The present that will determine our future

    New year has come. Salutes died down, the Olivier was finished, the glance was clarified, the gait with which we were moving into the future was leveled. What will we meet along the way, making our way through the wilds of machine learning, AI, blockchain, startup and other words in import letters? What will it be?

    I think you will not argue with me that modernity is characterized by an avalanche increase in the availability of information and information exchange, as well as the increasing complexity of technologies that ensure our lives. We, being naturally lazy creaturesenergy saving (remember that those slightly more than a kilogram of the mass of our body, which are between the ears, consume up to 10% of all our energy), we rely more and more on modern technologies and delegate them more and more. By the way, remember the concept of energy-saving brain, if you look under the cat, I'll come back to it more than once.

    One of the most popular entertainment at the end of the year is to summarize, and at the beginning of the next - to make plans. I decided to take a look at the present and to practice in an entertaining extrapolation. My personal review of useful and harmful trends under the cut.

    World economy and globalization

    Developed countries have realized the potential of modern technology companies, their growth rates and how much tax they can bring to the treasury. Countries have gone different ways, but the ultimate goal is to attract fast-growing business projects to their territory. What lure us and will lure in the future?

    Zero income tax rate

    And I'm not talking about the classic offshore tax evasion, but about the transfer of the moment of taxation. In this model, the profit tax of the enterprise is paid not immediately after its receipt, but at the time of the distribution of dividends. As long as the owner does not take the finances out of the business into his pocket, the entire amount remains in the business, which allows him to develop more actively. Estonia was a pioneer in this regard, but at the moment I already know 3 countries with a similar model:

    • Estonia. It was the first developed country known to me to introduce a 0% corporate tax. In return for the distribution of profits, owners must give 20% of the allocated amount to the treasury. Social taxes remain high enough, but as far as I know, they are paid only for resident employees. Additionally, Estonia has developed an e-residency program , which does not provide any advantages in terms of emigration, but allows you to conveniently remotely interact with government agencies (open companies, file reports, manage accounts, etc.). The disadvantage for many is the difficulty of opening bank accounts for companies owned by foreigners from “unreliable” countries.
    • Georgia. From January 2017, she also went through the “Estonian way” in terms of corporate taxes. In addition, in the country for several years it has greatly simplified obtaining work permits, opening accounts and the rest of the tax system. And although international trust in Georgia is not so high yet, it is still a good place to do business for our compatriots. Also because the citizens of Ukraine and Russia can stay on the territory of Georgia for a whole year continuously without visas and additional permits.
    • Latvia. Since January 2018, joined the first two on the list. Alas, for Latvia, there are also faults in Estonia (high social taxes, difficulty opening accounts). However, if your business is focused on the EU, Latvia is also a good option. In particular, labor is cheaper in Latvia than in neighboring Estonia. And also from the three Baltic countries, she is the most Russian-speaking. At the moment we are working on transferring one company to Latvia, so if you are interested in this topic - subscribe and stay tuned.

    Startup visa

    Many countries have a special category of visas or residence permits for investors in the immigration laws of many countries. As a rule, among the requirements is a thick wallet and the creation of jobs for local people within 1-2 years after the move (and sometimes even before the submission of documents). However, some countries have begun to offer a completely different type of program. For them, a good enough idea and a team to implement it (although you may also need the support of a local accelerator or the availability of the finished product). The first (or one of the first) similar program was proposed by Canada , which immediately provides selected participants with a permanent residence permit. At the moment, similar programs, however, with the provision of long-term visas, offers more than a dozen countries. Among them: the Netherlands , Denmark, Lithuania , Chile , UK , Finland and others.

    Tax refund

    A very interesting approach from the beginning of 2016 has been proposed by the British government. It is known to companies as EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme), and for individuals - as EIS tax relief (tax relief). Its essence is that companies can conveniently attract investments from private individuals, and investors can receive a refund of a certain amount of income tax paid during the year (up to 60%) if the company fails or will not develop actively.

    Some crowd - investing sites (for example, and allow projects and users to take advantage of EIS. So far this mainly concerns companies that already exist in the UK, however, at the discretion of sites, projects from other EU countries are also allowed, provided that they move their business to the UK if they reach the investment goal (the amount they want to collect on the site). I believe that if this scheme succeeds, over time it will be implemented in other developed countries.

    Information availability

    What did I do in high school if I needed some information on a particular topic? I got a library card, stomped into the library, rummaged through the catalog of books, found the section I needed, went there, rummaged through the books themselves to at least roughly assess whether there was the necessary information, took them home, and already reread at home in search of what I need. But it was worse - some books were available only in the reading room, and I had to write out what I needed. Well, either make photocopies, if the library had a photocopier, and I have extra money for it. And it was quite recently, 17-18 years ago I remember myself in the library.

    What important skill did I learn in the early 2000s? Create a search query so that more garbage is swept aside, and more useful stuff is found. Information has become incredibly accessible. Following the availability of the information itself, portable devices for accessing it became available. And so, at the beginning of 2019, I can find out almost everything that disturbed my rebellious mind at any moment, even though sitting on a white throne in a minibus.

    There is another side. Sitting there, I can write this post on Habr. Creation of information has become available. Previously, in order to publish a book, you had to spend a lot of time writing it. Then there was a review, approval by the editorial board of the publishing house. Well, or at least it was necessary to pay well. Now to share schizophasiawith his view on the nature of the universe, it is enough of any device with access to the network. And then we take some (evil tongues say that it is indexed better) and we prove to everyone that the Earth is flat, but Elvis did not die, but flew home to Nibiru (do not forget to wipe foam from the mouth along the way). The main thing is to write prettier and more poem rationally, generously cheering with all sorts of "coincidence, I’m not thinking."

    We get such a "bundle of reality." In one layer - freely available scientific research from the leading and following laboratories of the world, in the other - “THIS IS A SHOCK! Scientists hide from us ... ". Each layer has its own audience, and if we evaluate by likes and views, you begin to wonder about what is happening with the intellectual level of humanity?

    Intellectual stratification

    We are at a stage where intelligence does not provide an evolutionary advantage. In other words, the fact that someone is intelligent does not give him an advantage in reproduction. And sometimes even the opposite. If at the early stages of human development, the one who was smarter had more chances to preserve and transfer his genes (get more food and bring more offspring to puberty), now the social system of many countries is built in such a way that if the genes are already transferred, the result transmissions will somehow pull the state, even if the “transmitters” are not particularly capable of this due to low social responsibility and intelligence as a whole. Those who would hardly have stretched for a long time earlier are now fully growing up and producing even more of their own kind. At the same time, people with higher social responsibility still think about their reproduction.

    At the same time, the specialization of qualified professions is growing, the amount of knowledge necessary to perform certain types of work is growing. Thus, the gap in the required abilities and skills will increase. And this situation is multifaceted. Here are a couple of faces.

    Pseudo qualification

    I decided to name softly what the public psychotherapist Andrei Kurpatov calls informational pseudo-ambivalence. Have you heard about the effect of Dunning-Kruger ? In short, at the initial stages of knowledge in a particular industry, a person’s confidence in his qualifications is too much higher than the qualification.

    In fairness, I note that the meticulous researchers of Internet memes did not find anything like this graph in the original publication of 1999, but it vividly describes the essence of the hypothesis put forward. Add to this the availability of information of any (including mediocre) quality and energy-saving brain, which I mentioned above, and more and more often at interviews people who are deeply confident in their expertise can come across. Although the part will look like this:

    Workplace automation

    According to some data, in the next few decades, robotics, machine learning technologies and artificial intelligence will reach a level where about 50% of the world's average workplaces (from 30 to 70% depending on the composition of the country's economy) can be automated and robotic. Naturally, the first thing it touches low-skilled labor.

    Uber has already created a self-managed taxi technology. And the whole profession was under threat of extinction, the speed of which directly depends on the intensity of lobbying at a high level. Already, developed countries are considering the legalization of self-driving cars. And in some parts of the world they are already completely legal. The benefits of taxis based on these technologies (primarily for companies) are obvious: there is no person - you do not need to pay salaries, taxes on them, vacation pay and all that. The same machine can work 24/7, occasionally stopping at the base for refueling, recharging and planned maintenance.

    Amazon has already created a supermarket technology without cashiers. A sharp-eyed computer eye tracks the movement of each customer, fixes what goes into his shopping cart, and when he leaves the supermarket, the amount is simply deducted from the card. No queues. A simplified version - self-checkout - there is even a supermarket in a small Latvian town where I live. They still need a live person in case the system (or buyer) fails, as well as to confirm the age of people buying alcohol, but this is one person at 6 cash desks, not one.

    At Amsterdam Airport, there is even a passport control of self-service for EU citizens. In Tbilisi’s minibuses you can pay for your ticket by bank card yourself. In Warsaw (and much else where) tickets can be bought at self-service terminals. All this was once done by people who performed a simple monotonous task.

    Now technology has taken on more complex problems. For example, customer support. The systems are not yet perfect, but they allow reducing the burden on personnel (more precisely, reducing personnel without reducing the load - capitalism is the same).

    All this is just the beginning. But how will society develop with such a stratification? Variants of the mass, from the large-scale implementation of unconditional income, the concept of which is so far only being tested in different countries, to high unemployment, inequality and a large well-known fur animal on a global scale. And how do you see the future of humanity in this aspect?

    Growing generation

    Since we are talking about the future, it is worth remembering about those who will live in it, and now they are just starting their way through the fallopian tubes - about the children.

    I still remember the story of a good friend who punished his 6-year-old son by excommunication from the Internet. The answer was crying, tears and phrases like "Dad, you don't love me." Fortunately, at that time there were no tablets and so many “children's content”. And in my 6 years, very few people have heard about the Internet in our area. So, we with our peers poked around in the sandbox and smashed our knees in the yard. Why are there at 6, back in the age of 13-14, I was entertained by developing films and printing photos in the bathroom.

    Everything began to change with the proliferation of portable devices, especially smartphones and tablets. These wonderful devices can really delegate many different tasks. But some still can not. And caring parents began to notice that if you turn on the child something bright and colorful, he calms down in the little corner and does not interfere with life. Moreover, if he takes it from him later, he cries and fights in hysterics. And so, the fairy tales about Kolobok and Ivan Tsarevich unnoticeably were raised by raising these children:

    And this, at the time of this writing, has 41 million views and zero meaning. Views will continue to grow, but the meaning will not increase. Yes, and I overdid with zero, the meaning is more likely to have a negative value, giving absolutely strange ideas about the world of the fragile child psyche. After all, purely hypothetically, there may be a not quite intelligent child who thinks: “Well, if a little rat can become a strong gorilla, having passed through the water, then I have to try it too.” And it will be. In the next reincarnation, as this will suddenly end with mechanical asphyxiation from water entering the lungs.

    Virtual autism

    Many of us have heard about the diagnosis of "autism", but many have a vague idea of ​​what kind of animal it is. As I myself learned in the library at various sites in the process of preparing an article, in a professional environment they often talk about ASD - autism spectrum disorders (English ASD - Autism Spectrum Disorder). The diagnosis is usually made at the age from 0 to 2 years, although theoretically it can be made at a later age.

    So, according to British studiesRomanian scientists from the Center for Autistic Children of Romania (go and find out if it exists at all or not? ..) approximately 90% of diagnosed cases of ASD occur in so-called virtual autism. Children who are under 2 years old spent 4-5 hours or more at the screens of various devices, poking the “repeat” button after viewing the animated masterpieces of the inflamed brain like the one above (this part added), psychomotor delays, speech disorders are observed functions, as well as behavioral disorders up to ADHD and autism.

    According to other sources, already from the USA, the prevalence of ASD increased from 1 out of 68 to 1 out of 40 children in just 2 years, from 2016 to 2018. To be honest, I did not try to get to the source of these figures. But I don’t need to get to the bottom of them to believe that there is a general trend. Enough 4-year-old nephew of my girlfriend, whose upbringing busy parents largely delegated devices. And, although he has no obvious autism, fortunately, there are still some signs of a slight form.

    The explanation is quite simple. How does a child learn to walk? Trying to walk. How does a child learn to communicate with others? Trying to communicate. And if parents, from the first grasping reflexes, give the child “hands on, see, just leave me alone,” they quickly doom the child to developmental delays (by modern standards; maybe in decades this will become the norm?). And then either a difficult and expensive treatment, or social maladjustment.

    If you have small children, share how you solved the issue of the participation of screens in their life and development.

    Delegation of tasks to devices

    This is so convenient. Applications on our plastic friend with a silicon heart will tell us when friends have birthdays, what to buy in the store, what the weather is outside, when to change the engine oil, where to go and so on and so on. All this makes life much easier, but on the other hand we ourselves lose the delegated skills.

    Why keep dates and lists in mind? Can be recorded on the device and saved in the cloud. Why keep maps of rarely visited places in your head? There are many different navigators. Why, there, some people even double-digit numbers add up on a calculator. At the same time, we forget one simple thing. Our brain in some aspects can be compared with the muscles. If you do not give the load to the muscles, they become flabby. If you do not give the load to the brain - he will become flabby. Wanghui rejuvenation and an increase in the incidence of Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. It is possible that they will learn to treat it more effectively, but it is better not to bring it to its appearance. You don’t have to give up the notebook, but you shouldn’t forget about training for the medule ganglion. For example, scientists recommend that older people learn languages ​​to prevent neurodegeneration.

    Information as a product

    I have already mentioned the abundance of applications for solving a wide variety of tasks. All of them are fighting for our attention, and quite a few of them are free. But is it free? Someone must pay. Either you or those who are fighting for your decision center and wallet. In its most primitive form, it will simply be displaying ads from an aggregator like Google AdSense.

    Large companies can afford a more sophisticated form - profiling, building social graphs, recording locations, and other collecting personal information. Depending on the set of hardware and software used, most of us are closely watched by at least 2-3 large corporations. And they can pry a few more small ones (for example, here’s the application “how I was an animal in a past life,” which for some reason needs access to our contacts, messages, geo-location and a whole bunch of things that have nothing to do with the past life). And further on the basis of the collected data you will be offered to buy something.

    On the one hand it is nice. You cannot get away from advertising, but now it is at least more targeted and corresponds to the range of your interests. This is at least not so annoying (except for the cases when you looked at products for adults, and then they chase you for two more weeks on all sites). But for some group of people this state of affairs causes a burning pain just below the tailbone: “How is that? Corporations calllessly bargain with us "... Heartbreaking posts and videos about how we became" meat "for corporations appear. Well, yes, steel. If it doesn't suit anyone, I can offer to close the laptop, turn off the phone and ... go to the library, or what? .. The trend will develop, and those who offer us a lot of free services will carefully collect and process information about our interests, habits and preferences to sell us even more efficiently. And that will sell. Do not forget about the cheaper production due to automation. The global economy needs consumers in bulk. It would be more for what to buy all this ...


    How is the value of something formed in our brain? (Not) accessibility. The more accessible to us, the less we appreciate it. Delegating some functions to devices (for example, chatting with friends, photography, watching movies, listening to music) at first seemed like a great idea, but it was a cruel joke. Lost value, pleasure lubricated. Who remembers how they used to congratulate relatives and friends on holidays? Either by phone (if they still had one), or by telegrams (not those which the VKN banned with circus elements), but more often, perhaps, with postcards or letters. You had to write by handbeautiful words to everyone you remember, love and appreciate, and throw in the mailbox. It won't work for a carbon copy - they will understand that you wanted to spit on them. And how pleasant was it to take out letters from these relatives from the mailbox? And to what is it now devalued? In the best case to the messages in the {} nazvanie_lyubimogo_messendzhera format "C {nazvanie_prazdnika} , {} imya_ili_neformalnoe_obraschenie ". And at worst - we do not even strain for each other:

    And the photo? Remember when everything was on tape? Remember the cameras, where it was necessary to set the exposure and aperture according to the exposure meter? And on the film was placed only 36 frames (well, 38, if the arms are straight). And before taking a picture, people thought whether it was worth it at all to do it? .. Not all, of course, but many times more often than now. For a moment I presented a puzzled expression on a person 30-40 years ago, if he had been told that someone would take 12 photos of himself, while he was just waiting for the elevator (he personally watched this picture).

    The industry of delivery of all possible pleasures is developing very rapidly. But there is one little trouble. So we are arranged that any feelings with an increase in the intensity of stimulation dull with time. People who regularly take narcotic substances gradually increase the dose or strength of the effects of what they take. Sooner or later, an overdose may occur. People who enjoy in digital form, sooner or later may fall into depressionwhen these "pleasures" will not be enough. Actually, this is true for any other pleasures. According to the WHO, approximately 4-5% of the world's population suffer from this poorly understood illness. Depression, however, in a neglected form can lead to disability, and in a particularly neglected form, to suicide. At the moment, it is the second most common cause of death among young people, and according to some estimates, in the next 10–20 years, it has a chance to come out on top. Certainly, satiety is far from the only possible reason, there are corners on the planet where people are still fed up and sated ... But you should not forget about this trend.

    A fairy tale is a lie, but there is a hint in it ...

    But everything written above is not a fairy tale. This is our reality. And they should not hint, but make the brain work. And there are several directions of their work:

    • competently take advantage of the advantages offered by modernity and upcoming trends;
    • not let your brains dry out, and yourself - to be on the sidelines of the labor market;
    • correctly take advantage of the fact that many others still let their brains dry out.

    What will you choose?

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