Get ready for bionic humans.
They’ll be faster, stronger, and much smarter than we are today. They’ll wear exoskeletons made of smart materials, complete with onboard computing.
Part of their enhanced IQs may come from implants in their eyes that automatically access the wireless Web.
Not only that, these connected people will be largely free from disease and hunger, too. The human race will have plenty of food, water, and medicine to go around in a world teeming with an estimated 10 billion people by the end of this century.
Hard to believe, I know.
But my source is one of the world’s foremost experts on the future of high tech and how it will affect mankind…
I was lucky to get a chance to chat with Vivek Wadhwa for nearly half an hour by phone this week. After all, Wadhwa is in high demand these days for his writings and lectures about the future.
He holds posts at both Duke and Stanford universities. But in tech circles, he is arguably best known as the Vice President of Academics and Innovation at Singularity University. It’s a school based in Silicon Valley focused on the impact of radical new tech. Some of the nation’s great thinkers and entrepreneurs go there to gain new insights.
Wadhwa is also a trusted advisor to several governments, and his columns have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.
I think you’ll like what he had to tell me…
“People get very pessimistic when the economy is bad,” Wadhwa told me. “But if you look at the progress that has been made – we live longer lives, we have more food. There are just so many advances happening in so many fields. Sixty percent of the disease on earth is caused by (contaminated) water. We can solve that problem. If you solve water, then you solve energy. Already, solar has become cheaper than diesel in India.”
Of course, I was glad to hear that Wadhwa also believes we’re living in the Era of Radical Change.
Driven by low-cost digital breakthroughs, high tech is moving so fast and in so many areas at once that no one person can fully understand the impact all this is having our lives. Every day brings a new milestone. What used to be science fiction is quickly becoming science fact.
Take the blend of robotics and voice recognition.
“We could build robots as children using erector sets,” recalled the 55-year-old Wadhwa. “The trouble was, to build sophisticated movements required master computers. You needed a computer the size of a house to do voice recognition, if you could even do it, 30 or 40 years ago. Today, your iPhone does voice recognition. Facebook does face recognition.
“We used to dream about robot helpers. But guess what? These robots are becoming possible. We will have specialized butlers and servants within a few years because it is all very possible right now.”
And what used to be distinct fields – like biotech, nanoscience, and computing – are blending together to create profound new platforms.
“The magic happens at the intersection of technologies,” he said.
Just look at how we’ve married smartphones with medicine to create a whole new sector known as mobile health (Mhealth). Experts say the field will have$23 billion in sales in just five years. I first wrote about mobile health in June for our sister publication Money Morning, and you can find it by clicking here.
The startup AliveCor has come up with a device that connects to a smart phone and monitors your heart. In the near future, your phone will conduct DNA tests for just a few dollars, Wadhwa says.
All of which brings back around to the advent of bionic people. Wadhwa says it’s starting to occur right before our very eyes.
Take the case of Project Glass by Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) that I told you about back in April. We’re talking about a pair of glasses that can take pictures, capture video, send emails, display maps, even connect to the wireless Web.
This is a cool device, no doubt. But compared with what’s coming, it’s bulky.
In the near future, all that power will fit inside a pair of contact lenses. Or right inside your eyes, for that matter.
“The electronics are getting cheaper and smaller,” Wadhwa explains. “Google glasses are real, and there is no reason they can’t be implanted into your retina so that you’ll have capabilities better than your eyes. I’ve seen a couple of prototypes of these devices. We can have that knowledge available to us so that we can be interconnected with the rest of the world.
“We’ll also have exoskeletons made of new composite fibers or lightweight nanomaterials with onboard electronics. In the next five to seven years, we’ll have bionic capabilities in our bodies.”
Wadhwa and I agree on one more key point – that America will remain the world’s technical leader. We just have so many bright minds working to solve big problems that the U.S. can’t help but succeed in the long run.
“I have no doubt it will,” he concluded. “That’s the message – it’s going to be fine. You know, many start-ups are doing amazing things. I don’t know which ones will become the next Google or the Intel, but I know some of them will.”
And investors like us will be there to profit.