This article will represent the beginning of a new series in which we look at the future of technology and how it will impact our civilization. In this article in particular, we’ll talk about the potential impacts of room-temperature superconductors and we’ll also discuss the history of technological revolutions and how they enhanced our biology over the course of millions of years. This will lead us to a concept coined by the cosmologist Max Tegmark called “Life 3.0.” We’ll discuss how the third industrial revolution will differ from all other prior technological revolutions in that it’ll produce technology which will allow us to enhance the functionality of our own biology.
Superconductors are the key to unlocking the future of transportation and electrical transmission. They enable the most efficient approaches to these industrial processes known to present science. A maglev vehicle, to borrow Jeremy Rifkin's wording, will shrink the dimensions of space and time by allowing distant continental and inter-continental regions to be accessed in, well, not much time at all. But superconductors also offer unprecedented efficiency: they eliminate the problem of atoms colliding with other atoms and would allow vehicle to "slide" across enormous distances with virtually no loss of energy and it would allow a loop of current to persist longer than the remaining lifetime of the universe. Much of the damage accumulated in the components of vehicles can, in some way or another, be traced to the friction against the road; maglev transportation circumvents this issue.
Li-Fi was invented in 2011 by professor Harald Haas and is a form of wireless communications technology which would allow us to transmit information and data at least 100 times faster than Wi-Fi. Even more significantly, Li-Fi is essential—and in fact, it is necessary—for us to transition to a Third Industrial Revolution (TIR) infrastructure where everything in the environment—from buildings, roads, and walkways—becomes "cognified."
As the title suggests, in this article we’ll be talking about the future of robotics, AI, and automation. We’ll have pretty detailed discussions on driverless vehicles (which can be thought of as robots), agricultural robots, manufacturing and construction robots, and retail robots. We’ll also briefly talk about things like nanobots and some of the kinds of robots we could use in space. We’ll also have a discussion about “big numbers” and the kinds of weird quantum effects that we’d expect to occur over long time intervals. Lastly, we discuss the scientific possibility of the holy grail of Star Trek - universal assemblers.
Undoubtedly, if our wisdom and foresight rises to be commensurate with our science and technology, the future of humanity in the 21st century is Utopian. We will have re-engineered the surface of the Earth with cities, transportation and communication systems, and new energy infrastructure which are designed and constructed to have optimal efficiency according to known science. We will have also spread across much of the solar system and, perhaps, have sent robotic spacecraft off to the nearest star system, Alpha Centauri. Aside from re-engineering the Earth and other worlds in our solar system, we will also likely re-engineer ourselves as we merge with our technology and machines. This will be the subject of discussion in this article.