From brains connected to flying houses: five science fiction predictions for 2020 | Technology

Will 2020 be the year of telepathy? Will the mind be connected to the Internet? Will it be possible to teleport? Will food stop being indispensable for feeding? These are some of the questions asked several years ago by science fiction authors and futurists. At that time, they were clear that the answer to these questions was yes. But the arrival of this year calls into question some of his predictions.

Brains connected to the network

Canadian writer Geoffrey Charles Ryman imagined in his novel Air, published in 2004 and set in 2020, a world in which brains would be connected to the Internet. In it, he tells how the citizens of a small village in the mountains live in first person the arrival of a new communication technology.

Although it may still seem a bit futuristic, its predictions They are not far from some existing projects in reality. Already in 2015 a team of European researchers He managed to record brain waves and convert them into letters, words and even complete sentences. Despite the discussions of privacy, security and personal protection that such devices could raise, Facebook work on a device that reads people's brain waves and allows them to write just thinking about it.

Two researchers in a capture of a Neuralink promotional video.

Two researchers in a capture of a Neuralink promotional video.

And even the founder of Tesla pursues this goal. Neuralink is a company owned by Elon Musk that seeks to develop technology to connect the mind to the Internet. The short-term objective is to help patients with paralysis or amputated limbs to control their expression and movement or to see and hear only with the brain. But Musk pursues a multitude of remarkably ambitious future goals: from just writing with the mind to moving a cursor across the screen just thinking about it and even downloading a new language directly into our brain.

Telepathy and teleportation

Other predictions are not so accurate. Michael J. O'Farrell, founder of The Mobile Institute, published in 2014 the book Shift 2020, how technology will impact our future. In it, he analyzed how the way in which humans communicate, work or do business would change. "In the era of nanomobility, I predict that telepathy and teleportation will be possible by 2020," he said in the book.

Humans have been dreaming for years of being able to move from one place in the world to another in the blink of an eye. But scientists agree in which, with the current knowledge, Teleportation of objects or people is not possible. As for the transmission of thoughts between people, there are different teams that investigate new technologies that allow brain-to-brain communication. In 2014 a man thought "hello" in an Indian city. The greeting came directly to the brain of another person sitting in a laboratory in Strasbourg, a French city about 7,700 kilometers away. Although for the moment only the transmission of simple thoughts has been achieved, a report of the United States Department of Defense (DOD) foresees that in the future the brains of the soldiers are connected and can share information with each other.

Flying houses

The British writer and science writer Arthur C. Clarke, who passed away in 2008 At 90, he was a science fiction lover. He wrote more than 80 books and hundreds of short stories, among which stand out The sentry or 2001 Odyssey in Space. Among other predictions, he predicted in the forties that man would reach the moon in 2000 and in 1966 that houses would be flying in 2020.

“The house of the future would not have roots that tied it to the ground. Gone are water pipes, drains and power lines. The autonomous house, therefore, could move or be moved anywhere on the land at the owner's will. Therefore, the time may come when entire communities can migrate south in the winter or move to new lands whenever they feel the need for a change of scenery, ” Clarke predicted.

Although there are flying buildings that can be transported from one place to another they still seem pure science fiction, there are companies that build houses that can be raised on the ground when, for example, flood risk is expected. It is the case of the Elevating House, designed by Larkfleet Group, which can rise a meter and a half above ground level. On the other hand, the American studio Terry & Terry Architecture It has designed a kind of floating housing that adjusts its height and adapts to weather or tidal conditions.

Some of their predictions were a little misleading: they debated a kind of giant world brain in which everyone would be permanently connected, a sexual partner for life or an adult playground where the law was applied by remote control

The end of the meal

The artificial intelligence expert Ray Kurzweil, doctor honoris causa by more than 10 universities and considered by Forbes "The supreme thinking machine", accumulates a long history of predictions correct. In the 90s he predicted the importance of computers for humanity, predicted the arrival of the Internet, anticipated portable technology and predicted that a computer would beat the best human chess player.

But not always right completely. In 2005, he said that humans would no longer eat, but that small robots - nanobots - would feed their bloodstream with nutrients and remove the remaining waste. Although the usual way of eating has not been replaced by nanosystems, there are those who promote the use of food substitutes to save time in your day to day.

Chefs robots and a world brain

In the 70s, different science fiction authors such as Poul Anderson, Harlan Elliso, Larry Niven, Norman Spinrad, or Ben Bova tried to imagine what the world would be like in 2020. They published their predictions in the book. 2020 Vision, edited by Jerry Pournelle, and agreed that those who were alive in that year would meet to discuss them.

50 years have passed since then. Some of their predictions were a little misleading: they debated a kind of giant world brain in which everyone would be permanently connected, a sexual partner for life or an adult playground where the law would be applied by remote control.

Other predictions were not completely misguided. For example, they imagined a future with robot chefs. Currently, in addition to kitchen robots capable of crushing, cooking, whipping and frying food, there are also androids unfolding their robotic arms to follow the steps of a recipe completely autonomously and clean later. And there are even restaurants who bet on robot cooks and waiters.


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