The revolution that will change how Australians live within 30 years

In 1988, if you wanted to speak to someone overseas, you would dial a number (literally – dial) on a phone attached to the wall and struggle to hear to a crackly voice on the other end – all while paying through the nose for the call.

Fast forward 30 years, and you can now speak face to face with your loved ones through a smartphone from pretty much anywhere, and it won’t add a cent to your regular phone bill.

It begs the question – if technology has come so far since the 80s, where will it be in another 30 years, and more importantly, how will it change the way we live?

Futurist Chris Riddell says we are likely to be able to manipulate and control our climate in the future.

Futurist Chris Riddell says we are likely to be able to manipulate and control our climate in the future. Photo: Supplied

Anyone who’s seen an episode of Black Mirror might think our potential future technologies are scary beyond belief, but according to some of Australia’s top futurists, we’re set to live in a more connected, environmentally friendly world where we have much more time.

Faster, driverless travel

The first autonomous vehicles have already been developed, and futurist and inventor Mark Pesce says that in 20 to 30 years, they will be commonplace.

He says they will not only change how we travel, but how we shop – with orders being placed online and goods arriving within hours via a driverless vehicle.

Driverless cars will be commonplace by 2048.Driverless cars will be commonplace by 2048. Photo: Supplied

“It’s going to make its way to you, not to your address, but to wherever you are with your smartphone,” Mr Pesce says.

Futurist Chris Riddell says people won’t own cars in the future – they’ll share them, meaning buildings are less likely to need cark parks.

“The idea of having a car that you own and it sits in a car park – people will think that was crazy,” Mr Riddell says. “We’ve rapidly moved into a world where we don’t want to own stuff, we want to have things on demand.”

Futurist Ross Dawson says in 30 years we will have relationships with our homes.Futurist Ross Dawson says in 30 years we will have relationships with our homes. Photo: Andrzej Liguz

Mr Pesce says we are already on the cusp of a “drone revolution”, and that there are likely to be drones that can transport people 300 kilometres in an hour.

“So all of a sudden people who are in regional Australia are a lot closer to the rest of Australia,” he says. “What we think of a being far away, in 20 or 30 years time, is going to be really different.”

Mr Riddell says vacuum-tube trains will connect cities making them “mega-cities”, which will give people more options for where they live and work.

Futurest Mark Pesce says homes will have energy and waste budgets in 20 to 30 years.Futurest Mark Pesce says homes will have energy and waste budgets in 20 to 30 years. Photo: Lisa Wiltse LWZ

“Instead of Sydney and Melbourne seen as separate entities, I think you’ll see them joined,” he says.

Smart houses

Futurist Ross Dawson says we will have relationships with our homes.

“They will gather far more information about us in order to be more responsive and to be a better home,” Mr Dawson says.

Solar panels are likely to be Australia's main power source in the future.Solar panels are likely to be Australia’s main power source in the future.

Like a good butler, he says our homes will be able to anticipate our needs, such as what time we wake up in the morning, the level we want the lights to be and what channel we want the TV on.

One of the most important ways this information can be used is to gather data and inform choices about our health.

This can happen in a number of ways, from toilets that analyse what we leave behind to mirrors that asses our skin and eyes.

This technology could even anticipate when someone is going to have a fall, or a heart attack, and Mr Dawson says it will be particularly useful for elderly people.

“It’s going to allow people to live longer in their own home rather than going to care facilities and that is going to change the structure of our cities and our society.”

Mr Riddell says flicking light switches and pressing buttons will be a thing of the past.

“The idea of touching things to make them happen will seem quite archaic in just a couple of decades,” he says.

Communication bringing us closer

Mr Dawson says we’re less likely to work from a central office, but rather from home or a co-working space. He says technologies that allow “immersive tele-presence” will make this common.

“Essentially we can experience other people being in the same room with them, even if they are somewhere else on the planet,” he says.

Mr Riddell says this technology will not only help with work, but family relationships.

“You’ll be able to have a hologram of your family member in your house, even though they’re in London,” he says.

Sustainable cities

Mr Pesce says most houses are likely to run on solar power, and new technologies will be invented to reduce the amount of waste we produce.

He says houses will have waste and energy budgets to combat negative impacts on the environment.

“It’s one of the things you’ll teach your kids about as they’re growing up – ‘don’t run the air-con all day because you’ve got to work within the budget’,” he says.

Mr Riddell says we will potentially be able to control the climate in parts of the country to make it more inhabitable.

“We’ll be able to manipulate the climate to do what we want,” he says. “Dubai is already trying this as the moment – using canister rocket technology.”

He says this could also help us to fix some of the problems caused by climate change.

“That’s what makes technology incredible” he says.

Source: https://www.domain.com.au

Posted by Steve Aberline