Before getting into today’s topic, a couple family notes. February 6 was my sister Karen’s birthday. I’m not telling her age–“many” years younger than I am will need to suffice.
Karen was born the day before our parents were married–February 7. Of course her birth was 10 years later than their marriage. I’m thankful for Mom and Dad, my sisters–Carol, Karen, Debbie–and the rest of my immediate and extended family members. All are gifts from God.
Now to today’s topic. The future that was forecast by self-appointed seers years ago is here. Along with that future has come many changes. Examples abound.
In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Within a few years their business model disappeared. They went bankrupt. That has also happened to other organizations unwilling to adapt to technology and creativity affecting life everywhere.
More change is ahead and even already upon us. Artificial Intelligence, health care that melds medicine with engineering, remote diagnostics, autonomous and electric cars, Uber, Lyft, Alto, Airbnb, 3D printing, hypersonic aircraft, and much more. Welcome to the Exponential Age.
Futurists are predicting that some auto manufacturers will cease to exist. Traditional car companies will try the evolutionary approach and just build a better car. Tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will use the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels.
It’s also predicted that such computers on wheels will result in much safer driving and fewer accidents. Time will tell. I’m aware that auto insurance leaders are discussing the long term impact of self-driven vehicles on the auto insurance industry. Whose computer is liable?
Online learning and costly delivery of traditional models have created huge challenges and significant anxiety in the field of higher education. In my own church body, two institutions of higher education have closed– in Selma, Ala. last year and Portland, Ore. earlier this week.
Solar, wind, nuclear, and fossil fuel energy sources are competing for market share with huge economic and environmental ramifications. And we’re seeing a significant increase in business leaders and workers working remotely via cell phone, computer, and video conferencing.
Even some in the church are thinking and acting futuristically. Virtual worship services live streamed are attracting large crowds of folks worshiping in their own living room. Distribution of The Lord’s Supper remains a challenge but electronic giving works just fine. The Amazon mentality is universal.
Here are just a few of the many quotes about the future by famous people:
Trying to predict the future is like driving down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window. The only thing we know about the future is that it will be different. Peter Drucker
Time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future. John F. Kennedy
Hold fast to the Bible. To the influence of this Book we are indebted for all the progress made in true civilization and to this we must look as our guide in the future. Ulysses S. Grant
I don’t know what the future may hold, but I know who holds the future. Ralph Abernathy