Father’s day gave me an excellent chance to reflect on what being a Dad means. Today’s world is filled with turmoil, so it’s easy to lose sight that the next generation will, in fact, have it better than today. Here are ten things that I hope my kids see the end of in their life and give hope for a better world.
1. Going to the pharmacy. As a pharmacist, it might seem a little against self-interest to put this on the list. The fact of the matter is that our current system of medication delivery is old fashioned.
“I’m going to write on a piece of paper what I think you should have, and then you drive over to this other place to see if they have it for you and how much it might cost. Yes I know, you’re sick but this will possibly make you better and who doesn’t want more responsibility when they’re feeling unwell?”
This one has my money back guarantee. It will happen in my kid’s lifetime. Amazon is already looking very actively at this space and filed for pharmacy licensing. Additionally, CVS just announced they are making a play into the medication delivery market. Many pharmacy benefit managers already require home delivery for refills.
It is still unclear what pharmacists and pharmacy technicians will do with this change in business practice. There are plenty of opportunities to provide better healthcare service and value, but it depends on how quickly the profession can pivot.
2. Drive because they have to. Autonomous cars will not happen overnight, just as the first automobile wasn’t adopted The comparison to horses and cars seems fair here. They will become the primary transportation for short distance travel, but it will take time for society to adapt to it. The technology is nearly ready so the move to self-driving will begin soon. Also, it seems highly probable that my kids will live in a generation that does not own cars. With autonomous driving, it does not make sense to have transportation that people are not actively using. Transportation as a service is likely to be the future, with services like Lyft already announcing their plans to offer a subscription-based marketplace. Additionally, manufacturers such as BMW, Porsche, Volvo, and others are currently offering vehicle rental services that encompass all costs of owning such as insurance, maintenance, and payments.
3. Buy a house through a realtor. Like pharmacy, the landscape of the property sales service is changing. Heavy hitters with lots of support (g., Zillow, Redfish, Opendoor) are making plays in this market. The next generation will be more comfortable making this decision outside of ‘normal’ home purchasing channels. Online market changes provide an opportunity for competition on pricing and fees. Ultimately, this will translate to lower prices on housing transactions. Buying a house should be an easier process with better visibility on what people can afford, and their total costs.
4. Live on Earth. Mars may not be a livable planet for colonization in the short term, but over the next generation, there is likely to be the opportunity to live outside of Earth. SpaceX, Blue Origin, ULA, and others are all providing competitively priced space transport with goals to go further for cheaper. It is difficult to estimate when this will translate to transport of civilians, but with the proper influence, it should happen in the next 20-30 years. Once space-based transport becomes routine, we’ll see players we haven’t heard of yet moving into the space housing market.
5. Remember trivia. There are a lot of different ways this could materialize. In its most complex form, companies like Neuralink are working to build a direct machine to brain interface that would allow humans access to everything in the digital world instantly. That’s an incredibly complex task given how laughably little we understand about the human brain. A more likely solution is a progression of augmented reality and digital assistants. Siri, Google, and Alexa are investing vast amounts of money and effort to better predict your needs and answer your questions. While the interface today is mostly a speaker on your phone or in your house, we will see over the next five years migration to augmented audio through headphones and augmented vision through glasses or contact lenses. During the next generation, facts, like who invented the cotton gin, will not be necessary to learn in school because they are readily available at any time. Instead, education will redirect to accessing and processing information.
6. See kids die from cancer, malaria, or starvation. Of the top ten, this is the biggest dream on the list. It’s embarrassing that we can’t fix a problem like starvation. Look at the other items on this list, and it’s hard to believe we are struggling to get food to everyone who needs it. Malnutrition goes hand in hand with this problem and is a rampant problem throughout the world. Obesity is a worldwide epidemic, and this is not just the fault of the people who eat. We need to do better with food.
Efforts to eliminate Malaria are making significant progress through various mechanisms. Vector control (i.e., killing all of the mosquitoes) is my personal favorite, but vaccination, chemical treatment, and bed nets are all effective measures in reducing the burden of this disease. Shout out to the Gates Foundation for their considerable work in this area.
Childhood cancers seem like the hardest nut to crack. We’ve made tremendous strides in some forms of cancer, and I hope that through advanced genetic research and genome editing we will be able to finish off this disease once and for all.
7. Work a position they don’t like. People generally choose what job they go to every day. I hope that my kids understand their power in this decision and make a choice to be happy in work and life. A familiar refrain is that each person needs to find a work/life balance in their time. The fact is, your work is part of your life and should enrich you. Similarly, if you are not bringing your life to your work, the people you are working with are missing out on the best part of you. You are not too different people, so trying to separate them will cause anxiety and not relief.
8. Be limited by their environment. How amazing is it that we live in a world that is so mobile? It’s possible to communicate with people around the world easily and quickly. Similarly, there is almost no border they can’t cross or place they can’t go. Today’s connected world is different from any generation before it and will make us a better civilization. The next generation will learn from cultures previous generations never experienced and will gain inspiration from places others have never been.
9. Be afraid to speak what they feel. The hashtag #fakenews has done a lot in the last two years. While it has undoubtedly given a platform to some people with questionable motivations, it has also given rise to the ability for everyone to question what they hear and what they choose to believe. At the very least it has given people the freedom to decide what is important to us. Over the next generation, facts will become even more available without the filter of any media source. Through this process, we’ll watch as people begin to communicate what is important to us as humans. The #metoo movement is an excellent reflection of this assertion of values and will only expand as everyone has their voice heard.
10. Have top 10 lists define them. As awesome as lists are, reading “10 ways to find happiness” or “how to be a better person” is not going to fix anyone’s life. My generation made these lists popular, so hopefully the next can do a better job of finding ways to find satisfaction internally.