A predictive technology picture of the decade

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The purpose of this thread is to collect information from various users on projects that will be applied by the end of the decade.

Information/Computation

Internet via Satellite may be more cheaply available and more reliable making internet access anywhere possible.

Contact lenses with OLEDs or mini-self-stabilizing projectors might make displays more convenient and readily accessible via connection to a satellite internet.

Transportation

Electric cars will be a larger part of the market as batteries grow cheaper, get longer ranges and charge faster.

Transportation unfortunately may not be much faster or easier than it is today considering that flying technology has not moved very far over the past 40 years.

Space

Carbon nanotube tensile strength might reach a point that could make a space elevator feasible.

We might discover life on Mars from a project that is a generation or two ahead of the project to fly a plane on Mars and survey the methane clouds in the atmosphere.

We may begin rudimentary research into mining asteroids (I heard that a project to do this was just approved at the University of Arizona).

Culture

The internet will continue to give power to Indie culture, though its aesthetics will probably evolve to something that hasn't yet been imagined.

Energy

Solar cells will gain efficiency.
 

TeethWhitener

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Welp, it's been about a decade, so let's see how you did.
Information/Computation

Internet via Satellite may be more cheaply available and more reliable making internet access anywhere possible.
Internet access has certainly jumped:
https://www.internetworldstats.com/emarketing.htm
OP posted in mid-2010, when just under 2 billion people had internet access. That number has jumped to 4.3 billion, or in terms of population, in nine years, we've gone from 28.6% of people having internet access to 56.1%, over half the world's population.
Contact lenses with OLEDs or mini-self-stabilizing projectors might make displays more convenient and readily accessible via connection to a satellite internet.
While there has been some work done on smart contact lenses, they're still in early research stages, and probably won't be commercially available for at least another 10 years.
Transportation

Electric cars will be a larger part of the market as batteries grow cheaper, get longer ranges and charge faster.
This article:
https://insideevs.com/longest-range-electric-cars-2019/
claims that at least 8 electric cars on the market have a range of greater than 200 miles. The market:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plug-in_electric_vehicles_in_the_United_States#/media/File:US_PEV_Sales_2010_by_PHEV_vs_BEV.png
has indeed grown. According to that same wikipedia article, electric cars have gone from 0.14% of the market in 2011 to over 2% in 2018, and there's not much sign that the growth is going to slow down soon.

Transportation unfortunately may not be much faster or easier than it is today considering that flying technology has not moved very far over the past 40 years.
This was pretty spot on as well. High-speed rail has made some inroads in developing countries, but commercial transportation technology hasn't really gotten any speedier. I don't know how far along Elon Musk's Hyperloop proposal has gotten.
Space

Carbon nanotube tensile strength might reach a point that could make a space elevator feasible.
Haha, not even close. For those of us in the materials game, the (over)promise of carbon nanotubes has always been a bit of a pipe dream. There are a few research programs on building strong carbon nanotube cables (in particular, for Naval towing applications), but no macroscopic strong CNT cables are available commercially, as far as I'm aware.
We might discover life on Mars from a project that is a generation or two ahead of the project to fly a plane on Mars and survey the methane clouds in the atmosphere.
No life on Mars yet, but a ton of research by the rovers has been done in the last decade. In particular, Curiosity (as part of the Mars Science Laboratory) has been exploring the surface of Mars since 2012.
We may begin rudimentary research into mining asteroids (I heard that a project to do this was just approved at the University of Arizona).
A few companies:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteroid_mining#Proposed_mining_projects
have been formed in the last decade to examine the feasibility of asteroid mining. NASA's OSIRIS-REx and Japan's Hayabusa 2, missions to return samples from an asteroid's surface, are both in progress.
Culture

The internet will continue to give power to Indie culture, though its aesthetics will probably evolve to something that hasn't yet been imagined.
There have certainly been dramatic cultural changes in the last decade, and I think one could make a strong case for the central role that the internet has played in that (for good and bad).
Energy

Solar cells will gain efficiency.
The maximum energy conversion efficiency of solar cells has not changed very much (from about 40% in 2010 to about 45% in 2019. However, the prevalence of photovoltaics is increasing exponentially:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photovoltaics#/media/File:PV_cume_semi_log_chart_2014_estimate.svg
from about 40GW in 2010 to over 500GW in 2018. This is partly due to the price of solar panel systems falling from over $7 per watt in 2010 to under $3 per watt in 2018:
https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy17osti/68925.pdf

So how did you do? Out of the 9 broad claims, you definitely got 4 right (increased internet access, electric car performance, transportation speed, and culture shifts). I can give you partial credit for solar cell efficiency and mining asteroids. And you missed on CNT's, life on Mars, and smart contact lenses. So let's call it about 50% accuracy. Not bad; I'm not sure professional futurists could do much better. Plus, you still have a year for the misses to pan out. :smile:
 

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