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Wearables – a glimpse into the future

While some have viewed the merging of technology and physiology as fantasy, reality is showing that this is no longer just science fiction. On the contrary, the beginnings of this process are well underway. We are however, still in the early stage of this evolution.

Many people found the first wave of wearables came up short. Entry-level price points were high, and accuracy was not all that it was cracked up to be. Things have progressed since then and the market has transitioned from basic fitness trackers to more complex devices including smartwatches and sports watches. Whats more, prices have come down rapidly.

In the next few years we expect wearable tech will become much more powerful. Of lots of promise is something that is being developed by Rockley Photonics. Their clinic-on-the-wrist wearables will be able to continuously monitor a bunch of stats including core body temperature, blood pressure, body hydration, alcohol, lactate, glucose trends and much more from the wrist.

The hope is that we will get the first such wearables off the production line in 2023. It is worth noting, even if that turns out to be correct – it will probably be a few more years before tracking all of that from the wrist becomes commonplace.

What does the medium to long term future hold?

Search the internet, and you’ll find a plethora of articles attempting to predict where technology will lead us in the next few decades. One name that stands apart is Ray Kurzweil.

Wearables – a glimpse into the future

Bill Gates calls Ray, “the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence.”

So who is this mystery man?

He has received 20 honorary doctorates, been awarded honors from three U.S. presidents, and has authored 7 books (5 of which have been bestsellers).

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

Ray Kurzweil is the principal inventor of many technologies ranging from the first CCD flatbed scanner to the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind. He is also the chancellor and co-founder of Singularity University, and the guy employed by Google to direct its artificial intelligence development.

While he hasn’t been precisely right in every single prediction, his track record in making forecasts is very impressive.

Ray Kurzweil’s predictions

So what does the future hold according to Ray? Strap on, it makes for exciting (and scary) reading.


  • The decade in which the revolution in Nanotechnology is to begin allowing humans to vastly overcome the inherent limitations of biology.
  • This decade also marks the revolution in Robotics, as an AI is expected to pass the Turing test by the last year of the decade, meaning it can pass for a human being.
  • Early in this decade, humanity will have the requisite hardware to emulate human intelligence within a $1,000 personal computer, followed shortly by effective software models of human intelligence towards the middle of the decade.
  • Computers less than 100 nm in size will be possible. As one of their first practical applications, nanomachines will be used for medical purposes. For example, highly advanced medical nanobots will perform detailed brainscans on live patients. Accurate computer simulations of the entire human brain will exist due to these hyper-accurate brainscans, and the workings of the brain will be understood.
  • Medical technology will be much more advanced than it is today, and the “tipping point” of human life expectancy will have been reached, with every new year of research guaranteeing at least one more year of life expectancy.
  • Nanobots capable of entering the bloodstream to “feed” cells and extract waste will exist by the end of this decade. They will make the normal mode of human food consumption obsolete.
  • By the late 2020s, nanotech-based manufacturing will be in widespread use, radically altering the economy as all sorts of products can suddenly be produced for a fraction of their traditional-manufacture costs.
  • By the later part of this decade, virtual reality will be so high-quality that it will be indistinguishable from real reality.
  • The many variations of “Human Body 2.0” (as Kurzweil calls it) are incrementally accumulated into this and the following decade, with each organ and body system having its own course of refinement and development. It ultimately consists of a nanotechnological system of nourishment and circulation, obsolescing many internal organs, brain-extension and an improved skeleton.


  • Mind uploading becomes successful and perfected by the end of this decade as humans become software-based: living out on the web, projecting bodies whenever they want or need (whether in virtual or real reality), and living indefinitely so long as they maintain their “mind file”.
  • Eventually, all human beings will migrate to this postbiological state except for those who wish to remain unenhanced: the transbiological era giving way to the postbiological era.
  • Nanomachines could be directly inserted into the brain and could interact with brain cells to totally control incoming and outgoing signals. As a result, truly full-immersion virtual reality could be generated without the need for any external equipment.
  • Using brain nanobots, recorded or real-time brain transmissions of a person’s daily life known as “experience beamers” will be available for other people to remotely experience.
  • Recreational uses aside, nanomachines in peoples’ brains will allow them to greatly expand their cognitive, memory and sensory capabilities, to directly interface with computers, and to “telepathically” communicate with other.
  • The same nanotechnology should also allow people to alter the neural connections within their brains, changing the underlying basis for the person’s intelligence, memories and personality.
  • The many variations of “Human Body 3.0” are gradually implemented during this and the following decade; It mostly likely lacks a fixed, corporeal form and can alter its shape and external appearance at will via foglet-like nanotechnology.


  • People spend most of their time in full-immersion virtual reality.
  • Nonbiological intelligence will be billions of times more capable than biological intelligence

2045: The Singularity

  • $1,000 buys a computer a billion times more intelligent than every human combined.
  • The technological singularity occurs as artificial intelligences surpass human beings as the smartest and most capable life forms on the Earth. Technological development is taken over by the machines, who can think, act and communicate so quickly that normal humans cannot even comprehend what is going on. From this point onwards, technological advancement is explosive, under the control of the machines, and thus cannot be accurately predicted (hence the term “Singularity”).
  • The Singularity is an extremely disruptive, world-altering event that forever changes the course of human history. The extermination of humanity by violent machines is unlikely because sharp distinctions between man and machine will no longer exist thanks to the existence of cybernetically enhanced humans and uploaded humans.

All of this sounds incredible, but think back 10 to 20 years ago. Just like Ray’s predictions are hard to believe today, the internet, the iPhone, Google would have seemed unlikely back then. And they would have seemed like science fiction only a few decades earlier.

Now you might be wondering if Ray’s predictions have changed. After all, he published them nearly two decades ago. The short answer to this is – no. We are still right on schedule. And another book in the series is scheduled for publication in June 2024 – it will be called The Singularity is Nearer. Check out his recent interview on the Lex Freedman podcast.

Moore’s Law

Ray’s predictions are a byproduct of the power of Moore’s Law.

Moore’s Law contends that as components get smaller, products gain efficiency and become more powerful. Moore’s law is part of a continuum of exponential expansion of computational power that extends back hundreds and hundreds of years. This means that in addition to accurately charting the progress of semiconductor technology from 1960 until now, it goes further. As before that there were other computing technologies, back to the abacus and beyond.

What this means is, that you can think of current wearables as the Osborne Executive portable computer strapped to your wrist.

Wearables – a glimpse into the future

This image shows an Osborne Executive portable computer, from 1982, with a Zilog Z80 4 MHz CPU, and a 2007 Apple iPhone with a 412 MHz ARM11 CPU; the Executive weighs 100 times as much, has nearly 500 times the volume, costs approximately 10 times as much (adjusted for inflation), and has about 1/100th the clock frequency of the smartphone.

5G, which is ultra-reliable and has low-latency, has gradually started rolling out. Currently most wearables are connected to WiFi or Bluetooth at all times. With 5G they will always be connected untethering them from smartphones and allowing them to live on the cloud. First we’ll have 5G fitness trackers and smartwatches, then 5G smart clothes.

Wearables will go much further

As hard as it is to believe, ultimately wearables will go much further, even going into ingestibles. In the next few years, it is likely that some people will start to rely on embedded devices – technology that is physically implanted into their bodies. And most people will choose to implant these devices as it will improve their quality of life and extend their lifespans.

There is little doubt that human beings are increasingly merging with technology. Some are of the opinion this is a good thing while others, such as Elon Musk, offer words of caution – particularly about AI.

What is clear is that computers are no longer just for our desks and pockets. They are now proudly displayed on our bodies and will one day merge with them. The innovations that will enable this are inevitable and already well underway!

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Ivan Jovin

Ivan has been a tech journalist for over 7 years now, covering all kinds of technology issues. He is the guy who gets to dive deep into the latest wearable tech news.

One thought on “Wearables – a glimpse into the future

  • Some adjustments to these projection timelines:

    Regarding the 2 points he mentioned for the 2020s, virtual reality will seem as believable as real reality and by the last year of this decade AI will be close to or equal to human level intelligence human intelligence. I believe these two predictions will pan out to be correct by the end of the 2020s. but the other points he mentioned will be more realistically achievable and for wide use for the consumer un the early 2030s not the 2020s. You also forgot to mention that by the mid-to-late 2020s we will have full level 5 autonomy driving vehicles. Also neglected to mention the widespread use of drones of all sizes and they will be a common observance whenever looking at the sky.

    I believe every point he mentioned for the 2030s will be possible to achieve by then so I think he’s actually spot on. the 2030s technological progress in the fields of artificial intelligence virtual reality Robotics and nanotechnology will seem like magic compared to what we have today so I believe he is right even though they seem so sci-fi.

    2040s, technological singularity he is not the only one who has picked this date range and I believe again he is right we will have technological singularity by the mid 2040 s by the 2040 it would be the same as if we compare the world of 2000 to the world of 1900.


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