2040s Here 2015 Blog2040s Here 2015 Blog

Solar Power, Storage and the Grid

This week, Tesla, the automaker, becomes the purveyor of batteries. Tesla Energy plans to offer storage batteries for residential and commercial use in a few months . It comes into the deal with Cargill, the food processor, already committed; Tesla Energy also continues with storage facilities at 11 California Walmart locations. More than offer a new product, it is disrupting the energy industry and, eventually, everything tied to it. Tesla represents the shiny vanguard of this movement. Other manufactures with larger capacity are on the same track.

Read more: Solar Power, Storage and the Grid

California Drought and AGW, What is the Plan?

 I could and probably write a longer piece on California's fourth year of drought, but these bullet points fairly well summarize how it is a microcosm of the global climate change issue:

 Baked earth at Clarence Freitas’ farm, outside Fresno. Photograph: Rory Carroll/the Guardian

  • Fourth year of drought
  • Snow pack and reservoirs very low
  • Farmers drilling fossil water
  • Three year waiting list for drilling
  • Scant information on aquifer capacity and supply
  • Regulations promise no aquifer action until 2040s
  • Fracking competes for water resources
  • No one has a plan
  • Water conservation flagging

California's 2015 snow pack, a traditional source of spring and summer water, comes in at 19% of of normal; winter rains did replenish some reservoirs, but nowhere near enough to meet summer demand. California supplies about 50% of US fruit, nuts and vegetables, yet farmers are forced to drill deep into aquifers for required water. In some places, the output is irreplaceable "fossil water", perhaps millions of years old. A greater problem is that no one knows how much water remains or even overall capacity.

Read more: California Drought and AGW, What is the Plan?

Citgroup commits $100 billion toward sustainability


Sustainability in demand

Citigroup’s Smith confirmed that the company’s announcement comes in the face of immense client demand for sustainable investing: “You probably can follow the chain. Our clients are demanding it, our clients’ clients are demanding it, our clients’ investors are demanding it. There is a momentum and focus on solving big global societal problems that everybody is rallying to.” Citigroup to invest $100bn in tackling climate change

To be balanced, Citigroup still holds substantial investment in coal. The important take away is that the bank's clients are pushing for more sustainable investment.

Will SuperIntelligence Prevent Runaway Global Warming?


Icub full bodyHe believes another 20th century’s worth of progress happened between 2000 and 2014 and that another 20th century’s worth of progress will happen by 2021, in only seven years. A couple decades later, he believes a 20th century’s worth of progress will happen multiple times in the same year, and even later, in less than one month. All in all, because of the Law of Accelerating Returns, Kurzweil believes that the 21st century will achieve 1,000 times the progress of the 20th century. The AI Revolution: The Road to Superintelligence

'This is the first study to conclude that the severity of this century’s drought could surpass even the worst megadroughts of the last millennium. Such a scenario would affect many more people because of the nation’s growing population. The current drought affects more than 64 million people, according to NASA.

“The report supports a growing body of evidence that links climate change to megadroughts,” said Juliet Christian-Smith, a climate scientist in the Oakland, California, office of the Union of Concerned Scientists, a group that works to develop solutions to global problems such as climate change. “Climate change and global warming will make bad droughts much worse.”' Western states face megadrought, experts warn21st Century Highlights

I have trouble resolving these highly plausible future trends. AI will reach and surpass human intelligence. The US Heartland and West face decade long mega-droughts. Will AI help figure out where to send climate refugees? Examples from the '2040s' from Future Timeline.net 2040-2049 timeline contents enforces this sense of imbalance.

2042 — Global population reaches 9 billion
2043 — The Ross Sea has lost 50% of its summer ice cover
2044 — A tipping point for permafrost melting | A transglobal highway and rail network has emerged
2045 — Humans are becoming intimately merged with machines | The Chūō Shinkansen high speed maglev route is complete | Gulf Coast cities are being abandoned due to super hurricanes
2045-2049 — Major extinctions of animal and plant life
2049 — Robots are a common feature of homes and workplaces Where will Gulf cities abandon too when the US Heartland and West are in megadrought?

We'll all have robots, fast trains, be fully transhuman, but also have less food for more people with Anthropogenic Global Warming in runaway process phase. Will robots replace the function of extinct animal and plant life? It seems to me that a society capable of developing SuperIntelligence should advance enough to solve its most existential challenge.

Put another way, are robots and automation more essential than a planet no longer able to sustain our existence?

Fortune: Driverless Cars May Mean Fewer Cars on the Road

The study essentially posits this: if autonomous cars become the norm, they could be shared by two people in the same household. Say Jack and Diane are married and live in the center of a medium-sized city, one where there is no major public transportation to speak of. Their self-driving car could take Jack to his job in the suburbs, then return to the apartment, where Diane would get in and be shuttled to her job in another part of town. The two no longer need their own vehicles to get to work, and can share the one autonomous car without having to deal with car pooling or going out of their way.
Driverless cars could mean fewer cars on the road-Fortune.com.,
9 February 2015

Google Shopping Express car 1Infrastructure challenges

Driverless cars--likely ubiquitious in few decades--present a real challenge for city planners, civil engineers and the like.

  • If they mean fewer cars on the road, how soon?
  • How to calculate tax and revenues
  • Will there be exclusive driverless car roadways?
  • Will they reduce parking?
  • Should children ride without supervision
  • How will it change public transportation?

Obviously, we cannot answer these questions immediately, but they must be addressed at some point. Questions like these require all types of collective input. They epitomize why I created The 2040s Already Here.


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    Could there be anything worse than wasting abundance? That's what our collective societies do to our planet. Worse than waste, we are turning abundance against ourselves.

    • WIP: Wasting AbundanceWasting Abundance
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    Expanding the Thought: Wasting Abundance

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