Future Shock. As the 24 hour news media and talk radio fixate on gorillas and high school election antics, its hard to get a conversation going about the future. Is the future potential leaders want the future we should have? Is it the future we want? There are developments almost everyday now with autonomous cars, robotics, materials, aviation, and communications; the building blocks of a future wave that will leave nothing untouched and unchanged. A series of stories from today’s headlines shedding a light on one potential future and a question; Planners and government officials are diverting resources to bring about a vision of the city of tomorrow, which is really the city of the early 1900’s. Is this what you want? Will the driverless car, autonomous software and machines, robotics, and other developments make trains, buses and the standard bureaucracy heavy city, state and federal government ‘obsolete’? If so, why is so much time, effort and authority expended to see that we plan for and create a urban spaces, and that suburban villages and towns conform to a vision of a city that probably never existed and never will. Driverless cars will render the amount of space needed for freeways and parking ramps obsolete. Remote technology, robotics and other technologies may mean that people will not have to travel to large office complexes for their work, with increasing freelance employment. What are our so called leaders talking about? Minimum wages, government controlled health insurance and trains. Trains. Why are we planning for 1940’s Chicago when reality could be closer to Jefferson’s vision than Robert Moses? The old world is being torn down and a new one is being built that will be very different from what we know. Do our leaders understand this? Future Shock. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul and X Government Cars.
Where’s My ObamaNet? FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler wants to expand a program that dates back to at least the Bush Administration, which became known as the ‘Obama Phone’. Originally the program was intended to make sure older people with no communication could get phone lines, then it was expanded to include cell phones, and was made famous during the 2012 election cycle. Now the FCC wants to expand the program to include free broadband Internet! Surprise! We all pay extra on our phone bills to fund this program, now we’re paying so people who don’t work, can get free or low-cost Internet. When is it time to draw the line? Warning! This podcast includes a freewheeling discussion of technology it all its many forms, economic growth, dystopia, Paul Krugman, Solar Power, Wind Power, the smell of cigarettes and Martinis on a warm summer night, the sound of planes landing, and more! Big argument in the tech world after The New York Times Astrologer in Chief, Paul Krugman claimed the technology revolution has produced no economic growth. Is that true? Then there is the bizarre reaction to Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Machines, Robotics and Additive Manufacturing (to name a few new technologies) threatening to eliminate jobs. Most of the time, it’s disbelief, followed by the darkest predictions about the future. And yet, technology revolutions throughout history while tumultuous, result in economic growth and more jobs. Why does the future have to be so bleak? What if the future is so bright, you’ll have to wear shades? Now, you might have to wear shades because you live next door to a giant solar farm — subsidized by the state and federal governments — while solar produces less than one percent of our power and pollutes the Earth. Why is it, news coverage of the spread of ‘friendly’ solar power doesn’t include stories about the pollution in creating, and eventually disposing of panels, and batteries? Sponsored by Baklund R&D.
Asteroid. As a huge asteroid comes within striking distance of the Earth – relatively speaking – one wonders whether the now controversial Jade Helm exercise in the American West, and the mood of people in the last few weeks is connected somehow. While the object in question (1999 FN53) will come only within about four million miles of earth it’s the one they don’t see that will hit us. Begging the question, if they knew an object that was over a mile wide and could do catastrophic damage to the planet, would they tell us? This is a great story that provokes all kinds of questions. So much of our lives these days depends on supposedly making precise predictions about the future that are expected to be correct, even about outlier events. Yet life is rarely predictable and very messy. A person’s life can be changed in a blink of an eye, as can the life of a nation. This podcast shares one friend’s story of instant change. Probably everyone has a story about something that happened, and after that, their lives were different. There’s plenty of books, TV shows and movies about these kinds of situations, from The Walking Dead to Jericho and of course the Mad Max movies. What happened? Sometimes the show’s story line tells us and sometimes they don’t. Not knowing is half the fun, and maybe that’s what keeps us watching. Oddly enough, at the same time a new survey from Pew says that fewer and fewer Americans identify with the Christian Faith, provoking an honest personal observation about religion, religious people and the movie ‘Left Behind’, with Nicholas Cage. What role does religion play in our lives? After 9/11, people were more likely to go to church and identify with a faith. As the old saying goes, there’s no atheists in Fox Holes. Or are there? One of the topics of the Bob Davis Podcasts is often technology, disruption because of technology, and the impact it has on the way we work. This has been a topic of discussion on these podcasts since almost the start. Suddenly a lot is being written about autonomous machines, robotics, 3D printing, and automation in industries that have never been automated before. Now, we’re starting to see the first impact of truly autonomous machines in retail, fast food and semi skilled labor and a lot is being written about the impact. Sometimes the writer tries to persuade the reader that it must be stopped, other times writers appear to be trying to predict a jobless future because of these machines. What will happen and how do we get ready for it. A lot of things to think about in this unusual, candid and off beat midweek update. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.