Technically those playing fortune-tellers are the heads of the multinational Alphabet, a conglomerate of companies connected to Internet services, software, electronic devices and it’s also the parent company of Google. Eric Schmidt, Alphabet’s executive chairman, pulled out his crystal ball at this year’s annual shareholders meeting and unveiled his predictions on what he believes to be the biggest game-changing tech innovations in the next ten years.
PRINTED ARCHITECTURE. 3D printing will be used to build everything in the immediate future: architecture, aeronautics, automotive… The use of this technology will drastically reduce production costs and accelerate new solutions and structural designs, with more time devoted to creating and less to the implementation. Google has invested heavily in two companies, Ventures and Carbon 3D, which will have a lot to say on how things play out in this area in the coming years.
THINKING MACHINES. There are as many fans as those that fear AI will mark the end of humanity as we know it. AI will be hugely important in software development in the near to immediate future. The people at Google are not big fans of the machine rebellions in Terminator or I, Robot, rather they believe in a future where striking up a conversation with a machine capable of thinking for itself will occur on a more daily basis and become extremely useful in the future. Basically speaking, they’re the antipodes to big personalities like Stephen Hawkins or the household name, and new guru of everything, Elon Musk.
AUTONOMOUS CARS. This is probably one of the areas where Google has invested the most time and money. Self-driving cars will put an end to thousands of deaths on roads around the world and ease congestion on motorways and areas with a high volume of traffic in major cities around the world. Some of the company’s most recent advances include teaching cars the right time to beep the horn (sounds weird, right?), they’re also developing a special double-sided adhesive that would glue pedestrians to the front end of a car if -or when- they get hit by a self-driving car.
OTHER REALITIES. The future is a person sitting at home in their living room wearing a virtual or augmented reality helmet. Although we’ve been talking about this as the future for more than 25 years, the future has now arrived on our doorsteps, despite huge fiascos like Google Glass (currently under redesign). Alphabet/Google is now striking back with Daydream and Project Tango, two of the most complete examples of augmented reality for smartphones.
VIRTUAL DOCTOR. The company is actively working on projects like Verily and its intelligent contact lenses, Google Fit, an app to counter Apple’s HealthKit, and a futuristic pill filled with nanoparticles. These pills will be ingested orally and able to detect illnesses in their early stages and monitor multiple variables in real time via a smartphone.