Opinion (Thomas Frey, futurist): “When I brought up the idea of 2 billion jobs disappearing (roughly 50% of all the jobs on the planet) it wasn’t intended as a doom and gloom outlook. Rather, it was intended as a wakeup call, letting the world know how quickly things are about to change, and letting academia know that much of the battle ahead will be taking place at their doorstep.
“These technologies will shift utilities around the world from national grids to micro grids that can be scaled from a single home to entire cities.
Automobile Transportation – Going Driverless
“Over the next 10 years we will see the first wave of autonomous vehicles hit the roads, with some of the first inroads made by vehicles that deliver packages, groceries, and fast-mail envelopes.
“Driverless technology will initially require a driver, but it will quickly creep into everyday use much as airbags did. First as an expensive option for luxury cars, but eventually it will become a safety feature stipulated by the government.
“The privilege of driving is about to be redefined.
“The OpenCourseware Movement took hold in 2001 when MIT started recording all their courses and making them available for free online. They currently have over 2080 courses available that have been downloaded 131 million times.
“Now, the 8,000 pound gorilla in the OpenCourseware space is Apple’s iTunes U. This platform offers over 500,000 courses from 1,000 universities that have been downloaded over 700 million times. Recently they also started moving into the K-12 space.
“All of these courses are free for anyone to take. So how do colleges, that charge steep tuitions, compete with “free”?
“As the OpenCourseware Movement has shown us, courses are becoming a commodity. Teachers only need to teach once, record it, and then move on to another topic or something else.
“Unlike a machine shop that starts with a large piece of metal and carves away everything but the final piece, 3D printing is an object creation technology where the shape of the objects are formed through a process of building up layers of material until all of the details are in place.
“Three-dimensional printing makes it as cheap to create single items as it is to produce thousands of items and thus undermines economies of scale. It may have as profound an impact on the world as the coming of the factory did during the Henry Ford era.
“We are moving quickly past the robotic vacuum cleaner stage to far more complex machines.
“The BigDog robot… is among the most impressive and potentially useful for troops in the immediate future–it’s being developed to act as an autonomous drone assistant that’ll carry gear for soldiers across rough battlefield terrain.
“Nearly every physical task can conceivably be done by a robot at some point in the future.
“All of this technology could make us fat, dumb, and lazy, and the problems we thought we were solving become far more complicated.”
My Comment: Robots will replace people anyway. Progress cannot be stopped. Besides that, the reduction of unnecessary production will free another half of the working population. But people will have to use the freed time for “producing” themselves—building an integral society of reasonable consumption. This will bring them to the next level of the understanding of the world, beyond the limits of life and death. This is the requirement of the law of our development, and we will be forced to obey it.