Welcome to the Future
THE PROMISE OF PROSPERITY IN AN INFO-MATED WORLD
A Strategic Briefing
David Pearce Snyder
During the past 20 years, a wave of technical innovation and organizational restructuring has been rolling across the world's industrial economies. The United States, first to experience these forces of "creative destruction," has now passed through the mid-point of its half-century long transition from labor-intensive to information-intensive operations. After more than two decades of slowing economic growth, falling real wages, growing public and private debt and a shrinking social safety net, the U.S. has entered the constructive stage of the Information Revolution, with rising productivity permitting full employment and wage increases for all classes of workers without inflation. At the same time, in Europe and the industrial nations of the Pacific Rim, the dislocating impacts of this technologic revolution have only recently begun to have serious economic and political consequences that are likely to last beyond the end of this century.
Against this turbulent backdrop, electronic information technology has become so powerful, and our capacity to use it has become so productive, that cashless commerce, ticketless travel, paperless processes and campusless colleges are rapidly becoming a reality. From now on, using conversational computers equipped with expert systems and interactive simulations, workers will be able to quickly master new skills and redesigned jobs, while both government and business will be able to engage their customers in an on-going dialogue, and to design products and services that directly respond to consumer needs and desires.
As the productive capacities of mature info-com technologies are assimilated into the day-to-day operations of private and public enterprise worldwide, general levels of prosperity will rise in both the developed and developing nations, even as the environmental impacts of mass-consumption life-styles are reduced through superior design, new-materials and life-cycle engineering. Futurist David Pearce Snyder will conduct a guided tour of the decade ahead, describing in detail the avalanche of info-com innovations that will generate a cornucopia of new products and services while revolutionizing all public and private enterprise, and transforming both where and how -- and how well -- people live and work around the world.
©2000 David Pearce Snyder
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