Future so Bright: four things that are going to change the world in the next decade
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Just ten years ago the first smartphone was introduced by Apple. For the first two years, they were expensive novelties. Then, the android phone was released and within a short time smartphones changed our world by putting the power of the internet into our pocket. If we want to see what will happen in the next ten years, we have only to look at what's emerging right now.
What does the future look like? Probably a lot like today, but different in some important ways.
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - There are four emerging developments that are about to change the world as we know it.
Self Driving Cars
Self-driving cars are already here, and rules requiring safety drivers have just been eliminated in California. Assuming all goes well, and it should, these cars will begin to take over the streets in the next decade. Several manufacturers are pushing the self-driving concept into the market via taxis and shuttles and big rig trucks.
San Francisco's Embark firm has recently completed a cross-country, self-driving big rig demonstration, traveling from California to Florida without incident. They are expanding their test fleet to 40 trucks by the end of 2018.
At the present rate, self-driving cars will become common within the decade. Several states are also planning to create exclusive lanes for self-driving cars on their freeways as an additional safety measure.
Artificial intelligence has been around for some time but remains in development. Engineers have demonstrated the ability of AI to do specific, complex tasks better than humans, such as play Chess or Go better than any world master. The hard part has been creating artificial intelligence that can mimic the brain and do a lot of different things equally well. But they're making progress. AI networks can already teach themselves, and they have been caught inventing their own, more efficient languages.
It's expected within the next ten years that AI will become integrated into our homes, workplaces and very lives. The technology will make us more efficient and productive while saving time, money, and energy. Our household devices will run intelligently and autonomously, as will our cars. Packages will be delivered autonomously, without the need for delivery drivers. Our homes won't be fully self-cleaning, but our devices will be more helpful, often working when we are away from home.
There could be a dark side to this technology, such as the potential loss of privacy, so new laws and safeguards will have to be pioneered to protect consumers.
Clean Meat and Vertical Farming
Clean meat and vertical farming are about to change the world more than any other change in the past 10,000 years because they will change the very way we produce food.
Since the dawn of history, we have required large amounts of space and water to grow animals and crops for food. This is changing as we speak.
Clean meat is the production of meat from animal stem cells in a factory setting. So far, clean meat remains in the laboratory but the technology is almost mature. Several firms are working on similar projects. The meats have also been taste-tested and have met with approval. Consumers can expect to see clean meats on store shelves within the next three to five years.
Clean meat will not require ranching or the slaughter of animals. It won't have parasites or diseases, and won't require injection with vaccines, antibiotics, or hormones. It'll require much less water, and it will be cheaper to produce. Scientists think they will be able to manipulate the genetic material to manage fat and cholesterol content. It will be cheaper and better in every way. Of course, real meat will still be around, but it'll become an expensive delicacy.
Vertical farming has already started in several urban centers around the world. Vertical farming involves building or converting a factory to become an indoor farm. Crops are raised in large trays which can be rotated on vertical racks. Immune to weather, a new crop can be harvested and planted every day according to demand. Without insects, weeds or fungus, vertical farms don't require pesticide use. They use less land, water, and labor.
Situated anywhere, a vertical farm can provide farm fresh, organic food to consumers in the middle of a city. In the future, vertical farms will be established in tall buildings with the ground floor serving as a farmer's market, open 365 days per year. For a firm like Amazon, which is pioneering smart grocery stores, vertical farms are a logical next step.
In a decade, vertical farms could become common and could even be built in regions that suffer from food insecurity.
Universal Basic Income
Universal basic income is the practice of providing all people with a small amount of money each month to provide for their basic needs, no strings attached. The idea is to provide people with enough to buy food and other basic necessities in a bid to reduce poverty.
Several experiments have been performed since the 1970s, and several pilot programs are underway around the world. So far, results are overwhelmingly positive.
Fears that people will quit working and become lazy and dependent have been dispelled. Instead, UBI gives people more opportunities which most take to open businesses, attend school, and improve their value as workers by developing better skills. Recipients are healthier, happier, and more fulfilled.
Universal basic income is being promoted as a possible solution to the problem caused by automation. One common theme in the list of changes above is that these developments will mean less demand for human labor. The world will soon no longer need as many drivers, delivery teams, house cleaners and service providers, farm laborers, or ranchers. How will people work and sustain themselves without basic income if there are far fewer jobs to go around? Experts think universal basic income, funded by taxing automation, could help millions of people avoid falling into poverty. This would allow the workforce to retrain itself for the jobs of the future.
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Universal basic income could also sustain stay-at-home parents, allowing them to spend more time raising children or taking an active role in their churches and communities.
Of all these ideas, universal basic income faces the most resistance because it smacks of socialism and runs afoul of neoliberal economic philosophy. It is unclear as to how it could be funded and how generous it needs to be. But we live in a world that is generating more wealth than ever before and most of that wealth is concentrating in the hands of a few. The wealth exists, but it is being scandalously hoarded.
As for self-driving cars, AI, clean meat and vertical farming, those developments appear inevitable. and are already emerging in the market.
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