It's hard to prepare our kids for the real world when we
have little idea what that "real world" will look like.
Of course there's always been futurists predicting
outlandish changes in the far-off future (where
are our damn hover cars already?), and every generation has advanced and
shifted in unpredictable ways, especially in the last 100 years. I know my
parents couldn't have known how valuable computer coding and digital know-how
would be back in the late '80s. They wouldn't have understood how the Internet
would change virtually every aspect of daily life.
But the technology keeps advancing at record speeds—faster
and faster and faster. The very
structure of our daily lives is so drastically different than when I was a kid,
and experts believe it'll be even weirder for our kids.
In fact, our kids' generation might outgrow the most basic
Our kids will look at stick-shift cars like they're ancient relics of yesteryear.
I'm sure driving will always be a life
skill they'll need to learn, but it might not be as practical as it is today.
According to Futurist.com,
driverless cars could be ready in a 5-year time frame, so imagine the kind of
cars our babies will be driving in the next 15 to 20 years.
In fact, one study from the Boston
Consulting Group estimates about 12 million fully driverless cars on the road
Frey, futurist and author of "Communicating with the Future," claims that
driverless technology will soon "creep into everyday use as much as airbags
did"—first in luxury cars, but eventually as a mandated safety feature.
If this technology takes hold the way it's
predicted, our kids will look at stick-shift cars like they're ancient relics
2.Going to a traditional college
Frey also predicts that a new education
industry will emerge by 2030, with half of all traditional colleges replaced
Colleges" requiring "less than six months of training and apprenticeship to
Considering my son graduates high school in
2027, I wonder what the digital education climate will look like. But wait—does that mean our 529 savings plans are a waste?
3.Sitting in waiting rooms with their kids
Dr. James Canton, CEO of the Institute for
Global Futures and author of "Future Smart: Managing the Game-Changing Trends
that will Transform Your World," told HuffPost
Science that by 2025 "human and robots [will] merge, digitally and
physically, to treat patients … around the world."
"Robo-surgeons will operate remotely on
patients," said Canton. "RoboDocs will deliver babies and treat you over the
Frey agrees, predicting that, "by 2013 over
80 percent of all doctor visits will have been replaced by automated exams."
Canton and Frey are part of a growing group
futurists predicting massive change to our healthcare options with the
development of mobile health services, monitoring apps, implanted devices, and
advanced diagnostic technologies, hopefully making our children (and our
grandchildren) have longer life spans.
If there's one game changer up the pipes,
it's definitely 3D printing.
"By 2025, 3D printers will print clothing
at a very low cost," said Dr.
Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google. "There will be many free
open source designs, but people will spend money to download clothing files
from the latest hot designer."
Kurzweil went on to predict how 3D printers
will print everything from human organs to module homes, sooner than we think.
(If you're feeling doubtful, here's a fun
tidbit about Kurzweil: He predicted the Internet in the '80s, the exact year
computers would beat humans at chess and even the fall of the Soviet Union. So
I'd trust his foresight.)
5.Living in only one reality
Augmented reality enhancements will completely transform our world with portable, wearable and implantable technology.
Most experts will agree that our
virtual-reality developments are set to change how we interact and experience
the world, through gaming and beyond.
Kurzweil—dubbed "the ultimate thinking
machine" by Forbes—predicts virtual
reality will infiltrate more than video games within the next 20 years.
"We'll be able to send little devices,
nanobots, into the brain and capillaries, and they'll provide additional
sensory signals as if they were coming from your real senses," he told RYOT
News. "You could for example get together with a friend, even though you were
hundreds of thousands of miles apart, and take a virtual walk on a virtual
Mediterranean beach and hold their hand and feel the warm spray of the moist
air in your face."
In fact one of the biggest trends from the
Pew Research Center's report "Digital Life
in 2025," a collection of 2,558 predictions from leading experts and
technology builders, is how "augmented reality" enhancements will completely
transform our world with portable, wearable and implantable technology.
All by the time today's babies are in high