A rotund plastic figure with a pen goes over a long document titled 'Santa's List'

A Technology Wishlist

There are a ton of things going on in my head right now, and I’m not sure that I can really focus enough on a lot of them to develop coherent paragraphs, so I’m just going to make this as easy on myself as possible and drop a simple list of things that I hope come true in the next year with regards to technology. Some of these points are pretty much done already, and a good number of them are more pie-in-the-sky-ish, but they’ve all  occurred to me in the past week or so as things that would be really awesome to have happen in 2018.

In no particular order, it would be truly awesome if, by the end of 2018…

  • …we could find a way to use technology to secure our election process and ensure that the level of interference from any party outside the United States is minimal.
  • …the courts hear arguments against the recent changes to Net Neutrality put into place by the FCC and strikes down the changes to the regulations, OR…
  • …congress realizes how awful the changes are and put into place rules that either restore Net Neutrality outright or place the internet into the jurisdiction of another regulatory body while guaranteeing that the internet be regulated as a utility, OR…
  • …there somehow comes a change of administration and the FCC, and the current body decides to go back and do what it should have done in the first place.
  • …Alexa can string together skills and specific music requests as a part of its Routines, so I can just say one thing as I crawl into bed and have all of my usual commands automatically execute
  • …wireless carriers can provide enough bandwidth and enough data throughput per user, and do so cheaply enough, that we can start relying on 4G and 5G connections to provide our primary internet connections in homes.
  • …enough departments across the country can find the funding to hire a faculty member to teach and research in the field of Digital Humanities.
  • …the same technological food wizardry responsible for the likes of Halo Top can accomplish a similar level of success with foods like pizza, cheesecake, and carbohydrates in general.
  • …the folks working on Solar Freakin’ Roadways can solve their myriad design issues and start rolling out a useful, if limited, form of their product.
  • …Tim Cook would make an executive decision to start treating Apple customers as if they’re adults who can make reasonable choices about their own devices and how they want to use them.
  • …voice-to-text software finally gets so good that we start to see keyboards as an utterly secondary input method; this also applies to computers and the typing of long, academic-style works.
  • …the singularity happened, but, y’know, like, in a good way?
  • …Bing finally figures out a viable way it can be useful to people and therefore can actually drive competition.
  • …smartphones come with RFID chip readers that can actually help us return lost pets without taking them to the vet or the shelter first.
  • …we have legit transporters, both effectively destroying the scarcity-based economy used to subjugate the masses while elevating the extreme minority to previously unheard-of levels of wealth and simultaneously rendering all this “driverless car” nonsense moot.
  • …we use 3D printing and renewable energy to rebuild areas hit hardest by the hurricanes of this year, proving that sustainable construction and infrastructure can both be cost-effective and a catalyst of economic growth.
  • …we have renewed our national drive to explore the solar system, putting actual money and resources into NASA-based manned missions to put a permanent base on the moon (see my point about transporters above)
  • …we finally figure out all the messy details for that whole “transparent aluminum” thing that Scotty told us about back in 1986.
  • …we beat cancer, because screw cancer.

There are a whole bunch more that I’m sure I could add, but I don’t want to get too greedy here on this lovely Festivus evening. Instead, I’ll just leave off with the one thing I really would like to see with regards to technology, although I suspect that the solution lies less with machines and more with the ones who use them:

More than anything, I’d like people to start seeing people on the other side of social media posts, not just ‘bots who disagree with the version of the truth they cling to. If we could manage that, maybe we could start having meaningful conversations again, the sort where we leave with something to think about, rather than just a head full of unflattering names for the other side of the discussion. I think that would bring us a lot closer to the other things on this list, too.

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