As a part of the changes we are about to experience, the explosion of suppressed technologies will have a most significant and immediate impact on our global society. While those who are awake have known and anticipated these events, we don’t believe we have really come to full grips on the true impacts we are so generally talking about recently. We are talking about elevating the standard of living on a globally basis by a hundred fold in the next 5-10 years! Seem impossible? Well consider the impacts that are occurring as we write this article.
In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they have gone bankrupt. What happened to Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next 10 year – and most people don’t see it coming. Did you think in 1998 that 3 years later you would never take pictures on paper film again?
Yet digital cameras were invented in 1975. The first ones only had 10,000 pixels, but followed Moore’s law. So as with all exponential technologies, it was a disappointment for a long time, before it became way superior and went main-stream in only a few short years. Now the standard in digital cameras is about 20 MPs. The same types of advances are happening with Artificial Intelligence, healthcare, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing, agriculture and jobs. Welcome to the 4th Industrial/technological Revolution.
Software will disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years. This revolution is happening in unanticipated ways. For example, Uber is just a software tool, they don’t own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world. Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don’t own any properties.
Artificial Intelligence integrated into computers have become exponentially better in understanding the world. This year, a computer beat the best Go player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected. In the US, young lawyers already don’t get jobs, because of IBM’s Watson. You can get legal advice (so far for more or less basic stuff) within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans. So if you study law, stop immediately. There will be 90% fewer lawyers in the future, only specialists will remain.
Computers (e.g. Watson) will enable nurse practitioners and doctor’s assistants the capability to diagnosing cancers 4X more accurately than current technology allows. Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans. This is the so-called “singularity” that has been predicted by folks like Ray Kurzweil.
Autonomous Vehicles are coming and In 2018 the first self-driving cars will be available to the public. Around 2020, the complete auto industry will start to be disrupted. You don’t need to own a car anymore. You will call a car with your phone and it 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 en-route. Kids will never need a driver’s license and will never need to own a car. It will change the cities, because we will need 70-75% less cars. We can transform former parking space into parks. Approximately one million people die each year in car accidents worldwide. We now have one accident every 100,000mile, with autonomous driving that will drop to one accident in 10 million miles, which will save significant number of lives each year.
Vehicle Dealers may not know it but they are going to become dinosaurs. Many automobile dealers will become bankrupt. Traditional car companies will try the evolutionary approach and just build a better car, while tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will do the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels. I spoke to a lot of engineers from Volkswagen and Audi; they are completely terrified of Tesla. Insurance companies will have massive trouble because without accidents, the insurance will become 100x cheaper. Their car insurance business model will disappear.
Real Estate Business will experience dramatic change, because if you can work while you commute, people will move further away to live in a more beautiful neighborhood. Those agents working in high cost urban environments will have to rethink their business model.
Electric cars will become main-stream by 2020. Cities will be less noisy because all cars will run on electric. Electricity will become incredibly cheap and clean: Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can only now see the impact. Last year, more solar energy was installed worldwide than fossil fuel generated electricity. The price for solar will drop so much that all coal companies will be out of business by 2025.
Power/Water Resources will also be redefined with cheap electricity comes cheap and abundant water. Desalination now only needs 2kWh per cubic meter. While we don’t have scarce water in most places, we do have scarce drinking water and that reality is becoming critical. Currently only 2% of the earth’s water is considered potable. Imagine what will be possible if anyone can have as much clean water as he wants, for nearly no cost.
In Health Care the Tricorder X prize will be announced this year. There will be companies who will build a medical device (called the “Tricorder” from Star Trek) that works with you phone, which takes your retina scan, you blood sample and you will breath into it. It then analyses 54 biomarkers that will identify nearly any disease. It will be cheap and in a few years everyone on this planet will have access to world class medicine, nearly for free.
3D printing is beginning to make significant impacts on how we view manufacturing things. The price of the cheapest 3D printer has come down from $18,000 to $400 within 10 years. In the same time, it has become 100 times faster. All major shoe companies have started 3D printing shoes. 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 have in the past.
At the end of this year, new smart phones will have 3D scanning possibilities. You can then 3D scan your feet and print your perfect shoe at home. In China, they already 3D printed a complete 6-story office building. By 2027, 10% of everything that’s being produced will be 3D printed.
Business opportunities will have to be completely re-thought. If you think of a niche you want to develop, ask yourself: “in the future, do you think we will have that?” If the answer is yes, how can you make that happen sooner? If it doesn’t work with your phone, forget the idea. And any idea designed for success in the 20th century is doomed to failure in the 21st century.
Employment will be our greatest challenge and the most liberating aspect of the near future. Estimated 70-80% of existing jobs will disappear over the next 20 years causing a huge disruption in employment. There will be a large increase of “new jobs” requiring a highly-educated workforce. However, we will also have a significantly larger portion of our time we can dedicate leisure. These changes are as dramatic as when we stopped being hunter/gathers and began to settle down in an agriculture environment.
Agriculture and feeding the world WITHOUT GMO’s is a reality now. There will be $100 agricultural “field” robots in the future. Farmers in 3rd world countries can then become managers of their field instead of working all days on their fields. Aerophonics will need much less water. The first petri dish produced veal is now available and will be cheaper than cow produced veal in 2018. Right now, 30% of all agricultural surfaces are used for supporting cows. Imagine if we don’t need that space anymore. There are several startups that will bring insect protein to the market shortly. It contains more protein than meat. It will be labeled as “alternative protein source” (because most people still reject the idea of eating insects).
With all these changes comes increased Human longevity. Right now, the average life span increases by 3 months per year. Four years ago, the average global life span was 79 years, now its 80 years. The rate of increase in longevity is accelerating and by 2036, there will be more than one year increase per year into the future. So we all might live for a significantly long time, and life expectancy will probably be more than 100 years by 2036.
The most significant impacts will be in education. The cheapest smart phones are already at $10 in Africa and Asia. By 2020, 70% of all humans will own a smart phone. That means, everyone will have the same access to world class education. Every child can use online academies for everything a child learns at school in First World countries.
These are just a few examples of how technological advances of the last five years are already impacting the world. There are a cadre of “suppressed” technologies already developed but withheld because of their significant economic impacts. These are being forced into the light of day. They are related to non fossil fuel energy other than solar and wind, medical technologies, and technologies related to travel both on land, air, and space.
Fasten your seat belt, open your minds, and begin to learn how to enjoy the abundance and richness of life that is speeding your way!