The following is an article that was sent to me and although I’d like to say I wrote it I have to confess that this article is not mine. This represents a very abbreviated look at the reality that awaits us. Make no mistake folks, it is coming like it or not.We have two choices: we can embrace the changes that are here and coming or we can fight them and fear them which, in the end , won’t change anything. Besides if nothing changes, nothing changes. Change is our only constant.
Many of us are struggling to grasp the rapid advancements in technology these days. We get used to something and something else has already replaced it. As a result we, sometimes, feel truly lost or left behind. I have edited this article not because I don’t agree with parts but rather to exhibit the scope of what is to come.
The Future Is Here!
In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Within a short time they were out of business.
What happened to Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next 10 years. Most don’t see it coming. Who saw Kodak tanking? Digital cameras are now the industry standard. This same light speed development will happen with (AI) Artificial Intelligence, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing, agriculture and jobs. Welcome to the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Artificial Intelligence: In the US, young lawyers are struggling to find work. Why? Because of IBM ‘Watson’ (Watson is the name of a computer). You can get basic legal advice within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when the same work is done by humans. Only legal specialists will remain in practice. ‘Watson’ already helps nurses diagnosing cancer, 4 times more accurate than human nurses.
Autonomous cars: In 2018 the first self driving cars will appear for the public. By 2020 you will be able to call a car with your phone. It will show up at your location (no driver) and drive you to your destination allowing you to work on the way. Our kids will never get a driver’s licence and will never own a car. Traffic jams will not exist. Autonomous driving will save a million lives each year by reducing auto accidents/fatalities.
Traditional car companies might go broke unless they adjust quickly. Tech companies like Tesla, Apple and Google are currently building a completely computerized vehicle. The authors spoke to many engineers from Volkswagen and Audi–they are completely terrified of Tesla.
Real estate: If you can work while you commute (no need to drive), people will move further away to live in more beautiful, safe and green neighbourhoods.
Electricity Production: Soon cities will be less noisy because most cars will run on electricity. Last year, more solar energy capability was created worldwide than fossil fuel produced. The price for solar will drop so much that coal companies will be out of business by 2025.
Water Production: With inexpensive electricity comes an abundance of clean useable water . Desalination now only needs 2kWh per cubic meter. Imagine if everyone could have as much clean and safe drinking water as he/she needs, for nearly zero cost.
Health: There are companies who will build a medical device (called the “Tricorder” from Star Trek) that works with your phone. It will take your retina scan, your blood sample and you breath into it. It then analyses 54 biomarkers that will identify nearly any disease. It will be inexpensive, so in a few years everyone on this planet will have access to world class medicine, nearly for free.
3D printing: The price of the cheapest 3D printer came down from $18,000 to $400 within 10 years. In the same time, it became 100 times faster. Spare airplane parts, for example, are already 3D printed/created in remote airports. The space station now has a printer that eliminates the need for the large amount of spare parts they used to have and store in the past.
At the end of this year, smart phones will have 3D scanning possibilities. In China, they have already 3D printed a complete 6-storey office building. By 2027, 10% of everything that’s being produced will be 3D printed and manufactured.
Business opportunities: If a new idea doesn’t work with or involve your phone, forget the idea.
Work: 70-80% of jobs will disappear in the next 20 years. What isn’t clear is whether or not there will be enough new jobs with trained staff to fill the demand the new economies will expect. A new educational paradigm will be imperative.
Agriculture: There will be a $100 agricultural robot in the future. Farmers in 3rd world countries can then become managers of their fields instead of working all day in their fields. Computers will enable 3rd world farmers to be better at growing crops–better information (farming techniques/conservation) and more fresh water available.
Longevity: Right now, the average life span increases by 3 months per year due to improved medication, information and diagnostics. Many may see 100.
Education: Everyone will have the same access to world class education. All they will need are smart phones. EVERY child can use the Khan academy to be exposed to everything a child learns at school in First World countries. Industry will require innovators, creators and those who want share their excitement in their workplace with their colleagues. There will be no room for monocular thinking. It’s boring and learning should be exciting and mind opening–challenging.
We should not be spending another dime on pipelines when we could be building solar grids at a record pace for a third of the money. Inexpensive power and education are what we need to be building on. Without rapid progress here we will be also rans soon enough.
Anyways, that’s how I see it–all the best, JIm
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