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David Gardner’s Tech Predictions For the Next 50 Years

By Motley Fool Staff - Feb 13, 2016 at 7:28AM

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The Motley Fool's co-founder talks about major tech trends he believes will change society in the coming decades.

In 1964, legendary science fiction author Isaac Asimov famously forecast how he thought technology would change by 2014. Some of those predictions were eerily accurate, although others didn't quite hit the mark. (Sadly, we haven't yet colonized the moon.)

In this clip, Alison Southwick and Robert Brokamp ask Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner what technologies he sees taking off and changing the world over the next 50 years.

See the full podcast by clicking here. A transcript follows the video.


This podcast was recorded on Jan. 15, 2016.

Alison Southwick: What is your completely wildly outrageous maybe-a-little-bit-irresponsible Isaac Asimov prediction for 50 years from now?

David Gardner: I love Motley Fool Answers. I'm very much hoping that nobody's listening to this 50 years from now, this particular one, because I earlier talked about how we don't know what's happening in five years at this point ...

Southwick: I couched it as irresponsible and outrageous! It's OK!

Gardner: I love that, thank you. So, I certainly think that some things like massive growth in human longevity, probably aided by technology, is very, very likely to happen. We've already seen longevity increase by a third globally in the last 50 years. Time magazine two years ago had a cover that said people being born today may live forever -- and that was Time magazine, on its cover.

So I think there are some shocking things when we think about the implications of long human life, and I think that's going to happen. But just to be a little bit less ambitious than that, some combination of ... first of all, virtual reality is such an important medium.

How often are new media born? In my lifetime, the most prominent thing that was born was the Internet. Before that, for some people older than us, it was television. A new medium. And before that, radio. When these things happen, they're really plate tectonic. For 30 years or so, there's huge value creation that happens.

We're really just at the dawn of virtual reality. It's such a profound and important technology. It will be ubiquitous in 50 years from now, and we'll be doing everything from replacing our universities -- which is another little prediction that I'll make -- through learning and communications and entertainment. I mean, the implications are really deep and vast. So, I'm just a big bull on virtual reality as the dawn of a new medium. If you're an entrepreneur, I would suggest you look in or go work that space. If you're just coming out of college right now, I would say find a job at one of those companies. It's the same thing -- "Plastics! Plastics!"

Robert Brokamp: "Plastics!"

Southwick: "One little word. Two words."

Gardner: There's a little bit of "The Graduate" going on. But, if somebody had said to me, "You're graduating in 1988 from college," which I did, "Internet." That was the right word then. Plastics. And I think virtual reality is the right word now.

Southwick: Awesome. David, I want to thank you ...

Gardner: Although, it's a phrase, admittedly. It's not a word.

Southwick: Two words. We'll hyphenate it for these purposes.

Gardner: All right, we'll go with that.

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