With the announcement that the Obama administration will provide $50 million in 2014 toward mapping the human brain, major changes in technology are just over the horizon. Here are five predictions of recent and upcoming inventions that will change the world
1: Self-diagnostic medicine
In the upcoming years, more tools will become available to provide an alternative to an expensive doctor’s visit. Online resources like Web MD are just the beginning. Soon diagnostic hardware will become affordable to have in the home, much like a thermometer in the medicine cabinet. The financial necessities of rising health care costs will drive the rise of this industry.
2: The Bitcoin
This is an entirely electronic currency. It uses a data trail and time signatures to trace the “bitcoin” from owner to owner. With this operating outside of the normal central banking channels, it could provide a metaphorical hard currency for electronic transactions.
3: Neural interfaces
We’re already wading into the shallow end of the cyborgs technology of science fiction. Recently, a bionic eye received FDA approval, marking a giant step into the realm of wetware. With the progress of brain wave mapping, it is only a matter of degrees between current technology and the ability to control remote robotics directly from neural impulses. In other words, we will be able to hook our brains directly into the internet.
4: Advanced encryption and resilient wireless networks
The increased reliance on these realms of communication has left them vulnerable to hackers and ne’er-do-wells. In the next phase of the cyber arms race, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been working on the ability to make resilient wireless networks that can continue to operate even when one node is compromised. They are developing technology analogous to what credit card companies use to monitor anomalies in purchasing. The network would be able to detect a node operating abnormally and automatically quarantine and work around it.
5: Deep data mining
Step one: collect information. Step two: analyze patterns. Step three: predict behavior. Step four: influence behavior. This is the long term strategy of data collection. People are habitual creatures. As Netflix or Pandora can analyze your likes to suggest movies and music, so too will other commercial and governmental enterprises be able to comprise psychological profiles of individuals. As the computing power to analyze the data catches up with the mountain of electronic data being stored, understanding of human nature will become exponentially easier to predict.
The Wall Street Journal, With Drone Warfare, America Approaches the Robo-Rubicon: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324128504578346333246145590.html
Popsci, What is the Most important Invention of the last 25 years? http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2012-12/final-round-what-are-most-important-inventions-last-25-years
DARPA, News: http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/Releases.aspx
Bitcoin, How Does Bitcoin Work? http://bitcoin.org/en/how-it-works
Mi2g, Noosphere: Arte the Cloud, Collective Consciousness and The Singularity Intertwined? http://www.mi2g.com/cgi/mi2g/frameset.php?pageid=http%3A//www.mi2g.com/cgi/mi2g/press/190411.php
Wired, Scientists Decode Dreams with Brain Scans: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/04/dream-decoder/
Bloomberg Businessweek, 20 Most Important Inventions of the Next 10 Years: http://images.businessweek.com/ss/09/02/0225_inventions/
Long Bets, Predictions: http://longbets.org/predictions/