New technologies have enabled a do-it-yourself approach to certain services that used to be limited to the government. It is not just public services that are transferring to the common man – the middle man is increasingly being cut out of our lives. DIY is transforming the way we consume, monetise and earn an income.

The first question that comes to mind is: what exactly is decentralisation? According to inventor and thinker Ray Kurzweil in his book The Singularity is Near, decentralisation is “the movement from centralised technologies to distributed ones and from the real world to the virtual world” [sic]. Simply put; with the help of the internet you can now do things for yourself that you were previously unable to. Kurzweil also states that decentralisation will continue to grow because unified services are costly and vulnerable. “Today, we have highly centralised and vulnerable energy plants, and use ships and fuel lines to transport energy. The advent of nano-engineered fuel cells and solar power will enable energy resources to be massively distributed and integrated into our infrastructure.”

Even office buildings and cities, in fact also centralised facilities, will become obsolete thanks to virtual reality. “The ability to do nearly anything with anyone from anywhere in any virtual-reality environment will make obsolete the centralized technologies of office buildings and cities.”

New technologies. Currently, we already see decentralisation on the grid. Affordable solar panels allow citizens to generate electricity themselves and even sell the remainder to the energy provider. A main contributor are subsidies provided by governments to make it easier for people to install the solar cells. And of course, the prospect of a cheaper energy bill at the end of the month helps too. Even electricity companies themselves recognise the benefits of decentralised energy. Power and gas company E.ON lists some benefits on its website: lower carbon emissions, lower energy prices in the long run, and increased stability and national security.

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