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What's in Store for 2024

With 2024 around the corner, science fiction is no longer fiction


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Glenn Harvey

Remember back in the day?​

​​Our clock radio would blare into our dreams with a loud ring. We would flip the pages of a catalog, marking what we wanted to order or mail a check in a real envelope with a stamp. We answered a rotary phone with a gentle hello because we never knew who was calling. We snapped photos of our vacation and after our return, dropped off the 35mm film at a Fotomat, hopefully retrieving documentation of the amazing trip the next day or whenever you could get back to the drive-up window. ​

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​The picture phone was a thing of the future. Orbit City, home to the beloved Jetsons, was as far from our reality as the moon. Science fiction was just that — fiction. The novel 1984, published in 1949, was so far out there that it was unimaginable. ​

​With 2024 around the corner, science fiction is no longer fiction. Big Brother certainly is watching us as we navigate our modern-day Orbit City.

​​And there’s more to come. Here are eight futuristic offerings coming in 2024.​

Artificial Intelligence, better known as AI

In simple terms, Artificial Intelligence involves using computers to do things that traditionally require human intelligence. It is the science of making machines that can think like humans. It can do things that are considered "smart." A great deal of controversy is swirling over the ethical use of AI. Facial recognition technology is one of the most controversial aspects.

​​But as AI develops, there could also be a fun side. You know the saying when you’re being pulled in various directions, “I can’t be in two places at once.” Well, with AI that could very well be possible. For those of us who have trouble saying “no,” AI will make saying “yes” to multiple requests a possibility. The ‘AI’ version of you can go out on the town with friends while the ‘real’ you takes a night of well-needed rest at home. For those of us who have trouble saying “no,” AI may make life a little bit easier.

​​Flying Cars

We’ll see test flights in 2024, but flying cars won’t be crisscrossing the skies until after 2025. The Model A, an electric flying car being developed by ALEF, a California startup, will be to us like the Model T was to our grandparents. ALEF says this fully electric vehicle can both fly and travel on roads. The company expects to sell each vehicle for $300,000, with the first delivery projected for the end of 2025. With private transportation moving en mass to the skies, future traffic signs may caution us to “ Stay Out of the Feathered Friend Lane” or “Don’t Fly When High” or “Caution: Funnel Cloud Ahead.” ​

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​Haptic Suits

Using electromagnetic actuator technology, these suits convert bass sound waves into vibrations to represent actions like a punch, kick, or shot. They allow users to experience physical feelings while participating in a virtual world. The possibilities are limitless. Imagine having sex without any worries of disease or pregnancy or experiencing getting shot without the potential for death or months of rehab. It brings the saying “walk a mile in my shoes” to a new level.​

​Necrobotics

This is the science of making robots from dead things such as spiders and cockroaches. Their corpses are used as mechanical claws to lift objects many times their weight. When these robots are available for general use, the amusement park claw machine is going to get a lot easier!​​ Brain Reading Robots — Exactly as the name implies, scientists have been working on robots that will read our minds. Once robots emulate our brains, a species of doppelgangers could begin walking around. It would be nice to have twice the brainpower working for the good of humanity, but what are we going to do when the opposite occurs?

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​​Holograms

Holograms are already used to replace people during concerts, conferences and public performances. Imagine how wonderful it will be to send your holo to the podium for a speech or to your boyfriend’s house for that dreaded “it’s over” conversation. And how about holo pets? All the fun without the mess.

​​Crypto-currency

It’s already confusing enough for some of us to deal with Venmo and Zelle, which are used to transfer money from one person to another, usually without the need for cash or bank fees. But crypto is another world entirely. The primary advantage of cryptocurrency is its finite value. The U.S. Treasury can print more as it sees fit, making the value of the dollar worth less. Crypto's stability appeals to younger generations, who rarely carry cash and will be forced to shoulder U.S. debt, but beware: cryptocurrency is fraught with risks that may not be worth it. ​​

Space Travel

We may not be living on the moon yet, but for individuals with a healthy bank account, popping into weightlessness for a few minutes has taken on the excitement of a Disneyland ride. Private corporations such as Virgin Galactic, SpaceX, and Blue Origin offer trips that take passengers to the edge of space and back. These rides are valued on average between $250,000 and $500,000.

​ ​​Overall, new technology will change our lives whether we want it to or not. In the not-too-distant future, every morning, the blinds will open as your favorite music plays. Mr. Robot will bring you coffee. An email will notify you that Amazon has determined your needs based on your previous orders and what they’ve overheard from your devices.

​​Your perfect outfit will be delivered via drone shortly after you wake. You can eat a carton of ice cream without ingesting any calories. AI will write your thesis while you take a trip to Italy, and AI will prepare a photo album of your vacation that sits waiting for you to return.​

Share your experience: What's your biggest expectation for the year? Let us know in the comments below.

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