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Politicians: Please Plan Ahead

Politicians: Please Plan Ahead

The narrow 2-lane streets of Olde Town Greenwood exemplify long-term plans laid with short-term insight. The town’s Founders made lasting decisions at a time when transportation was either by foot, hoof, or rail. Cars and 18-wheelers? Who knew?

Ten years from now, what will we wish our politicians and city planners had done differently? Look at what we know is coming.

Within three years electric cars will be capable of driving from coast to coast without a driver, if the law allows. Tesla owners within a decade will be able nap on the way to work. Implications? What should highways and streets look like? What happens to convenience stores with nobody stopping for gas? That coffee better be good!

Power Plants:
Electric cars run on coal rather than petro. The power grid will feel it. What’s the environmental impact if alternative energy doesn’t become more economical?

(Opportunity alert) Your car will go shopping without you. You read your shopping list into your phone, tell it when to deliver and your car will roll into the driveway loaded with groceries. What’s the retail zoning impact of day-to-day purchases rolling through Amazon.com’s fulfillment warehouse in the boondocks instead of Walmart? What does that do to brick & mortar retail?

Public Schools:
Today’s curriculum looks the same as it did before the invention of calculators and Ken Burns documentaries. Virtual and Augmented Reality education can substantially outperform physical classrooms. Parents are already pulling their kids out of school for superior individualized state accredited curriculum at home. As classes shrink, so does the need for school buildings, staff, buses, and taxation.

Higher Education:
With experts predicting that the gadgets we carry will surpass the intelligence of Einstein before today’s Kindergarteners graduate from high school, what should kids be learning? Does algebra matter to generations that never use it?

This one’s tough. Screens replacing cashiers is old news, but it doesn’t stop there. Before our next President leaves office we will see Indy’s first burgers and burritos being ordered, prepared, and delivered with the actress on the screen being the most human part of the process. Machines will do it all. Within three Presidential election cycles our $1000 computers will out-think executives quicker than Watson smacks down Jeopardy champs.

It’s mind-blowing that so many high ranking politicians say that they have never even used email. These are people in charge of defining mission critical legislation related to healthcare, education, and even Internet communications policy. They are so out of touch with modern reality and have no concept of how disruptive the next wave of tech changes could be. Ignorant? Maybe. Uninformed? Perhaps. But, they are our leaders.

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