How many kids grew up awaiting the day when humans would travel the earth with individual jet packs strapped to their backs? How many dreamt of full meals that come in tablet form or teleporters? Those technologies haven’t happened. Even so, in the last twenty years alone, we’ve seen enough new tech to fill an early 1990s science-fiction flick. With tablet computers we can carry all the computing power of a bulky desktop computer in our hands. With smartphones we are able to instantly send text messages to our friends and due to GPS, we never have to get lost while driving again.
So, with all of this technology, why don’t we have jet packs yet? What variables are keeping us from making these technological leaps?
Building a Better Battery
First, there is battery power. Basically, the batteries running our smartphones and tablets have to be recharged too frequently. A more powerful battery will permit us to run our gadgets for weeks at a time and charge them again in mere minutes. This battery doesn’t exist yet. However, it might be coming: researchers at Chicago’s Northwestern University are creating a far more powerful lithium-ion battery. If their prototype becomes commercially viable, it will probably be a game-changer.
Improving Internet Access
It may seem like most people are linked to the Internet, but this is a fallacy. The majority of the world doesn’t have access to the Internet. While this may not seem like it could suppress technological advancements, it does. The idea is that by limiting the number of people who can contribute to the interconnectedness the Internet provides, we are reducing the amount of individuals who can collaborate. Until the majority of people are connected, technological breakthroughs will not happen as quickly as they could.
The Business of New Tech
Last but not least there is the red tape. Business matters, like patent laws, can hamper technological progress. Individuals and businesses that develop revolutionary things have to first navigate these waters. But if government regulations are clear and easy to comprehend, it could eliminate some of this.
While these are a few of the issues that prevent technology from advancing, it still is advancing at a rapid pace. So who knows what is in store for us in the next year or two.