From The Editor

By Robin Jay

Even In A Hi-Tech World, The Simplest Things Are Still Priceless

Editor-In-Chief, Robin Jay

What a mind-boggling concept. In the last half century, technol-ogy has increased exponentially — meaning that with each new discovery, the acceleration rate of even more new discoveries compounds increasingly faster and faster. Pondering that pace can make your head spin.

Think about it. In the year 1023, the Chinese printed the first paper money. It took 200 more years before eyeglasses were invented. And another two centuries after that before Gutenberg invented the printing press. Back then, giant leaps to new concepts took time. But in 1989, when English scientist Tim-Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, access to information exploded.

Since 2000, the .com bubble burst and technology was off to the races. In 2001, the Apple iPod made music personalized and portable. In 2004, Facebook skyrocketed the worldwide spread of social media. In 2007, the iPhone touch screen debuted. In 2008, scientists discovered how to extract images directly from the brain. Facial computer generated imagery and 3D scanners came to market. In 2010, the iPad debuted, scientists trapped antimatter and mobile phones could translate speech. In 2013, human stem cells could be cloned and the first gene therapy took place. In 2015, surgeons implanted the first self-regulating artificial heart, personal biometric scanners allowed for online banking, and 11 million people were driving electric cars. Now it won’t be long before they’re using cars that drive themselves.

In 2016, researchers in the UK are taking DNA from three people to create a baby to prevent rare diseases, 3D printers can print out everything from shoes, toys, food and organs; and artificial intelligence is no longer something of sci-fi movies (just ask Simon Venture Group’s founding manager and physicist J. Skyler Fernandes on page 68). IBM’s Webster is an artificial intelligence computer that receives so much incoming data it can learn and think on its own. Five years ago, Webster was smart enough to win a game of TVs Jeopardy! against two human competitors. Today, Webster is so advanced it now helps oncologists come up with incredible  solutions for patients with previously treatment-resistant cancer.

In 2017, futurists say tooth regeneration will revolutionize dental care; robotics will do more complex surgeries, and surgeons say the first head transplant will take place. In 2018, they say an immunization to prevent obesity and a vaccine to prevent cancer could come to market. And in 2019 it’s said bionic high-resolution eyes will be available. In this issue of Opulence, we take a look at advance technologies in transportation, retail shopping and artificial intelligence to improve healthcare. On the flip side, we’ll tell you about a town where many technologies — like cell phones, WiFi and even microwaves are forbidden (see page 136.)

This rapid pace of technology proves both exciting and overwhelming at times. It’s important not to let it take over the value of face-to-face communication and camaraderie that comes from the simple things in life. This year, we saw an election that caused more stress and division like never before. But something else happened this fall that, to me, was a reminder of how a basic American pastime could rally people of all ages, creed and color to join together positively in support of each other: through good old-fashioned American Baseball. After a 108-year drought, the Chicago Cubs made it to the World Series, breaking the “curse of the goat” for good. The series brought old friends, families, neighbors and even strangers together over a simple shared love for an underdog team. When Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, (a young man from Parkland, Florida, who overcame cancer at 18 to pursue his dream), caught the last out to make the Cubs World Series Champions, the joy on his face had fans cheering nationwide (see page 62). At the celebration parade in Chicago a few days later, more than 5 million people turned out in solidarity and support to cheer on their Cubbies — it was the 7th largest public gathering ever in the world in recorded history! And all it took was the game of baseball, which is pretty much played the same way, with the same tools, as it was a century ago.

Opulence is pleased to honor Anthony Rizzo and the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation at the next Opulence Home Run For The Cure Gala in support of cancer patients and their families. Won’t you join us? Look for details to come next fall.

From The Editor