Tech we still need

Tech we still need

Sometimes, it seems as though everything useful has been invented.  Not just invented, but it’s in our hands, and we’re making use of it.

However, that’s just a silly notion.  There are so many stories over time of people overestimating humanity’s progress, both technologically and sociologically.

Yes, incredible strides have been made.  I also think that technological progress is accelerating over time, since you can build on the previous tech.  Perhaps more importantly, we increasingly demonstrate over time how there is a market and societal benefit to some technology.

It certainly doesn’t always come because we are aware of a problem and are looking for a solution.  It’s sometimes just a happy happenstance.  Tech often comes from fiction or games, where perhaps the creator pictured no practical use or even eventual realization.

Certain items even get referred to as “a solution looking for a problem”. 🙂

I think about it from time to time, though: what tech do we still need?

I realize that none of these are perfect solutions: they will create problems we didn’t have before…but I’m okay with that, if the balance is better. 

Here, then, are a few ideas:

Wireless Power

This one drives me nuts every day.  I hate having to plug things into the wall for them to get power.  It doesn’t matter if it’s charging a battery that will hold the charge for a while.  I want my devices to just pull the power right out of the air, so I never have to think about it.  This especially goes for things with disposable batteries…yuck!

Yes, some devices can do this now with solar, and that’s great.  That would be kind of complicated for a hair dryer, though…who dries their hair outside, using the sun?  Oh, wait…probably billions of people…but they don’t use hair dryers. 😉

I brought this up with my Significant Other, and the response was a concern about all that electricity flying through the air.  Do you know the cosmic radiation going through you right now?  What about TV, radio, cell signals, data to all those iPads?  Obviously, the tech would have to be safe, but this is something I really want. 

Mass Knock-out

Okay, every time I hear about a shoot-out or a stand-off in the news, I just shake my head.  Back in the 1930s, a pulp hero named Doc Savage carried little glass balls filled with a special anesthetic gas he had invented.  The gas would knock everybody out in the room, and dissipate in one minute.  If you knew it was going to happen (as Doc and his aides would), you could hold your breath for a minute, and nonviolently defeat the whole room.

We should have some way to just put everybody to sleep in a room or a building.  That would be a tricky one…it would have to be safe. Yes, you can taze one person, but that’s really not very pleasant and can be seriously dangerous in some situations…less dangerous than a bullet, though. 

I want something the police or military can use so everybody just peacefully goes to sleep for a bit.  Would there be problems?  Sure: what about somebody holding a baby? What about some evil genius with a “dead man switch”, like a hand grenade being held closed?

Absolutely, it could create some new problems.  But it sure would solve a lot of current ones! 

Self-driving cars

I want to be able to get in my car, tell it where I want to go, and pull out my Kindle and get some reading done.   This seems so obvious…there are some cars who can do it now (but not as well as a person), and you may even have a car that can parallel park itself.  When I bring this up, people look shocked.  I’ve had people say, “What if a three-year old kid ran out into the street in front of the car?”  A car with collision avoidance would handle that much better than a person…precisely because the car doesn’t care if it is a kid or a rolling garbage can.  Many people in that situation would panic and swerve into a telephone pole, hit the gas instead of the break, and so on.

Cars wouldn’t drive drunk.  Cars would keep an appropriate “cushion” between themselves and the car in front of them.  Cars wouldn’t think they got skinnier when you go really fast (oh come on, you’ve seen people accelerate when they are trying to squeeze between two buses). 😉

Yes, people might resist this, and sure, we might get some other form of transportation, but this seems like it wouldn’t be that hard and would have a lot of benefits.

Well, there are a few possibilities.  I’m probably going to return to this topic at another time.  I haven’t touched on a lot of really important areas, like healthcare and food, but I think these three would be game-changers.

What do you think?  Do you have any tech we need?  Feel free to let me know!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

One Response to “Tech we still need”

  1. Round up #282: KDP EDU, sale on Prime | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Tech we still need […]

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