While driving a few weeks ago, I listened to an auto insurance agent call into a talk radio show. This agent was talking about texting and driving and how that is leading to significant increases in everyone’s insurance rates. The radio host began talking about self-driving vehicles and the impact on the insurance industry. This agent defensively fired back two points 1) People are not going to give up their cars and be chauffeured around 2) If they do, and the auto insurance market financially drops, they will simply raise rates of other insurance products to make up for any lost profit from automobile lines.
While having coffee with a friend, after listening to this radio interaction, I brought up self-driving vehicles. They talked about their love of driving, and their car is a symbol of their personality, and how it represented freedom. I asked if their opinion would change if the cost of sharing a self-driving car were significantly less. The response was “it depends on how much less.”
Our world is rapidly changing. As a child, I answered my grandmothers rotary phone. When outside playing I had to be home by the time the street lights turned on as we did not have a cell phone. It was not that long ago we completed school assignments using encyclopedias as Google was not around. Remember when people use to complain about having a smartphone and always being reachable or have their location tracked, they would adamantly protest I will never have a smartphone. Every one of my associates that said that has a … drum roll, please… smartphone. When we ask ourselves why did these things change? The answer comes down to finances, quality of life and sometimes most importantly, convenience.
When thinking about the next few years, I admit my excitement and fear, enthusiasm and skepticism. Change is occurring faster than previous generations, frankly faster than an earlier time in my life (I am not even 40 years old yet). While it is easy to feel that our current lifestyle and level of technology is at its peak, exponential technology is about to make us feel very much like our ancestors living in caves. In the linked video, I chuckled when the speaker comments about our future negative reaction to the thought of a human attempting to perform surgery. Oh, how barbaric!
The next few years will bring changes to nearly every industry. Artificial intelligence, block-chain, and energy production will transform the current political, technological and social boundaries that exist in our world today. Our generation will deal with a psychological impact of such rapid changes. I feel as if we are sitting in a societal toboggan at the top of an unexplored mountain and we were just pushed down the hill. Our ride is starting slow, but we are picking up speed. We will not foresee all the twists and turns, and we may hit a few branches along the way, but there is no way to stop. We must be prepared for the future by asking good questions, expanding our curiosity and creativity, and set a solid cultural platform to allow the systematic building of modern society on completely new groundwork.
Continuing our posts on the future, here is a great video titled “Demonetizing Everything: A Post Capitalism World” with Peter Diamandis. Enjoy the video.
“Beam me up”