When it comes to modern technology, nothing may be more important than the relatively recent invention of wireless electricity. Nature’s version of wireless electricity is lightning in the sky and it can be felt as static electricity (safer than feeling the effects of a lightning strike). The artificial version isn’t really wireless electricity, but a way to convert electricity to another form of energy and back again. Calling it something else wouldn’t make explaining it any easier. Currently, magnetic resonance is used, but it could be replaced by something more efficient in the future.
I sometimes wonder if we wouldn’t be better off if the uses for electricity had never been discovered. The indigenous ethnic groups of many countries (and many still exist) live out their lives without the need to use electricity every day. Everything the rest of us use in the 21st century seems to be tied to the use of electricity in one way or another, even when there are more economical alternatives.
Unfortunately, what may be more economical may also be less convenient. In some cases, I’d gladly trade convenience for simplicity. I can’t turn back time, obviously, and other people probably wouldn’t want me to.
It seems like everything we use every day requires electricity in one form or another, from mobile phones to refrigerators. Books made of paper still exist but may someday disappear completely. We become acutely aware of our dependence on it when we experience power outages, even short ones.
Almost as important as wireless electricity is battery technology. Batteries can stand in for wireless electricity, but they have limitations. Battery technology has improved a lot since batteries were invented – they can be charged faster and they can last longer. The biggest limitation is that they have to be replaced eventually, regardless of the kinds of batteries used.
Wires need an infrastructure, in homes as well as in cities and the countryside. Wireless electricity, once it’s reached the stage where wires are no longer needed anywhere, will be considered a major technological evolution.
For me, getting rid of wires in the home is the most important thing about it. I can’t tell you how many time’s I’ve tripped over a power cord, or had to deal with a plug not properly seated in an electrical outlet.
Wireless electricity exists today, but it’ll be a long time before we can say goodbye to wires completely. I envision a time, if we don’t destroy ourselves first, when wires won’t be seen anywhere and possibly a time when people won’t remember power lines, cables, or cords at all.
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