Each week Nikolas Badminton, Futurist Speaker, summarizes the top-5 future looking developments and news items that I find to be inspiring, interesting, concerning, or downright strange. Each day he reads through dozens of blogs and news websites to find those things that we should be aware of.
In Exponential Minds’ The Future of Giant Underwater Robots we look at massive underwater robots, IKEA selling solar at cost, saying no to killer military robots, the dawn of the ‘techlash’, and grid parity.
Giant Robots Are the Future of Underwater Mining
A 700-foot-long ship sits off the coast of Papua New Guinea. But this beast isn’t even the star of the show—it is the control platform for a trio of even more colossal robots that are about to undertake a daredevil mission to the bottom of the sea.
Their target is the called the Solwara 1 seabed, a place that contains silver and copper deposits with more than ten times the concentration you’d find on land. Way down there, seawater is superheated to around 750 degrees Fahrenheit by volcanic activity and jets from the sea bed. The hot water mixes with cold seawater and leaves behind tall rock chimneys rich in resources, deposits called seafloor massive sulfides (SMS).
Read more at Popular Mechanics
IKEA flags selling solar panels “at cost” in Australia
“We have already introduced (solar panels) into the UK market and in Poland and something similar in Japan, and I and the team would like to find a way to introduce that to the Australian market,” he told Channel 9’s Ross Greenwood.
“It would actually be cost-neutral because we believe this to be another positive way that we, as a big company, can contribute for the sustainable life at home for the many people in Australia.”
There are no details yet on when, or how – and using which products – this might happen in Australia, but some speculation is arising based on the offerings in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.
According to Canstar Blue, in the UK IKEA uses PV panels from Solarcentury, and offers three different solar packages to consumers:
- a 3kW solar system for £4,412 ($A7,800);
- a customisable solar system, starting at 3kW for £4,941 ($A8,700)
- and a customised solar system that’s “designed to integrate seamlessly with your roof,” again starting at 3kW, this time costing £6,176 ($A10,900).
Read more at Renew Economy
German military says no to ‘killer robots’
MUNICH – The German military has no intention of acquiring autonomous weapons, decried as “killer robots” by critics, the head of Germany’s fledgling cyber command said on Thursday.
Lieutenant General Ludwig Leinhos, who heads the new Cyber and Information Space Command set up in April 2017, made the comment during a discussion about artificial intelligence on the sidelines of the annual Munich Security Conference.
“We have a very clear position. We have no intention of procuring … autonomous systems,” Leinhos said.
He said the German military needed to prepare to defend against such weapons if they were used by other countries, but had no plans to obtain such weapons itself.
Read more at Enca
Dawn of the techlash
We sometimes forget how uncharted this new digital world remains – it’s a work in progress. We forget that social media, for all its flaws, still brings people together, gives a voice to the voiceless, opens vast wells of information, exposes wrongdoing, sparks activism, allows us to meet up with unexpected strangers. The list goes on. It’s inevitable that there will be falls along the way, deviousness we didn’t foresee. Perhaps the present danger is that in our rush to condemn the corruption of digital technologies, we will unfairly condemn the technologies themselves.
Read more at The Guardian
Experts Predict Grid Parity For Renewables To Begin In Mid-2020s, Reveals Lloyd’s Register
A new study published this week by Lloyd’s Register, based on surveys of 800 professionals and experts from around the world, reveals that renewable energy sources like solar and wind are likely to begin reaching grid parity around the world beginning in China in 2022, but that despite this, sustained increases in investments will still be hard to come by.
Lloyd’s Register published its 2018 Technology Radar report this week — the fourth year the report has been published — which this year focuses on renewable energy and asks the question, when will renewable energy become the dominant source of energy in the world?
“Our latest Technology Radar – Renewable Energy research reflects the most current and forward-looking attitudes, actions, and investment behaviours in both global and local renewable energy markets,” explained Alasdair Buchanan, Director of Lloyd’s Register’s Energy business. “These trends are striving to shape tomorrow’s sustainable energy mix and are framing a clear end in sight for a big transformational shift in sustainable energy provision.”
Read more at Clean Technica