If at any time you feel in need of a laugh, a good tip is to look at films from twenty, thirty years ago which were set in “the future”. The “future” that they imagine is usually a technological dreamscape. Flying cars, robot butlers, the whole nine yards. And then, in among that, some technology that seemed futuristic at the time, but were only in fact a few years off. It’s hard to predict what the future will look like.
We’re no closer now to flying cars than we were thirty years ago. Although the technology isn’t out of the question, the safety of a road system is something that requires solid ground. However, we are of course advancing technologically. And there are some things on the market today that would have made us leap for joy had we imagined them a couple of decades ago.
The Smart House
Science fiction once promised us the ability to control all the appliances in our house from a central panel. You’re in the living room and realise you want to put the dishwasher on? Not a problem, go to the panel and set it to come on, and while you’re at it make a fresh pot of coffee. In 2016? You don’t actually need the panel. Most of our appliances can be connected to the Internet and worked via an app.
Robot Vacuum Cleaners
Not, strictly speaking, a robot butler. At least, not until you tape a silver platter on top of it. But robot vacuum cleaners have now been with us for a few years. The future here is about how advanced we can make them. Taking tips from Vacuum Fox you can find the right one for size, shape or decor of room. The right vacuum cleaner can even remember rooms it has cleaned before. Marty McFly would be amazed.
The 3D Printer
It may not work exactly as the futuristic imagine pictured it, but the ability to draw something on screen and have it appear in front of us is here. This has implications for pretty much every sphere of our lives. At the moment, it is still mostly used in labs to create prosthetic and spare parts. Before long, though, we could be using them in the home. Some people already are – to create needed tools and useful items around the house.
In futuristic movies, the idea is that video chatting has taken over from using the phone. Weirdly, the image they have is that we still have to sit at home, on a sofa, looking at a screen on a wall. However, tablets and cell phones now allow us to have video calls with friends, family and even possible employers. What we have now is actually a world more advanced and convenient than sci-fi movies imagined!
Our homes – and our lives outside the home – are not at all like the “future” of the past. There’s a lot less chrome, and most doors are still resolutely analog. But in many ways, we are much further forward than Hollywood thought we would be. If you want to imagine 2046, picture what we have now but smaller and more mobile.