5 Modern Technologies ‘The Jetsons’ Accurately Predicted 60 Years Ago

When The Jetsons premiered in 1962, show writers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera imagined what the future might look like in 100 years. They also created George Jetson, the “dad of the future,” to handle the trials and tribulations of the nuclear household of 2062, and they set his date of birth as July 31, 2022.

In celebration of this beloved cartoon father’s birthday, we decided to take a look at the various gizmos and gadgets in the show to see how much of it might have inspired modern technologies we use today. It turns out there’s a quite a lot.

1. Video Calls

Perhaps the most obvious bit of tech from The Jetsons to make its way to the modern age is the video call. Video calls took place regularly on the show, most often for connecting family members to one another or for connecting George to his boss.

Notably, the first real video call took place long before the show was even created, in 1927, to connect then-US Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover in Washington, D.C. to then-AT&T President Walter Gifford in New York City. AT&T later announced video conferencing as a subscription service at the 1964 World’s Fair, but canceled it in the ’70s due to low subscription rates. Nowadays video calling is so commonplace that most of the popular services we use on a regular basis are offered for free.

2. Personal Assistants

The cultural impact of Rosie the robot cannot be overstated when talking about tech from The Jetsons. While having a personal robot assistant like Rosie still remains largely a dream, voice assistants are very much a reality that many of us use on a daily basis. And let’s not forget about robot vacuums and mops, two welcome household ‘bots that do some of the dirty work for us.

There’s also the Astro, Amazon’s personal robot that can act as a mobile voice assistant and security guard (and shares a name with the Jetsons’ dog), and Proteus, the company’s fully autonomous robot designed to work at Amazon’s fulfillment and sort centers (at least initially). So while we may not have our own Rosie just yet, we’re getting pretty close.

3. Smartwatches

George Jetson was constantly getting work calls from his boss on his wristwatch. While that watch was almost exclusively used for video calls in the show, modern smartwatches are far more useful, offering you navigation directions or the ability to call a cab, measuring your activity and heart rate, and, of course, letting you make and answer phone calls. Some models offer video-calling capabilities as well, but these day we have plenty of more convenient screens for that.

4. Food Printing

Preparing dinner on The Jetsons was as simple as choosing what you wanted to eat and setting it into the food replicator, which automatically produced tasty-looking results (for a cartoon, that is). In 2006, the Cornell University student group Fab@Home created the first 3D printer capable of printing food, with a series of syringes filled with substances like chocolate and cookie dough. Modern 3D food printers use cartridges of powdered food components (such as proteins and simple carbohydrates) to create different foods within the printer itself.

While 3D food printers haven’t quite reached a level of ubiquity where most of have one on the kitchen shelf, we’ve reviewed gadgets at PCMag such as the Zimplistic Rotimatic, which turns out perfect roti at the push of a button. While it’s not quite a food replicator, we can tell you that the future of flatbread is indeed delicious.

5. Space Tourism

Though The Jetsons took place in the fictional, cloud-based Orbit City, space travel on the show was so commonplace that people would take vacations to the moon.While it’ll likely be some time before you can book an interstellar family getaway, the first space tourist is set to visit the International Space Station in 2023. In addition, companies like Blue Origin are regularly launching missions to send their own teams of astronauts into space with the goal of making space travel possible for the common individual.

Looking back, it’s pretty impressive just how far technology has advanced since The Jetsons was created. We can’t know for sure what the next 60 years has in store for us and what technology will meet us there, but we can at least hope that much of it is fun as what Hanna-Barbera dreamed up in 1962. Want to stream The Jetsons? Watch all three seasons on HBO Max,

By Francisco Lahoz

Source: 5 Modern Technologies ‘The Jetsons’ Accurately Predicted 60 Years Ago

Critics by Saemoon Yoon

17 ways technology could change the world by 2025

We asked our 2020 intake of Technology Pioneers for their views on how technology will change the world in the next five years. From quantum computers and 5G in action to managing cancer chronically, here are their predictions for our near-term future.

1. AI-optimized manufacturing

Paper and pencil tracking, luck, significant global travel and opaque supply chains are part of today’s status quo, resulting in large amounts of wasted energy, materials and time. Accelerated in part by the long-term shutdown of international and regional travel by COVID-19, companies that design and build products will rapidly adopt cloud-based technologies to aggregate, intelligently transform, and contextually present product and process data from manufacturing lines throughout their supply chains.

By 2025, this ubiquitous stream of data and the intelligent algorithms crunching it will enable manufacturing lines to continuously optimize towards higher levels of output and product quality – reducing overall waste in manufacturing by up to 50%. As a result, we will enjoy higher quality products, produced faster, at lower cost to our pocketbooks and the environment.

2. A far-reaching energy transformation

In 2025, carbon footprints will be viewed as socially unacceptable, much like drink driving is today. The COVID-19 pandemic will have focused the public’s attention on the need to take action to deal with threats to our way of life, our health and our future. Public attention will drive government policy and behavioural changes, with carbon footprints becoming a subject of worldwide scrutiny. Individuals, companies and countries will seek the quickest and most affordable ways to achieve net-zero – the elimination of their carbon footprint.

The creation of a sustainable, net-zero future will be built through a far-reaching energy transformation that significantly reduces the world’s carbon emissions, and through the emergence of a massive carbon management industry that captures, utilizes and eliminates carbon dioxide. We’ll see a diversity of new technologies aimed at both reducing and removing the world’s emissions – unleashing a wave of innovation to compare with the industrial and digital Revolutions of the past.

How do I follow the Pioneers of Change Summit? We have a rare and narrowing window of change to build a better world after the pandemic.The World Economic Forum’s inaugural Pioneers of Change meeting will bring together leaders of emerging businesses, social entrepreneurs and other innovators to discuss how to spark and scale up meaningful change.

3. A new era of computing

By 2025, quantum computing will have outgrown its infancy, and a first generation of commercial devices will be able tackle meaningful, real-world problems. One major application of this new kind of computer will be the simulation of complex chemical reactions, a powerful tool that opens up new avenues in drug development. Quantum chemistry calculations will also aid the design of novel materials with desired properties, for instance better catalysts for the automotive industry that curb emissions and help fight climate change.

Right now, the development of pharmaceuticals and performance materials relies massively on trial and error, which means it is an iterative, time-consuming and terribly expensive process. Quantum computers may soon be able to change this. They will significantly shorten product development cycles and reduce the costs for R&D.

4. Healthcare paradigm shift to prevention through diet

By 2025, healthcare systems will adopt more preventative health approaches based on the developing science behind the health benefits of plant-rich, nutrient-dense diets. This trend will be enabled by AI-powered and systems biology-based technology that exponentially grows our knowledge of the role of specific dietary phytonutrients in specific human health and functional outcomes.

After the pandemic of 2020, consumers will be more aware of the importance of their underlying health and will increasingly demand healthier food to help support their natural defences. Armed with a much deeper understanding of nutrition, the global food industry can respond by offering a broader range of product options to support optimal health outcomes. The healthcare industry can respond by promoting earth’s plant intelligence for more resilient lives and to incentivize people to take care of themselves in an effort to reduce unsustainable costs.

5. 5G will enhance the global economy and save lives

Overnight, we’ve experienced a sharp increase in delivery services with a need for “day-of” goods from providers like Amazon and Instacart – but it has been limited. With 5G networks in place, tied directly into autonomous bots, goods would be delivered safely within hours.

Wifi can’t scale to meet higher capacity demands. Sheltering-in-place has moved businesses and classrooms to video conferencing, highlighting poor-quality networks. Low latency 5G networks would resolve this lack of network reliability and even allow for more high-capacity services like telehealth, telesurgery and ER services. Businesses can offset the high cost of mobility with economy-boosting activities including smart factories, real-time monitoring, and content-intensive, real-time edge-compute services. 5G private networks make this possible and changes the mobile services economy.

The roll-out of 5G creates markets that we only imagine – like self-driving bots, along with a mobility-as-a-service economy – and others we can’t imagine, enabling next generations to invent thriving markets and prosperous causes.

6. A new normal in managing cancer

Technology drives data, data catalyzes knowledge, and knowledge enables empowerment. In tomorrow’s world, cancer will be managed like any chronic health condition —we will be able to precisely identify what we may be facing and be empowered to overcome it.

In other words, a new normal will emerge in how we can manage cancer. We will see more early and proactive screening with improved diagnostics innovation, such as in better genome sequencing technology or in liquid biopsy, that promises higher ease of testing, higher accuracy and ideally at an affordable cost. Early detection and intervention in common cancer types will not only save lives but reduce the financial and emotional burden of late discovery.

We will also see a revolution in treatment propelled by technology. Gene editing and immunotherapy that bring fewer side effects will have made greater headway. With advances in early screening and treatment going hand in hand, cancer will no longer be the cursed ‘C’ word that inspires such fear among people.

7. Robotic retail

Historically, robotics has turned around many industries, while a few select sectors – such as grocery retail – have remained largely untouched . With the use of a new robotics application called ‘microfulfillment’, Grocery retailing will no longer look the same. The use of robotics downstream at a ‘hyper local’ level (as opposed to the traditional upstream application in the supply chain) will disrupt this 100-year-old, $5 trillion industry and all its stakeholders will experience significant change. Retailers will operate at a higher order of magnitude on productivity, which will in turn result in positive and enticing returns in the online grocery business (unheard of at the moment).

This technology also unlocks broader access to food and a better customer proposition to consumers at large: speed, product availability and cost. Microfulfillment centers are located in existing (and typically less productive) real estate at the store level and can operate 5-10% more cheaply than a brick and mortar store. We predict that value will be equally captured by retailers and consumers as online.

8. A blurring of physical and virtual spaces

One thing the current pandemic has shown us is how important technology is for maintaining and facilitating communication – not simply for work purposes, but for building real emotional connections. In the next few years we can expect to see this progress accelerate, with AI technology built to connect people at a human level and drive them closer to each other, even when physically they’re apart. The line between physical space and virtual will forever be blurred.

We’ll start to see capabilities for global events – from SXSW to the Glastonbury Festival – to provide fully digitalized alternatives, beyond simple live streaming into full experiences. However, it’s not as simple as just providing these services – data privacy will have to be prioritised in order to create confidence among consumers. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic we saw a lot in the news about concerns over the security of video conferencing companies. These concerns aren’t going anywhere and as digital connectivity increases, brands simply can’t afford to give users anything less than full transparency and control over their data.

9. Putting individuals – not institutions – at the heart of healthcare

By 2025, the lines separating culture, information technology and health will be blurred. Engineering biology, machine learning and the sharing economy will establish a framework for decentralising the healthcare continuum, moving it from institutions to the individual. Propelling this forward are advances in artificial intelligence and new supply chain delivery mechanisms, which require the real-time biological data that engineering biology will deliver as simple, low-cost diagnostic tests to individuals in every corner of the globe.

As a result, morbidity, mortality and costs will decrease in acute conditions, such as infectious diseases, because only the most severe cases will need additional care. Fewer infected people will leave their homes, dramatically altering disease epidemiology while decreasing the burden on healthcare systems. A corresponding decrease in costs and increase in the quality of care follows, as inexpensive diagnostics move expenses and power to the individual, simultaneously increasing the cost-efficiency of care. Inextricable links between health, socio-economic status and quality of life will begin to loosen, and tensions that exist by equating health with access to healthcare institutions will dissipate. From daily care to pandemics, these converging technologies will alter economic and social factors to relieve many pressures on the global human condition.

10. The future of construction has already begun

Construction will become a synchronized sequence of manufacturing processes, delivering control, change and production at scale. It will be a safer, faster and more cost-effective way to build the homes, offices, factories and other structures we need to thrive in cities and beyond. As rich datasets are created across the construction industry through the internet of things, AI and image capture, to name a few, this vision is already coming to life.

Using data to deeply understand industry processes is profoundly enhancing the ability of field professionals to trust their instincts in real-time decision making, enabling learning and progress while gaining trust and adoption. Actionable data sheds light where we could not see before, empowering leaders to manage projects proactively rather than reactively. Precision in planning and execution enables construction professionals to control the environment, instead of it controlling them, and creates repeatable processes that are easier to control, automate, and teach. That’s the future of construction. And it’s already begun.

11. Gigaton-scale CO2 removal will help to reverse climate change

A scale up of negative emission technologies, such as carbon dioxide removal, will remove climate-relevant amounts of CO2 from the air. This will be necessary in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C. While humanity will do everything possible to stop emitting more carbon into the atmosphere, it will also do everything it can in order to remove historic CO2 from the air permanently.

By becoming widely accessible, the demand for CO2 removal will increase and costs will fall. CO2 removal will be scaled up to the gigaton-level, and will become the responsible option for removing unavoidable emissions from the air. It will empower individuals to have a direct and climate-positive impact on the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. It will ultimately help to prevent global warming from reaching dangerous levels and give humanity the potential to reverse climate change.

12. A new era in medicine

Medicine has always been on a quest to gather more knowledge and understanding of human biology for better clinical decision-making. AI is that new tool that will enable us to extract more insights at an unprecedented level from all the medical ‘big data’ that has never really been fully taken advantage of in the past. It will shift the world of medicine and how it is practiced.

13. Closing the wealth gap

Improvements in AI will finally put access to wealth creation within reach of the masses. Financial advisors, who are knowledge workers, have been the mainstay of wealth management: using customized strategies to grow a small nest egg into a larger one. Since knowledge workers are expensive, access to wealth management has often meant you already need to be wealthy to preserve and grow your wealth. As a result, historically, wealth management has been out of reach of those who needed it most.

Artificial intelligence is improving at such a speed that the strategies employed by these financial advisors will be accessible via technology, and therefore affordable for the masses. Just like you don’t need to know how near-field communication works to use ApplePay, tens of millions of people won’t have to know modern portfolio theory to be able to have their money work for them.

14. A clean energy revolution supported by digital twins

Over the next five years, the energy transition will reach a tipping point. The cost of new-build renewable energy will be lower than the marginal cost of fossil fuels. A global innovation ecosystem will have provided an environment in which problems can be addressed collectively, and allowed for the deployment of innovation to be scaled rapidly. As a result, we will have seen an astounding increase in offshore wind capacity. We will have achieved this through an unwavering commitment to digitalization, which will have gathered a pace that aligns with Moore’s law to mirror solar’s innovation curve.

The rapid development of digital twins – virtual replicas of physical devices – will support a systems-level transformation of the energy sector. The scientific machine learning that combines physics-based models with big data will lead to leaner designs, lower operating costs and ultimately clean, affordable energy for all. The ability to monitor structural health in real-time and fix things before they break will result in safer, more resilient infrastructure and everything from wind farms to bridges and unmanned aerial vehicles being protected by a real-time digital twin.

15. Understanding the microscopic secrets hidden on surfaces

Every surface on Earth carries hidden information that will prove essential for avoiding pandemic-related crises, both now and in the future. The built environment, where humans spend 90% of their lives, is laden with naturally occurring microbiomes comprised of bacterial, fungal and viral ecosystems. Technology that accelerates our ability to rapidly sample, digitalize and interpret microbiome data will transform our understanding of how pathogens spread.

Exposing this invisible microbiome data layer will identify genetic signatures that can predict when and where people and groups are shedding pathogens, which surfaces and environments present the highest transmission risk, and how these risks are impacted by our actions and change over time. We are just scratching the surface of what microbiome data insights offer and will see this accelerate over the next five years. These insights will not only help us avoid and respond to pandemics, but will influence how we design, operate and clean environments like buildings, cars, subways and planes, in addition to how we support economic activity without sacrificing public health.

16. Machine learning and AI expedite decarbonization in carbon-heavy industries

Over the next five years, carbon-heavy industries will use machine learning and AI technology to dramatically reduce their carbon footprint. Traditionally, industries like manufacturing and oil and gas have been slow to implement decarbonization efforts as they struggle to maintain productivity and profitability while doing so. However, climate change, as well as regulatory pressure and market volatility, are pushing these industries to adjust.

For example, oil and gas and industrial manufacturing organizations are feeling the pinch of regulators, who want them to significantly reduce CO2 emissions within the next few years. Technology-enabled initiatives were vital to boosting decarbonizing efforts in sectors like transportation and buildings – and heavy industries will follow a similar approach. Indeed, as a result of increasing digital transformation, carbon-heavy sectors will be able to utilize advanced technologies, like AI and machine learning, using real-time, high-fidelity data from billions of connected devices to efficiently and proactively reduce harmful emissions and decrease carbon footprints.

17. Privacy is pervasive – and prioritized

Despite the accelerating regulatory environments we’ve seen surface in recent years, we are now just seeing the tip of the privacy iceberg, both from a regulatory and consumer standpoint. Five years from now, privacy and data-centric security will have reached commodity status – and the ability for consumers to protect and control sensitive data assets will be viewed as the rule rather than the exception. As awareness and understanding continue to build, so will the prevalence of privacy preserving and enhancing capabilities, namely privacy-enhancing technologies (PET). By 2025, PET as a technology category will become mainstream.

They will be a foundational element of enterprise privacy and security strategies rather than an added-on component integrated only meet a minimum compliance threshold. While the world will still lack a global privacy standard, organizations will embrace a data-centric approach to security that provides the flexibility necessary to adapt to regional regulations and consumer expectations. These efforts will be led by cross-functional teams representing the data, privacy and security interests within an organization.

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Many of New Zealand’s Glaciers Could Disappear In a Decade Scientists Warn

New Zealand’s glaciers are becoming “smaller and more skeletal” due to the effects of climate change and scientists predict many could disappear within a decade.

An annual end-of-summer survey that records the snowline of more than 50 South Island glaciers has revealed continued loss of snow and ice.

Every year, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa), the Victoria University of Wellington and the conservation department gather thousands of aerial photographs of the glaciers to measure the altitude of the snowline and see how much of the previous winter’s snow has remained covering each glacier.

That snowline, also known as the equilibrium line altitude (ELA), allows scientists to evaluate the glacier’s health. If the glacier size has decreased, then the line will be higher, because less winter snow remains.

“We were expecting the snowlines to be high because of the warm weather we’ve had and sadly, our instincts were confirmed,” said Dr Andrew Lorrey, a principal scientist at Niwa.

New Zealand’s glaciers had lost mass most years over the past decade, said Dr Lauren Vargo from Victoria University. “But what was more striking to me is how much smaller and more skeletal so many of the glaciers are becoming.”

The country is experiencing more frequent temperature extremes, four to five times more extreme than would be expected in a climate with no long-term warming, Niwa reported in January, while 2021 was New Zealand’s hottest year on record.

Last week, Antarctica recorded temperatures more than 40C warmer than seasonal norms. Gregor Macara, a Niwa climate scientist, said this year’s survey showed a noticeable difference from the previous years.

“The snowline elevations this year were high, meaning much of the winter snows had melted, leaving a lot of glacial ice exposed. It appears to be yet another poor year for our ice, continuing the trend from recent years, and it is disheartening to see the ongoing decline.”

The long-term aerial survey began in 1977, giving a visual timeline of how much glaciers have retreated. Since the survey began, the global climate has warmed by about 1.1C and Niwa estimates that more than a third of the ice volume has been lost from the Southern Alps.

“What we’re seeing is a clear retreat, which is no doubt thanks to climate change. In a decade, we predict that many of our beloved and important glaciers will be gone,” Lorrey said.

The ramifications are significant. Glaciers are an important store of fresh water, their seasonal melt into rivers supporting irrigation of farmland and hydropower schemes, and acting as a buffer against drought. The disappearing ice also contributes to rising sea levels.

“This will have far reaching impacts, such as altering our beautiful landscape, affecting the livelihoods of people who rely on these natural wonders for tourism, and flow on effects from decreased meltwater during periods of drought,” Lorrey said.

“It also emphasises the urgency of slowing climate change because the impacts are going to become increasingly costly and hard to avoid.”

By: in Wellington

Source: Many of New Zealand’s glaciers could disappear in a decade, scientists warn | Glaciers | The Guardian

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Thousands Of Cashless Russians Stranded Overseas Amid Flight Cancellations

Thousands of Russian tourists are stuck overseas, running short on cash and without functioning credit cards after their flights back home were canceled following Western sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Around 6,500 Russian tourists are stuck in Thailand—a popular vacation spot for Russians who accounted for the largest group of travelers to that country in February—due to flight cancellations, and many of them are left without functioning credit cards after Visa and Mastercard suspended service in Russia, the Associated Press reported.

The Russian embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, told Reuters that there was “support from the government directly” to Russians stuck there, adding that Russia’s Pochta Bank is providing virtual cards using UnionPay, a Chinese credit card company.

Nearly 15,000 Russian tourists were stuck in the Dominican Republic as of March 2, AFP reported, and the country planned to provide accommodation to them for the time being.

Hundreds of Russians were left behind in Bulgaria, a popular destination for Russian skiers, as of March 1 after European countries closed their air space to Russian flights, Reuters reported.

There are few direct flights to Russia from leading international destinations after major foreign airlines suspended service to the country and the EU, U.S. and other countries closed their air space to Russian airlines, while Russian carriers have been forced to curtail service internationally over EU sanctions that have required foreign lessors to seek the return of their jets.

There are still ways to fly to Russia, including connecting through the Middle East, but not all Russians overseas may want to go home at the moment given the cratering economy and worries that President Vladimir Putin could declare a general mobilization.

Source: Thousands Of Cashless Russians Stranded Overseas Amid Flight Cancellations

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Critics:

Thai authorities later this year expect to drop most quarantine and testing regulations that have been in place to fight the spread of the virus, which would make entry easier for foreign travelers.

Thailand may have to lower its targets for tourist arrivals and revenues this year because of the knock-on effects of rising oil prices and inflation on global travel, Yuthasak was quoted saying by the Bangkok Post newspaper.

“Tourism is still a key engine to revive our economy, even though revenue was stymied by negative factors,” he said. According to the report, Thailand had projected gaining a total of 1.28 trillion baht ($38.4 billion) in revenue this year from foreign and domestic tourists.

There are few direct flights to Russia from main worldwide locations after main overseas airways suspended service to the nation and the EU, U.S. and different international locations closed their air house to Russian airways, whereas Russian carriers have been pressured to curtail service internationally over EU sanctions which have required overseas lessors to hunt the return of their jets.

There are nonetheless methods to fly to Russia, together with connecting via the Center East, however not all Russians abroad could need to go house in the meanwhile given the cratering economic system and worries that President Vladimir Putin might declare a normal mobilization.

More contents:

Cashless and flightless, Russian tourists stuck in Thailand (Associated Press)

Russian tourists in Indonesia without cash as sanctions bite (Reuters)

Nearly 17,000 Russian, Ukrainian tourists stuck in Dominican Republic (AFP)

Ukraine Says Russia Shelled Mosque in Mariupol
Russia Seeks Indian Investment in its Oil and Gas Sector
Concern Grows over Traffickers Targeting Ukrainian Refugees

Turkey, Armenia Hold ‘Constructive’ Talks on Mending Ties

Russia Warns EU of Soaring Energy Prices

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Why Managers Fear a Remote-Work Future

In 2019, Steven Spielberg called for a ban on Oscar eligibility for streaming films, claiming that “movie theaters need to be around forever” and that audiences had to be given “the motion picture theatrical experience” for a movie to be a movie. Spielberg’s fury was about not only the threat that streaming posed to the in-person viewing experience but the ways in which the streaming giant Netflix reported theatrical grosses and budgets, despite these not being the ways in which one evaluates whether a movie is good or not.

Netflix held firm, saying that it stood for “everyone, everywhere [enjoying] releases at the same time,” and for “giving filmmakers more ways to share art.” Ultimately, Spielberg balked, and last month his company even signed a deal with Netflix, likely because he now sees the writing on the wall: Modern audiences enjoy watching movies at home.

In key ways, this fight resembles the current remote-work debate in industries such as technology and finance. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, this has often been cast as a battle between the old guard and its assumed necessities and a new guard that has found a better way to get things done.

But the narrative is not that tidy. Netflix’s co-founder and CEO, Reed Hastings, one of the great “disruptors” of our age, deemed remote work “a pure negative” last fall. The 60-year-old Hastings is at the forefront of an existential crisis in the world of work, demanding that people return to the office despite not having an office himself. His criticism of remote work is that “not being able to get together in person” is bad.

Every business leader should ask themselves a few questions before demanding that their employees return to the office:

  1. Prior to March 2020, how many days a week were you personally in the office?
  2. How many teams did you directly interface with? What teams did you spend the most time with?
  3. Do you have an office? If you don’t, why not?
  4. What is office culture?
    1. What is your specific office’s culture?
  5. Has your business actually suffered because of remote work?
    1. If so, how? Be specific.

Some of the people loudly calling for a return to the office are not the same people who will actually be returning to the office regularly. The old guard’s members feel heightened anxiety over the white-collar empires they’ve built, including the square footage of real estate they’ve leased and the number of people they’ve hired. Earlier this year, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, rolled out an uneven return-to-office plan for its more than 130,000 employees—the majority of workers must soon come back to the office three days a week, while others are permitted to keep working exclusively from home. One senior executive at the company has even been allowed to work remotely from New Zealand.

Remote work lays bare many brutal inefficiencies and problems that executives don’t want to deal with because they reflect poorly on leaders and those they’ve hired. Remote work empowers those who produce and disempowers those who have succeeded by being excellent diplomats and poor workers, along with those who have succeeded by always finding someone to blame for their failures. It removes the ability to seem productive (by sitting at your desk looking stressed or always being on the phone), and also, crucially, may reveal how many bosses and managers simply don’t contribute to the bottom line.

I have run my own remote company that operates at the intersection of technology, media, and public relations since 2013. I retained an office for a year or so that I got rid of because it was really just a place to meet before going off to have drinks. For seven years before the pandemic, some of my peers showed concern that my business “wouldn’t succeed without an in-person team.”

Some people really do need to show up in person. I live in Las Vegas, a city of more than 600,000 people with more than 200,000 hospitality workers, and thus I’m keenly aware of which tasks require someone to physically be there to complete them. You can’t wash dishes over Zoom. You can’t change bed sheets over Slack. Blue-collar workers are the backbone of the city, as well as the Consumer Electronics Show that the tech elite uses to champion code-based products. Local hospitality workers suffered painfully during the pandemic as tourism in the city dried up, because their jobs depend on thriving physical spaces.

But for the tens of millions of us who spend most of our days sitting at a computer, the pandemic proved that remote work is just work. Every company that didn’t require someone to physically do something in a specific place was forced to become more efficient on cloud-based production tools, and the office started to feel like just another room with internet access.

While many executives and managers spent the early months of the pandemic telling their employees that “remote work wouldn’t work for us in the long term,” they are now forced to argue with the tangible proof of their still-standing business, making spurious statements like “We’ll miss the office culture and collaboration.”

Now, with the coronavirus’s Delta variant threatening to delay many companies’ return-to-office plans, the value of in-person work faces an even greater test. If you have unvaccinated kids or live with an immunocompromised person, is risking your family’s safety worth experiencing “serendipitous conversation” with your colleagues?

Should you ever go back to the office?

Last fall, 94 percent of employees surveyed in a Mercer study reported that remote work was either business as usual or better than working in the office, likely because it lacks the distractions, annoyances, and soft abuses that come with co-workers and middle managers. Workers are happier because they don’t have to commute and can be evaluated mostly on their actual work rather than on the optics-driven albatross of “office culture,” which is largely based on either the HR handbook or the pieces of the HR handbook your boss chooses to ignore.

The reason working from home is so nightmarish for many managers and executives is that a great deal of modern business has been built on the substrate of in-person work. As a society, we tend to consider management a title rather than a skill, something to promote people to, as well as a way in which you can abstract yourself from the work product.

When you remove the physical office space—the place where people are yelled at in private offices or singled out in meetings—it becomes a lot harder to spook people as a type of management. In fact, your position at a company becomes more difficult to justify if all you do is delegate and nag people.

When we are all in the same physical space, we are oftentimes evaluated not on our execution of our role but on our diplomacy—by which I mean our ability to kiss up to the right people rather than actually being a decent person. I have known so many people within my industry (and in others) who have built careers on “playing nice” rather than on producing something.

I have seen examples within companies I’ve worked with of people who have clearly stuck around because they’re well liked versus productive, and many, many people have responded to my newsletters on the topic of remote work with similar stories. I’ve also known truly terrible managers who have built empires, gaining VP and C-level positions, by stealing other people’s work and presenting it as their own, something that, according to research, is the No. 1 way to destroy employee trust.

These petty fiefdoms are far harder to maintain when everyone is remote. Although you may be able to get away with multiple passive-aggressive comments to colleagues in private meetings or calls, it’s much harder to be a jerk over Slack, email, and text when someone can screenshot it and send it to HR (or to a journalist).

Similarly, if your entire work product is boxing up other people’s production and sending it to the CEO, that becomes significantly harder to prove as your own in a fully digital environment—the producer in question can simply send it along themselves. Remote work makes who does and doesn’t actually do work way more obvious.

Even if we’re discussing some sort of theoretical, utopian office in which everybody is contributing and everyone gets along, each day during which a business doesn’t fail because of going remote proves that the return-to-office movement is unnecessary. Those in power who claim that remote work is unworkable are delaying an inevitable remote future by using logic that mostly comes down to “I like seeing the people I pay for in one place.” I have yet to read one compelling argument for a company that has gone remote to fully return to the office, mostly because the reasoning is rooted in control and ego.

We have lionized the founders, CEOs, and disruptors who nevertheless have intra-office reputations as abrasive geniuses who treat their workers as eminently replaceable. Because most private companies don’t share revenue, we frequently tie headcount and real estate to success. Removing the physical office forces modern businesses to start justifying themselves through annoying things such as “profit and loss” and “paying customers.”

When you hire someone, you’re (supposedly) hiring them to do a job in exchange for money. But the anti-remote crowd seems to believe that the responsibility of a 9-to-5 employee isn’t simply the work but the appearance, optics, and ceremony of the work. Abusive work cultures grow from this process too.

Making people work late is much harder when you can’t trap them in one place with free food, a Ping-Pong table, a kegerator, or laundry services—benefits that you champion instead of monetary compensation. When you are a full-time employee, you might believe that you are owned by a company and should be grateful to its leaders for generously making you show up in their office every day.

Which brings us back to Hollywood.

Forty-six summers ago, it wasn’t enough to see Spielberg’s first masterpiece, Jaws, and be scared; the whole point was to experience it with a bunch of other people in a shared space and feel something intangible. But our world has changed. Two years after trying to keep streaming movies out of the Oscars, Spielberg’s company, Amblin Partners—the studio behind such made-for-the-big-screen blockbusters as Saving Private Ryan, Jurassic Park, and Back to the Futuresigned a deal with Netflix that, if nothing else, will mean more people will soon watch more movies at home.

Across multiple genres and decades, Spielberg has known his audience. The 74-year-old cinematic guru had to understand that whatever reservations he’d had about how and where people watched movies didn’t matter as much as making movies that people would see. Perhaps he realized that the world was evolving faster than he was, or that his judgments of streaming were antiquated and, on some level, anti-creative.

And perhaps we’ll see the business world follow suit.

By:  Ed Zitron

Ed Zitron is the writer of the tech and culture newsletter Where’s Your Ed At and the CEO of the technology public relations firm EZPR.

Source: Why People Like Working From Home – The Atlantic

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Tucker Carlson’s Self-Loathing International Tourism

Yes, the Pandemic Is Bad Again

The Surprising Benefits of Talking to Strangers

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The mRNA Vaccines Are Extraordinary, but Novavax Is Even Better

Masks Are Back, Maybe for the Long Term

The Best Way to Keep Your Kids Safe From Delta

Staying Visible When Your Team Is in the Office…But You’re WFH

This Scheduling Strategy Can Save You Hours Per Week

Hiring Experts Say These Are The Most Revealing Interview Questions They Ask

Remove these 7 things from your resume ‘ASAP,’ says CEO who has read more than 1,000 resumes this year

13 tech job sites make it easy to find a new job whether you want to work from home or not

How to branch out into a new industry without quitting your job

How to Make Better Decisions About Your Career

Avoid these 5 phrases that make you sound passive aggressive—here’s how successful people communicate

34 brilliant questions to ask at the end of every job interview

The unspoken reasons employees don’t want remote work to end

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The Future of Travel in the Covid-19 Era

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After being shut down for nearly a year and a half, international travel has started to pick up again, with countries in the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe paving the way. The reopening of borders has been far from straightforward as the world negotiates inequities in Covid-19 containment, vaccine access, and economic recovery. And everything can change in an instant.

For airlines, airports, cruise lines, and hotels, the new normal is increasingly looking like the old normal; While advanced cleaning protocols are (happily) here to stay, social distancing and even mask requirements have started to peel away. A lack of cohesive guidelines from governing authorities mean that protocols are being patched together by individual properties and companies, leaving consumers to wade through fine print and determine what fits their risk thresholds.

If the wealthiest initially set the tone for the future of nonessential travel, the masses are now unleashing a storm of pent-up demand that has caused prices to multiply and availability to evaporate. Compounding those issues are labor shortages in many popular vacation destinations, already slim inventory gobbled up by last year’s cancelations, and a hampered import market that’s making it impossible to get a rental car or wrap up that hotel renovation. Consumers may feel safe traveling again, but it’s going to be a bumpy rebound.

Those of us who remain stuck in place can still daydream. According to the National Institutes of Health, simply planning a trip can spark immeasurable joy—and there’s high hope that the ongoing challenges of availability and border restrictions will iron themselves out by 2022. Getting into an adventurous frame of mind can remind us of the power of travel—not only in the billions of dollars in daily economic activity but also to forge cross-cultural connections and bring us closer to those we love.

By The Numbers

  • $150 million The amount of cash U.S.-based airlines were losing on a daily basis as of March 2021.
  • 1.2 million Average increase of daily travelers passing through TSA checkpoints in June 2021, compared to June 2020. The number still represents roughly a 30% decline from 2019 figures.
  • 67 Percentage of people who would feel confident traveling once vaccinated.

Why It Matters

It’s not just your vacation or business trip that’s on the line. The travel industry customarily accounts for 10% of the global economy, rippling to the remotest corners of the world. Each trip a person takes sets off a domino effect of consumption that directs dollars to airlines, hoteliers, restaurateurs, taxi drivers, artisans, tour guides, and shopkeepers, to name a few. In all, the tourism industry employs 300 million people. Especially in developing countries, these jobs can present pathways out of poverty and opportunities for cultural preservation.

In 2020, the pandemic put a third of all tourism jobs at risk, and airlines around the world said they needed as much as $200 billion in bailouts. By December, the World Tourism Organization had tallied $935 billion in global losses from the tourism standstill, and was estimating that the ripple effects would result in a total economic decline exceeding $2 trillion. Even with international tourism now cautiously reopening, the organization expects that the world will not return to 2019 tourism levels until 2023.

According to data from the World Travel and Tourism Council, every 1% increase in international arrivals adds $7.23 billion to the world’s cumulative gross domestic product. Any improvement in this sector is significant—and it’s just beginning.

Americans, who have easy access to vaccines and command an overwhelming share of the international travel market, are back on the road; two-thirds intend to take a trip in 2021. In the U.S., flight capacity has climbed back to 84% of 2019 levels. The questions are what it will take for the rest of the world to catch up and how the industry must evolve to be flexible at handling future Covid-19 variants so travelers will feel safe and willing to spend.

Grounded for many months, airlines are beefing up their summer schedules—though the number of flights will be a fraction of their pre-pandemic frequency. Airports are still mostly ghost towns (some have even been taken over by wildlife), and international long-distance travel is all but dead. Around the globe, the collapse of the tourist economy has bankrupted hotels, restaurants, bus operators, and car rental agencies—and thrown an estimated 100 million people out of work.

With uncertainty and fear hanging over traveling, no one knows how quickly tourism and business travel will recover, whether we will still fly as much, and what the travel experience will look like once new health security measures are in place. One thing is certain: Until then, there will be many more canceled vacations, business trips, weekend getaways, and family reunions.

Travel will normalize more quickly in safe zones that coped well with COVID-19, such as between South Korea and China, or between Germany and Greece. But in poorer developing countries struggling to manage the pandemic, such as India or Indonesia, any recovery will be painfully slow.

All this will change the structure of future global travel. Many will opt not to move around at all, especially the elderly. Tourists who experiment with new locations in their safe zones or home countries will stick to new habits. Countries with strong pandemic records will deploy them as tourism marketing strategies—discover Taiwan! Much the same will be true for business, where ease of travel and a new sense of common destiny within each safe zone will restructure investment along epidemiological lines.

With the support of IATA and others, the International Civil Aviation Organization developed a global restart plan to keep people safe when traveling. Restart measures will be bearable for those who need to travel, with universal implementation the priority. It will give governments and travelers the confidence that the system has strong biosafety protections. And it should give regulators the confidence to remove or adjust measures in real time as risk levels change and technology advances.

Contributors: Nikki Ekstein

Source: The Future of Travel in the Covid-19 Era – Bloomberg

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Critics:

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the tourism industry due to the resulting travel restrictions as well as slump in demand among travelers. The tourism industry has been massively affected by the spread of coronavirus, as many countries have introduced travel restrictions in an attempt to contain its spread. The United Nations World Tourism Organization estimated that global international tourist arrivals might decrease by 58% to 78% in 2020, leading to a potential loss of US$0.9–1.2 trillion in international tourism receipts.

In many of the world’s cities, planned travel went down by 80–90%.Conflicting and unilateral travel restrictions occurred regionally and many tourist attractions around the world, such as museums, amusement parks, and sports venues closed. UNWTO reported a 65% drop in international tourist arrivals in the first six months of 2020. Air passenger travel showed a similar decline. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development released a report in June 2021 stating that the global economy could lose over US$4 trillion as a result of the pandemic.

References

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