[FoRK] Dude, where’s my job?

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Thu Jan 15 21:02:41 PST 2009

Eugen Leitl wrote:
> On Thu, Jan 15, 2009 at 08:41:32AM -0800, Stephen Williams wrote:
>> Exactly.  1) Make and distribute cheap energy (or distribute making 
> It looks like the latter is going to win, via thin-film PV. Innovation
> in energy is going to restart, once fossil shoots through the ceiling again
> (current prices means producing at loss, whereas heavy infrastructure
> investments are needed due to peak oil and are now on hold, which makes 
> for scary sudden price graphs).

There are additional possibilities, neighborhood buried nuclear for 
instance and maybe some kind of bio-fuel farm cycle, but TFPV is a great 
>> cheap energy).  2) Make effective automation with intelligence.  With 
> We need a way to close the material flow loops. Lacking that, do enrichment
> of dilute resources with lots of cheap energy input. Current automation
> does a lousy job in terms of own sustainability, nevermind autopoiesis.

Sure, long way to go.  Doesn't necessarily take long though.
>> those two, you get plentiful, cheap water, agriculture, manufacturing, 
>> building, homesteading formerly inhospitable locales both inland and at 
> The revolutionary aspect of thin-film PV is that grid ceases to be relevant.
> Potable water is suddenly everywhere, with only some modest additional hardware.

Exactly.  As I've said, I don't understand the "we're running out of 
water" thing.  Totally an energy problem.

>> sea.  That solves food, living space, quality of life, and subhuman 
>> (i.e. drudge manufacturing, farming) labor needs.  Completely doable, 
>> and these things start changing most of the rules at some inflection point.
> It's interesting whether we'll be getting a slow collapse interlaced
> with strife, or a resurgence into a new era of R&D. I don't see this
> happening in EU nor US yet.

I think the latter.  Everything will not change overnight.  Certain 
sectors will gain, take some profit, then become very efficient.  Slow, 
beneficial ripple.

Exciting building blocks are appearing at an increasing rate.  So, I 
think it is sort of happening.  Autonomous vehicles are already solved.  
Imagine that.  No, wait, too late, it's already done and about to be a 
commercial product in multiple sectors.  Brad Templeton's pushing the 
point that this will revolutionize transportation.  Cars will drive 
themselves to you (Kit, I need you), then back to their parking spot or 
motor pool.  Etc.

There is a delay between feasibility and the visionary -> +resources -> 
+opportunity -> +crystallizing event sequence that suddenly kicks out a 
proof of concepts that sparks excitement.  Hard problems have been 
falling fast.

>> In other words, many key issues can be solved with enough energy and 
>> automation (where automation includes leveraging human intelligence in 
>> various ways).

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