We show, on this site, that the ability (technical, production capabilities, financial, ...) exists today to improve the quality of life for every person (and significantly for most) within a decade, and to have that improvement increase substantially over time. The primary basis for the change we envision is a revolutionary modification to our transportation infrastructure that we specify in detail here. This is augmented by the many evolutionary improvements we, and many others, project in both the effectiveness and efficiency in all our other major systems. But all those changes are significantly enhanced by the characteristics of our proposed transportation system.
On this site we discuss 14 systems that we divide into 3 categories with the first two: basic needs (water, food, shelter, clothing, health care), wellbeing (entertainment, social interaction, curiosity/education, travel); relate to Maslow's hieraarchy of human needs, and the third being the major infrastructure systems (energy, information, transportation, building, manufacturing, finance).
The non-infrastructure systems have measures directly associated with the quality of life influences specific to that system. The infrastructure systems indirectly impact quality of life through their interactions with the core systems that use them. For example, our food supply and distribution system has measures related to the quantity of energy (calories) in the food, the various essential nutrients, the diversity of the foods and the taste, presentation and smell of the prepared meals are important influences on the quality of life once basic survival levels are met. We specify what we believe are the the essentiall metrics for all 13 of the systems we discuss.
Most significant among such changes is the discarding of the notion that "jobs", requiring an average in most countries of 1400-2000 working hours per year, for the average of 55-65% of the population that are employed, is needed to provide an "income" to support an "acceptable" quality of life for the members of the household. Note that the hour number is for time spent at the place of employment and does not include time spent commuting to and from that place, which can often be 10-25% of the work time. We show here that an "exceptional" quality of life, can be achieved for all with less than 10% of todays labour inputs. This could be realized in many forms including combinations of:
Our work was initially motivated by our observation that our current transportation infrastructure was far more costly, and less performant, than what was intrinsic to the problem it was addressing. We designed the alternative system(s), outlined above and specified in detail on our transportation subsite, but that lead to many follow on implications regarding all our existing system for supplying the needs of our global population.
"I have a vested interest in the future because I plan on living there"NEIL GERSHENFELD
We refer to the systems that support our survival as the basic needs. If the level of satisfaction of any of these needs falls below certain levels the person is unlikely to survive for long. The primary needs we consider are food, water, shelter, clothing, and health care. Note that shelter and clothing levels needed will be related to environmental conditions, and under many of those survival will not be an issue.
There is a significant difference between the levels needed for survival and those that would be acceptable or desireable. We discuss the range along these dimensions in the detail documents.
We differeniate what we refer to as well being, from those we refer to as basic needs, by the fact these are not related to survival, but once survival needs are met than contribute strongly to ones happiness. Entertainment (such as reading, listening to music, watching video media), social interaction with other people or groups of people, travel for leisure or entertainment, and satisfaction of curiosity or education. There is a lot of overlap between these needs and the mechanisms that satisfy them.
Our infrastructure systems provide key capabilities on which the basic needs and well being systems are built. With all of the infrastructure systems we discuss, any resources consumed to support that system are costs that we believe should be eliminated as far as possible while also enhancing the effectiveness of the associated end user system. Almost all of the infrastrucutre systems we discuss already have at least acceptable trajectory towards such effectiveness and efficiency goals.
We believe that our transportation system is the one system that most impacts all the others, and that the developments in that area are also the weakest in terms of overall effectiveness and efficiency. Much of this site is then dedicated to specifying a transportation system that would produce overall effectiveness and efficiency benefits that would exceed the changes achieved in the last 40 years in our information infrastructure. Those have gone from wired analog lines capable of half duplex communication at a couple thousand bits per second, to today's networks with wireless connections able to almost deliver high quality streaming video to a mobile device per person.
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Review and/or suggestions by: Jody Palmer, Larry Fitzpatrick, Doug Cohen.