Our Phygital Future:  Tech Trends Impacting Wealth, Health & Happiness in the era of Artificial Intelligence

Our Phygital Future Frank Shines

Major trends portending a Phygital Future by Frank “Rio” Shines


Seven years ago, I completed the first edition of this book to propose that a new era for creating wealth and living a life of health and happiness was fast approaching.  I went on to say that those who understood and adapted to this change would thrive; those who did not may not survive.  I believe that the recent tumultuous global and local disruptions — that always accompany an era of historical transition — are evidence that something is very different today.   Examples of these massive dislocations abound:

  • The Great Recession’s bailouts vs. shared sacrifice; the rise of income inequality and a fall in life expectancy in the USA
  • The shakeup of political systems around the world punctuated by the rise of Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric and hate tweets which allow him to control the 24 hour news cycle, earning him $2 billion in free media coverage, according to the New York Times
  • Cyberwarfare and politico insecurity as Russian hacker Guccifer and Wikileaks interferes in US election
  • The rise of global and home-grown terrorism — assymetrical urban and suburban warfare aided by the Internet, social media and rapid, ubiquitous sharing of terrorist know-how and know who
  • The Population Pyramid shift resulting in an aging US population in which there are less workers paying for more retirees
  • The Arab Spring and Europe’s refugee problem
  • Immigration, globalization and diversity marked by the coming majority non-white US population
  • The rapid acceleration of technology advances leading to job losses and high youth unemployment
  • The privatization of space exploration

 As the late futurist, Alvin Toffler, forewarned us, we are entering an age of “future shock,” marked by the speed-up of change.  This change is happening at a rate at which most people are unable to adapt.  Toffler reminded us of the four waves of human advancement: the nomadic hunter-gatherer period, the agrarian farmer era, the industrial age and the information age.  I believe we are transitioning to a new, fifth wave:  the Phygital Age, in which we will integrate the physical stuff of the past with the digital smarts of the future — and vise versa.  Here are examples of how:

  • 23andMe brings DNA genetics to the rest of us — the “average Joe”
  • Toyota to Tesla – NUMMI’s Fremont plant now Tesla electric car factory
  • DJI or Parrot drones.  Review of drones (DJI Phantom, Parrot Bebop)
  • Bitcoin and blockchains:  the future of money and online trust
  • IBM Watson and future of healthcare $3T industry vs 185B advertising market where Silicon Valley start-ups have focused
  • DARPA drones, GPS, Internet, voice recognition, virtual world gaming – creating breakthrough technologies for national security  http://www.pnas.org/content/92/22/10011.full.pdf
  • Vivint creates simple, affordable smart home solutions for real people
  • Pokemon Go augmented reality
  • Plex’s IP torque wrench shows what happens when we connect a wrench to the Internet

The emerging $4 trillion IoT market