My model of peak oil is the biological process of succession. As Joel E. Cohen writes in his classic "How Many People Can the Earth Support?":
Different species have different requirements for a given element, as Liebig knew. Consequently, when one element is limited in a community of species, population growth typically does not grind to a halt; rather, a species that is less constrained by that limiting element replaces another that is more constrained in a process called succession.(P. 242)The technological/industrial analog of this process is becoming increasingly obvious in many areas. As oil prices rise, truckers are getting hit hard, but rail and barges are booming. SUV sales are plummeting, but electric and gas scooters are on the rise. Fishermen are suffering, but aquaculture is thriving. It seems that for every "species" (i.e. industry) that is withering under high oil prices, there is always a less dependent corresponding industry that is surging to fill the vacuum. The dinosaurs are dying, but scurrying little rodents are rapidly breeding in their vacated niche.
Another good example is the rise of telepresence as an adaptation to the decline in airlines and business travel. Cisco has developed a new system called "TelePresence" described in this video (and many others on youtube):
This product is growing at a phenomenal rate, and saving Cisco very large sums of money:
Charles Stucki, vice president and general manager of Cisco Telepresence Systems, said the teleconferencing technology is their fastest-growing new product in the company's history.And that is just one company and one application. A similar technique is being developed for use in medicine:
Of the companies that have implemented use of this new technology, Hsieh said it has likely paid for itself multiple times over just in travel cost reduction.
Cisco CEO John Chambers, said Cisco has cut its own global travel budget by $180,000,000 over the past year using the aforementioned technology.Source
Clearly this technology has a bright future, and is only going to get better. It's also going to save massive volumes of wasted transport fuel. It inspires the imagination -- a futuristic world where people are even more mobile than they are now, even though no one is actually moving.