Originally posted by humyIt all depends on cost. It may be cheaper and more effective just to paint the rest of your roof white.
Well, that is what I think. I don't know if anyone here would disagree.
Originally posted by twhiteheadI accept I could be wrong but I envisage a time in the far future where any amount of energy generated would be put to good use (what is not used for other purposes could always be used to run billions of research labs run by AI and robots so no human labor costs and all these labs could be designed built by billions of AIs and robots in billions of factories -all powered by stupendous amounts of renewable energy. After millions of years of construction, the labs would end up as one continuous lab covering most of the surface of the Earth in the form of a continuous layer several kilometers thick, with it being floating like a permanently anchored ship over most of the worlds oceans. And all our cities, towns, roads, parks, conservation areas etc were we live will be built on top of it so we will all be living on top of a vast global research lab in disguise for ever doing stupendous amounts of research to advance science. Pure fantasy? ) no matter how massive that amount is and where every rooftop, road and footpath will be completely covered in solar panels (the surface of the solar panels on all the roads and paths being covered in a wear-resistant transparent surface, such as hexadecimal diamond film ) . I think if that were to actually happen, I think the land area covered by solar panels and the proportion of solar radiation they reflect is going to have a significant effect on the global heat budget. Remember, the proportion of solar energy that they absorb is going to near enough all end up as waste heat (excluding the tiny proportion that would be converted to radio waves and other radiation that is shone directly out of the atmosphere ) that heats the atmosphere, even that proportion that is first converted to electricity. That is because, no matter how efficiently that electrical energy is used, it generally all ends up as waste heat.
It all depends on cost. It may be cheaper and more effective just to paint the rest of your roof white.
The land area covered by solar panels is probably never going to be significant when it comes to global warming, and the savings in fossil fuels that the solar panels gain by generating electricity is probably a far far greater effect.
Originally posted by twhiteheadAgain, I admit I could be wrong, but I am assuming here that the philosophy that would be adopted is, the more AIs and labs, the faster the research can be done (because you can have more of them simultaneously doing a greater number of more specialized lines of research and in an coordinated way ) and therefore the better. So AIs and labs would be put over nearly the whole surface of the Earth AND the moon AND Mars AND Mercury etc and anywhere else they could be put with reasonable practicality. I have even speculated that vast floating labs may be manufactured on the surface of the oceans of the gas giants using the heavier chemical elements in the oceans and atmospheres there providing a practical way is found to do just that despite the vary harsh conditions there. The types of research done there would be severely limited by the stupendously high pressures. I think that, for example, you can just about rule out doing particle physics there. Perhaps the labs there can just highly specialize on extremely high-pressure physics/chemistry there?
It is possible we may eventually make fusion energy viable, in which case solar may no longer be the best option.
Also, if you are going solar on a massive scale then it is better to go into space. Stick the AI research centre on the moon.
Although it is entirely possible that powerful AI will not require all that much power.
Originally posted by humyI think geothermal energy should not be overlooked it is a vast largely untapped resource.
And, while I don't have the slightest doubt now that fission power can be made viable, I am pretty sure (because I once did a crude mathematical estimate of this albeit with some simplistic assumptions ) that, for example, the practical maximum amount of solar energy that can be generated on Earth each day would dwarf the practical maximum amount of fission energy that can be generated on Earth each day.
Originally posted by twhiteheadIt is a vast resource but I wonder of the consequences of tapping that energy, effects on earthquakes and such, if you extract heat you would make the rocks cooler and stick in place which might build up crustal pressure maybe causing volcano activity or some such. I would expect we could still get quite a bit of energy out before that happens though.
I think geothermal energy should not be overlooked it is a vast largely untapped resource.
Originally posted by sonhouseIt may even stop volcanoes or earthquakes. However, as you say, it would probably take an awful lot for us to have any significant effect.
It is a vast resource but I wonder of the consequences of tapping that energy, effects on earthquakes and such, if you extract heat you would make the rocks cooler and stick in place which might build up crustal pressure maybe causing volcano activity or some such. I would expect we could still get quite a bit of energy out before that happens though.