5 Years into the Future

(Attributed to Loic Le Meur)

Smartglass: one of our future technology

Your smartphone wakes you up with the newest alarm app. There’s no sound you can hear — no loud ringing, jingling noise that tends to wake up your neighbours instead of you — because this app doesn’t need any. Its sensor just detects when you’re in your lightest sleep state, and then it vibrates and emits sound that’s inaudible to human ears but nevertheless can bring you back from your sleep state.

You get up, and immediately after, you’re greeted with a “Good morning, owner” from your smartphone. You say, “What’s today’s schedule?” and one of Siri’s younger siblings (which you can give a personal name) opens the corresponding apps and gives you the to-do list for today. Then you say, “Check my email” and automatically the Intelligent Voice opens your inbox and chirps a brief summary for each new message.

After taking a bath and making some breakfast, you turn on the TV and check out today’s news. No remote is needed. You just voice the command “Turn On” and the TV will do so. You slide your hand in the air, a few inches from the screen, and the TV will browse through the channel, without any static interference in-between.

It’s time to go to work. You pick up your smartglass — if not Google Glass then certainly one of its younger siblings — and connect it to your smartphone. It may take a few seconds until it’s ready, so you use that time to set up your smartphone on the small holder on the car’s dashboard, and automatically it will connect to the car, wirelessly. Then you say to your smartglass, “Show direction to my workplace” and the glass accesses the map apps you have and detects the traffic condition for each street. Another few seconds later, a semi-transparent map appears on your smartglass, detailing the best directions from here on.

As you get closer to the downtown area, you notice one or two flying car above the busy street, looking all luxurious or (because lately there’s been a lot of rains) merely disheveled. You say, “Take a picture” and your smartglass captures the image of that flying car. And with a few more voice commands, you edit the photos, changing the colouring and the brightness, and post it in the latest social network.

***

Don’t you think this is like something out of sci-fi movies? But all of these might come true in 5 years time — or even less.

Even now we’ve had the Sleep Cycle app, which — as mentioned above — can detect various sleep state you’re in and only wake you up when you’re in the lightest sleep state (i.e., when you’re the easiest to wake up). This app still uses a little bit of noise to wake you up, but compared to how loud the old days’ alarm clocks can be, this one is super quiet. So, in 5 years time, it’s possible the developers will find a way to wake us up without causing any ruckus. I know I don’t like waking up because of my next-room neighbour’s alarm, so this one will be very useful.

You must’ve heard of Siri: the Intelligent Voice feature in iOS that can — through your vocal command — search Google, check contacts, set up calendars and other automatic responses. But frankly, the current Siri sucks. I’ve tried it a few times and it never does what I tell it to do. I said, “Search Google for Iron-Man” and it came up with “abandonment”. I said, “Search Google for Sherlock Holmes” and it came up with various articles about humps. Humps! Is this because Siri can’t detect accents yet?

I hope the future Intelligent Voice will be easier to deal with. I know Cortana — the Intelligent Voice for Windows Phone — is under development, but who knows how its performance will be.

We’ve heard of remote-free TVs for some time — the kind of TVs that doesn’t require any remote because your voice and the movement of your hand are enough to control it. I’ve seen one of those some time ago and frankly, it looks pretty awesome. But the price is also awesome, so I prefer to wait until it gets a little bit cheaper. In 5 years time, though, it’s possible the remote-free TVs will replace most of the current TVs.

The first smartglass — or Intelligent Glass, or Personal Glass, or whatever it will be called — will be available for consumers in 2014. Google Glass it is called, although rumour has it that Microsoft is also developing another smartglass that will rival this upcoming gadget. Today, a war between smartphones; tomorrow, a war between smartglasses. And even until now I’m still not sure how people already wearing glasses can wear this gadget.

The world’s first flying car will be ready for sales in 2015, according to US company Terrafugia. Sadly, it’s still expensive (nearly $300,000) and to drive it you’ll need at least 20 hours flying experience (which means more money for the flying practice). But a lot of things can happen in 3 years, so by 2018 — who knows? Maybe a number of you will have flew around in your cars. When that happens, should I call you “drivers” or “pilots”?

All of these are just speculations, of course — speculations based on what we’ve had today and the info we’ve got on coming technology. Some of these might be take longer time until it’s ready for consumers, while the rest might be released for consumers but don’t work as well as promised. Things happen. Still, it’s kinda exciting to see what our life will be like in 5 years time.