Making a career in a future of abundance and increasing inequalities

Is free energy something you might be interested in?

Energy will soon be freely available, as I told the “Shark” and the “Onion” – two Swedish daytraders – yesterday. And when energy is free so will everything else be.

How will we live, educate us, work, invest?

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But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start from the beginning.


Power is all around us

-and we have already begun to capture it

A couple of hour’s worth of sunlight energy falling on the earth is worth about a year of global energy consumption. In short, it’s enough, and it’s basically everywhere.

If we build enough solar cells, some of the energy collected could be used for the construction of an automatic cleaning and maintenance system for the energy infrastructure.

That would give us free electricity.

Read it again if you didn’t understand.

moth-eye-solar-panels

Yes, I’m aware of the challenges in terms of making new kinds of efficient and sustainable, “green” solar cells, as well as making enough of them and designing a fully automated maintenance system. Just give it time. 


There will be robots

-a myriad of robots of all sizes, taking care of us and each other

Then use the surplus energy created to power some robots to add more solar cells and build more robots. Voilà, we essentially have created a free labor force of solar powered robots.

Sure, we’ll need better robots, autonomous vehicles, robots being able to build robots, better solar cells etc., but we are getting there.

No matter what the elite wants, it won’t take long until everybody has his own solar cells and robots, or access to a pool of such resources. When? I don’t know, but very probably within half a century.

nanoporegraphene

Once energy and labor are free, so will water (large scale desalination is only a matter of energy input), food (robot-tended vertical farms with artificial light [reverse solar cells]), shelter (as if I need explain how solar powered robots can collect any material and build/3D-print any type of structure according to open source specifications on the internet (10 houses in 24 hours), transportation (vehicles are robots and thus free as shown above; cars, planes, ships and roads will be powered, built, driven and maintained automatically in much the same way as everything else) and communication (the easiest task of all in the scenario of free energy).

robot


There will be no blood

-in the meantime however, artificial blood, made from skin cells, is saving the day starting by the end of this decade

artificial-blood

The only urgent challenge remaining will be death, and its cousin, disease.

The good thing is, with everything else free; every intelligent man, woman and child will be free to think, collaborate and barter, in order to develop the technologies necessary to prevent aging and illness.

Scientists are already chipping away at the longevity problem piece by piece. They are increasingly referring to the idea of immortality as an eventually curable disease, rather than an inevitable law of nature.

Craig Venter and Peter Diamandis have, e.g., formed the company Human Longevity, Inc. in March 2014, aiming to use big data on tens of thousands av sequenced genomes to combat cancer and extend healthy human lifespan.

The trick is to live long enough to live forever, helped by the following technologies:

Nanotech robots (this year’s Nobel Prize, in line with Drexler’s and Feynman’s pioneering ideas)

molecular-robot

Genetic research (aided by the Crispr-Cas9 would-be Nobel winner, not to mention Craig Venter’s work on synthetic biology/life)

Artificial intelligence (If there were a Nobel prize for computer research: IBM’s and Google’s realizations of machine learning, and Kurzweil’s ideas about hierarchical hidden Markov models. Perhaps in the future, one of the efforts to map the human brain connectome will result in a Nobel prize in physiology or medicine)

connectome


Immortality for the rich

-solar powered robots, VR and material riches for the poor

The battle for immortality will most likely be a tough one. And only for the elite for decades to come.

The rest of us will spend our time in luxurious mansions, dining like kings and living it up every day on 3D printed designer drugs with no hangovers, or being super-humans, or as depraved as our darkest desires allow, in the virtual world of our choice. Still slowly dying though; never forget.

never-forget

The more creative of us could spend our days creating and sharing, both in the material world and in the virtual ones.

How we will share and trade with each other? Perhaps there will be a currency like Bitcoin, perhaps millions of digital currencies. Perhaps digital agents will negotiate ad hoc services barter deals for everything without any kind of currency.

For an early example see how the excellent Real Vision TV production is bartering reruns, ‘encores’, for ad spots at the equally excellent podcast show Macro Voices.

Who knows? The idea here, however, is that your worth and potential for an above average existence will be decided based on your ability to create unique solutions/blueprints that can be traded for other unique services.

If you can’t… Tough luck*, you’ll just have to do with whatever you can produce with the help of free labor, free energy and free open-source templates for material and virtual assets.

* not so tough after all; I imagine the bodily and mental pleasures freely available will be unimaginable to the present day human. A pretty nice upgrade from the Roman strategy of Bread And Circuses, after all.

 


Deprived, not necessarily depraved

Now, this is not what I intended to write about today

What I meant to discuss was all the things modern society has deprived us* of and how that risk making us weak, allergic, depressed, ill, apathetic, catatonic and miserable. What’s worse is that we have replaced walking with sitting, beans with bacon, natural weather with AC, sunlight with artificial light, bacteria and viruses with sterile environments etc.

sitting

Unfortunately it turns out all that comfort we are constantly seeking is an evolutionary mismatch of homeostasis. For example, if the immune system has nothing to do, due to a lack of pathogens in the environment, it sometimes attacks the body instead.

* such as viruses, bacteria, parasites, extreme temperatures, fright, loneliness, walking, sad music (what?!! See pic below) and calm meditation

I didn’t find enough time to deal with the issues of education, work and investments either, although the general direction should be clear from the above discussion: Automation, Robots, AI, Energy

Oh, well, I’ll just have to leave it for another day. Perhaps later this week…

sad-music


For today, let’s keep with the Everything Is Awesome theme.


Summary

Energy will be essentially free in a few decades

Consequently all other material needs will be satisfied without cost: food, water, shelter, transportation, communication. Every individual will thus finally be able to live independently in material abundance “Every man is an island“).

So, is free energy something you might be interested in?

interest-2


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21 Comments

  1. Why not? But regarding immortality, I’d like them to be able to grow my hair back, first. That shouldn’t be to complicated compared to immortality and there is a lot of money to be made (more than Viagra, I think). So, what stops them?

    • Everything related to re-growth is related to the bigger question of rejuvenation and immortality. In other words, young looking hair is essentially the same thing as being young and immortal.

  2. Håller med om det mesta. Är själv djupt intresserad av futurism, singularity och life extension frågor.

    Vad tror du om life extension genom kost/mat? att äta rätt saker och ge kroppen optimala möjligheter fungera och att läka sig själv. T.ex. äta mat med hög koncentration av antioxidanter och enzymer? Kroppen är ju ändå en biologisk maskin. Genom att stoppa i oss fel saker så påverkar vi den biologiska maskinen negativt (socker, spannmål, kemikalier, diverse ämnen som är redundanta, etc).

    • Problemet verkar vara att cellerna ändå med tiden åldras och slutar reproducera sig effektivt. Du kanske kan bli 125år, kanske 150 om du lever optimalt (urtrist och sannolikt mer eller mindre plågsamt sista 25 åren), men hur kul blir det?

      Jag tror mer på att ersätta ett organ i taget som om kroppen vore en bil, samt hoppas att man löser frågan om hjärnans åldrande i tid för att kunna bli tillräckligt gammal för att leva för alltid.

  3. You think free energy means that everybody will live in mansions and have free access to food and drugs?

    Maybe if everybody learns how to run their own automated farm, drug factory and construction robot. Oh, and they have to buy these devices. For what money? Most non-elites won’t have jobs in a future with high automatisation, so how do they make money?

    If elites own most of the desireable land, will they sell to non-elites so the plebeians can 3D-print mansions? Or would they rather have a huge personal kingdom where they decide on their own what happens?

    Will governments allow people to 3D-print whatever structures they want, erect automated farms wherever they want, and cook whatever drugs they please just because electricity is basically free? I think not. I think money and connections will still limit what people are allowed to do. The elites will find a way to keep the riff-raff out of their post-scarcity playground.

    For example, imagine if every poor person in India 3D-printed a yacht and sailed over to Stockholm’s archipelago for the summer. How would the elites react? Wouldn’t they pull strings to push through legislation so they wouldn’t have to share “their” archipelago with the rabble?

    • You’ll borrow your friend’s 3D printer for a day, and use it to make your own 3D printer. Once you have that you can print your own yacht, food, medicine and servant/work robots.

      You’ll even clone your own spare body parts, and your robot surgeon will transplant your old brain into your new body. There’s the immortality.

      • “You’ll borrow your friend’s 3D printer for a day, and use it to make your own 3D printer. Once you have that you can print your own yacht, food, medicine and servant/work robots.”

        And my friend’s 3D-printer will make this out of what materials? Thin air? You still have to pay for raw materials. Also you don’t adress the factor of building permits and regulations on what people are allowed to manufacture.

        You think just because we have solar power and 3D-printers the government will let the hoi poloi do whatever they want? Not happening.

        • :D

          Yes, thin air contains carbon which we need cleaned from the atmosphere anyway. Otherwise, make your robots mine where you stand. Lower your land plot by 1m, build superstrong scaffolding to raise your structure that meter and you’re back at level again and can use the cubic meters of material to construct whatever.

          Have no land? You don’t think the elite would let you have a few hundred square meters to keep you calm? Bread and Circuses. Very cheap ones. What about just 1sqm each?

          The u.s. has 10m, sq km and 300m inhabs. That’s 30 000 sqm per person. No matter how poor you are, you could form a collective of 1000 and build a skyscraper on 30×30=900 sqm with 5 levels each per person (build 5000 stories high), 4500 m^2 per person of luxurious apartments, actually only using on average 1 sqm per person out of 30000 available on average. That would be for extremely poor people if needed at all. Feel free to adjust the leverage (height) as you see fit from 1-30 000x.

          More importantly, do you actually think people would want mansions and yachts when they don’t signify wealth?

    • What is desireable land and what would you want it for?

      If energy is free, you can take any land plot anywhere (at sea, in the middle of the desert, on a mountain) and let free energy power free robots to build whatever you like, keep it warm or cold and make a local lake of clean freshwater too if you want.

      Yes, you are right about the Swedish archipelago, so I guess Indians would build there own archipelago instead, in a much nicer climate to boot.

  4. enjoyed this article Mikael

    Most of the time i spend on the net is usually on areas where there’s a lot of cynicism, so was definitely refreshing to read this today!

    I have a long running argument with my friend who is a lithium cell engineer. [well more specifically his phD was in alternate forms of cells for cars, now he works reclaiming lithium cells from Car batteries]

    He is of the peak-everything school of thought, whereas i fluctuate from optimism in technological progress, to pessimism in people in power.

    He thinks that solar and most renewable technologies are basically a scam perpetrated by companies seeking large amounts of taxpayer subsidies and that efficiency will never approach something to the extent that we could plop solar cells everywhere [best places is sahara which is not geopolitically stable] with or without 3D printing automated robots.

    As such he is extremely cynical in Musk’s solar city idea.

    I am very fascinated in the blood from skin cells concept though, will have to look more into that.

    Great article, have been absent commenting here for a while but had to pop in and say hello too

    Best

    Anon1

    • Given your friend’s education, no surprise he is cynical.

      Batteries are probably a technological dead end. Chemical elements cannot go beyond lithium. We can see that it takes too much weight to store large amounts of energy. There will be incremental improvements, but at the orders of magnitude needed.

      Work is being done on capacitors on a microscopic scale. That is more likely the storage tech in the decades to come.

    • Hi and thanks for commenting.

      Well, to start with there is at least 1000x the amount of solar energy falling on the Earth than we need. That’s a fact. CAN we collect it? Well, plants can -and we have recently developed bionic leaves that are even more efficient. Does your friend think we will never improve from the current level, despite just having started? In any case the energy is there. Even if transportation is an issue, once enough is getting collected in the solar regions (or from satellites), expending some of that energy to move it is not that much of an issue (Heck, use free energy in Sahara to create bio oils and ship it to the Arctic or Antarctic if needed)

      Most skeptics tend to think only 10-20 years out, never 25-50.

      There is nothing in the laws of physics that says we can’t make use of a fraction of the sun’s energy for our own purposes.

  5. Loving the Entourage references Mikael! Recommend a book I’ve recently read called The Gold Standard: Rules to Live By by Ari Gold. Very funny and oddly very wise!

  6. Sprezza, I’ve been thinking about your graphic on sad, aesthete music for a while now.
    Man, I’m flabbergasted that the weeknd is charting so damn high for so long, plus other low key boring rap songs. Prophetic guess you did!

    How long do you think this trend will last? I’m wary that my music won’t be received well, since it’s very Kanye / WSP-ish and really positive/A.B.I.
    Being populist should be fun tho

    Thanks mikael for the post.

  7. Sprezza, I’ve been thinking about your graphic on sad, aesthete music for a while now.
    Man, I’m flabbergasted that the weeknd is charting so damn high for so long, plus other low key boring rap songs. Prophetic guess you did!

    How long do you think this trend will last? I’m wary that my music won’t be received well, since it’s very Kanye / WSP-ish and really positive/A.B.I.
    Being populist should be fun tho

    Thanks mikael for the post.

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