When you look at at predictions of the future, they never quite get it right, so I'll take Popular Mechanics' 110 Predictions For the Next 110 Years with a grain of salt. Still, some of these future predictions borrow plenty from current scientific discoveries, cultural shifts and adoption of existing technologies for new roles.
It's never easy to predict the future. But as PM's 110th anniversary celebration draws to a close, we've decided to try. Here are 110 ambitious ideas for the decades ahead.
• Car tires will be brewed by bacteria. Isoprene -- a key ingredient in rubber -- is produced naturally by many plants but not at great enough volume to keep pace with the world's demand for tires. It can also be extracted from oil. But biotech firm Genencor has engineered E. coli microbes that produce gobs of the stuff as a by-product of metabolizing plant sugars. Goodyear, a partner in the study, is already testing prototypes of these bio-isoprene tires.
• Self-cleaning buildings will help us fight smog. When sunlight strikes their aluminum skin, a titanium dioxide coating releases free radicals, which break down the grime and convert toxic nitrogen oxide molecules in the air into a harmless nitrate. Everything washes away in the rain.
• Your clothes will clean themselves too. Engineers in China have developed a titanium dioxide coating that helps cotton shed stains and eliminate odor-producing bacteria. To revive your lucky shirt after a night of poker, you need only step into the sun.
• Drones will protect endangered species. Guarding at-risk animals from poachers with foot patrols is expensive and dangerous. This summer rangers in Nepal's Chitwan National Park previewed a savvy solution: Hand-launched drones armed with cameras and GPS provided aerial surveillance of threatened Indian rhinos.
|Amazon, a Symbol of the Macro Economy "as we transition from a pre-Internet world to whatever comes next."|
|"Whether in 50 or 100 or 200 years, there's a good chance that New York City will sink beneath the sea."|
|"We spend a great deal of time studying history, which, let's face it, is mostly the history of stupidity."|
|Robots Make Another Victim: Sport Journalists|
|Flying Car Gets Go-Ahead from US Air Authorities|
|"This very internationalism that contributed to the apocalyptic disaster that ended the Bronze Age."|
|"Fossil fuel executives want to get a piece of the clean-energy business."|
|Nerf John Wick|
|“There was not only automation but where the suggestion that humans had any control [...] was absent too.”|
|"Most of what kids currently learn at school will probably be irrelevant by the time they are 40."|
|Top 10 Reasons Men Are Scum|
|“The use of AI assistants may dramatically accelerate and broaden what might be looked back on as a global period of cognitive decline.”|
|“That glazed-over look a grandma has at a Vegas slot machine is the same look Facebook chases in its users scrolling the feed.”|
|Loneliness is Not an Old Friend|
|“You can make spaceships much bigger than anything we’ve seen so far in history.”|
|“One of the major concerns with asteroid mining is, of course, getting to the asteroids.”|
|“It's unbelievable how much energy is released.”|