As we all know, technology develops over many years and decades. It doesn’t just show up one day in our lives. Yet with this in mind, when we look back at the evolution of a specific technology solution like the web, cell phones, GPS, and so on, there’s always a moment when it takes a quantum leap forward and enters the mainstream — and then changes everything.
And that brings us to the first poll question of the year: In 2018, what technology do you think will transform the world?
To give you some ideas, here are some emerging technologies that I believe could make that final breakthrough in the next 12 months, and become part of our day-to-day lives:
- 3D Printing
Like all tech enthusiasts, I’m really excited about 3D printing. Yes, I know this technology was actually invented decades ago. But the printers were very costly, and required specialized usage and maintenance (there was no going to the mall to get an ink refill). However, these days a low-end 3D printer can be purchased for about $500. Think of the possibilities. Can you imagine what life would be like if we could print food?
- Augmented Reality Glasses
Is 2018 the year that AR glasses become commonplace — like walking around with a cell phone? We’d all be able to project objects, see data, navigate on the web, take pictures, listen to music, watch videos and use voice commands. But first, these need to become more like the Microsoft HoloLens, which has amazing features and a more casual look (because right now you can’t really walk around with AR glasses). I just can’t wait!
- Autonomous Cars
We’re so close to having functional autonomous cars, which would give us plenty of time to work — or even better, sleep — while commuting! I don’t know if it is going to happen in 2018, but it’s definitely coming soon.
- Hyperloop Train
The first hyperloop train was built in 2016, and it was only the beginning. There are many hyperloop train projects that will become official in 2018, and it’ll change traveling forever. In case you’re not familiar with the concept, these are high-speed trains that can reach 700 mph while zooming through a pressurized tunnel. Seriously, how cool is this? According to Elon Musk, it would take 29 minutes to get from New York City to Washington D.C. To put this in perspective, it currently takes between 3-4 hours by (normal) train, and flying takes about 1.5 hours.
- Plastic Roads
I recently came across this idea and still can’t believe we’re not doing it! According to a company called “PlasticRoad” (I guess they like literal no-nonsense company names!), the technology exists to build recycled plastic roads that would last 3 times longer and be constructed 30% quicker than asphalt. If this works, I’m totally backing it.
- Robots and Artificial Intelligence
Machines now have the capacity to learn from their mistakes, and learn from each other as well. Maybe 2018 will be the dawn of mainstream robots and artificial intelligence (hopefully this doesn’t also mean that Armageddon is coming and that robots will overthrow their creators).
What’s Your Pick?
I’m always learning about exciting new technologies (especially through Reddit!), and can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store. Now it’s your turn. What technology will change the world in the year ahead?
And remember: as we do every month, we’ll randomly select two poll participants to win a $25 Amazon gift card. I look forward to your responses!