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Great article man.

My submission is online shopping sites like aliexpress. They are killing physical stores. They cause a downward pull on prices. They usually offer a larger amount of products to choose from. The same product can cost half online than in a "real" store. With the inevitable rise of ultra cheap automated delivery i see buying stuff online will be the norm in 2030-2040, even for things like food.

Kartik Gada


Yes. Note that the real value-add of eCommerce is when all the land devoted to brick and mortar retail stores (and their vast parking lots and loading zones) is repurposed into something else. This frees up valuable land for more productive use (such as housing in greatly mis-zoned locations such as California metros).

It is unfortunate that city zoning is not dynamic enough to approve repurposement of this land fast enough. It often takes them years, after which different retail stores shutter elsewhere. If they were faster, the ATOM would cycle this process faster.


...Residential lighting consumption was about 129 billion kWh or about 10% of total residential sector electricity consumption in 2016.

The led bulbs are awesome, but they even if they were reducing home lighting electricity to 0, would still make much very a small difference. We use way more for heating/ac + hot water... A programmable thermostat and some heat insulation can bring much higher savings.

I would say that the biggest impact from LEDs are in the screens and other applications.

Kartik Gada


You are only counting residential lighting, and that too only in the US.

You must count residential + commercial + government lighting, worldwide. The city of Los Angeles recently replaced 60,000 street lights with LEDs. Since those are high wattage and on all night, that is a lot. Similar examples exist elsewhere.

The worldwide cost savings from LED lighting is over $100 Billion per year.


"You must count residential + commercial + government lighting, worldwide."

Don't forget industry. If you have a huge warehouse, then you'll have lots of lights. What if every one of those was an LED light?

KG, great article.


I love your blog. I'm especially excited about the monthly stipend that you proposed, that will get rid of A LOT of anxiety in our society.


Two words: farming robots


Imagine a world where you don't have to rely on cheap labor of illegals. Everything is handled in a very efficient and intelligent manner by machines. Pesticides are applied only where needed. If there is a particular problem, the drone can ask the cloud as to what needs to be done. In the future, one farmer can own and operate thousands of acres from an office. He will grow tons of various fruits, veggies and grains (and even cattle.) The price of food will be so cheap that we won't ever have to deal with issues of starvation or finding nutritious food.

Best of all, the types of foods will change. You'll have carrots that will have all sorts of vitamins and minerals that they normally didn't have. Food will spoil less often.

Kartik Gada


I love your blog. I'm especially excited about the monthly stipend that you proposed, that will get rid of A LOT of anxiety in our society.

Thanks. It is extremely hard to get traction, though. The ideas go completely over most people's heads.

Send this over to your CongressRep, calling on the phone to point the material to them (and then a second, third, fourth time). That is how we will get there..


Kaneki - good nomination. Forget amazon and the like, the real revolution in on-line stores has been "parts" Auto parts, electrical parts, plumbing parts. The other day I was repairing my kids car, and I needed an obscure part for a 1989 VW jetta. 3 days later, and $6, it was sitting on my doorstep.

I remember when, in the 1980s, I would have had to go to a junkyard and hunt around for this type of thing. Because the local brick and mortar stores couldn't possible carry everything, but the internet means, yes, everything is available. often at a very reasonable price.

A little noticed trend is the collapse in prices for many "collectables". Stamps, coins, comic books, antiques. What drove the prices high was not absolute scarcity per se, but the difficulty in finding what you wanted. there were more than enough issues of Spiderman #253 to satisfy all the collectors but no one had the ability to find them all. Now we do, and as a consequences, the prices have fallen.

The ATOM has many strange and unexpected effects on our society. One may well be the end of scarcity, and especially scarcity driven prices. Prices will now reflect the actual inputs to items - energy, labor, materials. This is an almost unprecedented change in human history.

It also means an end to hoarding - upcoming generations will never feel the need to "save" things as we once did, and will always feel confident in their ability to own something at a later date, should they wish.


I also fixed my computer the other day. Bad CD drive. The new one cost $22 plus shipping, and the youtube video I watched made it easy for me to do. And it is twice is fast as the one I replaced. Thinking over the whole experience it is shocking - in the past I might have bought a whole new computer, or paid someone to do the work for me. And the replacement drive would have cost 2-3 times as much.


3D printed houses. Now you'll have the house that you want, for a rock-bottom price and where you want to live.


Lastly (three posts, I know) is on the actual topic - LED lighting. The value in LEDs isn't just reduced electricity usage (although that is important). I was installing LEDs at home when the bulbs were double or triple their current costs.


Because I had a number of hard to reach fixtures, and LEDs last much, much longer than other kinds of bulbs. I realized that the time savings with LEDs was the really important element, and the electricity savings is just the bonus.

I imagine a city converting its street lights. What does that do to their budget to service and replace those bulbs in the future? Aren't the saving countless man hours? trucks, hoists, safety issues, etc.? I saw an LED replacement tube at Home Depot - compatible with a florescent ballast. 40% electrical savings. $7 a tube. All great things. Then the kicker - estimated to last 30-40 YEARS.

I will likely be dead before that bulb burns out.

Not only are we making savings, we are passing those savings into the future.


At the risk of being annoying, two nominees for ATOM award -

1)space exploration (spacex, Blue Origin). Also things like the Pluto mission, Ceres mission, and Mars rovers far outlasting their design life. We are able to travel to more places, do more science, and have the equipment last much longer.

2)Electrical generation. If upgraded systems (software and sensors, boilers) were installed on every generation plant in the U.S. a study by GE claims that carbon dioxide emissions from coal and gas plants can be reduced by 10 percent. The study estimated coal power plants could be made four percent more efficient with turbine and boiler upgrades and software improvements. Gas plants could be made 3.3 percent more efficient with similar improvements.

This is huge. Imagine retiring 4% of all power plants. We have 7,658 = 306 power plants shuttered. That is around $200 billion in capital costs saved. A huge return on investment. Annual fuel savings would push total savings over a trillion $.

Makes LEDs look like a slouch.

Kartik Gada


Yes and yes. One of the most useful things about the ATOM for individuals is the DIY videos. My own car got a crack in the rear bumper cover. Body shops quoted $1000 and two days in the shop. I found the same bumper on Amazon, which was home delivered, and with YouTube videos specifically indicating how to change it, I spent only $230. This is an increase in living standards.

That is why I get incensed when people who should know better simply blurt out that 'the cost of education is rising too fast'. Nothing could be further from the truth. The cost of a certain credential from a university is rising. But actual education is becoming very inexpensive for the resourceful seeker. It is easier than ever to become moderately competent in any subject, and hence less necessary to hire someone for a growing range of services.

Stephen murray

My recommendation is 3D printing. An unexpected field that this technology has disrupted has been orthotics. I recently bought insoles from a company online called wiivvv.com.

You install an app on your phone you then use to photograph your feet from various angles.. The app uses image processing to determine what kind of pronation your foot has and then designs an insole to correct for it. This insole is then 3D printed and posted out to you.

I have been buying insoles for 15 years. My first pair required a €50 visit to the physiotherapist and then €250 for the manufacturing of the insoles. My whole experience with this online company was less than €150, and that included €40 posting from USA to Europe, this price will rapidly drop as they scale up and globalise. And they are a perfect fit and very comfortable.

Several elements of the ATOM are obvious in this, from smartphones, to cameras, to image processing. But it is the 3D printing that makes it an economic venture. Considering that a great deal of health issues come from poor footwear or bad alignment, this type of technology can bring prevention rather than cure at a low and decreasing cost to the public. This can only reduce healthcare costs and bring greater life satisfaction to the public.

Other healthcare related things i could think of that are ripe for disruption by 3d printing include eyeglasses, contact lenses and casts for broken bones.

Kartik Gada

Hi Stephen,

Certainly. Eventually your insole will just cost $10, and will be printed locally at your hardware store for you to pick up right there. So a total cost drop from $300 to $10, and only an hour after you submit the order in.

Recall that 3D Printing was #2 in the list of ATOM disruptions in the 'Panoply of Creative Destruction' : http://atom.singularity2050.com/3-technological-disruption-is-pervasive-and-deepening.html

It is actually good for 2-3 awards; one for each vertical within 3D printing (medical, industrial, consumer)..

What is really needed is more materials of 3D Printing filament.


That is why I get incensed when people who should know better simply blurt out that 'the cost of education is rising too fast'. Nothing could be further from the truth.

For some subjects all school materials you need are a blackboard, chalk, notepad and a pencil. Probably a bunch of books. You need a classroom a teacher and a tutor. With a recorded lecture and lecture notes plus FAQ list you don't need even that.. You will need some equipment/computer to do your own experiments and exercises. It was possible 30 years ago. It just needed a way to cheeky store all the tutorials in an accessible form

Kartik Gada

Geoman and Stephen Murray,

The examples the both of you gave are great at illustrating how technological deflation increases living standards, but is penalized by how GDP is calculated. Both of you reduced GDP growth, and possibly contributed to job elimination, despite the productivity gain and living-standard rise.

By the same token, your own jobs could be under pressure if your customers do the same thing to find alternatives to your pricing. Of course, you are smart enough to use technology to increase your own output to compensate, but most will not be that savvy.

Even worse, the chattering, inside-the-box economists look at 'Real' GDP, while Nominal GDP drifting lower is the bigger problem and is crimping real GDP too. More on this in Chapter 4 of the ATOM. $18T of WW QE to date, $200B/month as we speak, yet you are seeing costs fall in a number of places.

This is why the DUES is extremely necessary, because if more people discover the cost-savings that you have, we get more wholesale deflation and other problems. Note that DUES is rising 16-24%/year even as the examples that the two of you gave involve cost savings of 60%-80% or more. As DUES keep rising, cost-savings like that will pop up in even more places.

Lastly, consider how an emerging market can go directly to the new model of e-commerce, having never had the incumbent model in the first place. There is less disruption and job loss, as the previous jobs were never created in the first place. India, for example, is going directly from a 19th-century mom-and-pop style shopping experience, to e-commerce. No big retail chain era in between, so less 'un-learning' for the public to undergo.


Space mining:


"Only" 2.6 billion. That's insane. Pretty soon you'll have gold and platinum raining from the skies!

Kartik Gada


Yes, asteroid mining would be a huge ATOM success. But it is still quite a ways away.

The ATOM award is meant for disruptions that are already delivering economic benefit now. So disruptions of the present and recent-past.

Stephen Murray

can confirm, just back from an energy trade show. LEDs more prominent that last year's event. And innovative too, integrated with IoT (internet of things) in some cool ways.

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