‘The future is for those with the creativity, lust and drive to deliver it,’ a famous man once said long ago.
That man was me, and I said it a moment ago which is now the past, so that clearly qualifies me as the most prescient human being in history (BITE ME all those girls who turned me down for the Junior Prom; BOO-YAH!). It could actually be that easy for any of us to glimpse and attain the future. All it takes is a peak into a wondrous reality filled with all that our greedy, slothful little hearts could desire; a blissful Jetsons-like existence catering to our every whim and fulfilling our every fantasy…which means guys like me will never have to get off the self-cleaning toilet/microwave couch (and don’t even bother, it’s already a thing).
No, people, we’re not just talking convenience here, we’re talking big money, because the future really belongs to anyone clever enough to introduce all these innovative and revolutionary products and businesses we have long come to rely on and expect from the best in our society since at least as far back as the year 2000. That means that not only are the fanciful gizmos and gadgets that were the Science Fiction of yesteryear now the extended battery life and touch screen reality of today, but also more importantly, it means that for those with the wherewithal to envision and produce these amazing new tools, there is a Utopian pot of gold at the end of all that invention, perspiration and market saturation.
Now some of these new industries will fare better than others; I’d advise everyone to pull their money out of any local Biblical or Creationist theme park, because with all due respect, that’s just cruel. Rather, the best and brightest among us are thinking with those gloriously almighty dollar signs that spell a more prosperous and less frustrating TV streaming package options tomorrow for all of us, so let’s have a look at some of the coolest future businesses that will make their creators a fortune.
This has been a goal of science even before Star Trek gave us the dream of exquisitely lifelike androids in alluringly clingy ’60s fashions, so shut up in advance about how it’s impossible all you tech geeks and Physics nerds (THIS is why you don’t get invited to parties, Seth).
Creating synthetic life forms to mimic our own physical structure and serve our insatiably deleterious needs has been the dream of humankind since women first realized men would never sweep out a cave full of filthy Mammoth bones, so why the Hell should they have to?
In terms of the advancement of robotics, the last 50 years has seen such an unbelievably impressive level of development and success in the industry that the idea of a sentient android is far more likely to arrive within 20 or 30 years at most, rather than not. And whoever can finally get one of these things to mix a cocktail and clean out the litter box, massage our fragile egos and unused muscles and balance the household budget, will be living large.
The idea of a domestic robot in virtually every home as commonplace as a microwave oven, will spell the realization of a financial reward that just keeps on giving.
Think about how often Microsoft has fleeced us over the years with a new version of Windows, and an android repair shop suddenly sounds like a license to print money.
And what could better compliment our reliance on tangible artificial life forms than to immerse ourselves in even more amorphous forms of fake reality? The allure of holograms, artificially created three dimensional objects with the appearance and apparent substance of reality that are highly complex diffraction of light which create a three dimensional image (which I hope will not be the tagline), have intrigued us since they apparently inspired the online porn industry in the mid 1990s.
Since then, the fledgling market has grown to basically represent the entirety of humankind’s willful perversions; what 20 years ago as merely a mildly interesting television special effect, can now be dancing topless on our desktops all day long (what a time to be ALIVE!). The fiduciary rewards of perfecting this new technology to the point of ubiquity will be incalculable, as our appetites for more and more stimulating and uncommon experiences drive these innovations forward.
Hologram Birthday cards? Hells yeah, count me in!
8) Fusion Energy
Despite the recent catastrophe in Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactor, most people are wholly unaware of how nuclear energy is actually created and harnessed. Currently it’s because of Dr. Ernest Rutherford who, along with his team in 1917, were the first human beings in history to split a single atom, thus making possible the enormous volumes of energy produced by nuclear fission reactors today.
The real goal of nuclear physicists however has always been the more challenging task of safely creating and channeling nuclear fission; the energy released by the physical merging of two atoms into a single particle. Suffice to say that the quantity of energy produced by this reaction would positively dwarf anything else our species has yet created and carries with it even more risk and potential calamity than virtually anything else we’ve ever attempted; but no more batteries, people!
Equally certain is that whoever becomes the Rutherford of the Fission Age will be making it rain in a strip club somewhere forever, because replacing all other forms of global energy production sounds like a serious gravy train, and this Brutha wants ta git paid, yo.
Yeah, there’s no question this is a big one when it comes to ethical dilemmas versus an entire team of Lebron James(es?) Cloning is the process of spawning identical genetic replicas from as little as a single living cell of organic tissue, so beware in advance anyone getting DNA injections labeled ‘SOMETHING KARDASHIAN,’ you are heading for trouble.
Though many people find even the idea of this kind of research unsavory, the possibilities for cloning in the field of medicine as a means of organ transplant and regenerative tissue reconstruction alone are mind boggling. Think of it; blood could be synthesized naturally from our own supply, organs, limbs, HAIR could be regenerated from our own genetic makeup, maybe even that demonic cat/dog hybrid thing from our Grade 4 Science paper; there’s NO limit, people!
Sure, the idea of 30 Lady Gagas would scare the fertilizer out of most of us, but we could also get 30 Marie Curies, Mimi Rippertons or Helen Mirrens, and I’d buy that for a dollar. There’s no question humanity has more than just the technical challenges ahead for cloning, nor that it’s not likely to arrive immediately. Perfecting this little trick is still a considerable scientific distance away, but the concept of ‘CloneAlone’ has been trademarked RIGHT HERE, mitches, because if one Lebron is worth what, $60 million a season?…Ka-Ching!!!
6) Artificial Intelligence
AI refers to a computer’s capacity to absorb, analyze and learn information in a more or less similarly independent manner as human beings do, and has been the bane of science fiction since forever. The very idea that we might become so technologically obsessed and proficient while so utterly oblivious to our moral collapse that we would eventually design something whose intellectual superiority would eventually destroy us, continues to be an eerily popular one, and it’s creeping closer all the time.
The average smart phone today is more powerful and has more capabilities than all of the computers employed by NASA during the entire Apollo space program combined, and that’s only the beginning. There is already a great deal of money and research pouring into how much more intuitive and responsive so called ‘smart technology’ can be, even so far as melding it with the human body itself, though for now we’ll settle for cars that drive themselves, robot dog-walkers and home alarms that defend our kith and kin like an automated SWAT team. Think that’s nuts? Any ONE of these crazy ideas would be a Fortune 500 Hall of Famer within a year of introduction and they’ll all rely on some form of AI to power them, and presumably count the gobs of money their very existence will generate in spades.
‘Can you say “Bite me,” Siri?’
5) Virtual Reality
Oh right…that thing we’ve been hearing about since what…? 1970? Well, it’s finally sort of almost here. Virtual Reality has long been promised to be an entirely immersive and interactive artificial environment which responds to sensory stimulation in exactly the same way as the real world. This is achieved through the perception of visual data projected via an ocular device which beams these images directly in front of the viewer’s eyes, like a miniature 3 dimensional film theater.
Advancements in the technology from the days of the Nintendo Virtual Boy to today’s Oculus Rift, Sony Morpheus and HTC Vive products that are promising to deliver the VR experience to living rooms worldwide in the next two years, have been insanely impressive. Many gaming analysts are predicting that these new VR devices could be some of the most significant boosts to the industry in decades, with the only question being which one will end up becoming the popular choice of consumers and a certain ticket to fame, glory and riches for its creators?
Ever since Astronaut Colonel Steve Austin, ‘A man barely alive,’ became better, stronger, faster, we’ve all been waiting for the day when we could just pop a few new chips into the old cybernetic wing and throw that 300-yard winning TD pass in the Superbowl.
It’s all thanks to the marvels of Bionics, defined as ‘The application of biological principles to the study of engineering systems,’ but we know it’s really about building a race of super intelligent cyborgs to take over the Earth after we destroy it, or who will realize our weaknesses and wipe us out through a protracted apocalyptic war first; either way an alien savior from another dimension will be the lynchpin, so what could go wrong?
The amount of money that could be generated by what is among the most exciting and groundbreaking fields of medical research in history is staggering, far more than the measly $6 million that clearly went mostly towards Lee Major’s bitching ’70s wardrobe, and not those cheesy ass ‘special effects’ that are so laughably dated.
3) Memory Streaming
Okay cue the ‘RECALL RECALL RECALL’ theme from that iconic Ahnald movie, ’cause this one’s especially trippy. The concept of recording and replaying individual human experiences as basically ‘memories on demand,’ is not nearly as remote a reality as one might think. More unnerving however would be figuring out why anyone would actually WANT to re-live anything Duggar or experience someone else’s neuroses, though this wouldn’t alter the fact that way too many people will be willing to pay for what will literally be the ultimate app.
Despite the obvious ethical and psychological dilemmas, this thing has all the hallmarks of being the 21st century equivalent of brain Meth times steroids, so it’s got that going for it. No matter; think of all the daytime Dr. Phils this would necessitate to both scold and encourage our latest convenient addiction. There’s not much doubt this one has the potential to be the most controversial and almost as certain to be among the most lucrative of future businesses, since apparently hardly anyone alive or dead could resist the temptation of BEING Kim Kardashian when she sleeps with her third fifth husband for the first and last time.
2) Inter-Species Communication
Many people may consider this to be a dubious research subject, but the financial rewards of a functioning animal translator will be obscene. While some may not see the benefit in actually conversing with their miniature Dobermann puppy beyond ‘No; Sit; Stay; Bad; Repent; Purge’ there are scientists in a host of animal studies that would give their eye teeth to be able to ask a beached whale ‘Wassup Biggie?’
It’s not even laughable that this may well be a critical step in our ability to stop poisoning the Earth and destroying its habitats and wildlife. Were such communication possible today, the implications for our planet would be profound. Would religion survive if we couldn’t rely on our unique sense of self righteous declaration that we’re smarter than the average bear? Would any canine further submit to the humiliation of a leash, were they capable of suggesting ‘Hey, I know what YOU can do with that strip of leather?’ Most importantly; will we finally discover what the Hell those dolphins are always cackling about, though I’m pretty sure it’s about how stupid we are compared to most fish?
Regardless, the payday for developing any means of reliable inter-species communication is certain to be vast; and seriously, wouldn’t you like to know what your gerbil is thinking as he flies around on that wheel all damn night?
1) Commercial Space Travel
This is the one, folks; this is the one that we’ll be remembered for. The human species will finally lay claim to being the most superior entity in the known universe when we can casually send our Grandmother on a dizzying ride around the globe from the comforts of low Earth orbit. And that’s just the start; companies like Virgin Galactic and SpaceX have been vying for some time to become among the first to commercialize space travel, and from all accounts they will have no shortage of willing customers.
There is no question that the allure of whipping over the Earth at hundreds of miles per second while floating in zero gravity will only increase over time as the technology and feasibility of this prospect grows ever closer. Like the first 747 and Concorde flights, the early experiences will obviously be cost prohibitive for most of us, but this will only improve as the industry advances and reduces the expense to an affordable luxury. As a result, the success of commercial space flight will probably be the single greatest payoff in the entirety of human industry, so book your flight now!
‘Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do.’
References: irm.utoronto.ca, holocenter.org, genome.gov, thestar.com, vrs.org.uk, businessinsider.com, smithsonianmag.com, thefreedictionary.com, virgingalactic.com, spacex.com