7 Things About The Future Guaranteed To Make You Say "Hmmm" Today
I actually took the time to read an email "forward" from my mom a few days ago. And (get this) it was actually pretty intriguing. The content of the email pointed out certain technological advancements and how global industry, commerce, and culture is being affected. More so, it was forecasting what things could look like in 10 - 20 years because of it. Now, it didn't mention taxes or the IRS or anything you'd expect to find in your standard Tax Blog, so let's just step outside of the proverbial box and contemplate the world at large for a moment.
All of this is purely speculative based on current trends.But it's compelling enough that it could spark some deep thought and friendly debate or conversation with friends and family. Something other than politics.
So, (cue the soundtrack to Star Wars) here are some highlights from my dear mother's interesting email forward about THE FUTURE!
1) Artificial Intelligence: Computers have become exponentially better in understanding the world. This year, a computer beat the best "Go" (ancient Chinese game similar to Chess) player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected.
- IBM's "Watson" already helps doctors and nurses diagnose cancer, 4 times more accurate than humans.
- Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans.
2) Autonomous (computer driven) cars: In 2018 the first self-driving cars will appear for the public. Around 2020, the entire industry will have changed dramatically. The desire and even need to actually own a car will be less. You use and app on your smartphone, a car will show up at your location and drive you to your destination. You will not need to park it, you only pay for the driven distance and can be productive while driving. Our kids may never get a driver's license or own a car.
- This would then change the way we design cities because we will need far less cars and parking space.Former parking spaces can be changed into parks.
- Traditional car companies will try the traditional approach and try to build a better car, while tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will take the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels. General Motors may be downsizing in the next decade. Big time.
- Electric cars will be mainstream by 2020. Cities will be less noisy because all new cars will run on electricity. Is it possible that the cost of electricity will be affected? Cheaper because of more competition of providers? More expensive because of demand?
- Auto Insurance companies will have to change because, with fewer accidents, car insurance should be much cheaper (emphasis on 'should'). Their car insurance business model as it stands is up for a facelift.
3) Real estate: If you can work while you commute thanks to autonomous cars, people will have more freedom over where they live, like further away from their jobs. And because of the impact Amazon is having on retail, the strip mall as we know it may not be as relevant. We're already seeing large box retailers closing and creating vacant buildings.
4) Water: We don't have scarce water in most places, but scarce drinking water. Desalination of salt water now only needs 2kWh per cubic meter (@ 0.25 cents). With the possibility of cheaper electricity, imagine if anyone can have as much clean water as he or she wants.
5) 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. All major shoe companies have already started 3D printing shoes.
- Some common spare airplane parts are already 3D printed in remote airports. The space station now has a printer that eliminates the need for the large amount of spare parts they used to keep in the past.
- By as soon as next year, newer smart phones will have 3D scanning possibilities. You'll then be able to do a 3D scan of your feet and print your perfect shoes from home.
- In China, they have already 3D printed and built a complete 6-story office building. By 2027, it's estimated that up to 10% of our goods will be produced via 3D printer.
6) Therapy and Lie Detectors. There is an app called "Moodies" which can sense your mood simply by speaking into your phone. Imagine combining AI with this. Perhaps we'll be able to use our own couches for therapy. By 2020 there will be apps that can tell ifyou're by your facial expressions alone. Whoa. Imagine the ramifications of living under lie-detection surveillance. Say goodbye to; "The dog ate my homework!"
7) Longevity: Right now, the average lifespan is 80 years, but it increases by 3 months every year. By 2036, there will be more than one year increase in our longevity per year. That said, it's possible that 100 will be the new 40.
One thing is certain, change is happening at a faster rate than any other time in history. Embrace the change or move aside, it's an exciting time to be alive.