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March 03, 2013

High Impact Super-Technologies

In his book The Great Stagnation Cowen says Tyler says his grandmother saw greater changes.

I would note that there has to be a specified lifespan range for grandma versus the current individual. Also, technically in my life I have seen the birth of mass market success of certain technologies which were still emerging for grandma. Also the Great Stagnation is a stagnation of economic growth so the period of success of a emergent technology is not until it matures enough to effect GDP growth.

- airplanes (1903 invented but not mass transportation until 1950s and 1960s)
- skyscrapers (1884, first ten story buildings, needed cheaper steel and elevators)
- suspension bridges
- radio (1907 first broadcasts but not mass media until 1932)
- television (1930s but not mass media until 1952)
- antibiotics,
- atomic bombs (1945)
- Nuclear energy (1970s-1980s)
- interstate highways (not majorly impactful until 1950s),
- jet travel (starting major impact in 1960s) and a
- moon landing (1969).

In contrast, a child born in 1970, a year after the first moon landing and the Boeing 747’s first flight, has seen the personal computer, biotechnology, cellphones, Web browsers, search engines and nanotechnology (the current weak version of nanotechnology and not full blown molecular nanotechnology).

The USA has eaten low hanging economic fruit since the 1700s.

1. Free land (Homestead Act, etc.)
2. Technological breakthroughs (electricity, motor vehicles, telephone, radio, television, computers etc.)
3. Smart, uneducated kids (who were made productive through excellent public education).
4. Cheap fossil fuels.

What are the new or reborn super-technologies which could have the scale of impact of those technologies ?

- skyscrapers reborn (China Broad Group factory mass produced skyscrapers. Make them 3-20 times cheaper, cost efficient to build 10 times taller, built ten times faster)
- superconductors (when fully mature engines 3 to ten times lighter, 100 times more powerful engines and magnets and will transform planes, energy and space capabilities.)



- factory mass produced deep burn fission
- factory mass produced nuclear fusion
- online education
- reusable rockets (to lower cost of access to space by 100 times)
- robotic cars
- new waves of robotic manufacturing
- manufacturing transformation (industrial internet, mature additive manufacturing)
- graphene, carbon nanotubes and nanoparticle metals and other materials
- synthetic biology (genome engineering - real disease cures, longevity, revamp industrial production)


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