Your jet pack is still on backorder – Jason Shellen

Yes, we were promised jet packs and flying cars and … we’re still not going to have them. Even by 2030. I’m sorry, maybe by 2040? However, here are a few of my thoughts on what may transpire in the world of technology, transportation, and politics by 2030.

  1. Large SUV sales begin to dive as autonomous drone “follow vehicles” become popular. Users of a follow vehicle will be able to pack their belongings into a chase vehicle that will follow you to your destination, especially for long trips. Services will spring up that allow you to rent them short term a la Lyft. You can even order them with popular sporting goods like rafts, tents, and skis pre-loaded. Tesla and Toyota are the most popular brands in this space. Designs are small, similar to sub-compacts like the Bolt EV. The vehicle would arrive at your house ahead of the trip, allow you to pack with luggage and will return to pick up as needed. It can be used to follow, lead or go on ahead or trail behind. Side-effect: coupe and sports cars sales pick up again, though car subscription bundle services are so popular you can swap out vehicle types at any time for a fee.

2. The NTSA finally agrees to autonomous driving standards. All vehicles made in 2030 will have fully autonomous driving and a dedicated lane for autonomous driving will begin appearing in progressive states.

3. AI has made such leaps forward that people become fans of a popular social media service that allows you to record an audio story and a short animated/CGI film will be created from your dictation. Enterprising filmmakers win Sundance with a long-form version of this tech. Motion Picture Academy puts award rules in place to prevent AI from replacing people in film awards.

4. Instagram has become a juggernaut in e-commerce. While comparisons to Pinterest or Amazon have been bounced around for a while, Instagram found a way to unlock the power of their influencers. They become less of a place to share photos and begin to look more like a subscription service for goods and services discovery.

5. The rise of “no-code” apps forced Microsoft and Google into an acquisition frenzy in this space. The race to enable anyone to make an app impacts the App Stores for some time with a flood of mediocre apps. The first popular “no-code” app created on one of these platforms reaches widespread popularity and services will spring up to support better UX and design choices for these apps.

6. Controversy ensued when the first company to offer a cochlear implant for non-hearing impaired humans was marketed in the mid-20s. Apple and Samsung offer “invisible” air buds that use transduction technology and respond to touching your ear and making gestures.

7. Apple’s first foray into AR was a commercial miss. Bulky eyewear designs felt clunky and offered limited enhancements over traditional methods of checking notifications. Subsequent versions feel more natural and health benefits are realized. An app that warns about mental health thru voice and pupil dilation analysis is popular. An advanced version in 2030 allows you to do everything you would have done on an iPhone & AirPods with glasses.

8. The NFL finally loses enough fans that they began a PR effort to be seen as safer and openly welcomed gay players. Little changed in terms of safety.

9. Working from home comprises 10% of the American workforce. An effort to unionize WFH workers in the customer support industry leads to the creation of industry standards around working hours and “contactable time”.

10. TVs begin to disappear both physically and literally. With more people watching on headsets and thru more affordable home projectors, TVs pivot to being a piece of ambient art in your house. TVs are still glass but either clear or use an eInk like substance to display static or animated artwork.

11. With fears of the damage to climate, work travel will decrease for the first time in years. By 2030, with serious climate reversal efforts underway — companies will be encouraged through tax breaks to use alternate modes of collaboration and transportation. Railways saw a resurgence and an increase in speed. A 3D and hologram company develops the first small business holo monitor. Visual communication coaches have become a lucrative career for Fortune 500 employees.

12. Suburban cities embraced micro-mobility as a way to combat local congestion. eBike/scooter chargers are available as part of the large nationwide charging network.

13. Google sees its first challenge in search as a start-up begins to focus on “pre-answering” users queries based on a monitoring profile set to listen to signals from a user’s life. Services that answer these questions for you to compete in an auction reminiscent of GoTo/Overture.

14. Facebook was slapped with a huge fine under President Warren and preemptively breaks divisions of the company into pieces before the government has a chance to do so. WhatsApp was sold to a financial services company for less than its original price. Zuckerberg stepped down as CEO, but stayed on as President and spent more time with the Zuckerberg Chan initiative. He ultimately stepped down to run for US President in 2028. His bid eventually ended in defeat with a loss to former Vice President Booker.

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