Money is critical in technology development and technology adoption.
The new or improved technology that is adopted in the future will become the technology of the future.
People adopt the products of the future by choosing to buy it in large numbers.
Wealthier people can buy more expensive and better products.
Initial wealthier people are often the early adopters who buy the most expensive first versions of a product.
Those early sales fund more development and refinement of products.
Do poor countries develop the next dominant technology ? Did they do that in the past ?
Are poor people in poor countries buying new technology products ?
It costs money for research and it costs money for development and commercialization and industrial scale production.
The average american has about $50,000 per year. (approximate per capita income)
There are several countries in Africa and Asia with per capita income of $500 per year.
100 times poorer.
People in Monaco have about $100,000 per year in per capita income. Twice as rich.
There are things that a country could feasibly do with widescale use of robotic manufacturing, cheap and abundant energy, robotic cars, cities and skyscrapers which could enable people to be ten to one hundred times richer than they are now.
Just as people in the US are ten to one hundred times richer than people in other countries now. Choices could be made that would enable a far more productive and wealthy society. The 50 percentile would move up to the level of the 99 percentile. The 99 percentile being the infamous 1%.
If people who can afford a $28,000 car were ten times richer they could afford a flying car.
There are about 200,000 people who own their own small plane or jet now.
In the dystopian futures in movies, the people are living in a impoverished and violent future.
If choices were made in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and early 2000s that had provide 4% per year extra growth then the people now would be 8 times richer. $400,000 per year in per capita income. We could mass adopt things that we could not afford to mass adopt for 100 years with 2% per year GDP growth.
If we have to wait to make robotically controlled flying cars that are also lower than $30,000 in cost then it takes longer than where everyone can afford $300,000 robotically controlled flying cars.
The futures where everyone is flying around in spaceships around the solar system ?
It happens on a mass scale when people can afford to do it.
Part of it is making reusable rockets that make launches 100 times cheaper.
The other part is making everyone richer to afford $500,000 trips to Mars as easy as going on a $5000 ocean cruise now.
The people who say that we do not need or should not make everyone richer. This will use up more resources.
This leads to bad futures. It leads to a present where we cannot afford the healthcare that we want.
Can the people in poor countries in Africa afford an MRI scan or cancer treatment ?
The big political debates now is that healthcare costs were growing at about 5% per year and were about to become 30% of all spending in the US.
If everyone is ten times richer they could afford ten times more healthcare.
Choices from decades ago that reduced economic growth compounds into a present where you cannot afford the healthcare that you need.
There is over a billion times more resources in the solar system than on earth.
We can make a series of choices to advance to a society with personal fusion power spaceships where everyone can afford to fly around the solar system or we can stay on Earth and scrap over a pie that is billions of times smaller and where the pollution problems are tougher.
More Technology, More money, means a far better future sooner.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.