The “picture phone” was predicted in 1956, for example; see today’s Skype calls on the Internet.
And those rooftop pools? They were proposed in 1928 as a way to cool homes. Air-conditioning later proved them unnecessary, but Meigs says the theory behind them exists in practice: as evaporative coolers on home and office rooftops.
What are these experts’ own predictions?
Benford says smart homes and self-driving cars are in the future; the technology exists for both. Smart homes, for instance, will respond to human presence in a room by turning on lights and adjusting the temperature, making them energy-efficient, he says. With Internet access, homeowners also will be able to lock and unlock their homes and turn on or check appliances remotely, says Meigs. (We won’t worry about whether we left the coffee pot on.)
“That stuff will seem pretty routine, at least in new houses in the next 10 to 15 years,” he predicts.
He also thinks we’ll have three-dimensional, hologram TVs in 20 or more years.
Benford says human relations could be transformed by Google glass — a computer worn like eyeglasses that thousands of early adapters were trying out this summer; future models will have facial recognition software, he predicts. “It means you can walk around a cocktail party and know who everyone is, never mind those nametags,” Benford says. “Two people will be wired so they can exchange information — phone numbers, email . You will have a digital record of who you talked to at the party.”
Meigs says it’ll go farther: We’ll have the functions of Google glass without the device — they’ll be imbedded in our heads.
“It sounds like crazy science fiction but the neural interfacing is coming along,” he says.