Back when I was growing up in the 1970s, we fully expected that, by 2012, we’d all be driving flying cars to our condos on the moon where robotic butlers awaited, ready to bring us the cure for cancer from the bathroom first-aid kit. How’s all of that working out? Sure, we now have faster, smaller computers, smartphones that talk back to you, and smart TVs, but in so many areas of technology the pace of change is slower than Windows Vista booting off a floppy disk.
A few months ago, I wrote an article about 15 technologies that will be gone by the time my infant son is old enough to use them. However, barring a zombie apocalypse, there are plenty of mainstays that my son will still be using when he enters college in 2030.
Though voice recognition, handwriting recognition and gesture control will all become more accurate and popular in the next two decades, my son will be typing his term papers like his dad and grandfather did before him
Some say we’re entering the post-PC era, but I couldn’t disagree more. Sure, people are spending more time on their smartphones and tablets than their traditional Windows or Mac OS-based desktops and notebooks. But when it’s time to do real work, particularly if that work involves multitasking, the PC is still king and always will be.
More than 15 years after it was first introduced, we can’t imagine life without USB, a nearly ubiquitous standard that allows you to transfer data and power to everything from your keyboard to your external hard drive and monitor.
With cloud services becoming more prominent and broadband getting faster, many people believe that in the future, we’ll be keeping all of our files online.
Even as bandwidth, processing power and storage capacity increase, we cling to a lot of the same file formats we used back in the early 1990s, because they’re standards
In 2030, just as today, nearly all of my son’s gadgets from his smartphone to his laptop and his electric or hybrid car will be powered by lithium-ion batteries. Over the years, the energy density of the batteries will increase to fit more mAH into a smaller space and the cell life will improve to several thousand charge cycles.
By the time my infant son enters his first year of uni, we will have long since stopped dividing websites up into “pages,” because dynamic content refreshes will have eliminated the need to load an entirely new URL for each screen of content you interact with online.
There’s some debate about whether plastic credit and debit cards will be totally replaced by mobile payment systems in the next few years. However, there’s no doubt that, in 2030, my son will carry a wallet with cash in it, because we’ll still be using paper and metal money well into the future
It’s unlikely that my infant son will have a desktop PC in his college dorm, but he will have a clamshell-shaped notebook.
Since 1997, the 802.11 standard has dominated wireless connectivity. Every smartphone, tablet and notebook comes with an 802.11g or 802.11n compatible radio built-in, and every home and business has a router that supports both of those standards.
With the popularity of Facebook, Skype, Google instant messenger and Twitter, some think that email is about to be replaced by other forms of messaging.
.5mm Audio Jacks
As I write this list, I’m grooving to my music playlist on a pair of headphones connected to my smartphone via a 3.5mm audio jack. My son may not listen to Barnes and Barnes’ Fish Heads in a loop for three hours like his dad, but he will still be using 3.5mm audio jacks when he’s in college.
Though printer technology changed rapidly over the first two decades of the PC era, we’ve now settled on two standards: ink jet and laser.
When my son enters uni in 2030, fewer people will have cable and all viewing will occur on demand. However, the dedicated TV set will continue to function as the center of a shared viewing experience in the living room and other communal spaces.
After a nuclear war, only two things will survive: cockroaches and Microsoft Office.