of cock-and-bull stories and allegations surrounding the procedure and the probability that anyone could be brought back to life eons from now. I’m here to tell you, it ain’t going to happen.

Since William’s head was separated from his body, it has cracked in several places and his torso remains suspended in liquid nitrogen. Even after a century of medical advances, I doubt more than a tissue sample will survive the freezing process for people like William who are placed in cryogenic chambers. Even if an individual were to be frozen mid-breath, the human biological makeup is not stable enough to endure subzero temperatures for extended periods.

Computer consciousness
If you want a present day expert on the subject of computer consciousness, the man to call is Ray Kurzweil. His books The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, and Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever, are remarkable tales from a man who is obviously afraid to die. Kurzweil believes in short that human consciousness will be fused with technology, and will therefore, bring us one step closer to immortality. That is, until your hard drive crashes.

Kurzweil’s predictions set the stage for a monumental occasion that is to happen within the next 50 years. This is a side step from the traditional theories surrounding computer consciousness where robotic entities develop awareness. Whatever the tipping point might be, and however it is envisioned through Kurzweil’s books, the eyes of other futurists and science fiction authors, I doubt it will ever happen. There is already something special about my soul without the Intel logo stamped across it.

“In 1993, the idea of teleportation moved out of the realm of science fiction and into the world of theoretical possibility. It was then that physicist Charles Bennett and a team of researchers at IBM confirmed that quantum teleportation was possible, but only if the original object being teleported was destroyed.”

Huh, that kind of puts a damper on the whole thing. I do not claim to be an expert on quantum teleportation, but hey, how many people are? What I do know is that in reading this article, it is readily apparent that what goes in is not what comes out – much like Brundlefly.

Teleportation would also mutate the world’s economy by allowing instantaneous travel, and the teleportation of food. At first glance this is seemingly a pleasant change. However, what would stop teleportation of objects of destruction, including chemical and biological agents, as well as weapons of ma… oh well, you get the point.

Time travel
Ah, the granddaddy of them all – time travel. The number of theories and speculative reports is staggering, and there is nothing to be said that hasn’t already been stated more eloquently by the scientific elite. These explanations of time are mixed with interesting paradoxes and parallel universes, and even for the nerd impaired, this knowledge of time travel can generate addictive conversation.

The best place to start learning about time travel is to use your search engine of choice. Then ask yourself, (even though in this lifetime you will never get a second chance to make a first impression), if it were a possibility, why would you want to travel back in time? Ask your family, ask your friends, ask your boss – the answers you get back will give you some sense of why time travel is not just subject matter for the übergeek.

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