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List of emerging technologies
August 16, 2011 8:54 AM   Subscribe

Science fiction always uses it in varying degrees. Some believe it will bring about a perfect Technological Utopia:Heaven on Earth. Some believe it will herald a dark and dystopian future. Perhaps it will elevate man to a being that is more than human; Human+ and permanently and irrevocably transform the human condition, and still others believe that too much involvement in it will void your existence. Some religions totally depend on it and others find it harder to deal with: The list of emerging technologies.
posted by Cogentesque (49 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
Admit it, you Ctrl+F jetpack'd.
posted by griphus at 9:00 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, admitted. But there's not a lot of focus on food in that list - if the vertical farming and the vat-meat fall through, we're going to going to be hunting each other with those jetpacks sooner than I'd hoped.
posted by Ahab at 9:05 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


How difficult is it to clean clothes using sound waves? I've been waiting for that for years and it's not even on the list. Pffft.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:08 AM on August 16, 2011


In the future you won't need clothes.
posted by localroger at 9:22 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Vertical Farming? Brass Eye covered that pretty thoroughly in the 'Science' episode.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:24 AM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


In the future, you won't need to clean clothes when you can just re-instantiate them.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:25 AM on August 16, 2011


In the future you won't need clothes.

This is almost the last line of This Ain't Back To The Future XXX.
posted by griphus at 9:27 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


In the future you won't need clothes.

In the present we don't need clothes. It's summer. Technology is not the problem there.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:27 AM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Others believe it will probably only be used by mall cops and self-conscious groups of tourists.
posted by Curious Artificer at 9:28 AM on August 16, 2011


A book I'm reading ("Rhythms in the Brain" by Gyorgy Buzsaki) made an interesting point about controlling electronic devices via brain waves. Right now, the best we can do is, via an extensive device covering the entire head, to eventually allow quadriplegic subjects to control the two-dimensional movement of a pointer. Attaching a small magnetic device to the tongue, though, allows far finer 3-D control, given the impressive flexibility of the tongue, and is probably more convenient to wear.

So, controlling electronics with your brain: sounds cool, but meh.
posted by IjonTichy at 9:30 AM on August 16, 2011


Primer seemed to have the “hardest” time travel.
posted by davel at 9:30 AM on August 16, 2011


As for the rest of the list, it's an odd combination of technologies that are around the corner, some that are decades away, and some that are pipe dreams. Mind uploading will not happen for thousands of years, if ever, and if I'm wrong about that I will eat my virtual hat.
posted by IjonTichy at 9:32 AM on August 16, 2011


NSF Funds $18.5 Million Effort to Create Mind-Machine Interface
posted by jeffburdges at 9:37 AM on August 16, 2011


I am going to put a big bumber sticker on my PC that says "Warning: In Case of Nerd Rapture, Do Not Unplug!"
posted by polywomp at 9:37 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


i'm interested in how technology impacts institutions (mostly political, economic and cultural) but i wonder if institutional reform/adaptation isn't a 'technology' itself, like how people cooperate/compete with each other :P

also, fwiw perhaps, for some historical context! Trade is an economic activity, but its greatest impact may be biological. Charles C. Mann on stowaway earthworms, far-flung potatoes and the world made by Columbus.
posted by kliuless at 9:41 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


In the present we don't need clothes. It's summer. Technology is not the problem there.

Well, sort of. I might not need clothes, but I still certainly need pockets.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:42 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is almost the last line of This Ain't Back To The Future XXX.

They really lost the focus of that series back around XXVI.
posted by hal9k at 9:51 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


localroger: In the future you won't need clothes.
griphus: This is almost the last line of This Ain't Back To The Future XXX.
hal9k: They really lost the focus of that series back around XXVI.

I'm about XCIX% certain that those 3 X-es in griphus' comment weren't meant to be Roman numerals...
posted by Hairy Lobster at 9:59 AM on August 16, 2011


The Head Transplant is an emerging technology?
posted by euphorb at 10:01 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


In the present we don't need clothes. It's summer. Technology is not the problem there.

Maybe summer means something different for you, but I'm in the UK.
posted by biffa at 10:06 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the TVtropes link! Looks like very little work is getting done today as well...
posted by Renoroc at 10:15 AM on August 16, 2011


I work on fuel cells and hydrogen now, and while getting the press and the public to understand the state of the industry can be difficult, I was gratified when Margaret Atwood included fuel cell vans in Oryx and Crake. She had solar cars and fuel cell vans, which is a remarkably nuanced understanding of the relative strengths of either technology.
posted by oneironaut at 10:15 AM on August 16, 2011


Why does technology in Shadowrun void existence, again?
posted by oddman at 10:18 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


You seen the Head of Vecna, euphorb?
posted by jeffburdges at 10:25 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Swarm robotics. Has a way to go yet, but interesting none the less.
posted by Splunge at 10:39 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, sort of. I might not need clothes, but I still certainly need pockets.

The mouth is nature's pocket.
posted by Nomyte at 10:48 AM on August 16, 2011


So, controlling electronics with your brain: sounds cool, but meh.

Your opinion changes once you shoot a fireball 20 feet into the air by thinking at a cheap EEG device!

If there isn't some chance of immolation, dismemberment or blunt trauma it's not a vacation
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:54 AM on August 16, 2011


The mouth is nature's pocket.

I think you're just talking out your ass.
posted by I've a Horse Outside at 10:58 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


The mouth is nature's pocket.

What? The mouth is a dog's carrying hand! And his tongue is his sweaty forehead! And his nose is his thermometer! And his tail is his emoticon!

...

The more of these I write, the weirder I realize dogs are.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:21 AM on August 16, 2011 [12 favorites]


In the present we don't need clothes. It's summer.

Very northern-hemispherist of you, justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:34 AM on August 16, 2011


an interesting point about controlling electronic devices via brain waves. Right now, the best we can do is, via an extensive device covering the entire head, to eventually allow quadriplegic subjects to control the two-dimensional movement of a pointer.

I can do better than that, if you'll allow me some latitude in what constitutes "electronics" and "brain waves". I'm able to move an object with extremely high precision in dozens of dimensions (3 position, 3 rotation, and several bending). Multiple objects at once, even.

I call them "my body".
posted by DU at 11:36 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am the Very Model of a Singularitarian
posted by homunculus at 11:42 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


The mouth is nature's pocket.

Never go camping with this person.
posted by mmrtnt at 12:09 PM on August 16, 2011


NSF Funds $18.5 Million Effort to Create Mind-Machine Interface

But you have to remember to think "fire" in Russian...
posted by Slothrup at 12:16 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Your favorite emerging technology sucks.


Did I do that right?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:29 PM on August 16, 2011


Right now, the best we can do is
IjonTichy

Isn't the point of these that we're looking beyond what can be achieved right now to what could conceivably be achieved? It's like someone in 1905 saying, "Flying machines! Pshaw! As they are today they're practically useless!"
posted by Sangermaine at 1:14 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


The mouth is nature's pocket.

Your favorite emerging technology sucks.


Their appears to be a strong correlation techno-fetishism and oral fixation. Not surprising, really.
posted by doctor_negative at 1:18 PM on August 16, 2011


But you have to remember to think "fire" in Russian...

He's up! Great mother of god, he's up!
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:28 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


This FPP combined with this one on living in the "Post-Idea Age" has me solidly in the Bill Joy camp.
"The target of the Jihad was a machine-attitude as much as the machines," Leto said. "Humans had set those machines to usurp our sense of beauty, our necessary selfdom out of which we make living judgments. Naturally, the machines were destroyed."
-Frank Herbert, God Emperor of Dune
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 4:13 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cultural Evolution and the Impending Singularity: The Movie
posted by kliuless at 4:21 PM on August 16, 2011


I am the Very Model of a Singularitarian

I was really hoping that this would be a link to a song.

Some Googling reveals that there actually is such a song, but, even more disappointingly, it is very clearly written by a True Believer.
posted by moss at 6:32 PM on August 16, 2011


Oh GOD I'm not surprised Bill Joy is predicting dystopia, that's the same fucker what created one of the most pessimistic programming languages ever.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:34 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


The mouth is nature's pocket.

Your favorite emerging technology sucks.


The mouth is nature's technology that sucks.
posted by 445supermag at 7:30 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Your favorite mouth sucks.
posted by hattifattener at 8:55 PM on August 16, 2011


Why does technology in Shadowrun void existence, again?

"Cyber ware" and other human modifications all decrease your "Essence" (what makes you human) and once Essence reaches 0 - you dead.
posted by Cogentesque at 1:15 AM on August 17, 2011


Thanks for the TVtropes link! Looks like very little work is getting done today as well...

TV Tropes is My favorite current site. Everything in modern culture (pop, "alt", or otherwise) will be found in this one amazing, funny, crowd-sourced site. Its like wikipedia for culture. I might have to do a proper post on it...
posted by Cogentesque at 1:18 AM on August 17, 2011


btw, 'technology' might also even include operating systems! :P
posted by kliuless at 11:11 AM on August 17, 2011


I want a bumper sticker that says "The Butlerian Jihad cannot come soon enough".
posted by Ratio at 12:41 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Isn't the point of these that we're looking beyond what can be achieved right now to what could conceivably be achieved?

Eh, I guess. I've yet to hear of a proposed application of brain-computer interfaces that couldn't be done better with a simpler approach. The exceptions being post-Singularity fantasies.

It's like someone in 1905 saying, "Flying machines! Pshaw! As they are today they're practically useless!"

...that, or it's like someone in 1955 saying "You know, maybe nuclear-powered kitchens aren't that feasible after all."
posted by IjonTichy at 9:39 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


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