When the first Industrialized Revolution unfolded the fuel that ushered in a new found way of life was all based on fossil fuels. The gluttony that followed in the fervor frenzy of drilling and mining that ensued only created an environmental catastrophe of epic proportions today. Yet in the United States most of our government is in a state of denial that our industrial infrastructure that by the way is built all off of fossil fuels is the cause of all the environmental impact that global warming is having all around the globe. The continuing onslaught of more natural disasters which have been occurring more frequently with each passing year is a direct result of mans interference with the natural balance on this planet.
All civilization is at a critical juncture today. We have developed more technologies in the shortest amount of time than in any other period in the history of mankind. Sadly though in every society there are multitudes left with-out the benefits that these technologies could bring. More and more people are facing dire living conditions in practically every country in the world today. Over one billion people world wide are literally starving to death. The threat of Global Pandemics is as real as it gets. All of these can and must be eliminated if mankind is to survive. We now have the technology to make it happen, but the resolve to use the technologies that we have and develop more technologies for the betterment of the human experience is all predicated by relinquishing man’s own thirst for more power, control and wealth.
The scientific community all support that drastic changes in the earths delicate condition will cause events of biblical proportions if man continues on in denial and apathy in regards to not utilizing the technologies developed in eliminating the need and use of all fossil fuels. We are already on the brink of mass extinctions of marine life caused by mans destructive nature in pollution of our oceans. It is now more apparent than ever that the United States has to change direction, ideology, and attitudes if this nation is ever going to rise out of the ashes of our economic crisis. Like the Phoenix rising again to lead the world in green energy for all. Remember the opening to the Six Million Dollar Man ” We have the technology to make him better, faster, stronger” well, guess what we actually do.
The peak of the industrial revolution using fossil fuels happened around 1980. This is when scientists first really became concerned of the effects of all the carbon being released by the industrial complexes was having. For over one hundred years of mans indifference to the earths natural balance has now created a planetary crisis. History is a great teacher. In every economic revolution when new technology is developed it devises new energy systems. These new energy systems make it possible to create more independent economic activity. This in turn gives rise to providing more avenues to expand more commercial activity. Accompanying all this new technology are communication so called revolutions which become the foundations where mans ability to organize, manage, and control a newer more stable set of spatial dynamics. All from from evolving energy technologies.
In the last part of the 19th century and the first part of the 20th century the fossil fuel technology of the time, primarily coal, was the technology that powered the communication industries which also contributed to rail infrastructure and all the other commercial markets of the First Industrial Revolution. In the 20th century beginning around 1910, electronic communications like the telephone, radio and television became the communication medium that managed and marketed the oil-powered auto age and the mass consumer culture of the Second Industrial Revolution.
By 1994 a new convergence of communication and energy was now infiltrating society. Internet technology and reemergence of renewable energies were about to merge in creating a powerful new infrastructure for a Third Industrial Revolution. This Third Industrial Revolution has already begun and will change the world. In the next 100 years hundreds of millions of people will be able to produce their own green energy in their homes, in offices, and in factories all over the world. Humanity will be able to share with each other an “energy Internet,” just like we are able now to create and share information online. The democratization of energy will bring with it a fundamental reordering of all human relationships, impacting the very way we conduct business, govern society, educate our children, and engage in civic activities.
The United States has yet to capitalize on the emergence of this third industrial revolution. Government procrastination, denial, apathy and indifference have only confounded the American populace as to why the United States continually lags behind other industrialized countries in developing new renewable energy systems. In 2006 the European Union had laid the groundwork for further development of the Third Industrial Revolution. Green technologies have all given rise to a new medium of communications and infrastructure development. It is in Europe and in Japan that have taken hold of the idea that only with the development of renewable green energy will propel economies to greater heights of stability and prosperity. This while in the United States we are stuck with our antiquated energy policies and infrastructure that still rely on the fossil fuels of the first industrial and second industrial revolution.
Even with all the economic problems still facing the European Union it is the European Union that has the largest economy, not the United States or China. The gross domestic product (GDP) of its twenty-seven member states far exceeds the GDP of all our fifty states.The European Union is probably the only group of countries that are continually asking the bigger questions about humanities future viability as a species on Earth. All because of man’s unrelenting thirst for more power, control and wealth using the energy systems of he first and second industrial revolutions have created a world that has become almost inhospitable to man.
The Third Industrial Revolution most likely will be the last great Industrial Revolution. This revolution is beginning to lay the foundational infrastructure for an emerging collaborative age. In years to come this third industrial revolution with all the infrastructure development will create hundreds of thousands of new businesses and hundreds of millions of new jobs world wide. In doing so its completion, the last remnants of the first and second industrial revolution, will signal the end of over a two-hundred-year commercial saga characterized by industrious rationale`, entrepreneurial markets, and mass labor workforces.The antiquated thinking of the last 20th century will pass to a new generation of progressiveness and usher in the beginning of a new era marked by collaborative behavior, social networks and professional and technical workforces. In the next half century, the conventional, centralized business operations of the First and Second Industrial Revolutions will give way to increased business practices of the Third Industrial Revolution. The tradition concept of power over society will cease to exist. A Unilateral concept of power will unfold as a result of the third industrialized revolution. The very notion of lateral power seems so contradictory now to how we have experienced power relations of the past. Power, after all, has traditionally been organized pyramidically from top to bottom. Today, however, the collaborative power unleashed by the coming together of Internet technology and renewable green energies, fundamentally restructures human relationships, not from top to bottom but from side to side. All with profound implications for the future of society.
Prime examples of this concept is when the recording industry didn’t understand distributed power until millions of young people began sharing music online. Corporate profits fell to all time lows. The Encyclopedia Britannica didn’t appreciate the distributed and collaborative power that made Wikipedia the leading reference source in the world through the Internet. Nor did the newspapers take seriously the distributed power of the blogosphere. Today many publications are either going out of business or transferring much of their activities online. The implications of people sharing distributed energy over the Internet have even more far-reaching consequences.
As in every new communication and energy infrastructure devised through-out history, the building blocks, the pillars of an Industrial Revolution must be laid down simultaneously or the foundation will not hold. That’s because each block can only function in relationship to the others. There are known five fundamental principles of the Third Industrial Revolution:
(1) shifting to renewable energy;
(2) transforming the building stock of every continent into micro-power plants to collect renewable energies on-site;
(3) deploying hydrogen and other storage technologies in every building and throughout the infrastructure to store intermittent energies;
(4) using Internet technology to transform the power grid of every continent into an energy-sharing intergrid that acts just like the Internet (when millions of buildings are generating a small amount of energy locally, on-site, they can sell surplus back to the grid and share electricity with their continental neighbors); and
(5) transitioning the transport fleet to electric plug-in and fuel cell vehicles that can buy and sell electricity on a smart, continental, interactive power grid.
The critical need to integrate and harmonize these five principals at every stage of development became clear to the European Union in 2010. The United states is just beginning to understand the importance of inaugurating a complete energy restructuring. So far without any real support by mostly the Republican led legislatures from state houses to the federal level who are still in a 20th century frame of mind. In Europe on the other hand they are now in development and are spending millions on updating its electricity grid to accommodate an influx of renewable energy. In America we are still lacking the infrastructure to enable renewable’s to develop and take the place of the traditional sources that we still have. The reluctance to invest in the infrastructure here in the United States is real cause for alarm. While the European Union is expected to draw close to one half of its electricity from green sources by 2020 the United States is no where near ready to even come close to Europe by 2020. The President is already committed to change and invest in the Third Industrial Revolution technologies but is continually assaulted by the Republicans.
The power grids in Europe are becoming digitized and made intelligent to handle the intermittent renewable energies being fed to the grid from tens of thousands of local producers of energy. This is economic revival. It’s not happening here in the United States as it is unfolding in Europe. Policies, regulations, permits and a whole slew of restrictions have made going green very cost prohibitive here in the United States. In Europe they realized that the development and deployment hydrogen and other storage technologies across the European Union’s infrastructure is essential for the amount of intermittent renewable energy. Similarly, Europe has also realized it is important to incentivize the construction and real estate sectors with low interest green loans and mortgages to encourage the conversion of millions of buildings in the European Union to mini power plants that can harness renewable energies on-site and send surpluses back to the smart grid. Europe has realized that unless these and other considerations are met, the European Union won’t be able to provide enough green electricity to power millions of electric plug-in and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles being readied for the market. If any of the five pillars fall behind the rest in their development, the others will stall and the infrastructure that is being developed will be compromised.
The creation of a renewable energy systems, that are integrated in buildings, partially stored in the form of hydrogen, distributed via smart intergrids, and connected to plug-in, zero-emission transport, opens the door sort of speaking to the Third Industrial Revolution. This entire system is interactive, integrated, and seamless. When the five principals that dictate the overall success of the Third Industrial Revolution are met, they make up an indivisible technological platform–an emergent system whose properties and functions are qualitatively different from the sum of its parts. In other words, the synergies between the pillars create a new economic paradigm that can and will transform the world.
To really appreciate how disruptive the Third Industrial Revolution is in the way we have organized economic life in the past, consider the profound changes that have taken place in just the last twenty years with the Internet revolution. The democratization of information and communication has altered the very nature of global commerce and social relations as significantly as the printing press has revolutionized the early modern era. Just now imagine the impact that the democratization of energy across all of society is likely to have when managed by Internet technology.
The Third Industrial Revolution is acutely relevant for the poorer countries in the developing world. We have to be conscious that almost 50% of the humanity stills lives on less than two dollars a day, live in devastating poverty, and of that 50% the majority have no electricity or access to proper sanitation. Without access to electricity they remain “powerless,” literally and figuratively. The single most important factor in raising hundreds of millions of people out of poverty is having reliable and affordable access to green electricity. All other economic development is impossible in its absence. The democratization of energy and universal access to electricity is the indispensable starting point for improving the lives of the poorest populations of the world. The extension of micro credit to generate micro power is already beginning to transform life across the developing nations, giving potentially millions of people hope of improving their economic situation.
History is riddled with examples of great societies that have fallen, promising social experiments that eventually died, and visions of the future that never came about. This time, however, the situation is different. The stakes are much higher. The possibility of humanities utter extinction is not something the human race ever had to consider before until the end of World war II. The prospect of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, along with the after effects of 200 years of mans un quenching thirst for more power, control, and wealth during the first and second industrial revolutions has really accelerated the odds that are dangerously close in favor of extinction of civilization as we know it. The Third Industrial Revolution offers mankind the hope that we can achieve a post-carbon era by mid-century. We have the science, and we have the technology to make it happen. The question now is whether we have the resolve and recognize the enormous economic possibilities that lie ahead.