Unfolding Technologies and Future of Life

anil chopra, air power asia, Future of Life, Technology

Science and development are making quantum leaps forward and changing our life style. Technology has revolutionized our world and daily lives by creating amazing tools and resources, putting useful information at our fingertips. It has paved the way for multi-functional devices like the smart phone. Computers are increasingly faster, more portable, and higher-powered than ever before. All this has also made our lives easier, faster, better, and more fun. It is time to look at the unfolding technologies and their timelines.

Quantum Computing. Image Source: newsroom.cisco.com

Quantum Computing 

          It use the phenomena such as superposition and entanglement to perform computation. Despite very fast networks and computation speeds, human’s still want things faster. On 23 October 2019, Google AI, in partnership with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), claimed to have performed a quantum computation that is infeasible on any classical computer. Computation is performed by manipulating qubits (quantum bit) with quantum logic gates, which are somewhat analogous to classical logic gates. John Preskill has introduced the term “quantum supremacy” to refer to the hypothetical speedup advantage that a quantum computer would have over a classical computer. Google announced in 2017 that it expected to achieve quantum supremacy by the end of the year though that did not happen. IBM said in 2018 that the best classical computers will be beaten on some practical task within about five years and views the quantum supremacy test only as a potential future benchmark. In October 2019, a Sycamore processor created in conjunction with Google AI Quantum was reported to have achieved quantum supremacy, with calculations more than 3,000,000 times as fast as those of Summit, generally considered the world’s fastest computer. Removing quantum de-coherence usually means isolating the system from its environment as interactions with the external world cause the system to de-cohere. De-coherence is irreversible. Currently, some quantum computers require their qubits to be cooled to 20 milli-kelvins in order to prevent significant de-coherence. A 2020 study argues that ionizing radiation such as cosmic rays can nevertheless cause certain systems to de-cohere within milli-sections. Any operation must be completed much more quickly than the de-coherence time. Supporting technology such as leverage of machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), Big Data, Cloud Computing are required to accelerate Quantum Computing development. By 2030, quantum supremacy and AI systemswould beproviding problem solving partnership and creative solutions in virtually every area of human endeavor.

Emotion AI. Image source: http://www.analyticsinsight.net

Emotion AI

          As artificial intelligence learns to interpret and respond to human emotion. This will become embedded into conversational interfaces. These technologies are referred to as “emotion AI.” Emotion AI is a subset of artificial intelligence (the broad term for machines replicating the way humans think) that measures, understands, simulates, and reacts to human emotions. It’s also known as affective computing, or artificial emotional intelligence. It will be socially acceptable to scream angrily at Alexa. She might respond with something like, “Please don’t yell at me, that hurt my feelings.” Meredith Somers, writes https://mitsloan.mit.edu/ideas-made-to-matter/emotion-ai-explained  Think of the way you interact with other human beings; you look at their faces, you look at their body, and you change your interaction accordingly. How can a machine effectively communicate information if it doesn’t know your emotional state, if it doesn’t know how you’re feeling, it doesn’t know how you’re going to respond to specific content?

          While humans might currently have the upper hand on reading emotions, machines are gaining ground using their own strengths. Machines are very good at analyzing large amounts of data, explained MIT Sloan professor Erik Brynjolfsson. They can listen to voice inflections and start to recognize when those inflections correlate with stress or anger. Machines can analyze images and pick up subtleties in micro-expressions on humans’ faces that might happen even too fast for a person to recognize. It makes sense to use technology to connect to our social brains, not just our analytical brains.Some industries are already using emotion AI. 25 percent of the Fortune 500 companies use automotive AI and advertising research says Rana el Kaliouby, of Affectiva, an emotion AI company based in Boston. Technology captures the visceral, subconscious reactions, which correlates very strongly with actual consumer behavior. Technology helps call center agents identify the moods of customers on the phone and adjust how they handle the conversation in real time. Mental health monitoring app help analyze the speaker’s voice and phone use for signs of anxiety and mood changes. It is used for self-awareness, and can increase self coping skills including steps for stress reduction. Another emotion AI-driven technology for mental health is a wearable device that monitors a person’s heartbeat to tell whether they are experiencing something like stress, pain, or frustration. The monitor then releases a scent to help the wearer adjust to the negative emotion they’re having at that moment. Consider a car that could tell if a driver was arguing with the passenger next to them, based on elevated blood pressure, and adjust the speed of the distracted operator. Or a sensor that signaled the steering wheel to subtly maneuver the car into the middle of the lane, after a sleep-deprived driver unknowingly is listing to the curb. Emotional AI can help autistic people learn how to read other’s facial expressions.

5G Networks. Image Source: nenow.in

5G Networks

          The 5G network are unleashing 10 – 100 Gigabit connection speedsfor mobile phones around the world, up from current speeds of 100-900 Mbit/s. The main advantage of the new networks is that they will have greater bandwidth, giving higher download speeds. The new networks will also be used as general internet service providers for laptops and desktop computers, competing with existing ISPs such as cable internet, and also will make possible new applications in internet of things (IoT) and machine to machine areas. The increased speed is being achieved partly by using higher-frequency radio waves than current cellular networks. However, higher-frequency radio waves have a shorter range than the frequencies used by previous cell phone towers, requiring smaller cells. So to ensure wide service, 5G networks operate on up to three frequency bands, low, medium, and high. A 5G network will require 3 different types of cells, each requiring different antennas. 5G cellphones and wireless devices will connect to the network through the highest speed antenna within range at their location. It is expected that by 2026, the entire earth’s 8 billion humans would be connected at over 500 Mbps speed. Tablets in poorest regions of the world would be made available for free in exchange for data and ecommerce rights.

AI Based Medical Diagnostics. Image Source: http://www.theengineer.co.uk

AI Based Medical Diagnostics

          AI-driven software can be programmed to accurately spot signs of a certain disease in medical images such as MRIs, x-rays, and CT scans. Existing similar solutions already use AI for cancer diagnosis by processing photos of skin lesions. Using such tools, doctors can diagnose patients more accurately and prescribe the most suitable treatment. By 2032 Medical nano-robotsdemonstrated in humans would be able to extend the immune system. By 2034 many some of today’s major challenges like cancer may get solved.

Electric Vehicles. Image Source: http://www.generalkinematics.com

Electric Vehicles

          An electric vehicle (EV) may be powered through a collector system by electricity from off-vehicle sources, or may be self-contained with a battery, solar panels, fuel cells or an electric generator to convert fuel to electricity. EVs are not limited to, road and rail vehicles, surface and underwater vessels, electric aircraft and electric spacecraft. Though internal combustion engines have dominant for almost 100 years, but electric power was in use in trains and smaller vehicles of all types. EVs have seen a resurgence due to technological developments, and an increased focus on renewable energy. Engineers also evolved technical details for electric vehicle conversions. Most electric vehicles use lithium-ion batteries which have higher energy density, longer life span and higher power density. Their price is constantly decreasing, thus, making electric vehicles more affordable and attractive on the market. Government incentives to increase adoptions were introduced, all over the world. Electric vehicles are expected to increase from 2% of global share in 2016 to 22% in 2030.

          Battery Charging has been an issue. When a large proportion of private vehicles were to convert to grid electricity it would increase the demand for generation and transmission, and consequent emissions. However, overall energy consumption and emissions would diminish because of the higher efficiency of EVs over the entire cycle. Most charging would occur overnight, using the most efficient off-peak base load sources. EVs typically charge from conventional power outlets or dedicated charging stations, a process that may typically takes hours. The widespread implementation of electric vehicle networks within large cities EV users can plug in their cars whilst at work and leave them to charge throughout the day, extending the possible range and reducing range anxiety. “Rapid charging” options have been evolved. Battery replacement is also proposed as an alternative, that could just take same time as refueling. Swapping requires standardization across platforms, models and manufacturers. Swapping also requires many times more battery packs to be in the system. Advances in lithium ion batteries, will allow same distance in a single charge as conventional cars go on a single tank of gasoline. Batteries can be recharged in minutes instead of hours and will last longer than the typical vehicle lifespan. The production cost of these lighter, higher-capacity lithium batteries is gradually decreasing.

          84% of existing vehicles could be switched over to plug-in hybrids without requiring any new grid infrastructure. The net result would be a 27% total reduction in emissions of the greenhouse gases, and a 31% total reduction in nitrogen oxides, and a 98% decrease in carbon monoxide and a 93% decrease in volatile organic compounds. By 2025, all passenger cars sold in Europe will be electric or hybrid electric. More and more airborne, space borne and sea borne vehicles will be EVs.

Autonomous Cars. Image Source: innovator.news

Autonomous Cars

          A self-driving car, or autonomous vehicle (AV), are driverless car, is capable of sensing its environment and moving safely with little or no human input. Self-driving cars combine a variety of sensors to perceive their surroundings, such as radar, lidar, sonar, GPS, odometry and inertial measurement units. Advanced control systems interpret sensory information to identify appropriate navigation paths, as well as obstacles and relevant signage. Connected vehicle platoons and long-distance trucking are seen as being at the forefront of adopting and implementing the technology.

          There are different levels of automation. Level 0: The automated system issues warnings and may momentarily intervene but has no sustained vehicle control. Level 1 (“hands on”): The driver and the automated system share control of the vehicle. Examples of these are driver controls steering and the automated system controls engine power to maintain a set speed. Level 2 (“hands off”): The automated system takes full control of the vehicle: accelerating, braking, and steering. The driver can intervene any time if the automated system does not respond properly. Level 3 (“eyes off”): The driver can safely turn their attention away from the driving tasks, e.g. the driver can text or watch a movie. The driver can intervene when required. Level 4 (“mind off”): Same as level 3, but no driver attention is ever required for safety. Level 5 (“steering wheel optional”): No human intervention is required at all. An example would be a robotic taxi that works on all roads all over the world, all year around, in all weather conditions.

          Self-driving cars are already exploring the difficulties of determining the intentions of pedestrians, bicyclists, and animals, and models of behavior must be programmed into driving algorithms. Possible technological obstacles for automated cars are, that Artificial Intelligence is still not able to function properly in chaotic inner-city environments. A car’s computer could potentially be compromised, as could a communication system between cars. Susceptibility of the car’s to deliberate interference, including jamming and spoofing. Autonomous cars may require very high-quality specialised maps to operate properly. Current road infrastructure may need changes for automated cars to function optimally. Self-driving car liability is a developing area of law and policy that will determine who is liable when an automated car causes physical damage to persons, or breaks road rules.

Time Over for Car Ownership. Image Source: finance.yahoo.com

Time Over for Car Ownership

          David Silver writes for Venture Beat, that car ownership is about to go the way of horse ownership. Maybe it will happen substantially by 2030 or so. Shared mobility services like Uber is the future. Two-car garages will become as rare as stables. Self-driving cars will also only accelerate the trend. Instead of buying a car, you’ll subscribe to an app that lets you summon an autonomous vehicle with the tap of a smart phone screen. You’ll never have to worry about parking or shoveling out a car from snow or any other myriad car-owner concerns ever again. Shared mobility has already depressed car sales in recent years. More young people are putting off learning to drive. Autonomous vehicle companies will require more robotics qualified engineers. Currently there is a severe talent shortage. The format of self-driving cars will also need to evolve before they really take off with consumers. The autonomous vehicle might have no windows and have an interior covered with TV screens. It might be a mobile living room that detaches from your house when you want to travel. It might be a “commuter pod” with a single seat that whisks you away on a solo journey to work. Or the roads might eventually be crowded with these and many other specialized forms. Even as we await self driven cars in large numbers, vehicles on call (Uber) will reduce vehicle ownership. I’m personally not throwing away my own car keys yet, though.

Multi-material 3D printing. Image Source: http://www.designnews.com

Multi-material 3D printing

          3D printing, or additive manufacturing, is the construction of a three-dimensional object from a CAD model or a digital 3D model. “3D printing” is a variety of processes in which material is deposited, joined or solidified under computer control to create a three-dimensional object, typically layer by layer. As of 2019, the precision, repeatability, and material range of 3D printing has increased to the point that some 3D printing processes are considered viable as an industrial-production technology. One of the key advantages of 3D printing is the ability to produce very complex shapes or geometries that would be otherwise impossible to construct by hand, including hollow parts or parts with internal truss structures to reduce weight. Fused deposition modeling, or FDM, is the most common 3D printing process in use as of 2018.

          A initial drawback of 3D printing technologies was that they only allowed only one material to be printed at a time, limiting many potential applications. Multi-material 3D printing solved this problem by allowing objects of complex and heterogeneous arrangements of materials to be manufactured using a single printer. In the medical industry, a concept of 3D printed pills and vaccines, where multiple medications can be combined, which will decrease many risks. The costs of daily life and high technology development will become inevitably lower. By classifying each material, CIMP-3D can systematically perform 3D printing with multiple materials. In cars, trucks, and aircraft, Additive Manufacturing is beginning to transform both uni-body and fuselage design and production. Urbee is the name of the first car mounted using the technology 3D printing (its bodywork and car windows were “printed”). There are vehicle that are entirely 3D Printed using ABS plastic and carbon fiber, except the power-train. The Airbus A350 XWB has over 1000 components manufactured by 3D printing. Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet is flying with printed parts. The United States and Israeli Air Forces are printing spare parts. GE Aviation is using additive manufacturing to create a helicopter engine with 16 parts instead of 900, with great potential impact on reducing the complexity of supply chains. The FAA approved the production of a 3D printed fuel nozzle for the GE LEAP engine.

          Additive manufacturing does pose some environmental downsides. Despite additive manufacturing reducing waste by up to 90%, the additive manufacturing process creates other forms of waste such as non-recyclable material powders. Additive manufacturing has not yet reached its theoretical material efficiency potential of 97%, but it may get closer as the technology continues to increase productivity. The motivating force is cost reduction via the replacement of labor. The production may become “extremely” local and customized. Also production may occur in response to actual demand, not anticipated or forecast demand. Cheap labor will become a less important asset. Adapting to this will require shifts in mindsets, policies, and investments. 3D printing as being the next desktop publishing revolution.

Domestic Robots. Image Source: http://www.ft.com

Domestic Robots

          A domestic robot provides autonomous service for household chores, but may also be used for education, entertainment or therapy. These already exist but could become more common in the future. There were an estimated 16.3 million service robots in 2018. Robots are able to reliably read lips and recognize face, mouth and hand gestures. Robots understand speech context well enough to interact with humans as receptionists, retail store assistants and clerks. Indoor robots sweeping and wet mopping functions. There are ironing robots. More advanced ones fold and organizes the clothes (using image analysis and artificial intelligence). There are animal litter cleaning robots. Robotic in kitchens makes rotis and puris out of flour in just a few minutes. Security robots have a night-vision-capable wide-angle camera that detects movements and intruders, and shoot video, and send alerts via email or text message. There are robot that open doors, and even climb stairs. Outdoor robots mow lawns, scrub and clean swimming pools, clean gutters, and clean outer windows, among others. Social robots take on the function of social communication. Domestic humanoid robots are used by elderly and immobilized residents to keep them company. Home-telepresence robots can move around in a remote location and let one communicate with people there via its camera, speaker, and microphone. Robots are also built for therapy and can be used for autism or physical therapy. By 2032 Robots may common in every workplace, eliminating all manual labor and repetitive interactions (e.g., receptionists, tour guides, drivers, pilots, construction workers). Robots would act as maids, butlers, nurses and nannies,and become full companions. They support extended elderly independence at home.

Civil Applications of Drones. Image Source: http://www.grandviewresearch.com

Civil Applications of Drones

          There are about 100,000 daily airline flights, and10,000,000 daily drone flights. Drones routinely deliver packagesto rooftops of apartment buildings and surface robots deliver those packages from rooftops to doorsteps throughout the buildings. The drones are making inventories in a logistics warehouse, transporting goods by air or carrying out security tasks. Some of the advantages of using this technology are Savings in distribution costs, fasterdeliveries, reach inaccessible locations, reduce urban traffic and CO2 emissions, and drones can operate 24 hours 365 days a year. Low altitude drone freighters for outside cities are expected by 2025; long-haul cargo flights by the mid-2030s and then passenger flights by 2040. Agricultural and forestry drones and robot labour are progressing fast. Drones have great applications for policing and law-enforcing. Drones are being used for recreation, disaster relief, archeology, conservation of biodiversity and habitat. Commercial applications include filmmaking, journalism, scientific work, land surveying, mining, manufacturing, forestry and agriculture, among many others.

Solar and Wind Power. Image source: ensia.com

Solar and Wind Power

          Solar power is the conversion of energy from sunlight into electricity. The International Energy Agency projected in 2014 that under its “high renewables” scenario, by 2050, solar power would contribute about 27 percent, of the worldwide electricity consumption, and be the world’s largest source of electricity. Most solar installations would be in China and India. In 2017, solar power provided 1.7% of total worldwide electricity production, growing 35% from the previous year. India is the lowest cost producer of solar power globally, and the levelised cost of solar power generation in India is estimated at around $38.2 MWh (Rs 2.62 per unit).  

          Wind power or wind energy is the use of wind to provide the mechanical power through wind turbines to turn electric generators. The wind power industry set new records in 2015, with 22% annual market growth resulting in the 60 GW mark being passed. This was largely from new construction in China and India. Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) figures show that the total installed wind energy capacity to 432.9 GW, up from 74 GW in 2006. The total investments reaching US$329bn. The installed capacity of wind power will be 792.1 GW by the end of 2020 and 4,042 GW by end of 2050. Wind onshore is already the cheapest electric power generation option and costs are continuing to decline. In 2018, a Lazard study found that “The low end levelised cost of onshore wind-generated energy is $29/MWh, compared to an average illustrative marginal cost of $36/MWh for coal”. India has the 4th largest installed capacity in wind power after China, U.S and Germany. The total installed capacity of wind power in India as on March 2017 was around 32 GW. A recent study by National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) has shown wind energy potential of 302 GW at 100 m hub-height in India. The potential of wind energy is concentrated in the states of – Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Telangana. The levelised tariff of wind power reached a record low of ₹2.43 (3.4¢ US) per kWh (without any direct or indirect subsidies) in December 2017. Installed wind power capacity India in 19-20 was 37,669, and generation was 64,485 (GWh). Solar and wind are signed, one-fifth the price of the cheapest coal or gas deals today. China and India announce that they will shut down hundreds of already built coal power plants. Worldwide oil demand would peak by 2028and start to decline. A global plan for zero carbon emissions by 2050 is achievable. By 2030 many super giant oil companies would start to go bankrupt.Energy poverty would dropby more than half of what it is in 2017. Universal energy access would be within reach.

Intelligence Amplification (IA). Image Source: http://www.slideshare.net

Intelligence Amplification (IA)

          This refers to the effective use of information technology in augmenting human intelligence. It is different from AI (artificial intelligence). IA has a long history of success, from the abacus to writing to the Internet, have been developed basically to extend the information processing capabilities of the human mind. It implies that intellectual power, like physical power, can be amplified. The gene-patterns do it every time they form a brain that grows up. What is new is that we can now do it synthetically, consciously, deliberately. There are many man-machine systems, but there is a need for man-computer symbioses. Increased capability in this respect is taken to mean a mixture of more-rapid and better comprehension, and gaining a useful degree of comprehension in a situation that previously was too complex. These complex situations include the professional problems of diplomats, executives, social scientists, life scientists, physical scientists, attorneys, and designers. Arnav Kapur working at MIT wrote about human-AI coalescence: how AI can be integrated into human condition as part of “human self”: as a tertiary layer to the human brain to augment human cognition. He demonstrates this using a peripheral nerve-computer interface, AlterEgo, which enables a human user to silently and internally converse with a personal AI. Then emerged the concept of artificial intelligence augmentation (AIA): the use of AI systems to help develop new methods for intelligence augmentation.

VTOL Commuting . Image Source:

VTOL Commuting   Faster And Easier

          Personal VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) aircraft could be future of urban mobility, and help reduce traffic congestion.In recent years, surface transportation infrastructure is suffering from overuse, extreme traffic congestion, and roadway disrepair. Transportation research focuses on new pathways using emerging technologies, such as, autonomous motor vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s). That brings the flying car. Each requiring appropriate regulations and governance to become fully sustainable. There  are issues of training, safety, environment, navigation, infrastructure, logistics/sustainability, cyber security and human factors. Willingness to both hire and acquire the technology is already evolving, including be car aggregators like Uber.  Flying car technology is already a reality. The helicopter commuting is about to get a whole lot easier—and faster. The new intercity VY 400 helicopter will hit a top speed of about 405 mph. These will have much lower operating costs. The aircraft will include safety features, including geofencing and sensors, ensuring no flight into terrain or obstacles, as well as a whole airframe parachute. This new approach could be a game changer for executives who regularly commute between cities. The aircraft will be fit for commercial and private deliveries as soon as 2025.

Vertical agriculture. Image Source: http://www.agritecture.com

Vertical agriculture

          Vertical farming is the practice of growing crops in vertically stacked layers, often in a controlled-environment, with an aims to optimize plant growth, and soilless farming techniques such as hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics. Some common choices of structures to house vertical farming systems include buildings, shipping containers, tunnels, and abandoned mine shafts. Skyscraper farm that could feed 50,000 people. Current applications of vertical farming are coupled with other state-of-the-art technologies, such as specialized LED lights, have resulted in over 10 times the crop yield than would receive through traditional farming methods. The main advantage of utilizing vertical farming technologies is the increased crop yield that comes with a smaller unit area of land requirement. The increased ability to cultivate a larger variety of crops at once because crops do not share the same plots of land while growing. Additionally, crops are resistant to weather disruptions because of their placement indoors, meaning less crops lost to extreme or unexpected weather occurrences. Also vertical farming is less disruptive to the native plants and animals, leading to further conservation of the local flora and fauna. Vertical farming technologies face economic challenges with large start-up costs compared to traditional farms. Hypothetical 10 level vertical farm would cost over 850 times more per cubic meter of arable land than a traditional farm. Vertical farms also face large energy demands due to the use of supplementary light like LEDs. Moreover, if non-renewable energy is used to meet these energy demands, vertical farms could produce more pollution than traditional farms or greenhouses. Yet for densely populated cities this is the futuristic solution. When vertical farming is resorted in or near inhabited buildings, a recent report suggests mosquitoes overran a Chinese apartment complex that was turned into ‘vertical forest.

Atomically Precise Manufacturing. Image Source: http://www.digitalengineering247.com

Atomically Precise Manufacturing

          With the invention of the scanning tunneling microscope, humans have become capable of manipulating single atoms, laying the groundwork for the coming era of atomic and close-to-atomic scale manufacturing (ACSM). It includes all necessary steps to convert raw materials, components, or parts into products designed to meet the user’s specifications. It not only means atomically precise but also remove, add, or transform work material at the atomic and close-to-atomic scales. ACSM has applications in quantum computing, molecular circuitry, and the life and material sciences. Atomically precise manufacturing (APM) is the production of materials, structures, devices, and finished goods in a manner such that every atom has a specified location relative to the other atoms, and in which there are no defects, missing atoms, extra atoms, or incorrect (impurity) atoms. Molecules are atomically precise objects and, as such, are essential building blocks in atomically precise manufacturing. Novel molecular designs can, themselves, be considered atomically precise products; for example, enzyme-like catalysts can be crafted to accelerate chemical reactions. The key challenge of atomically precise manufacturing is in the assembly of molecular building blocks into larger and more complex objects that are also atomically precise. In the production of atomically precise membranes, molecules can arrange themselves on the surface of a liquid and then be chemically bound to each other. Complex atomically precise self-assembled objects are also possible. Good examples include the robot-like Enterobacteria phage T4 and the bacterial flagellar motor. In these cases, free-floating “parts” (proteins) in solution self-assemble into three-dimensional objects. Self-assembly APM is experimentally accessible today. There is an enormous savings potential of atomic-scale, defect-free manufacturing. There are two assembly approaches for achieving an atomic precision. The first approach is tip-based positional assembly using scanning probe microscopes, and the second approach is an integrated nanosystems using molecular machine components. Promoting high throughput manufacturing is the next level which should occur by 2026 or so.

Virtual Reality. Image Source: bernardmarr.com

Virtual Reality – Aid or Nuisance  

          Virtual Reality (VR) is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Applications of virtual reality  include entertainment (i.e. video games) and educational purposes (i.e. medical or military training). Other, distinct types of VR style technology include augmented reality and mixed reality, sometimes referred to as extended reality or XR. Currently standard virtual reality systems use either virtual reality headsets or multi-projected environments to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that simulate a user’s physical presence in a virtual environment. A person using virtual reality equipment is able to look around the artificial world, move around in it, and interact with virtual features or items. The effect is commonly created by VR headsets consisting of a head-mounted display with a small screen in front of the eyes, but can also be created through specially designed rooms with multiple large screens. Virtual reality typically incorporates auditory and video feedback, but may also allow other types of sensory and force feedback through haptic technology.

          There are many health and safety considerations of virtual reality. Most virtual reality systems come with consumer warnings, including: seizures; developmental issues in children; trip-and-fall and collision warnings; discomfort; repetitive stress injury; and interference with medical devices. Some users may experience twitches, seizures or blackouts while using VR headsets, even if they do not have a history of epilepsy and have never had blackouts or seizures before. Other problems may occur in physical interactions with one’s environment. While wearing VR headsets, people quickly lose awareness of their real-world surroundings and may injure themselves by tripping over, or colliding with real-world objects. VR headsets may regularly cause eye fatigue, as does all screened technology, because people tend to blink less when watching screens, causing their eyes to become more dried out. Virtual reality sickness (also called cybersickness) occurs when a person’s exposure to a virtual environment causes symptoms that are similar to motion sickness symptoms. The most common symptoms are general discomfort, headache, stomach awareness, nausea, vomiting, pallor, sweating, fatigue, drowsiness, disorientation, and apathy. VR places users directly into the media content, potentially making the experience very vivid and real for children. Related research on violence in video games suggests that exposure to media violence may affect attitudes, behavior, and even self-concept. Early studies conducted on observing versus participating in violent VR games suggest that physiological arousal and aggressive thoughts, but not hostile feelings, are higher for participants than for observers of the virtual reality game. Experiencing VR by children may further involve simultaneously holding the idea of the virtual world in mind while experiencing the physical world. The expansion of VR will increase the potential and reduce the costs for information gathering of personal actions, movements and responses, this infringe privacy. By 2028 VR would be ubiquitous. Parents will complain that their kids are constantly off in another universe. Travel starts to decline as VR gets good enough to experience many of the sensations of a place without the hassle of travel. By 2032 Avatar Robots may become popular,allowing everyone the ability to “teleport” their consciousness to remote locations all over the world.

Longevity Escape Velocity. Image Source: http://www.nextbigfuture.com

Longevity Escape Velocity

            In the life extension movement, longevity escape velocity (sometimes referred to as actuarial escape velocity) is a hypothetical situation in which life expectancy is extended longer than the time that is passing. For example, in a given year in which longevity escape velocity would be maintained, technological advances would increase life expectancy more than the year that just went by. For many years in the past, life expectancy at each age has increased slightly every year as treatment strategies and technologies have improved. At present, more than one year of research is required for each additional year of expected life. Longevity escape velocity occurs when this ratio reverses, so that life expectancy increases faster than one year per one year of research, as long as that rate of advance is sustainable. There are some who claim that by 2030 that at least for the wealthiest “Longevity Escape Velocity” may be reached.

Smart Cities. Image Source: http://www.arcweb.com

Smart Cities Become Real Smart

          A smart city is an urban area that uses different types of electronic methods and sensors to collect data. Insights gained from that data are used to manage assets, resources and services efficiently; in return, that data is used to improve the operations across the city. This includes data collected from citizens, devices, buildings and assets that is then processed and analyzed to monitor and manage traffic and transportation systems, power plants, utilities, water supply networks, waste, crime detection, information systems, schools, libraries, hospitals, and other community services. The smart city concept integrates information and communication technology (ICT), and various physical devices connected to the IoT network to optimize the efficiency of city operations and services and connect to citizens. Smart city technology allows city officials to interact directly with both community and city infrastructure and to monitor what is happening in the city and how the city is evolving. ICT is used to enhance quality, performance and interactivity of urban services, to reduce costs and resource consumption and to increase contact between citizens and government. Smart city applications are developed to manage urban flows and allow for real-time responses. A smart city may therefore be more prepared to respond to challenges than one with a simple “transactional” relationship with its citizens. By 2035 smart citieswill be in place across the globe.

Future of Life. Image Source: medium.com/@manwiacharya

To Summarise

          Changes in everyday life are making quantum leaps forward. Longevity, quality of life, medical support systems, connectivity, transportation, ease of living, quality of life, reduced emissions, cleaner world, have all been made possible by science and technology, which have impinged on every aspect of daily human life. All this no more science fiction. There is high excitement ahead. But the humans have becoming self-centric, and has started living very contented and complete life by themselves. Will technology further reduce family time and interaction? Will the virtual reality make one more indoors and reduce travel? These social questions will continue to look for answers.  

Picture Source: http://www.funzen.net

Published by Anil Chopra

I am the founder of Air Power Asia and a retired Air Marshal from the Indian Air Force.

5 thoughts on “Unfolding Technologies and Future of Life

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