Three Contemporary Inventors Who’re Shaping The Future

Okay, I know the title sounds corny, but it’s true. The future is here. And I don’t mean this in a cheesy, motivational, ‘let’s get shit done!’ sort of way, I mean it in a real ‘you’re-walking-around-with-a-tablet-in-your-hand-videochatting-someone-on-the-other-side-of-the-world’ way. Without anyone realizing it, the future we’ve long pictured has crept on us.

And we’re not about to stop any time soon- the really cool thing about technological growth and progress is that it’s exponential, that every six months, we effectively double where we stand. If you think this is the future now, wait till you have a watch on your wrist that can project holographs in the air, or a car that can drive itself. More cool shit is coming, and it’s about to make the present, the future. And here are the guys who are gonna make it happen:

Elon Musk : The Real Life Tony Stark

Company : SpaceX

 

Elon Musk. Doesn’t he look happy? I’d be happy too, if I were worth $20.9 billion.

You probably know some of the stuff Elon Musk has done, even if you don’t know who he is- heard about Tesla? No, not the inventor (though he was another ‘inventor of the future’), the car company, the folks who make those eco friendly electricity powered cars. He founded it. But he’s not on here for that, no. He’s actually not on here for any one thing. He’s here because of so many initiatives that he started out- even if those projects by themselves don’t pan out, he was the first to try to make them happen, the first to envision that future and then to try and make it a reality.

For instance, Musk is the man who’s been trying to bring the concept of solar power for everything, from vehicles to buildings to, one day, hopefully, entire cities, to the mainstream. He founded SpaceX, a corporation to spearhead space travel, with the stated goal of democratizing space.

He has floated the idea of the Hyperloop, a vacuum powered subsonic air travel system that would let people travel between LA and San Francisco in thirty minutes. That makes it faster than most airplanes, and the best part is, it’s cheaper than airplanes too! It’s also stupidly cool, because we are talking about the kind of clean, fast, efficient means of mass transport that most people only know from science fiction. Remember those tubes for transport that they used on Trantor in Foundation? Picture something like that. This man is trying to make it real, and to bring it to your doorstep.

Oh, and your entire idea of online payments? Yeah, that was Musk too, since he, you know, founded PayPal way back in 1998 (and PayPal, to this day, pretty much remains synonymous with online transactions).

This isn’t everything Musk has done. He is doing so much more, and he is willing to not keep it all to himself, or artificially hidden behind patents. He decided to make Tesla’s patents public, to forego the money Tesla would otherwise make off of those patents, because he wants to quicken the pace of development of electric cars. He is willing to share what he is doing with everybody, because he is envisioning a future, and he wants to see it here, now.

Jonathan Ive: The Fancy Phone Guy

Company : Apple

 

In the time it took for me to think of a witty caption to go here, Ive probably ended up finalizing the design for yet another Apple product which will then be widely imitated by the entire industry for, well, the foreseeable future.

Come on, you have to know who Jony Ive is. He is Apple’s star designer, he’s the man who designed the look of so many of their iconic products- everything from the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, and now, the upcoming Apple Watch. Recently, he’s also started designing Apple’s software, with the newest incarnations of their Mac OS X and iOS both taking heavy cues from his design language and sensibilities.

So why does Jony Ive matter, then? Because he designs Apple’s stuff, and Apple’s stuff is so iconic, everyone follows right along in their footsteps. No, listen, I don’t actually care if you think Apple is overpriced, closed, proprietary, all hail Android, and Jobs is the devil, none of that. What matters is, the design languages of Apple products, hardware and software, has influenced other products to come in their categories for, well, ever- think Macintosh’s GUI, which is still standard in computers twenty years later. Think iPhone’s massive touchscreen. Think the touch interface of iOS. Think iPad, and how it influenced tablets. Think iMacs, and how they continue to pave the way for desktop computer design to this day. I don’t care if you think Apple sucks, the fact is, whether you like it or not, what Apple does sticks.

When all your devices are influenced by Apple’s design, and when this one man is the custodian of Apple’s design, you gotta sit up and take notice, since no matter what the future looks like, he’ll be designing a large part of it.

Sebastian Thrun : How His Car is Cooler Than Yours

Company : Google. Duh.

 

After completing the self driving car, Thrun’s stated aim is to cause the downfall of humanity by creating SkyNet.

That said, of course we were gonna have Google on here.

The thing with Google is, it invents stuff as a company. It believes in a collective corporate culture, not in venerating one person. And Google, Google is doing a lot of stuff for the future. Its investment in cloud computing, open source, wearable technology all bears mention.

And then there are the self driving cars that Google is making, a project headed by Sebastian Thrun.

In the near future, we won’t drive our cars, they will drive themselves. Morning commutes to work and rush hour traffic won’t be so bad when we don’t have to be stressed about every variable associated with driving, and can be sure a very smart computer is doing it for us. Everyone can be a passenger in the future, and catch a bit of shut eye during long drives. You won’t have to worry about switching off, and you won’t even need to have a driver’s license to have a car.

It’s a great future, isn’t it? And it will come about because of Thrum’s initiative to have a self driving car. It’s getting more and more traction (get it?), and it’s becoming better and better, and, knowing Google, it won’t be too long before we have these things on the road, for cheap, everywhere. I suspect the flipside will be accepting all sorts of contextual ads on our windshields, though.

Oh well.

Featured image source : http://www.picmonkey.com/

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