I'm curious - what will be the life altering inventions of this century?

If you look back over the whole of human history, it quickly becomes evident what amazing times we are living in. Not that they are necessarily the best of times, but in terms of pure technological advancement the past 100 years surpassed all millenia before it. I often find myself in complete awe over the changes that have taken place in one lifetime (my grandma’s). When she was born there were no cars or plans (or they were just being developed) no computers, no space travel, no nuclear technology, genetic engineering… the list goes on and on, in one lifetime!! It’s like technology exploded after tens of thousands of years in the span of a second. My question is, what will we see in our lifetimes (I’m 25). Lord only knows but do you guys thing it will just be more of the same (faster computers, human clones, trips to Mars) or do you think that there will be some qualitiative changes (change in the structuring of societies and nations, inventions we can’t even fathom to totally re-direct our lives, mass spiritual awakaning of humanity? the apocolypse?) Will the next hundred years bring as drastic of changes as the last 100 years did?? What do you guys think.

Well, my crystal ball is still in the shop and even if I knew what life altering inventions were coming why would I tell you?

I think we can assume that we will continue to advance at at least the same rate we have over the past 100 years (why would we stop all of a sudden?) but the real question is whether we will still be here in 100 years. I hope so but will an asteroid hit us… or will a war break out… or will a new pandemic spread across the planet. I have no idea about that but scientists keep pushing the frontiers so unless something awful happens…

Dangit, just when I hit “submit reply” on the Moved Threads thread. Note the key words in the OP, “What do you think?”. General questions is for questions which have a factual answer, and factual answers for yours won’t be available for a century or so, so in the meantime, I’ll move this over to our In My Humble Opinion forum. Remind me, in 2101, and I’ll move it back.

Well at least things like crimes had to be spur-of-the-moment. I bet they didn’t get too complex without being able to plan them out first.

Anyway, back to the OP. For some reason I just see the same technological advances continuing. Maybe because I haven’t seen any drastic changes in my lifetime. Although, IT (you know, Ginger) has been made out to sound promising.

I think I got it right here…

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=59012

I’d definitely hope to see fusion reactors coming on line in my life time. I think that has to be the most important next step in our development.

Also travelator pavements.

Oh come on people, have some foresight. The next century will challenge the very definition of what it means to be human.
Advances in nanotechnology, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, and the convergence of the biological and technological will change everything.

We will have unprecedented control over ourselves and our surroundings. I predict advances ranging from just-in-time design and manufacture of goods via nanotech, to a substantial subculture of people who reject the physical world in favor of an artificial one.

Miguelon, interesting question. I talk about this type of thing occasionally with my grandfather when I see him. I mean, he’s going to 90 this next year and I am just amazed at the *changes he has seen in his life. He told me that my grandmother’s aunt and uncle came from Michigan to get her from Minnesota in a horse drawn carriage/wagon after her parents died. This was in the 1910’s and now, to think of the absolutely amazing things that have been accomplished since that time, why, the mind reels. I think there will never be another generation like theirs that has been subjected to such rapidly developing technology.

Back on topic, I agree with the ideas that TheNerd has. I think s/he pretty much covered the gamut there.

Maybe not so far in the future, the orgasmatron
orgasmatron

This same technology could be used to generate other sensory input eventually.