I found the most amazing image on Elephant Journal just now. (see below) The image was an illustration for a post by Lynn Hasselberger which stated "Every hour the sun beams onto Earth more than enough energy to satisfy global energy needs for an entire year."
This reminded me of an article I wrote last year after I met Ray Kurzweil. Check out Kurzweil's optimistic predictions about solar power below.
Our Green Future: Ray Kurzweil's Predictions
In light of world issues, especially the recent nuclear disaster in Japan, it's hard sometimes to not be distressed on the state of the energy paradigm. But then you hear futurist Ray Kurzweil say we're going to have enough cheap solar power to meet all our needs in twenty years. And you stop and think: why all the doom and gloom about the potential of renewable energy? Am I missing something?
I interviewed Ray recently after a New York screening of the must-see film about him, Transcendent Man. Ray expounded enthusiastically like he does in the film: "We are applying nanotechnology to solar panels. And the cost per watt indeed is coming down at a rapid rate. The use of solar energy and the total amount we are producing is on an exponential rise: it's been doubling every two years for the last twenty years. So it's only eight doublings from meeting all our energy needs. And we have 10,000 times more sunlight than we need to do that."
Ray Kurzweil in "Transcendent Man" Photo courtesy Ptolemaic Productions
Some think Ray's ideas about technology are dangerous. A few years back a Rolling Stone magazine feature referred to Ray as "America's scariest techno prophet."
And skeptics think Ray's ideas are far fetched. Yet many other distinguished world scientists don't think Ray's incredible vision of the future is far fetched and are now developing magical technologies like nano solar cells.
Only twenty years ago most could not imagine how the Internet and communication technology would transform the world. Scientist Michio Kaku reflects in his new book Physics of the Future: "Predictions for the future, with few exceptions, have always underestimated pace of technological progress. History we are told, over and over and over again is written by the optimists, not the pessimists."
So, is Ray Kurzweil too much an optimist? I surely hope so.
Copyright Paul E McGinniss 2012
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