Panel: The Societal Implications of Energy Abundance

ISEA 2012.

Imagine an endless benign energy source is found, what are your first thoughts?
  • At CERN, we try to discover how gravity is connected to matter: learn to harness energy from gravity.
  • A few times in human history there seemed to be an endless abundance of energy; steam, oil, nuclear. Human nature has however remained unchanged, we all still struggle along in life.
  • If you don't explicitly forbid for something to occur, eventually it will happen. Information systems growing into all encompassing system.
  • How to retrofit suburbia to become a more humane environment.
  • Endless energy would first be aimed at basic sanitation, clean water etc. Only after that we engage first world preoccupations. The case may be that human nature is going to overcome any benefit we can produce.
  • Endless energy can also be interpreted as systems using almost no energy; laptops running on just a rolled-up solar panel.
  • Getting high energy density storage at affordable prices is one of the ugly elephants in the room for this subject.
What if this source was found tomorrow what issues do you think would affect its acceptance?
  • This taps into human nature. Acceptance of people to distribute the energy.
  • Can we use this new technology in a benign way?
  • Governance issues; how to plan and permit such a system?
  • The classic way to topple a system is to ignore it. Perhaps the regulatory government may be exposed by an alternative decentralized grid.
  • Complexity may lead to evolution in decision making.
  • One of the problems with government is it exists of people.
  • There is nothing but a face to face conversation that can make a difference
Possible dark sides to benign endless energy?
  • How far will it allow us to retreat from the processes of life?
  • Will countries that are capable of developing these technologies share it openly?
  • Rocketeer dilemma; every form of power has the potential for abuse; rivalry. People always have a choice for competition or collaboration.
  • Technology progresses much faster than human evolution.
  • utopia can only exist without human beings


  • isea2012_energy_panel.txt
  • Last modified: 2012-09-26 15:51
  • by nik