2020 compared with 1920

If polywell fusion is developed, in what ways will the world change for better or worse? Discuss.

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2020 compared with 1920

Post by CharlesKramer »

I know this is silly... the kind of speculation that might be fun, but never scientific....

My theory is the 2020 decade may turn out to the most transformative since 1920 -- the decade that democratized automobiles (with the increasingly cheap Model T and highways built for them), the transformation of airplanes into real transportation, the rise of the first national communications medium (radio), and the rise of Hollywood and the idea of the movie star.

Every decade has its claim to massive change from technology (in the 1930s rural electrification in the USA, in the 1940s antibiotics and nuclear weapons, 1950s television); but the only thing close to the transformations of the 1920s was the late 1990s (democratization of the Internet)

And with such technological change comes political and social changes.

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE NEXT 10 YEARS? Possibly it will produce:

-- rapid adoption of electric cars (already at the tipping point -- occurring superfast)

-- potential medical treatments to cure Type 1 diabetes, some types of cancer, and sickle cell and other genetic diseases

-- everyone's favorite here: decentralized pB11 fusion to make cheap electricity

-- a desperate need for intervention via desalinization and some method to induce global cooling

-- quantum computing (probably the least likely of the list)

-- self-driving trucks (on highways, anyway)

-- Internet of Things (everything has an IP address -- reporting to, and controllable from, the Cloud) (this is already real in industry -- whether it makes sense for consumer products seems more like hype for now)

Each one of those would be transformative in ways no model can help predict. For example, the rapid phase out of gasoline cars means no more catalytic converters, which means less demand for the platinum they require, which means potential effects on countries that use platinum.

Bad time to open a muffler shop or truck stop.

Beyond that who knows...


- photonics and increasing integration of electrical and photon elements in a chip

- hyperloop! Canada (!) seems to be the leader And 2 San Francisco companies are working on tunneling via plasma (faster!) instead of mechanical drilling

-sensors too! Both small (smart watches that detect blood oxygen, stairs walked, etc. etc.) and sensors for industry (industrial Internet of things)

- ultrasound patch! https://www.theguardian.com/science/202 ... al-imaging

None of which is directly related to fusion, of course, but it gives me hope a new age of dramatic tech made commercial is here, or will be soon

Of course in the 1950s everyone imagined they're be driving nuclear powered Fords and flying in nuclear airplanes...
Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/charleskramer

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Re: 2020 compared with 1920

Post by usesbiggerwords »

I wouldn't count the ICE out just yet. Liquid fuels still have a far higher energy density than batteries (which have their own significant environmental issues), and the technology exists now to do both point-of-generation AND ambient atmospheric carbon capture, which can be driven by fusion power, to be reformed into liquid fuels. Plus, the infrastructure already exists for liquid fuel distribution and you're not giving the finger to those who can't afford to buy and replace an electric car every 75K miles.

Carl White
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Re: 2020 compared with 1920

Post by Carl White »

  • cheap access to space, if Elon Musk's Starship works out
  • large-scale vertical farming if lower power costs through fusion or other sources are realized
  • advances in regenerative medicine (growing new organs and tissues for people)
  • preventative medicine (addressing the root causes of aging-related diseases before they can take hold)

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Re: 2020 compared with 1920

Post by MrE »

We may live to see man-made horrors beyond our comprehension.

Three of these will come true, choose your three:

1. A world war.

2. Bioweapons designed to attack food crops will be released and become out of control.

3. Experimental chemicals injected into farm animals survive in meat and produce horrific effects months/years after consumption.

4. Cold-Rabies-Hanta hybrid virus released and spreads airborne by virtue of the protein capsid phase gifted by the common cold virus.

5. Turbulent phase of sun emits massive micro-nova coronal mass ejections that incinerate an entire continent and cause tremendous fluctuations in earths magnetic field as well as 800km/h hurricanes, typhoons, and tidal waves that destroy everything near a coast.

6. China declares manifest destiny over the continent of Antarctica as treaties expire in the late 2030s and early 2040s.
Settlers and military flotillas swarm the new frontier, erecting cities and industrial centers.

7. Large centralized fusion power plants controlled by corporations charging the same fluctuating prices as today.
Forced to only generate electricity during peak loads to not destroy the hydrocarbon plants.
The same system that nuclear reactors must abide by today.
Eventually, those same hydrocarbon companies have their own fusion reactors and continue to charge more than you would like and less than they would like.

8. Faster computers.

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