The best way to predict the future is to think about desire. The problem with desire is that it tends to be bounded by what’s actually possible; as we grow older, our imaginations seem to develop artificial caps that limit our ideas to things that are reasonably achievable in the short term. But who cares about what is reasonable? Here’s what I want.
I want a system that continuously scans my body and tells me if I have actionable disease, like cancer or a contagious flu. I want this device to tell me if I have a higher than normal risk of a heart attack, and, if so, which steps I should take to prevent one.
I want to take a pill every morning that restricts my body’s ability to process more calories than it needs during the day. I want this pill to enable my body to dispose of any junk chemicals or excess calories that exceed the ideal, healthy amount.
I want to think of the trip between New York City and San Francisco the same way I think about a subway ride. I want a maximum fixed cost for long distance travel of $100 per trip, and for the physical transport to utilize new or vastly improved transportation technology that is good for the environment.
I want fresh food to last ten times longer than it does now, with no reduction in taste or nutrition; I want the process of decomposition for fruit, meat, and other perishable food to be significantly slowed using some process that has benefits on the same magnitude as the invention of the refrigerator.
I want mass-produced products to be locally manufactured just-in-time in dark, human-less warehouses by robots, and not made in far-away lands, because human innovation is vastly slowed by the obstacles and time waste in outsourcing. I want the design and production of high quality, inexpensive physical goods to be dramatically easier, faster, and more environmentally and technologically efficient.
I want doctors to be way less involved with practical medicine, and for computers to diagnose and treat disease; we know so little about the human body, and innovation in medicine moves so slowly, that tens of thousands of people die every day from things that could be completely and easily prevented with technology. I want the human body to be treated medically as a machine, by machines.
I want to order a tube of toothpaste, a tomato, or a sandwich, and have it delivered to me within 10 minutes via a safe flying machine (or other delivery system; see also: pneumatic tubes, 3-D printing).
I want a seemingly high-end, luxury hotel chain that utilizes technology so effectively that the nightly room rate is less than $100 in even the most expensive cities, like London.
I want to instantly find the best of something in a product category without wasting time on my own research. I want a place like Amazon.com, but, when you search for “toaster”, you are presented with only one model of toaster: the one that 80% of people would consider to be the best toaster in the world.
I want technology to make an affordable concierge lifestyle accessible to more people, because I think having the ability to consult experts makes people universally smarter, faster, and more efficient as humans. I want a personal trainer, a fashion stylist, a nutritionist, an executive assistant, and a nurse I can call on at any time for advice.
I want to have one unlimited-use internet plan that allows me to use/add as many devices as I want, and to use them anywhere in the world at no additional cost.
I want everything in my life to be connected to and enhanced by the internet. I want my watch, glasses, toaster, light switches, thermostat, and door locks to use connectedness to make the world a better place–by reducing energy usage, decreasing waste, and improving my happiness and convenience.
I want nuclear reactors or some other clean technology to power the entire world’s electrical grid, safely.
I want a display implanted into my retina that enhances my life by visually providing me with information that my brain is not designed to think about. I want scientific facts and social knowledge to guide my decisions, and for simple errors that most humans make (like distance miscalculations and logical fallacies) to be immediately identified. (See also: The Glass Bicycle)
It’s hard to think about things far beyond what is currently achievable. If there were no limitations on technology, time, and social pressures, what would you want?