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.
|“These changes will likely mean a decline in job security and standards of living for many.”|
|"Super-detailed scans of actual human brains that run as models on computers"|
|The Third Industrial Revolution|
|By the Time A.I.s Are Smart Enough, Humans Will be Even Smarter|
|Crazy Space-Saving Designs for the Homes of the Future|
|Gira Lab Universal Timer|
|“Long live the instant gratification economy—and the increasingly sophisticated technology that’s enabling it.”|
|Japanese Robot Serves Ice Cream From Inside a Vending Machine|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|“The robot age is nothing to be worried about.”|
|“What jobs will be created and what jobs will disappear?”|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|Why, Typewriters Are Alive and Well, Thank you|
|“Authoritarianism depends upon people getting used to hearing the things that they want to hear.”|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|“Computer algorithms increasingly control and decide our future.”|
|“Robots are key to a new wave of local agriculture.”|