March 22, 2013

10 Signs We are Living in the Most Incredible Times

new-age-technologyIt seems that Moore’s law is still alive and kicking in 2013. The law (which roughly states that the power of technology doubles every 18 months or so) has allowed humanity to progress by leaps and bounds in the last couple of decades. With this kind of number-crunching power at our disposal, it has become increasingly easier to solve some of the world’s toughest challenges and problems. It now seems that almost every other week we have a new discovery in science or technology that is nothing short of living in the future. Its an exciting time to be alive, as these examples illustrate:

  • Pentagon finds cheap, clean water. In what may have stammering consequences in the developing world, the Pentagon has found a desalination technique that is both cheap and highly effective. If developed further, this may signal the end of our fresh water problems for good – giving us access to the ocean’s massive water supply.
  • Scientists can now clone extinct species. Sounding like something out of a science fiction novel, scientists can successfuly clone extinct creatures based on their DNA fingerprints. I, for one, am looking forward to eating my mammoth steaks with Dodo sauce.
  • You may be able to download skills into your brain, Matrix style. The brain is perhaps the most malleable structure in the universe – constantly changing its connections and circuitry to adapt to its environment in real-time. The more we understand the fundamental processes of how our brains work, the more we realize that it will be entirely possible to directly interface with it via technology – all our senses are fundamentally based on electrical pulses after all. This means actually being able to download karate skills into your brain – however you still need to get off your ass to practice them.
  • NASA finds that Mars once had conditions that supported lifeA decade ago we had hardly discovered any planets other than Earth, and now we are discovering them by the hundreds – several being close to having Earth-like conditions. Life, once thought to be solely confined to our lonely planet, is evidently seeming to be  prolific throughout the universe. I’m pretty sure in the next decade we would have found at least evidence of primitive life forms such as bacteria on Mars.
  • 3D Printing allowed doctors to print a replacement part for a person’s skull. The next technology to fundamentally change the way we live is 3D printing. The flexibility of this technology is awesome – you can print almost anything that can be represented as a 3D shape. This includes printing replacement bones such as a missing piece of skull for a trauma patient. In the future, we will probably be able to print our own food at home, replacement parts for broken down appliances, and even things like clothes and accessories.
  • HIV seems to be on the brink of being cured. Yes, we’ve heard this for years now – but this time it seems to be legit. Since I live in a country that has one of the highest HIV rates in the world (South Africa), this is fantastic news. The New Scientist documented how 14 adults were actually completely cured of HIV.
  • Wireless brain interfacing has become a reality. Researchers at Brown University have succeeded in creating the first wireless, implantable, rechargeable brain-computer interface. You read that right – your thoughts are able to be read by a computer so that you can interact with real world objects via the power of thought. We’re going to use this to extend our own physical limits, as well as assisting those that have lost limbs and normal sensory functionality.
  • We can now develop bionic body parts that can “feel”. If you’ve lost a limb, technology can replace it almost completely – right to the point of “feeling” through the attached appendage. A technological hand would generate signals from sensors on it that detect things like pressure,  temperature and even “pain”. These electrical signals interface with our nervous systems, allowing a seamless connection between man and machine.Who knows, we may even be able to interface extra senses into our bodies such as magnetic and radar detection. Or, you know, plug the Internet directly into our brains.
  • Stem cells can be used to replace faulty body parts – including growing out new teeth. We’ve known about the power of stem cells for a long time; its just a pity that stem cell research has been banned in so many places. Used responsibly, it can improve the lives of millions of people. We’ve figured out a way to grow teeth on people that have long since lost theirs. I have a couple of friends that may need  a new liver, so we need to get this technology mass-produced, stat.
  • Computer memory can now be built out of components several atoms thick.  Imagine storing the world’s archive of data on a chip on a fingertip. With flash memory chips made from graphene, we suddenly gain access to technology that is millions of times smaller than our current solutions. Nanotechnology is becoming a reality – and pretty soon we will probably have microscopic robots in our bodies helping us fight diseases  aid digestion, cut down fat, or any other number of medical uses. Heaven help us if they are ever hacked to turn against us.

These are indeed incredible times we live in – and that also means it is more important than ever to remain mindful and compassionate and use our new-found powers for the good of the earth and the human race. To end this post off, I would like to share the an amazing short story. It was written by the most prolific science fiction writer of all time, Isaac Asimov. Without giving too much away, I’ll leave it up to you to read and form your own ideas. Feel free to share what you think in the comments below.

Read The Last Question by Isaac Asimov.


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One Comment

  1. Sonja April 9, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Very Cool post! Interesting blog and well-written. Look forward to more Mike!

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