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FORECASTS 2017

Back in 2000 AD, I wrote FORECASTS2000. Then in 2005 AD, I wrote FORECASTS 2005.  This is the 2017 update


ECONOMICS 101

The fact is, business is requiring fewer workers in geometric progression.

Consider the instance of public transport. 

Ten years ago, taxis were an expensive luxury.  The profit went to the wealthy who could afford $500,000 for a set of plates, and to the owner of the radio network, who skimmed 10% on credit card charges.

Then, in the last three years came UBER.  Suddenly plates are not worth anything, and the new networker has a cheaper credit model.

The future is self driving cars.  Combine that with competing booking agents and the cost of personal transport "door to door" will drop below the cost of bus transport "bus stop to bus stop".

And when parking issues are considered, hiring a driverless car from Avis or Hertz will be cheaper and more convenient than owning your own car.  Already I can hire a car in Sydney for $25/day.  That works out to be $1.04/hr.   Which is lots cheaper than Uber.

And, of course, all those taxi drivers, bus drivers, transport inspectors, and other support jobs will cease to exist.

That model can be extended to trains, road transport, delivery (by drone).

That model will extend to all employment


NO ONE WORKING. SO HOW WILL WE LIVE?


Good question.  So perhaps we should start looking for a solution for that now.  But maybe not.  Maybe "The Singularity" will provide a solution?

THE SINGULARITY

FACTOID:  It is calculated that about 2017 the computing power of computers will equal the computing power of the human brain.

With appropriate software, that computer could perform any intellectual task performed by man.  Of course developing such software might take a few years, but my guess is somewhere between 2 and 8 years, with median at 4 years.

Which leads to the concept of "The Singularity".  That is a term for what is expected to happen when computers become smarter than people.

A professor economics named William Noordhaus has explained it succinctly:

Let an ultra intelligent machine be defined as a machine that can surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; it is then possible that there would be an  intelligence explosion.

The intelligence of man would be left far behind.

Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make.

THAT IS THE SINGULARITY.



So, no need to look for a solution to unemployment.  Just ask the singularity!


Our biggest problem will be how to use all that leisure time.



This page concept originated 24 September 1997, Updates 24 November 1998. Y2K added on 14 December '98, minor changes 24 Dec, 4 Jan, 4 April, 10 July/99;.8 Sept. 1999, major update 21 November 1999, reviewed 18 January 2000,   Second version December 2005.


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