New Technology By 2020 And Beyond
Japan will build a robotic moon base
There’s no technological reason why Japan shouldn't be able to move forward with its ambitious plan to build a robotic lunar outpost by 2020 — built by robots, for robots. In fact, there’s really no nation better for the job in terms of technological prowess.
The Institute for the Future’s Mike Liebhold says, “There are private launch vehicles that are probably capable of doing that, and I think the robotics by that point are going to be quite robust.”
PopSci Predicts: Technologically possible, but economics will be the deciding factor.
Cars will drive themselves
long been a dream of, well, just about everyone, from Google and DARPA to automakers themselves: utter safety and ease of transport thanks to self driving cars. There's movement being made, but the first hurdle to clear is a big one: Getting all these heterogenous cars to speak to one another. We don't yet have the wireless infrastructure, globally speaking, to link all our cars with all our traffic tech.
PopSci Predicts: Certainly doable, but not by 2020.
All new screens will be ultra-thin OLEDs
Display tech moves incredibly fast. There will certainly still be some “antique” LCD monitor screens hanging around in 2020, but as far as new stock is concerned, it’s easy to see the entire industry shifting to paper thin OLED surfaces, many with touch capability.
“So surfaces will become computational," Liebhold says. "walls, mirrors, windows. I think that's legitimate.”
PopSci Predicts: “Give that one a high probability,” Liebhold says. Done.
A $1,000 computer will have the processing power of the human brain
Cisco’s chief futurist made this prediction a couple of years ago, and it seems reasonable in some ways. Not intelligence, really, but purely the "ability, the number of cycles," as Liebhold puts it, is on track given Moore's Law.
PopSci Predicts: Likely.
Biofuels will be cost-competitive with fossil fuels
The U.S. military has pledged to get half its energy from renewable recourses by 2020, and the Navy whole-heartedly believes it can turn to 50 percent biofuels by then. It makes political sense not to rely on volatile regions for energy, and this push could mean both cleaner vehicle fleets and a major bump in the competitiveness of biofuels in the market.
PopSci Predicts: Feasible.