You don’t have to be very old to remember VCR tapes, LPs, street directories, and fax machines. They were all commonplace a decade ago, but have virtually disappeared now. What will the next 10 years bring? Here are 10 things that will probably disappear by 2030.
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1. Credit cards
Oh, yes, we’ll still be able to pay by credit – that won’t be disappearing any time soon – but we won’t need those rectangular bits of plastic to do it. Already we’re seeing more people paying with their phone, watch, Fitbit, or ring, and that’s only going to become more common. Soon, you might not need a device at all because the payment system will work through facial recognition (It’s already happening in China).
Cash won’t disappear completely, but it’s already on its way out, and it won’t be long before it becomes the least preferred (and most expensive) payment option. The average number of ATM transactions per person has gone down since 2010 from 40 a year to 25, the Reserve Bank reported cash consumer purchases have decreased from 60 percent to 37 percent in the same time, and market analyst East & Partners suggests Australia will be almost cashless (down to 2 percent of purchases) by 2022.
Are you one of the thousands of people using QWERTY, ABC123, LETMEIN, 123456, or PASSWORD as your password? If so, you really should know better! But don’t worry – soon you won’t have to use passwords at all. Already, you can unlock your devices with your fingerprint, eyes or face, and soon all security will shift to that kind of biometric recognition.
While we’re on the topic of security, let’s say goodbye to keys: House keys, car keys, office keys … They could all soon be museum exhibits because we’ll be locking and unlocking everything using our phone, watch, or Fitbit. And yes, you guessed it – all of that will also be replaced with biometric recognition as well.
5. Eye glasses (spectacles)
Before long, it will be much more common for us to become cyborgs – that is, having technological enhancements to our bodies to make us “superhuman”. You could say we’ve been doing that for centuries with spectacles (and now contact lenses), but that “technology” could soon disappear, replaced by nanotechnology eye drops that automatically corrects your vision.
6. Airport queues
If you don’t like queuing up at the airport for security scanning and passport checks (and who does?), you’ll be pleased to hear that change is coming. Dubai International Airport has a smart tunnel that scans passengers through passport control in just 15 seconds, and even the Australian government has an ambitious plan to get rid of passports altogether – using AI to recognise our faces instead.
7. Parking meters
Maybe you’ve heard that when we all get around in self-driving cars, there won’t be a need for parking. That’s true, but this self-driving utopia is still at least a couple of decades away. But even before we get to that point, the humble parking meter will disappear, replaced by licence plate recognition technology and an automatic charge to your credit card.
If you have a late-model smartphone, you probably know it supports “wireless charging” – but that still means resting it on a charging pad. That’s more convenient than plugging in a cable, but there’s an even better option. True wireless charging is “OTA” – that is, over the air. Just like WiFi, it needs no wires, plugs, or charging pads – it just charges devices up to 10 metres away, quickly and safely. This technology has been around for years (Nikola Tesla was even predicting it in the early 1900s), but it’s only now that energy companies are looking at making this available affordably and at scale.
9. Big hard drives
There was a time when storage space was a critical factor in choosing a computer or phone. But, with fast Internet access and cheap Cloud-based storage, size doesn’t matter anymore. For a small subscription fee, we stream Spotify and Netflix, automatically back up everything (to services like iCloud, Google, and Dropbox), and have instant access across multiple devices.
10. Remote controls
If you still haven’t figured out what most of the buttons on your TV remote control do, don’t worry – soon you won’t need it. After all, you already have a powerful hand-held device you use for everything else: your smartphone. Soon you’ll be able to use it to control every device: TV, air-conditioner, lighting, music, oven, and even the artwork on your wall.
Gihan Perera is a business futurist, speaker, and author who works with business leaders to help them lead and succeed in an uncertain but exciting future. He is the author of “Disruption By Design: Leading the change in a fast-changing world” (RRP $33). For more about how Gihan can work with your leaders and teams, visit GihanPerera.com.
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