Consumer & Behavioral Science Consulting

Tomorrow’s world: A guide to the next 150 years (BBC link)

BBC FUTURE_non-editable-flat

This is a pretty cool exercise… especially if you are in industry and trying to figure out next steps.  But also helpful for academic research… what will be the directions science will take us?  What will the world be like next year… in five years… in 10 years… onward?

First it helps to try to picture what kind of world it will be and then what sort of things will those people need. This graphic does just that, breaking ideas down into least & most likely and dystopia & utopia over 150 years.

Do you agree?  Let’s take a look at some highlights that caught my fancy…

Patients are prescribed mobile apps by their doctors.

I’m surprised we aren’t there yet.  Evidence shows that mobile interaction increases the success of weight-loss programs. And we also know that patients are more likely to improve when engaged in their care with their doctors.  So this just makes sense. But it also looks advantageous for both academia and industry.

For industry, this presents great opportunity for products with applications that include interaction with physicians. Think, choosing the right medicine for your cold.  In fact, Dr. Scholl’s is already doing something similar:


But it could also mean realtime interaction with your customer.  Yes, a lot of companies already do this… but so far, most have sucked.  Think Levis Curve ID.  This gave me know added benefit to picking jeans, I had no confidence that they would fit. But what if your customer could give you real at home use feedback from home…

And for academia, this could provide a wealth of information to study anything from disease to marketing to, well anything.

This needs to happen.

You can get your entire genome sequenced for under $100.

There’s already a lot of controversy here. Do we need to know our genomes?  NPR did a good bit on that a few months ago.

The first big question: Is this cheap, new sequencing even accurate? Mistakes could have horrible implications. Take a breast cancer gene mutation.

“You might be told you have a mutation when you don’t. And it’s not completely unknown for women who find out they have a mutation in one of these genes to go have a mastectomy so they won’t get cancer,” says Liz Mansfield of the Food and Drug Administration.

And even when it’s right, it could open up a Pandora’s box.

“You know, it’s a seductive thought to think, well, you know, we might as well know about stuff,” said James Evans of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and the American College of Medical Genetics.

Additionally, this could and is being used in people trying to learn about their ancestry.  Here’s a cool RadioLab story on that.

The first immortal mouse is created.

A good thing? A possible thing? Stopping aging, it’s the tale of sci-fi movies and fantasy novels. And yet this graphic has it as happening in a utopia world (though unlikely) by 2015.  How close are we? Well, a quick PubMed search shows a large number of articles pointing to the idea that we are working on it.

Your computer has a sense of smell.

Been there, done that… sort of. E-noses are currently being designed for use in anything from disease detection to compound identification.

People can touch one another through their phones.

I can’t help but think of this scene…

High resolution bionic eyes are on sale.

This makes sense. And as someone with myopia and a father with a detached retina… I welcome this world.

images (21)

You can upload the contents of your brain to a computer.

Again, seems to take a note from sci-fi and fantasy.  Live forever in a computer… perhaps an interesting way to look at how decision making could work.  Or maybe a way to reboot your memories if you suffer injury or disease.  But as with most of these… sounds dangerous.  Have we learned nothing from the movies?

images (22)

You can log on directly from your brain.

Again… has sci-fi taught us nothing?

images (23)

And could we get viruses from logging on directly from the brain…be controlled?  What are the real advantages outside of laziness? And do I really want adverts projected into my brain?

Anyway… it’s an interesting graphic.  Take a look and see what you think.

And I know I spent a lot of time suggesting that sci-fi should have warned us against these things.  But then we’ve accomplished so much by following Back to the Future right?

1. Watching multiple TV channels simultaneously.

2. A baseball team in Miami.

3. Ubiquitous advertising.

4. Video games without hands

5. Cameras everywhere.

6. Asian invasion.

7. Slamball.

8. The plastic surgery explosion.

9. Personal targeted advertising.

10. TV glasses.

11. Video conferencing.

But they were way off on the still having and using fax machines.

So maybe we are safe after all.



*hat tip to Adrian 😉

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This entry was posted on January 3, 2013 by and tagged , , , .



The Nerdoscientist @nerdoscientism

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