[FoRK] Making robotics a priority

Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo ken_ganshirt at yahoo.ca
Wed Jul 13 20:04:31 PDT 2011


--- On Wed, 7/13/11, Stephen Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:

> 
> Of (info) bits.  And electrons.  And, indirectly
> through food, sunlight.  Mostly, and more and more.
> An economy based mainly on consumption of information would
> be ideal from a planetary carrying capacity point of view,
> don't you think?
> 
> ...
> >
> >    ...   And I see
> > nothing in technology that will change the fact that a
> > consumption-based economy has a distinct endpoint when it is
> > faced with a finite quantity of things to consume.
> 
> Information consumption can easily approach infinite
> bandwidth in human terms.  We're unlikely to run out
> soon.
> 

Say it often enough and eventually someone who hears you will believe that we are in some sort of "information consuming economy". Or, at least, that we're headed for one.  

The former is so far from the current reality that it's laughable.  The latter might happen but not in a timeframe that I'm interested in (my timeframe of primary interest extends at least to the lifetimes of my grandchildren who are 7 and 2).

By the way, your contention that information consumption can easily approach infinite bandwidth is a crock.  In order for it to be true it must make the assumption that it can occur without the consumption of real resources and real energy.

In rebutting someone else's similar comment, an IT pundit recently did a guesstimate of the resource and energy costs to run Google to illustrate the absurdity of the comment.  Regardless of the efficiencies Google has managed to achieve, the consumption rate of all the materials and energy required just to build, operate and maintain the information services of a single Google Corp is quite significant.

Your "information consuming economy" is still totally dependent upon significant consumption of Real Stuff.

If you have envisioned some way to gather, store, share and consume bits at low or no resource and energy cost, I'm sure that would make for a very interesting thread.  But be sure to classify it appropriately: Speculative Fiction.  ;-)

         ...ken...



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