speculative visionscience fiction and fantasy

2070: a world without waste

"What would happen if...?" has always been a staple of Science Fiction. What do you wonder about?

Moderators: Bmat, Qray

    Bookmark and Share
 

2070: a world without waste

Postby Dark Knight » Fri Dec 12, 2008 5:59 pm

2070: a world without waste
4:00AM Saturday Dec 13, 2008
By Eloise Gibson

Fancy a life without supermarkets, fridges, flush toilets or cars?

It could happen in a sustainable Auckland, circa 2070.

Dr Ron McDowall - a senior lecturer at Auckland University's business school - believes that in 60 years, cities will support many more people with a fraction of the water and power they use today.

He has a radical vision of a world with very little waste - where today's "green"' philosophies are a thing of the past.

Dr McDowall, who spoke to the Weekend Herald ahead of this week's International Conference on Sustainability, Engineering and Science, said individual car trips would be replaced by mass transit systems until someone invented a super-efficient method of personal transport. Shops and services that required car journeys would disappear, replaced by automated services that were delivered to or near people's homes.

"Retail strips will go, banks will go. Food will arrive where you live."

By 2070, Dr McDowall expects all homes to have a food portal where the week's groceries are delivered by electric car.

"The system will help with entertaining guests, because if you want to spend the weekend at my place, your fridge tells my fridge and my fridge orders your favourite beer."

Dr McDowall said there would be dishwashers that cleaned without soap, water or energy; and clothes that either never got dirty or got clean hanging in the wardrobe.

"We cannot have nine billion people each demanding a double-drawer dishwasher that runs on power, uses water and chemicals and discharges dirty water that requires treatment," he said.

"Dishwasher manufacturers will die on their feet when someone designs a dishwasher that does not use water or chemicals."

The United Nations expects there to be 2.5 billion more people in the world by 2050. Most of the population growth will be in developing countries.

Dr McDowall, an engineer who specialises in sustainable development, said New Zealand would be left behind unless engineers started working on radical concepts like his.

"If you can tell me what [the waterless] dishwasher's going to look like, it'll be yours," he said.

Dr McDowall's future might hold some surprises for today's greenies. Seemingly green habits such as gardening and recycling would be dropped because they were wasteful.

"If you're sustainable, there's nothing to recycle because there's no waste," he said.

Today's trend towards grow-your-own vegetable gardens would seem "nuts" in the crowded cities of the future.

With so many energy savings, people would be able to survive using electricity generated from renewable sources close to their homes.

Dr McDowall said he did not know how the gadgets of the future would work.

But he has plenty of ideas, including a waterless toilet that instantly destroys waste, leaving no waste and using no contaminants.

As for industry, he said New Zealand should drop manufacturing and start designing for the mega-factories he expected would spring up around the world.

And there's one important thing he hasn't yet worked out - where we will keep the milk in 2070. He expects fridges to disappear because they use too much energy.

Futuristic

What our homes might look like in a sustainable future:

* Toilets will instantly destroy waste on contact, using no water or energy and leaving no residue.
* Cars will be replaced by mass transit systems.
* Dishwashers and clothes washing machines will use no water or contaminants and almost no energy.
* Supermarkets will be replaced by a portal in every home that takes delivery of the week's groceries.
* Banks will be replaced by automated banking.
* Factories will be replaced by overseas mega-factories producing goods from designs made by small teams around the world.

from http://www.nzherald.co.nz/environment/n ... 871&pnum=2
User avatar
Dark Knight
Artisan Wordsmith
Artisan Wordsmith
 
Posts: 3220
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 8:49 pm
Location: My Tower
Blog: View Blog (7)
 

 

Re: 2070: a world without waste

Postby The Master » Mon Dec 15, 2008 2:02 am

2070 seems rather optimistic for some of this stuff.

* Toilets will instantly destroy waste on contact, using no water or energy and leaving no residue.
- Um...via what process? I can't imagine anything that could do this that would be safe to have in people's homes.

* Cars will be replaced by mass transit systems.
- Unlikely. Modern development has been centered around the personal vehicle. Mass transit cannot service this type of development effectively (which is why light rail/commuter trains rely on stops surrounded by parking lots). I think electric vehicles with computer control is more likely. If not a full "autodrive" system then at least smart roads where major arterial roads and highways take over control allowing much faster speeds and much closer packing of cars together.

* Dishwashers and clothes washing machines will use no water or contaminants and almost no energy.
- Again, I can't imagine any ability to clean without water that would be safe in people's homes. Not that it can't be invented of course, but I again think its a little optimistic to believe something so radically new will appear in the next 60 years.

* Supermarkets will be replaced by a portal in every home that takes delivery of the week's groceries.
- Now this seems probable. The internet hasn't been super successful with groceries but it seems reasonable that we will be able to do a vast majority of shopping from home 60 years from now. I would expect that 3D imagery and virtual reality displays will be likely making shopping "online" easier than ever.

* Banks will be replaced by automated banking.
- Well that's not a hard one since they practically are already! lol

* Factories will be replaced by overseas mega-factories producing goods from designs made by small teams around the world.
- Isn't that what we have now?
User avatar
The Master
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1990
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2005 4:55 pm
Location: California
Blog: View Blog (2)
Art: View My Art Gallery
 

 

Re: 2070: a world without waste

Postby Bmat » Mon Dec 15, 2008 7:14 am

* Toilets will instantly destroy waste on contact, using no water or energy and leaving no residue.
- Um...via what process? I can't imagine anything that could do this that would be safe to have in people's homes.


I can't either. Especially with children and pets around. I was trying to think of a configuration where this would be safe. A typed in code before the destruction process would protect pets from accidentally triggering it. But children are pretty clever- they can figure out the parents' computer passwords, for example, so I am not too sure about letting something that would destroy everything in it's area be near children.

About the clothes and dishwasher idea. This I can believe. Not in 60 years unless the process has already been developed. A flash heating process that burns everything off of the dishes, perhaps. Of course all dishes would have to be made to withstand the heat. For the clothes or even the dishes a sonic vibration of some kind. My optician used a sonic and sand device to clean eyeglasses a long time ago.
User avatar
Bmat
Super Moderator
Super Moderator
 
Posts: 5794
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2005 5:31 pm
Location: East coast US
Blog: View Blog (10)
 

 

Re: 2070: a world without waste

Postby Ariel » Mon Dec 15, 2008 9:33 pm

About the toilet thingy...I don't think I'd want my butt that close to something that will get rid of waste automatically. :shock:
User avatar
Ariel
Resident Author
Resident Author
 
Posts: 9520
Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2005 5:05 pm
Location: Rhode Island,U.S.A
Blog: View Blog (3)
 

 

Need more electricity to make it work.

Postby Qray » Mon Dec 15, 2008 10:25 pm

I was thinking ultrasonic cleaning if they could develop a way to make it work without chemicals as most current ultrasonic cleaning methods rely on chemicals to make them work. I hadn't thought of a flash heating process. How would that work?

Mass transit systems supplanting autos may work to a certain extent in small countries like New Zealand or heavy urban areas like the East Coast of the U.S. with the exception of delivery, service, and work vehicles. I'm not quite sure how this guy envisions "shops and services that required car journeys would disappear, replaced by automated services that were delivered to or near people's homes."

A lot of this depends on convincing the people who don't live in a big urban center to move into one. I'd see it being a difficult task in trying to convince someone to give up their yard, garage, house, etc. and live in a box.

There are currently toilets that operate with no water. However, they use chemicals to disolve the waste. Perhaps flash heating might work?

A lot of these changes sound like they'd require a vast increase in the use of energy/electricity. We already can't meet our current consumption needs. Wind and terrestrial solar collection energy can't equal what we're currently producing, even factoring in geothermal and hydro-electric. Though these methods could drastically reduce the need for nonrenewable fuel sorces for electricity, we still need to come up with a way to increase our production of electricity.
I'm going to die the way I've lived...poor, screaming, and naked.
User avatar
Qray
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 8140
Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2005 12:15 pm
Location: Down in Cognito
Blog: View Blog (49)
 

 

Re: 2070: a world without waste

Postby Dark Knight » Tue Dec 16, 2008 3:01 pm

Mass transit has been underfunded for years in NZ, and while over the last few years there have been improvements, there is still a long way to go...then again by 2070 we maybe getting somewhere....

Thats why we have motorways which are also behind in there development, but we are getting somewhere now with building some of them that where meant to be built 30 years ago... so by 2070 these should be built...well actual some of these should be finsh in time for the Rugby World Cup in I think 2011.....
User avatar
Dark Knight
Artisan Wordsmith
Artisan Wordsmith
 
Posts: 3220
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 8:49 pm
Location: My Tower
Blog: View Blog (7)
 

 

Re: 2070: a world without waste

Postby Dark Knight » Thu Dec 18, 2008 2:23 pm

People in Auckland, New Zealand are still waiting for a rail link to the airport, I suppose it could be built by 2070...
User avatar
Dark Knight
Artisan Wordsmith
Artisan Wordsmith
 
Posts: 3220
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 8:49 pm
Location: My Tower
Blog: View Blog (7)
 


Return to Speculation

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron