10 things that will disappear in the near future
What will the future bring? From shamans, oracles and horoscopes, to works of science fiction and to scientific forecasts based on evaluated data, humans have always wanted to know in advance what's going to happen.
But you don't have to be a wizard to take a peek at the future. Often, a look at previous and current developments is enough to work out what they will mean for us in the years to come.
In the following list, you'll find 10 predictions of things we shall soon see disappearing. Of course, these forecasts may not definitely come true, but they provide food for thought, and make us aware of what is currently going on all around us.
We eat too much chocolate! For years, the demand for chocolate has been greater than the supply, and industry expects that this gap will continue to widen.
Cocoa cultivation in West Africa, where more than 70% of the world's cocoa is harvested, is troubled by droughts. In Latin America, growing cocoa has become next to impossible, because the plants are infested with fungus. At the same time, countries like China are discovering a taste for chocolate and are gradually catching up with the West in their consumption.
2. Belly buttons
Unlike other entries on this list, this one is obviously more speculative, but it should still give you food for thought: with the CRISPR/Cas method, an effective tool already exists for the targeted modifying of genes. At the same time, reproductive medicine is a booming business. A "designer baby" exists with four parents: a biological father, a social father, a genetic mother and a surrogate mother (article in German).
It looks like it's only a matter of time before gene manipulation is used to create children according to our desires. If you continue to play out the idea of people being conceived and produced according to a plan: why would you still need host mothers, if children could be grown in incubators? These babies wouldn't need an umbilical cord, if they could be provided with nutrients in other ways.
Cash is becoming increasingly redundant and not just because of innovative cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Today, we already do the majority of our financial transactions — receiving our salary, paying our rent, online shopping — by bank transfer. Alongside credit and debit cards, it's now often possible to pay with your smartphone.
In line with this, a few countries have gotten rid of 1 and 2 cent coins and in 2016, the EU decided to abolish the €500 note. Critics argue that, without cash, people have a worse handle on their outgoings and will spend money without thinking as a result. They also fear a possible monitoring of transactions, which would reveal an extraordinary amount about people.
Shutterstock/Vicente Barcelo Varona
4. Charging cables
Today, wireless internet is a given. Keyboards, mice and headphones that don't need cables have also been invented, and this development will not stop at charging cables.
The firm Tesla has developed pads for charging their electric cars without cables. In principle, this technology could also be transferred to mobile phones. Other inventors are also working on the possibility of charging phones using Wi-Fi.
5. Remote controls
In many households, it's still common to have remote controls for the TV, sound system and set top box lying on your living room table. Thanks to voice-activated assistants like Amazon Echo, for example, remote controls will soon firmly belong in the past.
As soon as all devices are connected via the internet, they can be activated by voice commands to your electronic assistant. You just need one prompt to set the desired playlist going or catch up on the latest series of whatever show you're watching.
Not just based on the information that we freely and consciously post about ourselves online, but above all based on the data from our surfing habits, our shopping habits, and the transmission of location data from our smart phones or fitness trackers, for companies we are becoming more and more "transparent people."
Soon, through the general interconnectedness of technical devices, further data on our lifestyles will be compiled. Meanwhile, in China there are plans for a public rating system, in which the public and private behavior of citizens is assessed — with points awarded and deducted — resulting in social ostracism or professional success accordingly.
The digitalisation of our society is changing our lives in various ways, including some we may have barely even thought about — like the signature. With cashless payments through smartphones, further authentication is not necessary. In addition, the use of fingerprint and pupil scanners is on the rise.
Even with job applications, which are increasingly submitted online, you often have to send the cover letter without a signature.
Mounted on a door, fingerprint and pupil scanners won't just replace signatures, but also keys. There are already cars that don't require keys and have a start button installed to get the engine going.
Furthermore, in 2017, Amazon unveiled its door lock, the Amazon Key, which can be unlocked by a smartphone. If you're not home, the courier can open the door with a code and leave the package in the hall.
In times gone by, pins at the bowling alley were re-positioned by hand, now it's an automated process. This is a just a small example of how technological advances lead to the loss of professions and the jobs associated with them. As a result of current digitalisation, as well as the development of ever more powerful robots, the future will be no different.
A study by researchers at Oxford University argued that by the beginning of the 2030s, 47% of jobs currently in existence will have disappeared. This development will affect all types of occupation — regardless of qualifications or salary. In the context of this technological revolution, the experts did not believe sufficient new jobs would be created to replace the old ones.
10. Traffic jams
Once self-driving cars have overcome their initial teething troubles, there should be no more traffic jams or accidents — so the theory goes anyway. In contrast to humans: computers are supposed to be immune from making mistakes behind the wheel: they would always follow all the traffic regulations and would therefore be the perfect road user.
In combination with adaptive cruise control, which is already widely used, the cars of the future could roll along our roads at identical speeds with equal spaces in between, pulled along like a string of pearls.
What a brave new world! As we have seen, numerous technological developments will influence our lives, on both small and large scales, individually and socially. We should be curious about what the future will bring.