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Old 04-16-2014, 04:43 AM
 
Location: Nescopeck, Penna.
11,357 posts, read 6,783,711 times
Reputation: 14407

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Let me say at the outset that I don't have a personal grudge against either technological progress on general, nor any specific development, such as nuclear power, But when I read some of the "predictions" here, usually by Millenials just approaching their twenties, I have to wonder what's behind the unbridled optimism.

"Popularized" technology has been a mainstay of some segments of the media for years. But in the late Fiftes and early Sixties when I was growing up, I believe this optimism was tempered, to some degree, by the fact that more young men lived in "traditional" or "nuclear" families, and a little time spent with Dad and his tools brought the expectations regarding what was, and was not possible, down to earth. For several reasons -- more female-headed families, less exposure to mechanical training in the schools (when I was in Junior High, in an industrial community in Pennsylvania, one "Shop" course was mandatory), and a continued growth in the detachment between the educational and industrial cultures, this no longer seems to be the case. Even the continued overselling of fantasy by Hollywood and Madison Avenue probably has an effect.

My personal carer choices were in freight transportation, and I got a front-line exposure to both the rail and trucking industries during those years. Because of that, I have to wonder how so much enthusiasm and unrealistic hopes have been generated for the prospect of a "self-driving car". I don't doubt that the concept is "workable" -- but only under extremely well-defined conditions on a closed course. Adapting that technology to a huge variety of highways, some dating from over 200 years ago, and subject to all manner of outside factors, is another matter entirely.

Furthermore, It's only logical that any new technological development with serious commercial prospects would be closely watched by those most likely to be affected. The PANAMAX project (widening and deepening of the Panama Canal) certainly qualifies, and gets plenty of notice in the trade press. But neither Transport Topics nor Commercial Car Journal (the two principal trucking industry trade publications) seem to see anything developing soon regarding self-directed vehicles -- it's worth noting than not even the possibility of dedicated self-driven" lanes on interstate highways (a prediction at the GM pavilion in the 1964-65 World's Fair) is anywhere close to fruition-- though the potential for savings and future growth in a process so basic and relevant to many industrial endeavors would be tremendous.

I'm not raising this issue to throw cold water on anyone's hopes and dreams -- only to underscore the point that real progress is not subject to institutional or bureaucratic fiat. We can't specify what we want -- only adapt our lifestyles to what nature gives up to scientific inquiry and exploitation. And the lead times are invariably much longer than what the entertainment industry leads us to believe.
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Old 04-16-2014, 09:19 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,838 posts, read 51,286,023 times
Reputation: 27642
There is too much money to be made by eliminating truck drivers on long haul. That WILL happen. Eventually the technology will dribble down.
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Old 04-16-2014, 09:50 AM
 
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
14,933 posts, read 16,520,894 times
Reputation: 28705
There is too much money to be made by eliminating humans entirely. Well those that actually create and labor.
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:47 PM
Zot
 
Location: 3rd rock from a nearby star
468 posts, read 559,183 times
Reputation: 745
Technology has made our lives better, but comes with costs. Many view our future as a grander present. Whatever the future will be, my best guess, is nobody will accurately predict it, if they do it'll be random luck.

I am amazed at how the science of marketing has advanced, people have turned Apple into an object of worship. Same for Linux, or pick your technology. Inherently people seem to divide into arbitrary factions, and seek almost a religious relief from corporations and the devices they make.

I'm convinced most companies want to have people buy whatever they make on a never ending treadmill of "newness". To the extent we fall for it, we can blame ourselves. To the extent companies are using social science to manipulate us, we can blame ourselves for not being adequately self educated about this capability.
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Old 04-16-2014, 03:11 PM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
12,099 posts, read 20,344,698 times
Reputation: 4125
I focus a lot on technology simply because it amazes me how much changes we will see in the next 15 years. Do I think technology will solve all our problems? No but I do think life is better today then it was 15 years ago and I think life will be better in 15 years then it is today.
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Old 04-18-2014, 11:40 AM
 
31,385 posts, read 31,046,755 times
Reputation: 14878
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josseppie View Post
No but I do think life is better today then it was 15 years ago and I think life will be better in 15 years then it is today.
I think that this is emblematic of the disconnect between techies and the real world. Yes, we have cooler gadgets, we have a few more labor saving devices, we've had great improvements in healthcare (if you have access to it) but to claim that the overall quality of life is better while not discussing income inequality, declining living standards, environmental degradation, the ramifications of climate change or the unabated global conflicts none of which will be abated much less resolved over the next two decades seems to me to be... well mind boggling.

On Edit:

"There has to be more to life than the next iPhone."

Last edited by ovcatto; 04-18-2014 at 01:09 PM..
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Old 04-18-2014, 04:25 PM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
12,099 posts, read 20,344,698 times
Reputation: 4125
Quote:
Originally Posted by ovcatto View Post
I think that this is emblematic of the disconnect between techies and the real world. Yes, we have cooler gadgets, we have a few more labor saving devices, we've had great improvements in healthcare (if you have access to it) but to claim that the overall quality of life is better while not discussing income inequality, declining living standards, environmental degradation, the ramifications of climate change or the unabated global conflicts none of which will be abated much less resolved over the next two decades seems to me to be... well mind boggling.

On Edit:

"There has to be more to life than the next iPhone."
Technology is solving all those issues you posted about, even climate change. In fact the UN came out with a report that says we must be mostly off fossil fuels by 2030. Good news is that by 2030 solar will be 50% cheaper then fossil fuels and most people will be on solar. The trend is pointing to that more every year. My personal goal is to be on solar by 2020, 10 years before the date the UN says we must be on it.
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:17 PM
 
31,385 posts, read 31,046,755 times
Reputation: 14878
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josseppie View Post
Technology is solving all those issues you posted about, even climate change. In fact the UN came out with a report that says we must be mostly off fossil fuels by 2030.
Yes, the UN and everyone in their right mind says that we "must' be off of fossil fuels by 2030, but saying that don't make is so.

Quote:
Good news is that by 2030 solar will be 50% cheaper then fossil fuels and most people will be on solar.
You really think that non-OECD countries whose energy consumption is going to be based upon solar energy in the next 15 years?




Quote:
My personal goal is to be on solar by 2020, 10 years before the date the UN says we must be on it.
Well that's great and I admire you for setting such goals. I also think that it may be time to retire Pollyanna for something more 21st century.
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:52 PM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
12,099 posts, read 20,344,698 times
Reputation: 4125
Solar is a form of information technology thus advancing exponentially. By 2030 solar will be the better and cheaper way to produce energy so people will be switching over. Oh ya and its better for the environment.

This graph helps illustrates what is going on:

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Old 04-19-2014, 01:06 AM
 
31,385 posts, read 31,046,755 times
Reputation: 14878
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josseppie View Post
Solar is a form of information technology thus advancing exponentially. By 2030 solar will be the better and cheaper way to produce energy so people will be switching over. Oh ya and its better for the environment.

This graph helps illustrates what is going on:
Wow 136,000 mw! That's more than enough to power St. Kitts and Nevins! Unfortunately, the world consumes 19,320,360,620 megawatt hours per year.

Anywa...

Now I know that many tech orient people are divorced from real interaction with real live people so perhaps it isn't amazing that you steadfastly refuse to address the most fundamental issue, technology doesn't fundamentally change human behavior, only humans can do that. You can have all the solar panels in the world but the U.S. in 30 years will still be using an electrical grid built to deliver 120v of electricity to the average American home. We have the technology to put even the most meager broadband internet access in every home in the country, but we don't. We have the technology to track airplanes during every minute of their flight, but we can't find a 110,100 lbs, plane with a 212 ft wingspan. We got technology out of the whazoo that could solve all of man's greatest problems...except one, man himself and no amount of TED broadcasts is going to change that basic fact.
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