Sunday, October 12, 2014

The End of Work

Very soon we as a race will be made aware that we are much less capable than our creation in every way.

It is critical that we begin to value humanity now.

We will no longer need to drive
We will no longer need to cook
We will no longer be the best window washers or artists or programmers or engineers. 

Soon products will be produced locally, at higher quality and with more personalization at a much lower cost than could ever be produced by a human today.

Service jobs will be better executed by robots powered by powerful computers that are constantly learning everything, sharing everything and executing with precision.

My last post, Technological Unemployment  was an answer to a question posed by Peter H. Diamandis. In it I propose that we begin to pay the hospice worker a fitting wage.  We should pay the soccer coach for the real human value they provide.  In this post I want to explore the why.  Why do we need work.  

People have asked me 'why' so many times that I am astonished.  Most people simply dream of a day when they can "do what they want".   While others assume that there will be little value in any human endeavor. 

People need to work in order to relate to one another.

Economy built all of the cities in the world, it built all of the cultures of the world.  If we allow it to fail, our need for one another, and our compassion for one another will fail as well.  We will build prejudice based on ignorance.

I am a fan of Ray Kurzweil but I disagree with him when it comes to humanity.  His expectation is that we will continue to find new ways to employ ourselves.  He is so passionate about this I have begun to wonder if he has questioned himself lately.  The challenge I have is that he focuses on our joining with technology to accomplish this.  His belief that this will happen is the flaw in his argument.

People will change, people will incorporate technology, but it is inconsistent with logic that we would accept technological change within ourselves at any pace that could keep up with a singularity.  

For us to create jobs for ourselves in a traditional sense we need to provide at least equal capability either physically or mentally to any competition.  I think it is clear that we have no chance of equality with our creation, even if we remain in control of it.  We cannot create new jobs, we must embrace the most basic ones.

For technology to create jobs for us is for us to require it to deceive us, which could prove less than ideal.

The jobs I propose would be jobs that we would prefer a human perform.  These jobs are currently low value.  The hospice worker, the poet and yes the cubmaster are all jobs that we see the value in but currently we won't pay for.  We must import soccer coaches, and export tennis trainers.

Currently many companies are generous by sponsoring Junior Achievement and other good works. These programs are a step, but they are not enough.

If large companies gave 1 month paid family global volunteerism opportunity for 5 years of service and granted a month of service to another cultures family in return the affect would be dramatic.  This models emphasis is on how we build relations with cultures based on human centered activities.  This model is the beginning of a solution to two problems.

It gives humanity a job, and it strengthens the bonds between cultures.  

We must promote international humanitarian efforts by ensuring all cultures and all economic levels are understood and appreciated by one another.  

This move toward capital valuation of human centered endeavors starts with corporations being aware of the destabilization of the workforce and it completes with humanity's recognition of itself as valuable in itself. 

I fear that the world will need to be destabilized by mass unemployment, increasing cultural division or other factors before we begin down the path, but I have hope that the value of this model or something better can accelerate the change from product based economy to a human centered one.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Technological Unemployment

Peter H. Diamandis asks the question what will we do when when technology displaces us.  link ...  

We need jobs around love and caring.  These will be about helping people interact and form bonds. 

Social Services are a new value model, love and relationships are a currency.  I am a Cub Scout leader, care giver, husband, father, and we need to use these kinds of community service, leadership and personal growth positions as our new value model.  

The business sector needs to start valuing these previously volunteer or low paid positions as we emerge into a society that is less about producing and more about loving.  Walmart and every other corporation is looking to the future for how they can build a consumer base.  Instead of how to build a consumer base they need to look at how to be a part of stabilizing the labor base. People cannot continue to live behind a desk, or in boxes.  

If someone wants to help others our society should help them do that.  This experiment is not one of charity; it is an expression of the value we place on Humanity.  It is the underlying community of appreciation for us and our children that must be addressed.

Our school system is becoming irrelevant, and our workforce evaporating into oblivion.  In its place we must fill and overfill that void by valuing good works, teaching, and caring.  Spending afternoons with the elderly or playing in the park with kids should pay well because it is these behaviors that bind us, these behaviors that guide us and these behaviors that are inherently human. 

I don't mean to say that corporations should pay people to stay home.  We need to pay people to produce results.  These things can be measured, and bonuses can be paid for exceptional results.  The company derives value not only from public image but also from contributing to civil society.

A big fear that I have is that the program will be handed to the government or treated as a charity.  In the wrong hands the value will not be measured, the benefits will not be attained.  This loving society must be capitalistic to ensure that human nature is accounted for.  Measures must be in place, and value derived.

I can see by 2035 we will have a significant presence in this space and as “Society crumbles” we will be building into this new framework for us and our posterity.

I have had some good feedback and I understand there is a huge segment of society that we fear.  People who don't care people who you don't want to care for or be cared by.  To that I say that is why we need this model.  The only way to understand one another is to care for people different from ourselves.  

After some good dialogue with +Uche Eke  I realize that I need to add some supporting perspective to this guess.  Robert Wright has a couple of TED talks that will help to understand why I have the perspective that I do.  He argues that compassion beyond family is based on mutual benefit.  I will let him explain. 

Robert Wright - Optimism 
Robert Wright - Compassion 

I realize that sighing one 'expert' doesn't amount to evidence but this is just a silly guess.

So what do you think?   Go ahead and tell me that I'm wrong.  This is just a silly guess.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Salary vs Inflation

While  researching this post, time and time again I realized that there is one factor that matters to those in control of wages and the economy.  People in the U.S. that make 50 k are just as happy as those that make 350 k.  If people make below $50 k they are much less happy.

So what... the reality is that money doesn't make you happy, big deal.  True, however with the increasing financial gap I am interested how far this will go.  Happiness for most consists of  having food, shelter, family and a few toys.  Well Toys are cheap, family is free, food is subsidized and shelter, well shelter depends on where you live.

My Silly guess is that wages will not increase on average more than 2% yearly over the next 20 years.  So a person making $100,000 today can expect to make about $151,000 in 2034 in the same job.  During that time expect prices for things like coffee to go from $10 to $22 a pound.  

Around the world salaries are skyrocketing as technology and communication make the world smaller.  U.S. companies are cashing in on low wages and an ever increasing skill base from around the world.  The U.S. worker is an increasingly expensive commodity despite the vast numbers of unemployed and wages adjusted to a CPI that significantly favors the wealthy.  

Importantly I am not suggesting that there will be mass suffering, on the contrary, the importance of retaining a docile underclass is critical for everyone.  Wages elsewhere will increase to the point that eventually, maybe by 2055 average workers in any "third world" economy, will match those in the U.S..

So while wages stagnate, the U.S. and world economies will continue to grow as more value is driven by new markets.  Lifestyles will continue to improve as the cost of energy, communications and travel diminish.  Toys will be cheap, family will be free, food subsidized and shelter, well shelter depends on where you live.

So what do you think?.... Go ahead and tell me that I'm wrong.  This is just a silly guess.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Robotic Cabs

There are many wild expressions of robot cars, and transportation, but not many talk about what is becoming obviously "The next big thing".  This will be happening within 2 years of having robotic cars for sale in any market.  My silly guess is that robotic cars will be for sale by 2022 and cab services will be available in the same markets by 2024.

Self driving cars will be hassle free, and personal, and they will be the transformative expression of a new age of safety and reliance on robots.  When I told my brother this he said, I won't share a ride and I am not getting in some yellow thing.  Well obviously he is thinking of his cab experience, the new reality will be very different. 

I expect the first cabs like this in the U.S. will be BMW/Mercedes/Audi.  The passenger will sign up for service instead of a lease and the cab company will provide the preferred vehicle.   This will be expensive, but there will be inexpensive versions popup quickly.  The apps will support GPS, and will sense you leaving a store or work and they will pick you up.  There will be specialty vehicles like pickups for people and occasions when needed or preferred.  Costs will vary based on time, vehicle and many other factors but for most people this will be the preferred form of transportation. 

(Update, a co-worker mentioned that they like to drive and wouldn't do this.... I want to make sure people think of the TV series Knight Rider.  You can drive if you want.  Take over KITT...)

Garages and parking lots will be reclaimed.  Drive through restaurants will accommodate delivery and loading of prepay vehicles.  Stores will offer delivery or pickup that use this new form of transport.  This won't be instant but it will happen.

Vehicle manufacturers will adopt interchangeable bodies and interiors and chassis that last millions of miles.  Much of this will begin outside of the US at first with simple practical vehicles.  

Interestingly in the U.S., insurance companies and manufacturers may see self driving vehicles as a way to reduce liability.  Fewer accidents will mean less chance of being sued due to one or another safety system failure.  The systems as a whole will be redundant enough and when combined with the other vehicles systems, produce a much safer experience than any human driver.

The reduction of the U.S. market will be offset by the exploding international market, I hope.  As economies equalize (I must post on that) the need for transportation will increase around the globe.

In Africa, self driving vehicles will sort of create and maintain their own roads by sensing and sharing path information. (wild silly guess)

Update, Google has entered a new phase creating 100 driver less "neighborhood" vehicles for testing.

So what do you think?.... Go ahead and tell me that I'm wrong.  This is just a silly guess.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Big Business

Megalopolic "Providers" are the trend.  These are groups of businesses that work together to provide value chains to customers.  Think Walmart or Target working with Comcast and Farmers Insurance and Providence Health care.  These "providers" will join not as a monopoly but as a people integrator attempting to nudge employees and entire market segments to "stay within the family" or "ecosystem".

This one is going to take a while, but I think by 2025 (yes 11 years) you will see clearly that this has started.

Big Businesses no longer need little businesses.  This my seem obvious and it may seem silly but the reality is that there are enough large businesses that they can spin off small businesses that will grow into large businesses to better take advantage of economies of scale and the little guy will loose.

Ok so why do we have little businesses and what is going to happen?  Big Business will continue... (it is a huge trend now) to hire sole source small businesses, train them and provide them with the benefits of economies of scale to keep a perception of owning ones own business.

Chick-fil-A is not a traditional franchise but its model is an expression of where business is going.  They offer "Franchise for $5,000 to a highly vetted business professional who will retain no ownership, stake or value whatsoever when the franchise ends.  (I am available Chick-fil-A!  It is a great job franchise model.)  They get a good portion of the profits, so you might compare them to an employee who is paid commission on sales.  Work hard at this proven model and you will do very well. On average these Owner Operators earn $190,000 according the all knowing Wikipedia.

Other companies behaving similarly where they provide the know how and materials and the business owner provides the motivated behavior.  Large businesses are compensated for their participation in local economies.  This isn't just for government contractors.  It is a perk that all large businesses use to demonstrate value to the community and earn tax breaks.

So back to the wacky idea, of "providers" these Megalopolic "Providers" will be careful to compete with other "Providers" in 1 on 1 markets.  This will drive brand and eliminate real competition without creating a monopoly similar to the current two system political market.  (that has got to be another post)

Local companies like plumbers and lawn care providers will join these groups to take advantage of buying power and the flexibility offered by being part of a group of people.  Less competition, more days off.  They will seemingly retain ownership of their companies.  It is critical to understand that these business owners will be well compensated, the few and the proud.  Industries where human effort is still needed will earn a premium compared to typical employees, and the perceived cost will be offset by the many benefits.

So what do you think?.... Go ahead and tell me that I'm wrong.  This is just a silly guess.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Health Trackers

There are many activity trackers on the market, so what kind of a guess is this?  Well its a wimpy one, I like those.  I am really less predicting the activity tracker market than the Health Tracker market.  This will happen fairly quickly.  By 2017 a company will realize that the 55 year old who is the biggest market segment for this product needs a device like this.

People want a single device that can understand our health situation.  Weather old or young, into fitness or maintenance, people need to have the guesswork removed when it comes to health.

Trackers are already improving sleep patterns and helping us get the exercise we need.  Soon they will alert us and get help when we have a heart attack, seizure, diabetic shock.  They will remind us to take medicine and tack on time to workouts if we eat a big meal.

Trackers will be a part of stay well programs at work.  These trackers will know our personal body rhythm from others.  They will be connected to our lives helping us to get help and live healthy. 

There will be other uses as well for these devices, they will recommend when to see a doctor about issues that are getting worse and meal choices when we enter a restaurant.  They will be an extension of what we now call our phones that will include many other wearable devices like jewelry, belts, purses and shoes all designed to work in concert to provide data, power and flexibility to the services we expect.

So what do you think?.... Go ahead and tell me that I'm wrong.  This is just a silly guess.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Body Mods

Everyone wants to be special.  Go to your nearest water park and you will see the desperate way that people want to be unique.

Tattoos, piercings and all manner of decoration are normal.

Modafinil and other drugs for those who expect more than coffee.

Height is what you make it.

Where is this going?

It seems clear to me is that we are driven to improve ourselves and our children.  (beware the children link is disturbing)

This isn't a blog about blame, so keep your Barbie hate or whatever to yourself.  Here I attempt to guess at what will be the next change(s) that push markets and people to a new place, a new reality.

Body Mods are currently split into two segments.  The poor get tattoos, piercings and maybe ear loops.  The rich buy drugs and get surgery.

The moment you have all been waiting for.... the prediction.  This time there are several.

The body mod that we all want is not coming any time soon.  My prediction is that modifications for weight control will be suppressed and will take an additional 10 years to be approved around the world.  Reasonable weight control drugs that would enable people to get to a standard BMI and maintain it without diet or exercise will be ready for commercial consumption by 2028 but they will not be available.  There is just too much money to be made in the fat business.

Drugs to promote muscle growth, increase libido, alter moods more effectively, increase focus and memory will be available over the counter by 2025.  These will be expensive in relative terms but there will be a large portion of the world who will pay.

Surgery for height will increase in popularity and you will know someone who has had the procedure by 2025.

Implanting memory units will at first be for those with lost memory but it will quickly become an add-on for the rich.  Expect that by 2030 surgery to improve your memory might sound reasonable.

I don't want to go to far into the future or get too silly.... so I will end it there.

So what do you think?.... Go ahead and tell me that I'm wrong.  This is just a silly guess.