The newspaper you can hold in your hand, the news networks we watch after coming home from dinner — these are our windows to the rest of the world. But by 2031, innovations in technology could change the window we look through and even ourselves.

Social media: Delivering your news in 2031

Social media will be at the forefront of news delivery in 20 years. Unfiltered, first-hand perspectives from real-life people will be the order of the day.

Imagine checking Facebook or Twitter and hearing stories from soldiers on the front line in real time, or from aid workers at the scene of a tsunami.

With such profound changes, the ethics of news reporting will undoubtedly be altered. According to Bryan Orend, a philosophy professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, “confirmed selection bias would worsen if you were to get your news from social media... groups of friends telling each other things they all want to hear, confirming pre-existing beliefs.” So while social media will expand our horizons, it may also end up polarizing in its reach.

 

News microplants in your ear? Yes, please

What if we went beyond changing the news, and changed ourselves? What if we could biologically remodel our brains in order to get real-time updates? Some people may no longer be content with a BlackBerry. They may want micro-chips installed in their heads instead.

Alan Lacopi, the operations director for the Queensland Micro and Nanotechnology Centre, said such innovations are possible. While receiving images in the brain may be a long way off, in 20 years Lacopi suggests that this will be the norm.

While this technology is possible, some argue that it is not worth the risk. Professor Paul Yager, chair of the Department of Bioengineering for the University of Washington, argues that “we’ve developed a technology (the smartphone) that makes the risks unnecessary,” at least for an able-bodied person.

Howard Leung is a university student studying accounting. He is interested in global and local issues.

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