We are entering a new period of stronger productivity growth from energy cheaper than oil, self-driving cars making transportation cheaper than car ownership, AI-Big Data and robotics boosting the efficiency of business and medicines that will cure diseases and restore vitality.
The rapid productivity improvements of the Depression years laid the groundwork not only for the rapid mobilization for production during World War II but also for the “golden age” of postwar productivity growth in the 1950s and 1960s. This interpretation contrasts with the common view that persistent growth in the postwar period resulted from research and development, investment, and cumulative productivity growth related to the war effort itself, as exemplified by extraordinary improvements in aircraft production and shipbuilding and by the volume of military output. In fact, however, labor productivity in the munitions industries—the result of TFP and capital deepening combined—increased by a total of only about 25 percent from 1939 to 1944, and TFP grew at an estimated annual average of about 2.6 percent from 1941 to 1948, significantly lower than during the preceding decade. The evidence suggests that, if anything, the war effort absorbed resources that might otherwise have been used to improve production for the private sector. However, the war did contribute to improved medical care: Over the 1940s, innovations from modern antibiotics to blood banks helped to increase average life expectancy by over 5 years in a single decade, from 63 to over 68.
19 years slow growth (about 1.6% per year) (1889-1917)
11 years mod fast growth (about 3.3% per year) (1917-1927)
15 years of moderate growth (about 2.8% per year) (1927-1941)
7 years of very fast growth (about 4% per year) (1941-1948)
26 years of mod fast growth (about 3.2% per year) (1949-1973)
23 years of slow growth (about 1.5% per year) (1973-1995)
10 years of mod fast growth (about 3.2% per year) (1995-2004)
11 years of slow growth (about 1.3% per year) (2004-2015)
There were depressions and recessions and wars during the period from 1917-1973 but there was strong overall productivity improvement.
Cheap energy and relative abundance
The cost for solar is already at $43/MWh and some projects are at about 2 cents per KWh.
Prices will still fall in half again by 2025 because of scaling efficiency and incremental technological improvements.
The former French gas monopoly (Engie), which is now the world’s largest non-state power producer following a decade of acquisitions, is investing in renewables while selling coal-fired plants and exploration assets to shield itself from commodity-price swings. It plans to spend 1.5 billion euros ($1.57 billion) by 2018 on technologies including grid-scale battery storage, hydrogen output, “mini-grids” that serve small clusters of homes, and smart buildings that link up heating, lighting and IT systems to save energy and cut costs.
The cost of solar power will probably drop below $10 a megawatt-hour before 2025 in the world’s sunniest places, according to Lepercq.
There will continue to be a downward spiral in energy costs. Lower energy costs enable new energy to be produced more cheaply.
There will also be continuing low-cost prices for natural gas and oil as well. Big data will enable more efficient drilling. The cost of oil and natural gas could be at the equivalent of $10-20 per barrel. The decreasing demand for oil for cars as cars become electric will also enable oil and natural gas to have lower prices.
China is developing low-cost nuclear energy for heating cities.
Molten salt nuclear could emerge from 2025 and scale in the 2030s and 2040s for another low-cost energy competitor.
There will be more mobility for older people and teens. There will be more demand for mobility. Self-driving vehicles will enable more efficient use of roads and parking areas.
There are super low-cost airlines that charge only $99 to fly from the US to Europe today. Continuing improvements in fuel-efficient planes and the introduction of electric planes will continue this trend.
Healthier population would boost productivity – Aging reversal and regeneration
Epigenetic differences have been identified. The first generation induced tissue regeneration drug Renelon will be launched next year.
AgeX also focuses on pursuing the Purestem technology that it has acquired most of the rights to from Biotime.
Biotime HyStem is the gel matrix platform for incorporating fat, brown fat and cardiac cells with regenerative activation (for less scarring).
There is work on the genetic reversal of various aspects of aging by George Church. Aging reversal will be attempted in experiments on dogs over next few years. Successful trials in dogs would then lead to human trials a few years later.
Dealing with the seven kinds of aging damage
1. Cell loss, atrophy – embryo quality regeneration could fully address this issue [AgeX, Biotime]
2. Division obsessed – generally cancer takes a while.
There is currently the emergence of three families of treatments for cancer. Each individually or in combination could make profound progress against cancer over the next few years.
* Check one inhibitors
* Better immune system approaches, including making cancer more vulnerable and targetable by the immune system.
Some of these approaches had been considered promising for a while but were impractical because of cost. Now the low cost of gene sequencing and other advances are making them affordable.
3. death resistant – senolytics. Drugs to clear senescent cells. Unity Therapeutics has been funded to work on this. Unity Therapeutics spun out of SENS. There are several other companies in this space
4. mitochondrial mutations – backup copy effort into nucleus. SENS has funded successful research in this area.
The company Gensight is working on mitochondria related blindness.
5. intracellular waste – foreign enzymes
Ichor Therapeutics – another SENS spinout company is working in this area.
6. extracellular waste – immune system
Covalent – another SENS spinout company is working in this area.
7. extracellular stiffening – crosslink breakers
A new company working in this area should be announced in a few months.
On SENS spinouts
SENS takes a small stake of less than 10% in each of the companies. SENS wants to maximize the chances for success of the spinout companies.
Aubrey’s current predictions
Aubrey believes success with the Robust Mouse Rejuvenation might be 5-7 years away.
Robust Mouse Rejuvenation
– take a healthy mouse that would have a normal lifespan. Typical mouse lifespan of 3 years.
– Begin treatments after the mouse is 2 years old.
– Double or triple the remaining life. So instead of living one more year, it lives 2 to 3 years longer.
– Currently, the best in this area was to extend the mouse life by 3 to 4 months. This was done 10 to 15 years ago using calorie restriction. We need to do ten times what calorie restriction has done.
Full SENS treatment in humans has a 50% chance of happening in the next 20 years.
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.