Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Future Possible. An Artice about Emreging Disruptive Tech

First off, I will start off by telling you that I am very good at spotting trends. 

However; That said I will also tell you that I am very bad at predicting timing.

Backstory:


In Feb 2009 I was tasked by a business partner to find the next big thing to get into.

That man was a Israeli immigrant to the US.  He came to the US in the early 90's in his words "Jabbering English and waving my hands around like a monkey" 

He did not have a lot of money, but he started doing different things and ended up in the printing business.  In Hollywood.  How stereotypical.  A Jew sets up a printing business in Hollywood.

He on the other hand became very successful at what he did by being the second business in the world to embrace large format ink-jet printing for signs. 

He was the second but he was also the first.  The first buyer of this machine was Phillip Morris Tobacco.  They purchased the first machine to make cigarette billboards.  However the tobacco lawsuit came along at that exact time and Phillip Morris never turned the machine on. 

You could say that Phillip Morris could have been the next CBS Outdoor Billboard company, or Viacom. 

Instead my partner was the guy who bought one of these machines.  He made literally made hundreds of millions of dollars.

He was at the level of super-rich.  In his words "When you are at that level, you would be amazed at what was for sale"

Flash forward to the immediate post 2008 market crash.  This same man was now nearly broke.  Bad investments, hubris, and a host of other bad decisions brought him down to operating from a little office on a quiet back street in Van Nuys California. 

He sat in his office most every day, holding his head and moaning why are things going so badly.  All the while drinking endless cups of Turkish coffee.  He was down to a couple employees, and a partner who was doing the loins share of income and actual work.

I spent 6 months with this man learning and getting a graduate degree in what he did, his decisions he made, and decisions he regretted not making. 

I moved into his office building, and literally slept on a sofa in my own office.  Armed with a really fast internet connection, and not much else, I started looking. Looking for the next big thing.

This is what I found in 2009:

Bitcoin

3D printing.

Needless to say if I had the cash to act on it then I would not be here writing this now.  I had no cash and he did not see it.

I left after 6 months and went about my business earning and saving to get myself into a better position to act when the next big thing came along.

That brings me to today. 

I now build 3D printers and other assorted machines for a living.  I do not make a whole lot of money at it.  I made a lot of decisions that did not go so well.  Mostly because I was either not armed with the right experience, or sometimes simply bad luck.

It has been a hard journey. 

2015


This brings us to today.

I will start off by telling you that I no longer live or work in the USA. 

I am in Asia. 

Why?  You ask.

Because I see what is coming.

I see the USA engulfed in a major civil war.  I see a major economic crisis coming with the USD.  I see untold political persecution of those who are for liberty, and hysteria to eliminate Christianity.

I also see other things coming. 

I see the future as a mixed bag of good and bad coming.  The purpose of this article is to focus more on the good things and ways to embrace liberty.

The future of how we buy, make and use 'stuff' will change.  It will change and one day we will wake up and be amazed that the George Jetson future is here.

The collectivist Marxist economic model, already discredited and disproved time and again will be further discredited to the point where those honest with themselves (of which not many people are) will realize that those who do not take advantage of the what is here and what is coming will have no excuse anymore. 

No excuse at envy, or justifying high taxes to feed the so-called poor. 

At the heart of Marxist philosophy is a stony heart made of envy.

Envy that is based on the Marxist obsession of worker, and producer and means of production.

I will tell you right now that the day will come where the means of production argument will be moot. 

The internet has brought the first giant wrecking ball to the Marxist Philosophy.  Despite human nature to be more interested in silly mindless nonsense; The internet is also a boundless store of free knowledge. 

With a smartphone we literally have all the worlds knowledge in the palm on ones hand.

We are soon getting to the tipping point of a digital decentralized autonomous currency.  The viability has been proven with Bitcoin already.

The last and hardest is the means of production. 

This is where the new trend of micro-manufacturing comes in. 

Micro-Manufacturing


Micro-Manufacturing is not really new. 

Production of items before the industrial revolution was make by small bespoke shops.  Mass production broke the economic model of that however.  That is until now.

The driving force of this breakage of the industrial revolution model is primarily government.

Government taxes the levels of production by the change of hands of raw materials and sub-assemblies along the supply chain. 

Multi-National companies arose primarily to do vertical integration.  To reduce the transfer of ownership of raw materials and parts to finished product, to final user.

What is coming I see is the elimination of a large amount of this supply chain with the planting of seeds in society.

The seed of knowledge to produce combined with machines and devices that enable desktop manufacturing to be viable.  The seeds of self sufficient food production.

The inventor David J. Gingery published a series of books describing the process of starting from raw materials and building a functional machine shop from what basically is scrap and societies cast-off items.

It was a good start.  One simply needs a few starter machines, then fabricates the rest of what one needs from those starter machines and tools.  Bootstrapping it is also known.

Bootstrapping I see becoming the norm again with new tech coming and what is already here.

For example,  the REPRAP 3D printer project which I stumbled upon in 2009, has that sort of world changing potential.   

It started out as a challenge to build a machine that could successfully reproduce itself. 

It has since evolved, but the core fundamentals still hold true.  However 3D printing in its present form is not the final solution.  The machines are not accurate enough, nor able to produce items in the speeds and materials needed to cut the supply chain and therefor cut the governments ability to insert themselves into the process and take their un-earned cut.

Not yet anyways.

We are not at the point where Maker=User.  Where one creates something and uses it, cutting out nay sort of transaction that can be tracked, or documented or taxed by outside forces. 

However it is coming.  When I do not know.  Timing you see.

What I do see is a large scale disruption in the currency system, and wars that will force this change.  When supply chains are cut, but the information runs free;  The information pipeline will move the means of production downward to User=Maker.

We will see 2 things happen at this time.  The consumers, the lazy self absorbed types will either have to wise up and make their own, or they will starve. 

To quote Kipling poem 'Gods of the Copybook Headings' : "Those who do not work will not eat" 

That covers things aspect.

But what about othet parts of the formula that allows one to live their modern lifestyle?

Food

Food production is now capable of being decentralized and industrialized in a manner never before seen. 

On one hand the ability to create a 4 acre "tomato and fish factory' is here.  Yesterdays tech was greenhouses.  However greenhouses are not space efficient or resource efficient compared to aquaponics and vertical growing.

Aquaponics really favors those in tropical climates.  Areas that historically have been less economically developed and technologically advanced compared to their Northern counterparts who had to develop a certain attitude towards producing and storing food in a short growing season.

This is due to the input of resources like glass, building materials etc that are required to build the physical green house structure itself. 

I will not delve into the minutiae of aquaponics as it has been covered extensively elsewhere.  Suffice to say that large amounts of food can be produced on very small areas with a greatly reduced input of resources. 

Theoretically it is possible to connect the entire system of food production, and the home sewage system together so that one feeds the other with the input of moderate amounts of water, sunlight, fresh air, and trace elements.

I have seen in person several systems that produce large amounts of food in the area of only a few square meters.  As a matter of fact there are at least 3 systems that I know of within 1000 yards of where I type this.   I suspect that aquaponics adoption and the skills to run such a system are more widely distributed than official statistics will report.  After all no one reports to some 'official' that they grow their own food.  They just do and eat.

Open Source Ecology Project


The Open Source Ecology Project (OSE)  was formed several years ago as a project to build what they call the "Civilization Development Kit" 

Basically it sought to develop a toolbox for the necessary tools to achieve the goals above. 

Unfortunately, however it suffers from leadership shortcomings.  I was involved with that project for a few years and made some small donations of cash and time. 



You should check out the project if you have time.

Building Materials

Ok so one has the seeds for a micro factory. But what do you put it in? 

One solution and not the total one is the use of something called compressed earth blocks. 

In the West, compressed earth blocks are usually something only done by fringe hippie types. 

Basically it is building with dirt.  Dirt that has a small amount of concrete powder added and compressed under great force to make a solid block that cures into a finished product indistinguishable in appearance from clay fired block.  Using dies one can form it into interlocking parts much like the Lego toy to construct a building.

Other materials like stone can be processed using stone splitters to form square building blocks as well. 
These techneques are being employed in countries like Brazil to great effect.

The Brazillian government has implemented a program where they deliver a brick making machine to a neighborhood, and the locals use it to build, when construction is finished the machine is passed along to the next neighborhood. 

Fuel and Power Generation

Solar panels unfortunately at this time are unable to be created from scratch.  However the costs for purchase are going down extremely fast.  The other day I saw 100 watt panels in a store for sale at the cost of $70 USD.  

Other devices like biomass gasifiers will also enable the use of engines and generators using locally found grasses, and vegetable matter.  These designs are found online and I have experimented with them in the past.  They do work. 

Cooking using solid fuels using this method is also viable.  I have used solid fuel cook stoves that take 30 seconds to start and cook with very little smoke.  Future developments in this tech I suspect will produce solid fuel cook stoves that use wood and briquettes that are as convenient to use as gas.

Conclusion

 What happens when the tipping point of this is reached?

I suspect that massive forces will align to restrict these developments.  Just as Bitcoin is demonized now, so to will other emerging techs.  However the genie of knowledge is out of the bottle.  No way to put it back.

2 comments:

Graybeard said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alfred E. Neumann - What me worry????? said...

Always enjoy you "food for thought". Well written and very provocative. I guess I am somewhat cynical about the populis getting on the bandwagon. This needs to be shouted from the housetops. Keep up the good work. There are some that are trying to see thru the smoke.......