What happens to the world around us is called exponential growth. The most powerful processor, the fastest connection, the highest video quality— all of them double in performance each time a new module is out.
If you hear someone complaining how everything sucks, remind them that this is the best we’ve been off since forever. And no matter what it seems like, the facts prove that it gets better each year.
That’s why ordinary things that surround us now will be gone soon and you will only miss them in the 90s-nostalgia-kind of way. What comes to replace them is infinitely better.
So, what are the things that will disappear in our lifetime?
Replaced by: fingerprint scanners
Passwords are already migrating inside browsers and all-in-one apps, but that entails obvious security issues. So, the clear trend would be advanced fingerprint recognition.
Surprisingly enough, the technology has been around for quite some time. In fact, the concept has been around 1859 to be exact.
In that glorious year, Sir William Herschel came up with using handprints to tell his Indian employees from non-employees during payday. It must have been a hell of a turnout in his cabin by the end of the month that prompted that idea.
There are, however, a few troubles with current fingerprint scanners.
For one, fingerprints are actually not as unique as we’d like to think. There can be other people with the same or dangerously similar finger patterns as yours. The chances that this person gets near your smartphone are low, but they exist.
Scanning your fingers when they’re sweaty can be tricky. The same goes for older people whose skin is not elastic and clear enough for their scanners.
Replaced by: smart assistants and built-in tools
You’re probably surprised to see this on the list when there are millions of apps out there. Well, that is exactly the reason why they’ll be gone.
Apps have grown too niche and small.
People don’t need 500 icons on their Macs or iPhones and people shouldn’t be forced to pick only the best apps for their phone.
That can mean wasting time assessing quality, reading reviews, and ranking choices.
That’s why apps will soon merge into a single tool that can help us do stuff.
You can already see it happening with services like Setapp. Keeping up with the spirit of shared economy and subscription-based goods, Setapp rents us apps. You pay once a month for nearly a hundred of apps that can be used without separate purchases.
You still have to look for the app you need for a specific task, but it’s way faster than browsing the Mac App Store.
The next step would be merging all the apps into one intelligent assistant that draws the tools out when the need arises.
For instance, you’ll be telling your future assistant:
“Ok, Samantha, I want to edit this picture and then have it as a closing slide in my presentation.”
And your helper goes:
“You got it, Johnny.”
Done. You get your picture in your presentation.
Replaced by: WiGig
We already have wireless internet, chargers, headphones, and laptops.
No more than twenty years ago, having such technology as everyday items was unthinkable. With the progress speed we’ve picked up, wires will be entirely gone in three to five years.
The trouble with current WiFi is that it’s too slow for the amount of data we use, like VR and augmented reality. But the new Wireless Gigabit Alliance technology allows multi-gigabit per second speed of communication, which is exactly what we needed. It just needs time to get adopted.
And the headphone jack you’ve joked about since the iPhone 7 keynote. Yeah, that will be gone, too.
Replaced by: wearable AI and the internet of things
Smartphones are slowly dissolving into watches, ear-pods, your own hands, and other small wearables. People want them gone because it’s clearly not the best way to interact with the world anymore.
The futuristic vision is obviously a built-in connection via direct brain implants, like Neuralink or digital eye lenses. If it scares you, remember that trains were once called “the devil’s machines”.
So far, we’re stuck with less intrusive tools, like small wireless headphones or watches that can call, play music, and track your heart rate.
Home appliances will soon be converted into self-controlled and mainly voice-operated systems. Also, they will eventually be unified so you won’t have to use separate interfaces or commands for lights, kitchenware, and cleaning utilities.
You’ll get a real, actual “smart home” that welcomes you back from work, cooks you dinner, and kisses you goodnight (ok, scratch that, there should be a line somewhere).
Replaced by: all things cashless
We’re already almost cashless and we’ll soon forget about credit cards as well.
The only remaining ethical question on our way to becoming a completely cashless society is the privacy of our purchases. What if you are not interested in letting your bank know your sex toy preferences?
Norway refused to adopt a nationwide cashless system because they decided to let their people buy stuff privately. However, this doesn’t seem to be a general trend or a major concern for most countries.
And after all, even if we still have cash, credit cards are over for good.
We can expect Apple Pay, Android Pay, and all kinds of pays to take over plastic cards within the next few years. When paired with advanced fingerprint scanning, it will eliminate or dramatically reduce fraud, speed up transactions, and improve shopping.
The future shines upon us with its beautiful artificial intelligence, drone deliveries, and car-charging roads. And the coolest thing is we’ve lived up to witness it all.