Dec. 2020 – What Will the Future Hold – ISA St. Louis Section

As we enter the final month of a year that future generations will read about in history books, I can’t help but look to the brighter days ahead. Thinking about the possibilities of the future reminded me of a series of AT&T commercials from my youth. These ads perfectly conveyed the and predicted some amazing changes in the world. Also, these ads were surprisingly easy to find:

Remember those? Full disclosure, at the time I thought those inventions seemed more like props from the Back to the Future trilogy than anything reality could produce. Pretty much the only thing the ads ended up getting wrong was the continued existence of phone booths. It is amazing to think that now pretty much all of it is embedded in our daily lives with most of it accessible on phones that are more powerful than most any computer from 1993. Think about all the advances in automation that helped makes those, at the time seemingly far fetched ads, become reality.

Now let’s hop in our DeLoreans and set the time circuits for 2047, the same amount of time that has elapsed from those original AT&T commercials until today. What seemingly far away inventions will be a reality? What will the future like? There are a lot of futurologists out there that offer all types of predictions, but here are a few things I can predict in our corner of the automated world:

  • The ISA is celebrating 102 years; The St. Louis Section is celebrating 104
  • High speed rail and self-driving cars are common modes of transportation
  • The level of autonomous workers / robots continues to rise
  • “Automation Engineer” becomes a popular job title blending skills from mechanical, electrical, and computer science
  • The impacts of scientific discovery from the 2020 Pandemic will have inspired new generations of STEM learners
  • Finally - I will still be on the ISA St. Louis Section Board, but with my retirement in sight


Back to today – we hope you can join us for an upcoming ISA St. Louis Virtual Event. December marks our annual Holiday Luncheon tradition – this year to take place instead as a virtual happy hour. I encourage you to invite a friend as well to the Holiday Happy Hour, as it will be a great way to network virtually with other ISA St. Louis members. Looking further ahead, we are working on a series of energy conservation roundtables for 2021. Please stay tuned to for the latest updates on what promises to be an awesome series. We hope to be back to in person events in the near future, and we are looking forward to planning an exciting return event.

Before I sign off one last time for 2020, I want to thank all of you involved with the ISA St. Louis Section for the opportunity to lead the Section again, especially during this unique time in our history. I hope this finds all of you and your families safe and healthy.

Have a great holiday season,

Cory N. Kniepp

ISA St. Louis Section, President

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