Glimpse into Oregon’s Future
by JD Adams
Recent finds of petroleum reserves have delayed the practical necessity of developing renewable energy sources for the foreseeable future, but this regression is only temporary. As resources become scarcer, improving the efficiency of the industrial infrastructure we’ve known for the past 50 years becomes economically attractive. Innovations driven by rapid development cycles and the next wave of engineers will increasingly out-compete existing legacy technologies. Advances in transportation, electronics technology and communications will fuel a new world without borders that we have only begun to tap into.
Personal transportation will continue to be the choice of the masses, but ride-sharing services offered by transportation networks partnered with driverless technology will be increasingly popular despite a long period of incremental advances in robustness. Legal challenges remain for the disruptive Uber business model. The hybrid concept will be more widely adopted in the future, serving as a bridge to full electric designs when the electric charging infrastructure is fully implemented. Fuels made from industrial by-products, bio-diesel, and bio-gas will become competitive. For the cities, mass transit will address security concerns and increase profitability with computer-controlled ride-on-demand services that input customer preferences to custom-design route patterns and give feedback to riders on their personal devices. Right-of-ways for non-motorized vehicles will branch out from small towns like Corvallis to form a state-wide network.
Electronics technology will be transformed by a revolution in education. The evolution of the Internet as a repository of all Earthly knowledge will figure into the emergence of self-taught technology experts who elude the pitfalls of student loans. The trend will be towards advanced online courses and telecommuting. One might call it the Uberization of higher learning. The educational system will become more open to certifying professional engineers with equivalent experience and knowledge. Corporations will continue to seek value in their technical hiring by pursuing the most relevant knowledge for the job at hand. In the future, more virtual companies will form that make no demands on the lifestyle of the employees, offering “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” to unlock the creative potential of the individual. For minimal cost, companies will be able to develop faster engineering cycle times that other companies saddled with the weight of outdated considerations cannot compete with. The renewable energy industry will receive a radical boost with the introduction of new storage devices based on upscale battery technology, superconductive inductors and new chemistries.
Computer security has reached a crisis, but effectively secure software architectures remain elusive. The inherent computing power of today’s machines and the ability of hackers to defeat them have made the very concept of computer security questionable. In the future, company networks will be complexly isolated from the outside, no matter what the cost. Databases will need to be encrypted or even revert to physical folders and files to defeat hacking of customers data. The idea that hacking is “acceptable”, or is the “new normal” will be expunged from the public mentality. Biometrics will be widespread to prevent ID theft, but controversy over DNA technology will be rampant. ATMs will employ software that interprets video data to detect crimes in real time. The Internet of Things will impose a world not unlike The Jetsons with remote control for appliances, consumer electronics and utilities. Companies will take a second look at the wisdom of putting cheap Internet access capability in these items because of hacking concerns. IoT will be viable if it can repel malicious attacks and not become another hacking vulnerability on a massive scale.
Advancements in antenna technology will bring broadband telecommuting power to relatively remote areas of the country. The influx of people moving to Oregon will make areas east of the Cascade Range more attractive as more communications infrastructure is implemented, more fiber optics are laid, and new camouflaged cell towers are erected. The area around the towns of Bend and Redmond will continue to see rapid growth and more high-tech companies locating there. Adequate housing and water will be issues.
While Hurricane Matthew bears down on the east coast, Oregon sees only a cool drizzle of rain, quietly waiting for a level 9 earthquake to hit. Geologists are aware that the Portland area is seamed with numerous seismic faults and that the material deposited by the Missoula Floods will turn to jelly during a quake, amplifying the effects. Most of Portland’s buildings are not able to withstand such a scenario. The likely event of a Cascadia Subduction Zone disaster will affect the northern half of the Willamette Valley where the deposits of earth and gravel are thickest, and the coastal areas will see hazardous tsunami activity. Seismic analysis of tectonic vibrations has yielded a signature signal in advance of a quake. From NOVA scienceNOW:
“KIRK WOLFINGER: In 2005 and 2006, while measuring stress along California's San Andreas Fault, Ernie's team got a reading that caught them by surprise. The audio pulses suddenly began to speed up. This happened just before a magnitude 3 earthquake.
ERNIE MAJER: The change started about 10 hours beforehand.
KIRK WOLFINGER: This could be something people have sought for centuries: an earthquake warning sign, a way to predict when an earthquake is about to happen.”
If this proves to be a robust signal, it can be used to trigger an automatic earthquake alarm system that prompts moving bridge spans, elevators, traffic devices, and other electro-mechanical systems to go into whatever state is deemed the safest. Such precautions will save many lives, but will not prevent the subsequent destruction. In a few years, as the eastern side of Oregon develops, the effects of a severe earthquake will influence the demographics such that the population will be more evenly distributed and not centered in the north Willamette Valley. Two weeks after the publication of this article Portland is now considering a measure to require owners of older buildings to have earthquake retrofitting done within 10 to 25 years.
Oregon will finally recognize its potential for world-class tourism. Road improvements long overdue will be implemented, opening up areas of inspiring scenic beauty to the world at large. Oregon will take its place among the tourism hotspots around the globe. For example, the old Skyline Road, now Road 4220 that travels from Breitenbush Road into the Olallie Scenic Area, should be graded for passenger vehicles. Back in the day, Model-Ts traveled along this scenic marvel. Why not return Road 4220 to its former glory as the Skyline Road, a gateway to the countless lakes and vistas of the Olallie? Numerous other scenic areas in Oregon await discovery, but getting to them is tricky, dangerous, or nearly impossible.
A futuristic culture of health will emerge in Oregon. Analysis of long-term health data will reveal that with a few notable exceptions (such as Vitamin B-12), natural absorption of most nutrients is infinitely superior to supplementation in pill form. Scientists may study whether this is because of the way nutrients are culled from the digestive process or if it is dosage-related. Further research will find that the intake of highly concentrated nutrients upsets the chemistry of the body in subtle ways. Ultimately a new type of supplement will be devised that is recognized by the body as a food-like substance of high nutritional density, most likely made from foods like yeast, broccoli, seaweed, or mushrooms. Superfood diets will become mainstream; fast-food chains will adapt with improved menus offering advanced nutrition. Applications for ordering food will become more sophisticated and central to eliminating the need for preserved food. In parallel with this technology will be a growing awareness that optimum health is achieved by alignment with our genetic needs, dating back to the early Paleolithic period when human activities included gathering, basic agriculture, and hunting. It will be found that in our modern lives, if we can replicate those physical movements for which we evolved that longevity is maximum. Furthermore, direct links between certain types of exercise and the function of associated organs may be found that work in a similar manner to how walking benefits the function of digestion. New companies based in Oregon will pioneer health products for a lifestyle that offers demonstrable benefits in health and longevity. Oregon will be among states looking into the pricing ethics for lifesaving medications by pharmaceutical companies in a broad context of benefit for humankind. Further scrutiny of health data regarding the plethora of side affects from prescription drugs will result in a new era of research transparency. Issues to be reexamined will be the statistical prevalence of death as a side affect and the involvement of prescription drugs in many health problems previously undetected, or concealed. Health concerns will cause the use of food dyes to become increasingly unpopular; America will follow Europe’s lead in banning many of them. Eventually scrutiny will be directed at chemical colorings in textiles, paints, and printed materials that people come in contact with on a daily basis. Artificial sweeteners will be found to be inherently unhealthy due to the fundamental nature of the sugar molecule in human biology. The lack of oversight of the quality of supplement manufacturing by the FDA is looming as a large factor in the health and longevity of the population.
Despite Oregon’s unique geologic diversity, its courageous history and its commendable environmental record, a covert audit performed under the auspices of our next governor will discover pockets of corruption and deplorable incompetence inside Oregon’s state agencies, in addition to hidden political agendas being implemented that hurt Oregon’s middle class. It will become obvious that the practice of forest clearcutting following by herbicide spraying has impacted the health of the ecosystem. The increased water run-off brings these carcinogenic chemicals downstream where they enter the water supplies of municipalities. In the future police body cameras will be mandatory and the law will change to allow independent and timely review of the video.
With the influx of people moving to Oregon, traffic congestion in the Portland area will become quite severe. More companies will elect to mitigate the problem with shifted work schedules that alleviate peak traffic, as well as providing more swing and nightshift work. The movement away from conventional time will drive a 24/7 lifestyle in Portland with revised business hours and cultural amenities not widely available now. For some it will become a new business model.
Wages have been flat for thirty years, but economic progress will remain elusive with global competition from increased automation, robotics and artificial intelligence. Portland will address the homeless issue with software that creates jobs by synthesizing potential occupational paradigms based on a person’s knowledge and personality. The low-cost housing movement will expand, becoming a mainstream branch of architecture seeking to mitigate homelessness and high rent. For those in need, vacant buildings will be retrofitted for compact rooms with solar hot water, free Wi-Fi and free digital TV. Tomorrow’s networks and social media will advance benevolent social engineering, including suggesting business partnerships and other meaningful collaboration. Educational programs will adapt to strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit, encouraging people to create their own business opportunities; bureaucratic obstacles will be streamlined and harmonized. While leaving Social Security intact, dependence on the welfare state will be reduced and the economy stabilized when financial liberty is realized through a social infrastructure that proactively supports it.
One day the full civil rights of adult humankind will be bestowed upon children to the extent that they will be freed from physical assaults and punitive confinement, especially those which have been given credibility with macabre euphemisms.
Oregon will be among states that continue to redefine the relationship between the states and the federal government, with a trend toward increasing autonomy of the states to manage their own destiny.
© 10-7-2016 by JD Adams