Tomorrow is good.
In a weekly column, alternately written by Lucien Engelen, Maarten Steinbuch, Carlo van de Weijer and Daan Kersten, E52 tries to find out what the future will look like. All four contributors are – in addition to their ‘normal’ groundbreaking work – linked to theSingularityU The Netherlands, the organization that focuses on spreading knowledge about technologies that can provide solutions to the problems of our time. This Sunday, it’s Daan Kersten‘s turn.
By Daan Kersten
Tomorrow is good. My new house is still in a transition phase and the contractor, electrician and plumber are working hard to fulfill their promise and in all enthusiasm they already connected my thermostat onto the new boiler but forgot that this thing will only start working tomorrow, so now it’s cold and tomorrow it will be warmer and thus good anyway.
Tomorrow is good. Our beautiful business is growing rapidly, we are looking for talented team members in the field of software engineering, design for 3D printing, services and support and sales. Now the team cracks under the pressure to produce our 3D metal printing according to Eindhoven quality standards for our customers anywhere on earth. We now make our plans for 2017 and beyond, the balance between work and team is definitely better.
Tomorrow is good. A hopeful perspective, beckoning promise and great ambition that suits SingularityU. The Dutch translation of their mission to solve the world’s problems with exponential technologies. A translation that fits exponential growth quite well, after all, you’re never completely ready. A translation which is also less snoring. Although I’m not averse to large immersive targets, I initially had some difficulty with the American choice of great words. How on earth can we – working with a team of about a hundred humans – even think of solving the world’s largest problems like energy scarcity, hunger, water shortages, disease, etc? During my introduction this summer at Singularity University in Silicon Valley, however, they have convinced me that this is not only a good marketing slogan but that my colleagues over there are really driven to get the job done. And talking with these serial entrepreneurs who effortlessly connect solving global problems with business opportunities, the penny finally dropped.
Imagine for example that solar cells have become so cheap that we have an abundance of energy. If you look at the trends, this is not difficult to imagine: the exponential decrease in the price per kilowatt-hour is there already. When this is the case, we can, for example, start to desalinate seawater with the same energy, which is almost free. Now this technology is still too expensive because of the large amount of expensive energy required. This will solve our need for fresh drinking water, and we can grow more crops in areas where drought normally causes major food problems. Then tomorrow actually will be good.
Another example. Imagine that you would have access across to the world to all digital production techniques, not only printing of plastic materials such as via Shapeways or 3D Hubs. Then making hardware becomes just as accessible as software development, you already can do from behind the kitchen table. Internet is expected to be accessible soon for anyone in the world through Google Loon or Facebook, that means 2 to 3 billion more internet users. This enormous amount of people can then not only think of new ideas, but also realise them. Thus, the resolution of global problems will be greatly increased, and tomorrow will be exponentially better.
Tomorrow is good. If we all look at what our contribution can be to the fulfillment of this promise. By writing a column, remodeling a home, develop machines for 3D printing of metallic components of lighter aircraft, automobiles, better fitting implants or create solutions for new world improvements. Then this beckoning promise will become self fulfilling, getting better day by day.
Until the next tomorrow!