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Life in the future cap. 1: Local economy

Life in the future cap. 1: Local economy


Detached facts about IOTA are certainly helpful in order to develop a fundamental understanding of the coming paradigm shift, but the real effect of innovation is hard to grasp when we do not see these changes in action.
The following series of five stories aims to promote the understanding that is perhaps indispensable in order to see the bigger picture alongside hype and entertaining price bulimia we see every day in the cryptosphere.
In 2036 I imagine a different world than we know today.
If the focus is set correctly, the vision of the future gives hope for better conditions, which will not only improve the quality of life but will also change the world at the level of socio-economics.
It certainly makes sense at this point to define focal points that we read again and again in the area of IOTA. Focal points of problems that must and can be improved through this innovation.

-A local economy, -the new mobility, -a sustainable energy-usage, -barrier-free transactions of values and also -the hard democracy.

Capital 1. Local economy

Isn’t it ironic that huge furniture stores talk about a cozy appartement, about familiar space and our personal home, but fly in their goods from Kazakhstan, Brazil, and China in order to build a cupboard that looks the same in every shop and country?

Isn’t it counter-intuitive that we talk about sustainability when we buy apples from our own country but warehouses store them in cooled-down environments so that they can be offered against the season of their harvest and thus consume more Co² than when they are shipped in by huge container ships from Argentina?

Isn’t it an ecological tragedy and unnecessary potential for conflict when we transport fossil fuels such as gas and oil over thousands of kilometers, thereby undermining the recipients’ independence and supporting providers in their autocracy?

The future should be smarter than that. And by this one should not only mean the interconnectedness in the Internet of everything, but also the way we deal with it.
The neighborhood of the future will become more autonomous.
Solar collectors and collected rainwater on the roof, direct current energy storage in the basement, efficient insulation and a sharing zone which is shared between neighbors complete a settlement that could be far away from the industry that puts a strain on our environment today.
Within the sharing zone, there is a multi-story greenhouse which, thanks to sensor technology and fog-computing, enables efficient work that grants basic food supply with the aid of subsistence farming. These things are not necessarily free. The incentive to work, earn and buy groceries, also the costs for the products can all be a part of local, distributed micro-economies.
At the heart of the sharing zone is a 3D printer with the size of a garage that can be used to produce furniture, components, and tools of all kind.
Electronic components can also be printed so that the neighborhood can add blueprints at any time to produce the needed things for maintenance or construction.
The 3D printers of the future can be filled with residual waste, plastics and wood waste, so that an endless recycling system allows the re-use of old objects that as a result neither pollute nature nor promote industrial obsolescence.
These technologies combined allow a higher standard of living, which is based on the interconnectedness of the world and shared knowledge. These systems are fail-safe by design due to their decentralized and distributed nature. In the end of the day that would mean a vast improvement of ecological conditions.
The required transfer protocol for tamperproof data or values enables a sharing economy that establishes more than just the basic supply of infrastructure, such as food or goods. And no intermediaries hinder progress by forcing transaction fees or taxes onto the people.

This development does not prevent or prohibit an additional industrial production of innovations and goods but promotes a radically more sustainable approach that induces fundamental improvements of the quality of life on a global level and can also prevent negative impacts on the macro-climate. As borderless innovations, these could solve issues all over the world.
The local economy makes use of simplicity and autonomy so that the reduction of unnecessary infrastructure and material supplies reduces external dependency, which then prevents negative influence that could be caused by surrounding forces or nations.

Of course, there are limits to this autonomy.
Medical supplies, education, spezialized technology won’t be available everywhere, but this is not about going back to feudal structures, rather about optimizing the redundant systems we have today.
Urban citizens and culturally interested people may be drawn into agglomerations so that these neighborhood clusters would have less space on the ground to ensure this kind of economy based on subsistence. Smart and green cities that grow upwards could, therefore, provide the needed space.

Green building concept. Source: T.R.Hamzah et.al

These ideas are not new, but they fail because of simple things like air quality in city centers.

What needs to be done

Regulations and stricter controls can rarely improve these issues, as they are the dirty byproduct of combustion engines which are still used everywhere, for obvious reasons.
One answer to this will be the new mobility, which is integrated into the overall concept of smart cities. No combustion, more autonomous vehicles, less pollution, and an efficient use of transportation.
Subsistence farming means we rely on the surrounding parameters of the environment. Sensors in private ownership can solve two problems there.
First: It solves how we can deploy all these systems and secondly: private ownership ensures that data belongs to the people which can then monetize their efforts.
The use of DLT’s in all of this is one of the major benefits in terms of privacy and the handling and commerce of data.

Next month, May 2018, the European Union sets strict rules about the dealing with data, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).
This is a major step into the right direction as companies such as Facebook or Google still use their customers data for their own purposes only.
The GDPR forces companies to an improvement, while it gives the ownership of data back to its creator. Because as we all know, data is the new oil.
We also need to ensure that the biodiversity is positively influenced rather than completely erased where we live, if we want to use real sustainability.
Heavy diesel vehicles and private vehicles are the biggest problems for an improving biodiversity in the green city centers, today.
A well-thought-out public transportation system and additionally a flexible delivery system (with autonomous vehicles and drones) can remedy this situation in the future, at least partially. Heavy transportation will likely still use fossile fuels.

Of course, this should not take away the option of owning one’s own vehicle, but even these should not use combustion engines that pollute the lungs of all inhabitants of a city with nitrogen oxides. And if, then we need to develop technology that vastly reduces the negative impact.
These ideas are not meant to force socialism or communism onto the people, on the contrary. It’s a new system: a zero margin economy as Jeremy Rifkin described.
To sum up, we need the new technology and infrastructure deployed and a general rethinking when it comes to ownership. We need the political metiér to adjust to the new challenges, especially because they usually only think in timeframes of one legislation. And finally, a technological acceptance in society that can connect all of the mentioned solutions.

Luckily, the last 18 years have shown how fast and strong innovations can work. As we are in a time of infrastructural change already, new energy sources are emerging, corporations are restructuring towards e-mobility, and people are actively adapting to their environment. A progress that looks subtle, but changed everything in 18 years. Renewable energy, vegetarism, less consumption and stricter ecological rules for the industry are some mentionable changes that arrived in society.

But is that time-span till 2036 enough to adjust to the new requirements of a smart world, globalisation and the climate change?
18 years ago there was no social media, no smartphones, no 3D printers, no data-clouds, and also no electric vehicles that are able to interact with the surrounding technology.
In 2000, the statistical majority of houses in the western world were supplied with the Internet for the first time. With dial-up modems.
In the year 2000, it was still possible to get lost, there were no map services like Google maps, Google Earth or Openmaps.
No Twitter, no Youtube, no Facebook, no Wi-Fi. Email was the new thing. 18 years are unimaginably long in terms of innovation.
The next 18 years have the advantage that the world is already connected, and the innovations are here. Now, we need to use them in a secure, fast and decentralized way.

In hindsight of all those changes that are about to come, we need to prepare for radical changes in our personal life which are necessary.

But this isn’t just a change we can observe, we are in the center of it.

In the next part, I will discuss the new mobility which embedds into this vision of a smarter way of living.

 

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