Tech future closer than it appears

Tech future closer than it appears
February 16, 2015 Eric Bennett

I grew up around the time the internet was beginning to become popular. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have access to a computer and the freedom of information that comes with being able to get on the Internet. From being born in 1992, that puts me somewhere between the Generation X and the Millennial Generation. Although that puts me at the far end of the predictions and guesses presented in “Searchlights and Sunglasses,” I do believe that I have seen the evolution of technology.

I saw the birth of commonly used cellphones when I was a little kid. They were chunky, had antennas and could only make phone calls. Now here I am in 2015 and I have a smart phone of my own, which can not only make phone calls, but gives me access to the entirety of human knowledge through the Internet along with other convenient features.  Capture

“Searchlights and Sunglasses” makes the claim that sometime time around 2035, we’ll begin to see a new age of technology, the Cyber Generation. It marks that we’ll have artificial intelligence, robotics, grids and the cloud. There is about 20 years till we reach that age, but I think we’re already very close to being there.

Google is working on a driverless car that actually works, in addition to robot dogs that can navigate and balance on their own. The cloud, by comparison, seems almost meaningless. Being able to save files online is a nice convenience, but not entirely useful on a daily basis for most people. Grids I had to look up because I didn’t know what it was referring to. Again, not something very beneficial for an everyday use.

The Cyber is a little ways away, but we’re already seeing hints of what is to come. However, what I find interesting is that augmented reality is predicted to come in 2057, which is, obviously, an even longer time away. Although, we’ve been seeing hints of it for quite some time now, but not everyone is looking.

Coming straight out of Japan, a land noted for its technology, is a girl named Hatsune Miku.

Domino's Pizza virtual advertising star Miku

Virtual celebrity Miku, already a force in Japan.

She’s a pop star, not entirely unlike those we have here in America or all over the world. She sings, she dances, she has a backup band that plays for her, her fans love listening to her music and idolizing her. The catch is, she’s not real. At the basis, she’s a mascot for a computer speech synthesis program called Vocaloid, but with the intent of creating singing out of text instead of plain speech. Something happened along the way and a Japanese computer program mascot is now putting on hologram stage performances with people coming to specifically see Miku, who is now essentially a fictional real-world celebrity. In an attempt to come to America, she’s been in car commercials, opened for Lady Gaga and has performed on Letterman. Meanwhile, in Japan, you can use modern augmented reality technology in your phone to make her appear on a pizza box, or spend one on one time with her in virtual reality.

At this point, augmented reality has only niche entertainment value. As we get closer to 2057, perhaps we’ll see a collision between artificial intelligence and augmented reality. Will tabloids of the future be reporting on the latest controversies involving hologram Michael Jackson? That’s a pretty big stretch at the moment, but as technology evolves from fiction perhaps one day it will seem just as normal as using your phone as your ID.

However, it is 2015 and I’m not commuting to work with a jetpack, so maybe they’re all wrong.

Eric Bennett
Eric Bennett has lived in Alaska all his life and is a senior journalism student with a particular interest in copy editing. He loves reading about the yakuza in the news and generally all spooky things, true or not.

1 Comment

  1. Brian Patrick O'Donoghue
    Brian Patrick O'Donoghue 2 years ago

    It strikes me as absurd to predict tech futures five years ahead, much less 40. The stock market is drenched in losses by just-around-the-corner, sure-fire technologies. I’m more interested in what virtual reality will mean for society as a generation plugs into it. Uplifting? Or mind heroin? Your generation may wrestle with that sooner than you think.

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