Urban Earth Mom
Eliminating chaos since 1989

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Where Is The Future Taking Us?

Where do you think the future is taking us?

Here’s what I think.

Transportation

Recent years have seen a rise in subscription-based services:

  • software is now paid for on a monthly, on-going basis (think Office 365 and Adobe Creative Cloud)

  • phones are moving towards a subscription service too where you rent the phone and can upgrade it any time

  • Food comes from weekly meal kit delivery

  • Amazon Prime has subscribe and save

Everything is moving towards allowing us to automate our lives and free up time. This is almost here for cars too. Driverless cars are already conducting tests on roads. They have so far proved to be way safer that letting humans drive! And they lend themselves beautifully to a transportation as a service model. Think about it, you can already summon a car by pressing a button on your phone by using Lyft or Uber. How much more efficient would it be to summon a driverless car at any time of the night or day. You would never have to worry about parking, driving after drinking, fueling or maintaining the car! Plus it would be so easy to use plug-in electric cars because most journeys are already within the range of current battery technology.

You want to go on a longer journey? The service could dovetail with public transportation. Input your destination and the service would give you the option to take the train. The car would drive itself to the train, load itself, someone would plug the car in to charge while you work or eat in the dining car. At the end of the train ride the car then unloads itself from the train and drives on, meanwhile you got a ton of work done or caught up with family and friends via video-conferencing using the train’s Wi-Fi (on-board Wi-Fi is already available).

This concept could save us all so much time and stress. Think of all the time you currently have to deal with the hassles of driving and owning a car: parking, maintaining, fueling, deciding when to trade in, the hassle of buying a new one... All that time back, all that stress gone.

One thing I would like to see happen though, is for the services to be required to provide subsidized service to rural areas as incomes in those areas tend to be lower than cities but the miles they have to travel are further. From there it’s a short hop to driverless emergency vehicles and deliveries.

Work

9-5 jobs where you spend half your life stuck in traffic and the rest of it in an uninspiring office surrounded by people you don’t much care for are on the way out. Why would you want to sit in a car when you could be spending that time working out or spending time with people you love? And why spend your life doing uninspiring things with people who don’t get you when you could create your own work and co-work with people you actually want to hang out with or work from home and get stuff done or spend time with your kids?

I predict that major companies that currently operate on a 60/40 employee will move to a 10/90 model. The only people who will actually work for the company are people who get a share of the equity. The rest will be hired on an as needed basis and will be independent contractors or the company will hire agencies to fulfill certain functions, such as marketing or contact centers

Health Insurance

As more and more people opt out of the corporate world mid-career, and millennials and gen z’ers opt never to jump on that bandwagon in the first place, health insurance is going to need to be decoupled from employment and convert to an individual policy system but one that people can actually afford that doesn’t come with a zillion exclusions.

Food

Americans are getting fatter, unhealthier and time crunched. But at the same time concerns about the environment are growing. How will that affect food?

The traditional supermarket as a place where you go, walk down a hundred brightly lit aisles that keep being rearranged seemingly just to annoy us, as going to become a thing of the past. Food will become more convenient with a lot more of the prep work done for us. But at the same time it will become healthier and more local. How?

Eating out, meal kit delivery, meal delivery or buying ready made meals at the grocery store, the preparation of food is being outsourced more and more.

As American farms find themselves unable to financially go on with the commodity farming they have been doing for the last generation or two more farms will transition back to growing vegetables for their local market through CSAs, farmers markets, and selling to local supermarkets and food delivery services, but also in growing heirloom varieties of grains that are also sold to local markets.

Farms or supermarkets will also need to step up their prepared foods game if they are to hold their market share. Your CSA box may arrive all prepped and ready to be used. The CSAs may also end up partnering with other food prep businesses so that the CSA box arrives at the buyer’s home at the same time as everything else needed to cook good food with less effort and less thinking. It will be “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”, just in a box instead of a book.

Huge food product companies are going to struggle to buy US grown grains and will either have to buy from China or pivot their products. I predict a few more huge companies will go belly up as they fail to adapt to what the future market wants in healthier, more local, unprocessed food.

We’ve gone through the industrial revolution which was dehumanizing and stressful on people and the environment. I predict technology is going to allow us to go back to a more artisanal life but with less of the work we don’t want to do.

I would love to hear your opinions on what the future if=s going to bring us in the next 5-10 years.

Sarah MooreComment