When electromagnetic theory was formulated and radio waves discovered, they were viewed as an interesting laboratory phenomena with no useful purpose, but now they give us radio and television, radar, microwave ovens, cellular phones, emergency response, remote controlled gizmos of every kind, and much more. Quantum mechanics has given us the transistor, solar cells, the laser, the heads in your hard drive, cell phones, and many other things.

So what ultimately will the Higgs give us?  The experimental confirmation of the Higgs boson gives us proof of the Higgs field.  The Higgs field is what couples mass to other particles.  This is just wild speculation at this point but suppose we learn how to control or manipulate this field, what does that mean?  Well, it could mean the ability to uncouple mass from matter.  If we could make ordinary matter massless, then it would take zero energy to accelerate it to the speed of light.  That would make Interstellar travel to at least nearby star systems possible.  Combined with Warp technology, and yes, this is actually being worked on now, effective faster-than-light travel may even be possible.

If we could couple and uncouple mass at will, imagine a wheel with weights on it, when the weights approach the bottom of the wheel we uncouple the mass, when they reach the top, we recouple it, energy from gravity. Transportation and shipping would become essentially free from an energy perspective.  Without expending energy, we wouldn’t need to create pollution in the process of creating that energy.  Lifting something to Earth orbit or entirely out of Earth’s gravitational influence would become trivial, and with that the colonization and exploitation of space.  Our planet would not have to be scarred for mineral wealth if we could economically tap the millions of asteroids in orbit around our sun.

These seem like the obvious benefits of learning how to control or manipulate this field, but just as with electromagnetic or quantum effects, undoubtedly there are applications none of us can even dream of now.