The 50's and 60's saw a transportation revolution. The Interstate highway system made local and national car and truck travel feasible. The jet engine allowed short trips to faraway places. The shipping container made transporting a good, made anywhere in the world, cheaper than producing it.
We could have national and worldwide academic conferences. China became a superpower by shipping us low-cost goods. Dock worker jobs, the kind held by Archie Bunker, have morphed and shrunk, even as the number of imported goods has grown.
In the 90's we had a communications revolution. The cell phone kept us connected all the time. The home computer and the Internet gave us immediate access to the world's information and Google helped us sort through it.
It fundamentally changed how we interacted. No longer did we need to make plans in advance. Eventually we would have little need for encyclopedias, almanacs, maps, or physical media for music, photos and movies. Not to mention new types of companies and the transformation of how businesses could work with their employees and contractors spread across the world.
That brings us to today. We are at the brink, if it hasn't already started, of an intelligence revolution, the combination of big data, machine learning and automation. The initial obvious transformation will come from autonomous cars, which will change not only how we get from point A to point B but how we plan roads, businesses and where we live. Beyond that work itself will change as we will continue to automate an ever growing number of white collar jobs. As with every transformation, the world we live in will change in unforeseen ways, hopefully more good than bad.
I really look forward to watching these changes through my daughter's eyes, to see how this new society directly affects them as they start their working lives. And how their children will one day see an old-fashioned automobile with relics like foot pedals and a steering wheel and be shocked that their parents once drove cars themselves.