Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Decade!

You might think a new decade isn't as significant as a new millenium, but ten years ago the Millenium was tainted by Y2K and the possiblity of the apocalyse. Now we say goodbye to the awkardly named 'aughts and enter the teens. I'm personally looking forward to some of the anticipated technological innovations of this decade. What do I want that I think I might get in the next ten years? The most likely is probably even cooler iPhones. Just the other day I saw a commercial for an LG Projector Phone. Pretty cool, eh? I would like an iPhone as slender as an iPod nano, with a video/audio recorder and projector. It would have GPS, augmented reality and of course still do everything they do today. It would have an e-paper touchscreen instead of an LCD display. I'd also like a slightly large e-paper device that I could write on with a stylus. Both these devices would have battery lives of at least thirty hours, at least 100 gigabytes of memory, and near instantaneous internet connections. I think I should probably get my hands on something like these before the decade's out.

3D TVs are likely to come on the market in the not too distance future, and will probably replace 2D TVs in due time. Non-invasive neuro-interfaces will probably become commercially available as well. They'll probably start off being paired with your Wii or X-box, but will later be used for other applications as well. Neuro-imagers may also become the prefered method of lie-detection. I hope that the majority of vehicles will be electric in ten years time, cutting down on our greenhouse gas emissions. There's also a slim chance that cultured meat could come on the market, hopefully to eventually replace the real thing, further cutting down on greenhouse gasses. I find it extremely unlikely that in ten years our green house gas emissions will be higher than they are now.  In case this isnt' enough, we may see the start of some geo-engineering efforts in the next decade.

Vernor Vinge has promised us synthetic bacteria in the near future. I doubt he'll fail, but I don't think synthetic bacteria will be of much significance. Personalized genomics will probably have more of an impact. The cost of sequencing genomes will fall so that they are affordable to the average person. The most controversial application of this will be designer babies. Parents will have multiple embyros created, chose the best one, and 'discard' the rest. Pro-lifers will be enraged with this, and conflict is inevitable. We might even see State run eugenic programs. The government makes millions of embryos, implants the most genetically gifted into women, and discard the others. Emotions could run so high I wouldn't be surprised if an actual war started over these eugenic practices.

Oh, but lets think of happier things, shall we? There's a chance we'll see medical nanites in the next ten years. These nanites will deliver drugs, repair damage, clean cholesterol plaque and hunt down pathogens and cancer cells. These are probably more than ten years away, but you never know. Hopefully within my lifetime anyway. Nootropics, or cognitive enhancing drugs, will likely be widely used and abused. But my body is worse off than my mind, so what I would most like to get a hold of is some sort of mystatin inhibitor. Such a drug will likely be originally meant for people suffering from wasting muscles, such as those with muscular dystrophy, aids, or anything which makes them bedridden. It would also be  useful for the elderly, or astronauts during long missions in micro gravity. Athletes would of course use it as a performance enhancer. It would also be useful as a 'treatment' for being overweight, which many first worlders (myself included) suffer from. With a myostatin inhibitor, I could lose fat and gain muscle without having to change my lifestyle. That may sound ignoble, but few could honestly say they would refuse such an drug. A myostatin inhibitor would both improve my health and my quality of life by making me more attractive and increasing my confidence. I wouldn't use it to become a massive body builder type. I would be satisified with a hard and flat stomach, and would take the drug moderately. A pill that could give me abs. I'd take that over my new iPhone any day.

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