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Essential Themes


In each chapter of Physics of the Future, Michio Kaku introduces many different ideas. As a group, you will select three ideas from the chapter you are responsible for that interest you the most. This could be because some of you have a personal connection to the idea, question the idea, or are intrigued by the idea. Compare and contrast the three ideas. Be sure to include individuals and events that are involved in the ideas.

This should be completed in paragraph form and be roughly 350 words for each idea. Please make headings for each idea and work with your partners to incorporate multimedia (no more than 1 video), graphics (no more than 3) and other items with this. Your explanation should be understandable by an average middle schooler or higher.



Theme 1: Perfect Capitalism

Perfect Capitalism has a lot to do with wealth. Michio Kaku said, "Perfect Capitalism is when the producer and the consumer have infinite knowledge of the market, so that prices are perfectly determined." In one of his examples, he said, "In the future, consumers will scan the Internet via their contact lenses and have infinite knowledge of all comparative prices and performances". In a capitalist economy, the parties determine the prices at which assets, goods, and services are exchanged. Capitalism, in modern sense, is often attributed to Karl Marx. He wrote about Capital, Marx wrote of the "capitalist mode of production" using it to understanding today known as Marxism. He is trying to explain capitalism in an easier way so people can understand. Capitalism has existed under different forms of government, and in different times, places, and cultures. Different economic perspectives stress important elements of capitalism in their definition. People of capitalism say that it creates more wealth than any other economic system, and that it's benefits are mainly to the normal person.





Theme 2: Robots' Effect on the Economy

Robots have had an effect and will continue to have an effect on our economy. With robots becoming more efficient and inexpensive, it will possibly knock human employment down by 75% in the next hundred years. Most jobs today are believed to consist of routine work, and robots could take away those jobs. Their specialties are repetitive tasks, which they can do far more quickly, precisely, and efficiently than humans. As robots become more advanced, jobs will be lost and we could end up in a serious situation. This scenario could include a large amount of reliance on robots to do what we know of as everyday jobs. These jobs could include:

  1. Store Clerks: Robots are already replacing humans in the form of electronic, self-serve checkout lines at different stores. If robots completely took over this job, it would significantly decrease human jobs.
  2. Rescuers: Any area where there is a risk of human injury or places humans are incapable of reaching will be given to robots as a job such as post-natural disaster human rescue.
  3. Soldiers: Soldiers are a different story. Their jobs are already being taken away by drones, but jobs will be added to help supply and operate the drones.


MQ-9_Reaper_in_flight_(2007).jpg
Drone in Flight "Wikipedia, 2012""Unmanned Aerial Vehicle." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 24 Mar. 2014. Web. 24 Mar. 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unmanned_aerial_vehicle>.


Many more jobs than these could be taken away by robots. The jobs that will continue to do well will be the occupations that involve humanoid skills like common sense and pattern recognition. The jobs that could be replaced by robots may only be saved by people who can offer special qualities, such as inside knowledge and wisdom. This uniqueness is going to be critical for people looking for jobs. In the end, many people will lose their jobs unless we can create new ones. We have had up to around a ten percent unemployment rate in the United States, and our economy could barely handle the damage. This may lead you to think: What jobs will humans create to compensate for such heavy employment rate losses? Of course there will be more robot programming jobs, but this will not be enough. Although, with the coming of new exciting and innovative products lurking just around the corner, we may be able to avoid this state of disaster.




Theme 3: Mass Customization

Mass customization is the new innovative way of producing goods in the world. It is not a popular system to use presently because it is an expensive process. Mass customization is where customers tell companies what they want in their product all the way down to colors and sizes. For example, a consumer could go into a store, get on their futuristic device, and tell the store that they want this specific shirt in blue, adult medium. It is currently very expensive due to the customization required for every individual customer. In the future, mass customized products will be the same price as mass produced goods nowadays, which is the current form of creating a large amount of products. What makes this system different from mass production is that mass customization is based off of what consumers ask for rather than the companies producing what they believe the consumers will want. There is a growing demand for customized products, which will help set into motion making mass customization a popularized system of production.
iphone5c-gallery2-2013.jpeg
The iPhone 5c - Basic stage of mass customization."The Verge." The Verge. The Verge Staff, 2014. Web. 24 Mar. 2014. <http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/10/4376296/apple-iphone-5s-5c-everything-you-need-to-know>.


What makes this system difficult to operate is that not very many companies know how to use it in a very effective manner. However, the businesses that have made the system work have thrived. The process relies heavily on technology and communication to be successful. In order for it to work, technology has to process a huge amount of orders and have the manufacturing machines run quickly. To make these actions run smoothly, companies need to make the process be as computerized as possible, limit the number of parts needed, and design the structure of the products to be easily altered. If this process is well run or even perfected, the wealth of our economy could really begin to grow. Apple Incorporated has started using a basic process of this with their new iPhone 5c. Another example of success from this type of system are some restaurants. The foods that some offer are well varied, which can help create a meal that the consumer will enjoy and will influence customers to return someday. We all have different kinds of food that we like that others do not. The same applies to any other product on the market. Consumers buying customized goods that fit their needs will greatly influence the wealth of our economy in a positive way. Companies need to get going with this new, tremendous system of mass production because it is our future.



Predicted Impact


Analyze the predicted impact on the economic, social, and political landscape if your three selected trends were to happen as you predict. Work with your team to cast a vision for what this would look like in the world. (Use the discussion tabs and commenting to facilitate discussions or speak to your teachers about direct contact with the other students if that will help.) This will form the basis of your movie creations so use your imagination but base it in fact and research from the book and beyond.




Economic


Perfect Capitalism

In the future, capitalism will be different. There is going to be a new way to buy products. You will not have to spend as much money. If you get the contacts, eye ware, or an application on a cell phone that Michio Kaku is talking about in the book, then buying products will be easier. He says "Already, one can scan the internet to find the best airline fares. This will eventually apply to all products sold in the world. Whether through eyeglasses, wall screens, or cell phones, consumers will know everything about a product. Going through a grocery store, for example, you will scan the various products on display and, via the Internet in your contact lens, immediately evaluate if the product is a bargain or not". Michio Kaku thinks that if this idea works it will remove a lot of the guesswork in setting prices. He also says that "it is the consumer who has the advantage, who instantly has comparative knowledge of any product, and who demands the cheapest price". To sum up Perfect Capitalism in Economics, Michio Kaku is saying we will have an easier way to find or determine prices of items.



Robots' Effect on the Economy

The economic impact of robots taking over human jobs can either be incredibly sporadic or exponential. People will eventually see the massive decline of occupations and try to make a change. There are many ways this can be prevented. The first option would be to make certain types of robots illegal. This option is highly unlikely, but if enough powerful people are involved, it can happen. The second option would be to create new jobs. These jobs would be revolutionary steps in human history. With all jobs moving over to creativity and entertainment, it could be the push of a modern renaissance. People would be focused on discoveries like space travel or discovering the secrets of the ocean floors. These resources would lead to new areas of living, new entertainment, and new tools or innovative methods of travel. However, there is one major problem: Many people would be out of a job at this point. Once this happens, human life is a win or lose scenario. Those who have powerful positions in business will keep them and those who do not will become the grunts of society. Those grunts will be working for a lot less money and that will lead to starvation. They will not have enough money to feed a family and will no longer have the option of having children unless they get a good salary. Thus, we will have reached a major difference between social classes. A small portion of humans will be creating most of the products for the rest of the world. The next step will then be taken. Many companies will have monopolies on their products and can raise the prices of their products as they chose. Remember, this is all a speculation of the future. In the future, any event can happen.


Mass Customization

The economic effect from mass customization will affect every corner of our market. Customers will be crawling into stores looking for their own unique and personal products everyday. The cost of production will eventually be lowered down to about how much the price of mass production is today, so eventually no money will be lost in this new kind of manufacturing. That will only happen when manufacturers figure out the most effective way of running the system by making it as simple as possible until they are capable of making improvements. When that happens, customers and businesses alike will prosper because of the unlimited possibilities of mass customization. Ideas will never run out in this system of manufacturing; the consumers will choose what they want. So that means that mass customization will not bring a loss of money to our economy at all, but it will bring in wealth and economic growth. The capabilities of this process could go far beyond just basic choices such as color and size. As the system of mass customization becomes more and more elaborate, further options will be made available for businesses to present to customers. When there are more choices given, consumers will be more intrigued to keep buying. The potential wealth mass customization could make is enormous and businesses will more than likely take advantage of this in the future.




Political


Perfect Capitalism

The new technologies that is discussed in “Physics of the Future” are so powerful that, by the end of the century, they are more than likely going to have an impact on the capitalism. Capitalism is an indirect system of government. Capitalist development is built from investment in new technologies. It is really not possible to have a perfect government because of corruption right now and with new ideas we are coming up with adding to our technologies is only going to make it worse for the political world.



Robots' Effect on the Economy

In the past, nearly every country has intervened in its economics. Whether it is by increasing minimum wage or by giving companies loans, at this point, it is bound to happen. In such a major case of the possible 75% unemployment rate, governments will be put in an economic headlock and they are going to have to take action. Economies become great through people working, making money, and spending that money. If 75% of people are not working, they will not be able to make or spend money, therefore hurting the economy like nothing else could. This would lead to robots being limited so that humans will be able to have jobs, too. This limiting could also be done in different ways. Option one is to limit the amount of robots. If there are fewer robots, there are more jobs for humans to fill. This is not a likely scenario because companies will want to fight back to this. After all, an electricity bill is much less than giving out a full salary. Option two is to limit the abilities of robots. This is also an unlikely scenario because of the advancement of science and technology. Remember, this is all speculation and any circumstance is possible in the future.


Mass Customization

Many years from now, mass customization will come into the big picture of industries. It will become what we think of mass production nowadays and mass production will be like what we think of creating objects by hand. This might sound great, but stores will eventually know all about everybody who buys products with mass customization. Companies will know everybody's sizes of clothes, preferences in food, and maybe even their personalities. This is already happening in the forms of ads on the internet. There is a way that your computer tracks what websites you have been to. This tracking happens through what we call 'cookies'. Cookies intervene with what happens when you search a topic to give you search results that you might like more. For example, if somebody is constantly looking up sales for a certain product on their computer, their search results will give them websites that have more to do with that product. Mass customization would be a major way to collect data on an average person. It is inevitable that people will believe that this is a privacy issue and it may be taken to court. New laws will be made on each individual's privacy.




Social


Perfect Capitalism

Perfect Capitalism socially people in the world wouldn't interact with other people in the world much anymore. Michio Kaku is telling us that we will use contacts, glasses, or phones to look up prices, or pretty much any information we need to know about. Capitalism in the future might be more populated, if we can do daily tasks through contacts, glasses, or phones. Everyone in the world will have one of these items to use and can be their own private owner of any company they come up with. The owner could trade and make profit just by using contacts, glasses, phone, etc. The technology that is going to be used in the contacts is going to be a big help for the private owners. They have all they need right in front of them. No more offices, desk, filing system, etc. All that stuff will be in their contacts, glasses, phone, etc. Michio Kaku says "it is the consumer who has the advantage, who instantly has comparative knowledge of any product, and who demands the cheapest price. The producer must then react to the constantly changing demands of the consumer". He is saying the consumer has control and the producer has to change for the consumer.


Robots' Effect on the Economy

The main social effect of robots being incorporated into our economy is the unemployment rate. This could rise as high as 75%. Not only will this be devastating to our economies, but our social lives will be ravaged as well. Assuming the unemployment rates skyrocket, it will be the norm to not have a job. Unless more jobs are created to supplement the job loss, communities will either have to work together in order to survive, or our future civilizations will be littered with thieves. In the past, there has been a majority of communities that are dedicated to working for their own living. The counterpart of this is the people who lose all they have and resort to stealing products to survive. Life could go on either way. Thieves will eventually be arrested and people will go back to being successful. The problem with the future is that it is total speculation. There are so many variables involved. When human behavior becomes the variable, it can alter all predictions. Everybody is different and it only takes one rotten apple to spoil the whole bunch.


Mass Customization

We are not sure how our social lives will be affected by the uprising of mass customization. As fashion has been constantly changing in our lives, nobody can be 100% certain how different trends will turn out. Media now goes worldwide and anybody can see what people on the other side of the world are wearing in a matter of seconds. This may lead to a new kind of fashion where everybody wears similar clothes or it may encourage diverse clothing. That being said, having new personalized products to buy will bring out our personalities in our every day lives. This will cause either cause all people to stick to a certain style of a customized product or promote variety in our population. Whichever trend turns out on top, businesses will likely be gaining a significant amount of money from the commodities they sell. In fact, both of these scenarios could play out about equally, which could bring in mountains of wealth to companies in the future. Consumers can also get creative in how they customize their products, which actually gives people more benefits than you might think. Studies have shown that being creative allows you to have a better sense of integrity, makes you thoughts and feelings more clear, allows you to stay healthier longer, and many other positive gains. Mass customization will help all humans express themselves along with creating individual benefits.




Essential Terminology


As you read the chapter, you are responsible to select 5 words that you'd consider important vocabulary for understanding the chapter. These words should be either words you do not already know the definition to or words you don't use on a regular basis. For each word complete the following. Each student must include 5 vocabulary words and draft the meaning and use it in a sentence but all students should work together to come to a final agreement on the word's meaning and sentences. The sentences should show an understanding of the word's meaning and be related to the topic. Use the comment feature for this.


Capitalism (pg 359-360)
an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.
Example: "Overthrowing capitalism is nearly impossible."

Wealth (pg 343)
an abundance of valuable possessions or money.
Example: "New options of wealth can be created by science."

Economy (pg 350)
the wealth and resources of a country or region, in terms of the production of goods and services.
Example: "What will our economy be like in the future?"

Utility (pg 361)
the state of being useful, profitable, or beneficial.
Example: "The only immediate utility of all sciences, is to teach us, how to control and regulate future events by their causes."

Matrix (pg 358)
an environment or material in which development occurs.
Example: "The matrix is where new products will be made in the future."

Archaic (pg 323)
very old
Example: "The professor studied the archaic symbols on the tomb."

Discrimination (317)
unjust treatment
Example: "Whites discriminated blacks during Dr. MLK's time because of their color."

Inevitable (pg 328)
not preventable
Example: "It is inevitable that all humans will eventually die."

Commodity (pg 363)
an object that is useful, brings value, or provides wealth.
Example: "The country has a bountiful source of commodities all across the land, bringing the economy a vast amount of wealth."

Cloud computing (pg 361)
a way of storing information through the internet
Example: “I have stored all of my school documents with cloud computing.”

Uptick (pg 362)
an increase
Example: “The company’s advertisements have created a small sales uptick.”

Fluctuate (pg 363)
to regularly change in amount
Example: “Sales are fluctuating due to the coming and going of holidays.”

Dynamic (pg 346)
having to do with constant change
Example: "Technologies of the future are dynamic."

Ubiquitous (pg 347)
an everyday sight
Example: "Old technologies like electricity are now ubiquitous and taken for granted."

Per capita (pg 375)
having to do with or based on an individual person
Example: "The store sells, per capita, more baked goods than any other store in the country."

Nouveau (pg 356)
newly established
Example: "The homeowner had built a nouveau house to live in for the rest of his life."

Manuscript (pg 365)
an original piece of writing
Example: "The manuscript had been locked away in the cellar for years."

Curricula (pg 368)
the combined paths of study in a school
Example: "The student focused on a curricula of science courses."



Team Members


Put your username or first name only and your school below. If your team designated you with a specific task like lead editor, copy editor, or another task that you want done on the page, please note that.


  • Savana R-Westwood-Camilla, GA
  • Kelby W- Westwood- Camilla, GA
  • Ben T- Bettendorf Schools- Bettendorf, IA
  • Ryan F- Bettendorf Schools- Bettendorf, IA

References


Insert your references below using the footnote feature on the wiki. This should be included for any direct quotations or citations of studies. Remember that you should ALSO use a hyperlink in the sentence for the appropriate word.


Bibliography-





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