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In an age of unlimited energy....

 
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2015 5:02 pm    Post subject: In an age of unlimited energy.... Reply with quote

....what will be the currency of wealth, of Power.

With fusion not so very far away [I believe this], and always assuming the powers that be are prepared to allow it to happen {BIG assumption!}, we will all effectively have unlimited access to unlimited amounts of energy - forever. Commodity prices will plummet, whatever you desire in terms of material goods will effectively be yours free of charge, and thus the traditional things that sepparate us on a hierarchical basis will cease to be a dividing signal anymore [ie, when we all drive a Rolls and wear a Rolex these will no longer be the symbols of allfluence that will open the doors at the Four Seasons]. Never the less, some other things will emerge, even in this world of unlimited abundance, that will become the measure of where you sit on the hierarchical scale of human worth. What do you think those things will be, that will sepparate us into the stratified layers that human culture/society seems to demand.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2015 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is a pretty big stretch, peter. If unlimited electricity were available to everyone--technically, it is available to everyone already if they would only take advantage of solar and wind--then the only thing that would happen is that the electricity service providers would dramatically reduce in size and transition to being only "repair service providers" who come out to do things like install electric devices or repair malfunctioning transformers. Everyone driving a Rolls and wearing a Rolex? That wouldn't happen. The prices of things would drop since manufacturers don't have to pay electricity bills but the changes would be mostly minor and mostly unnoticed by average citizens.

The true "status symbols" with which people display wealth would remain and would retain their "exclusive" status: high-end cars, mansions, private planes, luxury yachts, custom jewelry, works of art, etc.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2015 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure anyone alive, except for maybe those being born as I type this, will ever see an age of unlimited energy. And even then those being born this very minute might only see the beginnings of such an age. Or maybe I don't know what I'm talking about which is a very real possibility. Wink
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rabs wrote:
I'm not sure anyone alive, except for maybe those being born as I type this, will ever see an age of unlimited energy. And even then those being born this very minute might only see the beginnings of such an age. Or maybe I don't know what I'm talking about which is a very real possibility. Wink



I'm likewise skeptical of seeing an age of unlimited energy. Twirl Dance At the very least, I know I shouldn't be in a big hurry for it to arrive. Chill
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check out the SkunkWorks thread--they claim they can have working fusion reactors for sale by 2025; their working prototype goal is 2017.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The idea of the thread came from the front cover of Time. The 'unlimited power for everyone forever' quote came from this, with the tagline 'this time it might actually work'. I have little expectation of ever witnessing such a scenario, but it will one day happen. Surely the knock on from zero energy cost would rapidly be zero production cost as tech advances limited by testing costs (currently) advance exponentially?
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hashi Lebwohl wrote:
Check out the SkunkWorks thread--they claim they can have working fusion reactors for sale by 2025; their working prototype goal is 2017.


Thank you for the reminder of the Skunkworks thread, Hashi! It gives me hope! Very Happy

peter wrote:
Surely the knock on from zero energy cost would rapidly be zero production cost as tech advances limited by testing costs (currently) advance exponentially?


One would think so! Cross Fingers
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Professor who gave this year's Royal Institution Christmas Lectures spoke as though fusion generation was a done deal and would follow in short order (relatively speaking) following the successful completion of the ITER project in southern France. Put this together with the rapid strides being made in the automation of nearly every field of work involving repetitive activity and you have a scenario for a greatly different world (together with the development of greatly different measures of value) than the one we experience.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How does fusion translate to free unlimited energy? I always thought that Fusion was just a clean way to generate heat which leads to steam and then electric turbines. Still going to have a ton of never ending infrastructure and support costs.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you're right, HLT. Fusion will be virtually unlimited, capable of supplying our energy needs for millions of years. But unlimited doesn't mean free. Right now it's not even profitable. At some point it will become competitive with fossil fuels, and then eventually the technology may improve to the point that costs continue to drop much lower than energy costs today. But that doesn't mean free.

Something will be "free" when it no longer requires human labor or capital investment to produce. We'll need self-replicating nanotech for that. Automation makes things cheaper because it removes human labor, but someone still has to pay for and build those machines. Once machines build themselves, you'll remove that last "cost." However, I suppose you'd still have to have programmers telling them what to do. But maybe some will be like Linux?

The programmers will inherent the earth (at least until they create AI).
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But we really are racing toward that point: the world of our children is going to be inconceivably different from ours. Automation will see huge swathes of work being removed from the labour market within a decade or two. Universal Basic Income will be rolled out worldwide and peoples focus will have to become not 'how do I earn a living' but 'what do I do with my time'. Problem is we are woefully behind in preparing for these changes: we educate our children for the world we live in today when we already know that within fifteen years the situation will be radically different - and a 10yo kid today wouldn't hit our retirement age until 2072! And we haven't begun to experience the exponential rise in the rate of technological advancement on which we are sitting on the cusp.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
But we really are racing toward that point: the world of our children is going to be inconceivably different from ours. Automation will see huge swathes of work being removed from the labour market within a decade or two. Universal Basic Income will be rolled out worldwide and peoples focus will have to become not 'how do I earn a living' but 'what do I do with my time'. Problem is we are woefully behind in preparing for these changes: we educate our children for the world we live in today when we already know that within fifteen years the situation will be radically different - and a 10yo kid today wouldn't hit our retirement age until 2072! And we haven't begun to experience the exponential rise in the rate of technological advancement on which we are sitting on the cusp.
Automation has been happening for half a century or more (goodbye elevator operator! good bye phone switch lady!) with virtually no impact upon the overall employment rates. Automation doesn't usher in the age of Universal Basic Income, it only frees us from doing pointless, mechanistic work.

We do NOT educate our children for the world we live in today! We don't make programming/coding or even computer literacy a required subject(s) at school, part of their basic core of learning, even though we live in the computer age. We don't teach them skills to enter the workforce, we teach them that every child gets a participation trophy, that their self-esteem is more important than their actual achievements, that capitalism is bad, that America is evil, that all cultures are equally valid, that it's more important to embrace liberal social positions than to actually learn a career. Public education is a JOKE.

We will enter a time when most of our basic needs will be free. But we're already at a time when most of our basic needs are earned with extremely easy work for a few hours a day. Compared to peasants toiling in the fields, we already live in that world of virtually "free" basic needs. Young people already spend more time playing videos games than doing something productive. We're there, man. We're living the sci-fi life right now.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good post Z: food for thought - and absolutely bang on about the already failing state of Education on both sides of the Pond.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
We do NOT educate our children for the world we live in today[/u]! We don't make programming/coding or even computer literacy a required subject(s) at school, part of their basic core of learning, even though we live in the computer age. We don't teach them skills to enter the workforce, we teach them that every child gets a participation trophy, that their self-esteem is more important than their actual achievements, that capitalism is bad, that America is evil, that all cultures are equally valid, that it's more important to embrace liberal social positions than to actually learn a career. Public education is a JOKE.


This.

I had to fight to suppress my urge to try and force the kids to memorize their multiplication tables when they were in early elementary school, though, because when I was their age a calculator was still a relatively high-end tool which only engineers or accountants used. Both kids have phones, now, and the calculators built into them are more powerful than the pocket computer I had back in college.

I agree, though--programming should be taught staring in, oh, the 6th grade. Leibeschoen took a computer-based course in 9th grade where they got to use a 3-D printer and one of her friends is taking a Photoshop-based computer art class this year (but she hates it). I am seriously thinking about getting C a Raspberry Pi Model 3 for his upcoming birthday--it is a small, easily-programmable computer which can be used for school projects like building robots or for designing mobile device apps.

Sci-fi life, my foot. Where is my flying car, hm?

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
we teach them that every child gets a participation trophy, that their self-esteem is more important than their actual achievements, that capitalism is bad, that America is evil, that all cultures are equally valid, that it's more important to embrace liberal social positions than to actually learn a career.


Really? That's weird. Cuz no one in any school I was ever involved in ever taught a single one of those things even one time.

It's funny to me when folk from states that still allow tax dollars to fund schools that teach the myths of "creation science," "abstinence," and that slavery had nothing to do with the Civil War [[and Texas, Hashi...didn't y'all try to change the history books to say Thomas Aquinas was really important to the birth of the nation, but Thomas Jefferson wasn't???]] blame liberals for collapsing education.

BTW, it ISN'T collapsing, even though far from perfect. The biggest problems are DIRECTLY caused by poverty.

Being "public" seems to be a common cause of failure in the education dialogue. But no one has shown it.

Not that we shouldn't teach code...though that's meaningless without actual Computer [and other] Science to go with it. Teaching code is like teaching typing and claiming you're teaching writing...
Almost ALL "skills" training suffers from this nasty fact: they do NOT generalize. Memorizing multiplication tables doesn't teach math, vocabulary lists do not teach reading or writing or thinking.
We should also do more musical instrument lesson, physical sports and cross-training, drawing and sculpting, bi-lingual at MINIMUM [[these ARE generalizable---they translate far outside the direct subject...but taxpayers think they are a waste, so they get cut first]]

Just cuz we can make things BETTER, doesn't mean what we have is trash...and no one can make it better if they don't know what already is.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vraith wrote:
Zarathustra wrote:
we teach them that every child gets a participation trophy, that their self-esteem is more important than their actual achievements, that capitalism is bad, that America is evil, that all cultures are equally valid, that it's more important to embrace liberal social positions than to actually learn a career.


Really? That's weird. Cuz no one in any school I was ever involved in ever taught a single one of those things even one time.
Fish don't notice the water.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Fish don't notice the water.

Heh...that thing always cracks me up, because it is so terrible in truth value, aesthetic/literary use.
Mostly due to the literal root---they are finely tuned to notice the water in many different ways at every single instant.
Go with something like "The blind don't notice the dark." [[even that is only true if born blind]].

Someday I'd love somebody to explain why, and show how, participation trophies are bad, though.
Have to tell you...school system didn't invent it, didn't promote it. It came from outside, and most don't have it for most things even now.
Too bad.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(There was a fun quote went round twitter lately pointing out that participation trophies, when they existed at all, usually did so because they were demanded by parents.)
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