Technology is a life changer. GPS has improved interpersonal relations by eliminating arguments about asking for directions. Apps for car services, food delivery, video streaming, news media, and social media have changed the way we travel, eat, learn, and communicate. And, that’s just the top of the tech iceberg!
Last year, Pew Research asked Americans, “What would you say was the biggest improvement to life in America over the past 50 years or so?” The top answer was…technology (42 percent). Medicine and health was named by 14 percent of respondents, civil and equal rights by 10 percent, and the economy by 8 percent.1
It looks like technology will continue to improve our lives during the next 50 years, as well. Here are a few innovations that could change the ways in which we live our lives:2
- Intelligent ovens. Imagine a kitchen where cooks cannot burn or undercook food. Among Popular Science’s top tech innovations of 2017 was the artificially intelligent (AI) oven. “A robot just made me French fries. Delicious, they cooked for four minutes less than the instructions dictated. One minute less, they’d have been soggy. A few more, burnt. An eagle-eyed artificially intelligent oven made the timing and temperature calls.”
- Floating trains. Ferries may soon find they have some unexpected competition – trains. Light rail systems may soon rely on steel platforms and flexible bearings to travel on water. PopSci wrote, “By 2030, 50,000 commuters a day will ride 148,000-pound trains at full speed across the water from Seattle to Mercer Island, Washington.”
- Gene-editing therapy. Tumor cells are tricky. They bypass human immune systems by impersonating healthy cells. A new therapy trains an individual’s white blood cells to identify malignant cells and destroy them. Early trials appear quite successful. Soon, cancer specialists may be able to edit your genes and turn cells into tumor killers.
While the opportunities offered by technology seem irresistible, it’s important to balance innovation and wisdom. As Lyndon B. Johnson said,
“If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it.”3
If you’ve never made pizza at home, you’re really missing out! It’s especially easy if you buy the pizza dough at the store. Just choose toppings, sauce, and cheeses to make it exactly the way you like it. Pizza can be baked in the oven or, if it’s a really nice day, you may want to try grilling it. This recipe for a not-so-traditional treat is adapted from the Ina Garten’s original.4
White Pizzas with Arugula
1 cup olive oil, divided in half
4 garlic cloves, sliced
5 sprigs fresh thyme
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed
Pizza dough (homemade or store bought)
Salt and black pepper (for seasoning pizza dough)
3 cups Italian fontina cheese (8 ounces), grated
1½ cups fresh mozzarella cheese (7 ounces), grated
11 ounces creamy goat cheese, such as Montrachet, crumbled
¼ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 teaspoon salt
½ tsp black pepper
8 ounces baby arugula
1 lemon, sliced
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Make a garlic oil by placing ½ cup olive oil, garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and bring the mix to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 10 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Set aside.
Let the dough come to room temperature. Divide the dough into six equal pieces. Flour a cutting board, and then press, stretch, and roll each piece of dough into an 8-inch wide circle. Spread a small amount of cornmeal on a baking tray or pizza stone. The cornmeal will keep the pizza dough from sticking to the surface.
Brush the dough with the garlic oil, and liberally sprinkle each pizza with salt and pepper. Distribute the fontina, mozzarella, and goat cheese evenly between pizzas. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tablespoon more of the garlic oil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crusts are crisp and the cheeses begin to brown.
Make the vinaigrette by whisking together ½ cup of olive oil, lemon juice, one teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Place the arugula in a large bowl and toss with just enough lemon vinaigrette to moisten.
When the pizzas are done, place a large bunch of arugula on top and garnish with lemon slices.
What Do You Know About Progress?
It can be difficult to discern the state of progress in the world. Some people believe humanity may be worse off than it was decades ago. In part, that’s because good news doesn’t get much media coverage. Who wants to read an article attached to a headline that says, “One Million Commuters Traveled Safely to Work Yesterday” or “96% of Luggage Scales are Accurate” or “Another City Makes Public Transportation Free on Bad Air Pollution Days”?
Fortunately, headlines are a poor guide to history. See what you know about progress with this quiz.
1. From 1917 to 2017, which of the following was true?5
A. The world’s literacy rate rose from 23 percent to more than 86 percent.
B. Travel time from New York to London fell from five days to 8 hours.
C. The average hourly wage in the United States rose from $0.22/hour to $26/hour.
D. All of the above
2. How much wealthier is the world today than it was 200 years ago?6
A. 100 times
B. 50 times
C. 20 times
D. 5 times
3. From 1990 to 2016, the rate of homicide in the United States:7
A. Rose from 5.3 percent to 9.4 percent
B. Fell from 9.4 percent to 5.3 percent
C. Rose from 4.4 percent to 5.3 percent
D. Fell from 5.3 percent to 4.4 percent
4. How much time does the average worker in the 35 countries in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) spend each day on personal care (eating, sleeping, etc.) and leisure (socializing with friends and family, hobbies, games, computer and television use, etc.)?8
A. 10 hours
B. 12 hours
C. 15 hours
D. 17 hours
The Doctor Will See You Now – On Your Smartphone
Telemedicine provides a whole new way to visit the doctor. Just download an app and schedule an appointment. Before you know it, you’ll be seeing a doctor on your favorite device, be it smartphone, tablet, or computer.
While virtual appointments may not be right for every ailment, they’re a game changer for people who live miles from a healthcare provider, have chronic illnesses that make visits challenging, or prefer not to be exposed to germs during flu season.
An online appointment is a lot like a regular doctor’s visit. You’ll chat with a doctor about your symptoms. The doctor may ask you to hold your camera to your mouth and say, “Ahh.” You’ll then receive a diagnosis.
Surveys have found consumers are intrigued by the concept. An Accenture survey reported Americans would use virtual services:9
- To track health indicators such as blood pressure, pulse, and glucose levels (77 percent)
- For follow-up appointments (76 percent)
- For non-urgent health issues including rashes and sore throats (70 percent)
Virtual healthcare is convenient. It is also relatively inexpensive. In 2014, Red Quill Consulting reported the average virtual doctor’s visit cost just $40 to $50 dollars, compared to $136 to $176 for an in-person appointment.10
Patients aren’t the only ones poised to benefit from a new model for providing care. Telemedicine gives health systems a means of expanding services in a cost-effective way. The Wall Street Journal reported, “Driven by faster Internet connections, ubiquitous smartphones, and changing insurance standards, more healthcare providers are turning to electronic communications to do their jobs – and it’s upending the delivery of healthcare.”9, 11
D – All of the above
A – 100 times
B – Fell from 9.4 percent to 5.3 percent
C – 15 hours
DEAN, JACOBSON FINANCIAL SERVICES