Five Technological Advances that Might Change the Way We Live

ABSTRACT: Our society has changed rapidly over last few decades, as a result of technological advances. Just think, it was not too long ago that most of us were using maps to get around town. Here are five major changes which could impact our lives over the next decade.

We live in an age of rapid change. Just ask video rental stores and desktop computer makers. They have watched their business models crumble in only a few years' time, due to advances in technology. A decade ago, most people relied on maps to get around town, and their cellphones could only perform a limited number of functions. Now, many of them use highly developed GPS devices to navigate the streets, and their phones are more sophisticated than some computers. The pace of change is not likely to slow down over the next decade. In fact, it might speed up.

Here are five major changes which could impact our lives within the next 10 years.

Cable Becomes Passé

Cable and satellite TV providers are currently in positions of power. A Nielsen survey estimates that around 90 percent of "U.S. households pay for a TV subscription." These companies also bring in significant amounts of revenue by providing Americans with high speed Internet and land-based telephone services.
However, the cable and satellite companies' stranglehold on the television programming market might be nearing an end. Growing numbers of people are starting to turn to the Internet for their movies and shows. According to a Nielsen report, three million homes have dropped their pay for TV subscriptions in the last five years. Many of these people use the Internet to stream their shows and movies. Granted only a small percentage of Americans currently choose to eschew cable and satellite. However, the figure could grow significantly over the coming decade, as the number of Internet TV options grows. To make matters worse, the pay for TV companies are also dealing with threats to their high speed Internet business from competitors like Google and from the proliferation of free WI-FI hotspots.

Digitized Textbooks Become the Norm

Microsoft Office
Most Americans, both young and old, can relate to the student who has to lug around a heavy backpack filled with an assortment of hardcover and paperback textbooks. However, a growing number of students are beginning to eschew traditional textbooks in favor of digital copies, which they can store on their e-readers and tablets. Many young people prefer digital textbooks to paper bound tomes because the former are cheaper, virtually weightless, and easy to store. Using tools in their e-readers or tablets, the students can quickly locate and bookmark specific information in their digital textbooks. They no lo
nger have to thumb through a hundred pages to find what they need. It is possible that within the next decade, a majority of U.S. students might not need backpacks at all.

3-D Printing Goes Mainstream

Low cost 3-D printer (1)
With a 3-D printer, an individual can draw a design on a computer screen, place plastic or some other type of malleable material into the machine, and watch as the 3-D printer translates the image into the actual object. Some companies are using 3-D printers to produce custom made devices, like hearing aids. Hobbyists use the printers to create small toys and sculptures. Currently, 3-D printers and their source materials are relatively expensive and their uses are limited. That situation might change dramatically over the next decade, as 3-D printers come down in price and become capable of creating a wider range of objects from scratch. As an example, some researchers believe that, within the next ten years, 3-D printers will be capable of creating ready-made human organs.

Techno Cars Arrive

While fully automated cars might not be on the horizon, most Americans who purchase new vehicles in the not too distant future will likely notice some significant changes. Some automobiles currently on the market can park themselves and automatically hit the brakes to avoid an accident. Over the next decade, many more vehicles will come equipped with these capabilities, as well as additional high tech safety features. These automobiles will likely have more powerful computers, and they might also contain consoles with Wi-Fi and 4G LTE capabilities. If nothing else, many of the new cars and trucks that roll off of the assembly line in the near future will almost certainly be more fuel efficient than current models.

Technology in a Pill

Several companies have either created or are in the process of designing devices that fit within a pill, which people can swallow. Some of these machines will monitor a person's health status or inform him or her when it is time to take medicine. Other ingestible devices will allow individuals to do things like access their laptops or phones without a password. A few of these tiny machines are on the marketplace already, and others are in the final stages of testing. If Americans become enamored with the new devices, the ingestible machine industry could become a big business within the next decade.

#technology #cable #tv #television #future #futurism #medicine #health #cars #autos #driving

(1) Deezmaker. (2012, April 13). A Low Cost Open Source 3D Printer. Wikimedia Commons.
            The photographer/owner has placed this image in the public domain per his/her comments on 
             Wikimedia (see link to photo in title).

-- Anthony Hopper

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