The COVID-19 pandemic is and has been a singular event in the development of postindustrial econometrics, greatly accelerating several massive ongoing trends and technologies. The totality of these trends and technologies is changing and will continue to change where we live, our costs of living, independence, modes of transportation, econometrics, health, communications, housing, and the climate and ecosystem. By Dennis M. Bushnell
Dennis Bushnell's blog
The development of digital reality (DR)—virtual, nonphysical presence—began with the telegraph, progressed to the telephone, then moved to telephones with screens, and now to computers. The nearer-term developments of DR include augmented reality and advanced virtual reality (VR), and it is heading toward five-senses VR and holographic projection. Going forward with the availability of ever greater bandwidth and direct machine-to-brain communications (bypassing the senses), DR is projected to be as good as, or better than, physical reality.
Although we have had many decades of projections and warnings about climate change, it is only fairly recently that actual impacts have stirred serious societal interest in mitigation efforts. Such efforts will involve changes, and changes are always difficult. In fact, although renewable energy is a bedrock mitigation approach, they have been taken very seriously only as technology has reduced renewable costs below parity with fossil carbon. Renewable energy technologies are already producing some 25 percent of electricity worldwide and constitute some 65 percent of new generation.
Starting in the middle of the last century, humanity embarked upon the largely serendipitous development of a wide spectrum of massively disruptive technologies, including information technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology, quantum computing, and energy technologies. These are projected to alter nearly everything, including precepts of the human existence theorem.
With the possible exception of interestellar propulsion, science fact is now outpacing science fiction. Now, when we scientists meet with science-fiction folks to discuss possible scenarios, we end up giving them ideas more often than not.