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5 Crazy Future Tech Trends to Start Preparing for Now

5 Crazy Future Tech Trends to Start Preparing for Now

With every passing day, we’re reminded that the future is here. Yeah, that’s sort of a redundant thing to say. What I really mean is that new innovations and disruptions are popping up every day, and they’re materializing at a rate never seen before.

I mean, think about the fact that the modern computer, which was created in either 1942 or 1946, depending on who you ask, used to cost a fortune and fill up an entire room.[1] It was almost 50 years before that computer would be reduced to the size of an affordable desktop in 1995. 20 years after that, it’s been engineered to fit in your pocket and is hundreds of times more powerful than that room-sized computer it was derived from.[2] Technological innovation is happening faster than it ever has before, and it’s only speeding up.

Right now, we have the unique opportunity of looking at new technology and seeing it both as the public saw the “computer” in 1946, and as the modern person sees the computer now. We can look at these technologies and predict just how much they will change society. Without further ado, here are five crazy future tech trends to start preparing for now!

1. Virtual and Augmented Reality

Virtual reality is already here. Samsung has been leading the charge with consumer VR with the Samsung Gear VR for the Galaxy S6 and S7 lines supporting virtual reality applications already. These apps include games like Minecraft, as well as entertainment applications like VR concerts from Live Nation.[3] It’s great to see these things finally hitting the scene after years and years of hearing talk about them, and you can even trace their roots all the way back to the Nintendo Power Glove.[4] The application for VR is limitless it seems and, as more realistic virtual environments come into play, we can expect to see it more in training scenarios and education as well.

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    Augmented reality, on the other hand, has not quite reached peak popularity yet. Sure, Snapchat filters that change your face into a dog counts, sort of, and Pokemon Go! showed promise. But while Google Glass showed us what the world could look like with a virtual overlay, it brought short-lived hype along with it. The world wasn’t ready for universal AR glasses and has stuck with purpose-specific AR headsets for now.[5] Fortunately though, the hype is still alive with Apple announcing AR-offerings that should materialize by 2018[6], and other manufacturers lining up to do the same.[7]

      2. Transhumanism

      The worst part about VR and AR are those clunky headsets that you have to wear, if you ask me… but what if I told you that in the future you won’t have to wear those headsets to see VR/AR? What if I took it a step further and told you that you’ll be able to make phone calls just by tapping your ear and listening to signals vibrating through your jaw bone?[8] What about sending emails with your mind?[9]

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        Neil Harbisson, world’s first legally recognized cyborg, can hear colors

        Transhumanism, like VR and AR, is still in its infancy, and some are taking it way further than others.[10] The most simple way to describe transhumanism is by saying it advocates the creation of cyborgs, or technological implants in organic bodies. Some people call this “biohacking”. This idea goes a long way back, but people like Rich Lee and Neil Harbisson have made it a reality by becoming some of the world’s first cyborgs. As computers get smaller and smaller, it’s not absurd to think that we may dump nanocomputers into our bloodstream, or implant small microchips subdermally.

        3. CRISPR Gene Editing

        For those unfamiliar with CRISPR and have about 15 minutes to spare, check out this informative video by Kurzgesagt.

        For those that don’t have 15 minutes, here’s the cut and dry version: a new technique in gene-editing called CRISPR has allowed us to perform very precise gene-editing and has also made it much, much cheaper than it used to be. The first human testing occurred at the end of 2016 in China[11] to combat aggressive lung cancer in clinical trials, and CRISPR also shows promise in fighting bladder, prostate, renal-cell, and mesothelioma cancers.

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          The hope is that eventually we’ll be able to fight back against any negative genetic predisposition, as well as to even modify ourselves in ways that may not be natural. This includes physical traits, and even extending our lives. Of course, there are plenty of consequences that pop up when we think about tampering with genetics–scenes from Jurassic Park immediately come to mind–but many are not as obvious as you’d think. The creation of designer babies, for example, presents interesting ethical quandaries[12], including whether or not those who opt out of genetic “optimization” would be discriminated against. It’s an interesting thought and one that is definitely worth exploring more before we embark further down the genetically modified path.

          4. Artificial Intelligence

          Smart homes. Smart cars. Smart…everything! Nowadays, it seems like it’s impossible to get away from the “smart” trend, and for good reason: everything is connected to the Internet, recording and sharing data, automating itself based on that data, and doing things that we previously reserved for science fiction. With Google’s foray into Nest, Amazon’s with Alexa, and others with their integrative “personal assistant” type devices, our homes gained ears.[13] Now they’re gaining eyes[14], and soon will be driving our cars too![15]

          The news that self-driving truck startup Otto completed its first delivery at the end of last year[16] without any snags means that the self-driving industry is ready to blow up, especially because of what Otto’s ready-to-install systems can do for other trucking companies’ KPI.[17] Now, this isn’t technically “true” A.I., but could be considered “expert systems” confined to our homes and our cars. Nevertheless, Ray Kurzweil, who has generally been pretty “on” with his predictions, thinks “true” A.I. will be invented by around 2045.[18]

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            When true A.I. is invented–or, I should say if, and that’s a big if, because some people claim it cannot be done–we will have reach what some people have dubbed, “The Singularity”. Nobody knows what will happen if a super-intelligent computer becomes self-aware. Will we have a Skynet/Terminator situation on our hands? Or will our robot overlords be benevolent in nature and help us reach our full potential? There’s plenty of debate out there–but one thing is for sure: after the singularity, nothing will be the same.

            5. Space: The Final Frontier

            The awesome thing about these future tech trends is that they work very synergistically, meaning that A.I. and automation, genetic-editing, and techno-implants could all work in unison to help us achieve even bigger undertakings. As we’re already pretty intent on setting foot on Mars by the mid-2030’s, you can’t help but think that pretty futuristic tech is going to have to get us there. Perhaps nanobots that protect the body from harmful cosmic radiation, or even genetic-editing that would allow people to live in the thin Martian climate. Even local space adventuring, like Zero G orbital manufacturing, is well-within our grasp.[19]

              Previously science fiction; soon-to-be science fact

              Of course, these are all just predictions, even if they are well-informed. What’s important is that we guide these predictions and control our technology instead of letting that technology control us. When it comes right down to it, the future is in our hands.

              Reference

              More by this author

              Andrew Heikkila

              Owner-Operator of Earthlings Entertainmnet

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              Last Updated on November 3, 2020

              20 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

              20 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

              Whether you use your Mac for work or just for your personal projects, you’ve likely found yourself wondering how to improve your productivity. There are only so many hours in a day, and so much mental stamina you can muster before you run out.

              There are dozens of tricks you can use to improve your own productivity and outlook, but if you’re looking for a more objective, comprehensive fix, the best thing to do is equip your Mac with productivity apps designed to help you do more in less time.

              This Lifehack-exclusive list has some of the best productivity apps to help you feel less tired, improve your energy, and ultimately help you get more done every day.

              What Makes For the Best Productivity Apps?

              Beyond productivity tips, there are dozens of productivity apps to choose from too. With that in mind, here are some of the core aspects of ideal productivity apps that have formed this list.

              • Non-intrusive – you want a productivity app to weave seamlessly into your workflow and not cause disruptions. From using the app to the overall display, it shouldn’t cause any interruptions.
              • Good interface – Again, you want to be able to use these apps easily and have them benefit you. The easier you can navigate around these apps, the better.
              • Fair pricing – Many of these have free trials that allow you a good chance to test before you buy. If you do decide to pay for it, the monthly pricing plans should be reasonable for what you are getting.

              1. Todoist

                Available for all iOS devices, Todoist is a note-taking and organization app that can keep you on top of all your projects—both personal and professional.

                Its best features are all free to use, including browser extensions, task creation, and interactive boards you can use to organize all your notes.

                If you want to pay the optional $29 yearly fee, you can get even more advanced features like backups and automatic reminders. Even with the free version, you’ll stay far more organized.

                Download: Todoist

                2. 1Password

                  You may not realize it, but you probably spend a ton of time recalling your passwords, especially if and when you forget one to an app you use on a regular basis.

                  1Password is an app for Mac that saves and remembers all your passwords for you in one place, so you can access all your favorite sites with a single click.

                  You’ll save time and keep all your accounts secure simultaneously. A personal plan is $2.99 per month.

                  Download: 1Password

                  3. Bear

                    Bear is a unique kind of note-taking app designed to make it easier for Mac users to jot down notes on the go. With it, you can create to-do lists, give yourself reminders, and outline concepts for future brainstorming sessions.

                    It comes with many different inline styles so you can customize your notes to your personal preferences, and remember the context in which you wrote them. The core version is free, with a $14.99 per year version available as well.

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                    Download: Bear

                    4. Hazel

                      Hazel by noodlesoft is an automated organization tool designed for Mac that will help you automatically organize your files based on any custom rules you want to create.

                      For example, you can set it to move untouched items from one folder into another folder labeled “action items” if they haven’t been addressed within a week. It can save you hours of organization over the course of a few weeks. A single license is a flat $32.

                      Download: noodlesoft

                      5. Alfred

                        Alfred is an all-in-one app designed to save you time with Mac shortcuts and convenient custom actions. You can use it in a variety of ways.

                        For example, you can access Alfred’s clipboard memory so you don’t copy and paste the same material over and over, or set up custom workflows to automate some of your most repetitive tasks.

                        It’s a paid app, with multiple price points based on the features you desire.

                        Download: Alfred

                        6. TextExpander

                          TextExpander does exactly what the name suggests; it allows you to type a short snippet of text, and expand that text automatically.

                          For example, you can create a custom expansion that allows you to conjure a full paragraph you type repeatedly by simply typing a unique abbreviation. Once you get used to your custom combinations, you’ll spare your fingers from typing thousands of words.

                          An individual account is $3.33 per month.

                          Download: TextExpander

                          7. Backblaze

                            If you’ve ever experienced a crash, or theft of your Mac, you know how much time a system restore can cost you. You’ll spend hours replacing the files you lost, and lose thousands of files that are irreplaceable.

                            Backblaze is an automated, inexpensive way to back up your entire Mac for just $5 a month.

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                            Download: Backblaze

                            8. Keyboard Maestro

                              Keyboard Maestro is an older app that still has the power to make your life easier. With it, you can automate any number of tasks based on a certain trigger (such as a hotkey combination, or an event like connecting to a wireless network). A single license only costs $36.

                              Download: Keyboard Maestro

                              9. Snagit

                                There are many applications for a good screen-capture app, whether you’re trying to illustrate a tech problem you have or just want to make an interesting meme. Snagit makes it easy, with built-in editing for both still images and video. A single license covers two machines, and costs $49.95.

                                Download: TechSmith/Snagit

                                10. Bartender

                                  Bartender is the cleverly-named app that helps you clean up and organize all your menu bar icons. You can also access them quickly with keyboard shortcuts.

                                  If you’re like most Mac users, those icons get cluttered quickly and stop you from working efficiently. It’s free to try for 4 weeks, after which you’ll need a $15 license.

                                  Download: Bartender

                                  11. Otter

                                  Otter is the Mac app for the note taker who hates typing. It’s an intelligent voice-recognition system and note-taking app that will help you transcribe your conversations, keep notes during meetings, and even take contextual notes to yourself in your own time.

                                  Best of all, it’s free to get started!

                                  Download: Otter

                                  12. Flux

                                    Do you often find yourself feeling tired throughout the day, or feeling unable to get to sleep after a day of staring at your computer? That could be because of the unnatural blue light that radiates from your Mac.

                                    Flux naturally adapts your display to emit light that matches the time of day, so you can sleep better and feel less tired. It’s also free!

                                    Download: Flux

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                                    13. PDFpen

                                    If you deal with PDFs on a regular basis, you probably find yourself wishing for some kind of tool that can let you mark up those PDFs however you want. Without a dedicated app like PDFpen, this can be difficult.

                                    PDFpen lets you edit PDFs in almost any conceivable way, giving you more power and saving you time. A single license is $74.95.

                                    Download: Smile Software/PDFpen

                                    14. OmniFocus

                                      OmniFocus is all about task management. It has a clean interface that allows you to tag your tasks, schedule events, and even automate certain features.

                                      It’s one of the most comprehensive solutions on the market, so there’s a bit of a learning curve to get the most out of it.

                                      A standard license is $39.99, while the pro version is $79.99.

                                      Download: OmniFocus

                                      15. Franz

                                        It’s tiring to switch between dozens of different chat programs like Facebook Messenger, Slack, and WhatsApp, whenever you want to have a conversation with a different contact.

                                        Franz’s solution is simple; offer access to all these apps in one convenient package. And best of all, it’s completely open source.

                                        Download: Franz

                                        16. MindNode

                                          If you’re the brainstorming type, you need an app like MindNode to help you efficiently organize your thoughts. There are dozens of tools you can use to connect ideas in a mind map, or simply jot down notes for future reference.

                                          The core app is free, with in-app purchases available.

                                          Download: MindNode

                                          17. Focus

                                            The internet is a wonderful thing, but it can be awfully distracting. And if you’re like the majority of us, you’ve interrupted work on a project because of some attention-grabbing site or bad online habit. That’s where Focus comes in.

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                                            This app allows you to block the worst offenders with custom time limits and other constraints, so you can focus on the task at hand. A single license is $19.99.

                                            Download: Focus

                                            18. CleanMyMac

                                              Chances are, your Mac isn’t working as fast as it could, thanks to gigabytes of clutter and unnecessary files on your system. CleanMyMac helps you scan your Mac, monitor its health, and ultimately clean it up—so you can handle all your tasks that extra bit faster. A single license is $39.95.

                                              Download: CleanMyMac

                                              19. Grammarly

                                                A spelling error or grammatical mistake can cost you big time. It could be the source of a worse grade on a big paper, or compromise your credibility in the workplace. Thankfully, Grammarly can help you.

                                                This Mac-integrated writing assistant monitors all your writing and makes live corrections, so you’re alerted to your potential mistakes before they become permanent.

                                                A free version exists, but the premium version will cost you between $11 and $30 a month, depending on how you pay.

                                                Download: Grammarly

                                                Focus To Do

                                                  Focus to-do is one of the top productivity apps for your iPhone around. It even has a desktop client that you can connect to effortlessly. The app is built around two things: the Pomodoro technique and task management. It achieves these things with amazing balance. All that you have to do is create a task and then set the timer right within the app itself.

                                                  There is also great flexibility with the Pomodoro technique as well. You can choose whether to take a 5 minute break, take a longer one, or even skip it. On the task management side, you can also create reoccurring tasks, reminders, and place a priority on tasks too.

                                                  Download: Focus To Do

                                                  The Bottom Line

                                                  These productivity apps should help you squeeze more productive hours out of every day, but they aren’t the only tools you’ll have to help you find success.

                                                  Make the time to learn about and experiment with all the life hacks that can make you more productive. By improving your devices as well as your outlook and focus, you’ll be able to get far more done in a day, and feel better doing it.

                                                  More to Boost Productivity

                                                  Featured photo credit: Patrick Ward via unsplash.com

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