PSA-180920-Crystal Ball

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Back in the nineties I read a book titled Megatrends 2000 by John Naisbitt in which he foretold the future ten to twenty years ahead. The author did not have any unusual telepathic talent he merely watched for trends. He collected snippets of information about happenings from newspapers around the country. If a particular action appeared in many places across the country he saw it as a trend.

After having read the book, and led the life I can attest to the fact that Naisbitt’s predictions were highly accurate. A few weeks ago I told myself to look for a new book that would predict the next ten years. Things are moving so fast that quite frankly, I can’t keep up with them and I would venture that you have the same problem too. I haven’t found such a book, but I did receive a list of predictions from a friend. I believe all of them will come to fruition within the next twenty- thirty years. I only hope I am around to see them happen,

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1. Auto repair shops go away. A gasoline engine has 20,000 individual parts. An electrical motor has 20. Electric cars are sold with lifetime guarantees and are only repaired by dealers. It takes only 10 minutes to remove and replace an electric motor. Faulty electric motors are not repaired in the dealership but are sent to a regional repair shop that repairs them with robots. Your motor malfunction light goes on so you drive up to what looks like a Jiffy-auto wash, and your car is towed through while you have a cup of coffee and out comes your car with a new motor.

2. Gas stations go away. Parking meters are replaced by stations that  dispense electricity.  All companies install electrical recharging stations for their customers and employees. (The gas station goes away, but must be replaced by a charging station. Batteries and charging must improve exponentially for this to happen. Currently an electric car needs ten hours of charge time to charge fully.)

3. All major auto manufacturers have already designated 5-6 billion dollars each to start building new plants that only build electric cars.

4. Coal industries go away. Gasoline/oil companies go away.  Drilling for oil stops. (This one is hard to believe because all these cars need electricity and it has to be generated. Most likely we will use natural gas.)  

5. Homes produce and store more electrical energy during the day and  then they use and will sell it back to the grid. The grid stores it  and dispenses it to industries that are high electricity users. (This ones assumes that we have roofs made of solar collectors, and that the sun shines every day.)

5. A baby of today will only see personal cars in museums. (This one forgets about our car culture and car hobbyists who will continue to build their own cars.) 

6. The FUTURE is approaching faster than one can handle! 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 went bankrupt.  What happened to Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next  5-10 years and, most people won’t see it coming. Did you think in 1998 that 3 years later you would never take pictures on 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 time, before it became way superior and became mainstream in only a few short years. It will now happen again (but much faster) with Artificial Intelligence, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing, agriculture and jobs.

Welcome to the 4th Industrial Revolution.

7. Software will disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years.

8. UBER is just a software tool, they don’t own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world! (This one assumes that there will be enough Uber drivers with cars willing to shuttle people around) 

9. Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don’t own any properties.

10. Artificial Intelligence: Computers become exponentially better in understanding the world. This year, a computer beat the best Go-player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected. (What the heck is “Go” and who cares that a computer beat him?) 

11. In the U. S., 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 omniscient specialists will remain. (This will be a good thing because with too many lawyers our society has become overly litigious, and our government divided by politicians who are lawyers trained to win at all costs while our system relies on compromise.)

12. Watson already helps nurses diagnosing cancer, its 4 times more accurate than human nurses. (Nurses don’t diagnose cancer, doctors do.)

13. Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans.

14. In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans. (So people quit learning because the computer knows everything.Who then teaches the computer new stuff? Does the computer perform lab experiments to learn new facts?)

15. Autonomous cars: In 2018 the first self driving cars will appear for the public. Around 2020, the entire industry will start to be disrupted. You don’t want to own a car anymore. You will call a car with your phone, 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 you can be productive while riding. The very young children of today will never get a driver’s license and will never own a car.

16. It will change the cities, because we will need 90-95% fewer cars. We can transform former parking spaces into parks.

17. One point two million people die each year in car-accidents worldwide. We now have one accident every 60,000 mi (100,000 km), with autonomous driving that will drop to 1 accident in 6 million mi (10 million km). That will save a million lives worldwide each year. (This one assumes that sensors and computers in the cars are better than those of a human being.)

18. Most car companies will doubtless go 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.

19. Many engineers from Volkswagen and Audi; are completely terrified of Tesla. (Engineers fear only layoffs due to a lack of need. Electrical cars have simple drive trains, but more complicated controls, sensors, and computers.)  

20. Insurance companies will have massive trouble because, without accidents, the insurance will become 100x cheaper. Their car insurance business model will disappear. (accidents will never disappear completely)

21. Real estate will change. Because if you can work while you commute, people will move farther away to live in a more beautiful neighborhood. (If you can work while you commute, why go to the office at all? Work from home.)

22. Electric cars will become mainstream about 2030. Cities will be less noisy because all new cars will run on electricity. (People will step into traffic while looking at their personal work modules because they can’t hear the cars.)

23. Electricity will become incredibly cheap and clean: Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can now see the burgeoning impact. (This will require homes that have solar roofs, streets that are solar collectors, and vehicles that can pick up electricity from the road.)

24. Fossil energy companies are desperately trying to limit access to the grid to prevent competition from home solar installations, but that simply cannot continue – technology will take care of that strategy. (Low cost solar systems for the home which can compete with the electric companies will be needed to make this happen.)

25. Health: The Tricorder X will be announced this year. There are companies who will build a medical device (called the “Tricorder” from Star Trek) that works with your phone, which takes your retina scan, your blood sample and you breath into it.  It then analyses 54 bio-markers that will identify nearly any disease. (This dreamer has never had to experience an MRI, PET scan, Ultrasound, or colonoscopy test to believe a phone can detect your problems.)

WELCOME TO TOMORROW ! ! !

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It is only natural for me to be skeptical about these predictions because many of them rely not on technology, but rather on acceptance by humans to implement. Acceptance will evolve and shift culture toward these bold inventions. I predict they will take an additional ten-twenty years to be accepted by the public.

 

A Little Creativity Behind the Barn

Never give a farmer a welder!!
When you live on a farm you learn to”make do” with whatever you find in the barn!! This is the exact & perfect example of why we save everything.
This car has been built with all of the “junk” laying out back in the pile, & under the work bench, & stuffed in the rafters.
All this guy needed was a little time on his hands.
Body of the car is a manure spreader….Milk can fuel tank

Check out the “gearing wheel”….What do you see? Dash is a two man saw blade is a cross cut saw —
Tractor hand brake – tachometer – 2 mirrors mounted on horse shoes – big truck signal switch
mounted on left – single wiper motor.

Cow milking apparatus on air cleaner – galvanized wash tub fan shroud –

Tractor wrench bracket for corn planter headlamp housing
Rear seats from toilet with stereo speakers below them – Newhome seat backs including an Oxen yoke!!
E
The rear lamp frame built with saw blades & a chicken feeder box – manure spreader drive is still
intact – horse shoe door hinges
Tractor seats with pitchfork backs – seat belts – tractor compartment box behind driver seat – gear shift beside
hand brake – stereo & CD player on dash blade – the drive chains are still on the floor board. Also please note
that he put in seat belts – So is he street legal ?

Catching Up

For the longest time I have seen ads claiming that Cable television is running scared. I could not determine what the heck they were afraid of. At that time I subscribed to cable for my internet and television service. Then, this year my cell phone died. I was forced to buy a new one. My landline has been with ATT since the first time I had to buy service in 1961. This time, however, I decided to take advantage of the entire package; land line, cell phone, internet, and TV. The package saved me one hundred dollars a month for the first two years at least. I have endured the ATT internet service to take advantage of the savings, but it is clearly slower than cable. At my age I don’t want anything to be slower because I am trying to squeeze more out of life; waiting for a website to come up does not fit into that scenario.

Two weeks ago, Peg’s caretaker took a day off to attend a party at a friend’s house. The caretaker is from a foreign country, and is not a tech-nerd by any means, but she does know how to save a buck. She came home all excited to show me something she had bought at Best Buy. The gadget is an Amazon FireTVStick. I looked down my nose at it and said I’d try it out.  She couldn’t say enough good about this device. The host of the party she attended had one installed and bragged about how wonderful it was and all the TV was for free. The host is a Russian immigrant who barely speaks English, but was very aware of the Firestick

With the advent of fiber-optic phone lines there has been a major advance in the ability to transmit tons of information over phone lines.  Back in the late eighties and early nineties I visited Sprint in Kansas City, KS as an engineer. These people were diligently working on improving the transmission of data across phone lines. They excitedly explained the benefits of what they were doing. I nodded my head and took it all on faith that they knew what they were doing. I was more focused on trying to solve their problems with my product, a lowly cable tie.

The future that Sprint was working on has arrived. The threat that Cable TV is worried about is called streaming. Today, young people with computers and cell phones are getting their entertainment over the phone lines via a process called streaming. The Firestick is a piece of hardware that allows those of us who have Wi-Fi and digital TV’s to take advantage of streaming. Streaming is the transmission of TV signals over phone lines, and through the atmosphere wirelessly.

Most of us have heard of YouTube. It is a Google process which allows us to load videos onto the internet. Right now, Google has more content available than a person can view watching full-time for a lifetime, and there is more being posted everyday. What I was not aware of is that the stuff we watch on TV is also available on YouTube.

While I was sleeping and surfing the net for news, the youth of the world have been busy working to take advantage of the entertainment content available on the internet. New companies have sprung up with products that allow it all to happen. Most of it is software that allows a user to capture all the streams of data that are traversing the universe; the Amazon FireTVstick is one of them.

This week I finally attacked the Firestick and began to play with it. At this point it is still beating me, but I will conquer the damn thing and we will be watching TV transmitted by Wi-Fi over the internet. When I do conquer the thing it will enable me to quit the TV subscription I have from ATT and save eighty-nine bucks a month, or a whopping one thousand and sixty-eight dollars a year; no wonder Cable is running scared.

Like always when I work with something new like the Firestick I searched YouTube for videos that would show me how to make it work. I even use YouTube to learn how to cook recipes. What I found amazed me. There are dozens of Nerds making videos on how to use streaming devices. What is more surprising is that they have hundreds of thousands of views. The world is on the cusp of using streaming as a way to view video content on TV’s, computers, tablets, and cell phones. Even an old guy like me will learn how to do it and soon will master an entirely new technology. Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Well at least for now I haven’t mastered the steps to success.

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