It’s an exciting time to be alive. I remember reading Douglas Adams and trying to imagine what it’d be like to have all the universe’s knowledge in the palm of your hand – and now almost everyone carries a supercomputer around in their pocket that puts the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to shame. Robotics is getting scarily lifelike, the Singularity draws near if you ask the right people, and Google’s self-driving cars should hit the market in the next decade. Sure, we don’t have hoverboards, flying cars, or android bounty hunters yet, but we’re doing all right. I fully expect to reside inside a VR simulacrum of my design before 2030.
You know what jazzes me up the most, though? The incredible future of weight loss technology. Being an industry “insider,” if you will, I’m privy to all the “interesting” stuff coming down the pipeline. And let me tell you: it will blow your mind. Allow me to give a few hints at what’s coming in the next 10-15 years. Three of them are fake, five are real. Can you guess which is which?
Every woman out there knows how hard it can be to shed those pesky pounds hanging around on the hips and thighs. Squats and deadlifts don’t do it (they just make you all bulky and overly muscular!). Dieting doesn’t seem to help, either. What you need is a topical substance that increases metabolism and melts away body fat on contact.
When you slip on a pair of Caffeine Tights, the microcapsules of high-potency caffeine woven in between every fiber begin secreting the fat-burning stimulant directly into your skin. Need to squeeze into that wedding dress? Go for a jog, or better yet a sprint followed by an hour in the sauna – the increased heat will speed up the caffeine release and burn up to two inches in a 24-hour period!
Vibra-Fork with Sensorimotor Technology
Eating enough to reach satiety, but not too much, is hard. Forks are literally designed to streamline the delivery of food into our gaping maws. A flick of the wrist and before we know it we’ve got 50 calories down the hatch. The average person can probably manage around 20 forkfuls per minute – far too many for our overworked satiety mechanisms to keep up with. We end up eating far more food than we actually need (or even want, on a physiological level) as a result. The fork is tricky. It cannot be trusted.
So what’s the alternative? Switch to chopsticks, toothpicks, or quarter teaspoons? Remain present as you eat and actively regulate the forkful-per-minute (FPM) rate?
Don’t be silly. In the future, the Vibra-Fork with Sensorimotor Technology will monitor your forking habits in real time and begin vibrating if it exceeds 10 FPM. You can try to ignore the vibrations to maintain your gluttonous pursuits, but the vibrations intensify if you don’t reduce FPM. After-market mods will boost the vigor of the vibrations enough to actually dislodge the food from your fork, administer electric shocks to the sensitive nerves located along your fingers, or secrete bitter taste compounds into the forked food.
Cookies are the perfect fusion of sweet and crispy, taste and texture, nostalgia and flavor – which is why they’re the downfall of many a diet plan. But really? Cookies are just emblematic of a larger problem: the collective failure of our willpower. You may not know this, but willpower is a finite resource. We can’t just summon it out of nothing. Every time we decide against that slice of cake, that handful of chips, that crispy gooey salty chocolatey cookie, we dip into our willpower stores. Eventually, inevitably, they run out. And that’s when you find yourself ears deep in a gallon container of cookie dough ice cream wondering how you even got there. What if you could remove the need for personal willpower altogether? What if you could outsource your willpower to a third party?
With the Cookie Collar, you can do exactly that. A couple years ago, I discussed twelve tools a person could use to keep themselves accountable to their health goals and regimens. None of them used actual physical pain as a motivator, though, and that’s where the Cookie Collar comes in. Like an electric shock dog collar, the Cookie Collar trains you to stop eating bad food by giving you a painful jolt. There are two models:
The entry level Cookie Collar requires a “trainer” – an actual person who will monitor your eating habits and administer jolts when necessary. It’s smartphone compatible and comes with a camera, so your trainer can keep tabs on you from afar.
The premium Cookie Collar interfaces with your hypothalamus so that when the automatic response to “eat that cookie” comes down the pipe, the Collar sends a jolt before you can decide to follow through. Earlier models interfaced with the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain where conscious decisions are made, but that wasn’t good enough. We need to inhibit that automatic response if we want to train a person to truly stop eating cookies (or whatever food) and preserve willpower, and Cookie Collar does just that.
Plastic Tongue Mesh
A lot of people claim that overeating is the primary cause of weight gain. I’ll go one step further: eating in the general is the cause and we quite frankly should stop doing it. It is way too easy to put food into your mouth, chew, produce a bunch of saliva rich in digestive enzymes, and swallow. The entire process takes less than ten seconds and self-perpetuates, leading inevitably to obesity.
What if you could just stop eating altogether?
In the future, you’ll be able to do just that. Specialized doctors will implant postage stamp-sized plastic mesh on the surface of your tongue, making the act of eating extremely painful. If you feel you need nutrients, you can insert a feed tube that bypasses the mouth altogether or slurp down specially-formulated high-protein, high-vitamin c, low-calorie, natural mineral-based smoothies that satisfy all caloric, macronutrient, and micronutrient requirements.
What’s the problem with food – the one sensory attribute that makes us salivate it and crave it and overeat it? Flavor. Food simply tastes way too good for us to be trusted with intact tongues replete with working taste receptors. Sure, a few of us can handle flavors without ballooning, but the vast majority of the population cannot.
Tongue Lamination solves this problem with a thin plastic film that coats your tongue. Just place the plastic on your tongue, close your mouth, wait 30 seconds while the plastic melts and shrink wraps around your tongue, and your taste buds will rendered ineffective for a full 24 hours. Without flavor, food loses its luster, and overeating becomes a thing of the past. Look for it at your local big-box store in the near future.
Dinnerware with Fatphobic AI
Forget exercise, reducing carbohydrates, and eliminating sugar. The most time-tested, reliable way to lose weight is subjecting yourself to ample levels of shame and guilt. Unfortunately, it’s tough to get an actual friend or relative to berate you into fat loss. Maybe they’re too nice or you’re too sensitive. Either way, you run the risk of tarnishing an important relationship.
The way research into artificial intelligence has been developing, future AI will actually be able to feel and express complex human emotions, like love, lust, joy, desire, and even hate. A team of scientists are hoping to capitalize on the latter, having developed a prototype for a fatphobic AI with extreme disdain for overweight people bordering on revulsion. It’s a few years away from commercial release, but they plan on producing a line of fatphobic dinnerware housing a hyperintelligent AI who simply cannot stand to be in the same room as your tubby self and lets you know every time you eat just how disgusting you look and ashamed you should feel.
Transmogrifying Food Spray
Eating healthy is hard. Fresh, healthy food is expensive, spoils easily, and most importantly tastes terrible. It’s nearly impossible to enjoy a healthy dinner of raw broccoli, boiled spinach, whole wheat bread, and plain pasta when you’ve got delicious but unhealthy food breathing down your neck. Anyone but the most stalwart of dieters would be hard pressed to make the right choice in that situation.
What if you could make healthy, disgusting foods taste like some of your favorite foods without sacrificing the health benefits? With the upcoming Transmogrification Food Spray, you can transform the flavors with a single spray. Plain pasta becomes cheesy pasta. Celery becomes bacon. Plain chewing gum becomes a never-ending chocolate truffle that you can chew all day long, totally forgoing eating altogether!
Fat-Selective Necrotizing Fasciitis
You’ve probably heard of “flesh eating bacteria disease.” The real name is necrotizing fasciitis, and it describes a deterioration of the subcutaneous tissues (mostly fat) and underlying fascia (connective sheath surrounding the muscles) due to bacterial infection. Until recently, there were two recognized types of necrotizing fasciitis: Type 1 NF, which is polymicrobial, meaning multiple bacteria are responsible; and Type 2 NF, which is monomicrobial, meaning a single strain is responsible. Both are life threatening, if it’s not caught early enough and treated with a massive round of antibiotic therapy.
Scientists are beginning to cultivate a third type of necrotizing fasciitis that selectively and exclusively degrades adipose tissue – body fat. In rodent studies, application of the proprietary bacterial strain Staphylococcus adiposus has turned obese, diabetic mice into lean, healthy mice within a few weeks with no negative side effects. The only “unwanted” effect is body fat leakage through the pores, but that’s not all bad; one scientist reported that the necrotized mouse adipose tissue is secreted pre-rendered and makes a great cooking fat with a high smoke point.
Guess what, guys: the future is now. Some of the ridiculous, seemingly far-fetched products and weight loss methods described above exist in some form or another. Want caffeine-infused tights? Wear the Skinkiss. Want a dinner plate that makes you feel bad about your belly? Grab the Smart Plate. Feel like making the act of eating so physically painful that you simply stop doing it? You can actually have a piece of plastic mesh installed on your tongue. The Flavor Spray promises to transform foods without affecting caloric intake and the HAPIfork lets you know when you’re eating too quickly.
So, how’d you do? Did you guess which ones were completely made up and which had at least some basis in reality? Scary, isn’t it?
Thanks for reading, all, and let me hear what you think they’ll think up next!
P.S. Your guess is as good as mine as to what that “doctor” is doing in that cheesy futuristic stock photo above.