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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Trademarks of 2049

Here are some future trademarked inventions – things we need, things which are commercial, but things which exceed the possibilities of today. Not so in 2049.


People in the future are more and more concerned about privacy. That’s why they don’t like to leave fingerprints, which (in many countries) will be routinely analyzed in every major city. So no matter where you went, the government has a chance to know. Unless, of course, you wear an InvisiGlove™.

InvisiGloves™ are invisible, as the name says, so no one will suspect you got something to hide. They are made of a new form of bio-engineered plastic. They do leave fingerprints, but it’s just that the print is not yours (it’s a randomly manufactured one). As a nice side-effect – and this is what made InvisiGlove™ really take off – when you shake people’s hands, you won’t catch any of the various dangerous virus infections so common in our future.


50 years ago, humanity took things a little slower than today. Indeed, our busy modern times leave us little chance to take a rest. The trend continues, and in around 50 years, most people don’t even have the time to do unproductive things like sleeping. Yet, they know only too well how important sleep is for body and mind.

The drug HyperDream™ comes from the same company which developed FastDigest™ and LuckyNow™ pills. HD’s relatively harmless. Once taken (a pill per night, drink it with a warm glass of water), it will make you fall into heavy, ultra-high speed sleep. It’s like your brain CPU is over-clocked, and your body recovers almost instantly from the stress of everyday life. After 30 minutes, you are in a state of wakeness only 8 hours of natural sleep could have brought you. Or so the company says...

One-Click TV™

In about 20 years from now, the internet and the TV have been completely merged. That means full interactivity for that innocent little box which years ago invaded humanity’s living rooms. A side-effect not even big media companies did foresee was that most people were actually quite happy with the ease-of-use of sitting on a couch and clicking through channels of mindless TV shows... without any need to manage bookmarks, configure your TiVo, personalize the advertisement, or zapping away pop-ups.

Knowing this, it’s no far stretch to imagine how One-Click TV™ became an instant hit. The company claimed to “bring the couch back into potato” and indeed made TV watching quite easy again. Their “unified remote control” offered one button only (next channel), and as soon as you would leave the couch (if you ever did, as there was less and less incentive to do so with 3,000+ channels) the TV would turn itself off automatically. People loved it, the company got rich, and many old media start-ups – internet was considered old media in 2049 – who still focussed on innovating the television business filed bankruptcy.


Unfortunate as it may be for today’s humanity, in 2049, there was still no sign of eternal life. At least not in the traditional sense, in that you keep the body alive. But there was one invention which sort of did make that dream come true (at least for those who could afford it, what with the hefty price tag of 10,000 cyberbucks).

The BrainDumper™ was a small device with 400 yottabyte of storage. It could do only one thing, but that it could do well: make a complete copy of your brain. You simply turned on its microscanner, pointed it to your head, pressed a red button, and waited patiently for 3 minutes without thinking too much. A little “beep” would signal success, and you could now safely continue living your life. No matter if you died by accident, murder, or in more natural ways during sleep, your brain dump would ensure people could recover what matters most... your soul. Sticking it on a robot body would make you come alive again. Some would doubt this reincarnation was the same “self”, but those were mainly just the people who couldn’t afford BrainDumper™ in the first place.


The InstantPicasso™ invention was basically a digital frame you could put on your wall. Many of these products existed, allowing you to load pictures of your family or friends onto them. InstantPicasso™ was special in that it would create new cubist shapes in the spirit of Pablo Picasso. No display was ever the same, and it would change weekly. Fine art lovers simply adored this product, one Dr. Stanislav Venshikov from Houston, Texas, even hailing it to be “more creative than old Pablo himself.”


In the near future, robots did such a perfect job in keeping the house clean that it would look almost too sterile to some. As cleaning robots weren’t programmed to do anything else but, well, clean, tables would always have an unnatural shine, floors were slippery, and homes started to look more like a hospital than a cozy shelter to hang around with your family.

When NatuDirt™ came on the scene, it was a perfect match to having a cleaning robot. Small micro-organisms would spread in the house and create a constant level of dust, crumbs, and random grayish fluff. People’s minds were instantly transported back to their grandma’s house of 2010, and once again they started to feel more at home at home.

Coca Pepsi Cola™

After the Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola companies figured it was more lucrative to just stop fighting each other and put together their production lines, the resulting drink was Coca Pepsi Cola™. Sales dropped shortly thereafter as everyone switched to Dr. Pepper.


The basic technology to build time machines was created in 2040, to be perfected 9 years later by a Japanese company (a glitch in Einstein’s theory of relativitiy made it possible, it turned out). They called their first commercial release PastMachine™, as you could only travel into the past, and not the future. However, people in 2049 simply weren’t interested to go back in time, and the product bombed. The past was full of wars, poverty, hunger, lying politicians, and diseases you couldn’t cure – understandably, nobody wanted to see that again.


As so many different robots would invade the households of the future – cleaning robots, cooking robots, guard robots, and so on – the BotBot™ was invented to be “the one bot to rule them all”, as the manufacturer claimed. It did a good job at that, too, having both an understanding of the labile robot psyche (many robots even committed suicide because of bad working conditions, but they never complained, as complaining simply wasn’t part of their program) as well as acting as a repair men once robots needed some oil or spare parts.

While a BotBot™ was one of the most expensive kind of robot (it had to be stronger and more intelligent than other robots), people often felt it was part of the family. BotBots™ were meant to communicate well with both humans and machines and often settled conflicts before they could fully erupt. One coincidence is known from a Chicago household in May 2049: the butler robot (whose sole job was to bring and prepare the mail, as well as make coffee) one day didn’t move, react, or do his job anymore – he simply stood there in what can only be described as waking sleep. After quick analysis from the BotBot™, it turned out the butler bot in his owner’s mail read about a logical puzzle to which there was no solution, and, stuck in an infinite loop, had tried to solve it since.


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