The future is now. Literally. We're already past where Back To The Future took place... and still no flying cars. One reddit user asked:
What are some upcoming breakthroughs in technology that will totally blow our minds in the future years to come?
And yeah, flying cars totally came up. But things got much more interesting than that! We might be in a world after Back To The Future, but some of these answers have us worried that things might be getting a little Jurassic Park.
Batteries, definitely. It's hard to overstate how much our technology is limited by the horrible batteries we have. It goes WAY beyond phones charging fast. Once we have fast-charging, high-capacity graphene batteries in everything, so much will change. It'll be like science fiction. Think about robots, electric cars, powered exoskeletons, phones and laptops being as powerful as high-end desktops, all kinds of wearables, bioelectronics, and so much more.
Sadly, this is one of those technologies that's constantly in the news but never seems to actually make any progress. It reminds me of all those cancer treatments we read about every week that never actually cure cancer.
They're working on organ regeneration, which I think is absolutely amazing. They have been doing 3D printing scaffolding and cells, but I bet they have even more coming down the pipeline. My dad is missing both his kidneys and though that tech won't be ready for him, it will improve the lives of so many people in the future.
CRISPR. Basically gives us the ability to start editing DNA. Which will open doors, that most of us thought would've been only possible in fiction. I think that CRISPR is probably one of the most potentially groundbreaking advancements of our time (I'm not a scientist and I know this sounds like hyperbole but) this has the potential to alter the human genome as we know it. Editing DNA is a huge deal because once DNA is altered, it becomes inheritable.
Here's the thing though. Most people don't recognize the potential for change with CRISPR technologies (they're working on other versions to get around limitations of the initial one), and the people who are aware of it are thinking about how people can edit their DNA to become transhuman, cure disease, etc.
One of the big attractions of CRISPR is how cheap and accessible it is compared to previous gene modification, it's not unreasonable to expect a grey market of "not for use on humans" (wink) body modification gene kits in the near future. People already are fucking around with CRISPR in their backyard. You can even buy your own CRISPR kits.
What most people aren't thinking about is what happens once the technology becomes cheap and available and people start to "homebrew" edits and forms of life. What happens when the people who create and run botnets gain the ability to create viruses that spread to people? What kind of edits will script kiddies and people who think things like swatting are hilarious come up with? What happens when white supremacists or other groups can actually edit existing viruses to only target certain races, or sexes, or other select variables? What's the genetically-edited-human version of "it's just a prank, bro"?
We are not ready for this. In any way, shape, or form. Especially not legally. Did you see the fact that Congress does not understand Facebook, or what it does? And despite that a large portion of them support it unquestioningly because it's "big business".
We will reach a time very soon where casual coders around the world are going to be uploading _edits to humanity_to the App store. A lot of the impetus for this will probably come on the need for humanity to alter ourselves to live in the post climate change world (with 105+ temperatures, etc.).
If you think social media has balkanized or segregated people in any remarkable way that's peanuts compared to what's coming. The freakouts over gender, bathrooms, race, color, religion, it's all nothing really. Not compared to the degree of change that's imminent.
The dawn of "interesting times" is upon us.