The Future is Now

A look into a future that will be upon us relatively shortly


I don’t know if this is scary or wonderful. Now this gives everyone something to think about and to discuss with kids of all ages.  

 ~The FUTURE is approaching faster than one can handle….! 

1. 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. Welcome to the Exponential Age. 

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

3.  Uber is just a software tool, they don’t own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world. 

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

5.  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. 

6.  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% less lawyers in the future, only omniscient specialists will remain. 

6A.  Watson already helps nurses diagnosing cancer, its 4 times more accurate than human nurses. 

7.  Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans. 

8.  Autonomous cars : In 2018 the first self-driving cars will appear for the public. Around 2020, the complete 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 can be productive while driving.

The very young children of today will never get a driver’s license and will never own a car. 

8A.  It will change the cities, because we will need 90-95% less cars for that.   We can transform former parking spaces into parks.

1.2 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. 

8B.  Most car companies will doubtless become bankrupt. Traditional car companies 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. 

8C.  Many engineers from Volkswagen and Audi; are completely terrified of Tesla. 

9.  Insurance companies will have massive trouble because, without accidents, the insurance will become 100x cheaper. Their car insurance business model will disappear. 

10.  Real estate will change. Because if you can work while you commute, people will move further away to live in a more beautiful neighborhood. 

11.  Electric cars will become mainstream about 2020. Cities will be less noisy because all new cars will run on electricity. 

12.  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. 

13.  Last year, more solar energy was installed worldwide than 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. 

14.  With cheap electricity comes cheap and abundant water. Desalination of salt water now only needs 2kWh per cubic meter (@ 0.25 cents). 

We don’t have scarce water in most places, we only have scarce drinking water. Imagine what will be possible if anyone can have as much clean water as he wants, for nearly no cost. 

15.  Health: The Tricorder X price 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. 

16.  It then analyses 54 bio-markers that will identify nearly any disease.  It will be cheap, so in a few years everyone on this planet will have access to world class medical analysis, nearly for free. Goodbye, self-serving medical practitioners and establishments. 

17.  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. 

18.  Some 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. 

19.  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. 

19A.  In China, they already 3D printed and built a complete 6-storey office building. By 2027, 10% of everything that’s being produced will be 3D printed. 

20.Business opportunities: If you think of a niche you want to go in, first ask yourself: “In the future, do I think we will have that?” and if the answer is yes, how can you make that happen sooner? 

20A.  If it doesn’t work with your phone, forget the idea.  Any idea designed for success in the 20th century is doomed to failure in the 21st century. 

20B.  Work : 70-80% of jobs will disappear in the next 20 years. There will be a lot of new jobs, but it is not clear if there will be enough new jobs in such a short time. This will require a rethink on wealth distribution. 

21.  Agriculture : There will be a $100 agricultural robot in the future.  Farmers in 3rd world countries can then become managers of their field instead of working all day on their fields. 

22.  Aeroponics 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 is used for cows.  Imagine if we don’t need that space anymore. 

23.  There are several startups who 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). 

24.  There is an app called “moodies” which can already tell in which mood you’re in. By 2020 there will be apps that can tell by your facial expressions, if you are lying. Imagine a political debate where it’s being displayed when they’re telling the truth and when they’re not – it will ultimately compel all politicians to be truthful (a truly unique & novel occurrence). 



  1. Alls Well

    Yes, and how much of this looks like Port Angeles? Any of it? Oh, that’s right. We’ve spent millions to build artificial beaches nobody uses, and to bring toxic waste into our town so that we can make pickle ball paddles.

    What is missing from this all-but-glowing picture of our fast approaching future are the immense environmental impacts created by humans technological prowess. Yes, we may be able to buy a 3D printer to make our own shoes, but will we be able to live with a dead ocean, as it’s food chain is being destroyed by acidification?

    Already, “record breaking” weather events across the planet are destroying human built infrastructure at an increasing rate. Warming conditions are killing off inland fish, regardless of whether they live in streams, rivers lakes or ponds. Bees and other pollinators are dying off because of chemicals poured into the environment by humans.

    But, who needs pollinators, when $100 agricultural robots will roam the planet.

    1. bert furdy

      dear mr./ms. well

      80% less jobs means more people on the beach. more people to play pickle ball. there are as many opportunities as there are challenges. your points are fine as far as they go, but there is destructive woe is me tone.. will dead ocean matter if we are eating bugs? are electric cars better for environment when cascadia fault destroys all in next 100 years or so? will we need archaic natural pollinators if micro manipulating robots doing the work? while nature has been model for past billion years or so may well be time of organics is over, and planet rolls on with only the rich and their robot buddies. why such hubris about “life”? born, live, die. or not. relax. go sit on the beach. or make positive change that meets your needs. voice doom and gloom is as negative as what you lament.

  2. Pete

    Technology can never replace humanity.
    None of the things in this article will lessen evil.

  3. polecat

    Progression does NOT, in many cases, equate GOOD !!

    I don’t know about you Mr. Wilson, but I certainly don’t see nirvana just around the corner …

  4. Adam Baumer

    …and best of all, everyone gets a kitten.

  5. Elizabeth Stallings

    We have not beat nature yet, What is more likely to happen as we crowd out nature, pollute the very environment that gives us life and more and more species go extinct is some sort of a super-plague will take most if not all of us out. Once most or all of us are gone the earth will eventually recover quite nicely. We won’t be here to see it but other forms of life will enjoy the hell out of it. As they should.

    1. Anon

      If you haven’t read “The Limits to Growth”, you should. The original book is a series of computer projections based upon population growth, energy inputs, food, etc. Humans go extinct by 2060 or so. They then reduced the population input numbers, increased food, etc. It changed the outcome by a few years.

      Of course, that was done a few decades ago, so they did a follow up “The Limits to Growth: The 30 year update” to take into account all the gee-whiz new neatsy keen stuff we have since come up with since the first analyses. Yep, it doesn’t change the projections much.


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