[ExI] Serious topic

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Wed Mar 2 10:23:35 UTC 2011

On Tue, Mar 01, 2011 at 08:55:25PM -0500, Mike Dougherty wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 2:54 AM, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:
> > On Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 09:10:27PM -0500, Mike Dougherty wrote:
> >
> >> Can we persuade governments to incentivise knowledge workers to stay
> >> home and telecommute?  Once I can do my job without the daily to/from
> >
> > Here's an infrastructure problem, again. In order to make
> > telepresence happen you need to roll out symmetric high-bandwidth
> > connections, which basically means laying ducts and pulling
> > fiber (owned by municipalities, operated by contracting companies),
> > plus provide enough backbone capacity.
> I don't require realtime video conferencing to write code.  I could be

Not everybody writes code. Sometimes you need voice, or
video, or a WebEx, while uploading in the background, and other
people in your household are doing other things.

Your limit is upstream. For obvious reasons domestic
broadband is upstream-castrated (mine is 6/100 MBit/s, how
retarded is that?). Infrastructure must be community-owned. 
Earthworks are expensive, fiber is not, and fiber operation 
is even cheaper. Make muni lay fiber. Outsource operation
if you must, but own infrastructure.

> working from a home office right now.  I am not doing so because my
> employer still believes that cube dwellers are easier to manage than
> their mobile/wfh equivalents.  Sure we can abuse the privilege, but

There are nonverbal cues which are easily lost, and unless you're
only occasionally out of the office you'll miss important 
communications. Working from home is career-damaging or career-ending.

The challenge is to create an augmented reality where physical
presence doesn't matter. This is a hard, unsolved problem.

> how many people burn their time at work on facebook/youtube/et al
> where they're supposedly better managed?
> Samantha is correct: we could form a cabal of knowledge workers who

The point of telepresence is that it is not limited to knowledge workers.
I need to be able to control equipment from afar, or be able to
rent a telepresence robot anywhere in the world on a whim.

> have secured enough intellectual property to demand work from
> home/home office.  But there would likely never be enough of us to
> noticeably reduce energy consumption (or wear on physical

Not having to commute saves you time and money. Our infrastructure
is crumbling because we no longer have the cash to sustain it.
Fiber bundles are much cheaper than superhighways, or highways,
and take negligible power to light.

> infrastructure)   If there was some compelling evidence to make those
> enlightened businesses that spkie mentioned stand out as winners in
> productivity, cost savings, or government fiat (they're all forms of

We're so irrational that rational doesn't produce fitness advantages.

> money) then maybe some behavior will change.
> My mom sent me the included video recently. [1]  She has a cell phone
> only for an emergency and checks email maybe twice a week.  Still, she
> forwarded the link with the optimistic line, "We might be living like
> this in 10-15 years."   That video could have been made in 1980 for
> how "future predictive" it is  ( oh wow, TV screens in every surface -
> imagine Corning would think of that )  However we still don't live

Don't remind me how wearable has completely tanked, and is now
sneaking back by way of smartphone, "only" 20-25 years too late.

> that way.  Of course we could do this right now, the microsoft
> smarthome is a working example.  Will it be affordable for everyone to
> live like the Jetsons?  No, we'll be spending increasing percentages
> of our income on food/fuel & heat.

We already do. And the real income has been shrinking for a decade
or two.
> [1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Cf7IL_eZ38

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820 http://www.ativel.com http://postbiota.org
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