10 Bold Technology Predictions for the Next 10 Years

This is definitely not what cities will look like 10 years from now.

NOTE: These predictions are over 2 years old!

Check out the progress update I just wrote: https://medium.com/startup-frontier/2-years-later-10-bold-technology-predictions-for-the-next-10-years-e413aefdfdd1

Every so often, I find it’s great to step back and look at technology from a significantly more macro perspective.

Here’s my latest big step back, with 10 admittedly bold, mostly technology-related predictions for the world 10 years from today (2026).

10 years is a long time horizon for technology

A lot can change: 10 years ago, few knew about Facebook or Twitter and AirBnb and Uber didn’t exist. Maybe even more significantly, the iPhone hadn’t yet been released and smartphones were incredibly niche (remember the Palm Treo?).

But also, a surprising amount stays the same: Who would have thought 10 years ago (2006) that we still wouldn’t have found a great replacement for credit cards, that we still would be flying at the same speed that we did in the 1960’s, that we would still (almost exclusively) be voting with analog systems designed decades ago, and even that laser eye surgery (commercially brought to the USA in 1992) hadn’t completely eliminated the need for glasses or contacts?

My 10 Predictions

1. Wireless Charging will be as prevalent as WiFi is today

There are over 118 million WiFi hotspots in the world today. It’s hard to not find WiFi today.

In 10 years, true wireless charging, led by companies like Ossia, will have a similar penetration. No more searching for outlets, fumbling with cords, your devices will stay charged almost everywhere you go.

2. Tesla will be bigger than any other worldwide auto company

Note: I did not say that Tesla will be the “biggest auto company”. I strongly believe that Tesla’s ultimate growth comes significantly more from its battery technology, charging infrastructure, and licensing opportunities than from simple auto sales.

3. Highway autonomous miles will exceed human-driven miles

Led by Tesla, autonomous driving has already gone from sci-fi dream to reality. In 10 years, autonomous functionality will be so widespread that more highway miles in 2026 will be driven by computers than by humans.

4. Automobile-related fatalities will drop by at least 75%

In 2014, 32,675 people in the US died from traffic accidents.

With the proliferation of auto-braking, lane assist, autonomous driving, and other improved safety features, fatalities will drop by at least 75% by 2026. The real question is: “Can these features get down-market fast enough to the demographics disproportionately involved in car accidents?” I think yes.

5. SpaceX and Blue Origin will have a combined >75% market share of the “Space Economy”

SpaceX has the early mover advantage, but Blue Origin has been quite successful in its own right, launching and landing the same rocket three times recently.

I predict that, together, these companies will command >75% market share for public and private space travel.

6. Artificial Intelligence will be largely indistinguishable from Human Intelligence

Recently, Google’s Alpha Go trounced the #1 worldwide Go player in a highly publicized match-up. Significantly, the program didn’t rely purely on a brute force computing approach. Rather, the algorithm used machine learning and neural networks to optimize its strategy.

By 2026, artificial intelligence will have advanced so far that it will be indistinguishable from human intelligence. In many contexts, artificial intelligence will exceed that of humans, while in others, namely the creative and emotion-driven fields, it will still lag.

7. Virtual reality will be used as a substitute for “real” reality by a substantial portion of the US population (>5%)

Virtual reality has taken several huge steps forward over the past few years, propelled by Oculus and their recent release of their first commercial product, Rift.

In 2026, virtual reality will be used by many (>5% of US population) as a substitute for “real” reality. Filling a similar role that television has filled over the last 60 years, VR will provide “an escape” from the difficult and often unfair nature of authentic reality.

VR Addiction will be looked at similarly to drug and alcohol addiction and will be included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)

8. Drones will deliver >25% of all packages in the US

81% of the United States population lives in urban areas today. By 2026, drones will very noticeably replace the delivery truck for a substantial portion of deliveries in these areas.

Companies like UPS, FedEx, and Amazon will push as much traffic as possible to drones as they will substantially reduce costs, time to delivery, and overall environmental impact.

9. 3D Printing will never gain broad consumer appeal (<5% of US population will own a 3D printer in 2026)

3D printing will continue to grow over the next 10 years and will continue to have many commercial applications.

However, 3D printing, in any form similar to it’s current one, will never gain broad consumer appeal. The process is too slow, it’s uses are too limited, and it’s too expensive. I don’t believe it will advance quickly enough to change our lives significantly by 2026.

10. At least 1 major type of cancer will be “cured”

During the 1970s, about 50% people diagnosed with cancer survived >5 years. Now, more than 2/3 survive that long. Today, more than 7 out of 10 children are cured of cancer. Testicular cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and many cases of leukaemia can all be cured in adults with current treatments. Most skin cancers are cured with surgery.

Through earlier diagnoses, more involved DNA/RNA expression profiling, and highly targeted treatments, at least 1 major type of cancer will be “cured” by 2026. “Cured” meaning that treatment has almost a 100% success rate.

What predictions do you agree with?

Which ones do you think are completely off the mark?

Let me know on Twitter at: @amitch5903