I have concerns - big concerns - about our future. Yes, this man of the past is thinking about the future.
What I am about to write is a generalized overview of the subject at hand and not an extensive report. I have a point to make here and I feel if I become too wordy my intentions for thought will not work as I hope it to.
First, let me take you back to, oh say, the later part of the 19th century and into the early part of the 20th, at the time of some of the new inventions and the industries they either created or helped in their expansion:
When Thomas Edison and his men were able to get an incandescent light bulb to not only light but to stay lit for hours and days, that sparked a whole new revolution. It took a couple of decades for homes and businesses to fully accept this phenomena, but when it did, millions caught the electric light fever.
|This photometer was used by Edison to measure and compare the amount of light produced by light bulbs|
In fact, an entire new industry rose out of this invention from 1879.
Let's jump up nearly thirty years, to 1908. Henry Ford, who, by that time had been making automobiles for over 10 years, put into motion a plan for building a car for the everyday person, one that your average household could afford - the Model T.
The Model T changed not only America but the world. Because of his use (and perfection) of the assembly line, Model T's could be made quickly and cheaply, thus keeping the price very affordable, meaning nearly every family could now have an automobile.
|Ford 1909 Model T|
And then there were the tire manufacturers whose business grew with the auto industry.
When you think about it, except for a few exceptions, the automobile itself help to drive most of the 20th century.
In the entertainment world the phonograph and the moving pictures also grew within the first couple of decades of the 20th century. And here again another flourishing industry came about: making records - either cylinder or flat disc - with recorded music. Besides the musicians and singers there were the manufacturers of the recordings, recording studios, and, as the century moved on, need for attractive cover art for the record sleeves and holders. There were also distributors, sales representatives...
And record players/phonographs were needed. Over time, stereos came about.
|Where the recording industry began: the original ipod|
And the movies...well, what else can be said about the movies? Set designers and builders, cameramen, script writers, actors, editors, advertising, and all of the other people that it takes to put a movie together.
And with the rise of recorded music and the movies the fan magazine took off in popularity, which needed writers, printers, paper, and distributors.
What about books? Authors, of course, but book binders, paper manufacturers, ink, distributors (again), advertisers...bookstores.
Newspapers - - - - paper company, press manufacturers, workers to man the presses, distributors, paper boys...
Cameras! Here you go! Once Kodak's "Brownie" made photography available to the masses, well, not only was there a need for the making of thousands of these cameras, but now there was a need for a film & developing industry. And photo albums. And accessories such as different lenses, tripods, flashbulbs/lighting, and, of course, the home movie projector and all that goes with that.
The Post Office - now here is a business that really took off during the mid-19th century and continued doing well over a hundred years later. Again, you had businesses that made stationary and writing utensils. And the post office hired sorters to go through the mail and deliverers.
I could go on about all of the incredible industries from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but I now want to jump up to today and into the future.
My son has a Smart phone. On this tiny little palm-of-your-hand piece of plastic he can:
~take a picture
~make a short film clip
~send an e-mail
~read the latest news
~listen to music
~read a book...well, he does have a Kindl for that as well
~get directions through the GPS
~watch a movie or video
~oh! and make a phone call...
In fact, it does whatever a home computer does - - - -
What does this mean? Well, think about it:
~no more manufacturing of cameras
~we already know what's happening to the post office and newspapers
~no need to purchase a hand-held book
~no need to buy a CD
~no need to get a map or a separate GPS
~no reason to buy a DVD...
~Heck, not even a need to have a home computer!
Do you see where I'm going with this?
Inventions from times past tended to create industry and, thus, jobs. But in today's society, modern technology not only takes away jobs but even has robots manufacturing the products!
And I could go on: self-serve check out lines at the store and at the gas station, ATM's at the banks (or even on-line banking), robots building cars, music from your computer rather than people playing instruments, also on-line books, shopping through Amazon.com...
Where will it end?
How can there be jobs available when there are no jobs due to "progress"?
Or am I missing something here?
If all one needs to do is to buy one palm-held smart phone and have pretty much everything they need, what does that leave for the future? Think of how many jobs in every aspect are gone. And they will be replaced with what?
What means will there be to make money?
Now, maybe I'm too stuck in tradition and am not aware of what wonders the future holds for the workers of the future.
If you know, can you please enlighten me? (And I refuse to believe everyone will work for 'smart phone' manufacturers!).