Gift Box

The next tech advance I want to see……

Roger Bara

A short while ago, I felt quite ill on a night out, and subsequently discovered that I had difficulty passing urine, which was very dark coloured, and smelt disgusting. I recognised the symptoms from a previous episode; it had to be a urinary tract infection. Mrs B promptly went to the pharmacy, bought some very strong anti-biotics, and within six or seven days, I was totally back to normal and feeling fine.

Of course, traditionalists would quite rightly suggest I should have seen my doctor, waited for her to make the diagnosis, and relied on her experience and knowledge to decide the course of action. But doctors are a tad busy at the moment, and me, being a bloke, obviously would not want to make an unnecessary fuss.

So, here’s what I would like very much indeed; to be injected with a tiny device which oh-so-cleverly monitors all my bodily functions, tests my blood, and looks for any signs of obnoxious oriental diseases. It would also manage to pick up on any tumour that may have the temerity to start messing with me, but most cleverly of all, it will transmit all the details and diagnosis to its sister app, nestling comfortably on my iPad and phone.

Lab on a Chip

Imagine waking up every day, going straight to your app, to be told what exercise would be best for you today, that your current diet is fine and suitable, but you are developing an UTI, which needs this treatment. (Of course, if you look at this with a half-empty attitude, the app might have a picture of the Grim Reaper, together with a message that you will suffer a massive heart attack in 6 hours, from which there is no recovery.)

But assuming you use the app properly, and abide by its scientifically proved recommendations, I could see myself living until I’m at least 120 years old, or until England next wins football’s World Cup. Whichever comes later.  

So when this absolute marvel becomes available, let me know soonest – I will go into settings, instruct it not to tell me to cut down on my alcohol intake, but to keep an eye on everything else. Happy living!

The next tech advance I want to see 

Our Rusuk Blog writer Sergey

In December 1998 I bought myself a cell phone, an Ericsson, and then it was a revolution to me. Now we can’t imagine how is it to leave home without a smartphone. Or not to get into social media or not google stuff. 

In the last 25-30 years, Hi-Tech has made a giant leap for humanity. The time kind of collapsed to produce new technologies and gadgets unthinkable before, from internet to cell phones to WhatsApp.

We can now surf the internet, google useful things, communicate with people around the world virtually for free, work remotely online. We still talk about life, politics, everyday problems, etc. but things have really changed. The landscape is totally different than it used to be when I was born in 1974. 

What else then?

I just think that the next thing that really matters could be something so extraordinary that it would be comparable to inventing fire, oral or written language.  

I’ve read somewhere that in the very distant past, back into the deep Stone Age, people didn’t lie to each other (just like modern ‘wild’ tribes that still exist in the jungle) because they could read each other’s thoughts by means of telepathy. 

Car Salesman

Lying was just not an option in this case, just a nonsense. This is why the white colonizers could so easily trick the aborigines sometimes because those people were still living by this ancient tradition that we lost a millennia ago. 

To make a long story short: the technological telepathy invention would be this kind of thing. 

I don’t know if it would happen at all. I don’t know how it would affect our privacy and the whole way of life. I don’t know if it would be legal to even try to develop it. 

I know this would have been a tremendous Hi-Tech thing to fully change the world. Once again.

The next tech advance I want to see

Photograph of Dean Lewis

The tech I want to see is old-school: Airships. Except there is nothing old about these ships, and they are coming in the next twenty years. I’ve always been something of a fan of these things. 

When I say airship, the first thing you may think of is the Hindenburg and a certain morning in New Jersey. It’s funny how life works; the crash sealed the fate of airships, while biplanes prospered and the technology continued to be developed. 

Airship on ground

You know as well as I do that more people have died in airplanes than airships. But there is a difference. When a biplane crashed, maybe two people died and there was no massive fireball. No news crew was on hand to film the event. 

I also suspect the politics of the period played the decisive role. The Hindenburg was filled with flammable hydrogen because of an embargo against the Nazis on helium. Because Germany had a clear lead in the technology, the Allies had little incentive to precipitate in civilian airship development. From this political perspective, if the airship went away, it was a good thing.

But the world continued to spin and life goes on. Modern avionics makes airships as safe as any other airborne machine. And large airships now make economic sense. The International Air Transport Association says airships can be more cost effective than Jets for air cargo. Especially bigger craft transporting parsable food stuffs. This is down to fuel cost. By the way, here is a PDF from another source on the subject if you are interested.

Here’s some numbers to contemplate:  

The first row is a non-starter. I understand this is more expensive than trucks, so no. But the next row .20¢ per ton per kilometer, can compete with rail and the third competes with ships. The bigger the airship, the cheaper the cost per ton. 

BUT! These papers are several years old and life has changed in the last year and a half. The cost of freight has shot up making these numbers even more attractive. Here are two factors that play well for the future of airships:

  1. Carbon Footprint: jets create many tons of greenhouse gases a year. If carbon taxes become wide spread, airships become even more attractive.
  2. Covid-19: The longer airlines stay on the ground, the more attractive heavy-lift airships become. It turns out that passenger jets carry a large percentage of air-freight and the loss of this capacity has increased the cost of freight shipping. As crazy as it sounds, the more variants of Covid, the more likely large airships will fly.

I have made a conscious decision to only talk about economics. Regular readers know I believe corporations are soulless and don’t care if oceans rise and people starve. The only thing that matters is stock dividends. 

So, my techno wish is based on cold, hard economics and not the romance of cruising the sky. Of course, if roomy passenger ships become a thing, that’s great; count me in. If you want to see uber-cool airships take to the skies, here’s a well-researched YouTube video for you.