It’s possible, today, to go home and have your lights automatically turn on with geofencing. You can throw on a pair of high-tech goggles and immerse yourself into impossible-to-exists worlds. You can write on digitized paper that plays back recordings with the tap of a specialized pen.
There are so many phenomenal ways technology has entered our lives, reinvigorating them and allowing us to live comfortably. Every year, there are countless advancements in tech that make it feel more and more as if we are living in the movies we watched when we were younger.
There are still places for improvement, however. Where we feel an expanse of technological improvement in one space, there are still pockets of old-style livelihood within our society, or spaces that still don’t feel as fleshed out as they could be.
One of the most glaring issues I've noticed in day-to-day life is the ineptitude of the public transit system. Its processes have hardly changed as I've grown older, and still feels horribly out of date – most public transits I go on still require cash or a specific card, where in Boston it is the CharlieCard. There is no support for mobile payment, which would expedite the process heavily. On top of that, the trains themselves still operate very poorly in their own right, and lack greatly in performance compared to other nations' transit systems, such as the famous trains in Japan known as the Shinkansen; Japan's transit system is widely renowned for their reliability and efficiency, far surpassing anything you could find in the United States today.
Public transportation is not the only form of travel that is still behind, however, as personal transportation also is in need of an upgrade. Elon Musk has been hard at work with his Tesla car line, but for many people they are still not as affordable as many other options, and until the electric car is more of a standard in today's society where a majority can reap the benefits, it still is, to me, not a completed step in the right direction– but it's a start. A large majority of vehicles we see on the road today still consume gasoline to run, and this does damage not only to our wallets by refilling our gas tanks but also the environment, emitting fumes into the atmosphere unfit for our lungs. It's only common sense to move vehicles towards being universally electric, but it's still not practical, as not only are current options very expensive, but there is also the issue with longevity, and long travel. There is still a ways to go.
Backtracking to mobile payments being a huge potential beneficiary to expediting public transit, it would also heavily benefit shopping in general. Registers do support mobile payments, but the process still feels cumbersome and hardly any time is saved in the process. Amazon's "Amazon Go" stores are introducing a revolutionary way of shopping which entirely eliminates the need for the checkout process, which is a step in the right direction for technology, and gives businesses the opportunity to direct their employee focus on customer service over efficiency in checking out in a timely manner. It's an idea that is, for now, restricted as a prototype on a limited basis, but is an interesting approach towards a new way of living.
Similarly to shopping, dining out is a process that is still heavily based on seemingly ancient practices, and no, your local coffee shop with their sleek touchscreen registers do not constitute a technological leap in the infrastructure of the modern restaurant. Luckily, your friendly neighborhood minds here at MakesSense are already hard at work on this project, with Chowdown looking to change what it means to go out to eat every night. Servers are still scribbling down our every word as we fumble over coffee-stained menus, while a stressed mother of four several tables down is waving her hand feverishly because her youngest just spilled his chocolate milk all over his mashed potatoes. It's a high-stress environment in many ways that technology has yet to remedy, and it's high time we get with the program when it comes to dining out and create a system that expedites ordering, paying, and getting service.
Technology is constantly growing, and it's so exciting to see, but there are still so many ways we can advance our livelihood even more. For those minds out there, looking to give life to that new idea and find a market to put it in, consider this: what is an aspect of your life, or life in general, that you think needs remodeling? Consider the points in the article here, but there are so many more. Let us know if you think of anything else you'd love to have technology renovate. It's an ever-growing industry in a constantly upgrading world. Ten years ago, you wouldn't have believed what we have today, so what you don't believe is feasible now, will be a reality in another decade. Get to it.