Opinion | The Coming Technology Boom
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Opinion | The Coming Technology Boom

A few months ago, economic analyst Noah Smith Views That scientific advancement is like mining ore. You think a vein is your promise. You take risks and invest heavily. You explore it until it taps.

The problem is that in the last few decades only a few veins are actually paying off and changing lives. Information technology has clearly been discovered on a large scale – the Internet and smartphones. Thanks to public investment, clean energy innovation is fast and plentiful. Since 1976, the price of solar modules has fallen by 99.6 percent.

But life-changing successes, while still significant, were fewer than they once were. If you were born in 1900 and died in 1970, you lived from the age of a horse drawn car to the age of man on the moon. You saw widespread use of electricity, air-conditioning, aviation, automobiles, penicillin, and more. But if you were born in 1960 and live to this day, the driving and flight experience would be safe, but otherwise the same, and your kitchen aside from the microwave, is basically unchanged.

In 2011, economist Tyler Cowen published a presentation book, “The Great Stagnation”, explaining why scientific progress was slowed. Peter Thiel complained that we wanted a flying car, but we got Twitter.

But this technical flaw may be over. Suddenly A lot of Are smart people Write about Many veins that look promising. The first and most obvious is vaccine. The amazing fact about the Kovid-19 vaccines is that modern scientists had Was made First January 13, 2020. Many people were also at risk of disease before they had the vaccine.

This is not only a new vaccine, but also a new type of vaccine. MRNA vaccines will help our bodies fight pathogens more effectively and can lead to successes in dealing with all types of diseases. for example, Researchers hope for mRNA cancer vaccines, which cannot prevent cancer, but can help your body fight certain forms.

In energy, geothermal breakthroughs are generating tremendous enthusiasm. As david roberts notes An excellent explainer at Vox, Earth’s molten core is around 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, roughly the same temperature as the Sun. If we can harness 0.1 percent of the energy below the surface of the Earth, then we can supply the total energy needs of humanity for two million years.

Engineers are finding out how to meet the heat in the non-rock rock below the surface. As Roberts writes, “If its more enthusiastic backers are right, geothermal may hold the key to making 100 percent clean electricity available to everyone in the world.”

It is not even to mention fusion. When you read it, in one of my stories, my Times colleague Henry Fountain Reported Last September, how MIT researchers designed a compact nuclear reactor that should work. China in present There is an experimental thermonuclear reactor reaching 270 million Fahrenheit.

It seems that autonomous vehicles are three years away from the last 10 years. But sooner or later they will arrive. Waymo is already started A driverless ride in Phoenix – like Uber and Lyft, but none on the front seat.

Meanwhile, in the electric car sector, Toyota is developing a Vehicle Which can go up to 310 miles at once and charge from zero to full in 10 minutes.

One can go on: artificial intelligence; Space exploration is heating up; A variety of anti-aging technologies are being pursued; Times on wednesday Reported On an anti-obesity medication. There is also Meat meat. It is meat grown from animal cells that will enable us to enjoy steak and chicken macgats without actually killing cows and chickens.

Obviously, all these nerves are not paying off, but what if we slowly built a world with clean cheap energy, driverless cars And more energetic productive years in our lives?

In addition, global productivity will increase. Economists call total factor productivity that has been grinding at 0 to 2 percent growth over the years. But a series of successes can increase productivity. Our economy and world will look very different.

On the downside, the clutter will also be heavy. What happens to all those drivers? If labs take up a significant share of the market, what happens to those who work in the field? Political difficulties will be complicated by the fact that those who would benefit from these high-tech industries live in highly educated blue parts of the country, while older industry workers who would be displaced remain among the less educated. Red part.

We will ride the tiger of rapid change. The economy will grow rapidly but millions of people will have trouble getting a place in it. Universal Basic Income will become a red-hot topic.

Government investment has greatly increased this progress. The government will have to act aggressively to reduce the setbacks. But it is better to face the challenges of mobility than the challenges of deadlock. Life will be long and healthy, energy will be clean and cheap, there will be an abundance of progress and wonder.

In a week of political disappointment, I thought you’d like some good news.

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