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With the power to buy, sell and make decisions on our behalf, phones will come to dominate our lives, invading our privacy and, via under-skin implants, our bodies.

It isn't all bad. As they become more sophisticated, phones will completely unshackle us from our desktops, will use up less time and money -- and could even save our lives.

"The fact that the word 'phone' is in the title of these devices is misleading," says Ray Hammond, a so-called futurologist who has carved a career out of accurately forecasting technological leaps.

Hammond envisages the candy bar-sized phones and shiny tablets of today being broken into separate components. Fashionable spectacles will provide the visual display, earring studs the audio. A third device will provide touch input.

"What we're talking about is a complete physical interface to the digital and virtual worlds," he said.

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