Thursday, July 17, 2008

Robots building robots building desalianation plants, space elevators, solar system mining and farming operations,...

Adding some things to the list of great leap technologies that could potentially (and I stress potentially; these are far from sure things, at least within the next few decades.) put way off resource related growth constraints is robots building robots. Once this was able to be done well, the robot population could grow exponentially with little or no human work on their production necessary. We could largely just sit back and let this population of loyal, tireless workers grow throughout the planet, and perhaps throughout the solar system.

What would they do? How about building thousands of large scale space elevators for mining, teraforming, and then farming the solar system, and for constructing an orbiting system of solar power plants, as I mentioned in my last post, to provide all of the power we could ever need with no pollution, and no running out of fuel, for as long as the Sun lives, which is billions of more years.

How about building a network of thousands of desalination plants, and pipeline and drop irrigation systems to expand food production many fold, and to also greatly expand the amount of habitable land, and then constructing housing and infrastructure on that newly habitable land.

These are great leap ideas that I have mentioned in the last two posts, but they are not that unlikely to occur, at least to a large extent, given enough time. Of course, the much sooner, the much better, so I hope we elect as few Republicans as possible so that we can invest as much as possible in making these things happen.

These great leap advances require heavy investment in basic scientific research, the kind that the free market will greatly under provide, under distribute, and under utilize due to long ago established (in scientific academic economics) free market problems, such as inability/impracticality to patent, externalities, inability to price discriminate well, asymmetric information, and more. And, in general, simple-minded Republican slogan economics greatly hurts investment in high return social projects, and economic growth over the long run, so I hope we vote out large numbers of Republicans this November. With global warming and everything else, we may really need these kinds of advances -- An Apollo Program or Manhattan Project for Renewable Energy? No, say the Republicans. Big government bad, Ugh, Ugh. Small government good, like in 1810.