I'm glad I was born into the modern era. A lot of people I know always sigh and say they wish they could've been born in a different one, but then I remind them that if some disease we take for granted today didn't kill them, then social media withdrawal would.
Between smart phones, the Internet, video games, and the ability to drink obscure beers from the other side of the world without having to go there, the modern era is hands-down awesome, and as technology can only go forward it's looking to get even more awesome. Luckily for us though, we may not have to wait very long for some of the world's most mind-blowing technologies if the following three are any indication.
1. 3D Printers:
If ever my poor, badly abused liver (think of it as like a fish in Lake Michigan, begging anyone it meets for a mercy kill) could cheer, it would've been when scientists bio-engineered an artificial ear with a 3D printer and some living cells. While my liver was dismayed that it's still a far cry from organ cloning, it shows how far 3D printing has come as a technology and just how far it is possible to go.
Admittedly, 3D printing isn't particularly a new technology (It's been used for decades in the manufacturing, industrial design, medical, automotive, and aerospace industries to name a few), but thanks to dedicated hobbyists, the price of 3D printers is slowly coming down to where the average person can afford them. Aside from the artificial ear, 3D printers have also gotten large in the news due to gun enthusiasts making their own parts, guns, and ammunition (All of which are fully functional). The future of 3D printing is looking bright and is as limitless as the horizon, whether you'll (Eventually) want to replace an organ, make your own ammunition, craft a bong, or even an adult toy.
Those are some of the most prominent current uses people are making of this technology. I'll let you wallow in the humanity of all that for a moment
Another thing that has been big in the news lately. Anyone who saw Jurassic Park as a child walked away from it thinking one of two things: Either they realized that it was probably a good thing for extinct species (specifically those that were once at the top of the food chain) to stay extinct, or they wanted a pet Velociraptor.
I sided with the former school of thought until I realized that reviving dinosaurs would allow me to finally eat a rack of ribs the likes of which has been tipping over Fred Flintstone's car over for decades. Jokes aside, the ability to bring an extinct species back to life raises many an ethical question about ownership of living creatures and where we draw the line of acceptability for the "We created it, we patented it, we own it!" line of thought.
As Jurassic Park showed, the technology is frighteningly powerful, a very subtle version of nuclear weapons — but unlike nuclear weaponry this technology can be used for good. Though scientists have punctured our dreams of pet velociraptors recently, extinct species are game for rebirth. Given the number of critically endangered species in the world, it's a very heartening thought that very soon we might have the technology to preserve these species and keep them alive.
With genetic technology, we may be able to keep many species of endangered animals around for future generations despite the unending hunt by Chinese herbal medicine conglomerates to use these creatures' parts to create the ultimate aphrodisiac (Hello, humanity!). On a colder, more capitalistic level, this technology could just be used to breed these creatures to sell the parts to said Chinese herbal medicine conglomerates to make a profit from their unending hunt.
3. Google Glass:
Ever since reading Warren Ellis's Transmetropolitan (if you like comics and like politics, stop reading this crap that I’m typing, go to Amazon, and give Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson all your money!) I have wanted a genuine pair of functioning Liveshades. They'd come with high resolution photo and video capturing capability, high capacity storage, and all packed into a pair of glasses that I have to wear anyway. For now Google Glass is the closest I can get, and while it does look a little funny and is already getting banned before it’s even released (do these places allow smart phones, I wonder?) it's going to be awesome.
Aside from video and photos, Google Glass will be able to translate a phrase into another language, give directions, display weather, and of course search Google for things. I'm probably looking forward to Glass more than both previous technologies in this article, whether I’ll be using it to document a ride on a couch down a steep snowy hill because I had never encountered a snowy hill before (I have done worse on lesser whims) or a half mad solo sailing trip across the Pacific despite the fact that I have never sailed a boat before in my life.
These three are just a taste of the technologies to come, and it seems that with every passing day we have a new advancement. Once more I’m glad I live in the modern era, and I will be even happier once we get de-extinction successful. The thought of being able to guiltlessly eat deep fried baby seal or add powdered Siberian tiger extract to a dish is something I really am looking forward to.