Tonawanda News

Columns

January 27, 2013

DUVALL: Taking a look into the future

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — Another bold Davos prediction? We’ll all be sitting in self-driving cars in a few years.

I’m inherently skeptical about any transportation-related predictions ever since we were promised flying cars in by sometime in Ronald Reagan’s second term. This is by far the most let down I’ve ever been by a prediction. I WANT MY FLYING CAR! WHERE IS IT?!

But there’s an actual question I’m willing to consider: Would self-driving cars be safer? Seriously, most GPS units can’t ever seem to figure out when to say I should turn. I picture myself lounging in my car, sipping coffee and reading the paper while it drives me to work, only to look up and realize I’m about to careen into a McDonalds drive thru because the car thinks it’s my office instead.

Upside? Old people aren’t in control of vehicles and no one will ever need a designated driver. Drinks on me!

Health care

Doctors and researchers agreed research into genetics will continue to unlock clues to a multitude of illnesses, particularly mental illnesses. Scientists envision being able to alter improperly formed or performing cells to address such things as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

I have a cynical prediction: No one is really going to pay enough money to fix problems we presently address by sticking the mentally ill in state wards. The research is certainly interesting, but where’s the financial motive for companies to profit from helping people with no means to repay them?

Technology

Another bold prediction from Davos: A huge increase in 3D printing.

Or, as we used to call it, making stuff.

Eric DuVall is the managing editor of the Tonawanda News. His column appears Wednesdays and Sundays. Contact him at eric.duvall@tonawanda-news.com.

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