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Welcome to world of 2099

The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.

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Soldiers in 2099

One of the key historical events of that time was the American Civil War, fought from 1861 to 1865. It was fought with muskets, cannons and horses. The US military today uses nuclear weapons, GPS, drones and even brainwave technology.

“Take these two in battle: who will win? How long would the battle last? If you were a civil war soldier with a musket and you see this helicopter gunship coming at you, what is going through your mind? You may be dead before you see it. It will seem to you like Armageddon, judgement day. 

“In the same way, if soldiers from 2099 visit us today, it will seem like an alien invasion. You won’t recognise it. You will be gone before you even know. It will seem to be awesome, it will be alien, it will be godlike.

“That’s the baseline of technology that’s going to change. Its huge. You can’t see it happening but it will be drastic. I can tell you it’s going to be magic and it’s something you can’t predict.”

The reality is that much of the technology that will change the world of 2099 already exists in a basic form today. From health to energy to transport, we are already at the early stages of that future. However, some of what is being planned now is still inconceivable to most of us.

The futuristic Marina Bay Stands towers over Singapore

Health in 2099

“How long should humans live in 2099? In 1850 people were living to an average of less than 40. Now it is normal to live to over 90. Malaysia just elected a new prime minister who has turned 93. The World Health Organisation just categorised ‘youth’ as people from 18 to 65.

“How long do you think people will live? Based on these trends, by 2099 people will live to 160 years. You may not be 100 percent human, you may have a 3D-printed heart and lungs. You will be partly synthetic. But not altogether. We can 3D-print anything, but we can’t print the brain. We’re working on that. If we can print a brain, we will be immortal.”

The problem with health technology in the early 21st century, he says, is that people are still treated like cars. Instead, they should be treated like airplanes.

“Today, if you’re driving and your car breaks down, you’re stuck at the side of the road until someone fixes it. If you’re in an airplane and something goes wrong, you die, so they go to great lengths to prevent something from going wrong.

“Health technology is sick. When you’re sick, you go to a doctor, but there should actually be a pill at home that fixes you automatically. If you have a heart attack today, if I knew one minute before the event, I could save you, instead of you being a burden on the economy. We have to move from reactive health to proactive health. We have to move from being sick to increasing health spend. 

“We don’t die from flu, virus and bacteria. We die because we are killing ourselves, because we live the good life. If we increase health, we increase lifespan.”

  •    Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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