Be it Star Wars, the Simpsons, or Back to the Future, popular culture has a way of predicting what technology can bring to humanity. In many cases, these predictions were so chillingly accurate that one cannot help but wonder what other predictions will come true in the near future.
Here are some thoughts to ponder:
- Time travel
- Interplanetary travel
Back in 1999, Bill Gates said that he could foresee a future where every house has a live video feed. He said that it would become commonplace, and that these security systems would tell you if there is anybody in your house while you are out. Fast forward to this decade; we are fully aware that there are now so many devices that you can install in your house to give you live security feeds.
The way it works is that you install the cameras, and then connect these cameras to your WiFi router. On your phone, you have to download the security camera app. The application must be connected to the internet, and this app will show you live security feed of your house while you are out. On top of this development, the technology has also advanced in many areas. Many cameras now have motion sensors, and these sensors would send an alert to your app while you are away.
In some countries like Dubai, the government is already involved, and their police force has a program where they are notified if there is an intruder. The police force is encouraging citizens to install home security systems that are connected to the police centers: they will be notified if an intruder is around, and they will respond and dispatch officers to your place.
It is uncanny for Bill Gates to have predicted this in 1999 when the internet was just at its infancy. Today, only 6% of Americans have this kind of technology, but it is expected to climb to 15% by the end of the decade.
Artificial Intelligence and Health
AT&T once made a prediction that a person’s overall health conditions can be placed inside a card, or a chip. This health card can be accessed anywhere, and that medical records would now be more accurate and centralized. What many people fear is that this can lead to privacy issues, but this issue is leaning towards political inclinations and not the technology itself.
Now, there is a project called The Allen Integrated Cell Project. This one uses artificial intelligence to analyze a person’s cells, and then make this artificial intelligence create predictions.
It was first brought to light in 2014, and the group in charge of the project is using it to build a database. What is going to happen next is that this machine can help researchers identify how cells grow, and how to cure them.
Back in the 1990s, a movie reviewer, Roger Ebert, said that there would come a time when we would have high-definition televisions, and that these televisions would allow us to push buttons to order the movie that we want.
Fast forward to today, and we can easily do this with YouTube and Google Movies. Not only can you watch it on TV, but you can also watch it on the phone. And it went further than that. With Netflix and other streaming services like Hulu, we can watch as many movies as we want, and only pay a monthly fee. What’s great about this is that we no longer have to depend on cable, as we can now watch what we want.
If you think about it, Netflix was snubbed by Blockbuster when it offered to buy the company. Blockbuster said it couldn’t work. Years later, Blockbuster is dead, and Netflix has become the reigning movie streaming service in the world. Blockbuster, a video rental company, did not do what it could to advance in the technological race. Today, nobody wants to rent movies anymore with physical tapes.
On top of that, we can also watch anything that was made by amateurs, or professional shows that were made to be free. In YouTube, all we have to do is to look for videos and channels. We can learn academically from these videos, as there is no shortage of helpful content from the platform.
Smartphones to Increase in Power
Back in 1999, one of the high-level officials of Google said that we will have a portable device. He said that these devices are portable computers. By 2007, Apple launched the iPhone, and it changed the world. Although it was technically not the first smartphone, it was the first of its kind where music, internet, and phone were combined into one product.
By 2015, more smartphones were sold than laptops, rendering the prediction to be accurate. You can even play an online casino game on a phone. Today, the smartphone that we all use have more computational power than the computers used to launch men into space in the 1960s. Phones can do pretty much everything now—they function as music players, television sets, phones, internet device, computer, gaming devices for a video slot all at the same time. You won’t have any issues playing Piggy Riches Megaways or any other game staying at home.
The movie Back to the Future has made some predictions, which included contactless payment. It was not until the mid-2010s that we saw this happen. Contactless payment does not refer to the use of online money transfers or peer-to-peer money transfer. It happens between a customer and a company inside the business establishment.
Today, many restaurants offer what is called a payment through QR code. In this payment mode, the customer is going to scan the QR code of the restaurant, and then his credit card will be charged. In many cases, it is not the card that is charged, but an e-wallet where funds are stored.
So, does this work without a QR code? Yes, it does. The restaurant or business establishment must have a special point-of-sale system in place, typically, this is a square device that is connected to the merchant’s computer. A customer would simply tap his phone over to this POS device, and then the phone and the POS device are going to “talk”.
The technology used for this called near-field communication, or NFC. Before a merchant can make this happen, he must be a member or a user of this service from a financial establishment. Today, the most common are Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay.
Then, the customer himself must also become registered to any of these services. Once a customer taps his phone on a merchant’s Apple Pay POS, even if the customer has Android Pay, the payment is going to transpire.
Technology is no longer outside our reach. Back in the old days, we thought that these predictions are laughable, and they were dismissed as nothing more than science fiction. There was a time when video calls were thought to be science fiction, but we all have that technology in our hands now. Today, nothing is stopping developers and programmers from making these ideas become a reality.