JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success™
No. 294 : 29 April 2011

Keeping an eye on technology futures.
Business commentary - no hidden agendas.
New attitudes, no platitudes.

Click on any item to jump directly to that item
Download audio MP3 file
MP3 Audio File
12.5 mins.
(1.5 Mb)
Click Watch - Jim Pinto 1 minute sales pitch (video)

JimPinto.com eNews can be automatically downloaded via RSS links.
Jim Pinto eNews RSS link Link: http://jimpinto.com/enews.xml

Future Vision 2020

Futurists keep predicting things that mostly never happen; well, lots of predictions fall far short of the mark. Dick Morley has a list of things that the Japanese predicted a century or more ago; some came pretty close (worldwide wireless telephone, global travel, warships in the air, picture telephone, horseless carriages) while others were wildly inaccurate (green Sahara, everyone taller than 6 feet, natural disaster control).

Prognosticators from just a decade ago, again got mixed results: By 2010, some predicted "smellyvision" - TV programs with aroma generating attachments, which has not yet appeared. People like Ray Kurzweil, who base their predictions on technology trends, keep making many accurate predictions; some of these predictions became reality ahead of schedule.

In this spirit of futurism, let's see what some of the noted futurists and visionaries are predicting for the years leading up to 2020.

Over the next decades, the world will wean itself from dependence on fossil fuels AND drastically reduce greenhouse gases. To achieve this, major breakthroughs will be needed, and they'll arrive. They'll bring enormous opportunities. The ability to tap power from space, for instance, could jump-start whole new industries. Technology that can trap and store carbon dioxide from coal-fired plants would rejuvenate older ones.

These technologies present difficult engineering challenges, and some require big scientific leaps in lab-created materials or genetically modified plants. And innovations have to be delivered at a cost that doesn't make energy much more expensive. If all of that can be done, any one of these technologies could change our lives significantly.

There'll be cheap, widespread solar power (as it gets cheaper); we'll live longer and will banish obesity (through fat-reducing pills); smart gadgets won't just be portable - they'll become part of your body.

Between now and 2020, the trend will continue, making lots of new almost science-fiction innovations real for millions.

These changes will come as they did in the past decade, only faster, because technology growth is exponential. Kurzweil suggests that the next 10 years will bring advances which compare with more than the past century. In my opinion, he won't be far wrong.

Browse through these web links when you have a chance. This may give you a different perspective about where we are, and where the world is going.

Click AARP - Our World in the Year 2020

Click Ray Kurzweil, predicts how technology will change humanity by 2020

Click Five Technologies That Could Change Everything

Click Transportation in 2020

Click The Classroom In 2020

Return to the TOP

Short-term Technology Advances

My own avocation as a "Futurist" stems from my interest in technology, especially in the industrial automation arena which is where I have spent most of my career in business. I've expounded as keynote speaker at events and seminars around the world.

In June, I'll be going to Sao Paolo, Brazil, to participate in the NEI International Industrial Conference & Show - Emerging Technologies, Challenges, Opportunities and its Impact on Manufacturing. My subject will be, "Prospects for the Automation and Instrumentation on the Plant Floor". I'll give you a synopsis of my Brazil visit in future issue of eNews.

Before we go off on the next decade, let's look at some nearer-term predictions. From my point of view, most of these are technology related. The next wave of technologies are coming fast, to further change our lives.

Parallel computing:
Already generating startling results, with breakthroughs in graphics rendering, language translation and even facial recognition. Parallel computing is bringing enormous advances in speed and power for every kind of electronics, from videogame consoles to handheld devices.

You know how pictures expand on your iPhone and iPad with 2 fingers. Or, tap an iPad screen with 3 fingers and it zooms (I didn't know that till my grandson discovered it recently). With the Wii (and the more recent Microsoft Kinect) people simply use gestures - Natural User Interfaces - with accelerator sensors built in the sense movements. The next few years will see the emergence of lots of gesture and motion sensitive interfaces to control TVs and household appliances. And, of course, there'll be voice activation - you'll tell your oven to turn on and set to 400 for a half hour.

Interactive holographic displays:
These will allow real and virtual objects to be viewed true 3-D. This will let architects evaluate virtual models, medical students view bodies, show shoppers the look and size of products. Holograph displays with Wii remotes as motion detectors and a grid that produces ultrasonic sound waves will create an interface that allows people to "feel" a virtual object when they touch the image floating in front of the screen. Virtual sex will become fairly common.

New sensors to provide more real-world data:
Today's GPS has about 10-meter margin. An array of GPS satellites developed by Boeing will be able to pinpoint people's locations on the globe with much greater accuracy. There's been an uproar recently about Apple and Google being able to track people through their cellphone locations.

Soon you won't "own" a computer (which will become obsolete after a couple of years). Everything you do with be cloud-based, manipulated with your iPad or smart-phone. The owning-a-home dream will be gone, with value uncertainty and high job mobility. There'll be a shift away from owning to renting or sharing. Why own a car? Car sharing will become common. Why own DVDs and CDs when you can stream videos and music whenever you choose? Community schemes, like Landshare in the UK, will enable growers to access landowners' unused land.

Multi-tasking is becoming too much for everyone. Driven by cognitive burnout and stimulus overload, people will increasingly seek physical and mental space and web services to focus on a single issue. Hey, I'm already retired - so I just turn everything off when I choose (including my cell-phone and iPad) and go listen to the birds chirping in the sunshine. I've gotta tell you, it makes me happy!

Click The Disrupters: Forces Driving Change in 2011

Click Visit the NEI Conference & Show - Brazil (in Portuguese)

Click Top ten gadget predictions for 2011

Click 11 Big Ideas to Watch in 2011

Click 50 Big Ideas, Predictions and Trends for 2011 and Beyond

Return to the TOP

The Internet of Things

With the emergence of the smart grid, smart cities and smart homes, more and more objects are becoming interconnected. The profound potential lies in the integration of everything - the ability to connect sensors, actuators and many other ordinary products into a "digital nervous system".

With the emergence of the smart grid, smart cities and smart homes, more and more objects are becoming interconnected. This is likely to have a staggering impact on our daily lives, and will be a growth inflection point during the next decade.

The capability to transmit information about status, performance and usage for objects anywhere in real time points to the potential for intelligent devices that can interact with people and social networks. In fact, combining device connectivity with social networking platforms opens the potential for substantially new forms of collaboration between people and things. Connectivity of people and connectivity of devices would no longer be independent.

The Internet of Things is likely to have a staggering impact on our daily lives and become an inherent part of areas such as electricity distribution, transportation, industrial controls, utilities management, water resources management, and oil and gas distribution.

IoT will help solve two of today's biggest problems: energy and health care. Buildings currently waste more energy than they use effectively. This waste can be cut to almost nothing using broad-scale monitoring and control. The smart grid and smart homes will include widespread IoT monitoring.

Health care is currently delivered inconsistently with doctors and hospital visits. IoT will allow sensors, unobtrusively attached to the body, to keep track of vital functions all the time. Food intake will be monitored; pill bottles will indicate when to take medicines; wine glasses will signal excess drinking.

The convergence of smart devices with the Internet is creating a growth inflection point. Companies that fail to exploit this next wave of the digital revolution will obsolete themselves. The companies with the most IoT-equipped products and services will win.

Click Automation World (April 2011) The Internet of Things

Click Wikipedia - Internet of Things

Click Youtube - IBM - The Internet of Things

Click The "internet of things" - The internet of hype

Return to the TOP

Book - Lights in the Tunnel

In a recent issue of eNews (10 March 2011) we discussed how technology is eliminating work - and workers - not just in manufacturing, but in all areas of the enterprise.

Someone referred me to a great book, "Lights in the Tunnel", that expands on this theme. An imaginary "tunnel of lights" is used to visualize the economic implications of the new technologies that are likely to arrive in the next few years and decades.

In particular the book suggests that automation will have a big impact not just in manufacturing, but also in the service sector and even in knowledge-based occupations. This will be among the most critical issues we'll have to face as a society in the coming years and decades.

The book doesn't just warn us about negative realities. It shows how the future economics of new technologies might offer solutions to issues such as poverty and climate change.

The author, Martin Ford, is a Silicon Valley computer engineer. The theme of his book has been discussed in major magazines, and he's been interviewed on TV and radio - CNBC, NPR and others. Review some of the web links I've provided, which might tempt you to read the book.

Click "The Lights in the Tunnel:
Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future:

Click Read the author, Martin Ford's blog

Click What if there's no fix for high unemployment?

Click Your job in 2020

Click Technology Eliminates Work & Workers

Return to the TOP

Germany the leader in Europe

The small, mostly family-owned businesses that make up the backbone of German manufacturing have historically specialized in the more practical and mundane industrial spectrum: not high-tech gadgets, but machinery and other heavy equipment, metal-bashing with good technology and engineering.

In recent years, German firms, aided by farsighted government reforms, have made the country the most competitive of any advanced economy. German exports jumped 18.5% in 2010, the envy of the developed world. All this with fairly high wages and stiff environmental and workplace regulations.

This surge has carried Germany out of the Recession more quickly than any other major industrialized country. GDP rose 3.6% in 2010, compared with 2.9% in the US. While joblessness in much of Europe and the US has jumped to levels not seen in decades, unemployment in Germany has declined to an estimated 6.9% in 2010 from 8.6% in 2007.

Germany's revival has reversed its role in Europe. Less than a decade ago, the country was beset by chronic unemployment and anemic growth. As its more aggressive neighbors such as Spain, Britain and Ireland rode the shift in global finance and high-tech to stellar performances, they viewed Germany as stodgy, and unable to change outdated, socialist habits to adapt to a new world.

But then the financial crisis came. While Spain, Ireland and other former euro-zone highfliers tumbled into debt crises, victims of exuberance and risky policies, Germany emerged as Europe's economic power. It accounted for 60% of the GDP growth of Europe in 2010, up from 10% in the 2000s.

With higher prices and superb engineering and manufacturing, German manufacturers have ramped up exports. The rest of Europe is unable to compete. Some 80% of Germany's trade surplus is with the rest of the European Union.

In many respects, Germany's role in the world economy is similar to that of China. Both countries are manufacturing dynamos that are bringing benefits to the world. Because of its exports Germany, like China, runs up a huge surplus, while its less competitive neighbors, like Spain, have fallen into deep deficits.

These differences are at the heart of Europe's debt crisis. Many in the zone blame Germany's export-dependent economy for the region's economic woes in the same way that America accuses China of hampering recovery in the US.

Just as America with China, the European Commission has called on Germany to stimulate consumer spending at home, to help support the European economy as a whole. Europeans want Germany to show "a sense of common destiny" and reform its economy for the good of Europe. Hey, Germans - play more, work less? Interesting difference.

This item has largely been based on an article in Time magazine (web link below).

Click How Germany Became the China of Europe

Click Germany's super competitiveness

Click Euro Benefits Germany More Than Others in Zone

Return to the TOP


Gerry Reynolds [luthlee54@gmail.com] is just recently retired as Instrument Specialist; he gives us his opinion on useless university degrees:
    "After 39 years in industry, the last 11 being the senior instrument specialist in my business unit, I mostly smile at higher learning, since many degreed engineers don't have the sense of a gnat. Of course, there are some geniuses that do not blow a horn to say they are such.

    "There are 2 parts to this statement:

    1. Will a trade, technical or otherwise protect you in a boom-bust market? In my view, the rocket scientists controlling the world economy don't have the ability to tell anyone which way to go. I however still feel a trade has done me well, as long as you keep upgrading yourself, much like a skillful physician.
    2. Are University degrees a bad thing? Not if you are willing to work hard and think globally as opposed to remaining academic.

    "Here's some advice:

    • Learn to develop your detective skills.
    • Look beyond the obvious.
    • Be more discerning. Be insightful.
    • Be proud of your work.
    • Admit when you have made a mistake; learn from it; don't do it again, at least not knowingly.
    • Have an alternate plan.
    • Take a stand for what is technically correct.
    • Don't gamble on unproven theory. Follow the lead of champions.
    • Don't follow the crowd after evil ends.
    • Look to strong role-models as mentors, leave the goofs aside.
    • Get a slide rule, learn how to use it.
    • Buy an old lawnmower, take it apart, put it back together, make it run.
    • The satisfaction is in the product of your success.
    • Learn what is and isn't malodorous digestive residue from a male ox.

    "Indeed, a wise technician, WILL become an ENGINEER!"

Return to the TOP

Bruce Varley [bvarley@westnet.com.au] gave his opinion of Ray Kurzweil:

    "Jim, I know that Mr. Kurzweil is a colleague of yours, but I have to support the correspondent in your last eNews.

    "OK, so memory density and CPU capability follow incredible growth paths, but what's happening to the strength of steel? The strength of concrete? The walking ability of automatons? The fact is that Moore's Law applies to a highly selective group of phenomena, which just happen to be capable of achieving that rate of growth.

    "If you take a wider view, you get a more realistic feel for how fast things evolve, and it's way slower than Mr. Kurzweil predicts. If I take an uncharitable view, I'd say that he's a huckster who's making money out of the credulous.

    "50 years time? It's likely that discretionary brain implants will be here (horrible, scary idea!). But that's about the limit."

Return to the TOP

Shrisha Chandra brought up something I missed in my article on 3-D printing:

    "Your comments on 3-D printing left out one important innovation: 3-D printing of Organs! If and when it happens, it would mean not only a revolution in printing technology, but a big leap forward in Medical treatments.

    Here's the TED link on this -

    Click 3D Printing An Organ - Live Onstage at TED

Return to the TOP

JimPinto.com eNews - on the web

If you've missed a couple of issues of eNews, or wish to refer to earlier items, please note : You can see ALL past issues online at :

Click Index of ALL past JimPinto.com eNews

eSpeak to me

If smell something fishy in your pond, please e-let me know and I'll check it out. Please send your tips and alerts, your news, views and stews. I'd like to e-hear from you.

If you have comments or suggestions for Growth & Success News, please contact me directly at : Click Jim@JimPinto.com

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

If you got this eNews through someone else, you might like to subscribe for a regular free copy, direct to your own email. Just click your mouse on :
Sign up for regular hot news, views and stews

Or, simply send a blank email message to:
Click Sign-up@JimPinto.com
with subject line: "sign me up for JimPinto.com E-mail news".

To be removed send a blank email message to:
Click eRemove@JimPinto.com with subject line "Remove".

Stay in e-touch!


Reach Jim Pinto
at these places:

Get your
Autographed Copies of Jim Pinto books

Pinto's Points Automation Unplugged

Go shopping - books, electronics, CD/DVD

Selected advertising coming here.
Contact Jim Pinto
for rates.

Selected advertising coming here.
Contact Jim Pinto
for rates.

Return to eNews Index Return to eNews Index

Return to Jimpinto.com Homepage Return to JimPinto.com HomePage

If you have ideas or suggestions to improve this site, contact: webmaster@jimpinto.com
Copyright 2000-01-02 : Jim Pinto, San Diego, CA, USA