Brian Crawford

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Brian Crawford

Thoughts about future technology

stuff-on-a-tableCallum and I often have long discussions about future technology. Callum is surprisingly prescient for someone just starting out, especially where computers, computer hardware, and mobile devices (iPhones, iPods, iPads, and the like) are concerned.

Two of the things we discussed the other day:

The future of MP3 players

Like David Pumpkins, MP3 players used to be “their own thing”. Now many people simply use their mobile phones as MP3 players, and don’t carry around a separate MP3 player device. Callum and I talked about what form MP3 players eventually might take as technology progresses. As electronic devices become smaller and smaller, MP3 players (or players of whatever format comes next) will be able to be located pretty much anywhere.

One possible location would be in a person’s watch – for those people who wear a watch. While most of my family members (especially my father, my son, and myself) are pretty big fans of Apple laptops and devices, none of us was motivated to get an Apple Watch. While an Apple Watch has a lot of functionality for such a small device, most of the functionality it has can be better served by using something else. While the Apple Watch makes for a good fitness watch, it doesn’t make for a great fitness watch. It’s good for mobile communication, but you need to have your phone on you to use that functionality anyway. With an MP3 player and Bluetooth earphones, an Apple Watch would be useful as an MP3 player. It would also serve as a good mobile phone itself by using those same Bluetooth headphones, with all of the communications functions built right into the phone. Then you would no longer have to carry around a phone or a tablet, and if it was strapped securely to your wrist, it would be much more difficult to lose or to have stolen. It boggles me when I see teenagers walking around with their mobile phones halfway out of their back pockets.

Of course, in the future, MP3 players and mobile phones could also be placed directly into the earphones themselves. As technology gets smaller, earphones could house full computers that could connect to other devices via Bluetooth, cellular, or Internet. It seems that in the future, Internet will completely replace cellular and Bluetooth technologies – it will simply be everywhere, and all devices will be able to use Internet as a medium, so cellular and Bluetooth will no longer be needed. And in the even further future, we likely won’t even need earphones. We’ll be able to get sound piped directly into our minds.

Self-driving car races

Race cars can move pretty quickly, but one of the things holding cars back from increasing speed is the fact that you have to stick a human driver in one. That means that a car has to at least be a certain size, and take up a certain amount of volume in a certain shape. With self-driving cars, those limitations are relieved. Self-driving cars can be any size, and of any shape.

In the future, as self-driving technology becomes ubiquitous, I’m guessing we will eventually see self-driving car races as a sport. Artificially intelligent cars will be able to use their knowledge of a racecourse and their self-driving software to maneuver around a racecourse, avoiding other cars, at incredible speeds. It would make for an interesting sport, and could bring prestige to automobile companies and to the creators of self-driving vehicle computer software. I’d certainly watch that.

Drones as entertainment

Meanwhile, here in the Orlando area, Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) has introduced a new nighttime experience for the Christmas season – a holiday light show featuring 300 drones. These drones are programmed to create aerial formations and activate a variety of colored lights to create a light show in the sky over the Disney Springs marketplace. We haven’t checked it out yet, but we certainly plan to.

Update: we checked it out:

Disney Springs drone show

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