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Ten future shocks for the next 10 years

Ten future shocks for the next 10 years

A look back at the changes wrought by technology since 1978, and predictions of the shocking developments we can expect between now and 2018

Shock No. 8: Big Brother never sleeps

In the next 10 years, perfect governmental tracking and monitoring of each human being will become reality. Some people will accept LoJack implants for personal safety. Face-recognition technology tied to video monitors at street corners will also contribute. Also very possible: LoJack-style technology along with a digital voice recorder embedded in drivers' licenses (it's optional -- hey, driving is a privilege, not a right). The actual trigger will be pulled when Mercedes-Benz buys General Motors and acquires OnStar, which by then will be private industry's principle purveyor of "Personal LoJack" systems. Shortly thereafter, Russia will have acquired Mercedes, either through conquest or by buying it with oil money, so Russia will know the exact location and movement of most affluent Americans. So will China, which will have manufactured the LoJack transmitters, surreptitiously adding a backdoor feature that lets the Chinese government track everyone as well. -- Bob Lewis

Shock No. 9: Unbroken connectivity

Checking to see if you're connected to a network will seem as old-fashioned as turning on a device to get information in 10 years. Devices that are always receiving information (and displaying it on low-draw screens in the cover of phones and portable computers) will meet networks that are always available to make your interaction with the information world more like a flowing stream than a chain of data lakes. From sports scores to friends' activities, the idea of interrupting your activities to get the news will be a thing of the past. -- Curtis Franklin

Shock No. 10: Relationship enhancement

My 2018 prediction is that we use technology to remember and fortify social connections. You'll get together socially with a friend, geo-locate, take pictures, Twitter, make notes and videos, and so on, and it all gets automatically filed away. You may forget what happened, but you can access it all again when you search your own personal store, either by matching keywords or simply preparing for the next social event with same friend. There will be no difference between "online friends" and "real friends". This will be life-altering. We already have the freedom of not having to remember street directions. When we have the freedom not to remember what happened in social interactions, it raises a fascinating question: Will this solidify personal relationships or change them in some other way? -- Jon Williams


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