Star Wars technology in a Terminator world

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Updated Oct 16, 2015

When Star Wars was made in 1977, George Lucas’ special effects were cutting edge; light years ahead of anything ever seen before.

By 2015, the effects are so predictable and dated it’s almost comical to think that they were ever the jaw dropping display that they were nearly 40 years earlier.

In the 70s and early 80s, it was hard to imagine that level of cinematic sophistication even existed, much less would ever be widespread. Things change.

The Terminator franchise made Star Wars special effects look anything but special, and every low-budget B movie is capable of extraordinary special effects.

Technology changes. The exceptional becomes mundane.

Michio Kaku, a world renowned physicist and futurist, served as the keynote speaker at CV Outlook in Dallas in August, and much of his talk centered on what lies ahead.

As you can guess, the technological revolution is perpetual and it seems we’re hardly close to its apex.

Before long, our entire lives will be digitized, Kaku said, and as a result the word “computer” will practically disappear.

Why? Because there will be no computers like we see today. Practically everything will be a computer and the Internet will be accessible from everywhere.

When it comes to buying consumer goods (specifically clothes), you’ll upload your 3D measurements to the Cloud and send them to a manufacturer who will create clothes specifically for you. “All garments will fit, all products will fit our tastes,” he said of a process he called “mass customization through computers and 3D printing.”

This new-age retailing is what Kaku calls perfect capitalism; streamlining the process of buying and selling everything from underwear to oil filters.

“Consumers don’t know what things cost. Producers don’t know what the consumer wants,” he says of today’s conundrum. “In the future, the consumer will go into a store [and] will know what’s available, how much it costs, and who’s cheating him [on price].”

One area where Kaku wasn’t bullish was the area of “driverless” cars/trucks. He sees it unlikely that there will ever be a time where human interaction won’t be needed behind the wheel. More likely is the possibility the human won’t have to be part of the navigation of the vehicle. However, a person will still need to be the critical decision-maker while on the road.

Much like robo-trucks won’t be taking over our roads, drones are unlikely to take over the sky (or freight movement.)

Drones are likely to carve out a segment in niche deliveries to remote areas, but thanks to a lack of an infrastructure to track and regulates them, drones are unlikely to see widespread usage.

I don’t think it’s far-fetched to expect some pretty incredible life-altering technologies to come down the chute in the next few decades; from how we find information to how we do business.

If your great grandparents could see some of the things you do everyday, they would be floored. My grandparents grew up without easy access to a phone. I carry a phone in my pocket that takes pictures and can email them to the other side of the world in just a few seconds.

That kind of technology would likely have sounded absurd in the 1920s.

But even nearly 100 years later, human interaction and our ability to think critically is key.

And that’s a good thing as fans of the Terminator franchise; a movie series that doesn’t turn out well for us humans.

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