Microsoft (and Bill Gates) says:
Quality of life for many people today is much better than it was 20 years ago. Bill Gates is bullish on tech that focuses on improving happiness and living conditions around the world. He believes that focusing on improved well-being in the next 20 years can fight back disease and other world problems.
The BlueSilverShift Perspective:
Bill Gates is right in his estimation. Technology has already made great strides in improving human well-being across the globe. Stuff of Genius highlights a few examples:
- Telecommunications allow doctors to better serve patients in rural or under-serviced areas, allowing for virtual diagnosis and treatment, and for consultation with specialists in other locations.
- All manner of device provide options for accessing books, videos and interactive materials for leisure or learning. Used properly, small devices like tablets can be eco-friendlier than laptops over time.
- Smart technologies allow for more efficient infrastructure, including energy grids, water systems, and traffic lights. (Okay, maybe it hasn’t filtered down to all traffic lights just yet, but we live in hope).
It is not just the developed world benefiting from technological progress. Communicating with with friends and family across the globe has never been easier, or less costly. Communities can organize and mobilize in new and powerful ways. Access to education and the ability to connect is raising living standards in impoverished areas.
What of the future, then?
The world of work is evolving in unprecedented ways. Technology begets new kinds of jobs, and new ways of working. Automation grants freedom from tedium, while reducing margins of error. Communications tools like Teams can save time and stress, empowering workers align to their own healthful outcomes.
We can only imagine what the future holds. But here are some developments already on the horizon:
- Self-driving vehicles will become commonplace, empowering those who cannot drive. In areas ill-served by transit, this can allow increased mobility and and independence.
- Solar panels have gained popularity as their cost has dropped. Their presence will grow – perhaps powering some of those self-driving cars, reducing emissions as another benefit.
- Self-replenishing refrigerators will order groceries automatically when items run out.
- Toothbrushes contain sensors that send oral data right to your dentist, allowing you to act before problems develop.
Dreams of the future often involve big ambitions like inter-planetary travel, and these may also be realized. But these small-scale improvements are the ones that most impact everyday life, and they are more momentous for it.