In some areas, technology sometimes seems to be advancing leaps and bounds. While much of what we thought might be too futuristic 50 years ago is now commonplace, the timescale for ‘normalization’ of new technologies and innovations has got considerably shorter.
So, what will we expect just four years from now, in 2021? Well, in its article, ‘The tech world is convinced 2021 is going to be the best year ever’, the MIT Technology Review said, ‘if the crystal ball is right, you’ll be eating lab-grown chicken nuggets in your autonomous car and thanking your lucky stars for male birth control.
Below is a summary of what the journal has to say.
“According to an array of predictions from tech companies and market researchers, plenty of changes are coming, including many more developments in transportation, lots of people spending time in virtual reality, lab-grown chicken, and, just maybe, male birth control.”
Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts that electric vehicles will make up just under four percent of all car sales in the U.S. and five percent of all car sales in Europe that year, up from one percent and two percent, respectively, this year. Beyond electric carmaker Tesla, a number of automakers are hoping to get in on the growing market. Volvo, for instance, which already aims to have an autonomous car on the road by 2021, is also planning to launch five new all-electric cars by that year as part of its roadmap to end its use of the internal combustion engine.
IDC forecasts that shipments of virtual and augmented reality headsets will rise to about 92 million in 2021, which would be close to 10 times as many as shipped out last year. A big chunk of the overall market growth is expected to come from augmented reality, which is currently just a small proportion of a fragmented market. Things will change, though, as companies adopt the technology for tasks like 3-D modeling, using headsets like Microsoft’s HoloLens and Meta’s Meta 2.
Male birth control
A company called Contraline is reportedly working to bring to market a form of reversible male birth control that doesn’t require surgery. Contraline claims it has come up with a ‘polymer hydrogel’ that is implanted in the vas deferens – in just a few minutes with the help of ultrasound – and is meant to block the passage of sperm for years. In April Contraline announced it had raised $2.2 million toward its goal and that it aimed to have a product on the market in 2021.
In 2021, many more of us will be able to weigh in on these new technologies (whether or not they actually came to fruition). Networking-equipment maker Cisco forecasts in its Visual Networking Index that the number of people using the internet will climb from 3.3 billion today to 4.6 billion within four years. That would be more than half the world’s population, using the United Nations’ estimate of 7.8 billion by 2021.
Cheap solar power
In 2021, it is expected to finally become cheaper to use renewable power sources like solar and wind rather than coal in a number of key countries. While solar power – which is pricier than the other big renewable source, wind – is already comparable price-wise to coal in countries such as the U.S., Italy, and Germany, a recent report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that by 2021, solar power will be cheaper than coal in China, India, Mexico, Brazil, and the U.K.
Chicken grown in a laboratory, rather than on a farm, may be here in a few years. That’s the hope of a company called Memphis Meats, which is planning to sell its lab-raised, animal-free chicken by 2021—an achievement it’s already on the way to meeting since it says it has grown pieces of chicken and duck without animals in its lab. Memphis Meats is just one of several companies trying to create meat that can be produced without raising and killing animals. There are still a bunch of issues to work out, though, such as how the product will taste, how easily it can be manufactured, and what it will cost.
For the full article, visit the MIT Technology Review web site.
[Image: MIT Technology Review / Mr. Tech]