Waking to Tomorrow

Inspired by #FutureMed

Imagine waking up tomorrow morning. What would normally happen?

My day normally starts with the drone of my phone's alarm, a hand reaching out to the other side of my bed and fumbling around for the rectangular prism making that hideous sound. Opening my eyes, I locate the offending item and try, sometimes unsuccessfully, to make it be quiet, already.

Imagine tomorrow, differently.

Imagine, tomorrow morning, the sun is creeping up under your tightly-closed curtains. The room is slowly filling with morning light that, despite how hard you tried to shut out the outside world for a good night's rest, filters through your safe-haven. The air is slowly warming as the sunshine hits the Earth and increases the energy in every particle it touches. Despite all of this, you are still sound asleep. Your drive to sleep is at a high even though there are numerous signals trying to wake you from your slumber.

6:59.99am

The clock ticks over to 7:00am and instead of a droning alarm somewhere in your room, you are slowly awoken by the soft chirp of birds, or the relaxing crash of waves against the shore, or your far away loved ones saying good morning. You are woken up not by an alarm but by sounds that fill you will contentment, all thanks to a small stereo implant inside your ear. This implant acts somewhat like an ear bud from your headset, minus the discomfort. It syncs through bluetooth (or some futuristic version of near-communication) to whichever device you like and can also be used to play music when you're on a run, to listen to the news or make calls.

I know what you're wondering - but how do I turn off the noise?

Tomorrow, your bed will be more than a wonderful place to sleep. Tomorrow, your bed will contain sensors for heart rate and your pillow sensors for electroencephalography. The small motions you make when you first awake, your change in heart rate and the altered brain waves will all be silently and effortlessly detected by sensors in your room.  These will know when you have altered your brain state from rest to wakefulness and switch off the alarm in your ear. If you fall back asleep, your snooze will again remind you to get ready for the day ahead.

Imagine then, padding out of bed to the bathroom, where you can use a waterless, energy efficient and hygienic toilet. Where your bathroom experience is also a healthy one. If you so choose, it can also be filled with holographic news, a version of Siri to help organise your day or white noise to allow you to wake up slowly and peacefully.

A rumble in your stomach lets you know that breakfast is next on the cards. When you get to the kitchen, a display in your counter might tell you what needs eating in your fridge, the weather forecast and how well you slept. You can check appointments for the day and see if the kids are okay in their rooms.

If you need to head into the office tomorrow, chances are it will be in a driverless vehicle, probably shared with some locals heading in the same direction at the same time. This sustainably-powered vehicle can be ordered in a similar fashion to a taxi but without the hassle. You might enjoy some coffee and conversation on your ride into town, or, if you ordered a different type of vehicle, a silent trip in order to prepare for the day's meetings.

Work is no longer about profits. Work is about innovation. Work is about collaboration. Work is about turning discovery into action. Tomorrow, academia, government and enterprises work together to solve our biggest problems. Crowd-sourcing data, pooling opt-in information on health, education and traffic allows for more responsive action that suits a population's needs.

Some days in the future you may be bound to feel a little bit unwell. Imagine that, instead of trying to book an appointment with your GP, you pull out a tomorrow-version of the First Aid Kit. It contains a variety of sensors and a Skype-like interface for connecting with a nurse-practitioner. Placing a call to the service puts you in direct contact with someone who cares about you and your symptoms, can connect (with your permission) to your electronic health record and find out if your symptoms match a reaction to particular particles in the local atmosphere, a virus going around your neighbourhood or one of your pre-existing conditions. They may recommend simple measures or that you come in to the nearest health clinic for a full check up.

If you require more attention than the e-chat, your nurse-practitioner will alert your chosen health clinic of your expected arrival so that you will more likely see your favourite physician. That physician will not be functioning on their expert training alone. Instead, they will have pooled data analysed by computers and assisting them in giving you the best possible treatment. Instead of having your favourite physician, you will have their final say over the entire world's understanding of your particular health symptoms.

Tomorrow, data will be cross-referenced, pooled and shared. Tomorrow, the time between innovation and public use of these ideas will be as quickly as we can prove therapies to be safe. Tomorrow, life will be healthier, simpler and happier.

Tomorrow is closer than you think.


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