Rapid Developments In Technology Point To Another Roaring Twenties

People living during the 1920s had a sense that the economy was doing well, but they probably didn’t realise the true magnitude of the changes that occurred in the decade at the time. The stock market was doing well, but whether the country was getting more productive at an increased rate wasn’t entirely obvious. It was only years after the fact when economists trawled through the data that they discovered that it had been something of an exceptional period in history. 

The reasons for the expansion were partly to do with global peace and partly to do with the maturity of critical technologies, like electrification, the motor vehicle and mass production. 

Today, we’re in something of a similar situation. There’s global peace, and we’re looking forward to the implementation of a host of advanced technologies, all of which could usher in a new roaring twenties.

Artificial Intelligence In Distribution

Software has done a great job of transforming the media industry, but it has failed so far to make significant impacts in the real economy. During the 2020s, however, that looks set to change. 

Artificial intelligence (more accurately called machine learning) is getting to grips with performing operations in uncertain environments, like public highways. No longer must engineers spend hours coding machines and then hide them behind cages where they’re safe. Instead, robots are moving out into the world and transforming the supply chain. 

We’ll likely see autonomous aircraft and ships first that don’t require any human crew. Then commercial road haulage businesses will begin including autonomous features on their trucks to improve driver safety. By the end of the 2020s, these systems might be so good that some companies don’t need humans in the loop at all. 

Advanced Technology In Agriculture

If you browse Food and Farming Technology - an online magazine dedicated to the latest innovations in agriculture - you’ll immediately get a sense that the industry is ripe for disruption. The way that humanity produces its food will benefit from a host of innovations, such as lab-grown meats, robot asparagus pickers and vertical farming units that stretch up into the sky. 

Innovation is needed more in agriculture than any other sector of the economy. Farmers need tools that allow them to produce more food with fewer resources, enabling the planet to continue to thrive. 

New Energy Solutions

The price of solar and battery technology has fallen by more than 90 per cent since 2010. Today, these technologies are so cheap that they’re beginning to outcompete coal, oil and gas - the technologies that drove the incredible rise in economic output of the 1920s. 

What’s more, the quality of technology is improving too. While today’s solar panels have a life expectancy of around 25 years, innovations in material science mean that they will last much longer in the future. The same is true of batteries. We could see an abundance of fire-proof, cheap, flexible lithium-ion alternative chemistries hit the market before the decade is out. 

Thus, the technological situation appears to point to the notion that we’re headed for another roaring twenties after a decade of relative stagnation in some parts of the world.

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