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mrentropy's avatar

What is the Next Big Thing?

Asked by mrentropy (17188points) March 17th, 2010

My great-grandfather was born in 1909, just six years after the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk and one year after the Ford Model T was introduced, and died in 2001.

In his 91 years of living he had, more or less, seen the rise of the automobile and airplane, radio, television, space travel, and computers.

Many of these things, like television and digital computers, came in his lifetime as new things.

I, on the other hand, in my 41 years of living, have basically seen all of those things improved. I haven’t see anything new come on stage, that I can think of.

What do I have to look forward to, as the next big thing? What could the next innovation or invention be that didn’t exist yesterday but can exist tomorrow, that will change the world as we know it?

Not just an improvement, mind you, but something totally new.

Any idears? And, no, I’m not planning on using you all to make a million dollars.

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35 Answers

CMaz's avatar

Linking the brain to artificial intelligence. Stay home, plug in and “go to work.”

Beside, it really is just re-inventing the wheel.

mrentropy's avatar

@ChazMaz A “holodeck?” That would suit me just fine, although I think the energy requirements for such a beast are off the hook. I’m also not sure it would be a totally new thing since it may be considered a refinement of the computer-and-display class.

nisse's avatar

“Its very difficult to do predictions, especially about the future” – Niels Bohr.

With that said, future Apple products can quite easily be predicted.

CMaz's avatar

“A “holodeck?”

No, I mean you jack in. Like the matrix. Except that you are remotely controlling a delivery truck, bulldozer or plane. Typing our reports from inside our minds and inside our homes.

timtrueman's avatar

Fusion would be a huge step forward.

gemiwing's avatar

Nanotechnology in practical health care use.

mrentropy's avatar

@timtrueman Yeah, I would say it would be big. I would like to see that.
@gemiwing Nanotechnology was about the only thing I could think of. If it was done as Drexler envisions it in his Engines of Creation book then I think it would be truly a world changing, society changing, evolution.

Cruiser's avatar

Anti Aging, tumor vaccines, cloning, robots and AI, all sorts of funky cool stuff in the works. The next 10 years will be incredible!

mrentropy's avatar

@nisse I know, but it can be fun to let the mind roam free.
@ChazMaz You mention ‘The Matrix’ and I mention ‘Star Trek.’ I reckon the next question could be, “Does science power science fiction or does science fiction power science?”

mrentropy's avatar

@Cruiser I’d be happy to see some anti-aging that wasn’t related to Oil of Olay. I do have issues with AI, though.

CMaz's avatar

First the thought, then the act.

We dream, we get an idea, then we act upon it.

Ever watch Buck Rogers movies from the 1930’s. There was no science connected to that.

JeffVader's avatar

I think it’ll be the discovery that the Bermuda Triangle is actually a worm hole that transports thing to the other end of the galaxy, & hey-presto, humans colonise space!

tarmar's avatar

Spontaneous combustion. (Even tho John Galt already did it)

nisse's avatar

@tarmar: I’ll bite. “Who’s John Galt”.

ucme's avatar

Orgasmatron.Wife,husband,partner not at home.Now you can come when they’re gone.

tarmar's avatar

The hero in Ayn Rand’s classic, ‘Atlas Shrugged’.

CMaz's avatar

“Now you can come”

Come where?

judochop's avatar

The next big thing???
Probably 3-D television. Or smell-O-vision.

mrentropy's avatar

@judochop Until 3D television is made into Jetson’s or Star Wars like holograms, I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon. Smell-O-Vision has been tried in theaters and failed. I don’t think I’d be ready for that come back, anyway.

bob_'s avatar

Plastic. No, wait…

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

the poop after my tofu and beans lunch. yes I’m disgusting

CMaz's avatar

Now if you can just package it and sell it.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ChazMaz what, the poop? nah, you can eat some McDonalds chicken nuggets – they’re guaranteed to have poop in them

mrentropy's avatar


Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@mrentropy lol, that’s what I thought too!

CMaz's avatar

It’s a floor wax and a dessert topping.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I got a big thing right here. You can’t have it.

Cruiser's avatar

@mrentropy I did read how they are working on a gene that is responsible for cell replication and lab work so far has been able to “program” dying cells to replicate themselves with a brand new copy. We conceivably could program the body to constantly regenerate itself…I could last forever!! Now don’t everybody get all excited at once!

mrentropy's avatar

@Cruiser I had thought the problem was that each cell had a, for lack of a scientific term, thing on it that got smaller every time the cell divided. So, each cell only had a set amount of times it could “regenerate”?

Cruiser's avatar

I think what I saw was different than replication, they were able to trigger the cell to “duplicate” itself and replace the dying cell as opposed to merely dividing the cell as you refer to. Buck Rogers would be so proud!

mrentropy's avatar

@Cruiser Okay. I tried looking up what that “counter” thing is called, but I’m way too tired to read about it right now. But I would think that even if it duplicated itself, that “counter” thing would still be the same length. Hence, if the cell only had 100 splits left then the new duplicate would have that amount, too (same problem with cloning, I think). But I guess if it kept duplicating instead of splitting then the counter would never go down, or go slower.

I should wait until I’m awake.

Cruiser's avatar

@mrentropy See!!! If your cells were able to duplicate you wouldn’t be having this problem!! lol!

thezooloft's avatar

Specifically, I can’t say for sure but I think the next “world changing” inventions will be in the area of renewable energy. So far in human history, our strategy has been based on burning things in order to convert it to mechanical or electrical energy and that is not sustainable. I predict that we will figure our an efficient way to harness the overwhelming power of waves and tides and more efficient ways to convert solar energy. Right now, there is work being done on “spray” on coatings that can convert solar energy to electricity. Imagine painting your house with this stuff and supplying all of your household electrical needs. Lastly, I think “battery” technology will change the world. One day, we will figure out a way to store vast amounts of energy in a tiny space (battery).

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