CES Episode Notes

Episode 017 – Don't Miss the Revolution

(Note: This document contains the essential content of this episode but is not a complete verbatim transcript. It may also contain bonus content not included in the episode.)

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"The Times, They Are a-Changin’"

Bob Dylan wrote and recorded this song in 1964.

And back then, the times indeed were a-changin’.

But today they’re changing even more, and ever faster.

You’ve heard about the exponential growth of technology.

You’ve heard about automation, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, sensors, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and so on.

What’s going to change in the next 10 years?

Better question: What’s NOT going to change in the next 10 years?

Everything is changing.  The past and present are not equal to the future.  But we’re all so busy, and it’s so easy to ignore all the changes.

But we cannot afford to ignore them. 
We cannot afford ignorance and complacency. 
The ignorant and complacent will be blindsided and steamrollered.

Your life is going to be disrupted
In some way
To some degree
At some time
By someone or something.

The questions are:

In what way?
To what degree?
By whom or what?

Many people who have had jobs who have had jobs will no longer have them and will need to move to some form of entrepreneurship.

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A Few Predictions:

By 2030 or thereabouts, computers will become more intelligent than humans.

Robots will do the unskilled work and much of the higher-level cognitive work.

50%-80% of jobs will disappear in the next 20 years. There will be a lot of new jobs, but it’s not clear how many will be created in time to replace the ones that will be lost. 

In the US, newly-minted lawyers already have trouble finding jobs.  Because of AI, people can get basic legal advice in seconds with 90% accuracy compared to 70% accuracy when done by humans. So if you are studying law, stop immediately, because there will be 90% fewer lawyers in the future and only specialists will remain.  

In the next decade, fully self-driving cars will become the norm, and the entire auto industry will be disrupted. 

Eventually, you won't own a car anymore.  You will call a car with your phone, it will show up at your location, and drive you to your destination. 

You will only pay for the distance driven, and you can be productive while riding. 

There will be no need to park cars, therefore parking lots can be repurposed to other uses. 

Kids will never need a driver's license and will probably never own a car. 

You won’t need car insurance, and the car insurance industry’s business model will collapse.

Auto accident rates and deaths will drop dramatically.

Vehicles will become fully recyclable.

Cheap electricity will allow for cheap and abundant desalinized drinking water.

In the near future, farm work will be 95% done by robots.  Food will be cheaper.  Farmers in 3rd world countries can then become managers of their fields instead of working all day in the fields.

There will be very few grocery stores as we now know them.  Home delivery will replace most of them.

Techniques like vertical farming will dramatically increase food production and reduce the need for farmland.

Meat which now comes from animals will be produced artificially but will 

be the identical chemical composition of “real” meat.  In fact, it will be “real” meat.

Or, “meat” will be created from plants, but will taste like “real” meat.

The price of 3D printers came down from $18,000 to $400 within 10 years and became 100 times faster.  

At some point, you’ll be able to 3D-scan your feet using an app on your smartphone, then print perfectly fitting shoes on your own 3D printer.

Housing and other types of buildings will be created via a combination of on-site 3D printing and self-managing robot workers.

Buildings will become fully-recyclable.

Online shopping and home delivery will become the norm.

Many retail stores will be closed, and the buildings repurposed.

Most shopping malls will close and be torn down or repurposed.

In the next decade, nearly all humans will own a smartphone. That means nearly everyone will have equal access to a world-class education.

College and universities will not much longer exist as we now know them, as most learning will be done online.

There will be a lot of vacant buildings on college campuses.

Computers will be able to instantly and accurately diagnose diseases and carry out treatments.

Nanobots will roam freely through your bloodstream, diagnosing and treating diseases like cancer without you even knowing that it’s happening.

The cost of healthcare will drop dramatically, and be equally available to everyone, everywhere.

Human lifespans will increase significantly.  100 will become the new 70.

There will be new energy sources and devices invented that will allow individual vehicles and buildings to produce their own electricity, for both motive power and heating and cooling.  These devices will be inexpensive and small.  And since each energy device will be localized rather than part of a distributed network, the “power grid” as we now know it will no longer exist.  Think what this will do to the entire energy industry…

In the world of consumer electronics, computers, smartphones, TV sets, tablets and other such devices will be replaced by holographic screens and controls.  Therefore such devices will no longer “exist” but will consist only of software.  Imagine how this will affect all the companies that now manufacture these physical items.
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Things that will Diminish or Disappear:

Unskilled Labor – any and all industries

Clerical Workers


Material Handling


Building Maintenance Industry

Shipping Industry

Truck Drivers



Financial Advisers




Insurance (all types)

Middle Managers

Fashion Designers

Commodity Salespeople

Bookkeepers, Accountants and CPAs

Computer Programmers

Report Writers




TV sets

Computers, Laptops, Tablets, Monitors


Vehicle Service and Repair

Auto Body Shops

Energy Industry

Petroleum Industry

Pharmaceutical Industry

Shopping Malls

Retail Stores

Land Usage for Agriculture

Land Usage for Grazing

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The most important thing you need to know and remember about robots is this:

Any task that CAN be done by a robot WILL be done by a robot.

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Regarding business opportunities, if you have an idea, ask the question, “In the future, will there be a need for such a thing?”  

Anything that was designed for the 20th century will almost surely not work well in the 21st century.

Who imagined, in 1998, that after 2002 no one would take photographs with film again?

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A study by Forrester Research concluded that in the next 10 years:

• Technology will create about 15 million jobs.

• Technology will eliminate about 25 million jobs.

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There are 3 ways to deal with the future:

React (wait for change to happen, then deal with it) 

Most people will take this path.

Requires no thinking, is not rational

Anticipate (study what’s happening and prepare)

A few people will do this.

It requires: Thinking - Rationality - Wisdom - Judgment

Initiate (to intentionally disrupt, to create change now) 

Requires creativity and willingness to risk.

Very few CAN create positive change.

Even fewer WILL create positive change.  But YOU could be one of them.  

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How different do you think your profession will be 5-10 years from now?

• It won’t change.  

• A little different

• Quite a bit different

• A lot different

• I don’t think I’ll recognize it in 10 years

• I don’t think my profession will exist in 10 years.

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Upcoming Episodes

• Why-What-Who-How

• A Few Million Other Details

• Ego – the Enemy

• Resistance – the Enemy's Assistant

• Your Contrarian Product



Think for yourself. If you don’t think for yourself, then other people will do your thinking for you, and that’s not a good thing.


Read books. Read blogs. Watch videos. Watch TED Talks. Listen to podcasts. Learn something new every single day. Never stop learning. You cannot foretell when a piece of knowledge will become useful to you.


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Copyright 2019 by Tom Harris