*Disclaimer: written in 45 min. with 5 min. of editing
There’s a lot of talk about the future. And for good reason – it’s where we’ll live after today, where others and other things will be dead, and where technology can only become more advanced – oooh think-baity.
Thinking about the future is like going after the wind, you can’t quite grab it, but you have a sense of where it’s going. The influence of the future on the present society has always been powerful, from Sci-Fi comics to modern day startups’ visions. Ideas become future reality. The future nudges you to forget today, and rest your woes on the improvements that may come – giving some people fear, and others hope. I’m writing this to express neither fear nor hope, but simply to explore what is happening today and how it’s influenced by the future.
Thinking about the future is like going after the wind, you can’t quite grab it, but you have a sense of where it’s going.
We Always Knew Energy Was the Bee’s Knees
People often think about how the future can answer questions today, giving them direction for invention and motivation. The question, “What is the next big revolution in tech?” comes up quickly. This is not a hard question in my mind, because I believe energy has always been the ‘next’ big thing. Energy is an easy concept to play with, but a tough thing to discuss tangibly. What does it mean to have ‘infinite’ energy? Where do you store this thing. What information can a photon hold? Does it think? Is it the essence of life itself?
Tesla has taken the stage as top-dog in practical energy technology. Batteries specifically. When it comes down to it, Tesla is a battery company (or rather, an ‘energy’ company). Not a car company. Their batteries are sizing up to be fairly impressive for their size. But as with anything, look back at this day 10 years from now, and that size of battery offering only that much power is going to be laughable.
So let’s imagine a battery that can power the world for one day. That’s big energy. But a battery that may eventually be as small as your phone. Now take this same battery, and apply it to singular objects, like hey, your phone. Well now it doesn’t need to be so big. This rice sized battery can now power your phone for the rest of your life, your kids’ lives, and maybe their kids’ lives. What does this mean? That you’ll never have to see that dreaded low battery icon anymore? Or why not just remove the icon, it’s not relevant anymore. In fact, thinking about energy capacity isn’t relevant anymore, it’s not the issue. What’s relevant is how it can help you think.
Intelligence vs Your Brain
“Power my house!” you might scream. “Give me a hoverboard!” you may laugh. How about, “Give me intelligence.” …what? Yes, your brain can be compared to a complex, dense network of energy being passed around constantly within itself; somewhat like today’s internet. But all that power is in one brain-sized container. Sounds familiar… like that powerful battery. When energy gets close to itself, different things happen. Being able to harness power this much is like being able to harness a brain’s operations. Sure it’s not as ‘thoughtful,’ but what is a thought but mere energy with direction and storage?
Carry the energy (intelligence and motion) of a brain in the size of a grain of rice, and you have something phenomenal. In there, translate your every thought and sensory input you’ve ever come in contact with in your lifetime. This pebble of energy is a another form of life. Is it ‘you’?
The creation of batteries, in the most abstract, is the creation of life (stored energy, with potential direction, that will eventually die if not recharged or recycled).
Would your pebble sized self be able to think? After all, it has the energy (intelligence and motion), it has your sensory inputs. What else is needed? Well what’s NOT needed is your human body, AKA limitations. It’s not limited by an arm and a leg. But maybe it is no longer ‘one’ in the way we comprehend a ‘being.’ Maybe it truly does become part of the matter around it, as it may not be stable enough to stay contained. This relates to how our bodies are actually more ‘space’ between the atoms than the atoms themselves. Maybe this energy could live like us, more space than matter.
Is it possible that the Sci-Fi comics were on to something? Is ‘transcending’ into energy and passing through time itself an impossibility? Comprehending ‘infinite’ intelligence (energy) is more than one brain can handle, so maybe we’ll find the answer when our brain is the size of that grain of rice. When batteries live longer than us. 😉