One Decade to Cyber-Real Impacts
When I started my blogs at the end of 2005 my sites made about $1/month. As of October 2008 they made over $800 dollars. $800 is pretty good pocket change, but I know of at least two bloggers who make $10,000 per month! This is only possible because of computers, the Internet and web technologies. The additional money from my blogs is a great boost to my over all income allowing me and my family to live more comfortably, however I know that a higher living standard is only the beginning of what information technology (IT) has in store for me and humanity particularly over the next ten years.
In ten years, IT will directly impact my life style by allowing me to better manage everything from energy used in my home and car to the health care. IT will connect me to and even higher “work from home” socially networked life style. And finally, in ten years, IT will change my perception of reality both literally and figuratively.
Within one decade, IT will change how much gas I pump into my car and how much energy I use in my home. It will manage my over all life style. How and why will this happen? What do computers have to do with petroleum? In ten years IT will have everything to do with gas.
Information technology will influence and permeate the energy technologies (ET) needed for a new renewable energy infrastructure. Millions of electric cars on the roads and over 10% of electricity coming from renewable sources (1) will need IT. The impact can be seen even through the jaundice vision of latter-2008 eyes. All the leading candidates of the 2008 election made “green” a part of their talking points and stump speeches. Our early American 21st century problems are no longer being ignored (1,2):
* having to fund oil rich petro-dictators
* lack of export industry/increased unemployment
* pollution/global warming
* the causes and support structure of terrorism
*these issues are address much further in Thomas Friedman’s book Hot, Flat and Crowded (3)
The issues we face are all linked to one problem… energy. America is run on oil so it must buy from oil rich dictators (many of whom are sympathizers of extremists who support acts of terrorism). America is 70% dependent on energy from foreign sources (4) which in-turn exports a large portion of wealth and jobs overseas. But in ten short years, I will no longer be a part of the blind slow degradation of the U.S. because ET with its IT interface and IT processing power will allow me to pump less gas and download more clean electrons into my hybrid car. But IT won’t only be impact my carbon foot print. It will also increase my assets.
In 2004, I was still fresh out of the military and struggling from the high costs of civilian life. My wife and child were consistently in and out of the hospital and the mortgage was a monthly battle. I was thinking about rejoining the Air Force or getting a second job. I was reluctant because my whole reason for getting out the military was to spend more time with my family.
I decided to start a business. Almost immediately, I got sucked into Internet Marketing. Although I lost some money on more than one failed venture, I actually ended up learning a lot about e-business and methods of making money online. I got into blogging at the end of 2005. My blogs started making money with a few months. And by mid-2006, it was pulling down a couple of hundred dollars per month. I immediately saw the great potential of this. A few times the blogs even made more than enough to pay the mortgage. Its 2008 and the blogs still make hundreds of dollars per month.
In 2018, the Internet will make more than what I make at my full time career. The impact will be a revolutionary and comprehensive change to my life style. I will be able to work from home, spend more time with my family and have even more interaction with my extended family who live in another state. But I believe that among the most shocking and exciting vision of pre-2020 is the future predicted by Ray Kuzweil in his book Age of Spiritual Machines (5).
Ray predicts the following:
“Three-dimensional virtual reality displays, embedded in glasses and contact lenses, as well as auditory ‘lenses,’ are used routinely as primary interfaces for communication with other persons, computers, the Web, and virtual reality.
High-resolution, three-dimensional visual and auditory virtual reality and realistic all-encompassing tactile environments enable people to do virtually anything with anybody, regardless of physical proximity.
Paper books or documents are rarely used and most learning is conducted through intelligent, simulated software-based teachers.(5)”
Virtual reality advances will allow me to bring cyber space into the real world. How will I distinguish real from cyber-real with hyper-real overlays of real world objects, disembodied voices from GPS devices personalized to my specific location and velocity whispering in my ear? Furthermore, how will I define reality if virtual reality phones make distance from callers irrelevant? I will be able to see a full body representation of a caller standing in front of me.
Ten years will usher in comprehensive changes in my life coming from IT. This will be the decade that brings in a more responsible change in energy use, unprecedented worldwide increases of standards of living and an overall change in our perception of reality. It will be a virtual brave new world.
1. Office of the President-elect. 2008. Energy and Environment Agenda http://change.gov/agenda/energy_and_environment_agenda/
2. Governors Global Climate Summit. 2008. Finding Solutions Through Regional and Global Actions. http://site.governorsglobalclimatesummit.org/
3. Friedman, Thomas L. Hot, Flat & Crowded. 2008. Farrar, Straus and Giroux
4. Energy Information Administration. U.S. Imports by Country and Origin. http://www.eia.doe.gov/ http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pet_move_impcus_a2_nus_ep00_im0_mbbl_m.htm
5. Kuzweil, Ray. The Age of Spiritual Machines: Time Line. http://www.kurzweilai.net/meme/frame.html?main=/articles/art0274.html?