There is a concern today that automation and artificial intelligence will eliminate millions of jobs in the United States and around the world. If robots take too many jobs, will that destroy livelihoods, reduce our earning capacity and eventually lead to a downturn in the overall economy?
First, let us think for a moment what our income is spent on. Basic needs consume the vast majority of society’s earned wages. It is estimated that more than 75 percent of American incomes are spent on housing, transportation, energy, food and healthcare.
Now consider that technology either can or will soon transform how we build homes, move people around, collect energy, grow food and remain healthy. Products and services that were previously expensive will become significantly cheaper and, in some cases, practically free.
Today’s smartphone is a great example of this. Yes, the smartphone can still cost hundreds of dollars, but think of the vast array of once-expensive products that all fit inside your phone. A high definition video camera, calculator, GPS mapping, access to worldwide information, word processor, an infinitive amount of apps and the list goes on. If each item contained in your phone was purchased at its top original value, it would literally cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
That is why it is important everyone understands these trends and their implications on society. Imagine the solutions for many of these challenges facing us today can be found right here in Central Florida. Now imagine the impact that would have on our community and how our community could, in turn, impact the world. These are not long-distant dreams, but instead realities beginning to happen right here, right now.
We are working with some amazing people on some amazing programs to help us make our region the world’s future model for housing, transportation, energy, health and well-being. Join us on this journey.
Here are the four top areas where people spend their cash and how these things are likely to decrease in cost over the next five to 10 years:
Roughly only 5 percent of the earth is actually inhabited by humans. We do not have a land issue; we have an access to land and construction cost issue. With the adoption of autonomous transportation, people will be able to live in more affordable locations and travel greater distances. In addition to ease of travel, home construction costs will also decrease. Numerous companies around the world are developing technology to 3D print homes and apartment buildings. This will dramatically reduce construction and labor costs, as well as reduce the amount of time it takes for projects to be completed.
The coming revolution in autonomous transportation stands to drastically reduce the cost of moving from point A to point B while at the same time make the trip tremendously safer. Today in the United States, more than 30,000 people a year die in auto accidents. General Motors plans to introduce an autonomous fleet in late 2019. Simply by removing the driver from a platform like Uber or Lyft, it is estimated the cost of a ride will be reduced by a factor of 10. Also imagine not having to pay car insurance, auto maintenance, parking fees or fuel because the cars of the future will be powered by renewable abundant energy.
More energy hits the earth from the Sun in a single day than all of humanity uses in an entire year. Our challenge has been effectively collecting and storing that energy. With increased efficiencies in the collection process, the cost of energy drops dramatically. Tesla is starting to install entire roofs made out of photovoltaic material at a cost equivalent to a new traditional roof. With the ability to store that energy in “power walls,” you will be able to power your entire home and charge your electric vehicle. Future advancements in solar alone, much less other renewables such as wind, will eventually eliminate energy costs.
Health and Wellbeing
With abundant energy comes the ability to more easily plant and grow food, and with affordable energy comes the ability to more easily distribute technologies such as water desalination. Estimates show the cost of food has dropped thirteen-fold over the past century. Healthier and more abundant food will increase as costs continue to decrease through automation. Additionally, advancements in sensors and diagnostics will move us from an age of reactive healthcare to proactive treatment. Dying from a stroke or heart attack will become a thing of the past because sensors, potentially in our phones, will tell us months, if not years, in advance that a potentially life-threatening illness is starting to develop.
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Jim Thomas is the CEO of the Orlando Tech Association. He can be contacted on social
@JimThomasORL or at www.OrlandoTech.org