Brewer's Droop #273

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Both my sons are energetic (and smart as well). They enjoy running, climbing, hiking, cycling and that sort of thing. At their ages I was standing in smoky bars, drinking all I could afford and smoking Woodbines. Just goes to show how your children can destroy the dreams you had for them.

Back to the point though: they’ve written an app which is absolutely stunning.

Basically it allows people to create and purchase customised prints of their outdoor activities and works with Strava and GPS – the quality is magnificent – add your run, cycling or hike and then you’re free to personalise it to your heart’s content.

You can hang something you’ve achieved on your lounge wall and bore your friends to death. You can even make a print of any town or city you’d like. Might make a nice gift?

Anyway, if you’re active and would like to keep printed records of your achievements take a look. It’s here: Paper Trails


This was sent to me by my dear friend Ian Snelling before he died. Obviously it was written a few years ago – fascinating reading.

“In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide.

“Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they went bankrupt.

“What happened to Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next 10 years – and most people don’t see it coming. Did you think in 1998 that 3 years later you would never take pictures on paper film again?

“Yet digital cameras were invented in 1975. The first ones only had 10,000 pixels, but followed Moore’s law. So as with all exponential technologies, it was a disappointment for a long time, before it became way superior and got mainstream in only a few short years. It will now happen with Artificial Intelligence, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing, agriculture and jobs. Welcome to the 4th Industrial Revolution.

“Welcome to the Exponential Age.

“Software will disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years.

“Uber is just a software tool, they don’t own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world. Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don’t own any properties.

Artificial Intelligence: Computers become exponentially better in understanding the world. This year, a computer beat the best Go player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected. In the US, young lawyers already don’t get jobs. Because of IBM Watson, you can get legal advice (so far for more or less basic stuff) within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans. So if you study law, stop immediately. There will be 90% less laywyers in the future, only specialists will remain.

“Watson already helps nurses diagnosing cancer, 4 time more accurate than human nurses. Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans.

Autonomous cars: In 2018 the first self driving cars will appear for the public. Around 2020, the complete industry will start to be disrupted. You don’t want to 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 not need to park it, you only pay for the driven distance and can be productive while driving. Our kids will never get a driver’s licence and will never own a car. It will change the cities, because we will need 90-95% less cars for that. We can transform former parking space into parks. 1,2 million people die each year in car accidents worldwide. We now have one accident every 100,000km, with autonomous driving that will drop to one accident in 10 million km. That will save a million lives each year.

“Most car companies might become bankrupt. Traditional car companies try the evolutionary approach and just build a better car, while tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will do the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels. I spoke to a lot of engineers from Volkswagen and Audi; they are completely terrified of Tesla.

“Insurance companies will have massive trouble because without accidents, the insurance will become 100x cheaper. Their car insurance business model will disappear.

“Real estate will change. Because if you can work while you commute, people will move further away to live in a more beautiful neighbourhood.

“Electric cars will become mainstream until 2020. Cities will be less noisy because all cars will run on electric. Electricity will become incredibly cheap and clean: Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can only now see the impact. Last year, more solar energy was installed worldwide than fossil. The price for solar will drop so much that all coal companies will be out of business by 2025.

“With cheap electricity comes cheap and abundant water. Desalination now only needs 2kWh per cubic meter. We don’t have scarce water in most places, we only have scarce drinking water. Imagine what will be possible if anyone can have as much clean water as he wants, for nearly no cost.

Health: The Tricorder X price will be announced this year. There will be companies who will build a medical device (called the “Tricorder” from Star Trek) that works with your phone, which takes your retina scan, your blood sample and your breath into it. It then analyses 54 biomarkers that will identify nearly any disease. It will be cheap, so in a few years everyone on this planet will have access to world class medicine, nearly for free.

3D printing: The price of the cheapest 3D printer came down from 18,000$ to 400$ within 10 years. In the same time, it became 100 times faster. All major shoe companies started 3D printing shoes. Spare airplane parts are already 3D printed in remote airports. The space station now has a printer that eliminates the need for the large amount of spare parts they used to have in the past.

“At the end of this year, new smartphones will have 3D scanning possibilities. You can then 3D scan your feet and print your perfect shoe at home. In China, they already 3D printed a complete 6-storey office building. By 2027, 10% of everything that’s being produced will be 3D printed.

Business opportunities: If you think of a niche you want to go in, ask yourself: “in the future, do you think we will have that?” and if the answer is yes, how can you make that happen sooner? If it doesn’t work with your phone, forget the idea. And any idea designed for success in the 20th century is doomed to failure in the 21st century.

Work: 70-80% of jobs will disappear in the next 20 years. There will be a lot of new jobs, but it is not clear if there will be enough new jobs in such a small time.

Agriculture: There will be a 100$ agricultural robot in the future. Farmers in 3rd world countries can then become managers of their field instead of working all days on their fields. Aeroponics will need much less water. The first petri dish produced veal is now available and will be cheaper than cow produced veal in 2018. Right now, 30% of all agricultural surfaces is used for cows. Imagine if we don’t need that space anymore. There are several startups who will bring insect protein to the market shortly. It contains more protein than meat. It will be labeled as “alternative protein source” (because most people still reject the idea of eating insects).

“There is an app called “moodies” which can already tell which mood you are in. Until 2020 there will be apps that can tell by your facial expressions if you are lying. Imagine a political debate where it’s being displayed when they are telling the truth and when not.

“Bitcoin will become mainstream this year and might even become the default reserve currency.

Longevity: Right now, the average life span increases by 3 months per year. Four years ago, the life span used to be 79 years, now it’s 80 years. The increase itself is increasing and by 2036, there will be more that one year increase per year. So we all might live for a long long time, probably way more than 100.

Education: The cheapest smartphones are already at 10$ in Africa and Asia. Until 2020, 70% of all humans will own a smartphone. That means, everyone has the same access to world class education. Every child can use Khan academy for everything a child learns at school in First World countries.

“I see an enormous potential.”

I think whoever wrote this may have been marginally out on some dates – but very, very close.

Should we be excited or very nervous? You decide.

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  1. hello Chris
    Fascinating stuff, the changes predicted are so far reaching and so rapid – the Q? – very nervously excited.

    • There’s only one thing that can stop this runaway train – and that’s politics. But, like you, I’m also nervously excited.

  2. There will only be three jobs in the future:

    1) designers
    2) Technicians who are needed to maintain the machines at base level
    3) Programmers who can make the machines do what we want to do

    and maybe a 4th: researchers who tell the programmers what to program.

    • You may be right – but am not so sure about points 3 and 4. I think there’s a good chance will take whatever the computers decide we should have/do.

  3. Chris, your 1st paragraph made my day this morning!

    • Thanks Braz. They’ve made a good job of what they’ve done – which somebody told me is the world’s best in that field.

      They can still out-drink me (but only just).

  4. We’ve never met but I have been an admirer of your writing skills for several years.

    Are you available for some freelance work – we may need something with your subtle humour!

    BTW I just can’t see cars being replaced so soon. Maybe 50 years?

    • Yeah, that was my first reaction Micky. But just think back 50 years and try to remember things we didn’t have which are now commonplace.

      It really is incredible. No cell phones, no internet. The fax machine came (and went). The list is almost endless – and it’s growing exponentially.

      It’ll happen sooner rather than later. As it is, when we go out these days we often use Uber – that’s just the beginning of the major shift that’s coming.

    • And yes, I’m available to write just about anything. Email me at


  5. Hello Chris,

    Please look at enabling sharing on LinkedIn.


    • Will do.


  6. Another well written and well researched article , Chris.
    I agree, it seems we are progressing technically at an alarming rate. I think the reason is that humans are basically lazy and want answers fast.
    I agree with Gerry that there will only be 3 jobs in future and would like to add that we will still need skilled artisans – plumbers, electricians and other relevant tradesman. Maybe we should be encouraging our children to take up trades. I see an even bigger skilled trade shortage comming

    • Hi Fred. Agree totally with the trades. I always thought my sons would be either plumbers, electricians or brain surgeons

  7. Although the cost of smartphones have dropped, high data costs restrict many users from accessing free online education content. The poor, who cannot commit to contracts, pay a ‘poverty premium’ on data costs which is really unfortunate. We’re changing this with OGLE Content Download Hotspots which takes away the data cost so free will be truly free!


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