2045 Smartphone Explosion

If you are studying the future, regarding our speed of progress or where we are heading to, you will value this image demonstrating mobile phone evolution. The mobile phone price comparison I’ve created is valuable to illustrate our approach to Singularity (Post-Scarcity). Technology continually allows us to do more for less, which means technology won’t be restricted by prices in the future. Technology will explode at zero-cost. A limitless explosion of free intelligence (smart tech) will occur.


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In year 2014 mobile phones often included a camera, video recorder, and calculator. In year 2045 your mobile phone (or wearables, ingestibles etc) will include a 3D-printer (nano-assemblers), super-intelligence, the capability for extrasolar travel, an entire hospital within it, and a library containing the entirety of human knowledge.


Mobile phones in 1983 were large bricks costing $3,500 – £3,900, but they could only make calls. In year 2014 a slimline mobile phone could be bought for only $6, and it usually included a radio, games, calculator, and sometimes a camera too! Prepare for the Singularity! Can you imagine the world in 2045?
Year 2014 is a good point in time to perform this price comparison. It is 31 years since 1983, the point when mobile phones first became publicly available. 2014 is also 31 years before year 2045 (a date commonly associated with the Singularity). A lot can change in 31 years, especially when you realize the rate of progress is a lot faster than it was in 1983. We have a clear example of 31 years of progress.


What will the next 31 years produce?



The 1983 price of $3,900 was sourced from CNN: http://edition.cnn.com/2010/TECH/mobile/07/09/cooper.cell.phone.inventor/ (http://archive.is/ybiF8). The price of $3,500 was sourced from the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22013228 (http://archive.is/wPUA5).The UK price of £5 was sourced from the following links (original links may change prices or die; note the archived page links for the correct 2014 prices): http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/5187760.htm (http://archive.is/KRqBx), or http://direct.asda.com/Alcatel-10-10-Mobile-Phone—T-Mobile/008738220,default,pd.html (http://archive.is/3dD8A).The US price of $6 was sourced from the following link (original link may change price or die; note the archived page link for the correct 2014 price): http://www.walmart.com/ip/payLo-Kyocera-Kona-Prepaid-Cell-Phone/26923422 (http://archive.is/fXgcw).

11 Responses

  1. SU, think bigger…. the phones will be unnecessary for what Transhumanists are foreseeing. Don’t forget the technologies already been used for people who cannot talk or move their hands; all that they have to do now is think the thoughts and those thoughts are sent to a soft wear that then speaks the words for the person.

    As for telephones, those will be easily placed into our minds just as the transhumanists are foreseeing other devices in our brains to help us learn quickly, like the matrix, and/or to help us be more able to control our own brains.

    Watch Through the Wormhole 4th Season episode 6 to see all of these things.

  2. Zandre says:

    While I do agree that an individual will be endowed with such capabilities as you described by 2045 and agree that many more tools will be integrated in our phones over the next decades, I don’t believe that we will have a device resembling anything like a phone in 2045. Our substrate, whatever our bodies are made from, will be our computing device along with our seamless integration with smart objects (everything) in our environment including other species and humans. However, I believe your prediction will be more relevant for the late 2020s given the many contributing factors that are now and will be involved in accelerating our technology: more human minds contributing to science, proliferation and advancement of AI as predicted by luminaries like Kurzweil and illustrated by many companies including IBM vision for Watson as depicted in their 2014 launch event (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rB7VkrUYCAgVision), and explosion of robotics now that Google is our current vanguard in this area.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Yes Zandre, even today “phones” are ceasing to really be phones, they are actually mobile personal computers. Note how I described “phone” via adding in brackets: “or wearables, ingestibles etc.”

      The Internet of Things will entail lots of changes, there will be many devices in the future, humans will change too, but I think there could always be a place for a phone-sized external mobile computer. Instead of carrying our “phones” (mobile computers) in our pockets in the future, our phones may fly noiselessly a short distance away from us, perhaps cloaked too (invisible) so our view is never obscured.

  3. Exponentially. Thank you. that is the word we are looking for

  4. I know what I want in my phone. I want a holographic scientist who I can call up anywhere and watch her or him work and have her or him there to answer questions for that i have not yet figured out how to even ask. Wait. Scratch that…. the aim is being able to integrate that knowledge into our own brains via certain implants etc…right?

    Singularity Utopia…i loved your article, and especially the second part where you are answering Nicolas.
    I do agree with you on the rapid advancement we produce with each new advancement made. there is a word for that and it is just not coming to me right now, but
    your article has amazed me on things that i had not even known existed
    ie, DNA Origami. Wow.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Hi Debi K Baughman. I am glad you enjoyed the article and also my response to Nicholas. I am editing my response to Nicholas, to make it easier to read, more compelling. I will then submit it for publication to a different publishing platform so I can reach a different audience. Follow me on Twitter or G+ (mention me a post or Tweet and I will keep you updated).

      I am sure the narrow-AI Watson will be a fully fledged robo-scientist in the not too distant future. Brain computer interfaces will allow Watson to appear in your brain via non-invasive methods or externally as a hologram.

      In addition to “exponential” growth, the term “Law of Accelerating Returns” is another good descriptor.

  5. Nicholas says:

    There are other trends to consider. This chart also shows that smartphones have had a relatively consistent price. High end smartphones cost around 600 while low end costs 100, cheaper ones are the old 100 dollar phones. Admittedly they haven’t been around for that long but thats kind of my point. The prices also tend to bottom out at a certain point. Even a cordless phone is going to run you about 15 dollars.

    The other point I found odd is why you said it would have a nano-assembler. We have yet to make one at all, unless you were talking about a 3D printer that is accurate at that scale but I doubt that would be in the phone. Maybe the controls to it but that would be like saying I have a microwave in my phone just because I can set the timer with it.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Nicholas. We are not merely considering a basic handset to make calls regarding the $6 phone I mentioned, or similar phones. These cheap devices typically include a calculator, games, text messaging, alarm clock, and either a radio or a camera (sometimes both); sometimes these cheap phones include an MP3 player too.

      Shortly after submitting the article to H+ I found a new LG 620G phone priced at $7 on Amazon, with many amazing features in one package. LG 620G features are: Bluetooth, 1.3-megapixel camera/camcorder, MP3 player, FM radio, Internet browsing, synchronization with PC, calendar, calculator, currency converter, stopwatch, alarm clock; and of course text messaging and phone call are possible.

      So in year 2014 we have an impressive amount of technology in one device for only $7 but I agree this is not a high-end smartphone, although it is very sophisticated device. 31 years ago (1983) the phone of that era could only make calls, yet the price was around $3,700. It is debatable what the next 31 years will entail.

      REMEMBER, however, the World Wide Web only became a publicly available in the early 1990s.

      In 1983, seven years BEFORE the WWW first became publicly available, mobile phones were priced in the region of $3,700. I am sure it was difficult, in 1983, to imagine phones of the future having Internet capability. My point, analogously, is that we already have publicly available 3D-printers in the year 2014, thus if technological-progress from 2014-2045 can repeat the amount of of progress during the past 31 years we should sometime over the next 31 years (by 2045) have phones with significantly improved 3D-printing capabilities. Consider how much the Internet advanced from the early 90s to 2014, and consider how in year 2014 we are already bio-printing organs.

      Consider the example of 24 years of Internet evolution (1990-2014), entailing phone integration, now you need to consider how much 3D-printing will evolve and integrate with our devices over the next 31 years.

      3D-printing is already publicly available in 2014 unlike the Internet in 1983, which means the next 31 years of 3D-printing evolution will have an extra 7 years of evolution compared to the evolution and integration of the Internet with our phones from 1990-2014. Try to imagine what the Internet will be like seven years from 2014, in 2021, which will allow you to better appreciate how much 3D-printing will evolve.

      Now the important question is: are we experiencing the same rate of progress in year 2014 compared to the rate of progress between 1983 and 2014? If we experiencing merely the same rate of progress we’d surely see great wonders, BUT WHAT IF in the year 2014 we are progressing at a significantly increased speed? What if the technology invented last year allows us to progress quicker next year? What if progress in 2014 is faster than it was in 1983? What will the next 31 years produce?

      In 2008 KurzweilAI reported on how researchers had created a prototype nano-assembler. DNA origami is also showing good progress regarding self-assembly in 2014. In 2012 the Daily Mail (and many other sources) reported on how: “Researchers at Harvard have come up with a method for building tiny structures out of synthetic DNA strands, which are programmed to assemble themselves into the alphabet.” In Jan 2014 Singularity Hub wrote regarding DNA Origami: “Aided by design software and the latest methods, researchers can now make more complex shapes faster—and along the way, they’ve begun to figure out how to make those shapes perform simple actions.”

      In 2013 Nature reported: “Nanoparticles coated with DNA molecules can be programmed to self-assemble into three-dimensional superlattices. Such superlattices can be made from nanoparticles with different functionalities and could potentially exploit the synergetic properties of the nanoscale components. However, the approach has so far been used primarily with single-component systems. Here, we report a general strategy for the creation of heterogeneous nanoparticle superlattices using DNA and carboxylic-based conjugation.”

      So the seeds for nano-assemblers are evident in the year 2014 similar to how the seeds for early 90s Internet were evident in 1983.

      Nicholas. You doubt a 3D-printer would be integrated into a phone in the year 2045, but looking at history I think it seems clear your doubts are comparable to year 1983-thinking. If you were speculating about the future of phones in 1983, seven years before the Internet became publicly available, you would almost certainly not be able to see how the Internet would be accessible via a $7 phone in 2014. I doubt in 1983 you would have imagined the publicly available Internet in any shape of form, especially not in such a cheap phone. The small phones we have today are essentially tiny desktops. I think it is very easy to imagine 3D-printers shrinking, becoming more sophisticated, then integrating in to one small utility device.

      Think about 2014. Smartphone 3D-scanners apps already exist to create 3D-prints. There is a Diamandis Tricorder X Prize, to create a smartphone sized medical scanner, and the Scanadu Scout already exists. NASA and GRoK are working on creating a hand-held tissue regenerator.

      I can easily imagine a swam of micro or milli-quadcopters, or other airborne devices, being deployed from a 2045 hand-held device. The phone deployed bots would then disassemble rubbish or other items tagged for recycling, whereupon new milli-bots or larger bots are created to fly feedstock (they are the feedstock) back to your phone/device for printing, or nano-assemble, regarding whatever item you desire.

      The futurologist and Intel has stated Intel engineers expect computing to approach zero size sometime around 2020, so it seems very realistic to expect each 2045-feedstock-millibots to have a significant amount of computing power, a generally high level of sophistication, at least entailing nano-assembly.

      Only time will tell for certain. I think 2014 is an interesting time for such speculation because it is 31 years since the first mobile phone. Mobile phones are very different in 2014. The question is what will the next 31 years bring, how much will things change. Is the rate of progress quicker in 2014 than it was in 1983?

      A lot can change in 31 years.

      How do you think mobiles will have changed in year 2045?

      • Nicholas says:

        You misunderstand, I mean how are you physically going to have a 3D printer in a phone? Like any manufacturing device you cannot scale it down. To make a 3x3x3 object you need a printer that exceeds that size.

        From an engineering perspective how will it work? It obviously cannot internally manufacture an object larger than itself. So how will it move to ‘print’ the object? Where will it store the matter needed to create it?

        • Singularity Utopia says:

          Hi Nicholas, sorry for my previously long comment where you might of missed this point:

          “I can easily imagine a swam of micro or milli-quadcopters, or other airborne devices, being deployed from a 2045 hand-held device. The phone deployed bots would then disassemble rubbish or other items tagged for recycling, whereupon new milli-bots or larger bots are created to fly feedstock (they are the feedstock) back to your phone/device for printing, or nano-assemble, regarding whatever item you desire.”

          How can you have a 3D-printer in a phone?

          Imagine a tiny printer the size of a bumbled bee or the size of a micro SD card, you could easily fit one of those into a phone, in fact you could fit at least a handful or more if you compressed them.

          Note how in 2012 molecular machines (“interlocked molecules”) were created inside a solid object (UWDM-1, University of Windsor Dynamic Material), and note MIT’s self-assembling robot cubes (M-Blocks). So in 2014 we have to beginnings of self-assembling shape-shifting robots. The 3D-printer RepRap can print almost all of itself but that process is not yet able to be initiated by itself in 2014.

          Now if you join the jots of those various points it should NOT be too difficult to imagine your 2045 extruding a handful of self-replicating airborne 3D-pirnters, which then fly to your trash can, or your local recycling depot, or to various items in your home tagged for recycling, the printer-bots would then replicate themselves, they would build themselves from the feedstock. Flying feedstock-printers would then return en-mass to your phone whereupon they would disassemble then assemble (print themselves) into any item you require.

          Yes the majority of feedstock is not kept in your phone and the start of the printing process emanating from your phone only entails a handful of small printers, but this is not problematic. It merely resembles how the data you use via your phone is mainly not kept in your phone, the data is in the cloud. Think “ambient intelligence” or “ubiquitous computing” or “cloud computing.” It’s a very wireless interconnected future. Similar to how we have predictive text for our phones in 2014, in 2045 you could have predictive printing thus the printer-bots fly out of your phone to self-replicate before you actually need the item, then exactly when you need the item you will find the multiplied 3D-printer bots, which left your phone a few hours earlier, have returned and they are printing a spaceship or whatever else it is you desire.

  1. February 28, 2014

    […] Peter If you are studying the future, regarding our speed of progress or where we are heading to, you […]

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