Beyond CES: Welcome to Your Future

Beyond CES: Welcome to Your Future

Attendees wear goggles to sample Virtual Reality during the Intel press conference at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, on January 4, 2017.

SourceFrederic Brown/Getty

Why you should care

Because the smartest tech isn’t always the shiniest. 

Deals were struck and audiences were dazzled. This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) saw an electric car built from scratch, the arrival of three-dimensional audio, dancing holograms, the splashy entrance of high-tech “brainwear” and, of course, a motorcade of adorkable robots zipping around crowded conference floors in swanky Las Vegas.

But as CES — the so-called Super Bowl of the tech world — rolls to a close for the 50th time, it isn’t always easy to decipher how the puzzle pieces of tech such as virtual reality, drones, wearables and self-driving cars will all fit together to fundamentally change how we’ll commune, pray, heal or feel in the future. So we’ve done the work for you.

Virtual Reality As A Sprawling Social Network

As Samsung and Oculus begin to divvy out cheaper, better headsets in the coming years, virtual reality will naturally become commonplace in daily life. And as the technology spreads to new corners, budding social networks are sure to sprout and blossom — all within the comfy confines of virtual reality’s growing social networks like AltspaceVR. As it turns out, God may just be the first test case to bring together these vast virtual communities.

Not futuristic enough for you? As more human-like machines continue to flood homes and businesses, becoming a prominent part of everyday life, it won’t be long before people will start to worship them. Enter the wacky world of robot religions.

Life Extension, At Your Service

To the clunky urns and graveyard grievings of yesteryear, R.I.P. — artificial intelligence is here to help you to live forever. Indeed, a growing number of AI startups are stirring up the business of eternal rest with a techno-futurist mission in mind. Humai will pour your speech patterns, mannerisms and worldviews into an app so your loved ones can still text with you when you’re six feet under. A startup called eterni.me will bequeath a computer-based avatar to your friends and family so they can posthumously Skype with you. And if that’s not enough, you can commemorate yourself with ETER9, an AI-infused social network that will generate posts on your behalf and interact with other netizens long after you’ve kicked the bucket.

Next-Gen Wearables Will Read Your Mind

We’ve moved beyond the boring Fitbit. A growing crop of devices has already taken wearables one — excuse the pun — step further: reading your mind. These devices can even track your emotions in real-time, whether you’re down in the dumps or raging with white-hot fury.

Others known as personal-safety wearables are making their way onto store shelves, all aimed at tackling the traumatizing threats of assault and rape. Occly, which doesn’t read your mind (yet, anyway), connects to your smartphone and features four cameras to record your surroundings, along with ear-piercing sirens loud enough to wake up your neighbors, a mic to capture sounds and, most important, a lifeline to a 24/7 emergency-response center.

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