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Demonetising Everything: Technology Is Driving Prices to Zero

 4 min read / 

Every year, technology advances at a faster and faster rate. This often brings fearful talk of everyone losing their jobs to robots and artificial intelligence. One of the counter-balancing arguments which is often overlooked and unspoken is the demonetisation of everything, the force which is driving prices on a trend towards zero cost.

20 years ago, if you wanted a video camera, you had to buy a camcorder. If you wanted to watch TV, you had to buy a television. Write documents and send email? Desktop computer. Today, even the most basic smartphone can do what would have cost millions of dollars just a short time ago.

Communications and Entertainment

For a single megabit per second internet connection in 1998, one would fork over a whopping $1,200 a month. Today, Google Fiber offers 1,000Mbps for only $70, a mere $0.07 per Mbps. Over the last 20 years, internet prices per Mbps have dropped over 99.99%

Source: DrPeering.net

This decrease in cost drives an increase in adoption and use around the globe. In 1998, about 150 million people were connected. In 2018, this has surpassed the 4 billion mark and over half the Earth’s population is now online.

Many companies are now racing to connect the second half, such as Loon through Google and the FFC recently approved a 4,425 satellite constellation by Starlink through SpaceX.

As the world heads toward ubiquitous global connectivity, the cost of devices is also decreasing. Some phones and tablets are coming in at less than $40. Following this trend, there is the possibility that some of these devices to eventually become free. Without a device in a customer’s hand, many companies will not be able to sell their product.

Transportation

One may question the decades-old ways of buying a car after realising the average vehicle is doing absolutely nothing for 95% of the day. Autonomous self-driving electric vehicles just may be the answer to this waste of resources, dramatically reducing transportation costs.

By 2030, 95% of passenger miles travelled in the US could be happening in on-demand, autonomous electric cars owned by fleets rather than individuals, according to a report by RethinkX. This prediction of an autonomous electric future is echoed by Lyft co-founder John Zimmer claiming in an interview with PCMag that private car ownership could become obsolete by 2025.

Source: RethinkX

Energy

According to Sandia National Laboratories, the average rate of global energy use in 2001 was 13.5 trillion watts and is expected to reach 27.6 trillion watts by 2050. As the world inevitably shifts towards an all-electric future, keeping up with energy demands will be essential.

Potential sources of energy include hydropower, with a global extractable potential of 3.5 trillion watts, ocean waves with 8.5 trillion watts, and wind coming in at a whopping 250 trillion watts. However, these massive numbers are dwarfed by the 89,000 trillion watt potential of solar energy which lands on Earth’s surface at absolutely zero cost. In less than two short hours, enough solar energy lands on Earth’s surface to power all global needs for an entire year.


Source: Bloomberg, Earth Policy Institute

Conclusion

The focus is often paid to which prices are rising, but like all things, there are two sides to the coin. Prices on many fundamental aspects of life are falling. As Peter Diamandis, Co-Founder of Singularity University explained in detail during an Exponential Finance summit, prices for communication, entertainment, energy, transportation, food, water, and healthcare are all being guided along a trend towards zero cost all due to the rapidly evolving advancements in modern technology.

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