Tomorrow's Technology

Full Disclosure: Incredible Future Technology--Lies Ahead

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Illustration: John Cuneo
Eight-core processors! Super-smart browser-based apps! Ubiquitous high-speed wireless! Personal robotics! You may find the glimpses of the future in this special issue thrilling, but remember: What matters isn't the technology. It's the way that gee-whiz digital stuff will truly change our lives. Just look at these innovations due to arrive any day now:

In-control advertising: Think endless pop-ups are bothersome? You ain't seen nothin' yet! Thanks to Microsoft's new Hyperactive Y Chromosome technology, your browser will be able to assert complete control over your machine no matter how much you try to overcome it.

Want to mute that loud ad? Don't bother--the advertiser will own your volume control! Think you can skip past that 2-minute commercial? Not until you take a quiz that shows you've watched it. New industry research proves productivity soars when the browser decides when and how often you need a break from mundane chores. (The optimal schedule is remarkably like the ad cycle in a sitcom.) You'll spend the day in the thrall of clever advertising executives rather than boring colleagues--and will work better because of it! How great is that?

Refreshing new interfaces: Why bother spending loads of time with tricky interfaces that Microsoft is just going to be changing with the next release? Thanks to multicore CPUs and new graphics engines, interfaces can change on the fly every 15 minutes. Will you work with menus, icons, or voice recognition? Yes, yes, and yes, depending on the results of a clever randomization technique designed to keep you guessing. A new Intermittent Interface of the Month is automatically installed with every security fix pack. It's gonna be exciting!

Fourth of July every day: New battery technologies? At your service to turn your notebook into a multifunction miracle! Add-on Fryolators will harness former knee-burning waste energy to cook donuts and tempura. Novel anode impurity techniques will create sparkling battery fireworks at random intervals--a real boon for the housing, furniture, auto, and airline replacement parts industries. And hard as it may be to believe, much of this functionality is available right now!

Hi-def iPods: Thanks to patented SVT--Screen Virtualization Technology--you'll be able to watch movies stored on portable devices in 3D high-definition on a virtual 100-inch screen anywhere you go. Just tap into your multiterabyte Storage Area Network and slap on your 3D Video Helmet. A breakthrough known as DST--Dynamic Screen Transparency--will even let you watch while you drive. Now, that's livin' large!

Speedier calls: When there's so much VoIP bandwidth at the ready, why should you listen to your caller a moment longer than you have to? Special compression algorithms will accelerate speech on both ends without a trace of that "chipmunk" effect. Skeptics may scoff, but experts say you'll be able to finish conversations in half the time. Works with texting too: "Sp dg?" It's a productivity miracle!

Neural word processing: Who has time for typing? As our machines are crammed with formerly unimaginable power, you'll just think the word and it'll appear on the screen. Gee, I wonder if it's time for lunch. Is that eBay auction for the vintage Barry Bonds bat still going on? I bet the boss is going to call one of those endless meetings. Have I got enough words to fill out this page? Some 500 words per minute--and more! What an amazing productivity booster that will be!

Special Report: Tomorrow's Technology

The Future of Your PC The Future of Robots
The Future of Cell Phones The Future of Privacy
The Future of the Web The Future of Nanotech
The Future of OSs The Future of You
The Future of Fun 100 Fearless Forecasts
Incredible Tech: Lies Ahead A Look Back

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