“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke’s third law.
You may be able to predict a few things about where technology will be heading in the future. Firstly, the 3D printers of today definitely show enough promise to become a mainstream tool of tomorrow. Virtual Reality combined with force/haptic feedback (allthough both solutions suggested in this article are in development) shall most likely also take a large role in the future of humanity. This is where magic comes in.
If the people of the renaissance had been able to dream dreams in which they fought like the men of the Napoleonic wars did, perhaps naval and firearms technology would have increased rather more rapidly. They would have seen a future, and had that future in hands, literally, and when they woke up from it, some would be further inspired to create the future that they knew meant progress.
When Virtual Reality solutions such as the Oculus Rift are combined with body motion solutions such as Control VR, you shall find that even if the technology is not sufficiently advanced for a product to exist, it still will. When a product exists, it creates a nice, or an audience. That audience shall most likely desire a physical version of the product. This shall create a new market for engineering innovation, which at the moment is largely focused on robotics and nanotechnology.
Startups, around this time, shall react to the wide availability of ultra-high definition 3D printers, and flourish. The market for nanotechnology shall most likely expand after the release of virtual engineering demos, software or games that utilizes theoretically possible nanotech. As the physically available technology advances, so will the virtually available technology, the two markets expanding each other. Eventually, people will (in this theoretical future) look at fantasy games, where people in Virtual Reality cast magic with their bare hands, and say, “why don’t we create a crude copy of this?”. For example, someone may make an air-propelled magnesium-oxide pellet dispenser that can be attached to ones wrist to make a primitive flamethrower. I know that I’d like to.
When ideas similar to that become more popular, people shall attempt to recreate the crude gadgets with nanotechnology, which by this time would be a profitable idea. Eventually, you would see mechanical particle clouds or the like being manipulated and then heated or cooled to cause different effects, or incredibly tiny cameras or sound detectors, or even clouds of particles that could lift small objects. That my friend, is that the man of today, shall see as the magic of the man of tomorrow, the wizard.