Today my TI EZ430 Chronos Watch arrived, and I spent a little bit of time hacking it on my MacBook Air. It turns out that even though the documentation seems to require either a Windows machine or a Linux box, you can communicate with the watch from the Mac by modifying the serial port information in the TCL source. I learnt this from a Google Groups post, and I’ve copied the modified TCL source onto my Github account.
I just finished reading the Kindle book Race Against The Machine, a book I thoroughly recommend. This was the driver of the NPR article I blogged about recently.
The book is mostly oriented towards the US, although the issues they discuss seem to be prevalent across all major economies. The authors make the case that technological improvements are severely impacting every job market except those for highly-skilled individuals.
Over at EconBrowser, James talks about Geography and Income. He talks about the question of how much economic activity is dependent on geographic location. When you look at a map of GDP density – GDP per square kilometre – it’s fairly obvious that the bulk of economic activity in densely populated areas which are near coastal regions.
Are the American people obsolete? Salon argues that because of globalisation and technology there is now a increased separation between capital and labour. The activities that generate wealth have both been outsourced to cheaper shores, and become more efficient because of technology. As a consequence the social contract in Western society between rich and poor – the rich provide the capital while the poor provide the labour – is breaking down. The rich still have capital, but they can now move the production of goods to the East, creating a shortage of jobs in the West.
I read Paul Graham’s essay on the acceleration of addictiveness this morning, and it really struck a chord. I feel as though it is almost impossible to become bored these days, there is so much to do. Is this because the world is getting more addictive, or just because I have gotten older and have much more control over my life so I tend to do only those things I want to do?
The fact that a question like "Can my character upload his living consciousness into a distributed network-swarm of microscopic robots?" results in actual debate is enough to convince me that I'll like this game regardless of what the answer itself turns out to be.
The first post describes what might happen if the US collapses in the same way economically as the USSR did in the 1990’s. It then goes on to making recommendations about what to focus on – essentially food, transportation, shelter and security. I thought it was fascinating because although I have been thinking for a number of years that the economic situation was going to get bad, I didn’t envision quite a collapse of that order of magnitude. As the crisis continues however, the possibility suddenly seems to become credible.
I found the comments interesting in the Boing Boing post. It seems as though quite a number of people were actually starting to find themselves in situations reminiscent of those described in the first post – primarily from posters in the US. Scary.
While reading this article in The Economist, the section on rising inequality leapt out at me. The newspaper suggested that technology may be to blame. This is certainly a situation that I’ve been expecting for a while.
In contrast to the Singularity proposed by Vernor Vinge, I believe that as people become more educated, have better tools, and live longer, it will be harder and harder for young, less well educated, and poorer people to compete. This will stratify society.
The Redshift theory basically categorizes computing needs as either growing faster or slower than Moore’s Law. Traditional business is over-served by Moore’s Law, whereas applications such as financial market simulations, drug industry research, computer animation, and the high-growth end of the internet industry (Facebook, You-Tube, Flickr), are needing computing resources faster than Moore’s Law. These industries are apparently the ones going to generate above-GDP levels of return to an investor.
This theory was advanced by Greg Papadopoulos of Sun Microsystems. One of Sun’s solutions for servicing the computing needs of “Redshifting” companies is Project Blackbox – providing as much computing power as possible inside a shipping container.