I do a brisk trade in big, flashy, super-future innovations on this blog; the huge leaps that will transform our understanding of the human experience.
Brain vending machines, disposable legs, hyper-intelligent toothbrushes, on-demand clouds. You know.
But sometimes it’s like they say: “Life is about the little things.”
Or is it “life is about moments?”
Maybe “life is about the journey.” Sure.
Destinations are pretty great, too. I love destinations.
Let’s agree that life is about a lot of things. But when it comes to the future, I sometimes ignore the little leaps and focus on the big picture. I’m reversing things today, because two of these small-but-mighty innovations recently caught my eye.
Who remembers hypercolor? You’d have to be close to my age, meaning you were born sometime between the McKinley administration and the Iphone.
I don’t recall owning one of the shirts. Either I wasn’t cool enough, or I correctly predicted the armpit issue. But it was a definite fad, rising, disappearing, and waiting to return when technology caught up with our imagination.
Now we can have hypercolor skin. Ok, not so much, but scientists have used the skin-camouflaging properties of octopi (and squid) to create a new material that can change color, opacity, and luminescence by stretching the material in certain ways.
Windows and clothing are the expected early product applications. Would a tailored luminescent suit finally make me cool? Personality isn’t a factor in that, right?
The color-changing skin thing—I assume it’s on the way. The biohackers are moving full-steam ahead with those disgusting light-up tattoos. Let’s hope the luminescent-skin thing gets here soon to save them the cost of the antibiotics.
The other “little” tech innovation is even more earth-shattering: we now have an edible food wrapper.
I’ve spent far too much of my life unwrapping processed food before I eat. It’s time-consuming. It produces waste. It reduces productivity. It tires out your fingers. It consumes precious seconds. Did I mention that it takes too long?
So I’ll take my little victories where they come.
The edible wrapper is made from casein, a milk protein, which is far healthier than the edible plastics that currently exist—those are made of starch.
For now, the edible wrappers will be limited to dairy products and some dairy-friendly foods like cereals.
But that’s ok – this means great things for us as a people. You could walk into a supermarket and eat 64 slices of cheese—wrappers included—right there in the dairy section.
I think it’s important (sometimes) to ignore the forest and look at the trees. We must take time away from our new AI overlords to appreciate the little things.
Yes, maybe in twenty years I’ll be nothing more than a severed head, my disembodied consciousness flying through fabricated universes.
But in just TEN years, I’ll be eating cheese wrappers at the grocery store in a golden luminescent suit.
We can dream big AND dream small.
*I’m aware that dairy cows don’t eat their own dairy products, and that octopi don’t fly. Rhyming is hard.