Welcome radio listeners and online article readers. In fact, welcome everyone not only to this program but also to the future. Technology is changing the way we live each and every day in very profound ways. It is also constantly rearranging the free-market with disruptive technologies causing challenges for status quo old companies, employment, and it’s difficult for the colleges and universities to keep up with this technology, as it seems they are always teaching and training people to do last year’s jobs.
Therefore, in the future these folks who have paid $100,000 in student loans may not even be working in those fields where they got their degrees. Statistically that has been the case, but it is going to be even more so in the future. Okay so, that’s what this program is about today on this 23rd day of October 2012 – how the future technologies will change everything.
The rules are simple; I talk, you listen. Then after 30 minutes I will open up the phone lines, or if you are reading this article online you may post a comment below. The first topic of the day is;
1.) Google’s Dominance and Disruption to the Newspaper Industry
Indeed, I believe it was Larry Page of Google who noted that the newspaper industry’s days are numbered. He stated that there won’t be newspapers in the future; that is printed words on paper being delivered to your doorstep. He was predicting the death of newspapers, and he did predict when it would happen, he said it could happen in a few years, or perhaps even a decade, but they wouldn’t exist in the future. Few could deny what he was saying, and when he made that common a few years ago the newspapers were laying off, merging, or simply going out of business.
Some newspapers have found that they can set up pay walls to make extra money, and perhaps the technology we talk about as tablet computers has at least help them in that regard where people can take their newspaper with them on the go, and read it online for a couple of dollars a month or week. This is worked well for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other well-known and well read newspapers. But it doesn’t seem to be working for all the local newspapers, although some who have a stranglehold on their local market are doing okay with pay walls as well.
Then again, why would anyone pay to view a newspaper online when they can go to Google News, surf the news and get information from all over the planet, perhaps even better information, or articles which have been downloaded from the Associated Press into regional newspapers. Often many of these stories we read on the other side of these pay walls is nothing more than regurgitated Associated Press news anyway. Thus, one should ask; why should we pay?
An article on ARS Technica titled; “Brazilian press to Google News: pay up or leave our content alone – Google says being told to pay is like, “taxing a taxi driver for taking tourists to eat.” By Megan Geuss on October 21, 2012 was curious. The same thing has been happening in France, and other places and it appears that they are trying to get Google tripped up in copyright law. You must realize that copyright law is different in Europe and perhaps in Brazil and other places. In the United States we have “Fair Use” case law on the books which seems to allow at least a paragraph and reference to a new story.
Google has been quite good at sending traffic based on this “fair use principle” with links to the actual article, that is if you want to read more. Sometimes people don’t, and perhaps this is what the Brazilian press is concerned about. People just read the first paragraph, and headline, and then they don’t need to read the newspaper, buy the newspaper, or pay to go beyond the pay wall of that organization online. These companies believe it is hurting sales, but in actuality Google is probably helping them much more than it is hurting them. Shouldn’t the newspapers all over the world get with the program and get into the 21st century?
The reality is that status quo industries die hard, and they fight to the end using their power to propel their political will onto the market. However, with no innovation everyone is left back in the Stone Age, and that means we may as well be reading our text on chiseled stone, or hard to get parchment paper. The printing press changed the world, and now it is changing again, it’s time to get up with the program, and enjoy the trillions of pages online from whatever new source they come from. If these Brazilian newspapers wish to limit what their readers read and be their sole source of information that is rather self-serving.
Further, the mass media has often tried to control the minds of the people, and therefore has absolute control over the politics of the society and civilization. Obviously they don’t wish to lose that, and who could blame them, power is addictive. We know that from our own politics, and we certainly know it from human history. There are no differences from what I can see. Of course, one could say that all of this Internet flow of information contains very few gems, and much of it is just a barrage of information pollution. Speaking of pollution let’s switch gears and talk about real pollution and some new technologies for moment shall we?
2.) Better Local Pollution Emissions Technology
Recently, the AQMD in Southern California had complained that pollution levels had increased. But where was all this pollution coming from? Well, it was coming from a number of sources, different types of pollution interacting. Some of that, 1% of the pollution in the atmosphere in California has blown across the entire Pacific ocean from China. China says it isn’t their pollution because they are making products to send to America, therefore it is actually America’s pollution, therefore the United States shouldn’t complain.
Indeed, China is using coal-fired plants to generate electricity often without the clean coal technology which they now have available to them if they wish to buy it from Germany, or in some cases they’ve already copied it and installed themselves. You have to love the Chinese when it comes to proprietary information, they don’t seem to have any ethical knowledge of how that works, perhaps because their society went for thousands of years copying each other, and they assume that if you were a friend, or a fellow farmer you would share your secrets and cultivation technology with them.
Indeed, during the Communist periods they also shared technology, and they didn’t have patent law or intellectual property rights. Their culture is much different this regard and it’s been difficult for them to grasp this concept, but then again there are also companies which know the rules, but flagrantly violate them to turn a huge profit. Now then, back to the pollution problem in Southern California. It was also noted by the University of Riverside that much of the pollution in the LA basin was coming from not only the aircraft at the airport at LAX, but also from the ships bringing products into port Los Angeles and Long Beach port.
These giant cargo ships would get in long lines bringing, and while waiting in line idle their smoky and sooty diesel engines, waiting to unload their containers from Asia, mostly China. Those big diesel engines do not have pollution control devices on them like our modern day trucks and automobiles. They spew pollution into the atmosphere and during those foggy days it would combine with water vapor and other pollution caused by local surface transportation, refineries, and factories. These combinations make a wicked ugly looking atmosphere blocking out the beautiful blue sky. To top it off, the trains which are often able to allow for more pollution (old rules for rail) would pick up those containers and take them across the country. Because many of these cargo ships could not get through the Panama Canal as they are so large, they drop off the containers and then they go by rail the rest of the country.
Containers going locally in California or nearby states will often jump on intermodal trucks for some of the distance, and those trucks add traffic to our freeways and smog to the atmosphere as well. Now then, Gizmag had an interesting article; “New software improves measurement of greenhouse gas emissions,” by Antonio Pasolini published on October 22, 2012. These new technologies along with the software can help us know where the smog is actually coming from. My question is what happens when the EPA gets a hold of this, and starts going after specific companies, and industries with this new knowledge?
It’s not that we don’t wish to reduce pollution, no one wishes to breathe dirty air, but this will throw new rules and regulations and rather staunch enforcement on industries which previously haven’t had to deal with it. One could say they’ve been polluting all long, it’s time they stop. Surely, but if we clamp down on them too quickly, we will disrupt the supply chain, raise consumer prices, and have to deal with increased wholesale inflation on everything that we buy. So this technology helps us understand our environment and the actual emissions into the atmosphere from human activity, but it is also quite disruptive because the regulatory authority, specifically the EPA knows no bounds.
Of course, then we will get into issues with union lobbyists, and big companies who do not wish to comply with onerous EPA rules and they will tell everyone that if the EPA doesn’t knock it off, they will lay off workers. That could hurt the economy as well, and therefore they may go after little companies rather than the big companies, therefore creating barriers to entry in various industries, or the EPA could require new pollution control devices which would be too expensive for small businesses, therefore the larger businesses will survive, and the small businesses which provide competition creating lower prices for consumers will go the way side.
Indeed everything is interrelated, the advection fog that we see during the “June Gloom” off the coast of California, that fog mixes with the pollution and it heats up in a temperature inversion challenge in the LA basin. Throw in a few X-flares and solar maximum with increased temperatures, and now we’ve got the pot cooking exacerbating the pollution problem. Speaking of X-flares they probably affect much more than we might realize. So let’s talk about that for a moment shall we?
3.) X-Flares Occurring and Days of Rage Considered
Not only do solar flares and the solar maximum cause faster polar ice melt issues and change the mixtures and re-combinations of pollution while causing temperature inversions carrying that pollutions higher and thus, across a greater region, but some surmise that it also effects human behavior, at least social scientists have been attempting to study these correlations although the data is hard to get ahold of and we are learning more and more each year about such anomalies, or even inverse relations to solar flares.
On October 23, 2012 there was an X-1 class solar flare, which will affect the upper atmosphere during daylight hours over Asia and Australia. It would indeed be interesting to see if things heat up there in those regions with regards to minor civil unrest, increase in crime, or greater tensions over the territorial waters off the coast of China. We might find some interesting things in the news if we were to put the puzzle pieces together? And what of the Middle East during solar flare events – as in what happens when the Arab Spring, or fall fighting season corresponds to already overblown tensions plus the proverbial religious holidays of either side while solar flares are occurring?
Want to check the record and recent history and get back to me on that one? The reason I ask is; I was talking to someone from Washington state up in the Seattle area, a social worker, who indicated to me that her large caseload allowed her to see the differences of when her clientele had fits of anger, or challenges with their behavior. I met her in the Starbucks, and she proposed that my hypothesis was real, and she convinced herself of that fact. I don’t believe we have enough empirical data or evidence to prove it, but I think more research is needed. Oh, and speaking of Starbucks and having conversations I think the world has changed a little bit and let me tell you why;
4.) Are Tablet Sales Helping Retail Sales at Starbucks?
It seems to me that more people come into Starbucks and they are busy playing on their iPhone, Android, or tablet computer. They are reading the news and minding their own business almost as if they are ignoring everyone else in the place. It used to be that people went to coffee shops to have a dialogue or discussion, or get social interaction. Today people are going and sitting down, plugging into the free outlet and using the free Wi-Fi. They don’t seem to be doing a lot of talking, albeit some of them get on their cell phones and disrupt everyone else.
So, is Starbucks the new place to go now not to have an intellectual discussion, but rather to use your personal tech devices so you don’t have to sit at home and you can be on the go? In other words, is it a destination point other than where you live to get out of the house and use your personal technology? Is that helping Starbucks sales? It could be, and they seem to be catering to that crowd, although they are catering to anyone who comes in to buy for dollar cup of coffee I suppose.
Indeed, I don’t think it is hurting sales, although it is difficult these days to get a decent conversation, thus, it may be limiting some of those folks from coming in as often, but then again many people are addicted to caffeine so they are going to go there and sit amongst the people with their tablet computers, perhaps sharing information with them in real-time. I’ve seen that happen too, where the debates and discussions are done in real time. Where someone will say; “did you hear about” such and such, and the other person will say; “yes” because they just got a news alert themselves.
Maybe these tablets are becoming a muse for coffee shop discourse? What I’m saying is this, technology is often disruptive and it changes the way we think, and live our lives. Have you ever wondered what will happen when 3-D printers are in every home? Let’s discuss that.
5.) 3-D Printers May Change Our Home Lives
Well, why go shopping at the store if you can buy the material you need, and merely print your furniture, silverware, cups, plates, houseplant pots, figurines, and other home decorations? Perhaps tools for the garage, picture frames, and all sorts of other things. That would be my guess, and I believe that’s happening in the future. Once you print something, depending on the type of material you use you may need to heat it up in an oven, or zap it in the microwave to get the material to fully fuse together, and harden the material so it never falls apart.
Does this mean people will be buying larger microwaves, and request larger ovens in their home? Will this spur on more home appliance sales for General Electric and other appliance makers? That would be my guess, and I wonder if Hewlett-Packard understands that future as well? Maybe they may have six-in-one printers instead of five-in-one (printer, fax, scanner, etc.) for the future? Likewise, the quality of 3-D printer you buy will determine the quality of the product you produce when you order the electronic file with the CADCAM design of exactly what you want.
Indeed, people will be able to tell if you created the object using a high-quality 3-D printer, or some cheap knockoff brand. Let’s say a figurine might be judged by its quality and by its attention to detail. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t take and X-Acto knife before you harden it to ensure the details are pristine. You may even decide to paint the figurine thus, painting over any flaws. Then you will throw it in the oven, before you put it on display in your home. Does this mean that hobby craft supplies may be a nice place to invest, or will it too be a victim of 3-D printing where people print those supplies as well?
In any case, because of this issue of quality and detail we may have more of our citizenry going for quality rather than quantity. Okay so, which manufactures will be hurt by 3-D printing in the future? It could cause a terrible challenge for the transportation industry because they will no longer be shipping products, and it could hurt the commercial real estate industry because big box retailers will not need to display items anymore, everyone will order it online, even use holographic displays to see the item before they order the file to print it at home.
China could be the big loser in this because they do so much in-country manufacturing. It could cause 100 million people to lose their jobs in China for instance. That could be enough to economically implode the country, causing an overthrow of the government. Sure, that is a speculative theory, but not so out of whack considering human history you see.
What about auto parts manufacturers? Many of those jobs have moved to Mexico from the United States, and we have a tremendous number of knockoff automotive parts being produced in China. This does an end run on China and the intellectual property and patents theft, which one could say is poetic justice, but we will be hurt here at home too. We make parts for all sorts of things; cars, trucks, airplanes, medical devices, hardware, and you name it. That will surely hurt manufacturing jobs.
Of course, it will spawn a new industry of 3-D printing material, and it really already has. There are several companies that think they have a lockdown on what type of material will be used in future, but I assure you that as these 3-D printers get better, and we get better at manipulating molecular assembly, and assimilation, that those pioneers of these 3-D printing materials will have to stay up with the game, or relinquish their market share to future innovation.
Now then, if folks are shopping less at retail stores, that will affect the retail industry as well, but people might also be driving less, therefore cutting down on the amount of fuel that that use. Still, this means that sales tax revenue for the cities, counties, and states will decline because they will be buying less fuel, and fewer things in the retail store. Also, you can expect that those items that they print in their own home will cost less than if they purchase them in a store, because the store has the supply chain which also adds to the cost of the product. Therefore all the things that they print will in fact be cheaper for that consumer. Lower costs mean lower sales tax revenue as a percentage.
Further, it is the materials which are sold in bulk where the consumer will be spending the most money, just as now people can almost get a free printer, but the big money is made in the price of the ink they have to buy to keep it recharged, just look at the prior decade of HP earnings as they are broken down in their annual shareholder’s reports.
What I’m saying is this will be a paradigm shift and affect every industry all at once. If you think that future isn’t coming, believe me it’s already in the pipeline and we already have 3-D printers in many high schools throughout the nation. Students are getting the idea of exactly what this technology can do for the future, and they are creating new applications for it.
Anyone who stops and thinks about it can see how it will affect whatever industry they are in – just think of the construction industry. If you need more nails, you don’t have to go down to the hardware store, you just make them on the job site. A plumber would not need to bring any pipes on his truck, all he’d need to do is take his portable 3-D printer, and do a 3-D scan of the pipe fitting that broke, and then print it and use it, job done, here’s your bill. No need to run to the hardware store to buy a part, and then come back later. He will be much more efficient.
Each entrepreneur in every single industry will consider what they need, and how they can use a 3-D printer to solve those problems. Once the technology exists, and it is workable, it will be everywhere. Humans seem to love things, they collect trinkets, objects, and they display them in their homes and domiciles. That is human nature. That is how human culture has evolved in society. It hardly matters which civilization you go to, they all have their knickknacks, statues, and artwork for display. Now they can display it all to their heart’s content.
There will be even greater abundance of choices. Perhaps people’s homes will become almost like museums of their own interests. Someone who likes aviation might have every model of every airplane ever built all over their home. Maybe this will replace bookshelves because books are all going to be electronic. Perhaps you have friends like I do who collect things. Once they get a hold of a catalog, or go online and see what’s available, they will be printing away like mad. Indeed I bet the professional psychiatry and psychology associations will come up with new mental addiction disorders to explain all this – it’s much like hoarding in a way – and we’ve all seen those crazy TV show examples.
That wouldn’t surprise me at all, nor should it surprise you. After all, we now realize that people get addicted to video games, and that our personal technologies are causing a lack of attention. Modern technology causes such things, and we should be ready for the next wave of 3-D printing challenges on our society and civilization. Perhaps all this is nothing more than the modern version of cave paintings. So, has mankind really changed all that much?
Many folks claim that people are too materialistic in our modern society, sure that’s true enough – these same folks will tell us that consumerism has ruined society, okay maybe to some extent that too might be the case, still, when 3-D printers are in every home, let’s just see what all those detractors of human innate characteristics happen to say when they themselves start printing away!
Tell you what, why not walk around your home for 15-minutes – right now and start writing down all the things you see, the smaller items perhaps under 2-foot by 2-foot. If you will note your home is filled with such items, just look in your kitchen, living room, home office, bedroom, and your bathrooms. See what I mean. Nearly all of it could be 3-D printed. Plus, if you don’t like something, let’s say that ugly cable TV box, you could order the e-design for a façade cover, one which let in airflow, but one which would allow that cable box to become a nice shape of something you like instead, or the base for an object.
Maybe you like model sailing ships from the Spanish Armada? Your cable TV box becomes the base of the model ship which covers up the ugly design and hides it in an art form for instance. Please realize I just made this up, but it could be whatever you want. Use your creativity, maybe you could become a designer and find folks willing to buy your designs for common things like this online and you receive a royalty from the online catalog.
Perhaps Amazon will get into the scene, or maybe this will be a new venue for Google, Microsoft, Apple, HP, or some new brilliant start-up entrepreneur who starts this business out of their dorm room at Harvard and also gets the money connections he needs to nearly unlimited capital to make it happen – and then goes public – think about how many times that scenario has happened and how it’s changed our world forever – and it hardly has to be Harvard for an optimal start-up.
Indeed, I hope you are beginning to see the glimpse into this future, the future of 3-D printing, because like the social networks, Internet, search engines, computer, and mobile tech this changes everything in every industry. The world will never be the same, the cat is out of the box, and it is alive – and it has been eating catnip, so look out.