Dirk Knemeyer

Flying Passenger Drones, February 4, 2016

Here’s a prediction, by the time you and I retire from our professional careers, there will not be human carrying drones flying.

No freaking way. Look, there’s a physics issue, I mean energy issue, I mean it’s relatively low energy to put us in a car and roll it on the road. It is so high energy to pick us up, fight against the physics. I’m not a scientist so I can’t speak to it but a ventured guess, it’s an order of magnitude. More expensive, energy wise. Both from dollars and cents but also from global environmental impact to fly us as supposed to just roll us down the road. I don’t think we’re going to see it until there’s major innovation on the energy side. Even then, we might be so far down the ascent of global warming that even that more efficient thing is too expensive to enable us to do it.
We’ve got to get to the point where it’s energy neutral, basically, transporting people around. Energy neutral flight? I don’t know. Maybe there’s technology out there that I’m just not aware of, but I think that’s way the hell off.

Maybe our kids or somebody else will enjoy technology like that. We’re a long, long way away from that being more than just concept videos of crashing drones.


The Future of Food Choice, August 6, 2015

We’ll see about the 3D printing of food. Another macro issue, of course, is global warming and the environmental challenges from burning fossil fuels. A century from now, we will no longer have trucks driving from one state to the next, one destination to the next, planes flying with food. As long as those type of vehicles are burning fossil fuels to accomplish those trips, either there’s going to be a massive change in technology that enables transportation of goods that aren’t really required, that are really surplus and luxury for the most part, that enables them to be transferred, traveled around for our whim.

I like Shark brand sriracha from Southeast Asia. I like Arizona Gunslinger hot sauce from Arizona. I like Alaskan wild salmon. There’s going to have to be a massive change in how vehicles are powered for us to continue having those kind of foods. Will that be realized or not? I don’t know. I’m not enough of an expert in power. The fact that we don’t see anything certainly isn’t a good sign after a century of burning the hell out of oil and even longer than that if we’re thinking about the burning of coal which preceded it.

There could be these other macro things that are forcing us down a path of 3D printed food, that it needs to be something akin to astronaut ice cream as opposed to akin to the real solid foods that we have today. What does that look like? I don’t know. I think the main determining factor is going to be, are we able to transport luxury goods hither and thither as we do today? That’s going to be a question of power generation and who knows, who knows.