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Retooling the World’s Energy Systems


Ramez Naam

This week on The Futurists, HG Wells, Philip K Dick and Prometheus award wining author and Singularity University faculty Ramez Naam talks the future of the world’s energy systems, and how the Russia-Ukraine conflict has had an accelerating effect on systemic energy thinking. Beyond that we get into sci-fi, multi-generational systems thinking, large scale systems design of the 21st and the incentives and levers in the system for leading humanity to a world of free energy and abundance.

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this week on the futurists rames Nam lots of gnarly things have happened lotsof horrible events have happened many horrible events await us and yet somehow despite that overall we've made theworld and the well-being of the average human on planet Earth better and better over timewelcome to the futurist I am your host Brett King we are coming to you fromvarious places across the continental United States today I'm the host along with Rob tersek my co-host Rob welcomeback thanks and we have a really amazing guest on today rames Namum before we get to that um actually Rob do you have a couple of news items that you can shed some lighton some progress in the future sure today's today's news from the future is really news about fighting the future orresistant in the future and that's often a common theme uh we make a bit of progress and then there's someresistance points that are encountered uh news broke in the last 10 days about internal confusion at meta uh famouslyabout a year and a half ago Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook changed the name of his company changed the direction ofthe company decided to focus on the metaverse at the time it was criticized as a a poorly designed goal or poorlydefined project and apparently that's still the case internally so there's a great deal of confusion reports arecoming out from Facebook now known as meta that the employee Workforce is demoralized disoriented confused andthere's poor morale around the attempts to build the metaverse but at least Zuckerberg's metaversecharacters now have legs so it's not a legless metaverse although there's some controversy aboutthat too right and there always will be uh the other news is uh there's been some pushback against self-driving carsa topic we've covered a couple of times on this show and um you know there's always been some uh cheerleadingenthusiasm around the prospect of of uh self-driving cars but that always seemsto be a future that's just around the corner and never plainly in sight we've been hearing about self-driving cars nowfor 20 years since those first tests that were done for the defense department in the Nevada desertmore than 100 billion dollars has been invested in robotic vehicles and now uh Anthony levandrowski who is a formerGoogle employee who then switched uh went over to Uber where he was promptlysued for stealing Secrets One of the pioneers of of robotic vehicles and herecently came out in um in in Bloomberg and among other press Outlets to declarethis uh a gigantic Tech demo and he said 100 billion dollars and no discernibleprogress pointing out for instance that robotic Vehicles still have trouble making a left turn and so until they canMaster those basics of driving we're not really any closer to that self-driving Auto future so a setbackfor that that's probably not likely to deter development in that space however then finally one more item that poppedup uh is um police in Edmonton Alberta used a controversial tool they had DNAfrom a suspect in a crime and they used DNA phenotyping to generate an image ofwhat the suspect of that crime might look like and though they released this information with disclaimers saying thatthey weren't 100 sure that the technology they were using is not entirely proven it immediately generatedtremendous pushback and then part that's that's largely due to the fact that the the suspect's image that they generatedwas a black man um and so immediately the police were accused of uh wasting money on racistastrology for cops that was a Twitter comment racist astrology and evenprofessional geneticists decried the move because they said the technology is not ready and that you cannot actually derive a physical characteristics likeskin color uh from a DNA sample but nevertheless the police proceeded kind of a weird blunder on their part uh kindof a self-goal anyway three three stories interesting that show us that the future doesn't always come in an even path and sometimes they'reunexpected uh sideways YouTubers that occur yeah hey welcome back to the showrooms it'ssuch a pleasure to see you after such a long time Brett and Rob it's a delight to be here it's been way too longso let me just uh give give a quick intro about uh ramiz for those thatdon't know him it actually uh born in Egypt came to the US the age of three did a lot of work with Microsoftum working on early versions of Microsoft Outlook in an Explorer and so forth he's an authorum he has written in the Sci-Fi space so you know we often have sci-fi guys onhere as well as futurists uh MERS does both he straddles both of those areasum his uh Trilogy on Nexus um on the future of sort of brainmachine interface um then also the infinite resource the power power of ideas on a finite planetand more than human embracing the promise of biological enhancement that was his first non-fiction book he uhalso works with singularity in the energy space Singularity you in the energy space and has since got into hisnew bench Capital firm focused primarily on climate and clean energy Miz welcometo the futurists Brett it's awesome to be here and if you're um thanks messyou're you know you're the futurist futurist one of the things we like to say on thisshow is is the definition of a futurist isn't somebody who just talks about it but there's somebody who actually does something about itum and there can be many things right part of it is persuading lots of people to see the future or to embrace the version of the future that you'repromoting but you take it several steps beyond that we first met at Singularity Universityum almost about 10 years ago really one of the best things I've everdone was to go to that course that week-long executive course and you opened my eyes uh at the time about thecoming rise of electric power of renewable energy um and at that time it was actually in akind of a dark spot it was it had been slow rolled but you pointed out that there was an exponential growth curvecan you catch us up on the state of things in the last 10 years because there's been tremendous progress inrenewable energy yeah the big thing that's happened really is that Renewables have plungedin price uh solar wind energy storage for the grid batteries and electric vehicles in particular you know 10 yearsago 11 years ago I wrote my book definite resource and I wrote an article for Scientific American saying that bythat solar was dropping in cost like compute some a similar slope not exactly as fast but there was a Moore's Law ofsolar now we'd call that rights law that by about 2015 solar and some parts ofthe world would be cost competitive with coal and about 2020 in Sunny parts of the world slowly half the cost of callat the time that looked ridiculous to most people in energy and mostenvironmentalists uh and yet that's basically what's happened in fact I was a little bit too conservative forecastshave even my forecasters are wildly optimistic at the time have been a little bit slow once actually occurredso what's happening now is you know we spend trillions of dollars a year on energy all up includingTransportation heating electricity and so on uh doing now you look at it as much as six trillion dollarswe are in the midst of what will be a multi-decade transition this is not absolutely I've been overnight it's notgoing to happen as fast as deploying cell phones or social networks nevertheless now uh almost all newelectricity build out is solar and wind that's more than 70 of global build outis Renewables uh energy storage is booming it's like doubled every yearelectric vehicles even through covid when we saw vehicle sales in generalplunge electric vehicles have risen to be now 12 13 all Global vehicle salesyou know that annual growth rate of 40 50 60 so we're we're at this point we're stillin the the early part of the s-curve if you will but what's happening is thatyou know electricity Renewables have now become cost competitive in transport electric vehicles havegotten good enough they're very exciting and they're on the verge of being plain cheaper than fossil fuel poweredvehicles and we'll do the same thing to uh industrial processes that use a lotof energy we don't really think about to make steel and cement to manufacture cars or build buildings and othersectors of energy that are going behind the scenes those will come in time but this is you know to stay below 1.5degrees Celsius of warming on the planet we've probably missed that to be totally honest anyway two degrees Celsius weneed to get to net zero emissions around the planet it's completely decarbonizing Energy System by 2050 2060 2070 uh and Ithink that's doable but it's still going to be a stretch and it's going to require continued Innovation and continued policy workwow okay that's a bold forecast and that's an impressive progress uh what are some of the biggest hurdles what arethe biggest impediments uh the hardest things to change yeah I'd say there's a couple of impediments one is there'ssome cost so we have you know new power solar and wind are the bulk of it andnew vehicles electric vehicles are still just 11 12 something like that uhthey'll they will be more than half by the end of this decade but power plants are built to operate 30 40 50 years theaverage Fleet turnover or the average age of a car on an American Road it's been like 13 years so full Fleetturnovers like 26 and another parts of the world is slower so even once you reach the point where clean energy isall of the new energy you're deploying you have this multi-decade tale ofinfrastructure you've already deployed and either you've got to get thin as you just so cheap that you you shut thatdown and it's cheaper to buy an electric car that drives your gasoline powered car which is possibleor you have policy levers that's one impediment there's others NIMBY is ahuge impedimenting uh people don't realize that you'll solve climate change we have to build we can't just opposeeverything we have to actually allow solar Farms or wind farms or transmission lines you go by someonesomewhere uh and then often non-market business models a lot ofutilities have Monopoly business models where they don't actually have to do the cheapest thing for their customersbecause there is no competition and they get paid on a capital plus basis so theydon't necessarily see the actual economic pressure to switch the cheapestthing because that might actually force them to regulate them and force them to lower the costs so they charge theircustomers so that's a surprising one uh that's a real one you can see that inChina too where you know there's heavy Reliance on coal-fired plants to this day they make solar panels and theycould eat they could begin to do that switch well having said that Rob China's deployed more solar in the last threeyears than than the US has historically throughout all history so I I think they are making that switch but two differentthings two different things this existing planet is but miss uh part of this is sort of griddesign you know um you know we we have seen um Texas California where I'm from inAustralia with South Australia New South Wales Victoria we are starting to see traditional grids being challenged byclimate change because of temperature extremes and so forth um and this idea of centralizedgeneration the way we've thought about it and and network distribution um this in itself really needs to berethought doesn't it for 21st century grid design so distributed designum you know a grid level battery storage incorporating you know you know residential home battery units and EVSinto the storage capability you know rooftop solar all of these sorts of things this is a fundamental rethink ofthe way the grid um has resilience so um you know where would you you know whowould you say economically um is sort of leading the charge and terms of this new design thinking aroundthe way grid should evolve what's I will partially with you there is a huge newopportunity in distributed energy resources in solar and buildings in batteries behind the meter and usingelectric vehicles as energy resources grid just to charge smartly and we have the most Windows unavailable automobilepower back on the grip that is an enormous north of Duty at the same time what all the modeling shows is thatRenewables are actually more dependent upon a larger scale grids than fossilfuel power plants because weather is less spoiler over distance so you look at Texas Texas has actually in some waysa good grid Market design it's a it's actually a place where energy resourcescompete on price unlike a lot of places in the world or in the US but Texas isalso an energy Island Texas at most can import two percent ofits peak electricity Management's neighboring states so you look at the Texas outages that happened recently uha the culprit was not when it wasn't even a One National resource and naturalgas plants and what failed the most with these ice storms because you have every energy resource we built whether it's athermal power plant like a gas plant or a coal plant a nuclear power plant depends on water for its cooling uh orwind farms or solar it's actually somewhat dependent on weather uh but B when you had Texas strugglingto provide a power of the lights on next door in Oklahoma you had a surplus ofdirt cheap power right because weather events that they couldn't access it right they couldn'taccess it because Texas has made the decision to be its own energy Island uh ercot there's three groups in Americathere's the Western American act the Eastern interconnect and ercot which is Texas uh and even in the west and theEast we don't have as much transmission between states as we should so do we actually do simulations of weather andreligious humans everything points to building continent-sized grids allowsyou to move power from the sunniest parts of the U.S you move power from us to New York with less than 10 lossespretty cheap you can move uh wind power from the Great Plains out to the coastsuh that's what it actually worked the best and what gets in the way of that is not economics it's not technology we'vegot the tech and it's cost effective it is purely Regulatory and it is mostlyNIMBY yeah so this is not in my backyard um element of thisum you know how can we educate the general public thatum you know not only that um energy needs are changing as a result of youknow the changes in climate and demands from things like cloud computing and electric vehicles but what is theprocess to get people to understand the the significant longer term benefits ofyou know Renewables um just from an economic perspective because I think this is something we still struggle within the United States and in Australia in particular where people don't understand how much cheaper these energy sourcesare going to be in the future I think we see it somewhat on a local basis you know most people that installed solar energy rooftops do sobecause they want it but also they see that they actually save money in their bill uh a friend of mineuh it runs your own business where she had a a gasoline-powered pickup truck asher main work vehicle and she switched to an electric vehicle and the monthlypayments on the vehicle are less than what she saves in fuel costs even afteradding in her electric charging costs wow you have Amazon ordered a hundred thousand electric trucks from rivianthese delivery Vans you know like the UPS and FedEx fans yeah yeah Vans and they did it because employees werereally frustrated with pesos several thousand employees wrote him a letter on how Amazon do better on climate hundredsto sit in a walkout but they also did it because when they did the math they actually said oh my gosh this willactually save us money it's an investment in these electric vans will pay back in two or three years with ifyou have electricity and the high efficiency of these vehicles and the low maintenance costs and they're so simple was wellactually save us money even if we have to switch over the whole Fleet so we're starting to see that happen now and thatnarrative is starting to get more into the mainstream certainly in business it is and so I think that the the Ford'sdecision to launch a electric version of the F-150 truck is so important becausethe customer for that truck has had their two been resistant right to energy initiativesum as you both have pointed out it's a case it's a matter of Case by case one person at a time has to have their ownEpiphany uh so the idea that an electric truck can be more powerful faster lesscost of ownership and operation uh that could be a really compelling use case on an individual basis I'm excited to seethat let me just take a step back here uh you know I mean you you clearly haveum evolved in your career you've you've now become one of the world's expert inin in this field but you started in you know the technology space like you know yeah myself so what was that Journeylike from you being a deep technologist to becoming more interested in the future and then you know getting intoum you know like becoming the lead for for Singularity University on on the energy side yeah you know I have adegree in computer science that's my only formal uh certification really uhbut I was always a statute of the future I grew up reading science fiction reading uh popular science nonfictionbooks and I was always asking about what's next and uh when Iworking in Tech gave me the luxury that I felt that I could try something new mostly because I felt that I get hiredin Tech again and that's actually a luxury that a lot of people don't have I feel like they can just go off and do something so frankly I just hit a pointin my career where I needed a break I needed to do something different when I had been doing I left found a startup startup failed asmost do didn't know what to do next decided to write a book didn't know how hard it was to write a book didn't know how low the odds were being publishedand reading if so this did it and that was my first book more than human I went back to Tech for their six seven yearsat Microsoft and along the way I just got really interested I had a very cliche environmental Awakening on abeach in Mexico fell in love with the water wondered why there was litter thought I should look into things I'vebeen hearing about the environmental climate change and when I started looking into it I decided that both extremes that I washearing one extreme being there is no problem it's all a hoax or it'll solve itselfand the extreme being we're doomed there's no way out I thought both those were were kind of BS honestly like itwas obvious that there are real problems and also obviously we have enormous Innovative capabilities when I put ourminds to them yeah and it was just the luxury of today and this was a decadeago is that now you have access to all the world's data or a huge fraction of it so I can just go read reports by theworld's leading experts and scientists papers and I could call people up and and not let you know their book and thatthen I started give them talks and wrote that book and uh people kept inviting me back and once you've written a booksomething you're a quote expert yeah yeah dangerous and I got smarter along the way yeah and one of the things about publicspeaking is it forces you to master the material you become a great student when you're standing when you're forced to stand on stageum no one wants to embarrass themselves so one of the things that's interesting uh is what I'm hearing you describe inyour own Epiphany you're on your own course of evolution is that your Storytellerum and and this is really kind of the key of our show uh the futuristsum because everyone we talk to is either a science fiction writer which you are or they're a scenario planner in somefashion sometimes in a specific discipline and sometimes more broadly there are futurists for hire and they'll provide that as a service but scenarioplanning let's get real it is storytelling right because you're having to take some uh some facts you start with some facts some Trends do someextrapolation and then posit a scenario in the future and this is the point when the fiction starts because then at thatpoint you have to sort of Flesh that uh story or that scenario out with some facts and so what we're finding is thatthere's a little parallel between what a futurist does and what a science fiction author does and you do both tell meabout the importance of stories yeah so I I have never worked as a professional futurist I've never beenhired through scenario for anything like that I instead what I've done is talked about where I saw the future headed andthe key decisions I thought we had to make as a civilization um either in fiction or in on I will sayyou know both of them involve the importance thinking about the motivation of the actors and what do people wantwhat are the different entities whether it's people businesses governments what do they want so you don't factor that inyou have something very dry is it not realistic uh and then I think also public speaking you've got to have anemotional art through the talk to carry people along you know now I mean I I always thinkyour ability to apply sci-fi into this as well as the uh the Practical elementsis is really compelling from a storytelling perspective but uh hey man listen we're going to have a quick breakbut before that we like to do this thing we call a quick fire round just some some uh really uh pithy questions thatuh get get a little background for our listeners so here we gowhat was the first science fiction you remember being exposed to on TV orthrough books I'm sure it wasn't the first but the first book was El Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth a very coolinteresting um not a really compelling movie but a really interesting book what technologydo you think has most changed Humanity uh digital Tech Community Communications tech uh really but that combination ofthe internet cell phones yeah absolutely name a futurist or entrepreneur if youlike that has influenced you and why Kevin Kelly uh his book out of control Iread it I think I was in high school I'm proud to have Kevin with a friend these days and it really you know that was aperiod where chaos by James Glick came out complexity came out and out of control came out out of control reallypersuaded me that there was this Bottoms Up model of both Innovation and musicalized control that was reallyfascinating and I haven't thought about before yeah really relevant again now with web3 yeah yeah yeah what's the bestprediction a futurist or sci-fi practitioner has ever made do you thinkwithout wow that's a really bold one uh that tomorrow is likely better thanyesterday and I don't know who first made that but I think you know that the anti-appy jewels fan I don't know yeahyeah that's a good one um what science fiction story this is the last one what science fiction storyis most representative of the future that you hope for oh my goodness graciousum I think it would have to be a slightly Utopia actually I would say this it's umIan M Banks's culture world yeah yeah there are novels that are about autopian future they're very dark dark dark novels and everything on the edge of this Utopia and that makes them funto read for me and very Thrillers but they are about a world where we've some species has surpassed the planetaryboundaries we have and have really built a world of abundance yeah absolutely well that's great let's uh take a quickbreak you're listening to the futurist with myself and Rob tersek Our Guest this week Ram is nam we'll be right backafter these words from our sponsors provoked media is proud to sponsorproduce and support the futurist podcast provoke.fm is a global podcast Networkand content creation company with the world's leading fintech podcast and radio show Breaking Banks and of courseit's spin-off podcast breaking Banks Europe breaking Banks Asia Pacific and the fintech 5.but we also produce the official phenovate podcast Tech on reg emergeeverywhere the podcast of the Financial Health Network and next-gen Banker for information about all our podcasts go toprovoke.fm or check out breaking Banks the world's number one fintech podcastand radio showwelcome back to the futurists you're listening to myself Rob tercik with myco-host Brett King and this week we're talking to ramaz Nam ramas is a doublefuturist he's the futurist futurist not only does he work in a field where he exercises significant influence onevents that are going to unfold in the future but he also writes about the future as a science fiction author sohe's written non-fiction books and science fiction books and Mez what's the intersection there between the visionsthat you put forth in the Nexus series and the work that you're actually doing is there an intersection do the twoinform each other it's really about thinking about what's going to happen tous at the future place that we're all going and looking for a way to navigate to the challenges we have and I thinkwhile Nexus you know simple class classified as dystopian fiction some people classify as utopian fiction as abook where a lot of bad things happen but the world overall becomes a better place and that's actually my view of thecourse of history lots of gnarly things have happened lotsof horrible events have happened many horrible events await us and yet somehow despite that overall we've made theworld and the well-being of the average human on planet Earth better and better over time and I guess what what lieslargely lies ahead of us but it also doesn't happen completely passively it happens yeahdo Market forces do other things you know Stephen Pinker you can read but also happens to the the actions ofindividuals who yeah people with a vision who are charismatic can actually really make a gigantic shift yeah yeahand we're seeing a little bit of that right now that we talked about the sort of bad things happening for instance right now this conflict in the Ukraineum it's unfortunate because it's distracting people from other things that frankly could be a bigger priorityit's going to consume a lot of resources on kind of a pointless exercise it's forcing Europeans Western Europeans torevert to some coal-fired plants and stuff so progress on energy uh you know future energy is being suspended forthis period of time uh so unfortunately the future comes and fits and starts andthere are you know political events uh geopolitical events that occur that can set it back some uh so we live throughthat but it's important to look past today's headlines the negative headlines the Press stories about the conflictsand look toward that future that progress that we're always making I've always admired about your work includingthe infinite resource which is kind of the core principle there is that we have one renewable resource which is humanIngenuity um it's actually not renewable it's an infinite resource to use the title of the booknon-rivalrous yeah that's right yeah that's right we can share the ideas and actually compound them and make themmore useful and I have a slightly different view on Ukraine um I think Ukraine is horrible no one should wishfor war there's you know hundreds of millions of people being affected one way or another and millionsaffected very very directly uh I think through Putin's invasion of Ukraine mostlikely we don't know the outcome but most likely it's going to massively accelerate the energy transition agreeum that we see that in Europe already there's temporary increases in Coal burning whatnot but so you look at whatEurope's actually setting in place they're going to massively turn away from natural gasthan ever I think it is strengthened the alliance in the U.S andEurope I think it's probably not been a positive for Global democracy the verdict's still out there's still somescary times ahead I think it's uh strengthened Taiwan against China and I think it's made theU.S and Europe uh you sort of wake up and get a little bit more cognizant andtake some measures to be a little bit less dependent upon China and other totalitarian States maybe in SaudiArabia for things that are critical and I while I'm a free tradeist I'm a globalist I think those are all actuallypretty positive things that I would never wish this were to happen there's still scary things that could couldhappen but I think uh the most likely outcomes I see are that the world getsbetter as a result of it I wanna I I want to change Tech a little bit here mayor's talking about the NexusTrilogy and uh the work you did there because you know if you uh if you wrotea story about the future of um you know energy production in a sciencefiction setting that would be sort of naturally aligned with your your career in respects but you did um you know Nanorobots that that had you know sort of brain control interfaces and stuff like that and you know changing um humanbehavior and so forth but um you know your series was quite successful it was nominated you you you tied for bestnovel for the Prometheus Awards you were shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke awardum and won the 2015 um the third the third in the trilogy Apex won the 2015 Philip K dick awardphenomenal outcomes congratulations but um suddenly you were now thrust intothis world um where you're going to the science fiction award dinners and so forth wassome of your childhood uh you know Heroes what was that like be suddenlybecoming networked with um you know these amazing science fiction grades ohmy God it's such a privilege I mean I grew up reading David Brynn I'm a hugefan uh my friend Paul a bunch of loopy is with the wind up girl I think it's just amazing there's so many people uhyou know Daniel Abraham and Ty Frank who wrote the expanse so we've seen the last on TV the last several years uh sogetting to suddenly uh be peers and friends with these people is just you'relike a kid in a candy store honestly yeah now I I I can definitely uh seethat in terms of um the the elements of future scenarioplanning regarding things like grid design and the things we we talked about earlier in in terms of developingstories for science fiction um how how do you think you can helppeople to think like a futurist to get in that mindset of understanding therate of change how we can stimulate that how we can absorb that into society howwould you help people to develop that mindset yeah about writing I've thought about I've never come up with a way thatI could write a story about climate energy primarily because the the solution doesn't happen over the coursethat I can fit into a store easier it would be a multi-generational story I think um what I find is this you know I I givea lot of talks and Rob when you came to singular University my talk started withsort of the global challenges and then I think there was sort of probably a an appeal to what we needed to docollectively towards the end with technology optimism intermixed uh maybe the year after that I was asked to givea talk at a hedge fund conference and I thought oh my gosh the people here might be climate deniers I can't give them atalk about what they need to do to make the world a better place or address interesting so instead I just flippedthe talk entirely and the talk was just about the economic Trends and clean energy and how cleanser was going tobecome cheaper than fossil fuels as you know cheaper to build nuclear energy than to operate existing fossil fuelinfrastructure and that all of their Investments and fossil fuels were severely at risk and I didn't mentionclimate change to the very last slide and then their influences and there's this thing called climate change policyis going to get more ambitious over time too I can't tell you the exact Pace it's only two simple one step back the policyis going to keep going forward too and that was the narrative Arc that actually worked for that audience and that's beenthe narrative Arc that I've I've largely kept in most talks about climate because what I find is the advanced majority ofpeople who are in the audience you're talking to sea level executive companies people with private Equity or solidwealth funds or Banks or militaries almost all of them believe that climate change is real and they need to dosomething about it what they lack is a bottom line argument to take to their organization that they can use to drivethe right investment or change and one of the points of resistance there is that there's a lot ofdisinformation there's a lot of information that's being published probably with the support of fossil fuelindustry uh that that causes people to have a doubt or to resist or maybe tonot take it so seriously uh you know a moment ago you mentioned that the Ukraine war has shaken Europe out of itscomplacency uh maybe given us a fresh Awakening as to the needs of you know the the the transatlantic Alliance anduh and the needed shift to new kinds of energy um but but we tend to work complacencyif we've got a system that's working we're going to go focus on other problems and some some organizations arepaid lavishly uh to to write lullabies right to tell us uh to tell us fairytales that'll cause us to kind of sleep fall back asleep or or not take this matter so urgently uh a few weeks ago Isent you a report from the Manhattan Institute that was um raising the issue of all the other costs associated withmanufacturing electric vehicles how electric vehicles and uh renewable energy have a cost associated withmanufacturing that we don't often take into account and while that report was interesting it's actually really wellwritten report it's very persuasive what I noticed in reading it is we'll give me a comparison give me an Apples to Applescomparison on the cost the total cost of manufacturing and installation and deployment and then operation and end oflife cycle and the artfully avoided that because I think when you do that analysis fossil fuels don't look greatand they don't compare over time and Ice engines you know traditional internalcombustion cars also don't look favorable to electric vehicles so in isolation you can find you know reasonsto resist or reasons to deny um but when you try to do an accurate uh point-by-point comparison which isharder to do than it sounds because that information is not always available but talk to me a little bit about disinformation and what you run intowhen you're out there spreading this message of the cost benefit analysis yeah we're going to do a lot and a lotof it actually is is mostly you can actually get people sort of just look at the facts about today uh but there's adisbelief there has been this belief that the economic trends of clean Technologies even cheaper will persistand some of the leading think tanks I mean the International Energy agency is actually a prime culprit in this and notyeah so few organization they just have sort of a status quo bias right a lot of forecasters do but I've I no longerspend a lot of my time engaging with disinfo because what I found what the data shows is that most peoplemake up their mind on issues like this emotionally and based on tribe then theygo seek data to confirm what they believe so there will always be a Bjorn lombork out there or a MichaelSchoenberg out there and it doesn't there's of spending my time on that isjust not productive what is more interesting is spending my time with a bank that is was lending to Coal powerplants and showing them these plants are going to go out of business they're going to bust before they pay you backand getting them to shift you know billions of dollars of investment elsewhere which I've done right becausethose entities that are just bottom line oriented and that are willing to take sort of a cold hard look at things Ithink are amenable to these sorts of of economic arguments and now now that thetide has turned like not fast enough but we spent how you look at it in 2022on clean energy deployment just capex we're going to send between 1 and 1.4trillion dollars Tran whose definition you use all fossil fuel capex will be about 650maybe 700 billion dollars we are now spending more not just solar windbatteries and EVS basically we're not having more on that then we're spending on oil and gas as far as new capitalinvestment per year and that's never going to go back never that exactly doubling time on clean energy investmentis like every four years right now so we would like things to go fasterum but the fossil fuel companies are finding a revert action on this I mean I do think part of this is alsoum you know as as we look at things like energy production as we look at automation of societyum you know resource allocation you know with with sort of systems design you know there needs to be sort of somegreen field thinking in terms of motivations here you know I mean if you look back in the 70s and 80s when weknew just um the the qual quality of our air and fossil fuel you know burning what thatwas doing to you know in terms of pollution and the 70s there was a very big environmental Awakening but you knowwe we were willing to absorb seven to ten million deaths a year from air quality uh you know degradation fromfossil fuels but there seems to be sort of this broader Awakening in in that umyou know if we're going to deploy these long-term large systemic um things that they they need to have a more netpositive outcome on society as well I think this is part of the sort of generational shift yeah what'sinteresting about what Mez just taught us which I think is really worth underscoring for our audience is is really he said two things one is mostpeople have a hard time envisioning exponential change right we we've heard that again and again from people like Ray Kurzweil so that's a pretty familiarTrope but when you're confronted with the facts of exponential change it's extremely hard to Envision that and theproof of that is what Mez said in the beginning of this even his most Sunny optimistic forecasts in his first bookturned out to be wildly below the actual trajectory that unfolded right so that happens quite often with exponentialchange most people can't Envision it and then the tendency is to get skeptical about it right is the tenant the naturalreaction is to say come on that can't be right that can't be true but the second thing that Mez just said which I thinkis really interesting and goes kind of Builds on the point you're making Brett is you got to pick your audience uh whathe doesn't do is waste time as he doesn't waste time with the climate deniers anymore he doesn't waste time trying to engage with them or persuadethem or get into you know uh scraps on Twitter on Twitter or other social media platforms instead find a high valueaudience a high leverage audience and devote your resources in time to persuading them because that's whereyou're really going to make a material difference no I think that I think that's important yeahum uh Miz you know we've only we've got a few minutes left before we finish up here so I you know I'd like to get alittle bit um bigger in scope you know and I'd like you to put your sci-fi hat on here and um you know um throwyourself into the world of culture the culture series Etc but you know lookingout 30 to 50 years what do you think will be um the greatest changes that Humanitywill see you know what are you most Optimist Mystic about well first and foremost I am an optimist I think somethings will get worse and there's some scary events in the future I mean some events that horrify us but I think 30 to 50 years from now the median person onplanet Earth will live a better life than they do today longer better education Better Health Care morefreedom is my best guess um I I think a lot of what's going tochange lives the most is still the digital technology we still have not reached 100 saturation of you knowpocket devices with speech recognition translation between every language andaccess to all the world's knowledge and a built-in educational assistant uh andso I think that's a huge one I think the role of AI as cognitive prosthesis uh ismassive I'm not too worried about AI as entities or uh you know AI takeover butI think uh one way to look at I was talking with uh Sam Alvin atop AI isthat you know today we you have people writing term papers using gpt3 and Ithink uh down the road I mean this is a short story uh I'm coming out you'll have people who say uh were there peopleuse Dolly to make images you'll be able to say design me a house uh 5 bedroom Rambler split level mid-century modernuh with sort of a Moroccan theme and it'll do that where you'll have beyondthat at some point we'll have uh physicists and chemists like we already have a little bit of work of AI helpingus with uh drug design helping us with materials design we're always going tovalidate these things in the real world but I think AI is going to improve our rate of innovation and intellectualproduction and I think that's a huge huge benefit for Humanity and in addition to that we'll solve issues at the bottom of the ladder I think theaverage person on planet Earth will be better fed have access to clean water more basic medicine more shelter andmore of an energy that's great mess it's so nice what you just did there was no keep them to tietogether two Trends or two themes that we heard so much in our in this show uh we've heard so much in previous episodesabout uh dystopian Futures you know the idea that science fiction and particularly in science fiction movies it's a lot easier to portray a dystopiathan it is to portray a Utopia Utopias tend to be boring and they're not great drama and so Hollywood doesn't focus onthose as much um you know dystopia is scary and it motivates people and it creates conflictand drama but we what you just shared is a vision of of constant incremental improvements and it's probably worthputting that in the context of that's also been the story of the past 100 years and frankly the past 1 000 yearsalthough we don't tend to notice it because we tend to notice those big events the big conflicts the bigsetbacks uh the hardships and so on you know just in the last 20 years uh umabout a billion people have been raised out of extreme poverty into a kind of middle class you know and and probablynot the middle class that we're we're aware of here in the United States but that's a significant achievement right that's a huge achievement on theplanet Earth it's happening in places that are far from the United States so most Americans don't notice that andthey tend to focus on what's near to them which might not be the same story um but I think it's really great to keepthat vision of ever growing incremental progress forward it's great to keep that vision in mindbut that's cool as a science fiction author you're not going for the easy points here you're going for the toughest story of all the hardestnarrative to tell well that's why inside we actually have terrible things happen you gotta have the reader has to have areason to trim the page there's got to be tension yeah so I don't I don't criticize sci-fi authors for adding darkstuff that's why Nexus is the way that it is it's a Trilogy is like there's constantly fear that horrible things canhappen in the main characters of the world and bad things do have a lot of the protagonists uh while overall if youread the books the world gets better yeah I mean listen this is hard white into humans we want the story ofredemption we want the story of Salvation we want the story of Resurrection you're going to some really really core like beliefs that arehardwired into human beings I think maybe on an unconscious level um so yeah that that drama that conflictmakes it a good read But ultimately things are getting better and that's a super positive way to wrapthe show I think that this has been a really fun it has been um it's fun it's great to finally get totalk to you again miss hey um what are you working on now that you want to share with uh with our audience thatthat's interesting over the next couple of years so I've been investing in crime energy startups for the last eight yearsI'm watching my own uh Venture Fund in climate Tech it's the best time ever despite Global recession and so on thisis a booming area so just gonna keep getting hotter and to hear more from me about that uh soonI think there's going to be like I mean the spend on climate mitigation and youknow infrastructure resilience and adaptation as you say it's got to be trillions of dollars over the next uh umyou know uh decade or so so a huge opportunity indeedum and uh how can people find out more about what you're doing and follow your uh your activity go to our websitegrammaznam.com or follow me on Twitter res fantastic well Miz thanks for joining usagain on the futurists and you know please stay in touch and uh you know if you have some really interestinginitiatives that you're launching let us know we'll make sure we weave it into our news and activity that we do on theshow will do thanks Brad thanks Rob really fun man good to see you take care all right that's it for the futuristthis week um if you like the show please feel free to leave us a review uh preferably a five-star review we'regetting some really phenomenal traction now the futurist is now in the uh you know top two percent of uh um podcastsglobally so fantastic attraction um and tell people about it share it on social media you know um uh and so forththat all helps but uh we'll uh we'll be back with you next week with another episode of the futurist until then we'llsee you in the future [Music]well that's it for the futurists this week if you like the show we sure hope you did please subscribe and share itwith people in your community and don't forget to leave us a five star review that really helps other people find theshow and you can ping us anytime on Instagram and Twitter at futuristpodcastfor the folks that you'd like to see on the show or the questions you'd like us to ask thanks for joining and as always we'llsee you in the future [Music]

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