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.
Just Getting By. This was a big weekend. Doing business stuff for The Bob Davis Podcasts, which includes doing some final work on taxes – yes filing late for the first time in many years – and discovered many people who have donated to Mobile Podcast Command who need to be thanked for their generosity. Finally with a complete list, we work our way through the people who have been instrumental to the road trip podcasts both for the sake of travel – a new topic category with The Bob Davis Podcasts – and for covering the 2016 primary campaigns earlier this winter/spring. Another subscriber asked me to talk about the economy, and it’s been awhile, so this podcasts focuses on the Just Getting By economy. We start off with how to inform yourself about economic news, then move onto a discussion of the problem areas with the US and world economy. A slow down in demand and low inflation has hit emerging economies like China, Brazil, Russia as well as basket cases like Venezuela. Meanwhile central banks keep pumping cash into these economies, encouraging more government and corporate debt. In the US, there have been as many corporate defaults this year as 2009. Not a good sign despite economic growth and improved employment numbers. Yes we’re out of recession, no it doesn’t feel like dynamic growth because it isn’t. We’re Just Getting By. Don’t expect the next president, or congress to solve any problems because no one is discussing how to spur the growth of new technologies that will form the building blocks of a new economy and a new society. Our political leaders are still talking like it’s 1999, or maybe even 1909. Employment may be higher, but the quality of those jobs isn’t as good as it was before the 2008 recession, many of them are part time, and don’t cover benefits. Many people are freelancing, which many writers don’t seem to think is a great idea, although some people in the so called 1099 economy love the freedom, and some make pretty good money if they hustle. While companies are hiring they are being more cautious. Stories about the ‘hell’ of the modern workplace proliferate these days, although working is better than not working. Meanwhile autonomous machines, self driving cars, single seat drone aircraft you fly by wire, dirigibles, supersonic airliners, robots who can operate like human beings, artificial intelligence, new advances in communications, anti aging, advances in medicine, compounds used in manufacturing and construction, changes in money, and many more new ideas are coming down the pike at a frightening or exhilarating speed, depending on what your fear level is. The new economy is coming, whether we want it or not, and if the government gets out of the way, it might just be pretty great. Let’s work through it and figure out what to do, because clearly this crop of 1900’s trogolodites doesn’t know what to do. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul, Brush Studio, and Hydrus.
How Tough Are You? How tough do you have to be? A new era is coming socially, economically, and politically. A selection of news stories about technology shows how quickly our world is giving way to something new. Socially our ideas about morality, fairness and even the nature of reality are evolving. Economically old systems are transitioning to new, even as industry and ideas minted at the turn of the twentieth century can still be dominant, new ideas in manufacturing, media, communications and the tools we use to do our work are beginning to take hold and to forge their own reality. Politically new issues, new ways to communicate and new kinds of candidates are emerging and wreaking havoc with ‘the process’. These are significant changes that make the world unfamiliar to people who became adults just twenty or so years ago. Our individual success, and our success as a country may depend on how tough we are and whether we adapt to these changes well enough not just to survive, but to thrive. It’s clear these days, that the new world will look nothing like the old. Even assumptions so called ‘experts’ make about the future are turning out to be not be so accurate. Rapid change can be disruptive and confusing to say the least. Especially when people have to live through it. With 64 percent of the working age population out of the work force in the United States, and the new jobs most vulnerable to new technology tough days might be ahead and we will have to be tough to deal with it. What is ‘tough’? What does it mean to be ‘tough’? We hear a lot about the difficulties individuals have these days, but we aren’t hearing enough examples of real toughness, and they’re out there. Maybe it’s time we started thinking that way as a nation? Sponsored by Pride of Homes and Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.