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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Technology Will Triumph!


Every day it seems I receive “gloom and doom” direct mail pieces or e-mails from a wide variety of 21st century Cassandras. Oil will hit $200 a barrel by Christmas, the stock market will drop by 70%, World War III is imminent, the dollar will cease to be the world’s reserve currency (by next month), pollution will overtake us shortly, and mass starvation is right around the corner are some of the messages that I have received in recent months.

I generally toss the direct mail missiles into the shredder and delete the e-mails. Why do I keep getting them? It appears that someone with a profile somewhat similar to mine is responding.

Let’s face it. We live in a troubled world. Geo-political tensions abound, ignorance and injustice are widespread, leadership across the globe is suspect and many economies are fragile and debt grows and too much money appears to be printed. It is easy to see how the gloom and doom crowd draws response. Yet, to me, they forget one big thing--Technology.

No, technology will not help us find world peace but it will ease many problems in the years ahead. Just look at a few industries and see what is going on:

1) Energy--until 18 months ago, it looked as if we may be running out of oil across the world or at least oil that could be tapped consistently and safely. That is changing fast. The domestic oil boom is helping our balance of payments and creating good jobs. Technology is making a dirty business safer and less impactful on climate change. The Canadian oil sands were often attacked for their water usage. Now, new technologies allow the companies to recycle almost all of the water. Even coal may look better. A few companies are experimenting with CO2 capture systems in coal fired electricity generation, sending the CO2 to natural gas fracking sites where the CO2 will be propelled into reservoir rock and gas can be tapped. Lots will happen in natural gas and solar and wind power will not stand still either. A windmill today generates, on average, 100 times the power of one produced in 1980. People used to say that geology would trump demographics in energy production and long term shortages would occur. Today, many are stating that technology will trump geology and cleaner and abundant energy is on the way to us.
2) Medicine--when I look back on my life it is stunning to consider the advances that have occurred the last few decades. All of know people who are alive due to procedures and gains in medical technology that did not exist until recently.
3) Agriculture--this is going to be a boom area. It has to! With a billion more people coming on board our little planet in the next 15 years, we will need to feed them. Better fertilizers, use of water, and farmer training should translate to better crop yields.
4) Water--approximately half of the people on earth are currently hospitalized due to drinking bad water. Non-chemical purification techniques along with mineralization technologies with provide water that is clean and tastes great, too. The amazing health benefits will more than pay for an upgrading of infrastructure needs around the world.                                    
5) Media--our field will continue to evolve. The big area will be in what we now call mobile and specifically in applications. Our lives are made easier every day by mobile apps that help us shop, not get lost, send messages, research almost anything, and always stay in touch if we wish. Today, many advertisers boast of pin-point targeting. Well, they ain’t seen nothing yet. Imagine marketing 10 years from now when you can slash wasted audience from current levels and customize messaging far better than you can dream in 2014. The game will change but advertising and communication efficiency will soar.

So, do not get discouraged. Read the gloom and doomers; sometimes they say things that come true and the good ones make you think. Remember, always, however, that the human spirit will always be there and technology will move relentlessly toward a better life.

If you would like to contact Don Cole directly, you may reach him at doncolemedia@gmail.com

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