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Quantum Leap to AI

Photo Credit: newspunch.com

In 1880, around the time Thomas Edison created his first working light bulb, 50% of Americans were farming. Today, less than 2% of the nation is employed in an agricultural career. Source: Farmers Footprint

Almost 40 years after Thomas Edison’s light bulb, the first “self-service” grocery store in America was opened. With the U.S. population around 50,000,000 at the time, the idea of a local community grocery store like Piggly Wiggly was a big hit. Ultimately, it paved the way for a new means of feeding the masses. It was the perfect model of food distribution for the modern times.

View of the front of the Piggly Wiggly store, located at 106 South Austin in the Austin community area, Chicago, Illinois, 1926. From the Chicago Daily News collection. (Photo by Chicago History Museum/Getty Images) Time.com

When you consider the number of people who depend on our modern food system to survive today; and when you look at the food-type products it provides in wrappers, boxes, bags and bottles; and when you take into account our food system’s dependence on so many other moving parts to function properly – it looks a bit fragmented and insecure. Many believe it is unsustainable and even broken.

Since Edison’s discovery, the U.S. population has added an additional 270,000,000 mouths to feed. The fact that grocery store shelves can empty in a couple of hours during an emergency, a crippled food system would cause many millions of people in our society to experience real hunger almost immediately. A tragic example of that reality is what’s happening in Venezuela now. A once oil-rich and prosperous nation just a few years ago, the country is in economic ruin and starvation today.

What is the value of a good contingency plan for feeding everybody?

The transformation of food in America in the 19th century
Photo Credit: Oxford University Press

During the time when Edison was working on his light bulb, people were much more self-reliant than modern day American consumers. Many people grew their own food in those days. They built, crafted and traded in open markets, and neighbors in the community sustained one another.

Comparatively speaking, with a U.S. population of 326,000,000 now, and with eighty percent of those folks living in large urban environments, survival of the majority of our nation’s population is totally dependent upon the current food supply chain to work without interruption; i.e. trucks, trains, planes, computers, logistics, fuel, refrigeration, etc. (the moving parts I mentioned in the second paragraph).

No doubt, Franklin’s electricity, Bell’s telephone and Edison’s light bulb discoveries in the 19th century, laid the foundation for the modern world of the 21st century. I’m sure all three of those men knew they were onto something big, but I wonder if they had any idea how big it would become, and how fast it would get there.

The ‘power’ spawned by that first electrical spark not only lit the fuse to a new world, it created an entirely new civilization. Think about Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York City after dark. That’s a bunch of folks and a whole lot of light bulbs.

Today, we can talk face-to-face with someone on the other side of the planet on a screen in the palm of our hand. We can do that while reclining in a chair, traveling 600 mph at 35,000 feet in the air.

Kroger’s autonomous unmanned delivery vehicle. Photo courtesy of Kroger

Akin to something out of “The Jetsons” and “Star Trek”, it has been a quantum leap indeed from Edison’s bulb to artificial intelligence. AI can land a spaceship on a moving asteroid in outer space, fly an un-manned drone that shoots laser beams, operate self-driving cars and autonomous robots that deliver food to our door. How cool is that? Or maybe I should ask, how freaky is that?

I love electricity, and I’m thankful for it! Electrical power sure makes life easier. It is an invisible force-field to protect us from the hardships of the dark ages. How would our modern civilization ever manage without it? Simply put, it would not.

Experts say if the power grid were to fail, it would be like stepping back into the 1800’s B.E. (Before Edison). Imagine that!

Another great reason to learn how to grow some of our own food.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Farris Ross April 10, 2019, 6:20 pm

    Something to think about folks…..Self reliance is not a fad!!! It can be a way of life!

    • Geno May 3, 2019, 11:20 am

      The more self-reliant we become, the less dependent we are.
      Thanks for the comment Farris!
      -gb.

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