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Samsung Shows What Our Somewhat-Upredictable Future Will Look Like

Samsung Shows What Our Somewhat-Upredictable Future Will Look Like
Design

Futurology cannot precisely pinpoint what’s to come—the only certainty is uncertainty

Ido Lechner
  • 7 march 2016

With the rise of trends like drones, wearables, virtual reality and the Internet of Things offering glimpses into the prospective future, technology isn’t only enriching the now, but enchanting the very thought of the ‘will be.’ If fully automated drones and cars will be piloting the skies and roads of tomorrow, broadcasting Wi-Fi to our smartstoves that know when and what to prepare the moment we wake up, what will the day after look like? Samsung IoT firm SmartThings has painted a picture of what the future will look like by commissioning academics and futurologists to describe the now, 100 years from now, in The SmartThings Future Living Report.

“We are faced with a new game-changer—known as The Internet of Things—and like the Internet before it, its evolution is set to reach a phenomenal speed. The Internet allowed all of us to connect as a single collective brain—this global and inter-connected intelligence can now encompass the material world, opening up endless possibilities. So given the advances already in motion now, what can we expect to see in 100 years time? How will we live? How will we work? How will we relax? With so much more scope for what can be achieved than ever before, is the sky the limit?” asks the report’s coauthor Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock.

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To the final inquiry, the report replies with a resounding no, fancying a 2116 complete with ‘Super Skyscrapers’ and the colonization of both Mars and the Moon. That said, we’ll no longer be looking solely upward for answers to the growing population rate thanks to ‘earth-scrapers’ (buildings built into the ground running down to 25 stories deep), and underwater bubble cities joining the ranks of the futuristic infrastructures.

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Mentions of 3D-printed furniture and homeware, moving and shape-shifting home and work interiors, and homegrown food via hydroponics (plants grown without soil) and aquaponics (aquarium-based plant growth using fish waste) are also present within the report, alongside self-cleaning/repairing materials, personally customized medicine, reliable space flights for the average consumer and drones so big they can carry our entire homes for travel-intensive purposes.

“The predicted technological advances in computing, molecular nanotechnologies, biotechnology and AI will be used to increase our intellectual and cognitive ability by connecting us to a global knowledge bank, and make us stronger physically (potentially even mentally), fusing together man and man’s technology, in what is known as a movement called ‘transhumanism,’ creating a new life form that is so markedly different in its abilities, both physically and mentally, that it can no longer be termed human. Welcome to the post-human age,” reads the report.

When discussing the future, we tend to think of the possibilities as they pertains to us: what will be the achievements, failures and everyday life of the following generations? But what if ‘us’ isn’t ‘us’ to begin with? As we become more intimate with technology, the implausibility of not just using it or wearing it, but being it, diminishes. As scary as it sounds to have nanobots swimming in our bloodstream, imagine the possibilities of such as fusion.

Through the mergence of man and machine we’ll be able to repair our bodies on a cellular level, cognitively issue commands to our devices and broadcast our thoughts on a literal level. While transhumanism is a notion that splits opinion, it is quite possibly the direction our society is headed toward irrespective of criticism.

But the radical changes wont stop there—beyond the report, transhumanist philosophers such as Ray Kurzweil, the ex-head of artificial intelligence (AI) at Google, predict that AI will likely reach a point of superintelligence in our lifetime (by 2045 to be exact) that surpasses the sum total of all human intelligence on Earth. At this stage, machines will seamlessly communicate to the extent that we can say they have a ‘single consciousness,’ meaning technology will be able to design constant improvements for itself. If this is to be the case, such an event is evidently beyond our comprehension, and what’s to follow is wholly unpredictable—a phenomenon many (including Kurzweil himself) are calling the ‘technological singularity.

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If all this sounds contradictory, it is. If Kurzweil’s theories say that we will reach a point of utter unpredictability, how can a report exist to suggest what happens even after that? We need to remember that as a science, futurology can never precisely pinpoint what’s to come—the only certainty is uncertainty after all. While we will never know the future until it becomes the present, we can always extrapolate trends, postulating possible, probable, and preferable futures. Here at PSFK, we want to welcome this electrifying, vibrant and somewhat unknowable future.

The SmartThings Future Living Report

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