Mike Simcik

A Whole New World, Fear It or Embrace It

Predictions for the future
by Mike Simcik

Software disruptions, nanotechnology, power, medicine, food, transportation.

Auto repair shops will just go away. A gasoline engine has 20,000 individual parts. An electrical engine has 20 parts. Electric cars are sold with lifetime guarantees and are only repaired by dealers. It takes only 10 minutes to remove and replace an electric engine. Faulty electric engines are not repaired in the dealership but are sent to a regional repair shop that repairs them with robots.

Your electric engine malfunction light goes on so you drive up to what looks like a Jiffy- auto wash. Your car is towed through while you have a cup of coffee and out comes your car with a new engine.

Gas stations go away. Parking meters are replaced by meters that dispense electricity. All companies install electrical recharging stations.

All major auto manufacturers have already designated 5-6 billion dollars each to start building new plants that only build electric cars. Coal industries go away. Gasoline/oil companies go away. Drilling for oil stops.

Homes will produce and store more electrical energy during the day and then they use and will sell it back to the grid. The grid stores it and dispense it to industries that are high electricity users. A baby born today will see only personal cars in a museum.

More info you’re not prepared for:

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 5-10 years and, most people won’t see it coming. Did anyone think in 1998 that 3 years later you would never take pictures on film again?

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

Software disrupting traditional industries in 5-10 years:

Uber is a software tool, they don’t own any cars, but are now the worlds largest taxi company.

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’s 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% fewer lawyers in the future, only omniscient specialists will remain.

Watson already helps nurses diagnosing cancer, its 4 times 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 to 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. The very young children of today will never get a driver’s license and will never own a car.

It will change the cities because we will need 90-95% fewer cars for that. We can transform former parking spaces into parks.

1.2 million people die each year in car accidents worldwide. We now have one accident every 60,000 mi (100,000 km), with autonomous driving that will drop to 1 accident in 6 million mi (10 million km). That will save a million lives worldwide each year.

Most car companies will doubtless 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. Many engineers from Volkswagen and Audi are completely terrified of Tesla. Insurance companies will have massive trouble because, without accidents, the insurance will become 100 x cheaper. The 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 neighborhood.

Electric cars will become mainstream in ten years. Cities will be less noisy because all new cars will run on electricity. Electric power will become incredibly cheap and clean: Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can now see the future impact.

Fossil energy companies are desperately trying to limit access to the grid to prevent competition from home solar installations, but that simply cannot continue, technology will take care of that strategy.

With cheap electricity comes cheap and abundant water. Desalination of salt water will only need minimal expense per cubic meter (@ 0.25 cents). We don’t have scarce water in most places, we 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 Care now:

There are companies who will build a medical device (AKA the “Tricorder” from Star Trek) that works with your phone, the price will be announced this year. It scans your retina, blood sample, and your breath. It will analyze 54 biomarkers that will identify nearly any disease.

The Times They Are A Changing

by Mike Simcik

There seems to be a lot of talk lately about Senior Centers in the area and most of it not very flattering.

For example; Sometime before the presidential election a notice was sent out in the monthly news bulletin from a local senior center that their computer system database and membership files were hacked into and stolen. I received one of these notices in the mail.

If anyone had a curious or suspicious mind one would wonder what happened to that very private and personal information and how was it illegally used. Of course, everyone knows senior centers are state and federally funded which is enough to make anyone’s eyebrows raise.

Just suppose that information was used in favor of one candidate or the other. It’s just a guess on my part but it is more than possible that a lot of senior citizens in this area voted for someone they did not want to.

For that matter, in these disturbing times, we live in today, our seniors could have voted several times without knowing it. Since hacking never happened before at these places, why now, and just before election time?

Another issue has taken shape and in no way are any conclusions being drawn. But it has been noticed and talked about by many seniors that there is an appalling lack of ethnicity in those same Senior Centers. We know there is a considerable population of retired African Americans and Hispanic in Grand Haven and Muskegon areas that do not go to or are a member of a senior center. Perhaps they feel there is not much offered for them at these centers.

The one thing that sticks in my mind because of recent events is some practical advice for all senior citizens and that is; keep your private life information private and watch your back. These are very disturbing and socially unfriendly times we live in dividing our nation.

The Little Plane That Couldn’t Fly

By Mike Simcik

In November 1954, the Korean war had come to an end, and Thanksgiving had already passed as well. I was ten years old at the time and everyone in my family knew I was crazy about building the new jet model airplanes.

It was the in-between times during the holidays that my family headed for Chicago to visit my Aunt Montiree and Uncle Eddy. One of my favorite places in the windy city was Marshal Fields with its decorated windows and the giant oval candy counter on the ground floor.

Monti, as everyone called my aunt, liked to put on a big dinner for all the in-laws and hand out Christmas presents that evening. My cousin Diane, who was three years older than I, came with her mother from Detroit. After dinner, Diane and I went out for a walk and talked about what was happening where we lived. When we returned to the house Monti began handing out the gifts.

I was given a slender gift-wrapped package and I could tell by the shape, size, and weight what it was. It had to be an airplane. I was sure that box couldn’t be anything else. I excitedly removed the paper and there it was – a modern wooden fighter jet, just begging me to assemble it.

At the back of the house was a study room with a table and some newspaper nearby to protect the table surface while working. I laid out all the parts, I read over the model plans, and then I was ready to assemble the parts. Dad walked into the room and saw me sitting in the chair with a very disappointed look on my face. He was surprised that the plane wasn’t already finished and flying out the window.

I glanced up at him with a sorrowful expression and said, “no glue!” Dad, Mother, Uncle Eddy and Aunt Monti searched the house for any kind of glue. But no. Nothing. Not even paper glue was found. After a half hour of searching, sudden realization sank in: it was Sunday night and every store in the whole world was closed. Imagine my plight having to wait until the following morning to glue the plane together in my room at home.

Later, as a parent, I forget the batteries for my kids and grand-kids because I am too busy being an adult. So here is my suggestion. If one doesn’t want to sadden some child over the holidays have these items on hand in reserve: scotch tape, duct tape, several types of glue, rubber bands, all battery sizes, paper clips, scissors, screw-drivers, pliers, reading glasses for fine print, sealing wax and kite string. I mean, what do grownups think about when they buy stuff and read, “some assembly required” or “batteries not included?” Ask yourself, “would Santa forget the glue and batteries?”

During today’s holidays, I recommend having your smart-phone charged and be prepared for that little kid coming up to Grandpa asking how to do something you never even heard of. Just Google the answer. But, sometimes that little kid is smarter than we are! Keeping up with modern times and being well stocked with remedies for presents lacking something, is better than not having glue for that little wooden airplane that could not leave the runway on schedule.

After all that’s said and done, I miss being ten years old, standing in front of Marshall Fields windows at Christmas time, holding my dad’s hand.