In 1900, and for several hundred years before that, the dominant form of transportation was horse and carriage. Thirteen years later, in 1913, they were gone. Disruption: The Automobile, The Oil Industry
Why did this happen? Because it was cheaper and more convenient to ride cars than horses to get from point A to point B.
In 1985, AT&T commissioned 3rd party expert consultants to predict cell-phone adoption by 2000. The result of the research was a prediction of 900,000 cell phones in the world by year 2000. The ACTUAL number was 109 MILLION. They were wrong by a factor of 100x. Today there are 5 BILLION cell phones in use and landlines are basically irrelevant. Disruption: Mobile Phones, Cellular Technology, Battery Technology
Why did this happen? Because it became cheaper and more convenient to use mobile phones instead of landlines.
In 2000, Kodak had record breaking revenue of $14 BILLION. In 2012, Kodak filed for bankruptcy and was gone. Disruption: Digital Cameras, Imaging Technology
Why did this happen? Because it became cheaper and more convenient to take pictures with digital cameras than with conventional cameras and film.
In 2007, Nokia had more than 50% market share in the multi-billion dollar market of mobile phones. Now they are virtually gone. Disruption: Apple iPhone, Google Android, Touchscreen Technology, Mobile Internet Technology, Battery Technology, Compute Technology, Data Storage Technology
Why did this happen? Because of the confluence of technologies that made it possible to make one device be your phone, camera, and computer all in the palm of your hand.
It’s now nearing the end of 2018. We have the following technologies that are converging both technologically and economically to the point where it is just a matter of a few years (NOT 10 or 20 years) before they disrupt the transportation industry (again).
Battery Technology is getting cheaper while getting more efficient at storing electrical energy. What will it be used for? Electric vehicles, home energy storage, utility-scale energy storage, etc.
Solar Technology is getting cheaper while becoming more efficient at harnessing energy from the sun. What will it be used for? Energy generation both residential and utility-scale.
Compute power is getting more powerful while getting smaller and cheaper. What will it be used for? Everything! Artificial Intelligence, Self-Driving Cars, Neural Nets, etc.
It’s easy to imagine the confluence of the above factors initiating a disruption that will make the internal-combustion engine car go the same way as the horse and carriage. Electrical power generated via solar (no oil anywhere from start to finish) and then stored in batteries which are then used in self-driving electric cars to take people from point A to point B WILL HAPPEN. It’s just a matter of time.
Maybe if the US Government (and the powerful oil lobby) would get out of the way and just let it happen, it would be even sooner!
This blog post was inspired by this video that I watched: