Reality Blind - Vol. 1

before needed - and they use a lot of it (18% of current electricity use is for laptops and phones and the servers that support them). 137

This said, technology does not always result in more energy use. The third and fourth types of energy allow us to use energy and resources more efficiently and develop new energy technologies (i.e. more effectively recover energy from existing stocks and flows). For example, power plants have become more efficient and can generate more power using the same coal or natural gas input as they did 30-40 years ago. 138 New developments in solar cell technology allow the panels to convert a larger proportion of incoming sunlight into electricity. New seismic and drilling techniques allow access to fossil resources that might have previously been unavailable. Yet the reality is that the great bulk of energy use falls into the first two categories: inventions that use fossil energy to replace human energy and novel inventions. For the most part, more technology causes us to use more energy because most technology is ABOUT how to use more energy to provide things we need and want. TaaL: Yes, very interesting. With human society now all-in for permanent growth sustained by technological fixes, you’re creating a nested predicament which automatically outgrows the energy supply! Since the prevailing belief of your species is that your ultimate resource is cleverness, and the fruit of that cleverness is technology, most of your species looks to technology for answers to everything from acne to global heating. Yet current human technology consists mostly of ways to use energy and materials ever faster, meaning that energy limits are the very thing technology can’t fix! In addition, technology has created new avenues to exercise your ancient drives of social status and sexual signaling, such as pleasure yachts which don't actually need to go anywhere, designer handbags, enormous cars, gourmet foods, and various sorts of non-essential social signals. On top of that, such status and signaling means that everyone feels like they need their own cars, trucks and (soon?) smelting furnaces because it's “higher status.” So, a neighborhood of 100 American homes which biophysically could get by sharing a single lawnmower typically has 100 lawnmowers sitting in garages – the extra dopamine from everyone having their own has a steep price in resource terms! It’s clear there is no "that's enough" satiation mechanism in the human brain to curb this sort of abstract ownership consumption, since most of you experience social wealth as a relative, not absolute, condition. This ever-escalating "relative wealth creation" has grown far beyond the material


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