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The Future Cometh

 

Cheap Charlie is really Joe Barth, the current APCO treasurer. He is a lifelong scifi fan and is retired from the working world and spends most of his time doing what his wife, Marion, tells him to do and in spoiling his grandgirls.


Ah, the future — free space travel, unlimited high speed connections to your wrist receiver/ transmitter/ DVD/ TV, peace on earth and goodwill toward all — well, it doesn’t hurt to dream, does it?

The future is a mystery but I am going to hazard a few guesses based on what I see today — I hope they cause you to think a bit about the future since the 21st Century is here as you read this.

APCO - in the future we will continue to offer many substantiative classes and SIG’s for our members but we will be moving from the free to the minimal paid ones as the costs go up. We will relocate somewhere within San Antonio as our current home becomes first a pile of rubble and then a sparkling new hotel/ convention area. I hate to see prices go up but reality does hit every now and then and as other costs go up — so will ours.

I see some free classes/courses offered via the web from our web site and I also foresee many other learning opportunities made available by various schools. It will be possible to use the web to get a degree without ever setting foot on a campus — and the costs will be much lower than a bricks and mortar school.

I see software companies doing away with the current user group support (no more free traveling road shows) but increasing support and introductions of new stuff via the web. I see our meetings involved much more with teleconferencing and two way conversations instead of a human standing in front of us.

Medicine is going to make major strides in telemedicine — from your home to the “doctor” via something similar to USB plugins to aid in diagnosis. The “doctor” will not be flesh-and-blood but the computer. If you need to actually “see” a person, then you’ll travel to a central location but be prepared to pay! Surgery, especially complicated procedures, will be done by robotic manipulation of instruments (maybe using “Waldo’s”) either performed by the computer or by a person using the long distance system. (We are very close to this today based on what I helped with in the US Army).

Our computers won’t be much like what we’re using today. I envision free ones - built into almost everything you buy. (Yeah, I know that you really pay for them when you buy whatever they are a part of, but you won’t lay out any money for stand-alone equipment). The Star Trek voice operated system will be prevailment and will replace phone booths and other public communication systems.

Software will be a thing of the past since the ever present high speed connections will be in both hard-wire and wireless form. You’ll be on the web everywhere you go. Word 2010 office suite will be on a master computer and you’ll tie into it when you need it and you’ll pay a small monthly fee to access it. (That way if you don’t need a particular part of the suite you won’t pay for it). Your data will be stored on the web and, of course, redundant backup will be included in the cost of the connection.

The web will reach out to you regardless of where you are thanks to the wireless, satellite based system - truly a “world-wide-web” which will enable all to access almost everything at any time. This will have a major impact on how people live and how they form governments. Heck, they will be able to cast a vote in a secure manner without having to worry about recounts and courts.

We will be in a virtual cashless society thanks to the secure transactions possible using retina scans as identity proof. This will reduce cost of good sold expenses which will make it less expensive to run a business from home — at the expense of the bricks-and-mortar stores. They will fight back with clerkless stores (many are almost there now) with you picking out the merchandise you want and scanning your universal debit/credit card through the scanner. Since only stocking the shelves will be necessary the payroll will shrink thus lowering costs.

Will any of this happen? Well, stay well and wait and see! Life is a big adventure so carpe diem!


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