There is a concern today that automation and artificial intelligence will eliminate millions of jobs in the United States and around the world. If robots and software take too many jobs, will that destroy our livelihoods, reduce our earning capacity and eventually lead to a mass upheaval in our national and global economy?
Exacerbating the concern over potential lost jobs is the fact that spending on human basic survival needs has continued to increase and now consumes the vast majority of society’s earned wages. It is estimated that over 80 percent of American incomes are spent on housing, energy, food, education, healthcare, communications, and transportation.
However, these challenges are not new. They have faced humanity since the dawn of time. There was a man in the 1960’s who believed he could improve the human condition and experience. He scoured the nation for fertile ground where anything could happen and anything was possible. He found that place right here in Central Florida.
Walt Disney had a vision that he could build the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. A “community of the future,” and a place where all residents could share in safety, prosperity and enjoy every aspect of life … a place designed to inspire captains of industry and civic leaders so they could together imagine new ways of living and celebrating the human experience.
Disney once said, “EPCOT will take its cue from the new ideas and new technologies that are emerging from the forefront of American industry. It will be a community of tomorrow that will never be completed. It will always be showcasing and testing and demonstrating new materials and new systems.”
His idea was to persuade the best minds in American business to see through the creation and success of EPCOT. Disney also wanted to encourage companies to continually push forward their best ideas in technology so the city itself would showcase what “tomorrow” can look like today.
Unfortunately for Orlando and the world, Walt Disney passed away just weeks after sharing his most detailed plans regarding the original intent of EPCOT. However, because of that early vision and belief in Central Florida, the area has become an epicenter of worldwide tourist and business travel and is home to numerous leading global technology sectors.
I believe the vision of creating a community of tomorrow is alive and well and can still be brought to fruition as Disney had dreamt so many years ago.
Now consider that technology either can or will soon transform how we build homes, move people around, collect energy, grow food and remain healthy. Products and services that were previously expensive will become significantly cheaper and, in some cases, practically free.
The most successful communities in the 21st century will be vibrant innovation hubs. They will support an open innovation business model, foster co-location, and promote easy and constant interaction among many different industries and a wide variety of creative workers, from artists to scientists to engineers. Central Florida can build upon its tremendous regional assets and become a world center of innovation, technology commercialization and quality job creation.
That is why it is important everyone understands these trends and their implications on society. Imagine the solutions for many of these challenges facing us today can be found right here in Central Florida. Now imagine the impact that would have on our community and how our community could, in turn, impact the world. These are not long-distant dreams, but instead, realities beginning to happen right here, right now.
Our vision for the Central Florida Tech Alliance is to be the platform that brings tech leaders from all industries together to tell the rich stories of our region, connect existing and emerging companies to our deep talent pool, and continue to build and advocate for a better future. Central Florida is the place where we can come together as a creative community and solve the grand challenges of our day.
Join us on this journey.
Central Florida Tech Alliance