2320 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
Go on, then.
> It is always annoying when forecasters fail to forecast disruption
The article goes to great lengths to describe what is already happening. So, since tablets are a given and internet connected TVs, essentially tablets, with a sensibly sized screen and decent sound are nothing new - where's the disruptive technology the author is so keen for forecasters to forecast?
Audit the source? Nobody *runs* the source, they run binaries
> why an audit of TrueCrypt is needed and arguably even overdue
And as soon as the developers come up with a new version, the auditing needs to be all over again.
However, what's worse is if someone brings out a TrueCrypt virus. One that only attacks that particular program and inserts a backdoor into installed copies (or some other binary it depends on). You can have audited source - but that's no use if the environment the program is running on is insecure and is therefore open to having the binary attacked, post-audit.
The only audit that a user could trust would be of an entire system: O/S, applications+libraries and TrueCrypt. Then as soon as any of those are changed, upgraded or patched, the whole audit becomes invalidated. Oh, and as for proprietary binary-only drivers, codecs or libraries: don't even think about installing them.
Re: Cloud cuckoo land thinking...
> why on earth would I believe an energy sector player when they tell me they are going to close gas plants by 2016?
Simply put. They are running a business. If the cost of running that business, or factory, or power station, is greater than the profit they make from running it, they'll close it. Why would they do otherwise? It's a free country and manufacturers are under no obligation to supply electricity or any other product. They will only do so if there's monkey to be made.
We have heard the same warnings from car makers, steel plants, coal mines and many, many other parts of what old-timers used to call "british industry". They all closed. Electricity generation will stop, too, if a regulated market gets in the way of supply-and-demand and makes it unprofitable.
There's no rule that says we *have* to be supplied with electricity, on demand, whenever we want, in whatever quantity we please. And just because we've had (largely) interrupted supplies for the past 100 years - that's no reason to suppose that they will go on forever. Up until recently it has been profitable for generators to make electricity and to sell it to us. That it's strategically important and without it you're looking at a cold and wet version of Angola: generating capacity: 1.16GW - though ravaged by war, rather than stupidity,
A british thing?
So why doesn't the UK do what every other EU country does why faced with a directive it doesn't like? ignore it?
Most EU countries take a healthy, skeptical, pragmatic approach to EU "law". If it's in their favour (e.g. fishing rights) they embrace it and extol its virtues. If it is to their disadvantage they say "it doesn't apply to us" or "it's discriminatory", "we can't do it in time" or just do .... nothing.
Laws anywhere, at any level, only work with the acquiesence of the subjects it's applied to. If they give it a gallic shrug, or a british V sign there's not much anyone else can do. It only seems to be in Britiain that everyone goes into a bit of a tizz and says "but it's the law" without realising that laws only work if people obey them and that our representatives helped shape them - and if it's to our detriment, they obviously didn't do a very good job of politicking.
Re: Do they know what ''science'' means ?
> Economics is not a science, the closest that it gets is to be a branch of psychology.
That's probably true, since economics is tightly bound to the motivations people have for doing things - and it's not always about money. And, like any subject that has to add the suffix "science" (just like countries that call themselves "democratic" or "the people's ... "), almost certainly isn't.
However, that doesn't mean it is irrelevant to how we live and has nothing to contribute. Have a read of some of Tim Harford's books: The Undercover Economist being a good start: not only entertaining but easy reading. And if you want to know why oral sex is becoming so popular, read his second paperback, TLoL.
[ Disclaimer: I am not Tim Harford and he is not me ]
Jobs for the boys?
It's not the job of a policeman to say we need more laws. Just like it's not the job of a doctor to call for more illnesses. Obviously, the more laws there are, the greater the need for enforcement and therefore the more police - so the self-interest is apparent.
Although it's unfashionable to say so, the job of government is to say what should be legal and what deserves having your front door smashed in at 6 a.m. It's the job of the police to do that smashing, not to choose who's doors.
As for The vast majority of those we're really interested in are overseas, well good: let it stay there. Not our problem.
The perennial question
> businesses will soon need to make the transformation into the Social Enterprise
OK, that extrapolates existing trends. But it will only continue if someone works out how to make money from it. So, the question is: how do people make money from Social Enterprise?
I think we can discount (even more, or targeted) advertising. The more you push unwanted advertisements into peoples' faces, the less they will use a service. What does that leave? Historically we know that after every expansion comes a correction. Maybe the near-future (the next 10 years) sees social media implode under it's own unsupportable weight and the realisation that it's really a bust, since it offers no value.
Personally, I reckon that the next big thing will be something new (like the internet was). Something that few, if any, can foresee - and that nobody thinking about it today is able to determine the consequences of. We probably won't even realise it's "the next big thing" for several years after it's kicked off. Which opens the possibility that it's already here.
Will come in handy
> Cat videos will outlast humanity
when cats evolve an opposable thumb, turn into Kzinti and take over the world.
Will they waste their civilisations away watching endless videos of humans?
Wouldn't it be nice
If newspapers and TV reports simply stuck to telling us the unassailable facts, rather than filling their pages or 24*7 broadcasts with gossip, opinion, innuendo, criticism or value judgments.
It would certainly save a lot of newsprint.
Tell me again, why is this a problem?
> There is now evidence of people leaving rural communities to live in urban areas ... due to a lack of connectivity ... due to lack of access to higher education, affordable housing or employment
Basically, the (ex) inhabitants of these regions are moving away because they can get a better quality of life elsewhere. That's a good thing, surely!
There's nothing sacred about being able to live in the same town where you were born or grew up. People always move about (sometimes to "get on their bikes ... ") and improve their lives by doing so. What the government should be doing is encouraging mobility: making housing and jobs available in the locations where people want to live. Building homes that people can afford to buy or rent and ensuring there are enough schools, shops, hospitals and roads in those places.
There's little point spending £££s installing broadband if the population has all buggered off due to a lack of schools, shops or decent houses.
Re: hold on a moment
The crucial word is "directly". You can't say the government hasn't learned from it's past mistakes. This time the cash will be channeled through all sorts of intermediaries, shell companies and sub-contracts. That way it will be impossible for anyone to say for sure how much was
Consistency, above all
> Spine, which was one of the two successful components
So they've identified one of the successes in their ill-fated adventure and have decided to mess with it. I suppose that will, at least, bring it into line with all the other badly designed, poorly managed and hopelessly implemented projects.
At least by using free (OK Open Source: not the same, blah! blah ....) software, the cost of this failure will be a lot less.
[postscript. to increase the flexibility of the system ... one of the largest backbone systems for NHS IT is this really an attribute you want in a spine - or are we talking snakes? ]
That's why there are no aliens
It's the incessant babble of our radio (and TV, for those people who don't realise that, technically speaking, they are the same) transmissions which sends any spacecraft that is unlucky enough to be exposed to them into a safe mode. Where "safe" would mean putting as many light-years as possible between itself and the source.
Maybe the good book doesn't say Mostly harmless. Could the entry really read: Stay away, for your own sanity.
Re: HPs problem
> Cancelling WFH also screams "I don't trust my employees!",
It could equally mean "We made a mistake. We tried an experiment and it didn't produce the results we expected". Which *could* be a heartening sign that there is humility somewhere in the upper echelons.
It's also possible that the top brass *did* trust the employees (to do the work without supervision), but that the employees betrayed that trust and goofed around all the time, instead of working.
Heard once: you can work from home, but if you come back in with a suntan, you're fired.
Re: More than just doing the job
A big part, possibly the biggest part, of working in a team is spreading the knowledge. For an individual, sitting in a darkened room hacking away, writing 1,000 lines per day (or whatever measure of productivity - if not quality - you employ) may well get the job done. However, as the AC below illustrates perfectly: that's all it does. You may well ask "but what more is there?" to which the reply would be: Spreading the knowledge. Growing the team. Letting others benefit from your specialities and you from theirs.
The ex-iBMer illustrates this perfectly. Sure, the immediate problem got fixed (in record time: respect is due). But that's all that happened. The knowledge was still locked away in one person's head - so the next time a similar problem crops up, there's still only 1 person who could deal with it.
That might be good in the short-term, but it's no way to build a knowledgable and cohesive team: one that will pull together, help each other out and generally be worth more than the sum of their parts. Some of that can be done electronically, but the unstructured, chance meetings and conversations can't. The "whatcha doin? -- hey that looks like something Fred was trying last week - You should go talk to ... they had a guy in with a solution to that " conversations don't happen when each "professional" is (metaphorically) locked away in their own little world. Likewise, people can't ask you for help - it's too easy to fob them off or ignore their emails. Professionalism is as much about the good of the team as delivering your own personal goals.
That's what working with other, similarly talented, people lets you do, that you can't do on your own. It's also something that not many companies recognise as having value.
More than just doing the job
> the more employees we get into the office the better
Can't argue with that. There are two aspects to being a professional: doing the stuff youve been told to do and being a part of the company. The first can usually be done from anywhere and home working is a good solution for that. However, the second part does require human contact with colleagues. It is necessary for the chance meetings, the networking and the social interaction / bonding needed to turn a group of people into a team.
Having said that, in any company there will always be a proportion of employees who's biggest contribution to the success of the company is to shut the hell up and not touch anything. For these individuals, home working should not only be allowed, it should be mandatory.
Mr Blue Sky
> I hope this recognition of fundamental science will help raise awareness of the value of blue-sky research
I hope so, too. But given the hopelessness of the BBC's "explanation" of what the HB does (a video insert on their coverage of the award) I think trying to get the media to explain abstract ideas - and physics in particular - is a lost cause.
Go with it
Possibly the biggest lesson for anyone comtemplating a secure or anonymised internet (dark or light) for any sort of transactions: legal, financial or various shades of naughty, is to design it such that no part of it touches the USA.
If 5% of the world wants to build a wall around themselves, the other 95% should let 'em.
Re: FIVE years?
> Hell I had already had email in one form or another for 10 years by that point!
Eeee, them 'twere the days.
When you could tell a person's true status by the number of hops they were from ucbvax
The "experience" experience
> five or more years' experience using the internet
That seems to be to be measuring the wrong thing.
A child who's spent the past 5 years goofing around on Facebook and Twitter is incomparable to one who started using a computer at age 13 and now runs a successful web business. Just as a brit who's been living in Spain for 5 years, red-nosed from the cheap booze, too much sunshine and days spent reading the Daily Mail in a bar all day is no match for one who has spent the same duration in the country and is fluent in the language and is a fully functioning member of the local society.
When you start looking at skill-level or achievements, duration or time spent is misleading. It's results that count.
I told you ...
> Police constable 1337 stunned by Lego lookalike
... to be careful where you point that TASER
Re: On board flash means it can be bricked, unlike Raspberry Pi where all storage is on SD
> Would those who have downvoted Daniel care to explain
He wrote something that could be construed as criticism of the RPi.
Around here that's an automatic downvoted from the Look Mum, I can make a LED flash on and off brigade. (As mother silently weeps into a hanky: 14 years of education and 10s of thousands of £££'s in raising the child, all for that ...).
Even worse, in the very next thread he intimates that something else could possibly be better.
So what is it?
It runs "sketches", so is it a more powerful (overly-powerful) Arduino competitor with rather high power requirements
It's got an x86 instruction set, 256MB of DDR3 RAM and PCI, so is it a PC - no mention of windows or Linux
It seems to me to fall between both.
If you're just going to run embedded code with no O/S, there are better, smaller, (probably) cheaper and less power-hungry ways of doing it. If you are going to boot an O/S, there are smaller, more powerful, more capable (e.g. the dual-core 1GHz/1GB, SATA Cubieboard2) and (possibly) cheaper alternatives for that, too.
With either of these propositions, it's going to be the user created support that makes or breaks it. I wonder if anyone would port BeOS/Haiku to it?
The media always hype this stuff
Every year we get some breathless pundit squealing with delight about a meteor shower with words like "fantasic", "spectacular" and whatever superlatives still have some life (if not credibillity) left in them. The same goes for comets, eclipses, conjuctions andall the rest. One budding journo picks up as astronomical announcement and exudes awe about it - that's picked up by another who embellishes the first's work - then another with more exaggeration and finally it hits the TV and we're all exhorted to view this "sight of the century" (which seems to occer every few years).
Almost all of them are a damp squib.
Whether that's because the uncertainy and qualifications that the original bulletin contain get left out for reasons of making the news "public friendly", or astronomers genuinely thought it would turn out better. However in the UK the main reasons seem to be the weather, the light pollution and TV presenters (and their script writers) who have no concept at all - none whatsoever - about how bright, or dim all of these events are.
We were "promised" a comet earlier this year - FAIL! Sure: it turned up on time, but it was a huge disappointment. Same goes for all theother ones since Halley, 25 years ago. Maybe the media should learn their lesson and just let it all go - though then they'd probably be inundated by calls from scared and ignorant viewers about "strange lights inthe sky". You can't win.
Can a fail whale float?
Most web "phenomena" last a few years. They grow and grow, become the darling of the online press - then the wind changes and all their users desert them (sometimes helped by unpopular changes, managerial incompetence or the next "big thing" being bigger and thingier than they are). Twitter has had a good run and round about now you'd expect it to start sliding as the next generation of internet users dismiss Twitter as being "for old people".
So why go for an IPO? Possibly to staunch the slide. Buy up the competiton, or expand by aquisiton - or maybe just to cash out while there's still some money in Twitter as a going concern.
Either way, given the current climate there's no good time to float (or sink), but on the presumption that the financial situation won't be getting any better for some time, and that Twitter's shelf-life could be coming to the end, this would seem like a good time for them. Whether it's a good time for investors? No-one can say.
What was the question?
It would be handy to know what question gave rise to this result.
Was it a non-specific equiry about the abstract principle of extracting oil and/or gas - or was it a direct question about whether individuals would be "happy" to have this carried out withing ½ a mile of their homes, or their childrens' school?
I suspect the answers may vary considerably.
Floating on the QE
At present the USA is keeping share prices high by "printing" $1Tn a year for quantitative easing - buying up their own bonds and keeping market prices high.
One assumes that Twitter want to
dump as many shares as possible get their IPO done before this fount of artificially high prices dries up. So while they might be able to get $15Bn at current valuations, I don't need to take a bet (as all share dealing is, is a posh phrase for gambling) on whether or not it will stay high.
Is it just me ...
> American corporations held a total of about $1.48tn in cash as of June this year
So american businesses hold about $1.5 tril of cash, but america owes about 16.7 terabucks
Anyone else see a potential problem here?
Height of stupidity?
> lets you access Twitter, Facebook, email and texts while you are on the go,
We all thought that trying to send SMSs while driving was so dumb that nobody would need to be told not to try - but no, apparently the limit of human intelligence is lower than we thought.
Will we now need to be reminded that tweeting while driving is so blindingly stupid (for the driver to do) that each text should be automatically forwarded to the Darwin Awards assessors?
Mark Twain was right
> The current 11-year peak in solar action... may presage a lengthy quiet period
And like everything to do with climate change, nobody can say for sure.
It seems that the quote attributed to him turns out to have some substance after all. For those who missed it::
There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesome returns of conjectures out of such trifling investment of fact
or should that be his other one:
Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please
Either way, it's a great spectator sport, just so long as I don't have to do anything until we *know* what is actually happening - and whether it is turning out good or bad.
Re: Devils advocate: Why should anyone care?
> because a hell of a lot of work was done to mitigate the risks.
Indeed. I was one of the people doing it. However you don't get rewarded for problems that never happen - only for fixing the ones that do.
Devils advocate: Why should anyone care?
We had Y2k: lots of talk that aircraft would drop out of the sky, that the financial system would crash and burn, that shops would be emptied of food, that utilities would stop working. None of which happened.
Now people are being told that something as small as Microsoft no longer pestering them with updates to some old piece of software - updates they never bother applying, anyway - is a bad thing?
I expect that a lot of individuals won't even be aware that the end is nigh. I expect that a lot of companies simply consider PCs to be a commodity, like chairs or employees and will need to actually see something catch fire before they are willing to consider an abstract concept such as a lack of bug-fixes to be anywhere on their priority list.
On top of that, it's not as if they could just take a PC, apply some "stuff" to it and voila! the problem has gone. No, the hardware will need to be upgraded, possibly the software too - maybe even the peripherals (now many modern PCs have VGA ports, or parallel ports). So given that this lack of "support" won't actually stop anything running, whereas mitigating it will be (a) expensive and (b) disruptive, then sitting with your thumbs up your bum waiting to see what (if anything) happens, is a rational strategy.
That's certainly what I intend to do with the 3 "retired" XP computers that are now just instances that run under VirtualBox, if I need one of their applications, like Photoshop. I'm definitely not planning on spending £££'s upgrading that (legal copy). Or dropping cash on a copy of W7 or 8 to upgrade them, either.
Re: Reversing Moore's Law
"Tell me what you want to do?"
"Email Susan and tell her I'll be 20 minutes late because of traffic".
That, 1000 times, that! (but who's Susan?) - though the email part becomes redundant, the "smarts" would just record your voice, filter out extraneous background noise and send that as the message.
You are absolutely correct though: even Google's voicey thing (can't speak for Apple, never seen/used it) has trouble - but I have used it to translate We skipped the light fandango/Turned cartwheels 'cross the floor/I was feeling kinda seasick/But the crowd called out for more into spanish. But in 20 years time, they won't have trouble doing what I envisaged. And it probably won't matter what your native language is, either.
Back in the mid 1970's there was a machine called the PERQ. It was marketed in the UK by ICL and did pretty much everything that users want from a machine today: GUI, mouse, networking, running stuff. If development into voice & face recognition had progressed as much as graphical software has and audio cards kept pace with graphics hardware - you could probably stare at your computer screen now it it would read your mind.
Instead we're bogged down with eye-candy written by some very clever programmers with extreme technical skills, but bugger all utility so far as designing a user interface goes.
Reversing Moore's Law
I guess the answer to "Why do all this?" would be "because we can".
After all, if Linux interfaces just stuck to the basics of running an application in however much (or little) of the user's screen it needed - possibly with a little cut'n'paste, there wouldn't have been the need for any interface development for the past 20 or more years. Though we might have machines that boot in a couple of seconds and will run off batteries for days on end.
But since all the new, wizzy, capabilities we get in desktops - and also appearing in portable devices have the power, memory and graphics ability to do all these things (irrespective of whether anyone will use them), that's what we get.
Personally, I'd much prefer a user interface that contained one simple question and a box for the user to type, write or speak the answer. If all the power and ingenuity that the UI guys have expended on X, Wayland, Mir and all the other stuff had been focused on the average user, that box might just say
Tell me what you want to do?
And it would then go off and (accurately) start up all the stuff necessary to service the user's request.
Wouldn't that be better than all this eye-candy - though it would certainly be duller.
Re: Obscurity for security
> If some project manager is insisting on unnecessary levels of paperwork & meetings, I suspect they're just making work to justify their existence rather than to benefit anyone.
Oh, without a doubt, yes.
But that's the beauty of "best practice", so long as there's always more you can do or ask for, you haven't achieved it. Hence organisations that are addicted to the idea of B/P (because they are so clueless) are so inefficient, slow and expensive.
Obscurity for security
So, a branch of government has a group. That group creates a scheme. That scheme identifies 3 levels of competency (OK, let's pretend they map onto knowing what the hell you're talking about - with some sort of positive correlation). Within those rankings, there are 6 roles. And on top of that, another bunch has another programme for certification, that's different.
Then after 3 years yo have to do it all again.
This seems like an excellent plan for identifting both individuals who value letters, titles and accreditations and also for identifying organisations that are so lacking in real-world direction, experience and judgement that they would value such confused and surreal web of qualifications.
Having seen ITIL (another government initiative, that assumes an infinite amount of manpower, time, meeting-rooms and budget to get anything done) at first hand in a couple of organisations I can only assume that goal behind this announcement is to put a stop, once and for all, to anyone having any hope of matching a competent worker with a security requirement.
How many hackers does it take to change a lightbulb?
> protect critical infrastructure and data stores were the country to come under electronic attack.
Or in this case, to unplug "critical infrastructure" from the source of all evil?
Seriously, you'd hope - against all common sense and reason - that anything that was actually critical would be a long, long way from being accessible over the internet.
> "cyber weapons" could be used along with regular munitions in future conflicts.
Excellent idea. Collect up all the computers and throw them at the enemy. Especially in an assymetric warfare theatre (the defining type of war in the 21st century), where one side has a great big target painted on its arse and the other is coming at it with a pitchfork.
Defn: Science. A process whereby observations are made, theories are drawn up and tested by means of experiment. The experimental results are then used to gain a consensus regarding the accuracy of the theory in question.
Religion: A belief system where faith and doctrine are formulated, depending on various factors: real or imaginary. That doctrine is then promulgated by an appointed (or self-appointed) leadership. The lack of a testable foundation makes refuting the articles of faith very difficult for the non-beleiver, but acts to strengthen the resolve of the true followers.
Fines are fine
Jail is better.
To a company like Google, slapping a fine for non-compliance (or "law-breaking" as the traditionalists might call it) means very little. Even confiscating the advertising revenue they make in France would only be a minor annoyance.
However, their stance that "your law does not apply to us" needs some serious attention. Flinging a few americans into a french jail until the company makes itself legal would certainly have a direct and personal effect on the decision makers of the company. It would show Google that they cannot take such a patronising position and above all else, it would be wonderful theatre for the rest of us to watch.
You never know, you might even get a few brits saying "Go, Frenchie!"
Stars to stars
> forced a youthful Stephen Hawking out of Physics and into Tap-Dancing classes
You never know, it could have freed up the position of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics thus giving someone otherwise doomed to appearing on X-Factor something to aspire to.
Though we might have ended up with A Brief History of Time being written in txt spk. Would smileys have made it easier to understand?
Sack the lot of them
> Ofcom is ... looking for suggestions about how it might direct its considerable resources
Hmmm, £100 Mil.
Well, they've got all the policies they need to give us an excellent communications structure, they're just absolutely useless at implementing and enforcing them. So how about sacking all of its existing management and replacing them with effective individuals, instead?
I'm sure the redundancy payments (even at the civil service's vastly inflated, self-serving rates) wouldn't consume all the money. Even if it did, it would be money well spent.
With the remainder they could buy a dictionary, so they could look up the real meaning of the word "unlimiited".
Re: Title is too long.
> its saccharine colour scheme
Does that refer to the (yellowish) colour #FBBE18, or the artificial sweetness?
Ask one back
And why can't copier-paper manufacturers create paper that "knows" when you're trying to make a photocopy of something you shouldn't?
To the to the truly ignorant, everything has a simple solution.
> people only spend six minutes a year thinking about their energy bills. Naturally, Brem thought this was a bad sign
So that's why they continually jack up the price of gas & electricity. So that people think about their bills the whole time: worrying about how to pay them.
P.S. No need to crank your heating up with a remote controlled app in order to get out of bed. Just put on a dressing gown, like a normal person does.
The real moral of the story
Tweet away, be as rude to and about airlines as you like.
Just don't make the newby mistake of using an account with your real name. Surely everyone (everyone who uses twitter, or any other social media for that matter) has many, many accounts under different names, guises and personas (wot! it's against the rules? Oh no! what shall I do) so just use one of them, instead.
Blaming the victim?
> If you lose money from your bank account the banks give it back to you.
But is that what really happens?
The way I see it is that a bank has a duty to put in place sufficient security for it to keep our money safe. That's safe from (traditional) theft, safe from internet theft and safe from themselves being unable to give it back to us when we ask for it.
So far, cash machine security measures haven't evolved much beyond the PIN-code systems that were around in the 1970's - though my PIN in those days was 6 digits, instead of the 4 we have today. Is that really progress?
Although for home banking I now have a nice little card reader, courtesy of my bank, that "proves" I am in posession of my card when I log on to their computers, I still feel that the onus is on the banks to make sure their security is up to scratch to protect our money. There will always be some crime, the goal for security measures is to reduce it to a level that we customers are willing to pay: both in terms of losses from theft and the cost of the measures to prevent it.
I suppose it *is* possible
Let's see, Stop sexting and send a love poem instead ...
There was a young man from Cape Horn,
who wished he had never been born,
he wouldn’t have been,
if his father had seen,
that the end of his condom was torn
Yup! 156 characters. It will just fit, as the actress said to the proverbial.
The delivery guy could leave your package, but how do you sign for it?
Re: If you live in a lake, it takes longer to walk to the well
> As living standards rise, birth rate drops
Quite. That's an observation that appears to be universal. However, it just tells us the "what" not the "why". The reason birth rates drop seems to have something to do with city life. The other side of rising living standards is that more and more people live in cities. They / we need to do that, as that is where the jobs are (don't talk about telecommuting, see later) and most people are pressured for living space in cities - as well as not having many child-friendly open spaces, facilities and a fear of letting their kids near strangers.
However, take away the restrictions of cities, whether by letting people work where they live, not having to work at all or doing their job remotely (there's that telecommuting bit) and all those limitations regarding children and wanting a nice environment for them to grow up in, they all go away.
Therefore it's reasonable to assume that once we are free to leave the cities behind, there WILL be an explosion in the birthrate (esp. if we have lots more free time ;) )and the number of children and therefore the population WILL become limited, as Malthus predicted, simply by our ability to feed all those open mouths.
Free time! And then what?
Okaaay, let's wind this scenario forward.
FF to the time when we have all we need in terms of physical stuff. Hungry? press a button and a robotic shopping cart will deliver the hot pizza of your choice. Thirsty? Same cart will bring you whatever carbonated beverage you desire. Repeat from age #1 to age #99, daily. Every day. For your whole life. For ever. All the friggin' time. Just press the button. That's it. All you do is press the button.
Next to "the button" is another button labelled "Kill me now". You can press that one any time you please, too. Maybe that one would just about help us avoid a Malthusian disaster.
The basic problem is human nature. To start with, we only value what we earn. Whether it's the satisfaction of standing back and thinking "I made that", Whether it's the knowledge that you're a "provider" and other people respect and depend on you. Whether it's saving up to go and see that band you like.
We also earn a status from being in work, whether it's productive work or merely IT (which, truth be told hasn't really improved the quality of life much at all. It certainly hasn't done a simgle dam' thing to get the country, or the world, out of its current recession). Meet a stranger and one of the first questions they will ask you is "what do you do?" Hands up anyone who hasn't embellished their answer, even just a little bit.
So, work is necessary. Not just to get us the stuff and the mental state that we value. It also sets our standing in society. Even if work became unnecessary in orer to get us the pizza de choix, we would still wish to fill our time, just to give ourselves something to talk about at all those soirees that our excessive free time would require we attend just to fill the empty void before bed.
Plus work allows us to get away from our children (and them from us).
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