Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Futurist predicts unbelievable changes

Try to imagine a world where there are no post offices, banks, cash, credit cards, newspapers, marriage, air travel--even no shoplifting. This is the world that awaits us, according to futurist Bob Louden of Saratoga.   Indeed, indications of its arrival are already here. It's the wireless world, and it's not far away.

For starters, we will be able to talk to anyone in the world, and the words will be translated as they are uttered. By then iPad technology will be all over the world and business will be conducted without having to travel. Since manufacturing will be computerized, eliminating labor, only 10 percent of the population will have to be employed, the most intelligent 10 percent, he calls it.

The rest will be doing the business of humanity, whatever that is in 20 or 30 years. And living on some form of unemployment compensation dispensed by the government from funds that once went to labor costs.
Of course, Louden can't look into the future any more than the rest of us can, but he does have a firm grip on the evolution of computers--what they can do and what they're going to be able to do. He was there on the ground floor with IBM and other ground-breaking companies.

Here's the scenario he envisions: When you enter a grocery store in the near future your profile will be encoded at the entry, and you won't get in if your profile doesn't show the ability to pay. Hence, no shoplifting—and self-check out, of course. Aboard any public transit you will indicate your destination on the map, and the computer at the stop will know what language to use for the instructions.

Everyone will have access to public domain knowledge. E-books will have audio of famous speeches, video inserts, even motion and vibration inserts. Computers will be as big as a ring; iPhones will be used as credit cards are today. TVs will be 3D, even in five years. Electric cars will be charged in garages and on the highway.
Many of these transformations will occur in the next decade, since we'll have universal wireless power in 10 years, Louden predicts. Deciphering the human genome will be automatic and part of each person's profile when you step into the doctor's office.

With women, mainly educated women, marrying later or not at all, birth rate and intelligence will both decline. Educate women and we'll have fewer and fewer children--could be a model for Third World countries. Most people in the Middle Ages didn't know who their father was. The same may soon be true for us, what with longer spans of sexual activity: female puberty comes earlier these days and marriage later.

In 30 years our lives will be unbelievably changed, Louden says. Sounds like an understatement.

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