The world is changing around us. This is no surprise. Anyone who follows what is taking place with a degree of attention understands this.
However, unlike what the media promotes, things are getting much better around the world. It is a fact lost on most people since we tend not to step back and look at things.
According to humanprogress.org, this is how much the world changed over a 50 year period:
- In 1966, average life expectancy was only 56 years. In 2016, it was 72. That’s an increase of 29 percent.
- Out of every 1,000 infants born, 113 died before their first birthday. In 2016, only 32 died. That’s a reduction of 72 percent.
- Average income per person rose from $3,698 to over $17,469, or by 372 percent – and that’s adjusted for inflation.
- The food supply rose from about 2,300 calories per person per day to over 2,800 calories, an increase of 22 percent, thus reducing hunger.
- The length of schooling that a person could typically expect to receive was 4.15 years. In 2016, it was 8.71 years – a 110 percent increase.
- On a scale from 0, which denotes autocracy, to 10, which denotes democracy, political freedom rose from 4.55 in 1966 to 7.05 in 2016. That’s an improvement of 55 percent
A great deal of this progress was due to technology. Most of that period can be considered the "Information Age". The largest variable in that was the advancement of computing. Here is an industry we saw such progress that it basically consumed the developed world. Today, we see the path still expanding as second and third world countries start to see similar advancement.
The next few decades will be met with another cycle of equally important advancement. In fact, when taken in totality, this will usurp what took place in the time frame outlined, by orders of magnitude. There is simply no way to deny the accelerating nature of things.
Distribution and decentralization are buzz words that seem popular these days. However, when we look at things, we see how this is more than just a marketing slogan. We truly are witnessing new systems being implemented based upon this modeling. Blockchain is obviously one factor that many of those reading this will be familiar. There are others though.
Here are some basic areas where this transition is starting (or continuing) to take place:
These can be summed up with the idea that they follow a "law" like Moore's Law in computing. Essentially, we see a concept that is also described as a zero marginal cost society.
In short, all these areas of life are heading towards zero, or near zero, cost. We already saw some of this with an areas such as information. Other than time, it cost nothing to produce this article and zero marginal cost to upload it. By the same token, all reading it are doing so free of charge.
Contrast that to 40 years ago. Something like this would require being printing in a publication such as a newspaper or maybe as a newsletter. Either way, it was in physical form which meant there was a cost not only to produce but also distribute.
In addition to information, computing and communication obviously saw similar results over the last 4 decades. The reason why they are still included is because they are not done. We will see massive improvements in these areas with the additions of satellites, quantum, 5G (plus 6G and 7G) as well as new forms of semiconductor design/architecture.
The others sectors will see great enhancement due to this along with developments on their own. We already can see the basic foundation being laid in each area which will expand throughout this decade and into the next. Since these are such an intricate part of life, each will end up feeding off the others.
For example, what is the solution to a water shortage? There answer is we do not have a water shortage. What exists is a lack of clean drinking water. This is solved by energy. Most of the water on the planet is in the oceans. Yet, salt water is not fit for consumption. Thus we can desalinate and give the world enough water to last dozens of lifetimes.
We know how to do this. The challenge right now is the cost due to energy. It takes a lot of energy to desalinate even a gallon of water. Drive energy costs to near zero and suddenly desalination plants running 24/7 is not an issue.
Essentially what is going to happen is the cost per unit is going to be pushed down, approaching zero. This is also what confuses people. Simply put, we use metrics that are outdated.
Another great example of this is the cost for cameras. For standalone cameras, the cost exploded over the years. Twenty years ago, the average camera cost was only a couple hundred dollars. Today, it is over a thousand dollars. This occurred because serious hobbyists and professionals are the only ones who buy cameras anymore.
For the rest of us, we use our phones. Of course, if we compare this to the age of film, things are radically different. Back then, one paid a few dollars for the film, then another few dollars to get it developed. Hence, the cost per picture was somewhere between 25-50 cents apiece.
How much is the cost per picture today? It is near zero. Almost all of us pay nothing for the camera device (built into the phone), zero for the pictures, and the same to distribute. Compare this to the time when we had to get an extra set of pictures developed AND physically mail them to grandma.
Is it any wonder we take near 3 trillion pictures a year? The near zero cost led to total abundance in this area.
Hence, when we look at what is going to happen to the costs such as per mile drives, per gallon of water, and per kWh of energy used, we are going to see massive drops in this areas.
This will also likely result in the totality of the numbers massive increasing, just like it did with pictures taken.
Hang on. The world is about to change a great deal over the next 20 years.
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