Humans as batteries that power machines … Sounds familiar

Not a day goes by where I don’t read of a cutting edge new technology. These are amazing times and very much the foundation for an exponential revolution in our entire way of life.

One thing, however, is universal to every single technology no matter what field of science or art it encompasses. Technology almost universally requires energy to run. It has often been said that the person who develops the super capable battery, able to charge almost instantly and then provide power for extreme periods of time, will win a Nobel prize. The ability to capture energy in vast amounts and then use it to power some technologies effectively forever, will truly change our entire way of life.

Imagine a huge skyscraper that is able to capture solar energy via its windows, and use human generated bio heat in order to power all of its needs. Imagine such an edifice never having to draw power from the main lines. Now imagine every single home and business using equivalent technologies to eliminate dependency on the large electrical grids. I can only imagine what this would mean, but it strikes me that dependency on oil would drastically drop and the entire world’s economies would have to undergo a major adjustment. All of the naturalists fighting to eliminate the dangers of fossil fuels would no longer have a concern.

Apparently, the natural gas that cows (yes, moo moos) exude during their natural lives is a major source of greenhouse gases. Imagine capturing all of those natural gases and using them to power everything. Once again, technology rather than mass rallies is what could change our whole global warming situation [and this does not mean that I per se believe in the global warming argument].

In the following article, the author describes how energy can be harvested from any number of sources to power our surroundings. The author states that heat generated from the human body, leg movements and even finger tapping could add up to sufficient amounts of kinetic energy in order to power entire buildings and, following this, entire Smart cities. This is yet another reason why predictions about almost anything are so unreliable. Only a couple of years ago, people were speaking about the price of oil spiraling out of control and leading to a collapse of major economies. Today, the low cost of oil is threatening a number of economies just as much. When the day comes within <pick a number> years, that we no longer even need to use oil to power our needs, obviously, world economies will fundamentally change.

As power becomes cheaper and cheaper, robots and computers that can manufacture anything, will become cheaper and cheaper as well. We know that technology continues to follow an exponential curve such that the phones we have in our pockets would have cost a billion dollars to construct just a couple of generations ago. As the cost of everything dramatically goes down, will there still be such a thing as abject poverty?

When a person can buy a 3-D printing device that can take sewage, break it down into its molecular components, add some cheap chemicals and produce nutritious food and shelter, what will that mean for the entire developing world? And when this same developing world will have access to holographic augmented reality that gives them the exact same experience as people living in Beverly Hills, in terms of education and job opportunities, once again what will that mean? This is not science fiction fancy. This is a future that we will live in within the next 2 to 3 generations. And even if it takes 4 to 5 generations to come to fruition, we are talking about a revolution that has never been seen in the history of mankind.

It is my humble opinion that if you want to save the world, invest in any technology that makes energy cheaper. Invest in battery technologies. Elon musk is clearly a trailblazer in this field. Although his initial interest was more in the realm of powering electric cars, he is already expanding to other uses for advanced battery technology. I recently read an article about drones that can plant trees. Imagine that. Swarms of drones, with near limitless battery life, that continue to fight back desert by planting more and more trees. Using advanced water technologies, mostly from Israel, deserts can bloom outside of Israel. I really get the impression that when people bemoan our present state of affairs, they lack the imagination and vision to appreciate what is right around the corner.

Thanks for listening

About the Author
Dr. Nahum Kovalski received his bachelor's of science in computer science and his medical degree in Canada. He came to Israel in 1991 and married his wife of 22 years in 1992. He has 3 amazing children and has lived in Jerusalem since making Aliyah. Dr. Kovalski was with TEREM Emergency Medical Services for 21 years until June of 2014, and is now a private consultant on medicine and technology.
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