A series of predictions about life in the middle of the century includes wearable muscles, neural interfaces with computers, and most excitingly – chatty chihuahuas.
How many times do dog owners look at their pets and say, ‘If only they could talk.’ Well, if futurologist Ian Pearson is right, they might be able to. One day.
In a report prepared ahead of The Big Bang Fair – an upcoming science, technology, engineering and maths fair for young people – Dr Pearson describes how a convergence of organic life forms and electronic devices would be the overarching trend of the next half century.
Almost as an afterthought to the dizzying speculation about nanotechnology growing replacement teeth for us, or ‘support tights’ with their own extra muscles, comes an amazing series of predictions about the pets of 2050.
Dr Pearson believes that it’s entirely possible that we will use technology to enhance the abilities of our pets and other animals.
Implanted devices will make animals cleverer than they are today, or give them the ability to speak to us in our own language.
We may even one day have completely synthetic animals, like living versions of the electronic toy Furby, to keep us company.
Of course these mind-boggling innovations would not be used solely to enhance the lives of our pets. They’ll affect us too.
Remembering to take regular medication could become a thing of the past if watch-sized bracelets dispense medicines directly into our bloodstreams as needed. Such a device is predicted to be standard issue for diabetics by 2030.
Dr Pearson believes that the coming confluence of man and machine means that ‘electronic immortality’ will be a real possibility for anyone currently under the age of 40. We will simply replace worn-out body parts as needed.
Dr Pearson says : “We can expect our evolutionary process to change in response to technology. What’s exciting is that it is no longer nature which is forcing changes on us but our own breakthroughs enabling changes we want.
“This could give rise to some weird and wonderful future forms and creations – from changing video displays on our faces to controlling our own dreams – our (evolving) imaginations are the only limit.
“Events like The Big Bang Fair are a critical way of sparking that imagination in the next generation – what we see in the mirror in 50 years’ time is in their hands.”
The Big Bang Fair is an event designed to spark the imaginations of young people and encourage them to get involved in science.
This year it takes place at the NEC, Birmingham, from March 16-19, 2016.
Paul Jackson, chief executive of EngineeringUK, organisers of The Big Bang Fair, says: “It’s the young people who come to the Fair who will help drive through the innovations our experts are predicting.
“Today’s young people will not only get to experience ‘wearing’ muscles or owning smart-pets, they will decide what these look like.
For many, this journey has already begun but for others we hope the Fair will be a first step in sparking their commitment to a life of engineering science.”