What Will Amaze Us in 2095?

Last week I gave a speech about the world in 2095.  Not my usual timeframe--I’m happiest talking about the mid-Twenties.  But thinking about it took me down a number of interesting paths.  

One example: for perspective, I tried to imagine what it would be like for a person from 80 years ago--1935--to suddenly land in 2015.  What would amaze him or her about our technology?

Actually, quite a few things would be familiar--cars, electric light bulbs, airplanes, recorded music.  Even television, which our visitor would pretty quickly figure out was “radio with pictures.”

But there’s one branch of technology that we take for granted that might really surprise our visitor: material science.

Specifically: I think Ms. 1935 would really stop with wonder when she spied her first zip-lock plastic bags.  “These,” she would say, “are really amazing.”  After all, back in 1935, the word “plastic” was itself only ten years old, and the nylon stocking was still five years in the future.  

Flexible, waterproof, transparent bags that can seal themselves?  Now that’s impressive technology.  

I suspect that by 2095 there will be a raft of materials that will amaze us, from glass that generates electricity to plastics that when damaged, heal themselves.  And of course, they will all be taken completely for granted by the citizens of that era.