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The Future is Almost Here

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Last year I wrote a book which I called The Roaring Twenties. It was about the present and the near future. I even thought of calling it The Greatest Decade because of all the discoveries that were being made, and I assumed that the year 2030 would be completely different from the year 2020. The future it seemed to me is racing towards us at a colossal speed. In fact, it's almost as if the future is here already.

There are various aspects to all this, and there are so many advances, developments, and changes of gear that one is left almost unable to cope. I certainly find that if I start talking to people about what is happening all around us right now, most people haven't a clue what I'm talking about.

The various points that almost scream out are: the way that life is going digital at an almost unmanageable speed; the unbelievable advances in medicine which have occurred in the last five years and are occurring in labs across the world right now. For example, who would have thought, even a year or two ago, that it was possible to cure blindness? I could list a number of diseases that can now be cured, and most of them I have never even heard of.

At the beginning of the century who would have thought that anyone would have a real quantum computer up and running just a few years away? A friend of mine who was a lecturer at Edinburgh University insisted they would have one available by 2015. I thought he was nuts. We had one available by 2015.

At the beginning of this century who would have thought digital currencies would exist within a decade? That distributive networks would start to overturn the internet, and just about every business on the planet? Driverless cars? Driverless planes? 3D printing? Robots that could do just about anything the average human can do? An AI (Artificial Intelligence) that can do more calculations per second than a human brain? That it would be possible to reprogram RNA to halve the biological age of animals? Shops on the high street with no staff inside? And so on, and so on.

Well, you aint seen nothin' yet.

Unless there is another ghastly war (quite probable) by the end of this decade life will not be remotely like it is today. Banks? Who needs them? Office blocks? Some companies are starting to sell their office blocks already and sending their staff home. It won't be long before the AI revolution puts swathes of people out of work. Oops, what's that going to do to a work oriented society, and the concept of earning a living?

But let's have a look at something else. What are governments for? That question is going to raise its head very shortly. They aren't exactly popular anywhere on the planet at the moment. Ever thought to ask what purpose they serve?

For my sins I studied economics at A level and even studied the ghastly subject at university. A fundamental question is What is a government for? The first answer is usually, for defence. And yet it's governments or politicians at least, that go to war, not the common people.

Secondly, they set laws for the management of a society. I cant see that changing just yet.

But then there is the business of education. That used to be the prerogative of the church, but science pushed the church out of the way. Now commerce is pushing governments out of education. I'll explain precisely what is happening in that respect in another article.

And then there is money. The government issues and controls the money. But will they still do so by the end of this decade? And how will a government function if its control of money is diminished?

Let's at least open up that can of worms and have a look at what is going on.
I'm sure you've heard of Libra. Facebook tried to issue its own currency a couple of years ago. There was a bit of a problem, but Zuckerberg is not the kind of guy to give up on such a bold venture. Ever heard of Diem? If not, you soon will. This time it looks as though he will get his currency out there.

It will be a stable coin. And that has nothing to do with horses. It means it will be linked to a set currency, in this case the US dollar. There may be slight variations in the exchange rate, but those fluctuations will likely not vary more than a cent or two either way of confluence.

There are stable currencies out there already, but what is to stop Mr Zuckerberg from insisting that his clients pay him with his currency? He has 2.4 billion customers. That's over a quarter of the population of the planet.

Google is readying its currency, so is Apple and Amazon, and so it goes. Is this the beginning of the ultimate rise not of the nation state but of the commercial state? Back in 2015 Apple was already richer than the US government.

One is soon going to have to ask the question again. What is a government for? It doesn't produce anything. It has no intrinsic value. It soaks up money and has nothing to show for it. It's currency is continually debased. What's there to say in support of such an institution?

I cant see the concept vanishing in the near future, and I'm not sure that a commercial top cat is better than a political one, but the times are definitely changing.

Next week I'll have a closer look at the new education, and go a little more deeply into the new money, and the possible consequences of the way commercial entities are taking over the world.

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