#2. Food Delivered Via High-Speed Tubes
Eating is a lot like dating: Everyone loves the end result, but it would be so much better if we could just turn on the tap and have it fire burritos and genitals our way without all of the preliminary effort. Sure, we no longer have to hunt or gather for our food, but shouldn't mankind be taking the extra step that keeps us from actually having to get up at all?
"... and then I decided, 'fuck legs.'"
Science to the Rescue
Lucky for us, FoodTubes is giving evolution a kick in the pants by working to transform our species from hunters and gathers into sitters and inhalers.
FoodTubes is a U.K.-based program that promises a food delivery system hearkening back to the old-timey pneumatic postal systems that crisscrossed many major cities back in the late 19th century. This guy will explain using his rudimentary PowerPoint skills and his best David Attenborough impression:
The idea is that computer-controlled linear induction motors would move consumer goods in lightweight cargo capsules through an intricate series of underground pipelines connecting homes to grocery stores. Each capsule would be routed similarly to how an Internet data packet is transported across the Web today. There would be thousands of terminals in homes, schools, and waste management facilities -- essentially eliminating the need for traditional cargo transport in many cases.
What initially appears to border on batshit crazy starts to make more sense when you realize that we rely on these exact types of systems to deal with sewage, water, and natural gas every freaking day. It also costs a dick-ton less to maintain an underground pipeline than it does to constantly resurface all those highways and roads that are continually getting pummeled by semis and delivery vans.
Plus, open-world video games have taught us that when a semi is around, bad shit happens.
What we're trying to say is that soon we may be feeding the masses by shoving sandwiches into those bank tubes your parents use to deposit checks (yes, checks are still things, last time we checked). So turn on the tap, baby, 'cause Jimmy John's ain't got shit on the future.
#1. Learning Via Information Injected Directly into Your Brain
There comes a time in every person's life when, lazy or not, they want or need to learn a new skill. But goddamn, learning stuff is hard -- hours upon hours of studying and practice, sometimes requiring you to actually leave the house. Well, learning may be about to get a whole hell of a lot simpler, because scientists are ripping a page directly out of The Matrix and waving their science wands at it to turn it into a reality.
"When I said 'show me,' I meant for you to demonstrate your kung fu -- not show me the scans, smartass."
Science to the Rescue
We couldn't put it much better than the National Science Foundation press release:
"New research published today in the journal Science suggests it may be possible to use brain technology to learn to play a piano, reduce mental stress, or hit a curveball with little or no conscious effort."
"He's not playing with it ... he's building it."
In case all you saw there was "Blah blah little or no conscious effort FUCK YES," allow us to elaborate: Research conducted at Boston University and ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan, demonstrated that it's possible to use decoded functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study the brain activity patterns of, say, a professional athlete and then, by using visual stimuli to recreate those same patterns in a target subject's brain, improve that subject's level of performance in that particular skill. And perhaps most interestingly, "the approach worked even when test subjects were not aware of what they were learning." That's right: Science is figuring out how to beam knowledge directly from one person's brain to another.
The research is in its early stages, but for anyone with even a passing interest in sci-fi, this conjures up a possible future in which you'll be able to download a concert pianist brain app on your smartphone and then, after a few short hours of staring at patterns on your screen, your new nickname's Beethoven ... along with everyone else who got the urge to become a concert pianist that day, but still.
And on that day, every magician in the world suddenly lost his source of income.
Of course, it's clear that such a technology could never really take off, because everyone knows that the true reward of perfecting a skill lies in all the heavy lifting and sweat that you pour into achieving your goals. Ahahaha! Shit! Sorry, we're just messing with you.
Hamish MacDonald will totally get around to making a personal website ... some other time.
For things you'll always be screwed on, check out 5 Things Technology Will Never Fix (And Why). Or learn about 6 Sci-Fi Technologies You'll Soon Have on Your Phone.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 5 Reasons Daredevil Has the Worst Villains Ever Invented.