"Pay my troops no mind; they're just on a fact-finding mission."

Some Things That Will Disrupt The 21st Century Economy

  • Better translator technology. Right now I still have to pay money to get decent translations, that while cheap, has a 4-6 hours turn around time. Shared languages changes trading as much as being a border country.
  • Localized manufacturing. Right now there is a project going, funded by Peter Thiel, to use the principles behind printed organs and veins to create printed meat. Samne principle as is used in medicine, only much simpler. Many aerospace parts, for instance, can be designed in 3d printing machines. It would be lovely if we could manufacture decent circuit boards with this. Right now Taiwan and China pump out lots of cheap wafer boards, other countries produce higher quality ones. However all of the asian countries are teching up very quickly, but are still behind their western counterparts. But most of the growth that the West has enjoyed has come from a few isolated areas that, if combined, would form a small nation with an extremely high GDP. And those areas do everything they can to get talent from the entire world.
  • The technology to defeat the rifle is tantamount to disarmament. With a few exceptions, like being able to shoot a drone operator in their control room, this is true. Except new weapons, that while they are technically rifles, are more sophisticated.
  • Low earth orbit and space trade. Right now Seasteads are more practical, but by the time people wrap their heads around it, it may be easier just to switch to space colonies. Everyone has ideas at this point on how to decrease the cost of going into space, I have some ideas I’ve been kicking around some ideas for creating an electromagnetic heat shield for atmospheric reentry, but haven’t taken the time to actually test it. But in 5-10 years the economy of scale will be good enough that we can test random experiments. There’s no shortage of STEM guys who want to work on space and other sci fi tech.
  • Synthetic biology. This is now NASA’s preferred bootstrapping method, as it uses very little energy for it’s performance and is very portable.
  • Robotics, everyone is likely painfully familiar with this already.
  • Artificial General Intelligence.
  • Nanotech will also disrupt things, but it’s farther off. We might be able to use 3d printers to build things up from nano level.

Craig Venter speaking at NASA ames:

OpenCog, an open source Artificial General Intelligence project:

3 responses to “Some Things That Will Disrupt The 21st Century Economy

  1. Chrysalis September 4, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Nanotech will come before any of that other stuff. I used to worry that my excellent language skills would go to waste because machines will learn to translate, but there was no step forward in that direction for over a decade.

  2. Abelard Lindsey September 6, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    I would add radical life extension to the list. SENS appears to be the most likely form of this. However, stem-cell regeneration and synthetic biology (the stem-cells may be synthetic biology themselves) will compliment SENS.

    LENR (aka “cold fusion”) appears to be real, with several start-ups working to commercialize it.

    With regards to society in general, especially government and politics, I tend to be a pessimist. However, technological innovation, especially that which leads to radical decentralization and hyper-empowered individuals and small groups, may provide a more optimistic future. If small groups of us who seek freedom and openness can create the future we want, regardless of the actions of politicians and bureaucrats (who are, by definition, parasites), then the future will work out fine for those of us who have the greatest enthusiasm for it.

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