Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Welcome to the Future!

 

The other day I heard someone say, “Back in 2018…” My brain did a double-take. It sounded odd, 2018 was the future. The year 2018 was the future for so long, it just didn’t sound right being in the past.

I read Orwell’s most famous book when 1984 was the future. Now it’s the past, but strangely, the belated present. I’m trying to write a screenplay that’s set in 2045 that involves androids. I keep having to move it backward in time because it’s all coming too fast.

Yes, I’ve been hearing myself sound like an old man, but I’m not old, everyone else has just gotten younger. I walked a mile to kindergarten by myself. There were three channels on my B&W Television and we had a record player. We had a telephone that rang occasionally and it was always important. I’ve told my kids these things more than once.

I don’t feel ‘old.’ Even when it’s clear I’m not the man I used to be, I still don’t feel old.

But it’s a new millennium, another decade in, and like it or not, now is the future. So let’s celebrate what’s good.

The roaring twenties are shaping up to be very, very interesting. My pet theory is that this decade is when we get the physical manifestation of the gains made by computational capacity.

We are woefully lacking in perspective when it comes to our recent developments in technology.
We are now able to access knowledge directly, we can talk to anyone in the world. We can see ourselves. This is the definition of consciousness. We, as a world, are becoming conscious like a baby realizes it has a belly-button. This is just the beginning! We see ourselves. Ugly, beautiful, wonderful, horrible, unfathomable, disgusting, brilliant, lovable, cute, endearing, revolting. A hundred years ago, you had to be fairly elite to even know there was another side of the world, now we can see anything and everything.

People think, like 13 year-olds, that because we can now see these things we can fix them. They want just good things and feelings and they want to eliminate all the negatives. I just realized how screwed up the world is and since we are now all ‘connected’ I implore everyone to take action on what I think is important!

But we are in a distinctly new era. As someone from the “OKBoomer” generation, it’s my duty to inform my co-generationists some of the amazing new developments, and I celebrate them. I really don’t think enough of us have stopped to assess the positives of all of this.

We have so many resources and incredibly talented people, now connected from around the world, a convergence and competition of cultures and perspectives, the ability to deliver lectures, courses, perspectives, tutorials. People showing you in concise, coherent language how to fix some make and model tractor to …. anything.

Let’s just start with Elon Musk.

In every era, there are true visionaries, but interestingly, the great majority of them went unrecognized in their day. Right? Because their theories undermined conventional wisdom. Tesla, Einstein, Galileo… If Shakespeare were alive today, he’d have more money than the Beatles!

So let’s just entertain the idea that Elon Musk might someday be considered in such company.

Please come on the tour, starting in a factory:

Then this:

Aged well six-year-old interview:

That’s just one guy/company! I was going to post more examples, but I’m sure there are others here who can post in the comments.

This is the first in a series of purging my “Drafts” section. More to come, with do it yourself editing. I’ll write for free, but editors should be paid!

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There are 20 comments.

  1. Kozak Member
    Kozak Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Big fan of SpaceX. Tesla, not so much.

    I’ve read some pretty damning things about Tesla and it’s operations.

    But Elon does seem to a genius. Maybe more on a par with Mozart though ( a little crazy…)

    • #1
    • January 19, 2020, at 5:17 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  2. Franco Member
    Franco Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Big fan of SpaceX. Tesla, not so much.

    I’ve read some pretty damning things about Tesla and it’s operations.

    But Elon does seem to a genius. Maybe more on a par with Mozart though ( a little crazy…)

    I’ve read both good things and bad things about Tesla. Just like politics, we have to consider the source. A few months ago when the stock was precariously selling around $180 I encouraged my stockbroker friend to buy. Now it’s pushing $500. But in any case I think it’s a long term hold. The reason to be skeptical is there’s about 27 million in short-sell holdings out there ( they are getting killed right now) and a lot of vested interests who benefit ( or don’t lose their companies and shirts) if Tesla fails. 
    I don’t want this thread to be focused on Tesla and electric cars. I’ve already had that discussion here. But maybe I’ll make a separate post on that subject. The problem is our side has been so turned off ( rightly so) by the enviro-morons that they can’t separate that argument from the viability and ultimately triumph of electric cars in the next decade.

    • #2
    • January 19, 2020, at 5:30 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  3. Arahant Member

    I still haven’t gotten past the year 2000. When I was a kid, that was when the world would end. How did it get to be 2020? I never planned to live so long.

    • #3
    • January 19, 2020, at 6:20 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  4. Steve C. Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    I still haven’t gotten past the year 2000. When I was a kid, that was when the world would end. How did it get to be 2020? I never planned to live so long.

    I did. But I’m still waiting for my flying car.

    • #4
    • January 19, 2020, at 6:32 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  5. Bishop Wash Member

    We are now further from 2000 than Prince was when he released 1999. At the time I couldn’t imagine that year. It was so far away. 

    Yesterday my daughter got a Transformers kid’s meal at Wendy’s. They’re celebrating 35 years. She asked if I liked the Transformers. Of course. I got to explain Saturday morning cartoons, having to watch only one episode at a time, and waiting a week to see the next one. She has a different experience being able to start Netflix on any day and get multiple episodes at once. 

    • #5
    • January 19, 2020, at 6:37 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  6. Franco Member
    Franco Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    I still haven’t gotten past the year 2000. When I was a kid, that was when the world would end. How did it get to be 2020? I never planned to live so long.

    I did. But I’m still waiting for my flying car.

    One of my favorite shows as a kid. I even named my dog Astro. ( Astro has gone to heaven, or space not my icon here who is still with us…)

    • #6
    • January 19, 2020, at 6:38 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  7. David Foster Member
    David Foster Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Franco (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Big fan of SpaceX. Tesla, not so much.

    I’ve read some pretty damning things about Tesla and it’s operations.

    But Elon does seem to a genius. Maybe more on a par with Mozart though ( a little crazy…)

    I’ve read both good things and bad things about Tesla. Just like politics, we have to consider the source. A few months ago when the stock was precariously selling around $180 I encouraged my stockbroker friend to buy. Now it’s pushing $500. But in any case I think it’s a long term hold. The reason to be skeptical is there’s about 27 million in short-sell holdings out there ( they are getting killed right now) and a lot of vested interests who benefit ( or don’t lose their companies and shirts) if Tesla fails.
    I don’t want this thread to be focused on Tesla and electric cars. I’ve already had that discussion here. But maybe I’ll make a separate post on that subject. The problem is our side has been so turned off ( rightly so) by the enviro-morons that they can’t separate that argument from the viability and ultimately triumph of electric cars in the next decade.

    After reading an essay written by investment manager Vitaliy Katsenelson (he bought a Tesla by way of market research, did a lot of thinking about EVs, and became a believer), I posted some thoughts on electric cars and the future of the auto industry. Lots of discussion at the link

    • #7
    • January 19, 2020, at 7:02 AM PST
    • 1 like
  8. Franco Member
    Franco Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    David Foster (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Big fan of SpaceX. Tesla, not so much.

    I’ve read some pretty damning things about Tesla and it’s operations.

    But Elon does seem to a genius. Maybe more on a par with Mozart though ( a little crazy…)

    I’ve read both good things and bad things about Tesla. Just like politics, we have to consider the source. A few months ago when the stock was precariously selling around $180 I encouraged my stockbroker friend to buy. Now it’s pushing $500. But in any case I think it’s a long term hold. The reason to be skeptical is there’s about 27 million in short-sell holdings out there ( they are getting killed right now) and a lot of vested interests who benefit ( or don’t lose their companies and shirts) if Tesla fails.
    I don’t want this thread to be focused on Tesla and electric cars. I’ve already had that discussion here. But maybe I’ll make a separate post on that subject. The problem is our side has been so turned off ( rightly so) by the enviro-morons that they can’t separate that argument from the viability and ultimately triumph of electric cars in the next decade.

    After reading an essay written by investment manager Vitaliy Katsenelson (he bought a Tesla by way of market research, did a lot of thinking about EVs, and became a believer), I posted some thoughts on electric cars and the future of the auto industry. Lots of discussion at the link

    Well, given that I believe EVs will be the single biggest economic disruptor since the computer, and you seem to have researched this as I read at the link, I respectfully disagree.

    There are many obvious pluses to EV’s ( again the least of which is low carbon footprint, so let’s avoid that topic) your post seems to focus mainly on current ( pardon the pun) problems with range and battery life/expense. Range is only a problem with long trips, which most Americans only take on occasion, but range is steadily increasing anyway along with battery life, capacity and cost. Your article seems to miss the idea that people , commuters, can charge their cars at home and never or rarely go to a charging station. In short I see these conversations akin to people saying “ my son has a Commodore 64 and it’s just silly to think that computers are the future, maybe for banking and being fancy calculators”

    All those problems are getting worked out. Whether sales drop X Percent because of lapsing subsidies or a random crash or fire is irrelevant to what’s actually happening. 
    Tesla with almost 100% vertical integration and no legacy with ICE cars is uniquely positioned to dominate the market, and the other companies lag far behind. Nevertheless they all are pursuing EV’s investing billions. Why? They know, and it’s killing them.

     

    • #8
    • January 19, 2020, at 7:33 AM PST
    • 1 like
  9. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Supposedly, AI (or whatever you want to call it) will transform every industry in the next decade or two. Just about everything can be expedited by smart computing that handles non-prudential tasks. “Work smarter, not harder” as the saying goes. 

    Old-timers complain that calculators have allowed people to forget math, smartphones have let us forget phone numbers, and so on. There will be that aspect to AI use if it becomes ubiqitous. 

    I expected robotics to be farther along by now. Perhaps that will benefit from advanced algorithms as well and more nuanced physical performance will lead to more common usage. It is becoming easier for budding engineers to throw their hats in the ring, so perhaps costs will come down soon. 

    Robotics overlap with prosthetics. I expect we are not too far from computer-assisted implants and prosthetics that do not replace missing limbs or organs. Bionics are already common, from mechanical hearts to hearing aids. In the next 30 years, they will become aesthetic additions like earrings, tattoos, and smart watches. 

    Major vehicle manufacturers continue to share interesting futuristic concepts at the Consumer Electronics Show. This year’s included a helo-type air taxi drone. Last year, someone proposed a fleet of modular van-like drones that could be used for anything from deliveries to mobile stores and restaurants. 

    Computing via remote servers will combine with ubiquitous wifi and cellular connections to enable assistance of various tasks on the go. Every phone and gizmo will have the power of remote processing. 

    Augmented reality (AR) and VR will greatly improve in the next decade. By 2030, AR will be a normal use of smartphones. AR glasses and contacts with virtual overlays will probably come later. But AR use will extend far beyond entertainment. VR will remain more an entertainment platform, but will be in perhaps 20% of American households by the end of the decade. 

    What will come is easier to predict than when it will come. As usual, governments will be barriers to many new industries and ideas gaining traction. 

     

    • #9
    • January 19, 2020, at 8:23 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  10. David Foster Member
    David Foster Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Franco (View Comment):
    Tesla with almost 100% vertical integration and no legacy with ICE cars is uniquely positioned to dominate the market, and the other companies lag far behind.

    Well, that’s what makes a horse race, or a market: differences of opinion. I’ll be surprised if the present value of Tesla turns out to be equal to or more than the $92 billion that it is trading at currently.

    Whatever the success level of electric vehicles, there are going to be substantial players other than Tesla. Vertical integration is not always a positive…it may well be that the the next advances in battery technology and battery manufacturing will be achieved by a company, or companies, other than Tesla. Note also that a very large portion of battery cost is represented by the materials included in them, and Tesla’s vertical integration does not include any mining operations. It seems quite possible to me that the industry will evolve in the direction of suppliers of major components (batteries, electric motors, autopilot systems) who sell their products to multiple vehicle manufacturers. The best opportunities in an industry are not always at the final-product level.

    • #10
    • January 19, 2020, at 8:53 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  11. Franco Member
    Franco Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    David,

    92 billion was around where Amazon was in 2012

    https://www.macrotrends.net/stocks/charts/AMZN/amazon/market-cap

    now it 10x that at over 900 billion. Maybe that’s overpriced I don’t know.

    I don’t know how much research you’ve done but Tesla is and has been on the forefront of battery technology. They recently bought the best battery company in the world. They also have the most advanced self-driving technology by far, and a better model for electric cars than legacy companies.

    The distribution network for ICE cars is based on dealers, and dealers are designed to make most of their money on service. EVs require little service. I’ve read that some dealers of legacy autos are not the new selling EV’s purposely because there’s no money for them on the back end. So their own model works better and is unencumbered by economic land-mines.

    Its not like Tesla won’t ever have competition, actually other companies succeeding will help them, Tesla will likely be able to license out certain things like battery tech and self driving hardware and software. Moreover Tesla has a huge leg up in their plans to enter auto insurance market since they have detailed data collected on their drivers ( and a safer car) they can accurately price insurance individually giving customers cheaper insurance and still profiting handsomely.

    Teslas 2012 model S still outperforms all new Ev’s coming out from VW, Porsche, Mercedes – – all of them in battery range and life. And they are still improving! 
    I think you and a lot of people are victims of industry naysaying in part denial, part fear, part wish fulfillment and old fashioned attachment.

    Reading your piece, a lot of it sounded like a ‘reach’ for negativity. Range is not a real issue, even now. Charging stations are popping up everywhere. 
    Ev’s are much cheaper to operate and if prices keep coming down with the economy of scale then it will be absolutely silly to buy an ICE car by 2023 or after. What happens then? All hell breaks lose, which brings up my next point.
    If EV’s are going to be forever a niche market, why is every car manufacturer pouring billions into EV models? If it were indeed a niche market, that wouldn’t make much sense. These companies know it, but they can’t say it without hurting themselves with their current model of ICE cars.

     

    • #11
    • January 19, 2020, at 9:49 AM PST
    • 1 like
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor

    I’m a huge fan of the space programs. We watched the shot this morning, which was postponed until 10:30am, out of our kitchen window . We didn’t see the abort due to the clouds, but it’s still amazing. When they have night shots, we’re awestruck; we also have the TV turned on to follow what isn’t visible and listen to the commentary. These are incredible times to do this work and to be able to witness it.

    • #12
    • January 19, 2020, at 11:47 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  13. Franco Member
    Franco Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I’m a huge fan of the space programs. We watched the shot this morning, which was postponed until 10:30am, out of our kitchen window . We didn’t see the abort due to the clouds, but it’s still amazing. When they have night shots, we’re awestruck; we also have the TV turned on to follow what isn’t visible and listen to the commentary. These are incredible times to do this work and to be able to witness it.

    https://www.space.com/spacex-crew-dragon-launch-abort-test-success.html

    Yea!

    • #13
    • January 19, 2020, at 12:48 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  14. Songwriter Member
    Songwriter Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Space X has a very direct impact on me. Every time it tests one of its rockets, 12 miles from my house, we have to straighten the pictures on the walls.

    • #14
    • January 20, 2020, at 1:33 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Songwriter (View Comment):

    Space X has a very direct impact on me. Every time it tests one of its rockets, 12 miles from my house, we have to straighten the pictures on the walls.

    Wow, @songwriter, I’ll just settle for the drama outside my kitchen window.

    • #15
    • January 20, 2020, at 1:35 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  16. James Lileks Contributor

    Franco (View Comment):
    One of my favorite shows as a kid. I even named my dog Astro. ( Astro has gone to heaven, or space not my icon here who is still with us…)

    I loved it too. Up for some Jupiter Gin? Planet Poker?

    • #16
    • January 20, 2020, at 9:04 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  17. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    These timeline comparisons have always appealed to me, although at my age they are getting to be disconcerting. The New Wave bands I recorded and/or were playing in raucous Hollywood clubs in the early Eighties are now halfway back in time to the Battle of Midway. So is Reagan’s inauguration. My student films are halfway back in time to Al Jolson and The Jazz Singer. My own birthdate is now halfway back to 1884. 

    How the hell did this all happen? I’m a member of the Woodstock generation, I tell you. Why, we invented youth! 

    • #17
    • January 21, 2020, at 12:38 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  18. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Re: The Jetsons. ABC, the weakest of the three major networks, was the last to broadcast in color. The transmitters of their many affiliated stations could be upgraded to color fairly easily (plus ABC didn’t have to pay for it, except for their own five owned stations). That was the easy part. Rebuilding TV studios with color cameras, control rooms, added lights (and added air conditioning) was very expensive. Paying movie studios to manufacture color programs for television was more expensive than black and white too.

    So when The Jetsons aired, the one piece of color equipment that ABC owned was a pair of movie projectors in Los Angeles. They sent the signal down the line.

    • #18
    • January 21, 2020, at 12:43 AM PST
    • 1 like
  19. Franco Member
    Franco Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    These timeline comparisons have always appealed to me, although at my age they are getting to be disconcerting. The New Wave bands I recorded and/or were playing in raucous Hollywood clubs in the early Eighties are now halfway back in time to the Battle of Midway. So is Reagan’s inauguration. My student films are halfway back in time to Al Jolson and The Jazz Singer. My own birthdate is now halfway back to 1884.

    How the hell did this all happen? I’m a member of the Woodstock generation, I tell you. Why, we invented youth!

    Sometimes when buying alcohol in supermarkets in certain states, they ask my birth year. I started a game with them. Of course they know I’m obviously over 21 but they are required to ask everyone ( I hate that they do this to employees) I tell them 1925. They do a double take, but they enter the number. I tell them I’m closer to that age than I am to 21 which usually gets a smile. I will say some variant of, See, you can tell someone’s age by looking at them!

    A lot of my friends went to Woodstock. I was 16 and wasn’t allowed to go. I probably would have defied my parents had I known what a seminal event it would have become.

    I had a good friend who became a mid-level rock promoter in Chicago , who incidentally did go to Woodstock. He did the same drugs as the rest of us but generally in moderation and kept his life together very well, graduating from college and then rising up in Chicago. After a decade or so in the bight-club business the excesses began and took their toll. He booked U-2 in a smallish club and held an option on booking them again. He died of a heroin overdose ( possibly intentional) at 36. That was 30 years ago.

    • #19
    • January 21, 2020, at 3:32 AM PST
    • 1 like
  20. Steve C. Member

    In the late 1980s we used to taunt our kids by co-opting the VH1 promotional slogan, “We used up all the fun.”

    Today, our kids are older than we were then.

    • #20
    • January 21, 2020, at 4:41 AM PST
    • 4 likes