By January 23, 2019 0 Comments Read More →

BigView – The Journey Ahead

The BigView
The Journey Ahead
By Chris Murphy

As we start 2019, there are so many things to think about and directions we can go. But first, we have to know where we are and have ideas where we want to go, but sometimes, we are farther along than we thought. What does our future look like? Is it like The Matrix, Blade Runner, Logan’s Run, Escape from New York, or Mad Max or is it a much softer and human vision?

Most of these futuristic tales often become a dark dystopian view of the future, either completely consumed by anarchy or immersed in augmented reality with sinister overtones. In realty, it think as the artificial world advances, our desire for the touch feel of the handmade world will keep us connected, sort of a hipster crafter world with driverless cars and immersive technology to make it richer. So I am anticipating a brighter version and as a community, we need to make sure that we grow our humanity as we accelerate our technology.

Blade Runner was set in 2019 !
Who remembers the house of the future in early Disneyland? Remember the vision of Orwell’s1984 or the clean white-trimmed modern world that was promised in 2001: A Space Odyssey? Have we really made it to the dystopian cyborg filled world that was portrayed in Blade Runner? It is kind of weird how our world has progressed. As we speed toward the future, we seem to be running in split screen. As one of our worlds veers toward Artificial Intelligence, automated cars and drones and refrigerators that think for you, our other world as moved into the late 1800s in search of the mechanical age of hand made shoes, hand crafted spirits and knowing the name the farms from where your Brussels sprouts come. It is two parallel paths that Jules Verne or Arthur C Clarke did not predict, but here we are, and it creates some interesting counterpoints. As we launch into 2019, the Modesto USA connection to Blade Runner leads to our local Legend of the Cruise and soon to by inducted into the Modesto High Hall of Fame, Gene Winfield, who created the cars of the future in Blade Runner. Amazing how these worlds converge.

Since the beginning of Modesto, we have thrived on technology to make real progress, from the early Modesto Irrigation District, early civic electricity, one of the first municipal airports to the innovation of wine making and food production that feeds the world. At the same time our arts and culture grew along with it. As Silicon Valley has revolutionized the world, that area has become unlivable for many, and this new tech world is setting up shop in Modesto, setting the stage for new exciting innovations, maybe even taking our agriculture and the food we make to a new level requiring new scientific developments that need research science to build on the ag science. Far fetched? Not really. It is happening now as our traditional old school economies start to blend to create a new Modesto Matrix.

This matrix is being programmed right here in Modesto as you read this. More and more people can work remotely and the quality of life in Modesto, with a high tech job is really good.

How does this make our community better?
The world needs to know that the people capital is here, we have the talent and many are still forced to go over the hill to make it big. We need to showcase what is happening at ValleyWorx, Oportun, Bay Valley Tech, the Volt School, our local colleges and other innovators. As we see a community that becomes more connected with the tech world there are more opportunities for smarter jobs. All of the coding in world serves to make the aps we love work we move from old ag to smart ag if we show the world what the talent in Modesto can do.

Smart Food
What is smart food? Almond milk, soy milk, wine packaging innovation, aseptic packed shelf stable beverages, insulation for direct to consumer shipping, ready-to-eat frozen food, block chain food chain farm to fork traceability, targeted drone managed field irrigation, sun tracking solar panels and large scale organics are just a few ways that our ag industry can innovate with the proper coding, controller processing development and blending with the equipment fabrication we have here with companies like Beeler Industries that put manufacturing in our own local hands. There is so much more to what you find at the store, and at the core of it, the source is our own local farming community that you can find at the Farmer’s Market. See how this works? We need to tell our story, show young talented people they can live and work here by encouraging our local companies to hire and invest in these people. Yes friends, Modesto USA is a Classic American City and we will build on our rich history and traditions to build a new economy for the future.

Alt Fuels Innovation
We have a lot of dairies which means we have a lot of methane. Wouldn’t it be cool to make Stanislaus County an alternative fuel research leader? Methane reclamation is a high tech solution that is actually in production at Fiscalini Cheese and Joseph Farms and is a much needed solution that solves a regional air and water problem and is a green energy solution. Algae? Switchgrass? These are all things that we can grow in our agricultural region so we are a natural. UC Berkeley and UC Merced should be teaming up with us, maybe creating a lab at the Crows Landing facility to be a alt fuel leader for the next century requiring highly-paid research scientists. Sun? Every home and business should have solar as we get 330 beautiful days every year delivering free power. Water, we have to get Don Pedro recertified and continue to lead.

So you’ll aim toward the sky
Anyone remember how cool it was to go to the San Francisco planetarium on the 6th Grade Field trip? That was one of the best days of the year and now you can have that same cool experience right here in Modesto. I believe that is fundamentally essential for our kids to know and understand science and the universe we live in. It is so mind blowing to try to understand the concept of endless.

MJC Planetarium offers this view of the universe right here in Modesto at MJC West. The planetarium itself consists of a Zeiss Skymaster ZKP-4 LED/fiber-optic star projector coupled with the Zeiss Velvet Projection System to display unparalleled images of the night sky and full-dome planetarium films onto a 40-foot suspended dome ceiling for an audience of up to 100 people. You really need to check it out, and maybe even take the kids. Who know, maybe they will do Pink Floyd laser shows there too someday. One day, you may look through the telescope and see the digital web of the Matrix. Maybe it’s there already. Wow man, far out.

Old is New Again
There will be some important milestones celebrated this year. One of the most exciting is the 100 Years of MoBand, the Modesto Band of Stanislaus County. Formed in 1919 as the Modesto Boys band, MoBand as evolved over the years to one of the largest annual events that our city has ever had. I have tried to find other cities that have something like this and Modesto appears to be quite special. There have been thousands of local musicians who have played in MoBand over the years and each summer, for 6 amazing Thursdays, the 200 musicians in MoBand perform in Graceada Park creating one of the best slices of Modestocana you can get.

There are some other really cool milestones in our community. Our friends at TSM insurance will be celebrating 100 years this year. The Community Hospice will be celebrating 40 years with care so vital to our community. The Modesto Area Music Awards turn 20 this year and will celebrate with a special gala MAMA Awards this fall as we celebrate our amazing live music culture.

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About the Author:

Chris Murphy is the President and CEO of Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and Publisher and Founder of ModestoView Inc. Chris worked globally in the cycling industry returning to Modesto in 1996. He is also the founder of the Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route, Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, Modesto Rockin’ Holiday, the Modesto Music History Organization and co-founder of the Modesto Area Music Association. Chris is married to his artist wife Rebecca since 1985 and has two daughters Madison and Abigail, both graduating from Modesto High and UC Berkeley. He is lead singer and guitarist for his band, Third Party that donates their performances to non-profits.