Earlier this month, my wife and I celebrated the birth of our first child. In the days leading up to it, we found ourselves discussing what her future will be like.
The role that technology will play in her future is the theme that runs front and center for me because of my interests and career.
While we all know that the world will be a very different place in eighteen years, there are a few areas of everyday life where technology will pave a drastically different reality from what we experience today.
Since we are approaching the new year, a time when experts and analysts make predictions of what’s to come, I’ll provide three long-term predictions of ways that technology will make our children's everyday lives incomparably different from ours today.
Here are my predictions:
Driver’s Licenses Will Become Obsolete
With the rapid improvement of driverless car technology, paired with the changing regulatory landscape, self-driving cars will own the roads in the coming years.
This poses a question for parents and young children: why would anyone need a driver’s license in the next 10 years? The answer is that they won’t.
Whether the increase of autonomous cars on the road happens gradually or in one crazy fell swoop, it will happen. Nearly 30,000 lives will be saved annually in the process.
Whether people will access their personally-owned driverless cars or they summon them via Uber, they will have them.
With the exception of truck drivers, who will likely be left unemployed as a result, the adoption of these safer vehicles will be positive for everyone.
Learning to drive will be a thing of the past.
Carrying a Cell Phone Will No Longer Be Normal
Remember when everyone had landlines? I bet if you poll homeowners under the age of 35, you will be hard-pressed to find many with a home phone. The same thing will happen to cell phones.
Why? The benefits and input/output functions of the cell phone will be displaced by other everyday items.
Because of the improvements in voice recognition, voice-to-text capabilities and gesture recognition, devices in the future will need less real estate for screens to perform actions.
Calling, texting, searching and snapping pictures will be much easier.
With the growth of wearable technology being infused into items like watches, glasses, headphones and other items, much of the phone will disappear or move to smaller and lighter-weight form factors.
My bet is that what we see with Snapchat Spectacles may be a very early sign of this.
Moore’s Law will continue to be in effect as transistors, chip sizes and other components get smaller and smaller.
You could envision a future where all the interactions that a consumer has with their device occurs through a pair of headphones, earbuds or advanced eye glasses.
What it will look like precisely, I don’t know. What I do know is that your pockets will be emptier and habits will be different.
Activities Like Shopping Will Become Much More Convenient
With Amazon’s recent announcement of a retail grocery store concept that eliminates checkout lines, the process of shopping will likely change forever.
The company has designed a way to leverage product tracking technology (on-shelf and around the store), in addition to customer payment info, to make buying a product as easy as walking out of the door.
The credit card that you have on file will be automatically billed when sensors identify you took the item out of the store. Product proximity to phone, along with so many other innovations, makes this possible.
While this may seem like a trivial change in comparison to autonomous vehicles and futuristic consumer devices, it’s more representative of a world where consumers have more time, less human interactions and easier access to products they want.
We may be past the days of waiting in the checkout line behind the old woman who searches through her massive coin purse for a nickel.
Picture the day where you can walk in any store, grab what you want and walk out.
Other retailers and payment companies will likely follow with similar technology, but probably not as effective at first. All the pieces to the puzzle exist today to accomplish this, but the execution will be difficult and slow for most retailers.
While this may take another 10 or 20 years to become widespread, I’m confident that my daughter’s in-store retail shopping experience will be much different than what we are used to today.
What do you think?