Here be thread for all things techological like gadgets, phones, computers ect
Did they just made interstellar travel feasible?
It’s interesting to think of what the next big leap in power will be. Small fusion reactors would be nice, but the big ones have got a way to go before the miniaturization starts happening. Aluminium-ion batteries have twice the capacity of lithium-ion and should be everywhere in a few years, but that’s only 2x and that project needs quite a bit more than that.
I think there’s some curve ball out there that either nobody’s thought of or that’s been prematurely or deliberately shelved for one reason or another. A super efficient solid state heat to energy convertor,
or something that pipes energy from a parallel dimension.
It’s almost certain we have got something fundamentally wrong in our assumptions, no matter how well tested they are with respect to how we can currently test them… it would be the first period in history where we had not if this was not the case. I hope the next quantum leap isn’t reserved for military purposes.
There are so many new battery technologies in research at the moment its mind boggling and awesome. I can’t wait for a way that rechargeable batteries have a lifespan of decades instead of a few years.
I happen to be one of those who thinks we have too much technology. But then, that’s really not fair to technology itself.
Technology has always been morally ambiguous. The problem isn’t the technology itself, it’s how we use it. A gun used to defend yourself is good tech, a gun used to kill an innocent person is bad tech. But then again, that’s really not the fault of the technology itself, is it?
Communication technology that allows us to meet and have conversations with people all around the planet is good tech. Communications technology used to whip people up into a frenzy and promote hatred and violence is bad tech. But again, that’s not the fault of the technology itself.
I gave up on trying to predict what the next big tech thing will be, things just change too fast anymore. Whatever it happens to be, I hope our ability to use that tech for good will improve in the same way that the technology improved.
“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us and the world can live as one”.
I thought about this the other day when I watched video on pre 2007 cellphones. I have not seen such a pace of radically new technologies as between 2007-2020. The smartphone era, 4G LTE, wifi advances, electric cars.
I believe the next big things will be new battery technology, 5G, more fibre rollout, new cancer treatments, artificial gravity, passenger drones, self driving cars, electric planes, new/more renewable plastics, nuclear electricity propulsion systems and even age reversal technologies.
I have seen some people expect smart glasses will replace smartphones eventually, but I don’t think it will fully replace cellphones. Wearing glasses in bed and browsing is not comfy when you lay on your sides. Thus I think it will be complimentary technology.
Interesting list. On the plastics side, I’m hoping that as marijuana is “legalized” here in the US, hemp can be produced that can do away with a lot of the plastic and Styrofoam we use now.
The thing I most worry about tech though is how it gives those in power the ability to monitor and record everything we do. We already have that, we carry devices on us and put devices in our homes that have the ability to record and monitor everything we say and do. To what extent that is currently happening, is hard to say, but as long as the capability is there, the potential for abuse exists.
I don’t think the explosion in smart devices was driven by giving people the ability to play Candy Crush all day long.
I’m hoping that in the future, people will start getting tired of a lot of this stuff. To me, the whole social media, smart device thing is contrary to human behavior. We are social animals who require physical contact and interaction with other people. I am certain there are those who prefer sequestering themselves away in an artificial cocoon in order to prevent anything bad happening to them. For those who choose to live that way, that’s fine, but I wouldn’t call that living.
I get in trouble a lot for my views on people and how they view themselves in the natural order of things. But I do believe that we are bound by the same laws of nature that govern all other forms of life on this planet. We have the ability to manipulate things, and bend our environment to our will, but eventually nature will win out. One of our failings as a species is that we take more than we need.
Damn, that White Widow mixed with a little Jack Herer is some good shit!!!
I am on my mobile laying in bed so excuse any typos. Something which I hope the UN can tackle is how much of current progress is tied up in patents. Patent blueprints and proprietory software code hid away from the public. We have a seedbank if something very calamityious happen. But there are no central blueprint repository for state of the art technology. If something bad happen humanity will be set back decades.
Francois, you hit on the probably the two biggest points regarding most of this.
I was going to get into how big business and big government play a big role in what “technology” actually makes it way to the public. But you laid it out pretty well.
But the main point is the one you made about a blueprint for the state of the art technology.
When I talk about our environment, our nature if you will, I include in that all the complex systems that are required to work together seamlessly in order to sustain life as we know it.
Just like Covid was one of those things that everyone said “would” happen someday, those systems will fail. How much impact that has depends on a lot of things. But what history teaches us is that when the really bad things happen, it’s never one thing. It’s always a number of seemingly unrelated things coming together at a certain point in time. The closer those systems are to their tipping points, like the electrical grid and the transportation infrastructure here in the US, the easier it is for those seemingly unrelated items to cause a lot of damage.
Well we are one solar event from being plunged into darkness. A lot of human knowledge only exists in electronic form too, so any sustained event could erase a lot of our knowledge base. I hope somebody, somewhere is printing all of the important stuff out!
Yep, the list of things the will be our eventual undoing is long indeed.
But getting back to technology, what about fusion reactors?
I don’t know much on the subject, but it does appear to be a lot safer than fission.
There are loads of projects going on, my bet is on China getting there first. MIT are doing a big partnership program, when I watched a documentary about it the scientists were saying it’s all down to engineering now. So 99% complete with only 99% to go.
I lived on top of eight nuclear reactors for a couple of years when I was in the Navy. My hair’s failing out but I can still get it up so I guess no harm.
But I always felt, at some point, we were going to have to go with something nuclear, but only in places where it’s the best option.
We’re in great shape here in Hawaii with respect to renewables, lots of sunshine and wind, but other places aren’t so lucky. I think fossil fuels are going to be around for a long time, but I think it’s a good idea to get away from that where you can. So if you take away renewables, and you take away fossil fuel, what’s left?
There are farms powered by methane from animal manure, so that’s something a bit different!
Not sure about renewables anymore Toleolu, it seems the only realistic direction is nuclear. I came to this conclusion after watching this documentary, dont know if you guys saw this yet. See below.
I agree that it’s going to take a lot more than just renewables. I can see where it would work pretty well where I live, but no so much in other places. I think even the “experts” agree with that because the most optimistic projections I’ve seen say we that renewables can account for only about 30% of our total energy needs here in the US. The other problem with renewables is not only how toxic the storage batteries are, but all the toxic by products produced during the manufacturing process. Not as bad a nuclear waste, granted, but still capable of leaching into the water table and causing a lot of problems.
One area of new tech would be more efficient, higher conductivity materials used in the power lines, transformers, and electrical substations. An awful lot of energy is lost just in the resistance of a lot of the old, outdated materials currently in use.
I often wonder if there had not been a moratorium placed on fission reactors, would we now have a lot more safe, or safer, fusion reactors.
That’s a really interesting article, just shows that there are a lot of options out there, I guess it just comes down to economics and politics determining what actually makes it’s way into the marketplace.
I’m reminded of what happened with Tesla and Edison during the “Current Wars”. Tesla’s system was AC and Edison’s system was DC. Tesla and Westinghouse won the first contract to build an electrical power plant, I forget exactly where it was, using the river fed by Niagara Falls to turn the generators.
Prior to that, Tesla was approached by JP Morgan to fund his research, but Tesla refused saying he wanted to provide free energy to the people. JP Morgan ended up backing Edison and created General Electric. General Electric went on to become an industrial giant and Tesla died penniless.
Tesla was a genius, he invented and designed an entire AC distribution network in his head from scratch (obviously) before putting pen to paper and we use mostly the same equipment today.
When the “Current Wars” were going on, Edison wanted to scare people about AC so he filmed an elephant being electrocuted using AC.