It’s becoming clear to me that 2024 will be a global hinge point. That’s not based on, but on technologies I’ve been studying for 15 years.
The Machine Internet
Open source built the Cloud, and the Cloud is building the artificial intelligence (AI) boom. It’s AI that will build the Machine Internet. AI is scaling to manage systems like hospitals, factories, and cities better than people ever could. That’s more important than seeing ChatGPT write a story.
But it’s built on the same elements, which have been around since the age of database computing dawned at the start of this century. Building those applications remains a bear, because there are lots of moving parts involved in databases, learning models, and orchestration systems. But the results are powerful, as Palantir is teaching by running hospitals schedules and the Ukraine War.
My confidence isn’t based on the Cloud Czars, but on the old application-specific outfits like ServiceNow and Salesforce, which are reporting huge gains in productivity for their customers. That’s leading to everyone wanting their own cloud and this (false) idea that “data is the new gold.”
BTW, data is not the new gold. Talent is.
The War Against Oil
The second, more vital hinge point of 2024 is in the War Against Oil.
That is scaling production of perovskite solar panels. Perovskite panels are light, thin, and flexible. They can convert solar energy to electricity better than silicon. Perovskites are also more abundant than silicon, being found in any shiny rock you find while hiking.
Perovskites mean we won’t need 22 million acres for solar development. Flexible panels mean power can be collected closer to where it’s used. We can install panels over parking lots, riverbeds, and WalMarts. Only the resistance of utility companies (who don’t want anyone else making the power they distribute) must be overcome.
Combine flexible power generation with battery storage and you can win the War Against Oil. That is becoming increasingly obvious, and it has huge geopolitical implications. Some are bad for the U.S. because we’re the world’s biggest oil producer. But Saudi Arabia and Russia are going down. This has dawned on the Sheikhs. This is what will destroy Putin. Ukraine just has to hang on and, thanks to AI, it will.
Most of what’s happening in our world is bullshit. It is sound and fury signifying nothing. It’s business and technology that drive the train of history. They have driven it since the Industrial Revolution began. That is not altogether a bad thing.
By providing the maximum of individual liberty, financial liberty, and government flexibility, freedom, capitalism, and democracy will continue to win. They’re still abundant here. Only by destroying them can we change that.