Monday, June 09, 2008

If we could foresee the future...

It would only break our hearts. For instance, take this set of predictions from Ray Kurzweil.
· Within 5 years the exponential progress in nanoengineering will make Solar power cost-competitive with fossil fuels
· Within 10 years we will have a pill that allows us all to eat whatever we feel like and never gain any unwanted weight

· In 15 years, life expectancies will start rising faster than we age

· In about 20 years 100% of our energy will come from clean and renewable sources, and a computer will pass the Turing Test by carrying on a conversation that is indistinguishable from a human’s. [
I know - guys like these make a living with outlandish predictions. But think about what farming would be like then. Suppose technology serves up significantly cheaper energy (when you count in environmental assessments that I think are coming) than fossil fuels.

Electricity will be the way to do things - not internal combustion. while perhaps our fuel costs could drop, so would our market for ethanol. One reason I worry about the protected nature of our ethanol industry is being insulated from market signals arising from new technologies. Despite what we say about food prices, etc. farming would be different without the energy future.

Really, really different.

1 comment:

Ol James said...

Mr Kurzweil had better watch using graphs and charts. Another guy used a lot of those visual aids and looked what happened to him..Ross Pero,( think that's the way it's spelled). But, then again, he mentioned something about $5.00 a gallon gas didn't he??
The only problem I see with the electronic services being delivered, if fuel cost keep rising then the deliverable goods and services will rise accordingly. And will strip malls have gardens and orchards and slaughter houses behind them?? Like Merle Haggard said.."We'll all be drinking that free Bubble-Up and eating that Rainbow Stew".