The Dream of Pratt’s PurePower GTF: What comes next is beyond robots and A.I.

Without getting into the details of it I have been very heavily involved in the jet engine displayed below which was a feature attraction at Made in America week on Capitol Hill where Donald Trump used the occasion to highlight the many great products that are still manufactured in North America.  For so long I had heard that manufacturing was done in America which I never believed.  In the late 80s when I first entered the manufacturing profession all the old timers were trying to tell me that it was a fools quest—that our politicians had sold us out to foreign interests and that it was only a matter of time before all our jobs would be shipped overseas and that everything we did would be service oriented.  Those same kinds of people are now saying that robots and A.I. will take over manufacturing around the world but let me tell them something—there isn’t any robot or A.I. program that could have reasoned through the decade long quest to bring this jet engine to market—the thousands of decision gates, the constant flow of engineering problems and the enormity of a very complicated supply chain complete with human minds to adjust to very fluid situations—and I don’t think there ever will be.   It took the vast imagination and practical application of science to bring this engine to life and the indomitable will to forge it from a jealous nature which seeks to forever hold the human race to the ground with apathy and laziness that ultimately seeps into every computer program which ultimately springs forth.  This engine is a miracle and I am very proud of my part in giving it life.

Manufacturing isn’t just something that happens.  It’s not like building a sex robot to service the biological lusts of the human race.  Building something is only a small part of its birth into a manufacturing existence.  Robots may be able to perform some basic work tasks but to gather up the elements of known physics and continue to refine them into some practical application it is the task of the vast imaginations of human beings that do most of the work.  Imagination is a different kind of intelligence and I don’t think with all the exciting forecasts that we are seeing that A.I. will be able to replace human beings, ever, until we can manufacture a human brain and delve into the regions of thinking which connect the soul to imaginative cognition which then produces reality.  Statically just thinking about something isn’t enough—a thought has to connect to multidimensional relationships which exist outside of terrestrial experience—which is where inspiration comes from.

I was speaking last week with some very smart people about the Pure Power engine from Pratt and how the last twenty years of development which gave birth to it was such a challenge.  But that chapter is now closed except for a few minor details which will be worked out over the coming months.  This engine is ready to fill the marketplace for the next two decades and will be the most sought after engine on planet earth over that period of time.  It will be made all over the world with a big part of it done here in Cincinnati—and it will provide many thousands of jobs and create vast amounts of wealth which brings to life economies in every corner of the world.  That is something that is very specific to human thought and will not be replaced by emerging technologies, the concept of producing wealth out of imagination and using science to drive manufacturing.  But even saying that it is quite something to consider that we are already looking at the next generation beyond the Pure Power engine that will carry us all out into space and across earth’s surface in ways nobody had ever considered before.

The technologies which will emerge from the Hyperloop for instance will be what replace the Pure Power once that next generation emerges in transportation.   Even though commercial air travel is the only way we can presently understand getting to vast places around the world several new developments will do a better job of getting us there.  Hyperloops will become the fastest way to get from city to city while Spaceports will take over as the airports of tomorrow.  Aviation is moving into space and that means new types of engines that will operate out of the atmosphere and into space routinely.  To fly from London to Tokyo we won’t do it at 50,000 ft like we do now over 10 hours, or New York to Beijing  in 14 hours—we’ll take off and fly out of the atmosphere for a reentry an hour or two later at our destination meaning we could travel to such places for a day trip essentially.  As we better utilize space travel this will be the natural byproduct—time and efficiency will be greatly improved.

If the Pure Power’s greatest attributes are its incredible fuel efficiency and noise reduction standards, the engines of tomorrow will only need to operate a fraction of the time and need to operate in very thin atmospheres—if any at all.  So we are looking at entirely new concepts in engine design that will be introduced by the time this Pure Power breakthrough is retired after two decades of service.  By then commercial air travel from airport to airport will be much reduced and will be considered archaic.  The long TSA lines and dirty chaos of a typical day at Heathrow will be replaced by the clean technology of a fast-moving spaceport where flights will leave more frequently and take a lot less time to conduct.   Part of what makes airports such rough places is the long flights stuck next to other frustrated people.  When I fly now I like to do it in first class, but for many years economy was the only way I could afford it, and it was like riding on a bus with people touching your knees and breathing your air over long periods of time—which is disgusting when you think about it—which I do often.  When you finally land after an oversea flight you are tired and it takes time to recover.  That will change in the years to come dramatically.

Spaceports won’t be located near cities so noise won’t be such a factor.  We’ll simply take a Hyperloop to a Spaceport located in a remote location and we’ll blast to our destinations from there.   The Kennedy Space Center will expand its role in the south.  I can see Florida having at least two more spaceports emerging to satisfy the Miami and panhandle regions.  But Kennedy Space Center will likely expand dramatically to incorporate all the tourism to Disney World.   Hyperloops will provide a 10 minute ride from the Cape to Orlando to the doorstep of whatever hotel travelers might be staying in at the resort of their choice.  A lot of the industry that currently provides taxi services to and from airports as well as other support oriented businesses will have to reconfigure their business models.  A traveler from Morocco who wants to visit Disney World will simply pull out their smart phone and order up a transportation pod—forget about Uber.    The pod will come and pick up the travelers at their doorstep.  It will take them in comfort to the local Hyperloop station.  From there they’ll travel to a spaceport.   They’ll catch their flight and they will arrive in comfort at a Disney World resort all in about 4 hours of travel.  They could literally leave at noon their time in Morocco and arrive as the parks are opening that same day.   It’s a totally different way of thinking about travel and looking back from that future time to this Pure Power demonstration in Washington D.C. will seem like a very archaic exercise.

As proud as I am of the Pure Power engine from Pratt, and as discouraging as it might be to already think of it as extinct, we still have to travel well over the next few decades as these emerging technologies move into our culture.  But I can say this for certain, A.I. won’t put us out of work.  Instead, we’ll have more productive opportunities than we’ve ever had before.  President Trump already has our present economy at about 4% unemployment so the robots and A.I. will supplement all this economic expansion while giving us all jobs to do that are specific to the human mind—like thinking.  While we should take the time to celebrate all the hard work it took to make the Pure Power GTF possible, it is important for us all to never look back but always forward to the next great thing and space is where is at.  And honestly, I can’t wait!

Rich Hoffman

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