Have trouble remembering names? Help is on the way – eventually – in the form of Internet eyeglasses or contact lenses with facial recognition capabilities. Not only will you know the name of the person you met at an event a year ago and haven’t seen since – you will also have instant access to their complete profile.
In the next 10 to 15 years this type of technology will be readily available, says noted theoretical physicist, futurist, author and self-proclaimed “populizer of science” Dr. Michio Kaku. Kaku spoke from the main stage on April 30 during the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU) Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
Kaku told attendees that computer chips will eventually cost a penny each and therefore will be embedded into virtually everything – clothes, wallpaper, mirrors – you name it, it will have a computer chip.
In eight years, Kaku says Google predicts most new cars would will have the ability to drive themselves, which could lead to a drastic reduction in domestic automobile fatality figures of about 40,000 per year.
But perhaps the most intriguing progress will come in the form of massive advances in medical technology. Imagine taking a pill with molecules acting as “smart bombs” that will search out individual cancer cells and kill them. Chemotherapy will disappear, Kaku says, and come to be thought of in the same way as patients once being treated with leeches. Today’s giant MRI machines will be reduced to the size of a cell phone. “Smart toilets” will analyze proteins that could predict cancerous tumors years before they would actually form.
Right now it might cost $1,000 to have your DNA sequenced. Kaku predicts that in the not-too-distant future it will only cost $100 to sequence your genes. This will clear the way to “grow” replacement organs for your own body from your own cells. Imagine growing cartilage that can be inserted to eliminate arthritis. “Organ failure” will no longer be a cause of death. (Check out this brief video on YouTube).
Bottom line is that the potential very realistically exists for humans to live (and work) much longer in the future.
More coverage from the 2012 AALU Annual Meeting: