It’s the year 2015. No flying cars, moon base, or teleportation technology. Anyone familiar with the 20th century’s pop culture projections of the future are a little disappointed. Alas, not everything tech we hoped to exist by now has failed to appear. When it comes to personal and personalized gadgets and gizmos available to 21st century consumers, the human race has done pretty well for itself. The digital revolution has helped everything from touchscreens to voice command make the leap from fiction to reality. We haven’t sent someone to Mars yet, but we can simulate it via downloadable app.
For anyone bummed out about the chances of a working hover board appearing in their lifetime it’s time to appreciate what you do have. Here’s a list of impressive technology either ten feet away from you right now, or five years away from being ten feet away from you:
Ear gear has been around for a long time, no lie. The recent fashion flare-up involving “high quality” headphones illustrates how this taken for granted technology has come a long way. Not too long ago it exhausted a part-time paycheck or two to acquire headphones capable of reproducing great sound without letting everyone around you know what’s on the playlist. These days we’re able to isolate ourselves inside an album, movie, or viral video while riding packed public transit for less than $50 for a good pair of earbuds. Or you can opt for the $500 pair of headphones if you want...the technology is impressive either way.
Like portable personal audio, the ability to physically transport digital data is nothing new. And it may even seem old-fashioned thanks to the cloud. But once again, we’re failing to marvel at one of the more magnificent inventions of our time. In terms of data volume, physical size, and versatility, nothing beats the flash drive. Not to mention they’re tangible, and thus have become a bit of a fashion accessory. Thanks to things like 3D printing people can now buy flash drives in bulk from companies capable of building them into custom shapes and figures. The result is an array of normal everyday objects capable of being hidden data mines. That’s futuristic for you.
It seems like only yesterday we were flipping open our cellular phones, winding our watches, and owning a dozen different other pieces of technology to do an equal number of tasks. The iPhone debuted eight years ago and we’re already over the all-in-one, touch-operated, voice-activated, pocket sized computers we carry in our pockets and purses. Now we have the dawn of the smartwatch; a little anticlimactic considering the wonders of the smartphone, but the stuff of science fiction nonetheless.
Does anyone appreciate the potential of drone technology? Maybe because the consumer drone industry is still in its infancy, but that’s partly because consumers aren't taking advantage of this amazing technology. We associate drones with spooky government stuff, and that’s a legitimate connection, yet drone technology can be so much more. It can be used to remotely chaperone children walking to school by themselves, or deployed to monitor a stolen car. We hear the word “drone” and picture a faceless killing machine, but the ability to essentially combine RC and smart technology together is a wonderful thing for society, whether we know it now or not.
We’re well into the 21st century now. Glance around and it doesn't really feel like it, but looks can be deceiving. Humans are easily bored and constantly eyeing the next big thing. Every once in awhile we need to stop and appreciate the technological gifts we’ve been fortunate enough to live to experience. For billions of people they were only the stuff of dreams.
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