Last year at this time, it was widely reported that, shockingly, a machine had written a Christmas song. After all the marveling about what a fantastic achievement this was and how advanced our technology was becoming, the obvious follow-up sentiment was, “Are machines going to put musicians out of work now, too?”
Well, judging by the quality of the song, that’s probably a long way off. With the exception of Dominic the Donkey (sorry Nonantum, Massachusetts!), this robot-created carol may be the absolute worst Christmas song ever. It certainly won’t be putting Michael Buble out of a job any time soon. But technology may soon change even the most time-honored holiday traditions in many different ways.
According to a new report from Amazon, Christmas will soon be changing, and not just the music. While we will probably always deck the halls, prepare special holiday foods, and exchange gifts, advanced tech such as AI and 3D printing is going to change the way we experience these traditions. Written by technology expert Kat Hannaford, who consulted with futurists William Higham and Dr. Morgaine Gaye, the report delves into what they believe we will see in our Christmas future.
“December is a time of preparation and celebration, and technology will put a festive twist on how we approach Christmas in the future, while making the celebration more convenient and communal,” said Higham.
Christmas gift shopping, often one of the most dreaded parts of the holiday, will become much more AI-driven, with individual social media behaviors generating instant Christmas wish-lists, much like a seasonal wedding registry. Decorations will include 3D-printed knick-knacks and LED wallpaper that displays holiday-themed images, even projecting virtual Christmas trees.
“We’ll create even more impressive giant animated front-of-house decorations, using photos, gifs or video,” says Higham. “It will wow both the neighbors and strangers via social media.”
“As more of us start discovering 3D printers, we’ll be able to print our own decorations which we can melt down in January, store easily and then recreate next Christmas,” says Dr. Gaye. “3D-printed baubles can be any shape, size or color, and personalized with names, emojis or slogans as we wish.”
Even Christmas dinners could be 3D-printed, and we’ll be producing more of the ingredients ourselves, using hydroponics. “For many, an impressive feast is what makes Christmas,” Dr. Gaye notes. “Soon we will be adding even more of a homemade touch to our Christmas spreads, from using hydroponic technology to help us grow fruit and vegetables in our kitchens, no matter how small, to 3D printing helping us to create stunning edible artworks for dessert.”
And, perhaps most importantly, technology will allow families who live far apart to virtually celebrate the holidays together. While today we can Skype with our loved ones, holographic imaging will allow us to project 3D versions of our friends and family into our living rooms. Haptic clothing, which recreates the sense of touch through vibrations or motions, may even enable us to give ‘virtual hugs’ to far-away relatives on Christmas morning.
As the report concludes, “It’s clear there are exciting times ahead, and while nobody knows exactly what the Christmas of the Future will look like, one thing is clear. It’ll be just as magical as ever.”
Hopefully, as long as song-writing machines advance as much as other technologies. Read the entire thing here.
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