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Archive for the ‘Future’ tag

Book Review – Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

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SapiensReading (and finishing) this book was a great experience for me. I decided to read it in Hebrew, my 3rd language and the language in which the book was originally written, and just the feel of the 400+ pages written in the “wrong” direction was intimidating. But it was a great selection for this challenge.

History is usually taught in a very dry and boring way. This is sad because history has so much “chili” in it that there is no end to the stories that can be told, and this is the way that Yuval Noah Harari, the author of the book, tells the long history of the world. From how the modern human began in the planes of Africa to become the ruler and master of the planed (at least in our thinking). There are many leaps through this journey, and our ability to tell stories and imagine things is probably one of the main ones. We tell stories to create a joint past, and envision a better future together. We tell stories to explain why the world behaves in one way or another. And we tell stories for fun. Just like this book does.

There is a main question at the end of the book asking what the future will bring… thankfully Mr. Harari already wrote a second book where he tries to answer this.

Great read. Hope the next one will be the same. As usual, you can buy this book from amazon, and thank me at the same time for informing you :-)

Written by vainolo

December 17th, 2017 at 10:43 pm

Robotics – The Next Revolution

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Robots are nothing new. They have been part of our society for many decades already, starting from science fiction books and then becoming real in many areas such as the automobile, military, space exploration and others (although not exactly like as described en most books). But these are large, expensive robots, never becoming commonplace in all industries. Things are changing. Anyone (well, almost anyone) can now buy a $200 robot to sweep and clean the floor. And they are getting so that Chinese and Indian labor has become more expensive than buying a robot! And robots are also willing to do menial and repetitive jobs that people are not willing to do anymore. No matter how much they are paid,

This is going to change the world as much as the industrial revolution, and it is important to understand how this will affect us. These are my thoughts on the subject.

With robots replacing many humans workers, there will be a lot of unemployment. And unemployment is good for social unrest. This is already happening in the middle east (not because of robots, but yes because of high unemployment, specially in the younger generations). And it may spread to other areas; I specifically think of China, India, Mexico, Malaysia, and other countries which have had impressive growth in the last decade or two because of their low-cost labor. With robot labor, the cost of labor will be the same everywhere more or less. So these countries will see reduced to stopped growth in the far future, raising unemployment and unrest. I wouldn’t bet on them.

And what happens when worldwide labor becomes cheap? The next in line factors affecting production will rule where and who will produce things: raw materials (both price and availability) and energy costs. I became aware of this on my latest trip to Iceland, where energy is basically free. I was told that the third largest industry of Iceland is aluminum. What? well, it seems that the aluminum industry requires a lot of energy, so even if you have to transport all the raw materials to the end of the world (that is basically where Iceland is located), and then send the finished product back to all parts of the world, if you have almost no energy costs, you will do it.

So in the mid to long term, we will be seeing a reduction in the power of cheap-labor countries and a rise of the raw-materials producers and cheap energy countries. And I am starting to put my bets on them.

But as a wise man once said, “it is very difficult to make predictions, especially about the future


Written by vainolo

October 11th, 2013 at 10:57 am

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