I believe that in the next 5 years most people will have a 3D printer at home. 3D printing is really up and coming. 3D printers were always too expensive for consumers but that's changing. Makerbot is selling 3D printers for just over 2000 bucks. As noted in this great article by Wired, 3D printing is going through the same stages as Personal Computing. PC's were always too expensive and people didn't see any use for them in their own home. Well... that's changed a bit.
The same thing will happen with 3D printing. As soon as it becomes mainstream people will find a lot more practical uses. Now 3D printing is mostly used with plastic which makes the results rather unimpressive (which is also parallel to the PC). But what happens when we can print with metals, wood or even sugar? You can print your own smartphone, chair or food. Sounds crazy? Let me know in 5 years when you are gorging on your 3D printed hamburger.
Money doesn't make the world go round
After reading Life Inc by Douglas Rushkoff I had a real epiphany. The way the world economy works is wrong. The way we use money is backwards. This has become painstakingly clear the last four years with the mortgage crisis and the euro crisis. As Rushkoff explains in his book we've got money all wrong.
Around 1300 money was getting less worth the longer you kept it. People back then had a real high standard of living. Only working five to six hours a day and four days a week. A lot of shit happened (read Rushkoff's book if you want the details) and nowadays the value of money increases (because of interest) as you keep saving. We work at least eight hours a day and five days a week. Corporations extract money from local communities so the working class keeps getting poorer while the rich get richer (I know I sound like a hippie now, but don't worry I won't start pitching my tent and occupy Den Bosch).
What can we do about this? Well for starters we can stop using money. I do understand this will never happen, but we can at least try to using money less. There are two ways to go about this. First off you can create things for yourself, such as having your own kitchen garden where you can grow fruits and vegetables. Second we can start trading again. This worked pretty well before we invented money. As for my vision of the future: I believe that in the next 10 years we will see more initiatives which will bypass money. Such as more homegrown products and more trading. So if anyone's already up for a trade, let me know!
This one usually gets people dialing for the asylum when I try to bring it up. But I truly believe that in my lifetime (I'm almost thirty now) we will see eternal life. We humans will have the decision to life forever. There are multiple ways to go about this, but here are my three favorites.
- Life-extending substances: Scientist keep discovering ways to extend our lives. Such as the resveratol (which can be found in wine, cheers!) and it's possible to use telomarese to prevent cells in our body to die (which was successfully used to increase the life span of a mouse by 50%). If we are this far already, it is possible that in the next 50 years we might find a 'cure' for dying.
- Cybernetics: We could use technology to replace our broken body parts. This already the case with amputees so would it be such a stretch that one day we can use technology to replace our vital body parts for digital ones? Even our brain (which is the most complex part of our body) is becoming less of a mystery. Which brings me to...
- Mind-to-computer uploading: Bodies are so last century! Why not upload our brains to the computer and live in cyberspace? Science fiction has already dabbled in this concept but as stated above, it is already possible to simulate a brain. Could it really be that we can just 'plug in' and all our thoughts, and dare I say it, soul can be translated into digital ones and zeros?
IF we want to live forever is another discussion, I just believe in 50 to 60 years time we will have to make that decision.
Do you have any visions of the future? Please share them in the comments!