Two Swans for the price of one
I’m hopeful about the future because with this “Black swan event” also comes a Green swan. The yin to the yang, the balancing force on it’s way increasing efficiencies through combined energies of humanity solving one common problem.
Now that we’ve had a small taste of a potentially dystopian future for a few months.
We collectively “don’t like.”
We instantly dropped our hesitancy towards telehealth as a requirement of our new situation
I doubt we will ever go back to the inefficient ways. Surely there will be missteps as we move quickly but over time these systems will become secure and expand in their scope and capability.
Remixing what’s currently available with unpredictable breakthroughs will be the theme this decade. It’s about time, but it took things getting uncomfortable and our way of life becoming threatened to care about our children, our old, our homeless.
This is our chance to be the resourceful and inventive species we truly are.
I’ve always thought of ‘cymatics’ as a parallel for spontaneous reorganization in complex systems. Patterns shift between frequencies, they go from chaotic and unformed to beautiful mandala-like patterns.
Business like life uh, finds a way
It feels like society is in a noisy and chaotic moment right now, right before it switches to something more cohesive and pleasant.
On the way to a higher level of order nothing is discernable and all we can do is anticipate changes and hypothesize on nascent patterns forming.
The only thing we can infer as society reactivates is that we’re going to see our energies coalescing along the path of least resistance.
How we adapt and get back to some semblance of life that gives us back a sense of freedom is the equilibrium people are waiting for.
Demand for “stuff” is as high as ever. Grocery stores are recording record profit as we move towards stockpiling from a just in time mentality.
People are discovering they can work from home with a few adjustments. DJ’s are giving us amazing free streaming shows, and dollars are pouring into online entertainment.
Solutions for small businesses to handle the logistics of their forced digital-first strategy combine with real-world problem solving like curbside pickup (Shopify has done well to help small business and while seeing a significant increase in its value throughout the situation).
There is still a massive amount of stored energy in the economy (demand hasn’t actually decreased) and this is why I believe a recovery is coming sooner then most people would think.
Prior to the pandemic, we thought we lived in a hyper-connected high-technology world with rock-solid supply chains and our needs for daily life at our fingertips.
This is still true and the internet has held up remarkably well; however, we now know we are not infallible and some aspects of how we partake in our modern lives are actually lagging behind.
Many of these things were noticeable before, but now they are exaggerated without the distraction of normal daily life.
The more places you look, the more you realize that many fundamental pillars of modern society haven’t been updated in decades.
And why would they? They work, and we’ve got high-speed internet and magic rectangles in our pockets.
The problem is, there’s still half the population of the planet striving for the same quality and ease of life we’ve become accustomed to.
Collectively, we’re overdue for a tremendous leap that remakes our current framework for reality.
The Green Swan cometh in the form of an upheaval and core update to all of the sciences and applied technologies that define our modern world.
Vaccine science is coming up on a hundred years without major technological changes or foundational updates. In its most modern form, it’s based on a knowledgebase from somewhere around the late 1950s.
We know a lot more now, and that’s an exciting thing because it means we’re about to take a leap in immunology.
There will be a new era of precision personalized medicine coming, this is medicine based on drug interaction that works with your own genome.
The use of nanotechnology is a given and will bring better scanning tools, prosthetics and neurally linked interfaces but the biggest strides will come from updated biophysics that will allow us to cure things like cancers and regrow organs and limbs.
Sensory-based handicaps will be eliminated. Blindness and deafness will not exist into the 2030s.
We’re going to see transportation rapidly change, and I’m not just talking about the shift to a majority of electric vehicles on the road in the next decade.
Cars will soon have automated driving systems and sensors as standard safety equipment, that talk to the grid around them making it safer for everybody on or around the road (car accidents are still a huge killer in the modern world).
We’re also going to start to see a leap in air travel as older airframes coming up on a hundred years will start to phase out or transform as we shift to new lighter airframes with electrical power and new types of engines that will reduce time to destinations drastically.
Check out this article I wrote back in 2013 about some of the implications of returning to supersonic flight and beyond.
Hard to believe now with the way air travel has backslid from a comfort point of view over the last couple decades, but I think long-distance travel will eventually be ubiquitous for the average denizen of the earth as we cut down the time and cost to travel this will enrich economies and cultural exchange to a point never seen before.
Additionally, public transport large and small, (including ferries) could be 100% renewable driven as we convert their powertrains and depots to net energy generation and storage facilities.
Manufacturing and Supply Chains
Manufacturing will be coming back to your local cities as supply chains recalibrate to be more efficient and serve an entire product life cycle while bringing back local economies, employing more people and plugging into local small businesses.
We are approaching an era of local service and repair centres making use of 3d printing to keep appliances, homes and vehicles running longer and elevate our living standards.
In a couple of years, all of our phones will be able to scan our surroundings and objects making it easy to scan and send a model to a local 3d printer to replace a broken part.
Recycling depots may become sources of material for construction and hardware stores. Don’t be shocked when a Canadian Tire dedicates an entire section of their store to custom 3d printed widgets.
Education and Entertainment
Education and entertainment will see more remote and streaming experiences than ever before, with software and VR experiences that let you take part in ways we’ve only seen in sci-fi movies of the past (or Portlandia)
New AR and VR apps will also eventually allow for more sophisticated hands-on learning for STEM
Holographic presence and screen technology will finally begin to become a thing.
We will redesign our society to be fractally sustainable. This means every community at a municipal, township, city level will be able to sustain it’s citizen lives with ecologically sound principles.
New cooperatives will spring up that provide resources, equipment and education for setting up complex but modular systems for food and energy production systems.
Localized community gardens using denser, vertical and higher value food-producing systems with volunteers monitoring to produce year-round for surrounding communities will help solve food security while providing meaningful jobs.
The near future will bring many thriving decentralized energy generation capture and storage systems and pair nicely with the trend of localized supply chains and repair to keep local enterprises and communities strong.
Cheap energy storage will become ubiquitous as the cost of batteries fall as their energy density and reliability rises drastically.
Material Science and the elimination of garbage
Garbage is everywhere, it’s in the ocean, it’s on our landfill, it’s in us.
We’ll do a plastic bag ban in a grocery store, then promptly throw our non-recyclables and compostables into a plastic garbage bag.
Bio-plastics made from renewable sources that break down with uv light and time turn back into harmless carbon chains or even a food source as these sciences converge will be the new standard.
Matter rearranging machines will eliminate the need to use landfills as we learn to rearrange molecules to their base forms and reuse for construction and keeping local manufacturing and repairs humming along.
We may find ourselves needing less income if our new technologies reduce living costs on the whole. This is the other way of feeling more abundant without having to work longer hours.
Some jobs and industries will be decimated, but that labour effort will reappear (with gentle encouragement and help from grants or something that operates a bit like UBI) as something different; servicing, supporting and managing new systems and devices that don’t exist yet.
One thing is sure after this period of introspection and time at home, no one will value their time at less than what they used to.
While I share a similar viewpoint to Naval Ravikants perspective on UBI (better used towards free educational resources), we just had a mini-experiment of what that might feel like given our quarantine situation and I think it’s worth understanding and warrants more discussion.
We will reinvent and redesign our public spaces to let in more light, make buttons less “touchy”, kill germs using composite materials like brass and technology like low energy UV spectrum lighting in our grocery stores, transit stations and entranceways to kill germs on surfaces while bringing a new era of uplifting design into architecture for the new decade.
Like many of our problems, it’s just a matter of gathering the inertia of enough bright people who care about an issue working to solve it at the same time – now.
Signals are clear
There are over a hundred years of papers in theoretical sciences and research we sit on collectivley as a planet, waiting for the convergence of marketing timing, material availability, technological prowess and entrepreneurial spirit to reach a singularity that could change the way we live forever.
Onward to the new Roaring 20s!
I see a bright future for us if we’re willing to reach for it and look forward to exploring the new frontiers
Curious about where your business/industry is going and how to prepare for the future?