The Coronavirus Pandemic is reshaping our current world and it is reshaping the future. The pandemic and global lockdown is causing a global economic depression, shattering the energy markets and killing previously might companies and industries.
In 2010, the iPhone 4 was introduced and Apple iPad would not be introduced until 2012.
SpaceX launched the Falcon 1 in 2008 successfully for the first time.
Tesla delivered about 100 Tesla Roadsters in 2008.
China’s nominal GDP in 2010 was $6 trillion and it is over two times higher today.
India’s GDP went from $1.7 trillion to about $3.2 trillion today.
The US GDP went from $15 trillion to $21 trillion today.
Stronger Medicine and Accelerated Cures
The massive effort to develop vaccines for COVID-19 will boost and accelerate the development of cancer vaccines. Streamlined regulatory approvals will speed up the approval of all new medical treatments.
Cancer deaths will be greatly reduced with cancer vaccines, CART treatments and other biotech.
Stroke and heart attack deaths will be greatly reduced with wearable devices and light-based devices to detect what kind of stroke has occurred.
There will be gene therapy and other treatments for anti-aging and aging reversal and repair of aging damage.
There will be successful treatments for obesity. Stem cells and other treatments will activate and add brown fat to increase metabolism.
Global Economic Setback
The entire world is looking at one to three years of economic depression. It seems like it will take 3-5 years to get back to economic recovery and getting a well functioning global economy.
The countries of the world will be more de-coupled. Supply chains will be brought back to each country.
Winners and Losers
All countries have taken big economic hits from the virus and the lockdown. Oil prices are halved and demand for oil is reduced. Oil-producing countries have been hurt badly.
Low energy prices will cause mostly a lost decade for the energy industry. Lower prices and depleted government capital will reduce the funds available for subsidizing the conversion of energy infrastructure. Countries will have stimulus-related funds for a couple of years and some megaprojects could get those funds. Low prices for energy will make it more difficult to justify projects that do not have solid economics.
Robo-taxis and electric semi-trucks will reduce the demand for oil substantially every year from 2023 onwards.
What is Our New Technology Future?
Robotics, AI and new medicine will continue to transform business and will be boosted from opportunities to help the world adjust to how we will live with Coronavirus.
Smartphone tracking and monitoring of disease outbreaks are and will be used for robust public health response and monitoring.
Technology for remote work, streaming video and video communications have been huge winners. Virtual and immersive communication and work systems will get accelerated.
The Future of Movement
Aerion Supersonic is still developing private supersonic jets for the wealthy. The schedule is now for the first test flights in 2023 and the first commercial service in 2025. Aerion’s AS2 business jet will have a top cruise speed of Mach 1.4 (1,074mph).
Boom Supersonic has set its sights on even faster travel: Mach 2.2 (1,687mph). Boom Supersonic has nearly completed its XB-1 test vehicle.
The continued test phase work on supersonic startups is despite the existential impact of Coronavirus on traditional airlines. Airbus and Boeing are struggling to survive. Governments will ensure the survival of commercial airlines but there is and will be massive consolidation.
Aerion, Spike and Boom continuing with supersonic testing is different from actually getting billions in funding and executing to reach and operate a commercial service. The Aerion AS2 has a target price of $120 Million each.
SpaceX Starship is in the process of leapfrogging supersonic (1.5-2.5 times the speed of sound) to hypersonic (20-30 times the speed of sound). Musk says mass-produced SpaceX Starships will cost $5 million each. They would be ten over times faster than supersonic planes and would have more payload. All international cargo and passenger travel could be monopolized by SpaceX. (NOTE: Brian Wang owns SpaceX and Tesla shares).
The SpaceX Super Heavy Starship is continuing rapid development. Starship has had several failed prototypes but they are building new prototypes every 2-4 weeks. By 2021, Elon Musk and SpaceX will have Starship Gigafactory complexes mass-producing Raptor engines and Starships. They will be making two Starships every week.
SpaceX will likely need triple the rocket engine capacity. They currently make about 300-500 Merlin rocket engines each year. If SpaceX is making 100 Starships per year then they will need 700 Raptor rocket engines for those Starships. They will also need 30 Raptor engines for each Super Heavy booster.
SpaceX has already placed 360+ Starlink Satellites into orbit and will have 1500 Satellites in 2021. They will have a commercial global beta service starting in 6 months. Before the end of 2020, SpaceX will be offering low latency high-bandwidth communication to generate billions in revenue by the end of 2021.
Starlink will not have low earth orbit large constellation satellite competition for many years. OneWeb was a potential competitor but they have declared bankruptcy.
The Starlink satellites cost less than $1 million each. There are other companies working on mass production of low-earth orbit satellites. One is CesiumAstro. Blue Origin is working to have its New Glenn rocket flying in a couple of years. This will be a SpaceX Heavy class competitor. However, Starlink and SpaceX are continuing to drive rapid innovation and rapid execution.
SpaceX already has 60+% of commercial space launch. China has had a larger number of launches with disposable rockets and is funding development of reusable rockets but China’s technology is far behind SpaceX. SpaceX will have a nearly complete monopoly wherever there is an open market.
Other Space companies need to have plans that leverage what SpaceX will build and create. The others should be Remora to the SpaceX monopoly shark.
Companies that Thrived in the Great Depression of the 1930s Dominated for Four Decades
Many companies that thrived in the Great Depression continued to crush competitors in the decades after. This will be the story during and after the Pandemic.
Tesla had a lead in electric cars before the Pandemic. Tesla had over 70% of the US electric car market by unit sales and even more market share by revenue. Tesla will get a large market share in China as well.
Ford and GM already had large debt problems before the Pandemic. Traditional automakers had been unable to make vehicles that were truly competitive with Tesla. Volvo and Toyota have financial strength. Volvo has talked about spending many billions to convert factories to electric cars. Investing to catch up to Tesla with batteries and electric cars will be more difficult when there will be less income and revenue from the traditional business.
Tesla continues to lead the way to creating self-driving cars. Tesla has a fleet of over million autopilot cars that are uploading and handling many traffic cases. Tesla’s AI team is working through the long tail of exception cases to determine how to drive with complete safety. There is a lot of complexity. Tesla has tens to hundreds of cases every day of pedestrians moving from between parked cars or being hidden before while in traffic.
There is a lot of complexity with stop signs. Stop signs can be held in someone’s hand and it is inactive until it is raised. Tesla is curating the test datasets. There are many examples of partially obscured stop signs. They will work to say improve performance on a particular dataset from say 40% to 99%.
Medicine and Technology to beat the disease and to make the world productive living with the disease will be winners. There will be acceleration of virtual reality, augmented reality and a networked world.
There will be an acceleration of vaccine development and medical approvals. This will benefit cancer treatments and antiaging.
Elon Musk was successfully executing a transformation to fully reusable rockets, mass-produced satellites, electric cars, electric trucks, and self-driving vehicles. Elon Musk will continue to execute and win.
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.