City of the Future

It's always interesting to think about what our cities will look like down the line. We took a look at various entrepreneurs' ideas in class the last couple of days, and I'm ready to share some of my own thoughts going forward. 

Source: Unsplash

5-10 Years

Automation is accelerating at a rapid pace, and in the near future I think we can expect to see a lot more in terms of concepts such as the "smart home", AI-driven processes, and more. 
In regards to some of these topics: 
  • IoT is a rapidly evolving field, with things as mundane as light switches already automatable. While this also opens up plenty of security gaps (which will also become a more significant issue down the line), it allows for us to, say, turn the lights off without physically being at home. 
  • AI is used on the consumer level to help predict things for people and suggest tasks before you even think of them yourself! While it sounds a bit creepy, we could very well just get accustomed to it and eventually rely on having an AI assistant with us at all times. 

20-30 Years

Now's the fun part. Archie Comics has shown us that we can, with scary high accuracy, make predictions about what life may look like 20-30 years down the line - that strip was from 24 years ago! While one can say it got lucky in some aspects, many of the things in there were already starting to emerge during the late 90s; they just weren't fully developed yet. 

So, what are some emerging technologies today that may become more mainstream a few decades from now? 

  • Quantum computing is off to a promising start with lots of cool theoretical use cases. Binary computers started off the same way - so we could very well see them be part of everyday life in the future should their uses become more practical. 
  • Surveillance and tracking will only increase with improvements in technology. The EU cookie law attempted to give consumers more choice into how they were being tracked and increase transparency, but to most of us those banners only serve as an annoyance. How many people actually go in and opt out of everything? I'd guess not that many. 
  • Company Consolidation. Remember back when it was common to say that the four things you should always take with you are 1) your keys, 2) cash, 3) your phone, and 4) your ID? Now your phone can do all four! As companies continue to merge and everything gets consolidated together, we may eventually see an age where there's 2-5 companies total rather than per industry. Perhaps once things go too bad, antitrust legislation will catch up once again and break them apart. 

Of course, many seemingly promising ideas fizz out and fail - or in many cases, get disrupted (hah) by something we couldn't even imagine. For example, the idea of video calling existed far before it became reality - but nobody predicted we'd be able to call on ultrathin "phones" only two or three floppy disks thick. Perhaps quantum computing is just the beginning of something so revolutionary we can't even envision what it'd look like today. Only time will tell. 

What does the city of the future look like to you? 


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