Magazine article The Futurist

The Technology Timeline. (Visions)

Magazine article The Futurist

The Technology Timeline. (Visions)

Article excerpt

Technological development is ever accelerating, bringing new products onto the market. To help understand the range of innovations emerging and their potential impacts, researchers at British Telecommunications began the Technology Timeline in 1991 under the direction of Paul Mcllroy. Since then, futurist Ian Pearson of BTexact Technologies, BT's business division, has updated the timeline about once every two or three years.

The timeline presented here is drawn from the latest edition of the full timeline developed by Pearson with Ian Neild, which is available on BTexact's Web site. The timeline also incorporates several possible "wild cards," based on Out of the Blue by John L. Petersen of the Arlington Institute.

"What must be remembered by anyone preparing for the future is that technology change isn't very important in itself," says Pearson. "What matters is what this change enables or destroys." Thus, the timeline is potentially useful not only to BT's business customers, but also to government, the media, and private individuals.

"The intention of the timeline is to illustrate the potential for beneficial technologies," says Pearson. "We will have more variety of entertainment, better health, greater wealth, and probably better social wellbeing."

 
                2005 
ARTIFICIAL      Toys with network-based intelligence, 2004 
INTELLIGENCE    Confessions to Al priest, 2004 
AND LIFE        Behavior alarms based on human mistake 
                  recognition, 2005 
                Al chatbots indistinguishable from 
                  people, 2005 
 
 
BIOTECHNOLOGY:  Retinal implants linked to external 
HEALTH AND        video cameras, 2004 
MEDICINE        Designer babies, 2005 
                All patients tagged in hospitals, 2005 
 
 
 
BUSINESS AND    80% of U.S. homes have PCs, 2005 
EDUCATION       Virtual reality is used to teach 
                  science, art, history, etc., 2005 
 
COMPUTING       100-teraflop computer, 2004 
POWER 
 
 
 
ENVIRONMENT 
AND RESOURCES   Clothes collect and store 
                  solar power 2005 
 
 
 
 
HOME AND        Smart paint containing computer chips is 
LEISURE           available, 2004 
                Fiber-optic plants used in gardens, 2005 
                Living rooms decorated with virtual-reality 
                  scenes, 2005 
 
 
 
MACHINE-HUMAN   Tactile sensors comparable to human 
INTERFACE         sensation, 2004 
                Voice synthesis quality up to human 
                  standard, 2005 
                Voice control of many household 
                  gadgets, 2005 
 
ROBOTICS        Robotic space vehicles and facilities, 2005 
 
 
 
SECURITY,       People's courts on Internet for minor 
LAW, WAR          disputes, 2004 
                VR routinely used in courtrooms for 
                  evidence presentation, 2005 
                Soldiers' weapons fired remotely, 2005 
 
SPACE           Space tugs take satellites 
                  into high orbits, 2005 
 
 
 
 
TRAVEL AND      Hydrogen-fueled executive jets (cryoplanes), 
TRANSPORTATION    2005 
                Assisted lane-keeping systems used 
                  in trucks and buses, 2005 
 
 
WEARABLE AND    Cameras built into glasses record 
PERSONAL          what we see, 2004 
TECHNOLOGY      Polymer video screens built into  clothes, 
                  2005 
 
 
                2010 
ARTIFICIAL      Software is trained rather than written, 2006 
INTELLIGENCE    Artificial nervous system for autonomous 
AND LIFE          robots, 2010 
                25% of TV celebrities are synthetic, 2010 
 
 
 
 
BIOTECHNOLOGY:  Artificial heart 
HEALTH AND        (lab-cultured or entirely 
MEDICINE          synthetic), 2010 
 
 
 
 
BUSINESS AND    All government services 
EDUCATION         delivered electronically, 
                  2008 
 
COMPUTING       Optical neurocomputers, 2007 
POWER           Quantum computer, 2007 
                Supercomputer as fast as human brain, 2010 
 
 
ENVIRONMENT     Multilayer solar cells with efficiency of 
AND RESOURCES     more than 50%, 2008 
                Effective prediction of most natural disasters, 2010 
 
 
 
 
HOME AND        Cybercommunity attains population of 
LEISURE           100 million, 2010 
                Mood-sensitive light bulbs developed, 2010 
                Chips in packaging control cooking, 2010 
 
 
 
 
MACHINE-HUMAN   Emotionally responsive toys and robots, 2006 
INTERFACE       Voice interface for home appliances, 2010 
 
 
 
 
 
ROBOTICS        Robotic security and fire guards, 2008 
                Self-monitoring infrastructures use smart 
                  materials, sensors, 2010 
 
SECURITY,       First Net war fought between 
LAW, WAR          cybercommunities, 2007 
                Logic checkers highlight contradictory 
                  evidence, 2008 
 
 
SPACE           Next-generation space 
                 telescope launched, 2007 
 
 
 
 
TRAVEL AND      Pollution-monitor chips are built into cars, 2008 
TRANSPORTATION  Cars with automatic steering, 2008 
                GPS and engine-management systems limit speed 
                  automatically, 2010 
 
 
WEARABLE AND    Portable translation device for 
PERSONAL          simple conversation, 2007 
TECHNOLOGY      Video tattoos, 2010 
 
 
 
                2015 
ARTIFICIAL      Satellite location devices implanted into pets, 2015 
INTELLIGENCE 
AND LIFE 
 
 
 
 
 
BIOTECHNOLOGY:  Some implants seen as status symbols, 2012 
HEALTH AND      Shower body scan, 2015 
MEDICINE        Artificial lungs, kidneys, 2015 
 
 
 
 
BUSINESS AND    Purely electronic companies exist with minimal 
EDUCATION         human involvement, 2012 
                3-D video conferencing, 2015 
 
COMPUTING       DNA computer, 2012 
POWER           Desktop computer as fast as human brain, 2015 
 
 
 
ENVIRONMENT     Insect-like robots used for crop pollination, 2012 
AND RESOURCES   Commercial magma power stations, 2012 
 
 
 
 
 
HOME AND        Holographic windows redirect 
LEISURE           sunlight, 2015 
                Dual geo/cyber-nationality 
                  recognized internationally, 2015 
 
 
 
 
MACHINE-HUMAN 
INTERFACE 
 
 
 
 
 
ROBOTICS        Robots for almost any job 
                  in homes or hospitals, 2012 
                Reconfigurable buildings, 2015 
 
SECURITY,       ID cards replaced by biometric scanning, 2015 
LAW, WAR 
 
 
 
 
SPACE           First manned mission to Mars, 2015 
                Space hotel accommodates 350 guests, 2015 
                Near-Earth space tours, 2015 
 
 
 
TRAVEL AND 
TRANSPORTATION 
 
 
 
 
WEARABLE AND 
PERSONAL 
TECHNOLOGY 
 
 
 
                2020 
ARTIFICIAL      Machine knowledge exceeds human 
INTELLIGENCE     knowledge, 2017 
AND LIFE        Electronic life form given basic 
                 rights, 2020 
                Artificial insects and 
                 small animals with 
                 artificial brains, 2020 
 
BIOTECHNOLOGY:  Artificial liver, 2020 
HEALTH AND      Only 15% of deaths worldwide 
MEDICINE         due to infectious 
                 diseases, 2020 
                Nanobots in toothpaste 
                 attack plaque, 2020 
 
BUSINESS AND 
EDUCATION 
 
 
COMPUTING       Al technology imitates 
POWER            thinking processes of the 
                 brain, 2018 
 
 
ENVIRONMENT     Sensors widely used in 
AND RESOURCES    countryside to monitor 
                 environment, 2020 
                Systems based on biochemical 
                 storage of solar 
                 energy, 2020 
 
HOME AND        Kaleidoscopic flowers using 
LEISURE          electronic inks, 2020 
                Digital image overlays enhance 
                 relationships, 2020 
                Bore filter screens dullards 
                 out of digital 
                 communications, 2020 
 
MACHINE-HUMAN   Computers linked to biological 
INTERFACE        sensory organs, 2018 
 
 
 
 
 
ROBOTICS        Self-diagnostic, self-repairing 
                 robots, 2017 
                Robotic mail delivery, 2020 
 
SECURITY, 
LAW, WAR 
 
 
 
 
SPACE           Regular manned missions 
                 to Mars, 2020 
 
 
 
 
TRAVEL AND      Driverless truck convoys 
TRANSPORTATION   using electronic 
                 towbar, 2018 
                Reservations required to 
                 use some key roads, 2020 
 
WEARABLE AND    Computer-enhanced 
PERSONAL         dreaming, 2020 
TECHNOLOGY 
 
 
 
                2025 
ARTIFICIAL 
INTELLIGENCE 
AND LIFE 
 
 
 
 
 
BIOTECHNOLOGY:  Fully functioning artificial 
HEALTH AND       eyes, 2024 
MEDICINE        Artificial peripheral 
                 nerves, 2025 
                Artificial legs, 2025 
 
 
BUSINESS AND    Learning superseded by 
EDUCATION        transparent interface to 
                 smart computers, 2025 
 
COMPUTING 
POWER 
 
 
 
ENVIRONMENT 
AND RESOURCES 
 
 
 
 
 
HOME AND        Holographic TV, 2025 
LEISURE         VR becomes popular 
                 entertainment in nursing 
                 homes, 2025 
 
 
 
 
MACHINE-HUMAN   Thought recognition becomes 
INTERFACE        everyday input 
                 means, 2025 
 
 
 
 
ROBOTICS        Cybernetic gladiators, 2025 
 
 
 
SECURITY, 
LAW, WAR 
 
 
 
 
SPACE           Space factories for commercial 
                 production, 2025 
                Antimatter production 
                 and storage becomes 
                 feasible, 2025 
 
TRAVEL AND 
TRANSPORTATION 
 
 
 
 
WEARABLE AND 
PERSONAL 
TECHNOLOGY 
 
 
 
                2030 
ARTIFICIAL      Robots are physically and 
INTELLIGENCE     mentally superior 
AND LIFE         to humans, 2030 
 
 
 
 
 
BIOTECHNOLOGY:  First Bionic Olympics, 2030 
HEALTH AND 
MEDICINE 
 
 
 
 
BUSINESS AND 
EDUCATION 
 
 
COMPUTING       Library of Congress 
POWER            contents available in 
                 sugar-cube-sized device, 
                 2030 
 
ENVIRONMENT     Space solar power stations, 
AND RESOURCES    2030 Carbon dioxide 
                 fixation technologies 
                 environmental for 
                 protection, 2030 
 
 
HOME AND 
LEISURE 
 
 
 
 
 
 
MACHINE-HUMAN   Full direct brain link, 2030 
INTERFACE 
 
 
 
 
 
ROBOTICS 
 
 
 
SECURITY,       Emotion control chips 
LAW, WAR        used to control 
                criminals, 2030 
 
 
 
SPACE           Start of construction of 
                  manned Mars 
                  laboratory, 2030 
                Use of human hibernation 
                 in space travel, 2030 
 
TRAVEL AND 
TRANSPORTATION 
 
 
 
 
WEARABLE AND    Dream-linking technology 
PERSONAL         built for nighttime 
TECHNOLOGY       networking, 2030 
 
 
 
                2040 
ARTIFICIAL      Living genetically engineered 
INTELLIGENCE     electronic toy/pet 
AND LIFE         developed, 2040 
 
 
 
 
 
BIOTECHNOLOGY:   Artificial brain, 2035 
HEALTH AND 
MEDICINE 
 
 
 
 
BUSINESS AND 
EDUCATION 
 
 
COMPUTING 
POWER 
 
 
 
ENVIRONMENT     Artificial precipitation 
AND RESOURCES    induction and control, 2035 
                 Wave energy provides 
                 up to 50% of. … 
Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.