Christmas in 2024: Holographs, robots and 3D printing

You send a command from your smartphone and your house automatically decorates itself with a holographic Christmas tree complete with decorations and a suitably conifer-like smell.

Sound like science fiction? Maybe, but this is among the predictions by the authors of a new book that looks at how technology is changing our lives and how we do business.

Here are some more of their views on what Christmas might look like in ten years time. As customisation capabilities become more sophisticated we'll see more and more things like clothes and shoes being tailor made for the individual.

And it could be the end of sending your Christmas gifts through the post. Affordable 3D printing means simply emailing a code to someone so they can create their own present at home.

3D printing will also lead to a new cottage industry of designers simply selling the code needed to print out their products rather than doing their own manufacturing.

The authors also predict the growth of a 'sharing economy' which will reduce the number of products we own as we share more details online via Facebook and Twitter. For example, cars or power tools will become shared items, used when and where needed.

For elderly members of the family it might be possible to get a robot companion able to emotionally connect with its owner and play a comprehensive role as a friend and helper.

Because we'll know much more about our friends and family thanks to social media it will be possible to create gift giving algorithms to ensure everyone gets the right present with no risk someone else buying them the same thing.

As physical products become less valuable their attractiveness as gifts will decline. It will therefore become more common to give services as gifts, things like meals in restaurants or activity days.

If you want to read more about this sort of stuff including predictions for many areas of life, not just Christmas, the book is called iDisrupted by John Straw and Michael Baxter and is available now via Amazon.

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