Future Happening Now – Trillions in Flying Cars, Quantum Computers, EVs

The technology that we long believed would characterize the future has not just gotten billions in investment but there are many companies with multi-billion valuations to transform the world to future technology. There are things like quantum computers and flying cars.

Thirteen years ago in 2008, Nextbigfuture discussed a radically transformation of the world with future technology that was not molecular nanotechnology or artificial general intelligence.

Radical life extension
Open Access to space
Pollution elimination
Computer Advancement
Energy Efficiency and Pollution Elimination
Improve medicine and public health and Synthetic biology and recombineering
Flying Cars
Electric and Self Driving Vehicles

They have either become huge industries or valuations from nothing 13 years ago or have grown over ten times.

I revisited and updated the Mundane Singularity tehcnology list several times. Notably in 2011, 2015 and 2017.

Energy Efficiency and Pollution Elimination

Those were two items on the list. Trillions have gone into wind, solar, new ultra high voltage grids and utility-scale batteries.

Solar panel production was 6 Gigawatts in 2008 and will be 200-300 Gigawatts in 2021.

New Solar Gigafactories will increase total global PV (photovoltaics) to 300GW. Using actual capacity expansion data, PV Tech’s analysis indicates only 200GW of installations in 2021 will offset a period of overcapacity. Hundreds of billions are going into the building and expansion of solar panel factories.

Solar energy is still growing at 15-25% per year.

the Lithium-ion battery market valuation was over $50 billion in 2020 There is about 300 GWh of lithium-ion battery capacity. Most of this capacity is going to electric cars but there is also utility-scale battery storage to make a more efficient energy grid. The battery transition could scale to 5-10 Terawatt hours per year by 2030.


In 2017, Nextbigfuture talked about the huge impact of SpaceX. This is even more true today.

SpaceX was valued at $74 billion in its most recent 2021 fundraising round.

In 2017 Nextbigfuture predicted by 2027, we can have

* highly efficient and low-cost launch with fully reusable rockets
* water ice mining from the moon and other resources from the asteroids
* Robotic and teleoperated construction in orbits, moon and near earth asteroids
* expandable space stations
* construction of large telescope, solar power and other structures

Critical space costs could drop by 100 to 1000 times.

Lower cost reusable launches will greatly lower costs
Water and other resources from the moon will lower costs
Capabilities will ramp up and further lower costs.

This is all happening.

Improve medicine and public health and Synthetic biology and recombineering

There are many multi-billion companies developing genetic engineering medical treatments, iRNA treatments and other advanced biology approaches.

In 2020 and 2021, the messenger RNA companies (Moderna) have been critical in making antibody vaccines against COVID.


Tens of billions of dollars have gone into Antiaging and aging reversal companies. There is a list of 143 antiaging and aging reversal companies.

There are five treatments in phase 3 clinical trials and the Mitochondrial disfunction GS010 treatment seems to be at imminent FDA or European approval.

Flying Cars and Flying Taxis is Happening in the Form of Electric VTOL Large Drones

Electric and Self-Driving Vehicles

Tesla had a peak valuation just short of $1 trillion and the pure EV companies (Tesla, Nio, Xpeng, BYD, Lucid Motors-CCIV) and electric-self driving truck companies have a combined market value of well over $1 trillion.

Tesla is getting over $1 billion in annual revenue from its self-driving Autopilot service. Waymo is offering self-driving taxis as a commercial service. The self-driving semi truck companies are testing in the real world and will start or are starting full commercial services.

Quantum Computers

Trapped ion quantum computer company, IonQ, is IPOing with a $2 billion valution. Honeywell has a market value of $150 billion. Honeywell is also a quantum computer leader.

24 thoughts on “Future Happening Now – Trillions in Flying Cars, Quantum Computers, EVs”

  1. Yes, but desceleration in terms of transistors miniaturization nodes, not at all in terms of real world performance. Today there is more inteligence inside gpus than ever. The implementation of DLSS created performance gains in an order o magnitude in just 2 years. Chips will go 3d in the next years and new materials and forms of computation like chalcogenides, carbon nanotubes, metamaterials and spintronics will start to see real world use cases

  2. There is a big leap in terms inteligence inside all devices, with more natural language capabilities and ocr. Just this two combined will make possible a new world of super capable smart apps. And there is ar and mixed reality too. All of those +5G in the next 4 years

  3. A law or set of laws CAN change this. The elimination of the 7 day week DID occur. Don't say it can't happen. It won't be easy because you'll have to have antifa scale rioting but it can happen. The end result of the current path will be poor people out of work unable to buy goods and the economy will break. This will force the UBI to keep the dollars flowing and when that occurs the mass of people on UBI will continue to grow until they are an unstoppable voting block and they will vote themselves a larger share of the pie.

  4. These are very different measurements, performance vs "human utility".

    It just takes a superexponential amount of tech to get to the next level where you enable something new and interesting to happen and it is difficult to predict before it does. What's the next big step for phones? If you have 1000 times as much computing power in your pocket, does that even enable any interesting use cases we don't have today? Maybe some kind of AR and ditch the form factor of the phone; settle for 10 times the compute power in a tiny formfactor and stick everything in glasses. Maybe 1000 times is not enough for practical use. The first few kFLOPs in a programmable calculator were a greater leap going from slide rules and log tables than the next GFLOP after it.

  5. Beyond food, shelter, and clothing, no jobs are critical. Competition for status and convenience are what drives 90% of the economy. So long as there is one major economy in this world willing to use cheap labor to outcompete and outperform others, then no labor law in the US or Europe will suffice.

    I foresee everyone classified as an entrepreneur/single economic unit – responsible for their own upkeep and care – long before I see organized labor winning 4 day/28 hour work weeks.

    By the way, nations and whole groups of nations can choose to decline rather than put in the effort to compete with 'hungrier' competitors. The examples throughout history are legion…

  6. Predicting the future is hard. When it comes to technology developments, there are no guarantees. Brian's opinions are as valid as anyone's. And Brian allows criticism, as long as it isn't vicious, personal, or harassing.

  7. I suspect the limiting factors will be what humans will allow. At some point, everyone will be overwhelmed by too much change, and demand the changes be parsed out. Just my thought.

  8. A law did make it happen, how do you think the 40 hour work week came into existence? Had the law not been passed everyone would be working 7 days a week like they used to. Labor has to go to war to get any true advance because business just buys off the politicians to get the legislation they want. As you say the people who still have jobs are being ever pressured to work longer hours and society has to push back or we'll be back to labor riots like in the 20's and 30's.

  9. I can't see that a law would make it happen. Years ago, we use to speculate that with computers and increasing automation, we could all work shorter weeks and shorter hours.

    The reality is, due in large part to the complexity and expense of employing someone, thank you Uncle Sam, it is more advantageous for employers to have their employees responsible for a wider and wider range of task activities, as the work required to do each task activity is reduced.

    This keeps them just as busy, or busier, than ever, even while the size of the total workforce needed is reduced. Also, because these many-hatted jobs require substantially more knowledge and training, it raises the difficulty of finding prospective employees ready to do them. Which makes management even more likely to want to lean more heavily on the use of overtime, rather than hire more junior level people and train them.

  10. Well. It all depends on how it is made, what materials it uses, and how automated it all is. The real cost of almost anything is how much human effort is expended to create it, or gain the means to attain it.

    Play some of the excellent automation simulations that have come out recently, Factorio, Satisfactory, or better yet, Dyson Sphere Program, to see just how true this is.

    I bought a set of luggage for a trip a few years back, name brand, cost me less than $100. I received a comparable set of luggage back in the day that I knew had cost over $300. Back then, that $300 was worth about $800 in today's money.

    So, yeah, we may not notice it on the less glamorous, lower tech products, but it's all having an impact. The automation singularity is due to hit full swing sometime this decade. Because of the doubling in the rate at which they occur, the next one will hit in the 2030s, will it be AI (narrow or general)? Indefinite lifespans (the biological singularity)? Man-machine interfaces? Nano-tech?

    Dunno, another is due in the 2030s, and another couple in the 2040s, then come the 2050s and, if the rate keeps dropping, we get dozens or hundreds in a single year. That's just silly. But then I wonder if it really is. Either way, I hope I get to see it . . . in some form or another.

  11. I can just see that. Mandatory 4 day work week.
    People with made up jobs who only exist to counteract the effect of other made up jobs (eg. filling in write-only government forms) will have a shorter week and vote for it.
    People who actually do real things that produce real results will achieve 80% as much, and end up with 80% the income.

  12. I think we are seeing changes in cars over the last 10 years that are more than the 25 years before that.

    Direct injection petrol engines, and then EVs, are producing real improvements in fuel efficiency to an extent we haven't seen since the introduction of fuel injection took over from carburetors in the mid 1980s. Combined with modern turbodiesels this means things like family cars getting over 1000 km per tank. EVs of course change the story completely.

    But still nothing like the change from no cars (horses, bicycles, walking, street trolleys) to cars in the early 20th C. Or the introduction of practicable bicycles a couple of decades before that.

  13. Is the cost of a house going down? Will quantum computers decrease the amount of time you have to work at your job? Can you afford the life extension? Is owning your Tesla increasing your 5 mph commute speed? Has the amount of time you spend at the airport decreased over time? Pardon me if I'm a little pessimistic about progress, each year that goes by I feel more like I'm being backed into a corner, not liberated. There is no technology that is going to improve your life so long as we are dazzled by it and not looking at the underlying political problems that endlessly keep it from being used properly. The quantum computer will not reduce your work hours but a law mandating a four day work week will.

  14. And they were also faster 20 years ago than they are now.

    CPUs were improving 60% per year. Graphics cards went from 2D acceleration, to 3D acceleration, to T&L, antialiasing, anisotropic filtering, pixel shaders, more general purpose shaders and eventually general purpose GPU compute. Graphics went from 320×200 "2.5D" to recognizably modern 3D graphics in about a 10 year period. Today graphics looks the same as it did 10 years ago, only a few times as many polygons a few times as many pixels and a little bit longer shaders; proper path tracing is still not really usable despite all the ugly kludges and cheats.

    20 years ago your phone started to fit in your pocket, and then it became a proper computer, and then it could access the internet from everywhere and the internet is fast enough to use for something worthwhile and your phone know has a good camera, a GPS and a nice touch screen. What's happened in the last 10 years? It's a bit faster, batteries last a bit longer, it can take nicer pictures.

    Not only has the pace of compute scaling decreased massively. The returns of succeeding to increasing compute another 10x are much less than they used to be.

    Technologically simple things a hundred years ago like electrical lighting, the telephone, the radio, safe drinking water from a tap, refrigeration, a washing machine, antibiotics, vaccination. Those are just impossible to overstate how massive of a difference they make.

  15. Just scoring:

    Esteghlal – F.C.Foolad 1:0

    Zob Ahan – Machine Sazi 2:0

    Aluminium Arak – Sepahan 1:6

    Tractor Nassaji -Mazandaran 2:1

    Gol Gohar – Mes Rafsanjan 0:0

    Saipa Naft – M.I.S 0:0

    Sanat Naft – Persepolis 0:0

    Shahr Khodrou – Paykan 2:0

  16. Either nano-manufacturing happens first and makes quantum computers possible; or, quantum computers/A.I./and memrister computers happens first and computes how to make nano-manufacturing happen. Right now, it's looking like advanced computers will come first before mature nano-manufacturing.

  17. I still think that the technological changes that most people encountered in their normal lives were faster 100 years ago than they are now.

  18. Funny how the faster some things go, they feel actually going slower.

    Well, at least anti-aging seems to be taking ages.

  19. Boo! down with progress! we want the Great Reset!

    Some Luddite elitist passing for pious activist.

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