I read a great post by Sean Williams at Fool.com and it got me to thinking of the changes I foresee. Most of these are his but a few are my own. Here are some technologies I see greatly changed by 2020:
Robotic cars will take over most driving – Google’s robot cars have proven incredibly reliable and safe. In fact, the insurance industry has note the safety record of robot cars so vastly exceeds humans that I predict they will charge huge fees for human driven cars and give big discounts for robotically driven cars. Who knows, maybe even a discount for proving you do NOT have a driver’s license!! The government will have no coice but to go along given the huge difference in safety between robotic & human driven cars. This might be more of a 2025 change, but make no mistake, it is going to happen.
Digital Phones will dissappear – As Sean said,c’mon, you saw this coming, right? Look at your smartphone. It probably has better resolution then your old digital camera. Plus it can do movies!! This is one reason Eastman Kodak bit the dust (one of a dozen may I add) and is another reason why it’s crucial to pay attention to camera display sensor companies like OmniVision Technologies (Nasdaq: OVTI ) that are driving camera innovation in devices from both Apple and Samsung. With new smartphones sporting 8MP cameras, and resolutions increasing yearly, why wouldn’t digital cameras go extinct? Also note the incredible amount of research being done with smartphones. Everything from 3d holograms that will float above your phone (using Microsoft’s Metro motion sensitive technology by the way), to reading brain waves to control your smartphone (or perhaps we should start calling it a “smart assistant”?).
USPS will go the way of the dinosaur – The postal service failed to make a required $5.5 billion payment to the postal union earlier this month as they posted a loss of $5.2 Billion. Sooner of later the government is going to have to bite the bullet and shut the USPS down. As Sean so adroitly noted, FedEx and UPS have a few years to figure out how to pick up the slack and take over mail delivery. But the USPS will join it’s own Pony Express as ancient history by 2020.
Energy Drinks will be banned or tightly controlled – Sean hit this one on the head. I know this is heresy to many teens and 20 somethings. But sooner or later the FDA will put a lid on this “drug” that so many rely on. Currently the FDA is concentrating on burying the tobacco inductry, but sooner or later they will take on energy drinks.
Credit Cards will be replaced – I have to add to Sean’s prediction here. Credit card companies are seeing a decline in their customer base as people slowly move to Near Field Communication technology, or NFC. First customers tried to move to debit cards, but the credit card industry was able to get the government to add fees that made them somewhat expensive. Perhaps they see the writing on the wall as consumers will continue to move toward a more convenient form of paying for their Latte. With NFC proving to be more safe, quick and convenient, you can bet this technology will grow inte future. VISA, Master Card, American Express, et al, had better have plans to make the switch. So far, only companies like Dolby Laboratories (NYSE: DLB ) and NXP Semiconductors (Nasdaq: NXPI ) are positioned to take advantage of the switch as they are pushing ahead on research and manufacturing on this technology. NOTE: This is ALSO based on smartphone technology! Hint – this is where you should be investing – companies like Apple, Nokia, HTC, Samsung, etc.
The United States gets dethroned as the pre-eminent superpower: Another Sean prediction. Though some disagree, the United States’ days as the world’s most important nation are numbered. That doesn’t mean the U.S. won’t hold its lead in innovation and manufacturing, but China is well on its way to dethroning the U.S. in countless other categories. China already lays claim to the world’s leading manufacturing output, energy consumption, and steel usage, and should, based on its current trajectory, easily surpass the U.S. in total GDP, retails sales, and imports by 2025. Simply put, people will be looking toward China to dictate global growth in the future first, not the United States.
Yes, the world is changing. Are you paying attention? Are you ready???