The Law Of Zero: Rapidly Changing Our World

in LeoFinance2 months ago

The world is changing around us. This is no surprise. Anyone who follows what is taking place with a degree of attention understands this.

However, unlike what the media promotes, things are getting much better around the world. It is a fact lost on most people since we tend not to step back and look at things.

According to humanprogress.org, this is how much the world changed over a 50 year period:

  • In 1966, average life expectancy was only 56 years. In 2016, it was 72. That’s an increase of 29 percent.
  • Out of every 1,000 infants born, 113 died before their first birthday. In 2016, only 32 died. That’s a reduction of 72 percent.
  • Average income per person rose from $3,698 to over $17,469, or by 372 percent – and that’s adjusted for inflation.
  • The food supply rose from about 2,300 calories per person per day to over 2,800 calories, an increase of 22 percent, thus reducing hunger.
  • The length of schooling that a person could typically expect to receive was 4.15 years. In 2016, it was 8.71 years – a 110 percent increase.
  • On a scale from 0, which denotes autocracy, to 10, which denotes democracy, political freedom rose from 4.55 in 1966 to 7.05 in 2016. That’s an improvement of 55 percent

A great deal of this progress was due to technology. Most of that period can be considered the "Information Age". The largest variable in that was the advancement of computing. Here is an industry we saw such progress that it basically consumed the developed world. Today, we see the path still expanding as second and third world countries start to see similar advancement.


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The next few decades will be met with another cycle of equally important advancement. In fact, when taken in totality, this will usurp what took place in the time frame outlined, by orders of magnitude. There is simply no way to deny the accelerating nature of things.

Distribution and decentralization are buzz words that seem popular these days. However, when we look at things, we see how this is more than just a marketing slogan. We truly are witnessing new systems being implemented based upon this modeling. Blockchain is obviously one factor that many of those reading this will be familiar. There are others though.

Here are some basic areas where this transition is starting (or continuing) to take place:

  • Computing
  • Energy
  • Transportation
  • Water
  • Information
  • Communications

These can be summed up with the idea that they follow a "law" like Moore's Law in computing. Essentially, we see a concept that is also described as a zero marginal cost society.

In short, all these areas of life are heading towards zero, or near zero, cost. We already saw some of this with an areas such as information. Other than time, it cost nothing to produce this article and zero marginal cost to upload it. By the same token, all reading it are doing so free of charge.

Contrast that to 40 years ago. Something like this would require being printing in a publication such as a newspaper or maybe as a newsletter. Either way, it was in physical form which meant there was a cost not only to produce but also distribute.

In addition to information, computing and communication obviously saw similar results over the last 4 decades. The reason why they are still included is because they are not done. We will see massive improvements in these areas with the additions of satellites, quantum, 5G (plus 6G and 7G) as well as new forms of semiconductor design/architecture.

The others sectors will see great enhancement due to this along with developments on their own. We already can see the basic foundation being laid in each area which will expand throughout this decade and into the next. Since these are such an intricate part of life, each will end up feeding off the others.

For example, what is the solution to a water shortage? There answer is we do not have a water shortage. What exists is a lack of clean drinking water. This is solved by energy. Most of the water on the planet is in the oceans. Yet, salt water is not fit for consumption. Thus we can desalinate and give the world enough water to last dozens of lifetimes.

We know how to do this. The challenge right now is the cost due to energy. It takes a lot of energy to desalinate even a gallon of water. Drive energy costs to near zero and suddenly desalination plants running 24/7 is not an issue.

Essentially what is going to happen is the cost per unit is going to be pushed down, approaching zero. This is also what confuses people. Simply put, we use metrics that are outdated.


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Another great example of this is the cost for cameras. For standalone cameras, the cost exploded over the years. Twenty years ago, the average camera cost was only a couple hundred dollars. Today, it is over a thousand dollars. This occurred because serious hobbyists and professionals are the only ones who buy cameras anymore.

For the rest of us, we use our phones. Of course, if we compare this to the age of film, things are radically different. Back then, one paid a few dollars for the film, then another few dollars to get it developed. Hence, the cost per picture was somewhere between 25-50 cents apiece.

How much is the cost per picture today? It is near zero. Almost all of us pay nothing for the camera device (built into the phone), zero for the pictures, and the same to distribute. Compare this to the time when we had to get an extra set of pictures developed AND physically mail them to grandma.

Is it any wonder we take near 3 trillion pictures a year? The near zero cost led to total abundance in this area.

Hence, when we look at what is going to happen to the costs such as per mile drives, per gallon of water, and per kWh of energy used, we are going to see massive drops in this areas.

This will also likely result in the totality of the numbers massive increasing, just like it did with pictures taken.

Hang on. The world is about to change a great deal over the next 20 years.


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True that the world is changing so fast and technology is playing quite a big role in this.

massive improvements in these areas with the additions of satellites, quantum, 5G (plus 6G and 7G) as well

absolutely. there is a huge amount is development and innovation that is taking these things to next level.

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there is a huge amount is development and innovation that is taking these things to next level.

And it keeps going. This is not going to stop anytime soon. So we have to keep pushing forward to ensure that the innovation is spread out.

Centralized more powerful systems do not help anyone.

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It sure is interesting to see how costs just keep going down. Both video and pictures have essentially dropped down to zero cost and even energy seems to be following the trend. I think the biggest barrier before was that we were reliant on fossil fuels but now we see significant progress in clean energy (solar, wind, water) and we might be able to this drop even further.

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Certainly I think it is safe to presume that the costs will continue on the trend they were. That said, people forget that the cost of fossil fuel dropped a great deal in the last 13 years. Remember $140 a barrel oil? What crushed that long term was a new technology, fracking. While one can make the claim about the safety of it, the fact remains it disrupted the economics.

The reality is, for the foreseeable future, we need both renewable and fossil fuel expansion since the world's energy needs are growing. This will taper off at some point as fossil fuel is replaced.

But during this explosive phase of technological growth, we need all the energy we can get our hands on.

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That is the problem. The environmentalist want to move completely off it right now.

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Yep and it isnt' going to work without killing a lot of people.

But then that might be their goal.

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Yea but I have no idea what their final goal is. I don't think anyone actually does since its all about power.

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Well that is their ultimate, and ever-lasting, goal.

To retain power.

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I mean, it's not the topic, but it's somehow related to the theme. As a football player, you can obviously see the change (progress) of the game itself. The average player of today could have joined any world team 15 or more years ago. We as a humans improve really fast lately, and if you take a look of any segment of life you could see a big difference from not so long ago.
Great topic, great elaboration, have a nice day!

Great numbers indeed although I think we went over the optimum years of ''schooling''. I think the learning on the job think makes more sense for 85% of the jobs.

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I think the learning on the job think makes more sense for 85% of the jobs.

Especially since they change so quickly and job skills are required for upgrading.

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I switch job yearly so Yes agreed

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From that chart , it is beautiful to see that with the way tech is going, everything should tend to be accessed at no cost. Thanks to decentralization and competition that is breaking the siphoning power of monopoly. Great thoughts our Techno-Economist.

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This is the path of Information Technology.

To conclude where things are going just look at industries and see where it is being implemented.

That will tell us the basic cost framework. Then we just need to determine pace.

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Tokenising everything will further speed up and optimize these processes. But we have to realize that even in these processes, not everything is good. The planet is being destroyed intensively, the environment is becoming more and more polluted, animal species are disappearing... I know, because this has been happening throughout the whole of the Earth's history, and we humans have only accelerated these processes even more. We have to find some balance between all this destruction and the benefits, otherwise, it won't work out okay...

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Glad to see you stop by.

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When the day comes where some kind of ultracheap, abundant source of sustainable energy is discovered/harnessed/somehow comes to be, everything is doable. I don't know how close we are to that right now... but it is not hard to imagine somebody making some kind of discovery that unlocks a new era of energy abundance.

I don't know how close we are to that right now...

I am going to guess it is a way down the road. To me, it looks more like a progression. We will mess around with renewable energy as we know it, solar panels and wind farms until we realize that was just a transition period. My guess is we will then start to tap into geothermal in some areas since drilling has advanced the last few decades.

We could also temper the situation by capturing more of the smaller stuff like they power street lights with little solar panels. Harnessing individual kinetic energy might appear at some pont.

Going to be a multi-faceted things for awhile I believe.

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How about the energy? like the electricity? the water and solar based powerplant has been developed so much, but does it cost more todays and the decades ago?

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I would believe it costs less than decades ago but that doesnt mean it is cost effective or remotely competitive.

Israel is using a lot of desalinization yet they are a wealthy country. Others that arent as wealthy yet need clean water are in a much worse shape.

I havent seen any trend lines but I would imagine that costs are dropping yet still not to the point of matching what is out there or required for most countries.

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I love this context❤️❤️❤️
Change is constant in human nature if the world is changing it's simple means we the humans has adopted and accepted change.

Digitization of everything is making the world a better place. Earlier we used books to gain knowledge but now information is available in your hands in various forms of media with a click of a button. You basically don't need to go to the university to learn stuff and then get a job. Internet saves you a lot of time, money and effort. Near Zero cost as you mentioned in the post T. Want to learn photography? Watch a bunch of videos on YouTube, take your phone and start clicking. It's so convenient and easy as compared to 20-30 years ago.

Transition happening in the field of Energy & various other things you mentioned above, it is very much required as most of them are becoming basic necessities nowadays. Everyone living human deserves the access at a bare minimum cost.

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We will also see advancement in food, manufacturing, and a host of other areas. As you said, the education system is starting to really make little sense, especially how it is constructed.

This is a process that I foresee accelerating. We do not realize how quickly things can change. I look at the record industry and Napster. That changed things completely in that industry within a two year period of time.

Something that was in existence for decades was crushed in a couple years.

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I don't like the way the food industry has been headed in the last decades. Profit is their spiritus movens. It kills variety, healthy and natural food, small farmers, whole regions, water, pollutes everything, ... No, I don't like it at all.

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This world doesn't seem like it changes that fast, it must though due to your post we have changed a lot since I was a child in 1966 until now. I remember taking photographs with a Pentax SLR and buying film for it. Now I don't really use it much any more. My husband introduced me and his whole family to the internet and computers. My husband went to college and had training in computer programming. I am so glad that he went to college to learn this and thus took me with him in computers and the internet. Computers opened up a whole new world for me. I love the way things have changed over the years, will be very interesting to see what happens in the next 50 yrs.

We often miss what is taking place right before our eyes because, to be frank, things dont change day-to-day. Yet when we step back we see what was missed.

Remember the days we bought music on disc and had to have something to play it on? How about the idea of printing a document out, copying it, and mailing it out?

Both these are commonplace 15 years ago yet are rare these days.

And the areas that are going to be affected is growing.

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In fact, life has become more difficult and needs more income, because commodities have a higher price, and this is inevitable

But in fact, if we look, we will find that the requirements of life have increased by 60% for things related to luxury, until they have turned into basic requirements of the Internet, cars, mobile phones and others.

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The food supply rose from about 2,300 calories per person per day to over 2,800 calories, an increase of 22 percent, thus reducing hunger.

This is up to interpretation, Does the calories count increased because of they way we are cooking or what? This does not necessarily means that this helped reducing hunger if the food is not reached to people in need.
If this index tells us about reduction in number of deaths because of hunger, then it's really means reduction in hunger so i m doubtful of conclusion of this specific stat.

Food production is not a problem. We do keep making more food. It is a distribution problem.

It isnt producing the food, it is getting to where it is needed. We can feed the planet but we do not.

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Yeah, I can think of at least a handful of things that fit into this model that you are talking about. It would be nice if some other things could fall in line. Fresh produce is so expensive. I am guessing that will go down as they move to EV's and things like that. The transportation costs probably add a lot to the final price. What are we going to spend our money on when all of these things are no longer an issue?

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The transportation costs probably add a lot to the final price.

I dont think most people realize how much of food costs are tied to transportation. So when the price of oil goes up, so do food costs.

What are we going to spend our money on when all of these things are no longer an issue?

Space tourism.

Seriously, we will need to keep feeding the technology bear to keep innovating. It is getting to be a more expensive trough to fill.

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I am happy summer is around the corner and we can start visiting the local farmers market. Nice choice "space tourism"!

The advancements in technology will ultimately save this planet. Now people have to learn to work together. :)

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That is something that automation and technology will not solve: how to interact better with each other.

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would love to see the cost of things like water and power go down but things might not be that simple in countries like India who are in the middle of a water shortage coupled with a booming population. I know 20 years is a long time and anything can happen during such a long period, but your vision might be more for the geographically and economically blessed

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...your vision might be more for the geographically and economically blessed

Do many of those countries have Internet? Do they have mobile phones? Are those things spreading to more countries around the world?

If so, they why do you think some technologies will spread whereas others will not?

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water is hard to get when you don't have it easily accessible also while solar panels will become cheaper I don't see an energy storage solution that might become super cheap, at the moment they are all expensive.

And you once could say that about computers.

A decade ago, energy storage systems as well as solar panels were a lot more expensive.

When it comes to technology, history shows us when people said things were impossible, often they were overcome.

I recall when they claimed semiconductors couldnt go below 12nm. Now they are aiming for 3nm.

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AI is here, and if life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor.

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Interesting read. Sometimes we have to stop and check the data to see the progress we’ve made of if we’ve made any progress.