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America’s success means looking to future, not past

The International Yacht Restoration School, which once focused solely on wooden boat building and restoration, now offers programs in 3D printing and composites.

The International Yacht Restoration School, which once focused solely on wooden boat building and restoration, now offers programs in 3D printing and composites.

The United States shouldn’t “cling to old technologies,” and should instead embrace new technologies if the country is to maintain its economic security.

That’s according to Correct Craft CEO Bill Yeargin, who penned an op-ed in the Orlando Sun Sentinel on Monday, asking Florida lawmakers to stop trying to protect the past.

“The world is rapidly changing, and the United States, including Florida, may be left behind,” Yeargin wrote in the editorial. “In the business world it is common for a leader to focus energy on protecting the past, at the expense of preparing for the future, and the results are almost always disastrous. The same thing can happen to our country if we do not make smart choices now.”

Changes are coming from many different directions, including technology, Yeargin wrote. Computer power continues to increase at a fast pace and it will drive technological development far beyond anything we can imagine.

“These inevitable technological developments will provide amazing opportunities unlike anything the world has seen for our country and state; yet, they will also be incredibly disruptive as they reset the economic and political landscape,” Yeargin wrote.

Advancement by any country of these technologies could transform that country’s economic or military position, Yeargin said.

“If the U.S. does not prepare today, these changes will also reset the global power structure; that’s not hyperbole,” he wrote.

“We are at an inflection point and how we react to these changes will determine if the U.S. can maintain its economic security and continue to lead the world in the decades ahead,” wrote Yeargin. “The U.S. should not be afraid of the changes or cling to old technologies; we should view the coming changes as a tremendous opportunity.”

The development of technologies such as virtual reality, robotics, biotech, 3-D printing, the internet of things, renewable energy and autonomous/electric vehicles are already well underway and will soon create tremendous global opportunities, Yeargin wrote.

“However, countries that don’t lead in the development and integration of these technologies risk falling behind and companies that don’t implement them risk going out of business,” Yeargin said.

Then there are the three real game changers, Yeargin wrote — nanotechnology (manipulating atoms and molecules to create new materials and products), artificial intelligence (increasing computer power reaching and surpassing human thinking), and quantum computing (transition from current binary computers to new quantum bits which will make computers exponentially more powerful). Further development of any of these three technologies alone could potentially reset the geopolitical and economic power structure of the entire globe.

“Countries around the world are working hard to lead in the development of these technologies as a catalyst to improve their economic and global standing,” Yeargin wrote. “For example, China has kicked off its ‘Made in China 2025’ initiative which is directing their resources and development toward technologies of the future. They are determined, with a plan, to be the world leader in technology by 2025; however, no country is better positioned to lead in each of these areas than the United States.

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