Have you noticed how Hollywood always knows what’s trendy before we do? They romanticized the idea of living in cities and before we knew it every girl wanted to move to NYC to live out her own Sex and the City fantasy. Maybe it’s just the movies I’ve been watching, but I’ve noticed there seems to be a new reversal trend in Hollywood featuring high tech homes in rural areas.
So it got me thinking… what are some ways technology has or will disrupt rural America?
Amazon has already changed the game for many Americans living in rural areas. In fact, I would be willing to bet that a lot of their highest valued, repeat customers, live in rural areas. I know I didn’t use my Amazon prime membership nearly as much as I do now when I lived in the city. And this is just the beginning. On Friday, June 16th 2017 Amazon announced that they were in the process of buying Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. While Whole Foods currently has 431 stores in high income areas throughout the United States, I’m sure Jeff Bezos is strategizing how to work with vendors to ship throughout the United States. And that would be a game changer. Right now, it’s estimated that 29 million Americans live in food deserts throughout the United States, meaning that they do not have a supermarket within 10 miles if they live in a rural area or 1 mile if they live in an urban area. If Amazon could figure out a way to make that number disappear, they would be a hero in my book. And while I would love everyone to grow their own food, I understand that we all have different priorities at different points in our lives (though I think technology will help with this too).
2. High Speed Internet
Perhaps you’re familiar with Google’s fiber optic internet, but did you know that a large number of rural areas throughout the United States are starting their own co-ops and wiring their communities with gigabit fiber? This kind of high speed internet will enable those living in these forward thinking areas to work from home, learn at a faster pace, and share their knowledge with the rest of the world.
3. Driverless Cars
Depending on how rural you live, it can take hours to drive to a large metropolitan city. The good news is there is no traffic, but any time saved by the lack of traffic is made up by the miles that need to be traveled. Driverless cars would make the commute to the city more relaxing and enjoyable. Communities could come together and purchase electric driverless busses that shuttle people to and from the city as a perk to live in their rural town.
So while technology will help people in rural areas live more prosperous lives it’s also important to remember why we chose this life to begin with. It’s the reason why sometimes I log out of this blog and don’t come back for a couple of months. To get away from it all, enjoy nature, and live a more relaxed, peaceful, and simple life.