This is the text of my keynote speech at the 34th Chaos Communication Congress in Leipzig, December You can also watch it on YouTube, but it runs to about 45 minutes. As a working science fiction novelist, I take a professional interest in how we get predictions about the future wrong, and why, so that I can avoid repeating the same mistakes.
The Future Introduction The next few decades will see a profound and all-encompassing energy transformation throughout the world. Whereas society now derives the great majority of its energy from fossil fuels, by the end of the century we will depend primarily on renewable sources like solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal power.
Two irresistible forces will drive this historic transition. The first is the necessity of avoiding catastrophic climate change. In Decembernations unanimously agreed to limit global warming to no more than two degrees Celsius above preindustrial temperatures.
Even if we do nothing to avoid climate change, our current energy regime remains unsustainable. All fossil fuel producers face the problem of declining resource quality, but the problem is most apparent in the petroleum sector.
While new extraction technologies make lower-quality resources accessible like tar sands and tight oil from frackingthese technologies require higher levels of investment and usually entail heightened environmental risks.
World coal and gas supplies have yet to reach the same higher-cost tipping point; however, several recent studies suggest that the end of affordable supplies of these fuels may be years—not decades—away. Nuclear fission power is not likely to play a larger role in our energy future than it does today, outside of China and a few other nations, if current trends continue.
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Indeed, high investment and post-Fukushima safety requirements, growing challenges of waste storage and disposal, and the risks of catastrophic accidents and weapons proliferation may together result in a significant overall shrinkage of the nuclear industry by the end of the century.
Fossil fuels are on their way out one way or another, and nuclear energy is a dead end. That leaves renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and biomass, to shoulder the burden of powering future society.
While it is probably an oversimplification to say that people in the not-too-distant-future will inhabit a percent renewably powered world, it is worth exploring what a complete, or nearly complete, shift in our energy systems would actually mean.
Our lives, communities, and economies changed radically with the transition from wood and muscle power to fossil fuels, and so it is logical that a transition from fossil fuels to renewables—that is, a fundamental change in the quantity and quality of energy available to power human civilization—will also entail a major shift in how we live.
How would a percent renewable world look and feel?
Where will their food come from? How will they get from place to place? What will the buildings they inhabit look like, and how will those buildings function? Visions of the future are always wrong in detail, and often even in broad strokes; but sometimes they can be wrong in useful ways.
Further, by imagining the future we often help create it: Food staples were often grown close to the point of consumption in order to minimize the need for slow and expensive horse- or sail-drawn transport.
Many people worked as farmers or farm laborers, because many hands were required to do the fieldwork needed to produce sufficient food for the entire population. Traction animals were significant symbols of wealth: In slave-holding portions of the United States, some humans claimed ownership of other humans so as to make economic use of their intelligently directed muscles—a horrific practice that shattered the lives of millions its effects continue to reverberate and was ended only by an epic war.
Meanwhile, vast tracts of forest in the northeastern United States were being cleared to provide fuel for home heating and, increasingly, for the operation of industrial machinery, including steamboats and steam locomotives.
Agrarian life in the nineteenth century. Then, in the mids, along came fossil fuels. Compared to firewood, coal and oil were more energy dense and therefore more portable, and they could be made available in greater quantities especially since forests were disappearing due to overcutting.
Compared to muscles, fuel-fed machines were formidable and tireless. Nineteenth-century inventors had already been devising ways to reduce labor through mechanization and to create new opportunities for mobility, communication, and amenity with devices ranging from the telegraph to the rail locomotive.
The advent of cheap, abundant, and transportable fossil energy sources encouraged a flood of new or improved energy-consuming technologies. A series of significant inventions—including the electricity generator, alternating current, and the electric motor—made energy from coal also from moving water and later from natural gas and nuclear fission available in homes and offices.
This opened the potential for electric lighting, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, and an ever-expanding array of entertainment and communications devices, including telephones, radios, televisions, and computers.
Meanwhile, liquid fuels made from petroleum mobilized the economy as never before.Affiliation Process The Membership year brings the challenge of achieving a record 35th straight year of membership growth for HOSA.
The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future [Joseph E. Stiglitz] on heartoftexashop.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A forceful argument against America's vicious circle of growing inequality by the Nobel Prize–winning economist.
America currently has the most inequality. The Impact Of Computers On Society Today Computers have made such an enormous impact on our society today. There isn t a place where you can turn where there isn't a computer involved.
In the present time, most businesses rely on computers and it s similar technology. The Lilydale & District Historical Society was formed in to help plan and mount suitable displays for the Shire of Lillydale's Centenary in February The future of the internet is in all of our hands.
Read the Global Internet Report to see the scale of the challenge, and what we need to do to achieve a positive future. For years, our personal computers were made up of monitors, keyboards, and a big beige box.
Then laptops came along and changed everything—until a small, flat plate of glass encased in metal.