With seemingly so much happening in the world these days — everything from COVID to climate change — it is perhaps easy to feel a little discouraged about the current state of affairs. But I am an optimist. And as I mentioned on Twitter a few weeks ago, I haven’t been this excited about the future of tech and the internet in a long time.
We are seeing the auto industry quickly transition to electric vehicles (though, in my opinion, not driving at all is still better for our cities than driving something that is electric). Norway has created the world’s first ever zero emission, autonomous cargo ship. And LIDAR vision systems are looking pretty promising as one of the technologies that will ultimately power fully autonomous vehicles.
I believe in the resiliency of cities and, as I have been arguing on this blog all throughout COVID, I think the claims about the demise of our cities have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, I think this pandemic has forced us rethink a lot of things about our urban environments, including how we allocate and use our public spaces (think patios). Some of these changes have been for the better and they’re not going to go away.
I think the benefits of working in close proximity to others are too great to have everyone working remotely. Yes, we have learned that decentralization is possible. But there’s an overwhelming amount of research telling us that we’re all more innovative and productive when we cluster together in cities and in offices.
I have been back in the office almost 100% of the time since it has been possible to do that. And I am much happier and more productive as a result. There’s also research suggesting that there are psychological benefits to a reasonable commute. It creates a break in our day, allows us to detach from our work, and gives us time to process stuff in our mind.
I think things like digital fashion and augmented reality are going to have profound impact on the way we consume things. You could also argue that there’s a sustainability angle to more digital and less physical. And of course, I am excited about the transformations that I believe cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies will continue to bring to many different industries (if not most).
This morning I was reading a Financial Times article about cryptocurrencies in the developing world. It it perhaps no surprise that many of these countries are providing to be early adopters. People are leapfrogging over to cryptocurrencies because their existing currencies and financial systems aren’t effective enough. That has lead to adoption and penetration that looks something like this according to FT:
There is, of course, many other things to be optimistic and excited about. But I’ll leave that for the comment section below. What are you excited about these days?