When will all the really, really cool technology actually get here?

Molly Wood Aug 20, 2012

When will all the really, really cool technology actually get here?

Molly Wood Aug 20, 2012

“The Jetsons” showed us a fantastical world of tomorrow. Thing is, a lot of things on that show exist today. Video phone calls, robot maids, George read the paper on a screen. Then again, flying cars are pretty rare. Not all futuristic tech arrives at the same time.

The research company Gartner has issued its annual Hype Cycle Report, detailing when different technologies will become part of daily life.

Hung LeHong is one of the authors. He says paying for stuff with your smartphone is a novelty now, but it will become an everyday thing. “I think the common early majority consumer will probably be looking at two to three years from now,” says LeHong.

3D printing? Five to 10 years from becoming part of your daily life.

As for the long term, LeHong is looking forward to a day that’s still more than 10 years away. But what a day it will be.

LeHong: The day when all of the parking meters in a specific city are hooked up to the Internet. And not only can you check it on your iPhone where to park, but maybe with the analytics behind it tell you the best time of day to park, best time of day to you know, maybe I have to renew my drivers license and if that’s all tracked, the analytics tell you maybe Tuesday at 2pm would be best

Moe: I would be remiss and I would probably be betraying most of the listeners hollering at their radios right now if I didn’t ask you about jetpacks.

LeHong: I’m not familiar with jetpacks — as in the Jetson jetpacks.

Moe: As in when are we going to have jetpacks and use those to just all fly around town and that will be our preferred mode of transportation?

LeHong: Yeah. That’s not even on our hype cycle.

Mr. Buzzkill.


Paul Miller is a tech reporter for TheVerge.com. And since May he hasn’t been able to read his own work online.

That’s because Paul is taking a year off from the Internet. No web, no email, no texting even.

I asked him, by phone, what his relationship to the Internet was before.

Paul Miller: I was on it pretty much probably like 12, 14hours a day. I’ve been using it since I was 12 or 13 at about that pace. So it’s my entire career, it’s how I stayed in touch with all my colleagues.

Moe: How did this idea for this experiment come about?

Miller: I never went to school, and I wanted to read a bunch of books and I just never got around to it and I was like why don’t I and it was because I was spending all my time surfing.

Moe: What was it like right after you disconnected?

Miller: I was sort of the Zen guru for the first few weeks, and I was probably pretty annoying

Moe: You’re like one of those people who stops watching TV and then has to tell everyone about it.

Miller: And brings it up at every party. Yeah. That was me. And so I had a lot of really interesting epiphanies about life. And so now, this is kind of like real life. This is every day for me. I don’t put as much thought into the inconveniences or the contrast, I just have a lot of extra free time and I get bored, and I do the things that I wanted to do instead of random stuff that fills my time.

Miller says other people have had to adapt to his new lifestyle. They can’t email or text him, they have to use the phone. “My friends have really had a hard time adjusting calling me. They’re getting better at receiving my calls, but it still feels like they can only call me in an emergency and they wouldn’t want to bother me otherwise, but I’m just bored, so I’m just hoping they’ll call.”

Paul can go back online next May. He hopes to be online as little as possible after that.

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