Submitted by NewDiscourse t3_10tz5qt in Futurology

One thing I have been thinking about is the extent to which our images of the future are downstream of hype, particularly when it comes to technology. This distorts our confidence about some types of change, and likely blinds us to others. And yet, some of the most significant changes over the past 20 years have been events like the 2008 financial crisis, which seem inevitable in retrospect but received little attention in advance. What aren’t we paying enough attention to today, and what images of the future does that suggest? What systems are most ripe for disruption?



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Low-Restaurant3504 t1_j7ai4mz wrote

AR is often overlooked in favor of VR. Next closest Black Swan I can think of will be Augmented Reality. What people want out of VR is just impossible to deliver on any time soon, whereas AR has multitudes of practical applications that could be taken advantage of now. I think once we see an initial breakthrough comercial product, you'll see a move towards mass integration into our daily lives.


SeneInSPAAACE t1_j7anrud wrote

This is definitely one of them. Something like LLM AI is ALREADY driving change, but AR is even more niche than VR, and VR is still tiny.

In fact, just the fact you can have monitors of infinite size in AR/VR is pretty amazing, once the headsets are comfortable enough


FreddyVanJeeze t1_j7d9l84 wrote

You don’t have to play AR games in AR. You could simply project a virtual screen with a game on it


superjudgebunny t1_j7aqb9y wrote

The problem I see with AR, many use video games as a means to escape reality. AR doesn’t quite do that. I don’t want to play games in a modified reality, I want a complete and custom reality where fantasy is present.


Low-Restaurant3504 t1_j7arxst wrote

Gonna be waiting a bit on that one. At least if you want to be able to engage with that custom fantasy in any meaningful way.

But videogames are a small portion of what AR has to offer. I don't imagine it's gonna become a household item on it's use as a video game platform. It's gonna be use as a navigation tool, social platform, design implement, quick reference decice that is gonna get it attention. Just focusing on videogames is really limiting the usefulness of AR.


superjudgebunny t1_j7asyj7 wrote

More than likely they will advance together. I don’t see AR being useful for many fields like we think. A big takeaway is how the military doesn’t push adoption. In fact augmented scopes aren’t all they are cracked up to be.

It’s going to boil down to how well wearable devices work in that aspect.


Low-Restaurant3504 t1_j7atuni wrote

Plenty of technologies around us today are from military lineages that were better suited for the civilian market in the end. Sure, battlefield, not so great. It doesn't need to perform under those stresses as a wearable personal assistant platform. Honestly, it's a much better suited technology for civilian use and always has been. Maybe one day it'll be battle worthy, but it doesn't need to be to scan a honey-do list and transfer it into a quick text doc that you can pull up while you are at the grocery later. That's the kind of stuff it has to do to get in households, and it certainly can do that right now if someone would make it and put it out there.

VR is gonna be a bit contingent on brain-interface hardware for one simple reason.

You can't see the horizon in VR. You can in AR. Until you can shut off fine motor skills and provide true feedback from the simulation, which... woof, getting to that point, there are going to be plenty of folks who can't use it for very long. AR keeps the horizon. VR has a looooooong way to go, and Elon's stunt with the brain chips probably pushed it's time table back a bunch, so no, I imagine in the short term, AR is the investment you wanna get in on.

Edit: Had more thoughts.


superjudgebunny t1_j7avcou wrote

K just don’t see much professional use. Given that AR has been around for quite some time. Much longer than VR, where VR has progressed fairly fast.

Fighter pilots use AR heavily, so will Astronauts. It will probably boom in medical and science research.

Until we can get very good motion tracking, controlling what’s on screen is going to be difficult. I can’t think of many other fields which it would shine well. Mainly because in a profession you shouldn’t be using an aid like that. The goal and idea is to know the information already.

I’m not sold on a good use mainstream. Considering it’s been out since the 90s, we’ll before modern VR.

As for fine motor skills? We already are running hats that do neurological input. Sound patterns that trick the ear/balance system. Treadmills that allow 360 walking.

There is a reason you see a lot of people not wear safety glasses in construction. It’s just annoying, especially for those who don’t have to wear them.


Low-Restaurant3504 t1_j7awyha wrote

Okay, I'll bite.

When you say it won't get much professional use, what do you imagine it'd need to do to be useful? I'm just wondering what you think it needs to be capable of to be useful?

And everything you just said that we have that can fix the Horizon issue is nowhere near as cost affordable, nor easy to don as a pair of glasses with a projector screen. Please, you must see the issue with your argument here. Have you even looked up how much the rig you just described would cost? How much space it takes up? It's not really an argument as to which will be a household staple faster.


superjudgebunny t1_j7bbyca wrote

It’s not that it isn’t useful, any professional shouldn’t need a helper. Your a paid professional for a reason. The small amount of time you might look something up wouldn’t justify the cost.

So it needs to be in a field where it’s used a lot. Without much interaction, where it’s displaying pertinent information. Such as surgery, aviation, electrical engineering for maybe blueprints.

Anything that would require interaction and a professional field, you gotta know that information already. The military doesn’t like it for in the field. Neither will the police or first responders as it’s a distraction.

Sports could use it for the coaches, bout it.

The trades won’t use it, you don’t have time to look shit up. Especially when your being paid as much as you are. And residential construction is too fast paced. Same with manufacturing, unless your a technician who repairs a multitude of systems. Going back to the use of blueprints and specs.

It’s just unnecessary tech. The business world works, sure. The uses for it without advanced gesture technology is niche at best. Otherwise you sacrifice a hand at least to navigate a system with decent accuracy. We could pair that with neural stimuli but then the price per device goes way the fuck up.

It’s a limited technology, same with VR. VR however has a much better use in entertainment and therapy. You can travel the world from your own home. We are willing to spend money on entertainment while employers would rather higher a better worker.

It’s just not feasible tech.

Edit: grammar


Low-Restaurant3504 t1_j7cchge wrote

That's all a bunch of "Nuh-Uh, cause I say so!". I'm not even going to begin picking it apart. It's barely even an argument. It's just you saying things you made up in your head. Are you a VR salesmen by any chance?

And this idea you keep repeating that Profesionals shouldn't need helpers? What? Why? What kind of weird made up rule is that. Professionals use tools to aid them ALL THE TIME. You are going to absurd lengths with your argument here.


Unobtanium_Alloy t1_j7egij1 wrote

That's like arguing any profession which requires you to understand basic math shouldn't "need" (be allowed to) use a calculator, since they already understand how to do it themselves.

I don't find your arguments convincing.


superjudgebunny t1_j7ehnls wrote

Right, but you already own a calculator. We used them in construction all the time. It’s a phone. Most of the things AR would bring are already in my phone. I would have to probably stop, get out a device to control my AR and input commands. Might as well just use my phone.

Which I should have brought up. Redundancy doesn’t make something good. If devices are already in public control. What EXTRA features does AR bring?

My argument assumes that one already has access to things in which we now consider basic technology. AR has to offer something that isn’t already in a professionals portfolio of instruments. What new does it bring to the table that would change things?

If you can’t give me examples, this is a one sided discussion. This tells me you have no arguments as a proponent of AR tek.

I’ve stated it has niche applications sure. Not enough to get the funding and research to make it public or mainstream.


Low-Restaurant3504 t1_j7ewb69 wrote

You got alot of weird, made up rules and stipulations you keep running to. Just an observation.


Josvan135 t1_j7emzvn wrote

>I don’t see AR being useful for many fields like we think

AR is being massively adopted in the logistics and supply chain sectors as we speak.

Multiple companies have developed highly effective headset based systems that provide significant benefits in picking tasks (on the order of 30%+ efficiency gains), and numerous major warehousing and logistics companies are rolling them out globally.


juiceandjin t1_j7bj0ho wrote

People using video games as a means to escape reality is a separate issue from AR. There are plenty of people that play games recreationally without being dependent on it and the market for AR games yet to be seen. I'd consider Pokemon GO a good signal for potential of AR gaming.


superjudgebunny t1_j7brca1 wrote

Yea and I’ve expanded on the issues with AR down the comment chain. AR has niche markets, where VR could be a bigger branch of entertainment. Virtual plays, movies, not just games. Why see movies in 3D when you can experience them in full.

Ugh, basically it’s going to be more common that we want to have a distraction or escape from reality.


Longjumping_Pilgirm t1_j7e8cdp wrote

I think it would be awesome to put on a pair of glasses of suddenly have a full-scale American Civil War battle in your backyard you can participate in.


superjudgebunny t1_j7eaoml wrote

I get that. Sure. I just don’t see it becoming a big thing. It’s been a technology for over 30 ish years. It was pioneered in the late 60s, fast forward today. It has limited military use, the rest of the government hasn’t adopted it. Despite the new technology advances.

So the CIA, FBI, and secret service hasn’t seen a good general use for the platforms. In all this time, you would think if it had massive capabilities at least those branches of government would use it. Or the medical world, the other big complex that tends to pioneer technology.

Now VR was also pioneered the at the same time. In the last decade we’ve seen it gain massive leaps. Major funding for public use, with not only games but media and other applications possible to the general public. With companies pushing massive amounts of money to fix the current issues with the platform.

Which one is getting the funding, applicational use and support?

I would rather watch the civil war in 3D, see the original battlefields. Feel the environment, get sucked into the reality those soldiers lived. That to me sounds like a much better experience.


Longjumping_Pilgirm t1_j7eheo3 wrote

I too am waiting for VR War of Rights (one of the most realistic Civil War games out there at the moment), and I actually do reenactments as a Union soldier, and even did one at Gettysburg last year, but there are positives and negatives with that kind of thing - we can't replicate dead or dying soldiers easily for instance, but for now it's the closest you can get to being "in" the Civil War like my ancestors were. I have even heard of reenactments where people will cut themselves off from modern society completely for a couple weeks, get themselves lost in a national park somewhere, and then fight a battle.

Augmented reality would be a decent halfway point until we can get the kind of VR I am thinking of (near full immersive), and it could be quickly done also. Anything less than full immersion in the VR kind of sense would feel off to me because I already partially know what it is like.


superjudgebunny t1_j7eitwu wrote

I can see that, I just don’t see any funding for that small of a thing. While I haven’t known many civil war actors, used to know people who do medieval stuff. I know how in character they can become.

The problem i see is that there isn’t enough of a backing. Google glass, sure. A few others. The truth is, most of what the tek can offer is already offered. And outside of pure entertainment, then you need control devices. Extra gear to control what’s being displayed. That is a major problem, as most of not all the information can already be displayed on current technologies that are wide spread already.

It’s got no real momentum, I know more people with VR than with AR. That alone should be a major tell. Even the tech industry stopped pushing it. The HoloLens went? What has it done in the public eye? In the private sector?

The industries that it works for have already adopted it. I see no tangible proof of it getting much more momentum.


D2G23 t1_j7b8grq wrote

Once Google Glass folded, I had heard they were being repurposed for education in the trades. I’d like to imagine, that if the amount of people working in the trades keeps declining, maybe a robust AR will further enhance DIY? And that maybe the individual will end up being far more responsible for working on our own cars, houses, appliances, etc.


SkyPork t1_j7hhoc5 wrote

I never really heard that much about Google Glass, but apparently it wasn't enough? I kind of thought it would be everywhere before long, back then.


Low-Restaurant3504 t1_j7hicix wrote

From what I can recall, it was legal issues that ended Google Glass. I'll have to refresh my memory, but not doing what it said on the tin was not the problem with Google Glass.


reverseallthethings t1_j7ajkn0 wrote

Not a weak signal, but something which has been lurking in the shadows for a long time, is already having impact but is still notoriously ignored.

The unsustainability of consumerism. This is not meant to be a critique on capitalism, just an observation which can be distilled from the "Right to repair" movement, crappier products and the unwillingness of the industry to build durable products.

Let me give a few examples.

Almost all consumer-grade mobile phones are not only hard to repair, but vendors make it deliberately hard for them to be repaired. In certain edge cases they even use proprietary screws for which tools are unobtainable. Planned obsolescence renders devices nonoperational after a while, may it be to non-replaceable batteries, deliberate crappy engineering, refusing to ship firmware upgrades after two years or even make the latest version of the operating system so complex that it won't run on older models.

Household appliances include unnecessary electronics adding absolutely no value except vanity and business opportunities to vendors. What about all of the Iot-enabled washing machines, microwave ovens and what not? The added complexity is adding more point of failures and when a vendor discontinues their Internet endpoints the whole Iot-part becomes unusable. In the worst case, the whole appliance will stop working.

In general, in pretty much all appliances the trend is "glue it together, make it as hard as possible to dis- and reassemble.

All of this is leading to a massive generation of waste, pollution and unnecessary consumption of energy. We are already drowning in waste, recycling of certain components is still in it's infancy. Think of LiIo batteries, broken touchscreens or PCBs ending up somewhere in countries with substandard worker's- and environmental protection laws.

One may wonder, why. It's part of the overall scheme of consumerism; corporations need to maintain or improve growth. That's not necessarily a bad thing and always due to greed, but also due to inflation. If consumers are not willing to go with inflation, the product must be produced cheaper or, the nefarious way, self-destruct after it's planned lifetime.

Regulators shall take appropriate actions to incentivize vendors to build durable products and offer support even beyond their mandatory warranty period. If that can't be guaranteed or is not viable economically, vendors shall take back broken devices to recycle them.

It can even be a selling point for vendors: Our products are more durable and we make ourselves accountable & liable.

Vendors shall stop equipping devices with unnecessary vanity electronic and even more so, force their devices to communicate with their dedicated proprietary cloud services which may vanish anytime something realizes the business case just went boom.


Different_Owl_9715 t1_j7b4ixr wrote

Technology continues to make workers more productive, but that means that you need fewer workers to make what you need. So if all goods were durable, lasting a long time and not breaking, and if people only bought stuff they actually needed, then pretty soon unemployment would skyrocket. Not sure if consumerism was specifically promoted as a jobs creation idea, or not, but it's been filling that purpose to an extent.

The idea that technology displaces workers hasn't exactly been in the shadows, but with AI, it is starting to impact more employment sectors.

Technology also enables a rapid expansion of the wealth gap, which generates discord in society.

The impacts of consumerism are just one aspect of the larger problem of technology displacing workers. It would be great if we could all start working just one or two days of the week and share all the wealth, but psychologically, humans don't do well when they are not working towards a worthwhile goal.


craeftsmith t1_j7bkxxv wrote

I agree that right now, surplus productivity must be destroyed. In 1984, surplus productivity was destroyed by endless war. Right now, it is destroyed by making less durable products. I don't know of any attempts to destroy the surplus by making workers less productive, eg, only work two days a week.

I think it would be better if we could circumvent the need to destroy excess productivity, but I have no idea how to do that.


Wild_Sun_1223 t1_j7e3ezc wrote

Sure, but why must all "working toward goals" be driven by another, imposed, need - especially one that's going to ruin the ecosystems we depend on so thoroughly? Is it worth the "psychological" benefit if the alternative is a whole planet turned to a toxic hellscape?


Unobtanium_Alloy t1_j7ehps9 wrote

Why does a toaster need a microprocessor and LCD screen? Simple: it doesn't. But many these days, even on the low end, have them.


Surur t1_j7ar86v wrote

I think you need to add some balance to your rant. Implying things are done for no reason just makes you unconvincing.


[deleted] t1_j7a9yoe wrote

Limited attention on this sub and only 10-20 years... hmm.

I think the impacts of machine learning on medicine while significantly talked about are not really understood to be as rapidly game changing as people realize.

Words human medicine is about to get turbocharged by Machine learning and I guess people kind of like are only so interested in medicine because it's generally like about horrible s*** like cancer and heart disease.

I think that will be both incredibly impactful and it will tend to get underrated because people only like talking about horrible diseases so much.

Like we're going to be surprised when all of a sudden there really is a cure for cancer or heart disease we're going to be like what I just thought that that was the same b******* already every other time that wasn't really going to happen.


Five_Decades t1_j7dkfr9 wrote

Yup. There are about 60,000 known diseases, each with endless research papers and risk factors tied to them. Machines will be able to navigate the millions of papers and books to find the most likely cause and cure of each disease. Medicine will be in a new golden age by mid century


throwwwwwawaaa65 t1_j7bvhr5 wrote

AR is going to be KING

Continued Labor Shortage. This is the one that scares me the most. All the things we take for granted in infrastructure, Maintenance, and transportation will slowly fall to the wayside.

There’s going to be GIGANTIC money in blue collar work soon. There’s no youth in these careers.


not-on-a-boat t1_j7fbxdh wrote

Yeah but immigration solves a lot of this and if the money is good enough, it doesn't have to be legal immigration.


rogert2 t1_j79s1da wrote

Crypto will create big problems.

It's a terrifically bad foundation for an economy, but the people behind it have enough money and clout to crowbar it into our lives.

When that happens, it will matter that the crypto economy makes basic consumer protections literally impossible, and that "payment processors" who are the equivalent of PayPal are charging anywhere from 50% to 1000% of purchase price for each transaction. (It would be the equivalent of a hyper-regressive tax, but made worse because it would be paid to private profit-seekers rather than a government that has positive obligations to the populace.)


[deleted] t1_j7a9nkp wrote

Eh, personally don't see where crypto has any future or really any useful application for the vast majority of consumers who are perfectly happy with credit cards.

It's far more like a trend that didn't catch on than game changing tech.


Remarkable-Hall-9478 t1_j7azu1l wrote

Yeahhhhh, no. Crypto in its current iteration is fucked and will never be the basis for anything but infinite scams of the uneducated.

There are still some good ideas buried really, REALLY fucking deep in there, but they’ll never make a difference due to how drowned out they are by regarded moon-boy shit from the uneducated the entire system preys on.

Crypto in its current and foreseeable future forms will never reach a meaningful fraction of the “goals” that well-meaning people pointlessly superimpose on top of it.


Vergeingonold t1_j7bd2iz wrote

I think too much attention is paid to the “currency” and finance aspects of blockchain and not enough to the immutable ledger opportunities that blockchain technology can bring to record keeping in areas like land registry, parts tracking and authentication, supply chain, ticketing, health records, voting, etc. it has huge potential to improve efficiency and reduce bureaucracy while being a powerful tool to combat corruption and fraud, but sadly there’s less money to be made from developing those applications outside the financial sector.


rogert2 t1_j7bvtxn wrote

Putting medical and voting records in an immutable public datasource is a colossally bad idea.

Nothing about supply chain can be done better by blockchain. It doesn't have the ability to track anything that isn't already being tracked.


Wooden_Original_5891 t1_j7c4wwg wrote

This guy gets it. Voting and heath records I'm not so sure about, but the potential is there to massively shake up and destroy whole industries as we know them and rebuild them hugely more efficiently.

I can't explain it well enough in a single reddit reply, but what bitshares was doing with DACs and the "music credits" (I can't remember exactly what they were called ATM) where a musician would sell them to their fans as future credits to buy their albums, tracks, records, samples, swag or tickets to see them live had the potential to dissolve what we are currently know as the record industry

The idea is to remove everything and anyone between the fans and the artist as far as money middle men go.

If implemented correctly it would make artists millions where that money would regularly go to a dinosaur industry.

The same thing can go for insurance industry. Say life insurance. The death certificate would be similar to a crypto cert as long as the implementation can follow and properly authenticate the death cert and who issued it. People would pay into a Blockchain instead of into a life insurance company.

Think about how much more payouts could be if not only life insurance CEO bonuses were no longer a thing, but there were also zero employees to pay, no buildings to buy or rent, no office stationary needed, no more 3 year lifecycle of IT Hardware to replace, no janitorial staff to pay, no land tax, and no office electric bill.

That's not to say that there would no longer be maintenance required, but its no longer on a corporate scale but rather on a computer program.

I don't think that a Blockchain based industry should completely take over, but I think it would be cool to see something like that compete with current industry solutions.


DrImNotFukingSelling t1_j7c6dzg wrote

Drug resistant bacteria and viruses. This will be a huge issue each year until they cull us down.


Scoutmaster-Jedi t1_j7dlz2j wrote

Resistance to antibiotics is going to change the world just as much as their invention/discovery did. Industrial animal farming is the major driver of developing resistant bacteria, so this will impact both health and food systems. Without effective antibiotics, all surgeries will become life threatening.


ScoobyDeezy t1_j7e9nor wrote

Related, when we unlock the secrets of our microbiome. Gut flora have a major impact on our brains/bodies, and our understanding is still in its infancy. Figuring out which species of gut bacteria have what impact on us will be huge.


s-multicellular t1_j7dekn9 wrote

There is one that I think is all around us, and the impact hasn’t yet sunk in. I work with youth, do a lot around preparing them for our particular field as well so we end up getting into some future thought, ‘where do you see yourself in x y z years?’ One thing that comes up a lot tangentially therein, is that the generations that grew up with social media have a wholly difference sense of their communities.

Take nationalism for example. They hardly understand it. Their sense of belonging is rooted more in their passions, sometimes pan-national identities, but ‘nations’ are an old folks (like my 40 something year old self) concept. People seem to look at polls of ‘are you proud to be [a national of your country]’ and think the low scores of youth reflect a dislike of their home country. Perhaps in part. But the fact that a country is an outdated idea for them is a big factor.

The impact will hit when they’re running things, which will be soon.


satans_toast t1_j7as4rn wrote

I have been very curious about the long-term effects of work-from-home. Will it lead to further isolation and loneliness? Will that then give rise to even more radical agenda groups? Or will it lead to more happiness because of less stress and more home life? On the business side, will it stifle innovation and creativity, or will it lead to more breakthroughs?

It feels like we’re still experimenting with it. The grumpy old man in me thinks it will end up being a bad development, but I have enough self-awareness to see that’s a prejudice. Nevertheless, it is a radical change in how workplaces are organized, and it has a high likelihood of causing significant change.


DanDreib t1_j7b3hh9 wrote

I think that's a great question with lots of facets and nuance. I think it will be interesting to see how it might change how families are organised. Maybe instead of a stay at home parent, both parents will work from home 3 days a week. It could lead to a better work life balance if it eliminates long commutes and people are more productive at home.

However, I am weary of a future where you need to invest into a home office with a decent computer and internet connection to be employable. Companies could save a lot of by not having big offices in central London or NY.


satans_toast t1_j7b470o wrote

Then there’s the downstream ramifications on those cities. Will they live or die? Will they morph into residential cities instead of business centers?

It’s kinda like we’re entering the true Information Age, with as much of a sea change in demographics & culture as the Industrial Revolution did to agrarian societies.


D2G23 t1_j7b9eql wrote

My job has always been very flexible. We travel some and are used to pulling out the laptop in airports and hotels. COVID pivot to at home changed nothing in our productivity. When I had a sick kid, I could use PTO, or pull up my laptop and do what I could while tending to my children - my job didn’t care at all, and still doesn’t. I think if more employers were that flexible, we wouldn’t be in this eternal battle of at home vs in office.


[deleted] t1_j7bn9fm wrote

I can tell you that not commuting is a positive for mental health. I can also tell you that it does get weird staying home all the time. There is probably a balance here in between that will work best functionally.


satans_toast t1_j7bqhpt wrote

I am curious about the separation of work from non-work. It was already a struggle for some with the advent of VPN and cell phones, but now there's not even that geographic separation. Is it a problem? Is it no big deal? Time will tell.

For me, I have to put on shoes when I'm working, and take them off when I don't. It's a stupid thing, but it acts as that mental separation. (They're only Vans, not dress shoes, so they're not killing my feet or the carpet).


[deleted] t1_j7brr46 wrote

Eh, that’s not the issue. The issue is actual lack of human face to face contact. It just makes us weird over time.


AngryWookiee t1_j7dsqyu wrote

Topsoil depletion will be an issue in future if we don't start using more sustainable farming practices. There is less than 60 years of good harvests unless we do something.

Phosphorus shortage in fertilizer will be another issue.


Ok-Career876 t1_j7fsmbf wrote

Who is working on these very important issues. Arent the rich people in huge corporations and governments also concerned about not having food to eat?


AngryWookiee t1_j7fuw4y wrote

Most first world country governments are encouraging farmers to plant more cover crops and do more no till farming. Conventional agriculture is combed with organic practices. I've also read that the 60 years thing is overhyped... even when I look at other articles they are all over the place in the amount of good years left.

Scientists are looking at how to breed/engineer plants that are more efficent in phosphorus uptake. I am not sure what they are doing beyond this. Peak phosphorus was expected be around 2030 but they may have found more sources.


r2k-in-the-vortex t1_j7brcqn wrote

CBDC-s. It will lead to pretty significant societal change and even faster decrease in cash use. In democratic countries it's a very good thing, better ease of doing business, cost savings, less tax avoidance, more security from scamming, severe reduction in criminal economy etc etc, all the good things. In dictatorships... eh, well people are screwed in those regimes anyway.

Self driving tech - it's going to overturn the entire transport sector which is a huge thing. It's not exactly weak signal, yet people will still be surprised because they keep overlooking an underestimating it.

Satellite mega-constellations the likes of starlink, they are going to evolve beyond the current pricey internet offerings. It's going to be a whole new level of space surveillance and communications, there will be some sat comms on regular smartphones, no more complete out of service anywhere under open sky. SAR components in these constellations will make it possible to real time survey all shipping in the world and more, that will seriously hamper all sorts of sanctioned trade, illegal shipping etc.

AR, there is a lot of development work to be done, but there is a serious potential for AR glasses to become the next smartphone. It's not there yet in technological or economical feasibility, but it's likely that people that today spend their lives with phone near always at hand will in future spend their lives wearing AR glasses. And yes, they will be much less bulky than they are today, with better battery live, better image quality etc etc.

Small cheap drones - evidently they have finally found their killer app, which is war. What can be seen in Ukraine today is as much a revolution in warfare as introduction of tank, gunpowder or trench warfare. Right now they are mostly using appropriated consumer tech, but in time mil tech sector will catch up to experience they are gaining there and the potential there... it'll change how wars are fought big time.

Decline in religiosity. There is a steep age gradient in religiosity in all countries and all cultures. As the older more religious generations die off that will result in significant societal and policy changes worldwide. That trend is only accelerating, woowoo is going the way of the dodo.


fail-deadly- t1_j7c8wgk wrote

>Decline in religiosity. There is a steep age gradient in religiosity in all countries and all cultures. As the older more religious generations die off that will result in significant societal and policy changes worldwide. That trend is only accelerating, woowoo is going the way of the dodo.

Political ideology is quickly replacing it. Many people want to be good, moral people, who belong to something bigger than themselves, and based on their values - which is extremely subjective - making the world a "better" place.


awe_0604 t1_j7co5y4 wrote

New battery technologies leading to new ways of mining, power generation, transmission and storage. Black swan: some forms of the externality of climate change.


Redditing-Dutchman t1_j7dekms wrote

Hmm yes I was thinking about this. Currently nobody talks about the power usage of chatGPT. It's quite a lot per prompt and this is only going to get worse as the models get bigger and bigger.

A black swan event could be that we simply don't have enough power available to unlock the true potential of AI in the next few years and that progress is being held back because of these power shortages.


not-on-a-boat t1_j7fbuxs wrote

Water shortages along the Colorado River are going to create some disruptive changes to water rights, agricultural technology, and land values in the coming decades.


Meneth32 t1_j7buvgh wrote

Self-improving "seed" AI that can grow into superintelligence.

Doesn't seem to exist yet, but no one knows how few pieces are missing.


NewDiscourse OP t1_j7dvltz wrote

Several thought-provoking comments; thank you all. I saw this in the NYT this week—teen "smartphone liberation" hardly seems like a movement, but I do wonder what a post-social media world looks like. I don't think it's the Meta fantasy (though may involve AR/VR as several have pointed out), and hopefully it transcends the current surveillance capitalism and advertising business model.


ritzlingen t1_j7dycnu wrote

I’ve come to believe that there aren’t black swans, just blind spots where people weren’t paying attention. We can imagine and prepare for a lot of things, and even anticipate them if we are tracking changes. I think they are more like gray swans, you think they are black at first but realize its just that you weren’t paying close enough attention. Not that everyone should have seen 2008 financial crisis on the horizon, but there were plenty of people who should have (and many did but thought they could ‘get out’ in time). That is more of a problem of overconfidence in the ability to game or control a system before it falls into chaos.

I believe your comments about the images of the future is actually one answer to this question. In a sense, I think we aren’t paying attention to what images of the future are thriving. We get distracted by the noise of conflict, failures, and whatever goes viral but miss out on the more ‘boring’ shared images of the future. How are these images changing may provide a larger picture view since it would reflect more on the emerging values and social perspectives that are bubbling up. Any system that comes into stress will be viewed through the social perspective of the time, and that directly influences how those systems will be changed.


SyntheticSlime t1_j7jf3wu wrote

Space travel. Right now we are on the cusp of having incredible new launch capabilities. SpaceX’s Starship is the most well developed example, but there are others maybe a few years behind. But when you listen to people talk about the opportunities that will open up they don’t really seem to get it. They’ll talk about satellite constellations, or space tourism, or even mining asteroids, but that’s just small potatoes. Once we have a little experience with industry in space you’ll be looking at exponential growth with practically unlimited resources in an environment where energy is free and space is limitless. Will governments be able to enforce laws in a theater a quadrillion times the size of the earth? What politics or institutions would or could govern such an environment. There are so many questions about how things will unfold and nobody is an expert. Nobody has anything but almost baseless guesses. I can’t even tell you if humans will play a major role or if it will be almost entirely robotics. Musk might be thinking about Mars colonies, but what actually comes next isn’t up to him. It’s going to be driven by economic forces, technological ability, and quite possibly geo political interests that nobody fully understands. It’s gonna be wild.


LatinoFuturist t1_j7rn8kz wrote

I think that one of the weak signals that exists today that could become one of tomorrow's black swans is an increase in longevity. While several authors and researchers have made the news with books or studies stating that humans could conceivably live to be 200-years-old or more, I don't believe most people (and even many futurists) really believe that it's possible. With U.S. life expectancy having doubled in the last century - and only seeming to plateau now due to the impacts of sugar and highly processed foods - it's conceivable that technologies that are only now gaining prominence could at least double it again, and perhaps in a much shorter timeframe. Life expectancy was fairly stable for centuries, until discoveries like sterilization and antibiotics allowed it to increase dramatically, relatively basic advancements when compared with gene editing and targeted therapies. With this possible inevitability, everything from employment to inheritance to economic inequality could be radically affected.


fbd230822 t1_j7b90nk wrote

I don't think we're paying enough attention to demographics. Population decline is happening rapidly in certain parts of the world, especially the ones that cheat their census numbers. Some of these countries have nukes. What happens when they're faced with collapse?

Geopolitical analyst Peter zaihan speaks very eloquently on this.


IdealAudience t1_j7cfolq wrote

- Maybe a random Reddit q&a fixes the world - didn't see that coming.

But your question in and of itself points to a significant problem - I do hope we can go forward more systematically .. boot-strap -human- neural networks for Topic x, y, z / location / year..

and it seems like we're inches away .. all the pieces are there but right now we're cave-men using petrol as paint.. so to speak.. mostly using social networks to yell at memes or trolls.. mostly using cyber-worlds for grand theft auto or fortnite dances..

but we're inches away from (better?) reddit groups -or whatever the kids are using these days- for Topic x, y, z / 2023, 2024, 2025.. and so on .. / location

(or vice versa)

- better collect, collate, compare side-by-side - the hundreds of predictions, proposals, existing prototypes and projects, for x, y, z / year / location.

under scenario - red alert, orange alert, fixing yellow, green is good, blue is super-good,

purple is if fusion power happens.

+ non-fiction and (realistic?) fiction showing this or that

- compare, grade on a curve.

Grad-students for x, y, z / college towns / year .. seems like a smart place to start networks and teams - if they don't have smart cooperative networks already .. should have the means and mutual benefit.. spread to professors, under-grads, community colleges, teachers, non-profits, futurists, city council teams for x, y, z .. regional ...
/ topic-network / year / location ..

More scientific method-y - better show and teach and peer-review existing systems, projects, spread best-practices ..

+ support controlled trials of prototypes, with smart cooperative peer-network support, help, peer-review, determine best-practices, de-bug, teaching training, retest, repeat ..

before National roll-out or national campaigns or 'bring in all the a.i. bots everywhere all at once' ... or 'radical economic system everywhere all at once' .. or whathaveyou.

& there's a lot more that can be done if cooperative networks of media artists are working with other teams to help demonstrate, educate, train best-practices and proposals .. ( and vice versa - psych grad students helping cooperative networks of media artists with more beneficial, educational, theraputic ... non-fiction, fiction, fantasy, and un-dystopias - better engineered for target audiences )

But realistic fiction + non-fiction Cyber-city models / massive multiplayer online worlds - desktop or virtual - + a.i. assistants / guidance .. can bring us leaps ahead in a hurry - allow us the opportunity to better model existing systems / prototypes - peer-review, teach, train, remote-help, support ..

& -virtually- any conceiveable proposal or prediction or 'what-if'

- generic or in-situ.. .. cold, controlled, or public - with however many trolls and hackers..
- cooperatively develop, test, de-bug, peer-review, compare variations, determine best-practices, teach, train, revise, re-test
before building this or voting for that .. or saying 'ok, bring in the all the a.i. bots'

And model every conceivable emergency scenario .. and dystopia ... collect / compare / model - more systematically / topic / year

.. and un-emergency / un-dystopia proposals .. more systematically ..

"We absolutely need to do H in response to G.. and do F to prepare.. E to reduce harm, D to prevent .." - version 1 vs. version 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 ..
develop with peers who care - test, peer-review, compare variations, determine best-practices, teach, train, revise, re-test

= Reverse-engineer more resilient near-future proposals & prevention .. test, peer-review, compare variations, determine best-practices, teach, train, revise, re-test.
better than just worry or doomism

better than just worry or doomism driving our neighbors to think bloody revolution or system collapse ( or 'just have fun while it lasts' or 'just vote' or 'just get a gun' . or 'don't worry, a magic gizmo is going to solve everything' .. ) are the only options.

Competing versions of literally impossible systems may de-bug themselves or eachtother under honest modeling / testing - hopefully take on more and more rational, feasible support for existing good projects that are delivering good ..

or hopefully cyber world models of impossible systems or bloody revolutions.. will allow the rest of us to more effectively communicate drawbacks and short-comings.

+ frustratingly robust un-emergency / un-dystopia proposals, prevention, & -anti-fragile- smart cooperative networks / teams for x, y, z.. designed to withstand atomic war or robot war or gang war ..

+ better reasonable proposals for how to get from Memphis to a Better Memphis, teaching, training, support.. better show successful existing prototypes.. teach, train, cooperative network help, and support, a.i. assistants... beneficial fiction + education, guidance.. . .