Can we inject a bit of reality here?
The abundant availability of cheap energy has allowed us to develop technology.
Ongoing development of technology will not — -I repeat NOT allow us to have cheap energy. Solar panels deliver electricity. Electricity is useless without the means to use it on the scale we now take for granted.
We have built our current industrial infrastructure on the conversion of explosive force into rotary motion — — just stop and consider what that means.
We cannot make or move anything without chemical combustion, essentially that means setting fire to stuff. (If I’m wrong — -tell me!! — -electric vehicles cannot function outside a hydrocarbon based infrastructure, a fact which Musk is only too aware of)
Unfortunately we need to make and move stuff to keep ourselves alive.
But lets examine Asteroid mining for a little light humour. You find a solid gold asteroid…(as that was inferred above) — -by some (as yet unknown) means you drag it back to Earth orbit — -A zillion tons of gold — -we’re all going to be billionaires.
Er — -no.
The world has about 130000 tons of gold in existence. Use that in part as collateral to finance a trip to a gold satellite — -and you crash the very economy” that financed it. Gold would be worth zilch.
Same with iron — -a billion tons of iron ore for the taking. But iron needs 1200 c to smelt it (and that’s after you’ve use the energy to get it here)— -you wont melt iron on that scale using solar panels. — -I could go on.
Our industrial economy was built, and exists, on hydrocarbon input — -ie, oil coal and gas.
What the above piece totally ignores is that we live in an energy economy, we do not live in a money economy. Money is merely a token of energy exchange — it has no intrinsic value.
And technology does NOT deliver energy. Supercomputers, drones, satellites, higher education, will not increase energy output, only use it. I realise I’m bringing bad news here, but let’s be realistic.
The land surface of the Earth receives (being generous here) 1Kw of sun energy per SqM. Only mushrooms grow in the dark. Therefore your tower farm has got to get that “sunlight” from somewhere. So build a tower farm of 1 acre in area X 50 acres high. You don’t need a genius to figure out that you need sun sources to gather 50 acres of light from somewhere, and feed it into your tower farm, which at the conversion rate of PV panels is likely to be 200 acres plus.
Thus you’re using 200 acres of land to sustain 50 acres… And that’s before you start pumping water up 50 floors! (In case anyone is thinking of using the Sahara) And we haven’t factored in the construction-energy of the building itself.
The overriding problem is that there’s 7 billion of us, on a planet capable of supporting 1 billion. Each of those 7 billion has been promised “more” — (ie infinite growth) and fed the nonsense that faster computers equate with infinite prosperity. It just ain’t so. There really isn’t any more folks, which means that 6 billion of us don’t have much of a future. I’m not happy about it either.
This book tries to explain why. : https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00D0ADPFY
We’ve milked the Earth dry, now we are working through the denial stage with alternative fantasies because we have been told that our lifestyle is forever