15 Current Technologies We’ll Still Be Using in 2030

Back when I was growing up in the 1970s, we fully expected that, by 2012, we’d all be driving flying cars to our condos on the moon where robotic butlers awaited, ready to bring us the cure for cancer from the bathroom first-aid kit. How’s all of that working out? Sure, we now have faster, smaller computers, smartphones that talk back to you, and smart TVs, but in so many areas of technology the pace of change is slower than Windows Vista booting off a floppy disk.

A few months ago, I wrote an article about 15 technologies that will be gone by the time my infant son is old enough to use them. However, barring a zombie apocalypse, there are plenty of mainstays that my son will still be using when he enters college in 2030.


Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
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  1. Kevin Says:

    With all due respect, 2030 is a long ways away in the world of tech. If you would’ve said 2020, I’d agree with most things on your list. But 2030? No way – I’d say less than half your list makes it. Too many arguments are based on “standards” which die much faster than you acknowledge when the right new thing comes along.

  2. Rob Says:

    I disagree with Kevin. Although 2030 sounds far away, it’s really not. 2030 is no further away than 1994, a year in which the vast majority of 2012 technologies already existed. So it stands to reason that most of what we have now will still be with us 18 years from now in one form or another. In fact, the retention rate might even be slightly higher than over the past 18 years, since more mature industries tend to produce fewer dramatic shifts.

  3. einar Says:

    looks like whoever designed the clamshell laptop design needs to send a lawsuit over to Apple for “copying” this idea. It is obvious that Apple has copied the clamshell design. Apple is run by a bunch of asshats.

  4. Brandon Says:

    One can only hope that his son will have an appreciation for “Fish Heads.”

    I smiled so hard when I read your passing reference to this song. Well done.

  5. Michael Vincent Says:

    I think I saw an an article, maybe in Lifehacker or at Gizmodo which talks about the technologies that will be gone in the future. By chance, are they the same writer? I love when he fancily references his son in every step of the way.

  6. Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director Says:

    Yes, I am he. The 15 Technologies My Son Won’t Use article originated on this site, but we let a number of sites, including Gizmodo, reprint it. Glad you liked it.

  7. Paul Says:

    Still using Office?

    Unfortunately, the author forgot the main reasons why Microsoft won the office suite wars and why MS Office may lose its dominance in the future.

    One of them is the fact they made Windows and Office in Windows was much more stable than Wordperfect for Windows and AMI Pro. No doubt because of Microsoft’s own intimate knowledge of Windows.

    The second reason, unfortunately, is that up until recently, it was really easy to pirate office suite by giving your friends a copy with your key. I cannot remember how many of my customers in the 90′s declined to by Office licenses from me since “their friend gave them a copy”.

    Its a sad story, but if you look closely at the pattern of transition among office suites, adding keys, then activations, and re-activations along the way shaped the future of adoption.

    Now that MS keys and activates and verifies and blacklists pirated keys, Google Docs, and Open Office/Libre Office are being re-examined by many.

  8. paul Says:

    HAHAH!!! This country will not exist in 2030 if Obama is reelected. He is the beast!!

  9. Rick Roll Says:

    Paul, you’re an idiot. You must live a sad existence since you blame all your problems on Obama. Go walk into traffic please.

  10. StrYdeR Says:

    Hey Rick, grow up. I bet you ride the corporate cock and go about life doing things “The letter of the Law” dont ya.

  11. Tj Says:

    StrYdeR, Your the one that needs to grow up, because he was just stating he was a dumb ass because he is blaming his bankrupt state on a black guy. Both raciest and childish.

  12. Ericolon Says:

    For the jpeg thing, i totally disagree. In the future, it is much likely that we will transition to a much better format- jpeg artifacts are annoying.

  13. Matt Says:

    the 3.5mm jack? Its a smaller form of the 1/4″ TRS jack which has been in use since 1878. and with a small cheap adapter, you can plug the 3.5mm jack into a 1/4″ TRS Jack…hows that for longevity. Also, the VGA Plug is ancient

  14. Beergod Says:

    The “standard” USB has got to die. As hardware gets smaller and skinnier, there isn’t enough real estate for the oversized ports we now use.

    Just like the HDMI has be shrunk and the iPhone has gone to Lighning plug, connectors have to miniturise too. This leads me to think the 3.5mm jack will be gone too.

  15. DroppedBass Says:

    I strongly disagree with the possibility of still using .jpg image files. As you said, .jpg is supported in almost all cameras (and by default they store in .jpg format, to save some space), but they also support .png or other formats (unless you have a really bad low end camera). jpg is starting to die already, unless in places where image quality is much less important than having low bandwidth; nobody who cares about the quality of their images would choose jpg format (What’s the idea of taking a 10 or more Megapixel photo if you are going to store it in .jpg with a quality that will look terrible even with very slight zoom?).
    My guess is that in the future .png (that already supports completely transparent quality) will overtake .jpg in the future. The main thing that is stopping .png from being the main format is file storage capacity.

  16. James Says:

    Paul, you are an idiot. The USA is not the only country in the world.

  17. RLNTEX Says:

    I agree with most everything except the money issue and the USB problem. I don’t believe our government will have the backing to support our current monetary system, we are falling too deep into debt to support the US dollar as we know it. As far as the USB, Beeergod is right. Real estate on PCBs is getting expensive and in order the decrease the size a new standardized plug will need to be sought. Mini or micro USB perhaps

  18. Mico Trajano Says:

    Mirco or Mini USB flash drives would a problem if someone loses it it is hard to find it anymore.. how ever it is a good idea to re fabricate the sizes of USB …

    Good thinking @RLNTEX

  19. JoeBlasi Says:

    the college system may be very different in 2030 right now to many people are going and are not learning the skills needed to do jobs.

  20. Matthew Says:

    Dial Up Internet. Yep, it will still be around because the phone companies refuse to upgrade the 30% of the country that is in rural areas to lines capable of DSL, and satellite and air cards are simply too expensive and restrictive, especially as sites use more and more bandwidth.

  21. shane Says:

    While I don’t think Microsoft Office is going anywhere, I think it’s largely not going anywhere because of… Well, I guess the only explanation I can think of is inadequate exposure of open source software. I use LibreOffice, which a refurbisher installed on my computer since it would have cost him a lot more money to sell the computer with Office on it I guess… One of the first things I headed to do was to install MS Office, so I understand why you put it on the list, but… as I decided to look at LibreOffice, I was immediately (not just as a supporter of open source ideal) decided to just keep and use that, because frankly, it’s just as good if not better than the last version of Office I was using. It even has software for mathematics. I believe that as tech companies grow in their absurdity and attempts to restrict software use, open source software will become more popular… and why pay to use software when it is freely available and just as good.

  22. Reid Says:

    Great piece. I think you are pretty much spot-on. Tech has advanced at such a dizzying pace that we forget about the “good enough” principle. USB vs. Thunderbolt is a great illustration of this; thunderbolt hasn’t really caught on because USB was already ubiquitous, and plenty good enough for charging your phone or grabbing a few files off a thumb drive…we just didn’t *need* a faster interface and that will probably remain the case. Now, the new thunderbolt which could feasibly allow external GPU’s and the like, because it will be fast enough to serve as a true system bus…that could be a game-changer.

  23. GameIndica Says:

    Querty keyboard? no way! in the near future its all gonna be gesture and voice and eye tracking. kinect already does that better than anything in the future (huh?)

    well, but not sure how long it might take for all these amazing techs to get worldwide though. Your son is not going to university, he will have online courses on youtube. he is not gonna have a degree, he will build up a whole company himself (seriously) and sure personal data storage is gonna be our skin… or biocell. or rf chips under our skin.

    anyway..good read!

  24. ed Says:

    I disagree with the comment that 1994 is no further away then 2030 and agree with bob.
    chronologically it is roughly the same amount of time sure, but the rate of change between 2013 and 2030 and 2013 and 1994 is drastically different.

    put it this way, if a man can have 10 years extended to his life right now, (ie not age for the next 10 years) how much older would that make him when he dies? 10 years older right??

    Wrong.. and ill tell u why, its based on the same principle.

    technologys rate of change is advancing so quickly that by the time that 10 years is lived out, there will be another improvement, and it will no doubt end up having another advancement within those ten years that enables him to live even longer. – therefore extending the time of his life to further then the original 10 year extension.

    same with travelling between planets.. if we left now for another universe it could take 300 years or so right. but if we wait 250 years and then send people they will arrive before the group that left 300 years earlier as the technology improves.

    what I’m trying to say is that time is increasing not proportionally but on a a power relationship or an inverse scale where the further we move down track, the faster things change and we are just at the start of things beginning to skyrocket.

    take evolution of man on earth for example. since 1870 we have done more damage to earth then all of history has before combined. a “generation gap” used to be the same for a generation – i.e every 10 or so years that the youth would catch on to new technology, music, style fashion, lingo etc…. nowadays the generation gap is speeding up to the point that every year a new generation is born into a completely different world to the children born just a year previously – the different between a child born in 2013 and a child born in 2015 will make a massive difference to their upbringing, music taste, fashion ect..

    and things are only going to speed up 10 fold in the next 15 years. so i disagree, while it seems the norm now, give it 5 years and most of the things on this list will be regarded as out of date, not to say we wont use them, but they will not be standards in the future of our generations.

  25. Frederik Says:

    @ed: “take evolution of man on earth for example. since 1870 we have done more damage to earth then all of history has before combined.”
    Take the evolution of industry: since from 1945 – ~2000, the USA has done more damage to the environment than all of the rest of the world has done before, combined. And it’s nothing looking to change.

    I get what you mean and I agree — time is irrelevant, it’s the amount of change that’s relevant. I suggest that the world will change more in the next two years than it has done in the previous two decades, when it comes to technology. After all, those two decades (1990ish – 2010ish) amount to a greater cultural and technological change (at least in the Europe) than the two centuries before (1790ish – 1990ish), and those two centuries saw a much greater change of culture and technology than the previous two millennia (< 1790ish).

  26. Peter D Says:

    “USB, a nearly ubiquitous standard” yeah except there are about 15 different shaped plugs. Why not just use the smallest one on everything?

  27. Ruben Huges Says:

    As far as I can tell, there’s only one USB plug for the host device – the ubiquitous USB-A plug. It’s large enough to mechanically survive thousands of insertions, and cheap enough to be attached to any device. The smaller versions (microUSB) can’t reliably survive as many insertions.

    Regardless of this, even if they do change the plug, the signaling will still be there.

    I am, however, surprised that Ethernet didn’t make the list – it’s been around since the 1970s, and has defeated almost every other networking standard. I can’t see it going away in the next 17 years.

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