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Posted: July 24, 2014

Government disrupt, take two

Change is coming

Thomas Frey

(Editor's note: This is the second of two parts. Read Part One.)

Within a decade, if you participate in a demonstration or protest, the probability of being personally identified will soon reach 100 percent.

Recent protests in Turkey have many wearing gasmasks or the ever-anonymous Guy Fawkes masks to conceal their identity. At this point in history, masks are probably sufficient.

However, in a few short years, people will become infinitely more traceable and simply using face paint, masks, or other theatrical disguises will offer little to shield them from the scrutiny of those with infrared scanners and other mask-penetrating technologies that take time to investigate.

Young people involved in the Turkish protests find it easy to get caught up in the moment, and are often involved in the destruction and burning of property in the streets.

To be sure, the dividing point between a protest participant and those officially labeled a “terrorist” becomes an easily swayable judgment call. 

As we move further down the path of automating justice, the use of drones for surveillance, identification, and capture will be greatly expanded. And once a person is labeled a terrorist, it will be a designation that haunts them the rest of their life, regardless of where they live, anywhere on the planet.

So rather than standing up and protesting a bad decision by the government, it will become infinitely safer and easier to simply move to another country.

Change is Coming – Shift #2

As we look closely at the advances made in transportation systems over the past couple decades, it’s easy to see that we are on the precipices of a dramatic breakthrough in ultra high-speed transportation. Businesses are demanding it. People are demanding it. And the only things standing in our way are a few people capable of mustering the political will to make it happen.

The first wave will come with driverless cars and their ability to drive far faster and safer than with human operators.

The second wave will come in the form of Personal Rapid Transit Systems (PRTs) that can be constructed over existing highways dramatically automating our commute times.

Within 10-20 years, your dreaded 7:00 am commute that takes 2 hours and half a tank of gas could be shortened to as little as 20 minutes using virtually no gas.

As transportation networks expand, the definition of a metro area will expand as people begin to routinely commute 500 to 1,000 miles each way for their jobs. A city like Milwaukee may be considered a suburb of Chicago as travel time is reduced. The entire Boston to Washington corridor could be massively linked into one large metro area. 

The result of this will be a far more fluid global populations, with people routinely having breakfast in Tokyo, lunch in Paris and dinner in Seattle. 

This also means that people who become frustrated with their government will have a far greater tendency to vote with their feet and move to another country.

Final Thoughts

In the past, countries were defined by a distinct geographical area and the people who lived there. 

The Internet is dramatically increasing our awareness of the events and actions of those in charge, as well what’s happening in other countries around the world.

When a wealthy person like Roger Ver renounces his citizenship in favor of St. Kitt and becomes a citizen of the world, millions of people around the world take notice.

Every country on the planet is about to undergo heightened levels of scrutiny, both internally and externally as our awareness grows. This will, in turn, force governments to rethink virtually every system, process, and strategy as it relate to their citizens.

As awareness grows, counties will soon find it necessary to compete for their citizens, something they’ve always taken for granted in the past. 

Late adopters to this strategy will quickly find themselves losing the talent pools needed to compete in the global marketplace. 

As a result, governments will be much different in the future. 

Please take a moment to weigh in on this critically important topic. Your children’s children, who haven’t even been born yet, are depending on you.

Thomas Frey is the executive director and senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute and currently Google’s top-rated futurist speaker.  At the Institute, he has developed original research studies, enabling him to speak on unusual topics, translating trends into unique opportunities. Tom continually pushes the envelope of understanding, creating fascinating images of the world to come.  His talks on futurist topics have captivated people ranging from high level of government officials to executives in Fortune 500 companies including NASA, IBM, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, Unilever, GE, Blackmont Capital, Lucent Technologies, First Data, Boeing, Ford Motor Company, Qwest, Allied Signal, Hunter Douglas, Direct TV, Capital One, National Association of Federal Credit Unions, STAMATS, Bell Canada, American Chemical Society, Times of India, Leaders in Dubai, and many more. Before launching the DaVinci Institute, Tom spent 15 years at IBM as an engineer and designer where he received over 270 awards, more than any other IBM engineer.

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