What's new in the next 30 years?

Omits

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I'm thinking of new tech or breakthroughs. IMO not fusion, Mars, Maybe a human on the Moon, maybe tech for the brain. YouTube hs tons of stuff but mostly all hype just for trumpet blowing.
 

BAYLOR

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Yes , all of those things . The problem that this tech leap come just as were entering a new and frightening phase of climatic changes which might have an impact on how this new tech develops in the next 30 years.
 

Robert Zwilling

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Neural implants connecting to the brain for treating medical conditions are already here. They are also used to help people move and treat muscles. Stuff that internally connects to the senses is probably pretty close to being practical for non medical use, but the display is still a big problem. What might come sooner is clothing and accessories that house the electronics but not as clunky as the glasses or the VR units.

Genetic manipulation will become a standard procedure for anything involving living things. It will be used the same way chemistry paved the way for working with natural resources.

Battery technology will have to change, some kind of safer, cheaper method of storing energy. Houses will have a large battery pack or some kind of power storage unit that will be fed by wind or solar power. There will still be a power grid but it might get its storage distributed through the system at each house or location the power is used. There is already talk of using electric vehicle batteries as reserve power for the grid. If the power pack at each location was big enough it could be trickle charged so the energy being directed to an area would be at off peak levels most of the time.

Housing is interesting. It may not even exist as we know it. If small structures can't stand up to the increasing fury of the weather (no abatement there for a long time) they will have to be partly buried in the ground. But that is vulnerable to flooding which will also be more prevalent. Put the structures on steel struts that provide strength to the structure and keep it off ground level so flood waters will just flow underneath. That will be expensive for large structures, even big houses. For many people the housing solution might be P K Dick's conapts, condominium apartments. The building that houses the units will also have community space. The idea being the main structure housing everything could take any kind of weather. Ideally you could buy a unit, but it could all be leased, the main housing unit owned by banks or investment companies.

I think P K Dick wasn't considering the weather as a reason to go the conapt route, more likely just the cost of housing itself and the need to have a socialized city environment located inside each conapt community. I think sturdy built conapt housing that couldn't be damaged, maybe even finally fireproof, could be one solution to the increasingly expensive cost of insurance. If the housing is separate from the stores and businesses than the areas of a city could be rebuilt, changed, updated without effecting the housing around it.

I like mag lev trains that are pretty far up above ground level, over a hundred feet. The footprint of the towers would be small (some kind of miracle construction/materials) so the tracks could run anywhere providing transportation for freight and people. The stations would be elevated, the rest of the building used for storage, offices, or as part of the town or city it was in. The power running these trains would have to be very cheap.

Farming will change, maybe because of the weather. Indoor vertical farms are already starting to appear. This could decentralize farming, putting it back into the community. Food will also be manufactured, by cloning, chemical synthesis, biological means in tanks or vats, such as fermentation or bacteria.

The formula for plastic will have to be changed, probably some kind of synthetic cellulose that will go right back into the ground the way natural cellulose does.
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Plastic bottles might be replaced by transparent aluminum. Well, anyway something that is strong, lightweight, range of colors to clear that doesn't decompose like plastic but acts like inert glass. Could be brittle to start with but eventually strong like metal, safe to dispose of, or recycle.

The size of the average car might get smaller as electric vehicles become standard but with reinforced bodies so accidents did not produce injuries.

Fusion is still weird. The test that went so well recently, Helion or the lasers, apparently produced a small amount of power, was run inside of an environment that required much more power than what was produced. So it could still be some kind of trick set up. If the reaction needs 50 megawatts to produce power, then a 100 megawatt generator is 50 percent efficient. To get the parasitic power percentage way down, a bigger generator is needed. Right now the amount of energy needed to run one of these fusion experiments isn't available on demand for continuous operation. That power has to come from the fusion reaction. Fusion might be a lot more difficult than it looks. What if the power of a star made it run so smoothly and when done at much lower background power levels the reaction was a lot harder to maintain. It could still take a long time to get an efficient power plant up and running.

Fuel cells have been the next big thing since the 1960s, and still seem to have a long way to go.

Ammonia power is another new comer. Its just hydrogen bound up in a relatively safe format, that is easy to make, easy to store, but hard to use. There will be plants built to start making it in the next few years. However at this time there doesn't seem to be an engine that runs directly on ammonia. It has to be converted to electricity to currently use it.
 

paranoid marvin

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No manned Mars mission, but a 'space race' from several countries to get a permanent base on the Moon. Then the first serious, legal discussions as to who owns what there.

I think there will also be a lot of reactive - rather than proactive - attempts to mitigate the damage caused by climate change. As we are entering completely unknown territory, we aren't going to know how quickly, or how significantly, things are going to change, so funding will be there, but probably not enough.

Once the reality of climate change starts to hit home, we will also see the most concerted effort to fight against it. Perhaps new technologies and scientific discoveries will help to slow down or reverse the effects. Or perhaps not.

Other than this we are likely to see the emergence of many medical breakthroughs, and the elimination - or the means to avert and mitigate - the most serious of illnesses. The recent breakthrough with Alzheimers I think is just the start of what is to come. The question then will be if medicines - even the newest and most effective - are made affordable for all, and not just the very rich or those with medical insurance.

Still no hoverboards though.
 

CupofJoe

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The size of the average car might get smaller as electric vehicles become standard but with reinforced bodies so accidents did not produce injuries.
I think the exact opposite. EV cars are about a 1/3 heavier than their IC equivalents. Average cars now are larger than they have been for a long time
In cities I can see the car in any form will almost disappearing as a thing you own or lease full time. With online shopping and deliveries to your door, along side ride sharing apps and self-driving taxis, it will become impractical to own a car just to use it to go to and from work. You won't need it and if the 15 minute city [everything you need in daily life is only 15 minutes away] gets a fair shake, you won't need it.
If family need to visit uncle Bob 500km away you will rent a car or even just a journey to get you there.
 

paranoid marvin

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I think the exact opposite. EV cars are about a 1/3 heavier than their IC equivalents. Average cars now are larger than they have been for a long time
In cities I can see the car in any form will almost disappearing as a thing you own or lease full time. With online shopping and deliveries to your door, along side ride sharing apps and self-driving taxis, it will become impractical to own a car just to use it to go to and from work. You won't need it and if the 15 minute city [everything you need in daily life is only 15 minutes away] gets a fair shake, you won't need it.
If family need to visit uncle Bob 500km away you will rent a car or even just a journey to get you there.


In an ideal world public transport would negate the need for cars, but I don't think this will happen. I agree that cars will not get smaller - as you say, most cars are bigger now than they have ever been - but unless the cost of owning and driving a car become prohibitive it won't happen.

Making a car prohibitive to own and drive (and as seen in the Uxbridge byelection) is a real vote loser, so that won't happen. And despite all the financial hardships that people have gone through over the last few decades, car ownership is one thing that most people won't give up.

According to Google there were 20m cars registered in the UK in 2000. This year there are 33m.
 

CupofJoe

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In an ideal world public transport would negate the need for cars, but I don't think this will happen. I agree that cars will not get smaller - as you say, most cars are bigger now than they have ever been - but unless the cost of owning and driving a car become prohibitive it won't happen.

Making a car prohibitive to own and drive (and as seen in the Uxbridge byelection) is a real vote loser, so that won't happen. And despite all the financial hardships that people have gone through over the last few decades, car ownership is one thing that most people won't give up.

According to Google there were 20m cars registered in the UK in 2000. This year there are 33m.
I agree in the short term but we are talking 30 years here.
The solution has to come before the penalty [carrot and stick and all that].
When you have a cheap[ish] transport system that gets you where you want to go, or everywhere you want to go can be safely walked/cycled, then there will be less need for a personal transport system that is idle 95% of it time and cost about a year's salary to buy.
And even then, this will only work in urbanised areas.
 

Elckerlyc

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The demand for electricity will skyrocket. Which will become a problem because there are limits to where and how many solarpanel-fields and wind turbines can be build. The high demand for fossil fuels will remain, because alternatives cannot cope with the increasing demand. (China for instance plans de next decade for the construction of multiple power plants running on coal.)
Climate-change will turn out to be unstoppable, a run-away train. More and more countries will reconsider investing in projects that seeks to battle CO2 emissions and climate-change in general. New areas of investing and research will be in projects to deal with the consequences; rising temperatures and extreme weather.
Internet will keep growing. Data-centers will expand, demanding more energy to keep it running and to keep it cool. Constructions will be moved out to sea, on the continental shelf, submerged, where sea-water will be used to dissipate the heat.
Cities will become to hot in summer and become unlivable, especially for the elderly. The energy required to run airco's threatens to crash the whole power-infrastructure. So, following the data-centers, the first settlements in sea, largely underwater, will emerge, connected to the mainland by monorail (yet more demand on energy!) and recreation areas on deck above with many swimming-pools filled and regularly refreshed with seawater.
 

Vertigo

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I think private ownership of cars will drop to almost zero (there will always been some enthusiasts/wealthy folk who will insist on owning their own). As self driving technology improves, as it will inevitably do, it will eventually become silly to own your own car. You will simply call one up on your phone and it will drive itself to you and take you where you want to go. There will be multiple small parking/charging areas where they will go after dropping you off. Most private cars spend 99% of their time parked doing nothing. If you stop to think about it owning a car is an incredibly inefficient mechanism. This is something the car manufacturers will not be thrilled about as we would then need massively less car than are now in use.
 

paranoid marvin

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The cost of such a transport system would be astronomical in the short term, and would rely on people using it. For that it would require a 24/7 accessible, reliable service; something that public transport (in the UK at least) never has been. Even then it would require people to ditch their cars to use it. And not only would they be outlaying a huge investment, they would at the same time be denying themselves the massive amounts of government revenue that comes from car ownership.

In the UK there has been a huge drive towards cycling, with loads of cash pumped into cycleways and redesigning roads. In the main it hasn't worked, in part because of the terrible weather in this country , in part because with the amount of traffic on the road it's still incredibly dangerous (especially during rush hour) but probably mainly because driving is so much more easier and comfortable.

If you think about it, we have (almost) the equivalent of on-call self-driven cars in the Uber and other taxi form apps. In the long run, taking into consideration the cost of buying, maintaing, insuring and refuelling, it would probably be easier and cheaper just to jump in a cab. But people haven't.

I do think the day will come when cars will all become electric and auto-driven, and the sight of a steering wheel in a car will seem as alien as someone walking in front of the vehicle holding a red flag. But even then there will different makes and model - some flashier, some built for comf, some with more seats, some with less etc etc. And people will own them rather than hire them.
 

Vertigo

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I do think the day will come when cars will all become electric and auto-driven, and the sight of a steering wheel in a car will seem as alien as someone walking in front of the vehicle holding a red flag. But even then there will different makes and model - some flashier, some built for comf, some with more seats, some with less etc etc. And people will own them rather than hire them.
I'm not convinced by your last point. If you can get a car cheaply and quickly anywhere, anytime then it will become more attractive. And with no driver to pay and charging points can anywhere in the country or towns so that there will likely be vehicles parked somewhere close wherever you are it is likely they should be cheap and so long as the total cost comes below that of running a car it will be attractive. I'm convinced that is what will happen eventually. Currently most us are probably spending in excess of several thousand pounds a year on tax, insurance, maintenance and, importantly, depreciation. That would pay for a lot of (driverless) journeys so long as you are always going to be picked up within 10-15 minutes of calling one up.

TLDNR: With no drivers and distributed charging/parking locations future electric vehicles will be a totally different proposition to the modern taxi.
 

paranoid marvin

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I'm not convinced by your last point. If you can get a car cheaply and quickly anywhere, anytime then it will become more attractive. And with no driver to pay and charging points can anywhere in the country or towns so that there will likely be vehicles parked somewhere close wherever you are it is likely they should be cheap and so long as the total cost comes below that of running a car it will be attractive. I'm convinced that is what will happen eventually. Currently most us are probably spending in excess of several thousand pounds a year on tax, insurance, maintenance and, importantly, depreciation. That would pay for a lot of (driverless) journeys so long as you are always going to be picked up within 10-15 minutes of calling one up.

TLDNR: With no drivers and distributed charging/parking locations future electric vehicles will be a totally different proposition to the modern taxi.


But who is going to pay to operate and maintain such a system? And if you want to go anywhere 'off the beaten track' then how long would you be left waiting? The convenience of just jumping in your car and going somewhere now versus waiting for something that will probably turn up, and not knowing how clean or in what state the last user left it.

I just can't see any government shelling out the trillions of pounds needed to get it working to such an extent that people will willingly give up their cars in order to use it. Even after how many years of electric cars, we are way behind the pace of having chargers. And for the rail system we are still incapable of getting fast, reliable transport between two of our major cities.

But perhaps I'm just getting too cynical in my old age!
 

Wayne Mack

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How does the shared car infrastructure work with long trips? How does someone prevent the idle car from leaving with one's belongs at the beach or at a hotel? Would there be a charge to keep the car in one place? How will the system work for people leaving a large event, say a sporting event or concert? Is everyone lined up at the equivalent of a taxi stand waiting for the next available car? How about handling a mass evacuation in case of storms, fires, etc. Is it assumed everyone will have a smart phone (and that it is charged)? How is traffic managed? How does the system prevent everyone from choosing the same route and leaving all alternates devoid of traffic?
 

Cthulhu.Science

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As solar panels and batteries become required on all new construction the overproduction of electricity will generate problems of its own.

California has started requiring Solar and batteries on many buildings. The 2019 standards laid the foundation by requiring all new residential homes to have a solar photovoltaic (PV) system installed, with new commercial buildings having to include roof space for solar panels.
Beginning January 1, 2023, all buildings required to have a PV system shall also have a battery storage system.


Consider that parts of Australia are already experiencing problems to their grid operators.
4 ways to stop Australia’s surge in rooftop solar from destabilising electricity prices
 

Cthulhu.Science

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Self driving and shared cars will make current traffic problems ten times worse as empty vehicles traveling to pick up passengers fill traffic lanes with vehicles carrying passengers.

Promoters try to sell "sharing rides with strangers sitting in the car with you." Almost nobody will be willing to lock themselves into an automated moving car with a complete stranger and no ability to escape.

Despite promoters exclaiming that it is not different than a taxi or uber, everyone will be very aware of the difference of having a person in the seat next to you vs operating the vehicle.
 

paranoid marvin

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I think that the next 30 years is probably going to be the most significant in human history. The direction that is taken with space travel, the advances in medical research and the decisions that are made in relation to climate control will determine the future of mankind.

Does that sound too dramatic? Perhaps, but I do also think that it's true. Within this time humans will either have made significant changes in lifestyle choices to avert climate change, or if we haven't then significant changes in mitigating the worst consequences of not have done so. There will be earlier detection, prevention and understanding of major diseases meaning that the possibility of reaching 100 years old in (relatively) good health is for the many and not just the few.

And in 30 years time we will know who the major players were in space flight; who was serious about staying the course, about putting a permanent base on the Moon, sending a manned mission to Mars and determining if there is or has been life on other planets or their moons. We will either have done all or some of these things, be in the last throes of doing so - or we will have determined that it was too difficult, too dangerous or too expensive to do so. Either way, we will know.

So here's to Baylor resurrecting this thread in 2054 to see how accurate these predictions were.
 

Vertigo

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@paranoid marvin
But who is going to pay to operate and maintain such a system? And if you want to go anywhere 'off the beaten track' then how long would you be left waiting? The convenience of just jumping in your car and going somewhere now versus waiting for something that will probably turn up, and not knowing how clean or in what state the last user left it.
It will be operated commercially. In fact I suspect it will be big business and probably have big competition for your custom. It would inevitably be controlled centrally by computers. With no drivers there will be no humans who can't be bothered to turn up or get lost or whatever, so it will inevitably be operated more smoothly than any current human dominated taxi services.

But perhaps I'm just getting too cynical in my old age!
Aren't we all? ;)

@Wayne Mack
How does the shared car infrastructure work with long trips?
We're not talking about shared cars. We're talking about commercially operated cars - effectively unmanned taxis. And long trips would be no different to today's hire cars where you pick them up in one place and drop them off somewhere else. Very common and very workable. However I'm sure you would be given an 'accept sharing' option when making your request; indeed you might be given several different options with different prices attached: immediate, prepared to wait 10/20/30 minutes, sharing.

How does someone prevent the idle car from leaving with one's belongs at the beach or at a hotel?
You wouldn't leave your belongings in the car and it wouldn't be idle. It would drop you off and go park itself at the nearest vacant charging slot and wait for the next request. you would make a fresh request when needed.

Would there be a charge to keep the car in one place?
Why would you keep the car in one place? But I guess you could reserve it in that way and would pay accordingly. Remember with no driver the cost of the vehicle per hour is negligible. But you would have to cover lost revenue through it not doing new jobs. About the only reason I can see for this might be if you are driving around picking up and loading the car with stuff from different places and need it to wait each time. I'm sure this would be an option.

How will the system work for people leaving a large event, say a sporting event or concert?
Well everyone had to get there at the start so there will be a lot of vehicles in the area. Also a controlling system (AI?) would manage them and position additional vehicle where anticipated demand is expected.

Is everyone lined up at the equivalent of a taxi stand waiting for the next available car?
Why on Earth would you need a taxi stand? you would simply request a car come and pick you up from your current location. You mobile phone/implant would have gps and send your location.

How about handling a mass evacuation in case of storms, fires, etc. Is it assumed everyone will have a smart phone (and that it is charged)?
The latter part of the question is already being answered 'yes' by current systems. I cannot access my business bank now without my mobile phone. The assumption is made that (a) I have one and (b) it is charged. This is already an issue and not as big a problem as many seemed to have expected it to be. The first part of the question is obvious. In the event of an emergency requiring mass evacuation additional vehicles - cars, yes, but buses etc. too - would be dispatched to collect people. Also in such a situation the self driven cars would create hugely better flow of traffic that human operated ones where we keep changing lane, accelerating and braking etc. which are the major causes of traffic jams in the first place. Self driven cars would manage this scenario an order of magnitude better than us and get everyone evacuated much more quickly.

How is traffic managed? How does the system prevent everyone from choosing the same route and leaving all alternates devoid of traffic?
Once again a centralised controller (or more likely many regional controllers) would manage this far better than we can. WE are already approaching this sort of scenario with a lot of serious talk about automatic speed limit controls being implemented in new cars. The car knows where it is through GPS and automatically restricts the car's speed to the local speed limit. This is likely to be with us within a decade in my opinion.

@Cthulhu.Science
Self driving and shared cars will make current traffic problems ten times worse as empty vehicles travelling to pick up passengers fill traffic lanes with vehicles carrying passengers.
I would expect exactly the opposite. The whole idea is that the cars will be spread out where they are needed (something demand would quickly establish) so reducing average collection journeys to their minimum.

Promoters try to sell "sharing rides with strangers sitting in the car with you." Almost nobody will be willing to lock themselves into an automated moving car with a complete stranger and no ability to escape.
This being exactly what we do each time we get on a bus or train! As stated above I'd imagine everyone would be given a (cheaper) share option when they book but it would not be obligatory, however I would image there would probably be a great many vehicles in the people mover to mini bus size range to cater for sharing.

Bottom line is that people will accept this sort of arrangement so long as it is cheaper than owning your own car and still manages to be convenient. Both of these aspects are undoubtedly on the horizon. There will also be a certain generational aspect to it; do not underestimate how many town and city dwelling young people now choose not to own a car. Of course I may be wrong but I do believe that most of the objections to such a system are more emotional than logical. Many remoter communities (like my own) are already operating similar schemes to provide transport on demand for vulnerable and elderly folk without their own cars, but inevitably these are massively less efficient (volunteer drivers etc.) than they they could be with all the new technology that will be coming along.

As humans we can be extremely Luddite in our approach when we see perceived threats to our existing privileges. Let's face it, this single fact has a great deal to do with the climate mess we are in now.

Apologies for the huge post!
 
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Christine Wheelwright

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Definitely no manned Mars mission. There is no profit motive for that and little to gain from it. Maybe a return to the moon but no permanent presence there (again, just no point). I think there will be some significant bio tech advances (these are occurring as we speak but are overshadowed by Mars and AI fantasies in the minds of the public). Also, bio tech is generally a much more secretive area of research. There is plenty of profit to be made from advances in medicine, for example.

A big question is whether mankind will finally get serious about tackling climate change. Yes or no. This really determines the direction of the next 30 years, politically and technologically. Will we vote for governments that expect us to make serious sacrifices? Probably not. Therefore, within 30 years, we will be looking at problems of mass migration, food shortages and frequent (uninsured) natural disasters.
 

Wayne Mack

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Agriculture is another area of likely advancement (agriculture has always been a forgotten area of technical growth). I can see a combination or AI and robotics leading to harvesting equipment replacing manual labor, especially for fruits and vegetables that require selective picking. Robots could pick crops twenty-four hours a day for either very large farms or across multiple farms in a co-op situation.
 

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