Where will technology be in the next 5 years?

The last five years of technology have brought us many new delights. Apple now makes a mobile phone which has gone through several iterations and is unrivalled, Microsoft has released a version of Windows with so many flaws it's unforgivable, we can now get download speeds in the UK of up to 50mbps and you can now listen to music for free legally. So what will the new 5 or so years have in store?

  1. Fewer wires - The most annoying part of setting up a new computer, TV or any other device is the wires. You have to: fit the correct wire into the correct port, sometimes multiple times to get the device working; find somewhere to elegantly hide the mess that the cables cause; and constantly replace them as there is always a new standard and the old wires become obsolete. The truth is we don't want wires! You can now transmit video wirelessly over your home network, even in HD without stuttering. Faster routers will make this even easier. You can now even send electricity wirelessly and power a TV wirelessly! This will undoubtedly cause problems where devices won't connect but it will be for the better of everyone. Imagine being able to get into your home and have your new podcasts automatically synced to your iPhone. Technologies such as those inside of the Amazon kindle make life so much easier!
  2. More efficiency - The 2nd most searching-for after feature of a new TV, after price, is energy efficiency. Manufacturers know this. Consumers want to save the planet and their wallets, so it's a win-win situation. Also our lives will got more efficient - the Roomba can already clean out floors and carpets across the house while you're out, what could come next?
  3. Personalised gadgets - Our lives revolve around ourselves a lot, we already have news channels which deliver coverage from your city including your local weather. Gadgets such as the iPhone are likely to give you this and much more information as soon as you wake up - in fact Apple has filed a patent to include a home screen which changes depending on your local and current conditions
  4. Intelligent transportation systems - Unfortunately waiting for a bus can be a long, hard and boring process. Currently in London you can check from your Mac, PC or iPhone how many minutes until the next train or tube service - these are all real time. 2000 bus stops also have displays telling you how many minutes until the next bus and the order in which they will arrive, however this information is only useful once at the bus stop. All of London's 6,800 buses on over 700 routes are GPS equipped, meaning the introduction of Countdown 2 in 2010 or 2011 will be exciting for all Londoners and for the rest of the world. You will be able to check how long it is until your bus right at home - there's no excuse for being late now.
  5. Rising fuel prices - This one is a given really, the demand will keep rising, the supplies will deplete and the prices will rise, eventually to the point where it will be completely useless to use a car and only for the very rich, expect higher public transport prices, higher airfares and even higher food prices. Unless we get a reliable source of clean energy that is not oil - we will suffer. Will the oil run out in the next five years? No. Prices will however still rise. Will we have any oil left in 50 years? Not at the current rate. If we develop new technologies and focus on green energy we may well do.


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