Bill Sniffin: I Have Seen The Future. It's Just Like Today, Only Different

Columnist Bill Sniffin writes: “My futurist friend sees Wyoming as a bastion of common sense with its conservative values. Biggest advantage for Wyoming is its small population.”

Bill Sniffin

January 20, 20245 min read

Bill Sniffin lots of snow 1 16 23
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Not sure why a man of my age and experience is focused so much on the future, but alas, it is one of the things that I am constantly thinking about.

Having spent some recent time in the big city of Dallas, I can confidently say that I may have seen the future.

While there, I had lunch with my favorite futurist, Jeff Wacker. The huge company of HP (300,000 employees) only had one futurist. It was Jeff. He is now retired and working on writing some books. He shared some of his thoughts with me.

He has long predicted the “singularity” (when artificial intelligence catches up with human intelligence) will happen around 2030. But what happens next makes him the most nervous.

He says the way time is measured may change dramatically. There will be three types of time: human time, robot time and cyber time. Human and robot time will be similar, but cyber time means events and decisions will occur in 1/1,000,000th of a second. That is the danger, although he is not sure how to define specifically what that danger is.

Wacker thinks Wyoming will be somewhat secure in the immediate future despite some cuts in fossil fuels. He thinks small nuclear reactors are the future of electrical generation. He is not a fan of electric vehicles and he thinks it will be a long time before they are practical in the Cowboy State.

He sees Wyoming as a bastion of common sense with its conservative values and grounded leaders. The biggest advantage for Wyoming is its small population, he thinks.

In politics, he thinks Michelle Obama will be the Democrat nominee for president in 2024 and Nikki Haley, the Republican. You read it here first.

Driving In The Winter

We drove on this trip and left Dallas this past Friday in a minus 10 wind chill. It was so cold there in Texas that they closed the schools. The temperatures were mild headed home through Texas, Oklahoma and on into Kansas. We saw Interstate 70 close while we were on it because of 60 mph winds and ground blizzards, though.

The next morning our drive was a slog as we traveled at a slow 40 mph for the first 75 miles because of black ice. Six big trucks and one car were off the road between Hays and Goodland, Kansas. Reminded me of Interstate 80 back in my home state.

Once we got into Colorado, both the skies and the highways cleared and we made good time.

North of Fort Collins, we took the Owl Canyon cutoff (from Interstate 25 west to U.S. 287), which my GPS claimed saved 45 minutes off my trip.

We continued to make good time through Laramie and Rawlins, and then north for the final leg. Wyoming looked great until we pulled into Siberia — oops, I mean Lander. Still lots of snow both in the valleys and on the mountains. It is truly a white paradise, and it was sure good to be home.

Is This The Future?

Meanwhile, back in Dallas, here are some of my observations:

Some things are changing rapidly and some are staying the same.

For example, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex has a plethora of electric cars. It’s easy to believe that EVs are dying, but not in the big metro areas. They seem to be everywhere.

We were there when 2 inches of snow fell and minus 10 wind chill literally shut down the Metroplex. And I was told that EVs were having problems.

Another sign of the future is that cash is just not present anywhere. You just wave your credit card and, pow, your bill is paid. We can do that in Lander, too, but many of the big city places did not accept cash at all.

Inflation is real. It was not that long ago you could feed two people at my favorite Whataburger joint in Dallas for $15. Darned good burgers, too. Now you are lucky to get out of there without paying $30.

We spent time in north Dallas in the upscale suburb called Allen (their local high school has a $20 million football stadium, for example) which might tilt some of my observations.

In north Dallas, you experience a true melting pot of successful people. Folks currently living there come from all over the world. Most work in high tech or have moved to Texas with a big fortune in hand. Or, they work in good jobs in high tech. Most were driving Tesla, Lexus or Mercedes cars and living in big brick homes.

Despite claims of crime hitting the big cities, we encountered no problems in our part of Dallas. And although Texas is the epicenter of the immigration crisis, there was no sign of that big issue where we were.

We love visiting our daughter Amber and her family in Dallas this time of year. Weather was in the 60s most of the time. But it sure is good to be back in Cowboy State, despite all the snow here in Lander.

Bill Sniffin can be reached at:

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Bill Sniffin

Wyoming Life Columnist

Columnist, author, and journalist Bill Sniffin writes about Wyoming life on Cowboy State Daily -- the state's most-read news publication.