The muscles of the robots

Due to SF movies, action movies like Terminator and Robocop, or even new ones like I, Robot!; se tend to see the the muscles and tendons of the robots like pistons. The future will surely be different.

One big problem of current robots is grabbing objects and walking. The main issue is the fact, that their hands and their feet don’t have plastic deformation properties. This issue will probably be resolved using piezoelectric materials, but that will take some time. Probably, the advent of such materials will make robotic muscles cheap, and thus, easy to come by.

The next step will be to make materials that learn by time. A little bit of nanotechnology will enable piezoelectric materials to learn and, maybe, to grow.

The engines of spaceships

Most SF books and movies depict the engines of the spaceships as enormous being a large part of the spaceship. I believe this model is unpractical and unnecessary. Modular design will be the practical solution with several engines spread on the hull of the ship.

Firstly, why unpractical. I believe very large engines will be extremely hard to build, even impossible, because controlling the reactions in such large engines will be very hard. If engines this big will be built, attaching them to ships, will be very hard, because vibrations across large structures amplify rapidly and the structure will collapse.

Second of all, we wont need that much power. Most of it is used in takeoff, but I doubt we will build spaceships on the surface of planets. We will manufacture spaceship parts and engines on asteroids or even in space. Not just assembly, but all the fabrication process and most of the extraction of raw materials will happen on asteroids, low gravity satellites and so on. Also, several engines spread across the hull won’t cause vibrations to the structure and will better maneuver in space. These spaceships will never land on planets, rather explore them from orbit and send small ships to explore the surface.

Another advantage will be the possibility to better handle a rotating spaceship in order to create pseudo gravity.

The future of cooking

Food has seen major changes in the past century. A fast moving society lead to the belief that we will, one day, eat only concentrated pills. I don’t think eating will ever be reduced to this, but the tendency to eat fast will continue in one form or another.

Frozen, refrigerated, starch enhanced, genetically modified, quick fried fast food, we came a long way. We have less and less time do cook and to eat. This is both cause and effect of our new way of life. More and more women work in a faster and faster world. This leads to a lot of diseases: ulcer, diabetes and , the plague of the modern society, obesity. I enjoy cooking, but at work I don’t have much time to eat and I usually do it in front on the computer. But, with each occasion, I enjoy preparing a barbecue for my friends.

We must combine two tendencies: “Fast! Fast! Faster!” and “God! this tastes so good”. Probably, we will tend to eat fast food in the working days and slowly cooked food on weekends, when going out with friends, on lunch meetings etc. Slowly cooked food will never won’t disappear because it is more than just eating, is a social event.

Slow cooking will become more of a passion, a hobby and a profession and less of a physical need. Fast food will change in order to solve, at least, the obesity problem. But the problem of taste, texture and looks will be impossible to overcome.

Robotic Sex

I’ve recently read this post from this Paleo-Future blog. Basically, robots could become sexual partners for humans. They might, even, become better sexual partners for humans and humans might even abandon their human sexual partners and become isolated individuals. I don’t believe this will happen at a larger scale than it does today with prostitution and sexual objects.

I remember a particular experiment with a mouse and 2 buttons. One button gave him food and the other one gave him an sexual excitation. The mouse pushed the sex button to exhaustion, being more interested in sex than eating. We are also driven by powerful sexual impulses, but not to this extent.
Firstly, we are social animals, society defines us. We can’t exist without a society, we must interact with other humans. Finding a lifetime partner is a must for the majority of us. Love is probably the thing we search mostly in a relationship. Also, we must work in order to achieve our goals. Sex isn’t everything.
Yes, robots will become more than tin cans, more than sex toys. They will have intelligence and will be able to work with humans (not just in physical jobs), to have sex with humans and ultimately love and be loved by humans. By then, they will stop being robots and we will stop being just humans.

An universal language ?

Will we all speak the same language ?
Languages disappear when more powerful civilizations get in contact with them, and, usually, conquers the populations that speak those languages . Conquest can be military, economical or ideological. All of them need an intense contact between the most powerful civilization and the language that disappears. On the other hand, a new language appears if a population gets isolated.

In short, if all humankind will be able to maintain an intense contact for all the populations, in time, an universal language will evolve, if not, each isolated population will evolve a new language.

Key to these equation are communication and travel. If new ways of communication and travel will evolve enough to cover wast distances of space, an universal language will evolve. I doubt they will appear before the space conquest. We will first experience languages specific for planets or solar systems.

The future of games

In future, games will evolve faster and faster, computer offering them the only resource they need – players.
Games exist, probably, from the beginning of mankind. They were firstly athletic, but, as civilizations evolved, a new type appeared, the so called society games (card games and chess were probably the first society games). In modern history both types evolved, firstly as regulations, organization and, during the last decades, as diversity. But the most amazing event in the modern history of games, was the revolution of the computer games.
Apart the added complexity computer games can reach, they are versatile enough to simulate athletic and society games. But the biggest potential is given by multi player games. They will enable games to diversify even further. You won’t need you colleagues and opponents to be close to you. Therefor more complex games will develop.
As a bonus, computer games tend to enhance and educate the natural capabilities of each individual. Furthermore, employers begin to see the benefits of allowing employees to engage in games with their colleagues in the process of team building.

Cybernetic enhancement VS genetic engineering

Classic science fiction against modern science fiction. Until now we envision two ways in witch we can enhance our abilities or even to gain new ones. Both have their advantages, but also their weaknesses. The solution will probably be in between the two.

The classic solution, cybernetic enhancement, has the certain advantage that it can keep up with the advances in technology and can be changed during a lifetime several times. The main drawback is the synthetic add-on that must fit perfectly to the body, that means changing it while growing up and getting old. Also fattening will be a problem. Maintenance and recalibration will be another issue. The bigger the physical stress, the bigger the cost. This will be a problem for active people.

The modern solution, genetic engineering, won’t have any compatibility issues, it will always fit perfectly. Diseases and genetic dysfunctions will be removed. But you won’t be able to change what was set by your parents before your birth.

A combination of the two will probably be the best solution: a good general health and the posibility to keep up with technology and fashion. An interesting solution could come from nanotechnology which could completely rebuild biostructures, but also mechanical structures.

The sixth sense

Not the Spiderman’s sense, but a sense like all the others, able to detect certain physical phenomena. And that is the electro-magnetic field. The sense of the magnetic field is the natural evolution caused by the intense use of technology that produces electro-magnetic fields.

Firstly, such a sense is already present for sharks, hammerheads in special. A sense is developed by constant interaction with it’s stimuli in order to better defend, attack, mate etc. Until now, that interaction wasn’t so intense, it almost didn’t exist until the 20th century. The situation changed dramatically. Now we are surrounded by technology in almost all aspects of our life.

Evolution tends to be slow, taking millions of years. This is about to change due to advances in technology. A classical science fiction solution would be an artificial, cyborgian sense. But, I guess, the modern science fiction solution is genetic engineering.

The actual forms of recording will become obsolete

As science and technology are getting closer and closer to interpreting cerebral impulses and to transmitting them, it is only natural to assume that thoughts will be recorded. This means that a new, more complex, flexible and immerseful form of recording will be available.

Let’s analyze each type or recording. First, writing; the main drawbacks are the time it takes to write it, to read it and the fact that you must watch the paper or the screen. Already, people prefer audio recordings rather than books.
Audio recording have the advantage of being easier to produce, are more portable and you can do something else when listening to them. But you have a very limited amount of information that can be transmitted in a given period. Talking faster won’t solve the problem.
Am image is worst a 1000 words. It’s the main advantage of this type of the video recording, but it’s harder to produce. Another drawback is that it captures all your attention; can’t watch a movie during jogging.

Another aspect is the complexity of the information that can be transmitted. Writing is the leader, but also it’s the one that uses more the brain. Symbols are interpreted as words, words are interpreted as images and sounds, images and sounds become thoughts.

Recorded thoughts will be able to transmit the maximum amount of information the brain can process. If needed, they can faster trigger sensorial reactions. Also, the full complexity of the human mind will be reached directly.
The most interesting possible advantage will be to tune down the thoughts, switching between thoughts in real time, even, processing more thoughts at the same time. But this will probably require advanced training.

Survival of the most popular

Not only the most popular brands or products survive longer, the rule applies to people too. It’s not the best technical product or the most physically fit person, but the one that can best entertain us.

If, in nature only the fittest survive, human kind has reached a level where not only physical fitness counts. The simplest example is the way we dress. Fashion is one very important part in our life. It influences our success with the opposite gender, the friendships we develop and the success of our working carrier.

I believe the first time it happened was when the Chromagnon Man survived better than the Neaderthal Man. The second was the prime candidate: he had more hair, a smaller body (better fit in order to retain heat during the hard winter) and a larger brain. Instead the Chromagnon man survived because, I believe, he looked younger and had more chances to mate.

It won’t be just about appearance, but how we make the others feel better. It’s the natural consequence of the fact that work has become less and less physical. Another cause is that women and men had become less and less dependent on each other in order to find food.