Electricity, Computing and Humanity
The leaps created by innovation in computer engineering has surpassed the leaps created by leaps in electrical engineering, many will find this assertion doubtful but my intention is not to prove that this is correct but to showcase some of the reasons majority of the world’s citizens still lack access to electric power but have tremendous access to computing power on their phones, tablets and other compuing devices.
When electric power generation was in its infancy, there were two diammetrical opposed school of thought, one was that electrical generation should be individual, per household basis (generate and consume as you need), while the second opinion backed by fat money bankers and political influence peddlers believe that electricity generation should be central and that it should be commoditized and sold to consumers at a price. It might have made sense at that point in time but it was a little bit myopic because of the vested interests. However this may not have been the case if innovation had been allowed to thrive on the other diammetricaly opposed view but it was stifled and alternatives produced could not compete successfully with the fat cats hegemonic solution.
Now lets us look at computer engineering, particularly at computer data centers and cloud computing. In the beginning, everyone that needs to keep massive amounts of data and perform computations on them created their data centers in the best way known to them. They relied on their own ingenuity and creativity to create the best experiences for themselves and there were no government and fat cats compulsion fuming down their throats to go central so as to create wealth for those that are already with the wealth. Although computing power is being centralized now for those that need massive amounts to solve massive data computations but the majority of the world’s people are contented with the computing power of their phone. Such should be the case of electrical power generation, let those that require massive amounts of electricity purchase it from some electric generating companies and those that need very little amount generate their own. Imagine if computing power had gone central in the early 1990s at the advent of the internet activity explosion, I can bet that the innovation we have seen today would have not yet come to pass. Only a few wealthy people would have benefitted from this because they have the political means and the capital.
In this new age of social revival and space exploration, more and more thought leaders have realized that it will be impossible for humanity to get to the next stage without first ensuring that every human has sufficient energy to meet his or her own needs. It comes at a steep cost to the environment because majority of the world’s energy usage comes from fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas). Current usage of renewable energy resources are very negligible. Although the stride in the use of renewable energy resources should be commended but because of its current prohibitive upfront cost and the involvement of the same set of political influence peddlers and fat cats, it will take a very long time to get this into many homes all over the world, these set of people are not doing this to advance the cause of humanity but to increase their own wealth.
Few individuals like Bored Elon Musk must be commended for seizing the bull by the horns and steering the energy world in a different direction to see that each individual is capable of generating his own electricity (noiseless and clean) and powering (safe)his own residences at an affordable cost and not rely on the electricity coming from the fat cats.
Imagine if this was the direction the energy world went in the 19th century, the electrical generating companies would have been forced to innovate at a much higher speed in order to convince consumers to buy from them. We need to take advantage of this new energy world order unraveling before us to force the electrical generating companies to innovate or die and to kickstart the new world economies so that generations coming after us will be thankful that we laid a good energy foundation for the planet and humanity.