The speed of change, food for thought

The speed of change as predicted here is food for thought, interesting and scary at the same time!

This German author offers a peek into the future . . .
By Udo Gollub at Messe Berlin, Germany
Speed Of Change
In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they went bankrupt.
What happened to Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next 10 year – and most people don’t see it coming. Did you think in 1998 that 3 years later you would never take pictures on paper film again?Yet digital cameras were invented in 1975.
The first ones only had 10,000 pixels, but followed Moore’s law. So as with all exponential technologies, it was a disappointment for a long time, before it became way superior and got mainstream in only a few short years.
It will now happen with Artificial Intelligence, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing, agriculture and jobs.
Welcome to the 4th Industrial Revolution 
Welcome to the Exponential Age.
 Software will disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years. Uber is just a software tool, they don’t own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world.  Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don’t own any properties.
 Artificial Intelligence: Computers become exponentially better in understanding the world.  This year, a computer beat the best Go player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected.
 Lawyers: In the US, young lawyers already don’t get jobs. Because of IBM Watson, you can get legal advice (so far for more or less basic stuff) within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans.  So if you study law, recognize that there will be 90% less lawyers in the future, with only specialists remaining. IBM Watson already helps nurses diagnose cancer, 4 time more accurately than human nurses. Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans.
 Autonomous Cars: In 2018 the first self-driving cars will appear publicly. Around 2020, the complete industry will start to be disrupted. You don’t want to own a car anymoreYou will call a car with your phone, it will show up at your location and drive you to your destination. You will not need to park it, you only pay for the driven distance and can be productive while driving. Our young kids will never get a driver’s license and will never own a car.
 It will change the cities, because we will need 90-95% less cars for that. We can transform former parking space into parks. 1.2 million people die each year in car accidents worldwide. We now have one accident every 100,000 km, with autonomous driving that will drop to one accident in 10 million km.
 We will save a million lives each year.
 Most car companies might become bankrupt.
 Traditional car companies try the evolutionary approach and just build a better car, while tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will do the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels. I spoke to a lot of engineers from Volkswagen and Audi; they are terrified of Tesla.
Insurance Companies: will have massive trouble because without accidents, insurance will become 100x cheaper. Their car insurance business model will disappear.
 Real Estate: will change. Because if you can work while you commute, people will move farther away to live in a more beautiful neighborhood.
 Electric Cars: will become mainstream by 2020. Cities will be less noisy because most cars will be electric.  The need for fossil fuels will drop dramatically.
 Electricity: will become incredibly cheap and clean: Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can only now see the impact. Last year, more solar energy was installed worldwide than fossil fuels. The price for solar will drop so much that all coal companies will be out of business by 2025. With cheap electricity comes cheap and abundant water.
 Desalination now only needs 2kWh per cubic meter.
 We don’t have scarce water in most places, we only have scarce drinking water. Imagine what will be possible if we can have as much clean water as we want, at almost no cost.
 Health: The Tricorder X price will be announced this year. There will be companies who will build a medical device (called the “Tricorder” from Star Trek) that works with your phone. It scans your retina, your blood sample and you breathe into it. It then analyses 54 biomarkers that will identify nearly any disease.  It will be so cheap, that in a few years everyone on this planet will have access to world class medicine, almost free.
 3D Printing: The price of the cheapest 3D printer came down from $18,000 to $400 within 10 years. At the same time, it became 100 times faster.  All major shoe companies have started 3D printing of shoes.  Spare airplane parts are already 3D printed at remote airports.
 The space station now has a printer that eliminates the need for the large amount of spare parts they used in the past. At the end of this year, new smartphones will have 3D scanning possibilities. You can then 3D scan your feet and print your perfect shoe at home.  In China, they have already 3D printed a complete 6-storey office building.  By 2027, 10% of everything that’s being produced will be 3D printed.
 Business opportunities: If you think of a niche you want, ask yourself: “in the future, do you think we will have that?” If the answer is yes, say to yourself, “How can I make this happen sooner?” If it doesn’t work with your phone, forget the idea.
And any idea designed for success in the 20th century is doomed to failure in the 21st Century.
 Work: 70-80% of jobs will disappear in the next 20 years. There will be a lot of new jobs, but it is not clear if there will be enough new jobs in such a short time.
 Agriculture: There will be a $100 agricultural robot in the future.Farmers in 3rd world countries can then become managers of their fields instead of working all day on their fields. Hydroponics will need much less water. The first petri dish produced Veal is now available and will be cheaper than cow produced Veal in 2018. Right now, 30% of all agricultural surfaces are used for cows. Imagine if we don’t need that space anymore. There are several startups which will bring insect protein to the market shortly. They contain more protein than meat. It will be labeled as an “alternative protein source” because most people still reject the idea of eating insects.
 Truth or Lies: There is an app called “moodies” which can already tell us the mood we are in.
 By 2020 there will be apps that can tell by our facial expressions if we are lying.
 Imagine a political debate where it’s being displayed, if they are telling the truth or not.
 Longevity: Right now, the average life span increases by 3 months per year. Four years ago, the life span used to be 79 years, now it’s 80 years. The increase itself is increasing and by 2036, there will be more than a year in longevity increase per year. So we all might live for a long, long time, probably over a 100 years.
 Education: The cheapest smartphones are already costing $10 in Africa and Asia. By 2020, 70% of all humans will own a smartphone.This means, everyone has the same access to world class education

Out with the old and in with the new

Last weekend it was out with the old, dead trees and in with the new seedlings on our cottage lot.  This past summer we noticed that one of our huge maple trees had died, presumably due to the drought conditions we experienced this year, as it looked fine in the spring.  Several smaller trees around it were looking like they were on their way out too, so all needed to be removed before they toppled over during a storm onto the nearby hydro lines.


The dead trees were in an area between our cottage and the road providing a natural privacy screen for many years. You can tell by the size of the trunk remaining that the maple was very old.  We replaced the old trees with new evergreen seedlings that had sprouted up elsewhere on our property.  They appear to be fast growing, so hopefully the bare looking area will fill in quickly.



Leaves make great garden mulch

When all the pretty leaves fall from the trees this fall, instead of bagging them to put out on garbage day, use them in your garden as free mulch.  Most leaves, with the exception of oak leaves, break down easily over the winter.  They add nutrients and humus to the soil in your gardens.

If you do not have a leaf mulcher   like I do, you can break (mulch) the leaves up by running them over with your lawn mower while they are still on your lawn.  Then rake the debris onto your garden between the plants.  Your soil and plants will love it.

Awesome autumn

The best part of autumn is the awesome display of color in the trees and gardens.  Our weather here in Ottawa has been spectacular, in fact so spectacular that I have put off preparing garden beds for the winter.  All of my clients’ gardens are looking great with their late season displays…

…annuals are still going strong, in containers:

annual-containerscoleus-containers-3coleus-containerspig 1


and in the gardens:


late blooming perennials are still glorious:


and ornamental grasses are at their showiest:


I hope we have a few more weeks of this awesome weather to enjoy the gardens before the cold weather hits.

Ornery wasps


This picture was posted on my other blog recently as a joke.  This week it’s not so funny, but much more meaningful, and is part of the motivation behind this post.  The other part is the fact that I have been stung by a wasp twice in the last 4 days.

I was not sure if wasps are particularly ornery this time of year or they are attracted to my newest pair of red garden gloves.  I did a bit of research; this is what I found out…

wasps, and bees too, are more aggressive in the fall because by this time of year their living spaces are crowded.  They are also extra protective of their hives as they prepare their queens for the upcoming winter.  Know too that wasps, unlike bees that die after one sting, can (and do!) sting multiple times.

Wasps are attracted to the colors white and yellow, but like most insects, cannot actually see the color red.  I guess that lets out my red garden gloves theory. They did sting me right through the red gloves.

I usually blow gently on a nearby wasp to send it on its way (away from where I am working) rather than kill it.   I must admit though, these two wasps that stung me recently got smucked as I yelled out several curse words.  Man, those stings sting!  I read too that plain old vinegar applied to a sting will reduce the swelling and the sting.  I tried that, it helped a bit, but it took 3 days to get rid of one sore finger; the other hand is still swollen and itchy.

Believe it or not, wasps are good for something.  Like bees, they pollinate flowers and crops.  They also eat detrimental insects including ticks and houseflies.  Another good point is that if you have seen an increased number of wasps and bees recently, they are not ready to hibernate, meaning winter is still a good ways off.

Another interesting fact is that if you kill a wasp, especially if you crush it, its body releases a pheromone that attracts other wasp encouraging them to attack.

So, beware of the ornery wasps and bees as you get your garden work done this fall.



A Canadian history lesson on parliament hill

Last Friday evening we visited parliament hill here in Ottawa (Canada’s capital city) for a spectacular light show entitled Northern Lights, a thirty-minute Canadian history lesson suitable for all ages.  The events of the past 150 years (our birthday is coming up next July) unfolded in pictures, displayed across the center block of the majestic parliament buildings. The colors in the light show were amazingly beautiful,  glowing in the dark of a perfect fall evening:  I could not decide which color combination I liked the best…







purple?  (one of my favourites)



blue with other colors?


three or more colors:


traditionally Canadian red and white?


or just plain white?



O Canada, what a glorious (and free) sight!

Relinquish the reins


Is it time to relinquish the reins?  For over 30 years our family vacations have had my husband as the driver and me as the planner, navigator, and organizer.  That changed recently when my family travelled to New York City from Ottawa for my niece’s wedding.  Our eldest son drove and his fiancèe was the navigator for the entire drive.  Our son also planned our (extensive) walking tour throughout Manhattan including subway connections to and from the home we rented in Brooklyn for the weekend.  All I did was choose and book the house through Airbnb and offer a few suggestions from the back seat when the directions on the GPS differed from the printed directions from Google maps.

Our family vacations are getting less frequent due to the fact that our three sons have grown into (wonderful) adults with commitments and plans of their own. For this reason, these vacations have become increasingly special to us as parents. Needless to say, three whole days of hanging out with my favorite people made me a happy woman.

So, are we ready to relinquish the reins?  You bet, in a New York minute!