Sunday, May 29, 2016

My 100-year-old self, a pig’s heart and my grandson

My 100th Birthday celebration will take place about mid-century.  You’re all invited. It won’t be easy to reach that age.  My Dad passed away a few years shy of his 90th.  But, I figure 100 is within reach with the help of a handful of highly skilled people and a lot of technology.

There’s a history of heart disease in my family.  So, I might have a new heart by then – one grown using my stem cells inside a pig or perhaps printed in a 3D printer. 

I may need the help of a home health aid, a robot that first analyzes what pharmaceuticals I need each day by means of a transdermal scan.  It will mix my drug cocktail of the day and administer it through a patch.  

My medication will keep my energy up and an artificial limb may keep me physically able.  I won’t be old and frail – just old.  And, that’s a good thing because my financial planner projected I would have been gone long before my 95th birthday.  So, I’ll have to work. 

My commute will be comfortable.  A self-driving electric car dispatched directly to my home will pick me up.  Its batteries will be constantly recharged by a system embedded in our highways.  This service will be provided by one of the big three integrated transportation service companies – GM, Uber and Delta (nee Delta Airlines).  I won’t own a car and won’t care which of these companies takes me to work.  I’ll likely choose the one with the best rewards program.

Of course, all this assumes I can keep my skills up to date.  Lots of jobs will be gone by then.  Those wanting to work will have to be either smarter or cheaper than machines enabled by embedded sensors and big data analytics. 

Highly skilled labor will still be much in demand, of course.  If you’re the doctor who can implant my new heart or install my bionic leg, your financial rewards will be great.  Same goes for those who can create the algorithms that will keep modern society functioning.  And, the AI revolution will create lots of new jobs for the post-Millennial generation trained in robot repair, higher math or data analytics -- just not enough to replace the ones that will be lost.

Many Millennials will be unable to find work, as they will have been well educated for 20th Century jobs.  Taxpayer dollars providing free college educations will have been wasted. 

No worries though.  The government will guarantee a level of income sufficient to maintain a middle-class lifestyle.  The industrial revolution that spawns this new economy will produce vastly more national income.  So, we’ll be able to afford a new, huge safety net. 

My grandson, Jake, will be gainfully employed having graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy (Class of ’48) and will be on his first tour piloting UAV’s in outer space.  This new network of satellite-based drones will act as a deterrent, capable of launching hypersonic rockets to take out the power grids of any country on earth, disabling their capability to make war or function as a modern society.  The operation of drones still flying within earth’s atmosphere to take out single human targets, like terrorists, will have been turned over to artificially intelligent fire control systems that will analyze data and evolve assassination algorithms consistent with the agreements reached by the industrialized world in the new Geneva Conventions. 

So, if I have to work, how will I earn a good income in this new economy?  Well, I was educated in the 20th Century before the digital revolution.  So, I will still have skills that will be valued and can’t be replaced by artificial intelligence.  I know how to motivate, negotiate, persuade and coordinate. 

Try to get your robot to do that.


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