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Eight big bets about our children’s futures

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AGL Energy
10 March 2020

Our lives are changing rapidly – and that change is driven by incredible advances in technology.

It’s hard to see the technological and societal leaps forward made in our lifetimes and not think what the next 30 years will hold. What does the future look like? What does life look like for a child born today?

Less than a century ago, in 1933, an astonishing list of things that we now take for granted had not been invented yet. Things that define our way of life – things that many of us couldn’t even imagine living without. Things like:

  • Radar
  • Jet engines
  • Personal computers
  • Smartphones (in fact, mobile phones at all)
  • Microwaves
  • Polio vaccine
  • MRI
  • Pacemakers
  • Superglue
  • Satellite
  • The Internet
  • Canned beer

Shayle Kann is the Managing Director of Energy Impact Partners (EIP), a utility-backed cleantech venture capital fund – in other words, a private equity firm that invests in energy-focused start-ups and companies that optimise energy consumption and improve sustainable energy generation. AGL is proud to be part of the EIP network as both a strategic partner and investor – it provides us with access to new ideas, technologies and business models to continue to develop innovative solutions for customers.

Shayle is a renowned writer on the future of energy – cited in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The Economist, and Bloomberg – and a speaker at conferences around the world, even giving testimony to US Congress.

Shayle – who recently spoke to AGL people as part of a whirlwind Australian tour – points to a famous quote from Microsoft founder Bill Gates:

‘We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.’

With that in mind, Shayle’s made a number of big bets about the future of energy – and what it will look like for a child born today in an urban area.

Shayle Kann’s eight big bets about the future of energy – and what it looks like for kids born today

Bet 1: Children born today will control machines with their voice more than with their keyboard.

Bet 2: They will never personally drive a car.

Bet 3: By the time they buy their first home – especially if it’s in an urban environment – their surroundings will be absolutely transformed. Think multi-level carparks transformed into indoor farms.

Bet 4: By the time they shop for their own groceries, more than 20% of their produce will be grown indoors.

Bet 5: In their first home, more than half their electricity load will dynamically respond to grid or price signals.

Bet 6: By the time they reach 30 (in the year 2050), the market share of electricity – in terms of total final energy consumption – will more than double.

Bet 7: By the time they attend high school, more than half their electricity will come from renewables.

And the big one…

Bet 8: Children born today will live more than 200 years, and for most of their lives, electricity will be their food.

As Shayle puts it: ‘In 1933 we didn’t even have canned beer! You don’t think we can figure out how to live off only electricity by 85 years from now? Consider the betting markets open!’

Want to dive deeper into Shayle’s big bets? Check them out – backed by data – on his blog.

This article contains views and opinions from Shayle Kann. The opinions expressed here are his own and don't necessarily represent AGL Energy's positions, strategies or opinions.