The first self-driving cars should hit the road by 2015. In a decade's time a large part of the world's vehicles will be autonomous. What impact will that have on our lives and the way we perceive cars?
Google has been working on autonomous cars for several years, having logged over 1 million km (700,000 miles) on US roads in five different states between April 2012 and April 2014, without any incident. The company recently announced that it would build its own self-driving cars, rather than modifying vehicles built by other manufacturers. Two hundreds of these tiny two-seater prototypes are expected to start circulating in US streets in 2015.
An astonishing new technology, Thermal Touch, converts any object or surface into a touchscreen. The entire world suddenly becomes clickable and interactive. You can order an item seen in a magazine by touching the photo, or play virtual chess on en empty table.
This could be the device that brings Augmented Reality to everyday life. Integrated to Google Glass it would revolutionize the way we interact with our environment and other people - perhaps even more so that smartphones themselves.
Human society and individual lives are are about to undergo the a dramatic transformation due to exponentially accelerating technologies. Discover what will happen in the next 20 years.
In his landmark book The Singularity is Near, Ray Kurzweil explains how information-based technologies progress at an exponential rate. For example, in 1972, the microprocessor of a personal computer could only perform 100,000 instructions per second (0.1 MIPS). In 1978 it was one million instructions per second (1 MIPS). In 1993, the Intel Pentium reached a speed of 100 MIPS. By 2002, a processing speed of 10,000 MIPS had become common. In the 30 years from 1972 to 2002 the speed of PC's increased 100,000 times. This trend is accelerating over time in a hyperbolic fashion, known as exponential growth. It took 21 years, from 1972 to 1993, for computation speed to increased 1000 fold, but only 10 more years to increase again by the same factor. In other words speed progressed twice faster. This phenomenon has been observed for in practically all technologies, be it for RAM memory, data storage, DNA sequencing cost, number of cell phone subscribers, number of people connected to the Internet...
Most adults alive today grew up without the Internet or mobile phones, let alone smartphones and tablets with voice commands and apps for everything. These new technologies have altered our lifestyle in a way few of us could have imagined a few decades ago. But have we reached the end of the line ? What else could turn up that could make our lives so much more different ? Faster computers ? More gadgets ? It is in fact so much more than that. Technologies have embarked on an exponential growth curve and we are just getting started. In 10 years we will look back on our life today and wonder how we could have lived with such primitive technology. The gap will be bigger than between today and the 1980's. Get ready because you are in for a rough ride.