TED Conversations

Kevin Jacobson

This conversation is closed.

What do you think is the biggest technological challenge the human race will face in the next 30 years?

I see a lot of things wrong with humanity and I just want another persons input.

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Jun 16 2012: I'll go with: development of a competitive, safe energy storage alternative to petroleum, for personal, on-demand use.

    There seem to be a lot of energy sources. I think the real issue is efficient storage, for on-demand use, which is what petroleum currently provides.
    • thumb
      Jun 16 2012: Hmmm. Are you suggesting that the reason the petro energy age has not given way is that nothing beats it for efficient storability?
      • Jun 16 2012: Yes, I believe that's one of the biggest reasons. Another is relative safety. Hopefully we can one day find its replacement.
        • thumb
          Jun 17 2012: I disagree that gasoline storage is easy and safe. Look at all the government measures and regulations that must be met. Look how terribly dangerous it is to work with gasoline not in an approved container. Look at the horrific results of cars, boats and airplanes bursting into flames at the slightest random spark. Safe and easy? I don't think so. You cannot say "relatively safe" because there is nothing to which it can be compared. Petroleum reigns supreme because it is the ONLY energy source able to meet the demands of today's runaway consumption as typified by "personal, on-demand use". There may "seem to be a lot of energy sources", but there is in current reality only one and it is petro.
      • Jun 17 2012: Edward,

        I did not say that gasoline storage is "easy and safe". Certainly gasoline has it's safety issues. So will any means of energy storage. If we require absolute safety, then we might as well forget it, because there simply is no solution. However, everyday, many hundreds of millions of people decide that gasoline is sufficiently safe so that they take their cars on the road.
        • thumb
          Jun 18 2012: We choose petro for the same reason we choose to pay taxes. . . there is no alternative which allows continuation of the lifestyle to which we have grown accustomed. Petro is harmful from the first drilling to spewing the hydrocarbons out the exhaust pipe into the atmosphere. Both of those statements are true. Petro is bad , but we use it. Taxes are bad, but we pay them. This line is moot anyway. Please see my comment below regarding the posted question. We've got bigger fish to fry than energy related techno-babble.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.