In this video, science fiction writer Charles Stross ruminates on the next 30 years.
“In about another decade we should be able to make circuits about as powerful as one of today’s smart phones—in other words on the order of a billion operations per second—that will be about the price of a radio frequency ID tag, maybe under a dollar, and that will consume a small enough amount of power that you could in principle run it off of ambient solar energy with a surface area of a couple millimeters squared… You could pretty much wallpaper large cities with them.”
“This year in 2012 we will reach grid parity with solar energy for the first time in some sunny markets. Grid parity means that solar energy in some markets, obviously starting in the sunnier countries, will reach the cost of electricity produced from coal. This will radically change the industry because it is going to be cheaper to use solar energy than to use fossil fuels. It is the biggest transition in energy we have seen in the history of the planet. I foresee that in twenty years at least half of the energy used in the planet will come from solar sources.
“The solar industry actually is using many of the technologies to produce silicon panels, for computers, they are using [those same technologies] for producing solar panels. So there is an exponential trend also in solar panels and they are becoming cheaper and cheaper and cheaper. When you compare the trends in the reduction of the cost of solar panels, you can compare that to computing power just twenty years ago.”