The Coronavirus might be disrupting a lot of things at the moment, but there’s many other very important technologies you should be keeping an eye on too. These major disruptions are present in all fields all throughout the world but today we’re going to focus a bit on the top three.
These are the ones that will make the biggest impact throughout the world both now and in the future. They will change how we live our lives in multiple ways and as such, it pays to be aware of them and how they’ll affect your personal future.
1. EV’s And Self-Driving Cars
There’s still a lot of anger and emotion surrounding Electric Vehicles and the transition being made from Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles. That being said, it’s now become exceedingly clear that it is happening and that it’s just a question of exactly how long it’ll take.
Multiple, huge countries have now fully committed to completely banning new ICE sales from dates ranging from 2025 to 2040. The percentage of EV’s on the road is creeping up world wide and has already passed the critical 1% mark. This means that the acceleration will go very quickly now, especially given that EV vs ICE cost parity is expected to be reached around 2023 or possibly earlier.
At this point an EV will be cheaper to run, cheaper to service, longer lasting, have faster and smoother acceleration, be cleaner and also cost the same or less up front. While not all EV problems have been completely solved just yet, they’re no longer an issue by any means for most dense, urban areas and so their huge uptake can proceed unhindered.
While people buying EV cars instead of ICE cars might not seem like much of a change for your average person (it’s still a car), the change is significant and very serious for the legacy ICE car companies. It’s so serious that it’s starting to seem doubtful that some of them will actually make the transition at all without going bankrupt.
Many still have their head firmly in the sand, refusing to acknowledge that the transition is already well under way. Others have begun to talk the talk but are not nearly walking the walk quick enough. As an example, Netherlands will ban new ICE sales by 2025, Norway by 2025, Germany 2030 and the UK, France and California by 2040.
This flat out banning of new car sales would mean companies like BMW, VW, Toyota and more wouldn’t be able to sell 50-80% of their vehicle line up at all in those countries. While there will still be markets that have lower or no EV policies *cough* Australia! *cough cough* that they’ll be able to dump them in I can’t imagine it’ll help their profits. These profits are already in free fall even before this Corona Recession hit.
The real wild card is the Impending Autonomous Car Shitstorm and how that will play out with Transport as a Service (TaaS). This is where we no longer own our cars and instead just rent them via a subscription like Netflix. In Australia a standard car might set you back $20,000-$30,000 AUD and then cost you $1,000 in insurance, $1,500 in petrol and $300 in servicing each year. Given most usually sell their cars second hand after around 4-5 years you’re looking at a yearly cost of around $2,500-$3,000 on top of the thousands of dollars of depreciation.
If Uber or Lyft or Tesla can provide you 15,000 km of self-driving on demand rides throughout the year for $3,000/year I don’t imagine it’ll be too hard of a sell. You’ll save thousands of dollars a year in depreciation and parking fees, it’ll be safer, you’ll be able to do whatever you want while in the car and won’t have to ever worry about parking fees, insurance, servicing, accidents, cleaning the car or filling it up again.
If this shift, expected to begin around 2023-2025, takes hold as it seems likely to, traditional auto companies could become a thing of the past very quickly. Transport could even become completely free in some cases. This will also have the most effect on regular people as they will no longer own their own cars and instead rent them.
You could request a sports car… or a 4WD… or a truck to go and get some building supplies. The benefits to the environment would be immense as well given it makes the most financial sense to run a TaaS company with EV not ICE cars.
2. Solar And Home Battery Storage
The next major disruption to ensure you’re paying attention to is one that’s been well under way now for about 10 years. Private houses, private businesses as well as huge power producers are all turning to solar and more recently batteries too.
While Australia has actually been leading the world in private home Solar and Home Battery Storage uptake it’s lagging in overall renewable energy percentages. This is due to the stark difference between the overwhelming majority of sensible and logical Australians, and the Federal Government.
Disregarding the politics of it all, the entire world is again making a huge and increasingly faster shift to renewables and batteries. Many places are already running entirely on renewables and the goals of hundreds of countries are in place. It’s a certainty now and just a matter of time before the world electrical grid is either carbon neutral or negative.
Whether you’re a coal miner, power plant operator, transmission line maintainer or a software engineer that works on power company billing software everything is changing incredibly quickly. The entire industry is also being disrupted by new business models and the digital revolution just to make everything even more complex.
If you’re none of the above things and just use power normally at home you can now buy it at the flat wholesale rate via companies like Amber Electric, rent solar panels off your traditional power company or go entirely off grid if you’re out in the country. You can run your EV entirely on solar power, have your house remain up and running during a blackout thanks to home batteries and even give yourself an extra passive income source by feeding solar power back into the grid.
The changes to both the individual and the energy industry as a whole will continue to be hugely profound. Beyond the initial change over from coal/gas to solar/wind things will also change when it comes to oil and gas rich nation states. Their huge income sources will fade away over the decade along with their power and influence. Politics and wars over oil or gas will be made irrelevant as all countries will need them less and less.
Power prices will begin to converge towards essentially zero as the technology continues its relentless advance. Solar panels will go from their current 300-400 Watts now to 800 Watts or more while battery prices plummet even more. Eventually even the cheapest home will be almost entirely off grid and fully carbon neutral.
3. Artificial Intelligence
Last but certainly not least we have AI. Today most peoples opinion of AI is that it’s kind of stupid but as I’ve written previously, only the arrogant underestimate AI. Like all technology AI is poised to ramp up the knee of the exponential curve in many critical fields very soon.
This is where you see it as being “silly” or “stupid” like you might with an AI bot in a game… but then after a few quick iterations and upgrades it becomes utterly god like and impossible for any human, even the world champion, to ever beat it.
The thing is though, AI isn’t just being applied to games like Chess, Go or Poker. It’s being applied to virtually everything such as cutting data centre power and heating bills by 40%, predicting new drugs, designing new structures and mechanical parts, replacing news writers and even potentially replacing the traditional graphics card.
While many of these things show promise and are getting better results already than what was traditionally possible we’re still just in the starting blocks here. As AI accelerates in every field it not only essentially becomes a form of magic, but then feeds back in on other fields making even more new things possible and better.
Image recognition and facial identification AI quickly led to them being able to independently generate new faces as well as manipulate them too. This led to AI being able to alter images Photoshop style, then led to AI being able to alter videos all on your modestly powerful everyday computer. It’s now possible for skilled AI programmers to create entirely realistic and fake videos of whomever they want to all at home.
AI has been described as “the new electricity” as it will gradually permeate and interlace with literally every business and thing we do. From having it predict your favourite next song or movie, to driving you to and from work safely, to scanning the Internet and custom writing your daily news in just the right style that you prefer.
Beyond this AI is very close to becoming a fully competent person / bot you can talk to about all sorts of things. While this might sound useless or annoying now (for example those infuriating IVRs), with a few upgrades and tweaks it’s expected it’ll become near impossible to tell whether you’re speaking to a certified, professional Doctor or an AI chat bot.
Imagine rolling out a free, god like capable psychologist / doctor / therapist / optometrist AI that anyone and everyone, from us privileged in the 1st world to the poorest in the refuge camps, could access for free and as easily as they do a Google search. The health benefits would be staggering.
The Most Exciting Decade Ever!
Many are half jokingly saying that 2020 is a horrible or world ending year. That life is getting harder and harder and that everything is going wrong. The Coronavirus isn’t exactly fantastic obviously, but there are so many disruptions both happening and scaling up rapidly over the next 5-10 years that I think we are going to have a jaw dropping decade.
I haven’t even mentioned the astonishing new space era that’s dawning or how our entire meat industry is being upended either. There is so much new tech, so much disruption, so many breakthroughs and science and amazement all happening and feeding back into each other 100 times over.
It’s hard to keep up, hopefully this site helps though. If you think it does, it’s always appreciated if you share it with your friends and family. So what are your top three disruptions? Let us know in the comments below!
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