Keffer's Corner: Life in 10 -15 years

For decades, I have subscribed to the Kiplinger Letter. It is a weekly, four-page, information and opinion publication. The Dec. 18 copy was dedicated to life in our future. The automotive part of the issue gave me the thought of a topic for a column. The mind-stretching concepts mentioned beyond transportation were too interesting not to share. Recognize these to be educated forecasts of future life by a very educated crowd. Cars will not look radically different in 10-15 years. An internal combustion engine will still be standard. It will be much smaller, and often paired with an electric motor and batteries recharged at stations. Vehicles will be much lighter, with aluminum, carbon fiber and plastic the common materials. Expect 50-70 miles per gallon as a norm. Pickups, with their needed capability, will not be as fuel saving. All-electric cars will be more common, but still a niche, as range continues to be an issue. Self-driving cars will be a reality. We will put our faith in sensors communicating with advanced mapping and infrastructure allowing our vehicles to communicate. You can still drive or switch to autopilot. Your car will drop you at the door and go find a parking spot. They say we will question how we ever lived without driverless cars. We’ll see. Food will be grown and accessed locally in buildings with controlled environments. One exists now in Anchorage. It is a vertical (tiered) approach that recycles nutrients and has no pesticides. In 2015, one-third of the world’s land was farmed or used for livestock. In the future, less space needs will allow land to revert to a natural state. Meats will also be grown/ raised with scientific guidelines that will reduce the reliance on antibiotics. Your fridge will inventory the contents and order items as requested. A dinner party planned in the morning will have a drone deliver what is needed. It is nice to know: We will eat much of what we do now, just healthier ingredients. Your in-home Wi-Fi router operates a hub for appliances, entertainment screens, locks, lights, robotics, security and HVAC. Everything has a wireless chip connected to a smart home system, controllable from anywhere. Furniture is movable. A bed might store in the ceiling. Furnishings will be adaptable and can change configurations as desired. Customization will be a hot trend so the “Jones” neighbors will try to keep up with their new furniture designs. Everyone, from boomers on down, will have decided to downsize living space and have less preoccupation with “things.” Commercial jets will be able to go from New York City to London in four hours, and NYC to Los Angeles in 2.5 hours. Screening via facial recognition will expedite the security process. No IDs or boarding passes to present. Hotel check-in is via smartphone at the room. It sounds as if our phone will become even more of an appendage than it is now. Wait – there’s more. We will also likely have attached to us augmented-reality glasses, developed by the likes of Facebook, Google, Magic Leap, Microsoft, Amazon, Baidu and Samsung. Competition will keep the cost at around $200-400. You will see and hear everything around you. Texts and 3D images will be on the periphery. Eye movement, gestures and voice will direct the images. A house could be projected looking at a vacant lot. Medical use will be widespread from the ER to patient care, with patient data right in front of our eyes. Golfers will get yardages, wind and scores. We can climb Mt. Everest virtually. Uses will be infinite. We will have a big battery in our garage, or out-of-the-way space. It will be as common as a water heater or air conditioning unit. The battery (solar-powered in many cases) will store power, avoid blackouts, sidestep peak-usage rates and help run our homes. Natural gas will lead power generation plants, with wind the No. 2 source, followed by hydro and nuclear. Solar will still be a small slice. Fitness trackers will monitor our vital signs 24/7, detecting problems and even requesting help. Our medicine will be personalized to our DNA, taken after birth. Our genes will be monitored. Organs will be grown in a dish and aid the transplant needs. No further detail on how. Implantable chips dispense medicine to control the process. All this is not far away. Above is a snapshot of what it might be like in 2025-2030. What do you think? Excited or reluctant or a blend (me)? Food for thought. Have a good week.

 Rick Keffer owns and operates Rick Keffer Dodge Chrysler Jeep in Yulee. He invites questions or positive stories about automobile use and ownership.
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