Lifestyle , Today's Problems and Planning for the Future 
Compiled by Walter Sorochan Emeritus Professor San Diego State University

Posted July 30, 2019.

How will we live in the future? How will we eat? How will we work? Will we still travel as we do today? Although there may be several solution options to choose from, life style can be organized into modules. This article deals with the big core ideas, organized as modules, that are part of our life.

The futuristic predictions of the life modules are based on technology innovations continuing in the future. The basis for such thinking are Bell's law and Moore's law.  Moore’s Law predicts that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles about every two years; this means requiring a completely new computer architecture. Gordon Bell’s law states that computer and internet architecture will change every ten years. Both laws are also supported by other scientific discoveries and innovations in Quantum physics. 

Here is an example of modular life today and in the future.

Module 1: Food, meals and eating: We are what we eat ... a sick society. Most persons eat to feel good. They have no idea what nutrients they need or how much they need to eat. They are unaware that bad junk food feeds bad bacteria in their colon that usually cause illness and diseases, while good foods feed good bacteria that enhance immunity and wellbeing. Consequently, the world has a chronic disease crises like obesity, cancer, Alzheimer's and diabetes. The good news is that we now have the technology to prevent many diseases and know foods to eat and foods to avoid.

There is already a shift from eating red meat, processed, sugar, and junk foods to more healthier whole plant foods. The food at grocery stores is at least two or more days old and is often stale. How we get food is about to change. Many persons are now bypassing super markets and going to local food markets for fresh food.

But the future looks real good for eating fresh raw food. Plant food will be picked and instantly prepared into nutritionally balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner, and delivered same day by drones, or it could be picked up at a nearby location. Processed foods will be minimized and junk and sugar drinks eliminated.

The result will be no food storage and very little or no grocery shopping. People will order fresh prepared meals that could be delivered to their homes. If this sounds far fetched, consider that the following is already happening: Meals are being delivered today by several companies to private and senior assisted living homes. A company in Los Angeles is converting a huge warehouse into a container super-big refrigerator to store fresh vegetables and fruits from growers the same day these are picked, keep these foods fresh and cool and ship these to super markets and groceries the same day. The technology to making the next leap into a better and more perfect option of eating fresh meals the same day is just around the corner.

Module 2: Housing: Homes [houses and apartments] today are not built for the convenience of people. Instead the individual homes, built by contractors for profit, are not built as green energy savers. And track homes are being built in the wrong places, becoming very expensive to buy/rent, insure and maintain.

This author envisions fewer individual track houses as we have today. Instead, we will have smaller but affordable sized modular homes [apartments] built differently from those of today. Utilities [Water, electricity, garbage/sewage disposal] will be managed differently. The interior house rooms, floors, walls and appliances will be designed to be cleaned by a robot. Homes will be smaller size, cost less, need less maintenance, be green technology to save on utilities more affordable and designed for the comfort of dwellers.

Module 3: Transportation: We had no master plan on how to build cities, satellite communities or transportation systems in 1950.  Instead it was a hilter-skilter approach. Today we are trying to rectify the lack of good planning. Our freeways were primarily designed in the 1950's to complement railroads and help trucks to move freight. Letting cars use the freeway was an after-thought. Today, all freeways are congested and the freeways are not working very well. People drive to work and do other errands often with one person in the car. Even express lanes, once fast moving, are now congested. Autos and trucks pollute and require land for freeways.

Freeways are only part of the transportation problem. Since 1950, we have been dislocating people from centralized cities to decentralized satellite communities. We built a sprawling freeway transportation system connecting satellite communities and cities with each other. The result is people driving 10 to 50 miles each day to and from work. Today we have a transportation gridlock disaster that is getting worse.

To solve this transportation problem, scientists and engineers suggest that people live where they work, minimizing travel. We need to create economic incentives for people to use rapid transit bullet trains and express busses that connect one community with another. If they do this, today's cars and freeways will become less used and obsolete.

Module 4: Medicine and doctoring: The human body can heal itself if it has adequate nutrition; this fact has been suppressed by drug medication. As the ancient Greek doctor Hippocrates said "Food is man's best medicine". Robots today are being used in surgery. Advanced technology is being developed so persons can use lab tests to identify the illness directly on the internet. Several companies are now offering health and disease prevention by advanced labs that monitor bacteria in the colon frequently and prescribe dietary changes. Another innovation since 2000 is liposome-encapsulated nutrients like Vitamin C and B that bypass the digestive system from degrading nutrients and instead, are carried by the blood directly to the damaged body site and expedite healing. So it is a matter of time before more advanced technology and Artificial Intelligent robots will provide better tools to heal sick persons and possibly replace many medical doctors in healing people and preventing diseases and disorders.

Module 5: Politics and how government works will need to change: Most of today's politicians are out of touch that technology has warped time, causing changes to occur in days and months instead of years. Politicians are working with a mentality and skills that was prevalent when they were young adults. They seldom plan for the future. They are using the knowledge of the by-gone days of long ago to solve problems of today and their approaches and thinking just do not work. Unsolved problems and postponing decisions about social and economic issues does not buy time as in the good old days, as more new problems accumulate and make for a bigger and stressful mess.

Governments having forgotten what money is for and how it works. As a result, they’re issuing [printing] more and more of it, on the assumption that somehow money constitutes wealth, instead of realizing that money measures wealth.

People of all ages today are revolting against the dysfunctional congress, senate and White House. They are changing support of political Republican and Democratic parties to vote as Independents. Indeed, some researchers predict that political parties may even disappear. There is also a prediction that human races and nations as we know today will eventually melt into one human melting pot. Race countries and borders as we know today could disappear. The world is changing faster than political systems. But there is a solution for inept politics. Robot-computer Artificial Intelligent planning can replace human politicians and manage the work of government.

Module 6: Education: The educational system today is a shambles. Who is supposed to teach children and teens what they need to know? A few schools are experimenting with computers and robots displacing teachers. The second question to be asked is what education is worth while? What should the curriculum be? These philosophical questions are not being addressed by educators, community leaders and parents. The real test of education is what a student does 20 years after graduating from school. Yes, these are questions that must be answered if the educational system is to prepare the youngsters for the future. All the issues in education today are like the small trees in the forest, the educational issues of a school district are the small trees that block seeing the big forest! The big educational philosophical answer is the comprehensive forest that appears to be too big and complex for parents, local school districts and states to deal with.

So what should education look like in the future? One simple answer is to teach children and teenagers the basic skills they need to live, be healthy and survive in the ever changing world as they get older. The skills should be how to live, maintain their bodies, prevent getting illnesses and diseases, make good food choices, how to deal with stress, job-skills and so on. Unfortunately, most schools fail the youngsters when they do not have good health education programs. The other basic skills should be how to manually and effectively read, write, communicate and do arithmetic, citizenship, inculcate values and anticipate work-set skills. We also need to require all persons, before getting married, to attend a family education class and learn how to raise children. Raising children today is too much of a first time 'hit and miss' experiment for parents. Too many children are falling through the parent 'education for life' net.

Module 7: Work: Before the advent of television, computers, cell phones, internet and nano-technology, most persons did manual work that did not require higher education and higher work skills. Although machines did slowly replace manual labor, workers with low skills were still able to find work. But today, the nature of work is changed rapidly. Manual labor in manufacturing, industry and agriculture is being rapidly replaced by robots. Even low paying unskilled jobs at McDonalds, Jack in the Box and waiters in restaurants are being replaced by robots. Farmers are experimenting with robot help on farms. The political promise of bringing back manual jobs from China and Mexico will never happen even if such jobs do come back, as most of these manual jobs will then be displaced by machine robots. We are entering a new era of high-level-skills where new technology requires the science of computer, chemistry, biology and engineering skills.

Today, we have an emerging problem of homelessness as some people lose hope, lose jobs while others become mentally sick. Mayors of cities are trying to deal with homeless and unemployed persons by getting them off the streets. Without too much thought, many mayors are responding by building shelters for the homeless. This approach may be a temporary solution and gets the homeless off the streets; but it does not solve the causes of homelessness. These are people with mental health problems, low work skills and no hope. Mayors need to identify what is causing people to become homeless and unemployed and then be able to fix the homeless problems. 

So what is the future of work? Well, the number of people with poor education, low-level skills and out of work is increasing. Many are migrating from poor countries and trying to enter rich countries in hopes of work and a better life. No one is informing them that they will find it difficult to find continuous work unless they go to school and learn new work skills. The bigger question is how is the world going to feed and shelter the billions of people with low skills and low level education; when they cannot find work and take care of themselves? The large number of unemployed persons will not pay taxes so governments are going to be short of revenue money to fund welfare programs. Yes, advancements in technology are good but such advancements without international planning for the future can be a disaster.

8. Economics: The economy affects all other modules. The government spends money it does not have by borrowing money and going into debt. Such an unbalanced budget affects all the other modules. Today's economy and Wall Street are not working in favor of people and needs to be fixed.  People use banks for financial transactions that are costly. But there are several revolutionary economic ideas being tested today. One is a revolutionary and controversial idea, of computers blockchain and cryptomoney replacing paper money is being discussed that would replace banks and middle men in real estate and financial transactions. Indeed, many speculators on wall street are using such computer programs, while several world governments are toying with the idea. Another idea that is being used with success in an African country is using cell phones that act as a bank and help individuals and businesses handle financial transactions, pay for purchases and balances their budget; thereby eliminating the need for banks. Doing business the old fashioned way is changing.  

Some things will not need to change, like the human body that already has been genetically pre-programmed for survival and self-healing, and also has a mind-brain that works better than a computer or robot. Everyone, including scientists, politicians and doctors, will need to have an open mind-set for the future.

So .... is there no future? Are we doomed? No, not at all. Humans are programmed for survival and have been able to do so for thousands of years. The human mind has been programmed to solve problems. There is a future but we have to do a better job of planning for it. Governments do not plan for the long term future. Instead, they are too eager to spend, go into debt and get re-elected. Before 1960, we had time to deal with problems slowly as the world did not change very much.  But today, technology accelerates rapidly in weeks and months. Mayors, governors and presidents deal with issues as though they were still living in the past. We need to elect bold leaders who have a vision of wisdom to resolve present problems quickly and also plan for the future. We need a vision for the future that gives everyone hope for a better life. 

We obviously need better planning for the future. But do not expect your government to plan for the future. Change happens when people participate in making it happen. Change is then more readily accepted. There are at least two things people can do to bring about change. They need to hold 'town hall meetings' in all communities with everyone participating and sharing ideas. The good ideas can then be distilled into big visionary movements. Another idea would be to form 'think tanks' where scientists and experts can discuss the problems of today and seek solutions. Several Scandinavian countries have started to do this on a limited scale.

References: 

Karlgaard Rich, "Why technology prophet George Gilder predicts bid tech's disruption," Forbes, February 9, 2018. Karlgaard: Future predictions 201l