The U.S. is rich in energy supply. We are almost unique in the world in having an abundance of coal, oil and natural gas, along with exceptional wind, solar and hydropower resources in many areas of our country. At the same time, we see an increasing focus on local air quality and global climate change. My company is responding to these emerging challenges and amazing opportunities by enabling the power plant of the future.
In many ways, being a rocket scientist has never been better. Half a century on from the golden age of rockets and moon landings, the space race is back. And the sector is awash with funding: VC investments alone surged to a record $1.8 billion dollars last year, according to data from the Tauri Group (pdf, pg iv).
In the United States, job creation and the preservation of manufacturing are shaping up to be key issues for 2017. Recent news reports have focused extensively on the rate at which companies are leaving the U.S. in an effort to find a cheaper labor force and lower tax rates abroad. Bloomberg recently published research on some two dozen major corporations that had shifted operations outside the United States between January 2015 and September 2016.
The average person goes through each day busy with life, focused on the pressing needs of job, family and existence, and will accept and use all the conveniences the modern world has to offer, or at least those that are readily within reach. He or she has no control over the industrial forces that create the economic booms and busts that deliver or impede opportunity, and rarely, if ever, even thinks about the goings on of the metals making world, which is the genesis of so much that makes the human part of the planet we inhabit work.
For some time Japan has been a place enthusiastic about portraying futuristic lifestyles with robots. Lifelike androids acting as receptionists were introduced at the 2005 Aichi Expo outside Nagoya, and many robotics trade shows have shown off droids for communication, housework, nursing care, and other purposes. Huis Ten Bosch is different, a European themed amusement park located in Japan’s Nagasaki Prefecture, has recently opened the Robot Kingdom, an exhibit that, among other things, celebrates machines that can help out in our everyday lives. Huis Ten Bosch has also turned robots into a viable business: it features a successful hotel staffed by robots that has been open for over a year.