Life, work, sex in 13 years’ time
FROM your job to home and sex life, technology will drastically change the way we live in the next decade.
This week, some of the world's top engineers and policy makers gathered at the Web Summit in Lisbon to talk about what this brave new world might look like. Here are some of their visions for 2030 and beyond.
PORN GETS ROMANTIC
Porn is set to become a fully immersive experience with today's virtual reality (VR) augmented by romantic storylines and a more sensory experience.
BaDoink VR director and producer, Dinorah Hernandez, said the company was already filming 15 to 20 scenes per week in the medium that allowed viewers to be the "hero of the scene" with 180 degree views. She said current demands are for "more intimacy" rather than traditional male-dominated encounters, as well as education/entertainment classes for people to become better lovers.
"People are asking for more romance, closeness, more talking. This is something you'll find in a real relationship but not everyone in the world will have access to that kind of relationship," she said. "To be able to have an experience with another woman could give them something that maybe the real world can't."
While companies are already competing to provide the best resolution, frame rate and "biosize", Hernandez said: "We're going to reach the limit with sight.
"It can only get so good. We might start seeing more integration of touch, smell. We're going to start to see that."
It's something De Montfort University's Kathleen Richardson regards as a "terrible" vision where people could become distorted by what she regards as simply "masturbating over abuse images".
She fears continuing down the current path will leave people in a "society of disconnection … and a world primarily organised around rape, abuse and masturbation".
"If there is any sex going on in a filmed porn scenario it's not something a person outside that can have," Ms Richardson said. "It's a non-transferable product. You can't alienate sex from a human being and sell it to someone else as a commercial product."
YOUR JOB PROBABLY WON'T DISAPPEAR
Randstad's CEO, Jacques Van den Broek, said despite most jobs being altered by technology, the majority won't be scrapped - unless you happen to be one of two unlucky types.
"The job of a driver will disappear," he said, given the rise of self-driving cars which are already being rolled out around the world. "If you're a driver today, you need to find out what you're good at.
"We will take you in 5 to 10 years to be a maintenance engineer. If you wait for it you will become unemployed."
"The job that is definitely going to disappear is autocratic managers because tech will give all the people at the base of the organisation all they need to do their jobs well."
Instead, the service sector is set to expand as well as the freelance economy outside the major cities. Mr Van den Broek said most people should "positively embrace" the technology that would become part of their lives but rest assured, the human brain is infinitely more complex and capable than any computer code.
"What you really need to do is nurture your soft skills," he said. "The vast majority of people will get more attractive jobs."
SLEEPING WITH THE FISHES
Kernel founder Bryan Johnson predicts within 15 to 20 years humans will have the ability to hack their own brains and unlock superpowers like incredible memories, computing abilities and transmit brain-to-brain thoughts.
He's developing chips that can be inserted to map neural pathways and expects these tools will be "robust" enough for humans to achieve any scenario they can think of in their feeble, unmodified heads.
"For example, could I have a perfect memory? Could I delete my memories? Could I increase my rate of learning? Could I have brain to brain communication?" Mr Johnson said. "Imagine a scenario where I say: 'I want to know what it's like to be a cowboy in the American west in the 1800s,' and someone creates that experience mentally. I'm able to take that and purchase that from that person and experience that."
Blue Abyss operations director Simon Evetts, who is working to unlock the secrets of the world's oceans and study the effect of extreme environments on the human body, said there may even be a "Homo Oceanis" that lived underwater if we can work out how to transplant genes from other species.
"Can we somehow work out how dolphins and seals hold their breath for so long and maybe ourselves do that?" Mr Evetts said. "Are we going to try and internalise those things and end up with large thoracic cavities because we've got internal gill sets?"
Blue Abyss CEO John Vickers said while humans might be "edited", they won't be replaced.
"What I want to see in 2030 is that we haven't lost out to [the] rise of machines. If we completely rely on tech and we develop stuff to abdicate ourselves, we lose what it means to be human," he said.
SOYLENT FOR DINNER
Silicon Valley Robotics managing director Andra Keay said the lifestyle for poor and rich people could be vastly different in 2030 depending on the technology available to them.
Describing a hypothetical scenario where one wakes to sunrise and birdsong from a curated soundtrack, she said voice assistants could be embedded in the walls to describe your day ahead.
"I'm very proud of the fact my house is energy neutral. We still have our own car which my daughter will shuttle to school in the safest way," Ms Keay said, adding that she might work in a collective union that provided better health and benefits than being part of the gig economy.
However, if you're poor "that's not what it looks like", she continued, describing a world where a family could live on a universal basic income and have to submit feedback survey forms constantly to tech companies as part of an eternal quest for data.
"Everyone can afford (nutrient food substitute) soylent but if I've got cash we can splash on junk food," she said about a dystopian future. "I do permissions for DNA because I can get paid if my DNA is used in commercial products."
Meanwhile, commutes will be done via Uber's new fleet of custom-designed aircraft that can chew up the "gnarliest" journey in minutes. Chief product officer Jeff Holden announced the company would launch a fleet in Los Angeles by 2020 while overhauling airspace management with NASA.
"Just as skyscrapers were the solution to commercial and residential density in cities, we believe that moving local transportation to the sky is going to open up incredible mobility bandwidth in cities," he said.