Science fiction always seems to miss one point — some technologies advance unfathomably fast. So fast that they tear at the fabric of society, transforming most other cultural aspects in their wake. At a certain point we end up living in a standing wave of accelerating evolution. Change begets change. We have long since past the point where the Luddites have lost the war. Change is the air we breathe. Literally.
Technological improvements are always headed toward making things we already do faster, cheaper, more intimate with less effort or more convenience. Think of it as improved or expedited communication. TV vs books, for example, or jet planes vs the horse & buggy. Consider stem cell treatments vs witchdoctors or driving an UBER vs a 9 to 5. All giant steps toward now and all screaming toward the future at a seemingly unpredictable pace.
So where is it all headed? Using the above model I can give you some clues.
Take transportation for example. In the not too distant future, we will learn to operate outside of our bodies. Yes, you read that correctly. Just as awareness operates your body now, one could conceivably move that point of consciousness to another willing body and have it perform work as you. Just as you book flights, taxis, and hotels and waste a day traveling across the country now, one could just as easily book an identic – a host for your persona – to perform business in your place.
Talk about your disruptive technologies…
The avatar identic could be robotic or digital projection or a subservient human that is idealized for performing the desired tasks, either attractive and imposing or strong and healthy.
People would need to commercialize different parts of the process. You would need an experiencing device from which to command the identic and an identifier (device?) to make sure the identic was positively identified as you while you were controlling it. And a surgically implanted controller of course — like the UBER model — that would look after recording, billing and other details.
Get the picture? Of course, there would have to be new laws to prevent you from doing illicit things remotely or to prevent the identic from acting as you without your knowledge. We already know that people can be awfully brave when they function remotely. It’s a short step to telehits.
Which leads us to healthcare of the future. I have a friend – Kim McCoy who discovered that a cell phone had everything necessary to perform all the tasks of an MRI device. Imagine having an MRI in your pocket. He has given the technology to the public. From this technology, it is not a great leap to seeing every ache and pain as a precursor to dramatic disease. Perhaps with this technology, your Apple Watch will one day soon notice a cluster of glucose molecules forming before an actual tumor enters the scene and a simple dietary change will prevent your potential cancer from becoming an issue. This is much better than the old Star Trek Tricorder. And yes it could also detect shrapnel wounds on the battlefield and hydration of patients experiencing trauma, which is of critical importance.
I have another inventor/friend Dean McBain who has a similar great healthcare invention. It pretends to be a fool-proof security access tool, which it is, but the technology can also be a fool-proof lie detector. Yes, having too many lies in your face is a health issue. And yes, this is another smartphone software gadget. Traditional polygraphs can be beaten because with a little training one can feel the actual response component such as breathing or blood pressure or heart rate but this technology detects iris change, which cannot be felt and thus trained for. Once people know their lies can be exposed to everyone everywhere, they will not tell them. Well, that’s the theory anyhow.
Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Inventions that do things we already do only faster, cheaper, and more intimate with less effort or that make those things more convenient. Those last two technologies already exist and will succeed and propagate more change, and mankind will ultimately benefit.
What a society, with no more lying and the ability to see within our bodies to prevent disease. Now, I just need an identic in New York to pitch this column to the Times.