August 18 2008 / by futuretalk
Category: Entertainment Year: General Rating: 6 Hot
By Dick Pelletier
As the 21st century unfolds, genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and robotics will change our lives in many ways. We will enjoy better health, a longer lifespan, and new conveniences. But these developments pale in comparison to simulated reality systems projected for future entertainment.
Psychologists list our most enjoyable recreation activities as: visiting family and friends, watching TV, browsing the Internet, playing video games, making phone calls, shopping, eating out, and catching a flick.
U.S. Census reports 98% of American families own 2.4 TV sets per home and watch 32 hours of TV each week. 75% access the Internet from home, and nearly everyone uses the telephone.
Sales drive this multi-billion dollar entertainment industry. Consumer Electronics Association projects more than 18 million TV sets will be sold this year. New models are larger and thinner; some with fancy features such as live-show pause and smart program selection.
Experts believe future entertainment systems will satisfy much more of our recreational needs. In his web article, “Views of the Future,” British Telecom futurologist Ian Pearson predicts by:
2015 – TV, computer, and phone converge into a wall-size, interactive, 3D screen, delivering entertainment and information tailored to our wishes. When idle, it displays beach, forest, or other scenes so real, we think we are there.
2020 – Nano-size electronics inside “active contact lenses” receives TV, video games, Internet, and phone calls; and displays images directly onto the retina. Tune program with pocket keyboard initially; later with thought control. Watch TV; browse the web, or video-phone a friend; all with eyes open or closed.
2030 – Microscope-size nanobots communicate with the brain creating simulated realities indistinguishable from the real world. Download a program like “Star Trek Holodeck” and dive into the action. Any scene your mind imagines becomes real for you.
Re-live when you first met your mate, or create a reunion with family members. Your imagination becomes reality. Change and end program with voice control.
2040 – Author Raymond Kurzweil believes human and machine intelligence will meld. We can “re-create the world” and enter environments as amazing as in “The Matrix” movie.
Simulated reality describes an environment impossible to tell from “real” reality. But immense computing power is required to create and download these huge programs to your brain.
Will this future happen? Experts say yes. Hewlett-Packard, Nantero, and others are rushing to develop vast memory systems required for simulated reality, and the Allen Brain program promises faster understanding of how technology interacts with neurons.
Philosopher Nick Bostrom poses an even deeper thought. He suggests our world may not be real at all – we could actually be living in a simulation. “Given sufficient technology,” he says, “it is possible to simulate entire inhabited planets, including everyone on them.”
If he is right, I only hope the “creator” of our simulated world has programmed me for great health, long life, and happy adventures. Comments welcome.