Technology is going to change everything again


All of the progress of the past half millennium could not have happened without technology.

Beginning with the printing press in the 15th century, technology has contributed to every political reform, freedom, social progress and just about any major change since the 1400’s.

In the future, technological advancement will soon bring about change that will completely revolutionize the way our society and economy work.

Right now, our economy is wholly based on ownership. Most Americans have a tool kit at their house full of tools. Screwdrivers, hammers, power tools and they’re all sitting out in garages doing nothing for a vast majority of the time.

Technology could change this economy of ownership. Imagine if a neighborhood or a small city owned a single screwdriver and whenever someone needed it a drone delivered it to them.

With more advanced artificial intelligence aids to help determine when people will need shared items, and drones that can safely pick up items anywhere, items that go unused much of the time could be better utilized.

This is an oversimplification and this sort of extreme might not happen for a while, especially in a consumerist country, but the general idea is still on its way.

The car industry and economists are already discussing how driverless cars could revolutionize the auto industry in a similar way. If car owners aren’t using their vehicle, then they could let it earn money for them by doing a service like Uber while they are away.

This could provide much more affordable ride-services than the those today because they don’t require drivers. There would also almost always be an available ride as most cars aren’t used for the majority of the day. So people who don’t own cars wouldn’t necessarily need to buy one. Car owners would also benefit from making money on the side. Such a system would benefit everyone, just like a shared-ownership economy.

Continual technological progress continually creates new ways for people to spend money and creates new jobs markets.

One of the biggest potential platforms for a new sector of the economy is virtual reality. In the same way that phone apps became an almost $100 billion industry in the past decade, virtual reality apps and games could soon become integrated into daily life in a major way.

While virtual reality is still mostly a niche market that is largely associated with gaming, many companies are looking into ways to bring it to the average consumer in big ways.

If virtual reality becomes mainstream, then a system with virtual currency and products could further upend the current economy of physical products.

Another area where technology could soon make rapid changes is in the energy market. At the moment green technologies like solar and wind are getting cheaper but they still have a viability bottleneck in the battery technologies that accompany them.

Batteries today can’t store enough energy at an affordable cost to make energy independent homes a reality. There are currently many promising new battery technologies in development that could fix this issue. What remains to be seen is when these new products will become easy enough to manufacture so they can become an integrated part of everyday life.

The pattern is clear, technological progress precedes and enables large scale changes to the way society functions. The coming years are going to bring these changes. They will revolutionize many aspects of life and abolish issues like world hunger and various health issues by opening up further resources to devote to those challenges. Technology is why the future on Earth looks bright.

Evan Roberts can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.