What would it take to bring people out of poverty, to take slums and convert them, to redo deserts for mankind? How advanced the Chinese and the Russians are in nuclear fusion? How is “biotech is the new digital”?

Michalis Bletsas is a research scientist and the Director of Computing at the MIT Media Lab

Michalis Bletsas discusses with Nicholas Negroponte the important issues that will shape the future of humankind, beyond the pandemic crisis.

Asked by Michalis Bletsas about the “huge move towards renewable energy”, Nicholas Negroponte is quite clear:

“Renewables may be a distraction, especially some of the biofuel renewables where we’re burning wood chips. That’s ridiculous. And while there’s a place for solar panels and there’s a place for wind, their energy density is very low. This is the most important concept: energy density. I believe we need 5 times more energy than we currently use to bring people out of poverty, to take slums and convert them, to redo deserts for mankind. We can’t look at what we consume today, because 80% of energy is consumed by 20% of the people.”

The solution? Nuclear energy.

Nuclear is three million times the energy of coal just on the basis of energy density. We have to include it much more vigorously in our future than people have. And there’s no way around that. You can build windmills and you can build more solar panels, but you’re not going to get there without a strong nuclear presence and I don’t mean big nuclear power plants. I mean thousands and thousands of small ones.

Nicholas Negroponte answers the questions about

  • the fear of nuclear proliferation
  • the fear of safety in the sense of a meltdown and an explosion and
  • the fear of the nuclear waste.

“The year 2025 is suggested for making fusion energy positive”

The co-founder of the MIT Media Lab is fasccinated by the immense possibilities of Fusion.

“Fusion has no chain reaction. Fusion has no waste, and fusion has nothing that is in any way weaponizable. It’s not part of the same physics. The fusion reactors will be relatively big, they’ll be the size of your living room at smallest. Size of a two-story building perhaps more commonly. It’s very important because that is the Holy Grail. It is clean and won’t run out of fuel.”

He also talks about Fukushima,  US and China, Biotech and Artificial Intelligence  in the the Greek Business File November-December 2020 issue.