Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/4/2011 (3396 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
SCARED of the future? Maybe it would help if you knew what was coming.
Lucky for you, there's a Montreal research company called 5Deka Inc. that forecasts -- in striking detail -- some of the things we might expect to happen in the coming decades.
Much of it is good, if a little unsettling. For example, 5Deka predicts that within the next decade, we'll see widespread use of communications technology that is "embedded" right in our bodies, and gadgets that immediately identify us to businesses as we arrive.
About 20 years down the road, expect DNA-scanning technology that will almost eliminate fatal genetic diseases in newborns in the industrialized world. As well, athletes, artists, scientists and other gifted individuals will find a new revenue stream by selling their sperm and eggs to aspiring parents.
Many of these predictions are found on the firm's website, www.5deka.com.
If you're seeking specific details and a chance to ask questions, the company is giving a presentation in Montreal on June 14. That's the group's first conference open to the public. Until now, its presentations have been private affairs. At $275 a head, 5Deka CEO and co-founder Rejean Bourgault recognizes the presentation is not geared toward the average person.
"I would say a lot (of the expected audience) are middle management to leaders of different large companies across all company types," he says.
Bourgault is a technology professional who spent more than 20 years at Nortel Networks Corp. and continues as a vice-president with Avaya Inc., which bought part of Nortel after it went into bankruptcy protection in 2009.
Bourgault says business leaders want to hear about the future so they can adapt to the realities created by changing technology and attitudes.
For example, dramatic changes are expected in the way people use mobile communications as early as 2020. By this time, devices invisibly implanted behind one's ear are expected to replace Bluetooth headsets for hands-free communications, 5Deka says.
As well, that era's smartphones are expected to identify users and their shopping profiles to businesses the minute they walk through the door.
Bourgault expects people will have control over such functions, being able to turn them on or off.
Privacy-related qualms many of us have about such things don't resonate with many of the young adults who will, at that time, have grown up in the era of social networks, he says.
"Look at what they do today on Facebook," he says of today's youth. "Their entire life is there... . They share so much."
If you hate lineups, here's some good news for 2020. Most products in stores will have radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, according to 5Deka. So shopping will be done by simply placing items in your reusable, environmentally-friendly shopping bag as you see them on shelves. A machine will scan the items in your bag as your leave and also connect to your personal electronic device to bill or debit the appropriate account.
Moving up another decade to 2030, things get even weirder. For example, Toyota is expected to be in the entertainment industry, with a team of robots that perform any style of music -- from classical symphony music to rock and roll.
5Deka predicts that by 2030, 50 per cent of all vehicles on the road will be electric, petroleum-burning cars won't even be built anymore and major cities such as Los Angeles and Tokyo won't allow automobiles that run on fossil fuels to drive within their city limits.
5Deka says people living in developed countries will have access to DNA scanning by 2030 to detect the probability of passing on genetic diseases to their children. This, combined with the ability to access sperm and eggs for which the DNA of the donor is known, will "bring the mortality rate due to genetic diseases close to zero."
It's also expected that people with above-average attributes -- athletic, academic or artistic -- will be able to make money by selling their DNA to parents who want talented children.
Not impressed yet? Lets move to 2050. 5Deka predicts that computers in this year will be one billion times more powerful that ones made in 2005.
You will also be able to rent robots that allow you to virtually visit places far away through an "immersive telepresence." These robots could even be customized to your size to try on clothes at a fancy boutique in New York City.
-- Postmedia News
The Winnipeg Free Press invites you to share your opinion on this story in a letter to the editor. A selection of letters to the editor are published daily.
Letters must include the writer’s full name, address, and a daytime phone number. Letters are edited for length and clarity.