Originally published by Syracuse Post-Standard / Syracuse.com. Written by Rick Moriarty.
Syracuse, N.Y. — Syracuse.com, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, asked business leaders, futurists and scholars to predict the most high-impact developments in technology over the next five years and 20 years.
Here are the predictions of Anthony Rotolo, a technologist, futurist, author and professor at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications: What will be the most high-impact developments in technology over the next five years?
I think the most high-impact developments in technology over the next few years will be be related to mobility — not just the smartphones we know today, but new types of devices that will extend what we can do with technology on the go. The Apple Watch, for example, is a sign of things to come, but future versions of this idea will offer even more features to change and expand how we communicate and connect with each other, and also how we understand ourselves.
This means smarter health and fitness technology, faster and more secure ways to pay for the things we buy, enhanced cars and homes, and a more seamless integration of technology into all aspects of our busy lives. In the next five years, we will continue to embrace the benefits of a digital world where content and products are available on demand. What will be the most high-impact developments in technology over the next 20 years?
Twenty years from now, we will see far more dramatic results in every aspect of our digital world. "3-D printing" technology will be one of the driving forces that quite literally reshapes how we live and work. Just as information was digitized and shared online, so will the physical objects in our homes and stores become digital, downloadable and able to be produced almost instantly.
Today we are seeing only the smallest beginnings of 3-D printing, and already this technology is helping everyday people make their ideas and creations into real objects right at home. Doctors and scientists are already able to 3-D print custom prosthetics, while architects and contractors are 3-D printing homes and NASA prepares to send 3-D printers into space. In 20 years time, we will see widespread access to 3D printing at home, work and in school.
With the ability to fabricate real, usable objects from digital files, the tangible world will begin to behave like the digital information we know today. Soon we will be able to "send" real objects to each other, or quite literally download and print a new product, article of clothing, or perhaps even a new car!