Credit Flickr CC Elvert Barnes
While you go about your day and fret about the latest economic downswing, five fingers are folding into an economic punch that will soon spread across the globe.
This economic punch will not be good, or bad.
There is no defense for the punch.
The first part of this punch is artificial intelligence — or AI. For years, people wrote AI off as hype. Now, robots and super-smart computer applications are getting noticed. From Siri to Jeopardy-winning Watson supercomputer, A.I. can no longer be ignored. More and more factories are utilizing robots to improve production.
Remember when desktop printers were the rage? They actually revolutionized the office and created entire new industries. Now, imagine a device that can sit in your home and produce objects–real, three dimensional objects. Experts say this will change the way we shop, the way we recycle, and the way we make and save money. There are also plans to create printers that can make pharmaceuticals and revolutionize health care.
Speaking of health care… Today’s medicine is like a shot gun. You take a whole bunch of treatments and pills and throw them at patients and see which ones have the best chances to succeed. The truth is, however, that there are physiological differences between individuals. An effective treatment for you, might be ineffective for me. A pill that causes side effects for you, may not have any problems for me. Personalized medicine will treat people as they are — as individuals. It could save lives. And save trillions of dollars.
Crowd Sourcing, Crowd Funding
Karen Klein was a school bus monitor who was mercilessly bullied by a group of middle school students. She won’t need that job now. A crowd-funded project that was attempting to raise $5,000 so she could take a vacation ended up generating more than $700,000 in donations. This is just one story. More will follow, including new plans to allow people to crowd invest in start-ups.
New technology will blend cyber-reality with reality. It’s called augmented reality. One way this works is through glasses and contact lenses that display data for the user. Think fighter pilots and their heads-up display.
Good and Bad
There’s always good news and bad news with technological developments. This five-finger economic punch is no different.
On the one hand, robots will make our lives easier. On the other hand, they may also take our jobs.
3-D printing can usher in an age of abundance. But, during a transition, stores may shutter and businesses could be wiped out.
Despite the bad news, the overall, long-term prognosis is good. With every wave of technological change, there’s been struggle, but in each case, people have found a way to absorb the economic punch of new tech and counter with new opportunities and even better technological solutions.