Happy 2016 everyone! I thought I would open the year by making some predictions for the world of economic optimization.
[I wrote this a year ago and sat on it. Finally decided to publish, updating the year. I believe it is accurate.]
An Omni Hotel in San Antonio has placed beehives and vertical gardens on its roof. They get the benefit of super-fresh food and super tasty honey. This is exactly what we need to encourage more of!
Mexican magnate Carlos Slim, one of the richest people in the world, has explained the benefits of a 3-day workweek, explaining that the labor force would be healthier and more productive. He does, however, suggest that the workday should be up to 11 hours, which would make for a 33 hour workweek. Definitely an improvement, but not quite what we're aiming for here. Of course, we have to expect that change will be gradual, so this is a good step for sure. He also suggests that people should work until they are 70 or 75. This seems good to me. If people start taking better care of themselves, they should be easily able to work until that age, especially at 10 hours a week. If they live longer, then having a longer retirement will start to put a real burden on their finances (and those of their families). Also, more automation and less physical labor should mean that there would be more jobs available to those in their older years. Finally, having people work longer in their lives would mean less work for everyone in terms of hours per week!
GigaOM has a story about "robot" algorithms being used by the AP to write some classes of articles - mainly earnings reports for now. This seems quite sensible, as that text tends to be a dry summary of the numbers. Perhaps even better would be just show a table with the raw numbers instead of writing down a story in English at all. That would be even quicker for people to read and consume!
UPDATE: Unfortunately, this idea seems to be refuted. Interesting thinking though, and hopefully some of this will work in some contexts. As far as I know there are plans to install it in a few places in the developers' hometown of Sandpoint, ID.
IFLScience has a great rundown of various places to take college level courses online for free. The importance of this should not be underestimated. Can't afford college? Yes you can! All you need is an inexpensive computer and an Internet connection!
Resiliant Communities has an article on a 3D house printing project in China. I am aware of at least one other house printing project, in the Netherlands. Hopefuly this is an idea whose time has come, or will very shortly, because it is win-win-win. Less waste, less cost, less debt for the consumer.
There has been a lot of talk about new ride sharing services like Lyft and Uber. I applaud these companies as producers -- they are trying to re-think something as important as taxi service at a fundamental level. Unfortunately, some city governments are stepping in to try to stop them from operating in their cities.
Today you can hardly throw a rock without hitting an Internet start-up. Is this a good thing or not?
I thought this article might be helpful both in exploring the origin of this thinking about economic optimization, and as a story to encourage evolution in your own political thinking. It is often assumed that people rarely change their political views, but it can and does happen. All it takes is an open mind!