Commentary and predictions courtesy of WOWSA.
As things get increasingly convenient and connected with advent of the Internet of Things, the human experience on Planet Earth will concurrently get easier and more difficult.
With new voice-activated products such as Alexa and Google Home, and delivery services like UberEats and Amazon Fresh, we can now change the temperature of our homes, turn off lights, shop for everything and anything, and order and have food delivered to our homes without getting up from our couches.
With a few flicks of our fingers on our smart phones, we can literally just sit, order and pay for have all the essential products, services and sustenance necessary in our lives. Things we need and want simply show up at our doorsteps, sometimes within the hour.
With the emergence of self-driving cars, automated kiosks, virtual assistants, software downloads, and connected appliances of all sorts in smart homes, the necessity of movement of our daily lives becomes significantly reduced.
While people primarily moved around by horses, buggies and boats in the 19th century, cars, trucks and buses were the primary mode of transportation in the 20th century. Now in the 21st century, we can now move via Uber, UberChopper and increasingly crowded skies and make things via 3D printers. But more evolutionarily, products and services are coming to us.
Generations ago without microwave ovens, mobile phones, apps of all sorts, remote controls, self-driving cars, the Internet, and online dating services, humans undeniably had to move more – and do more – just to simply exist. The technological and social transition to even greater convenience and ease will continue at a even greater pace.
But while technology will change society in myriad ways due to more and more acceptance and availability of advanced hardware, artificial intelligence, and smart software, human physiology will evolve at a much, much, much slower pace. So when technology changes relentlessly on a daily basis, our human bodies – our organs, muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones and brains will essentially remain the same from generation to generation.
Cumulatively and collectively, and at incredible speed and complexity, humans are facing much less of a need to simply stand up, walk around, and be mobile to get things done. Even intellectually, things can become easier. Software runs our vehicles, artificial intelligence does some of our thinking and analyses, we have conservations with computers and smart phones, and robotics are exponentially becoming part of our daily lives.
With technological advancement, the availability, types and focuses of jobs will also change. Everything from law and medicine to retail businesses and the insurance industry will change. Imagine not going out to shop for shoes, but instead creating them on a 3D printer at home. Use a medical device that can takes your retina scan and blood samples and serves as a breathe analyzer with your smart phone. Imagine sending that data automatically for customized medical analysis.
In a world where up to 80% of existing jobs may no longer exist and humans live longer and longer due to advancing medical care, what happens to the human experience?
How will people stay healthy and fit in this new world? Will mankind’s sense of adventure, excitement and challenge decrease? Will the human desire to push oneself physically and mentally diminish?
What will motivate people to maintain a level of fitness, muscle tone, and stamina to live enjoyably without aches or pains or debilitating diseases…in a world where necessary movement is minimized? Will the human ego and sense of challenge or curiosity be enough to stay motivated and remain fit?
Will the anticipated increased amount of leisure time be filled with physical activities – or will humans spend their free time staring at their mobile phones and electronic device screens?
Will the desire to run, swim, cycle, walk, play sports, lift weights, do yoga, and push their own physical boundaries decrease – or increase – over time?
Perhaps some people will become more slothful. But we think more people will become adventurous and curious as to how far their own physical skills can take them.
We strongly believe even more people will swim in pools and in the open water gradually and steadily over the remaining part of the 21st century.
That is, the propensity to move less in the future out of necessity will lead to a desire to move more.
We predict with great confidence that open water swimming, as a result, will continue to grow globally.
Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association