Sir Jonathan Porritt Bt really is a damn fool isn’t he?

His vision of life in 2050:

In his vision of 2050, upgrading to the latest smartphone handset is a thing of the past as the device is updated constantly and is designed to last for life.

‘What consumers would really love is what the physical product does. If you could make a smartphone for life and have just as much aspiration for software as a shiny new handset – why wouldn’t people be happy with that?’ he asked.

That’s fine as long as no one ever creates a faster chip, better screen, longer lasting battery or new and better method of doing broadband. Does the fool really think that technological innovation only comes in software?

The vision of 2050 is a world where ‘nearly everything is recycled, repaired or reused’ as laws have been passed and components standardised to cut waste.

Apparently, yes. For standardised components means that there can be no innovation in components. Imagine if we’d been stuck with the computer motherboard of the 1980s. 8 bit still, so no 16, 32 or 64 bit computers possible. Chip pins at one tenth of an inch and a limited number of them. Bus speeds limited…..the man’s a fucking half-wit to think that you can set hardware designs in stone.

In the vision of the UK in 2050 humans are doing less work – and not just because of robots.

In the fictional future, the EU’s ‘Maximum Working Time Directive’ is introduced and in 2045 people work for just under 25 hours a week in their regular job, compared to an average of 36.4 hours in 2010.

Alex writes that the change came about as unemployment continued to rise in the 1920s and there were protests to distribute jobs more fairly, resulting in GDP being scrapped in 2029 as a way of measuring a country’s wealth.

The ‘index of sustainable economic well being’ and a new model of working came in, which saw people swap labour for services via a local ‘time bank’ and earn extras outside their regular work.

And of course the man’s entirely ignorant of economics. He’s decided that we should all do less laour by doing more labour for any given lifestyle.

For he’s saying that we must do less work in the market, where we have a deep and wide division and specialisation of labour, and do more labour in direct swaps, where we have less division and specialisation of labour.

This means that for any given level of goods and services to be enjoyed we must in fact do more labour. For that direct swapping is less efficient than that deep and wide marketplace. This is moronic stuff: we’ve known this since Adam Smith published and surely 238 years is enough to get the point across?

In Porritt’s vision for the future, all young people do compulsory national service on environmental and community schemes and ‘overtime is banned.’

And the fucker’s a fascist to boot.

‘We can make material economies super efficient so that we can have the same standard of living with less cost on the environment.

Err, yes Johnny. This means that we must be efficient in our own use of our own labour. More in the marketplace and less in that less efficient time bank stuff.

Twat.

76 comments on “Sir Jonathan Porritt Bt really is a damn fool isn’t he?

  1. Sometimes it’s hard not to sympathise with the French revolution. The gene pool of our aristocracy needs a good hard culling.

  2. Perhaps. It depends on what happens with self-assembling and bio-aping technologies.

    If a chip is capable of ‘healing’ damage (as some are today, in labs), then it is conceivable that inside of 35 years, chips in the wild will be healable and programmatically reconfigurable. Like the vaunted ‘neural plasticity’ when abused by Arts grads.

    In which case ‘upgrades’ either evolve on their own according to most efficient use or are repatterned by a software patch/app/whatever funky 2050 slang we have for That Sort Of Thing.

  3. Surely, if he gets his way, there aren’t going to be enough of us around to sustain his grand schemes? He is the six-fold decimation of the entire species man, yes? Oh, sorry, “Optimum Population Trust”.

    Compared to that desire for genocide, a bit of twatfoolery about innovation and a lot of ignorance about economics is blissfully harmless.

  4. Something tells me a future history book set in the 1920′s isn’t going to be a big seller in 2050.
    Or are we up agin’ Fail journalism again?

  5. We won’t need state intervention because people will just keep smartphones for longer as the technology is pretty much done, and will buy a new one because it got lost, stolen, broken or the board died. And by 2045, the smartphone will be developing at the same rate as the bicycle.

    PC sales are down, and that’s simply because anyone with a Core 2 or i3 processor isn’t upgrading, and phones are getting to that point. What am I going to do with a faster processor? The bottleneck is the network.

  6. Surely by 2050 anything we currently look at on a screen will just be zapped directly to our optic nerve and so screen manufacturers will go the way of steam train manufacturers sometime in the early 2040s.

  7. To be fair, he isn’t half hearted in his enthusiasm for every stupid, insane, and evil ecofascist meme. Brave Sir Johnny embraces them all and has prepared a fragrant pot pourri of crazy that includes:

    * Irrational hatred of nuclear power
    * Vegetarianism
    * Unworkable urban farming schemes
    * Economic policies inspired by the baddies from Atlas Shrugged
    * Cars being banned, but for some reason people are flying around in jet packs (!)

  8. “Alex writes that the change came about as unemployment continued to rise in the 1920s and there were protests to distribute jobs more fairly, resulting in GDP being scrapped in 2029 as a way of measuring a country’s wealth.”

    Why would protests about jobs lead to scrapping GDP? Getting away from GDP is like a joker card to these people. Any problem can be solved by it. Recession? Scrap GDP. Climate change? Scrap GDP. Poverty? Scrap GDP. Simon Cowell? Scrap GDP!

    Money is a means for people with incompatible skills to trade their time with each other indirectly.

    This time bank – who will run it and will the payments in kind need to be taxed? What a nightmarish vision of the future. Prodnoses in every town planning out our spare time for us and dutifully recording the exchanges for tax purposes?

  9. I can imagine Ritchie having a nocturnal emission as he dreams about this Utopia.

    Actually apologies, as this is likely to induce vomiting by some of you.

  10. As a rule of thumb, and in my experience, any story of this type which includes the phrase ‘commuter jet-packs’ can be ignored from the point at which that phrase occurs.

  11. If some predictors are right and future communications tech is implanted into the body, then one would hope it does indeed last for life, as upgrading would involve minor surgery!

  12. @Interested
    “any story of this type which includes the phrase ‘commuter jet-packs’ can be ignored”

    For the reason that anyone who considered the amount of energy required to provide 1G of thrust equivalent for the user, the pack & the fuel load for any length of time would realise you’d need a level of technological advance would make the rest of your predictions irrelevant. You’d need to be talking in terms of something like pocket sized fusion. There’s certainly no chemical reactions have that energy.
    density.
    Capabilities in that order would imply almost anything else he’s mentioning would be radically different. Last things you’d be worrying about would be recycling, repairing & reusing. You’d likely have matter transformation.
    ‘Nother F####g arts grad.!!

  13. The one thing about the Internet is that in 36 years someone will be able to drag up these predictions and mock him (if he’s still around) and his ilk mercilessly, hopefully before then.

    Shame we can’t a go back 36 years as easily so that we can mock those who made equally self serving and ridiculous predictions. Using my failing memory ISTR that around 1978 we were all scared of the next ice age, Japan as the world economic super power and peak oil by the end of that century, for starters.

    There was also the usual bunch of Malthusians telling us were all going to starve to death. For some reason they seem to be a constant in the arena of wildly incorrect predictions, yet still get air time on the BBC and Guardian.

  14. My predictions for 2050-

    1) Fusion power will be “just 30 years away, if we build a bigger test reactor”.

    2) A cure for baldness “may be on the shelves in 5 years”.

    3) The global warming tipping point will be “just ten years in the future”.

    4) A financial crash due to the entirely unexpected and unpredictable collapse of a property bubble. “Lessons must be learned”, say persons of importance.

  15. Yes, UK Lib. That really looks like a jet-pack to me. Is that the carrying handle on the top?

  16. Would this be a good time to admit to my secret dream of bringing a monowheel motorbike to market, or would that just cause BIS to shoot me down in flames of “practicality” and “science” and unromantic shit like that?

  17. This is a good one:
    Moller has been claiming to be attempting to build a flying car since 1974, constantly promising delivery dates that are just “around the corner” … In the words of the SEC complaint, “As of late 2002, MI’s approximately 40 years’ of development has resulted in a prototype Skycar capable of hovering about fifteen feet above the ground.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moller_M200G_Volantor

  18. Ian
    Your mono-wheel motorbike is on the design list.
    Think about it. It breaks no physical laws. it’s simply some fast computing to keep the center of gravity in line with the wheel hub. How a monocycle’s ridden anyway. ̶K̶i̶d̶’̶s̶ Clown’s stuff.

  19. BIS has it right as to why this is a nonsense prediction, and thus revelatory of the mind behind it (from which we can extrapolate as to the likelihood of his other predictions coming true).

    To be fair, I’ve not read the piece and it may well be that Sir Porridge sees them as a bad thing, but if not why on earth would he be in favour of such selfish, individualistic, green-destroying devices anyway?

    Except for him and his chums to commute between the London pad and the country pad (or to fly around the world lecturing the rest of us about the evils of flying)?

  20. I saw a quite functional single-wheel motorcycle on TV the other day.

    The only thing that should be standardized is railroad gauges.

  21. Ian B,

    5) The Guardian will report that 1/3rd of the country are still in poverty, and that in some households, people are so poor that they have only had one flight into space a year, and it’s all capitalism’s fault.

  22. BIS

    There’s always the slight problem that if the custom designed flat electric motor and gearbox seize, the rider gets slammed face first into the road at whatever speed the bike is going at, and if the control system fails she gets the same treatment backwards. Segways don’t go as fast as motorbikes, so I suppose the occasional bloody nose or fractured skull is within acceptable safety limits.

    Other than that, I love the idea. Diesel engine under the rear seat (or, for the environmentally conscious, a large trailer full of batteries :) ), whole thing tips vertical for mounting/dismounting, parking.

    Can somebody bung me a shitload of venture capital?

  23. Gamecock-

    Sigh. That’s what happens these days when one fails to check one’s pipedream on Google :(.

  24. @IanB ‘There’s always the slight problem that if the custom designed flat electric motor and gearbox seize, the rider gets slammed face first into the road at whatever speed the bike is going at’

    Thirtyish years ago I had a Vespa PX125, illegally bored out to 180 and fitted with a big carb and custom exhaust etc.

    I failed to ponder the question of how strong a standard Vespa circlip was.

    One night, touching 80mph on the A5, I had the circlip come off the gudgeon pin and go up into the barrel on the up stroke. Luckily for me, the road was dry, and the clutch functioned as intended.

    On a monobike… ouch.

  25. Gareth – “Why would protests about jobs lead to scrapping GDP? Getting away from GDP is like a joker card to these people. Any problem can be solved by it. Recession? Scrap GDP. Climate change? Scrap GDP. Poverty? Scrap GDP. Simon Cowell? Scrap GDP!”

    They would ban it so us proles wouldn’t know the economic cost of their stupid ideas.

    Getting away from GDP is a trump card for these fools. But remember, one country has done so. Bhutan has moved away from measuring its Gross Domestic Product and now measures its Gross Domestic Happiness.

    Right after they expelled a third of their population who happened to be of the wrong race.

    Which probably hit the economy somewhat. But no doubt ethnic cleansing made everyone so much more happy.

  26. Ian B,
    The monowheel motorcycle already exists. It’s perhaps more like a monowheel Segway though. Search online for the “Airwheel X3″.

  27. I’m very glad to notice you used the gender “she” for the gender of the putative monobiker. Being progressive, I’m thoroughly supportive of equality in these matters.

  28. Ian B – “Would this be a good time to admit to my secret dream of bringing a monowheel motorbike to market, or would that just cause BIS to shoot me down in flames of “practicality” and “science” and unromantic shit like that?”

    Can I ask why it is your dream? I don’t want to be all unromantic, but aren’t actual real motorbikes good enough?

    Is it necessary a case that two wheels good, so one must be better?

  29. SMFS-

    I’m a great fan of the Japanese thing of inventing things just because they’re cool and science-fictiony.

    BIS-

    My target demographic is young females who want something different and cool to zip around on. They’d probably be too underpowered compared to a two wheeler for most blokes who ride bikes.

  30. Aren’t there already working mono-wheels around, but of the sort where you sit inside the wheel rather than on top? Less chance of hitting your nose on the tarmac, although you might get rather dizzy if the stabilisation device fails.

  31. “My target demographic is young females who want something different and cool to zip around on. ”

    Ian, I’ve been trying this line on young females in bars for a while now. Possibly, they think I am a little underpowered for riding bikes. New Year resolution. Must exercise harder.

  32. Porritt’s vision of the ever-upgraded smartphone is certainly achievable, even before 2050 … by eliminating the handset entirely so there is nothing left to upgrade.

    Global cloud computing is in it’s infancy, but eventually the idea will be whatever device we use will just be a “window” into the power of a server system that is consistently kept up-to-date and ever improving, no updates to the “client” device will be necessary as will have probably reached the point where it’s interfaces far outstrip anything the human brain or senses can interpret, some kind of surgically implanted mic, phone and Google glass type screen on the retina perhaps.

    “And the fucker’s a fascist to boot.”

    Don’t be too hard on him dear boy, he’s one of the “courageous statists” who think this glorious utopia will come about through manipulation of the plebs by those who know better, unlike raw unfettered global consumerism which got us the internet and the smartphones in the first place, he’s just politely saying that the capitalists have had their day and he can take over from here now thank you.

  33. Ian B – Guardian headlines in 2050:

    Climate change “even worse than we thought”, sure to kill us all soon, any day now. You’ll see.

    Cosmic background racism detected in outer space. President-for-life Obama says if he had a gravitational singularity, it would look like NGC 4889.

    Gay robots demand the right to marry, Cyber-Christians warn it would undermine traditional gay human marriage.

    Chinese charities launch tear-jerking ad campaign asking for just 2 bityuan a month to sponsor a Western child.

  34. Guardian 2050
    “In a statement from the Berlaymont Palace, it was announced this morning that World President for Life, Richard Murphy (see attached supplement for awards) had passed away in his sleep late last night…”

  35. Apologies for the spate of grocers’ apostrophe there, I blame my spell/grammar checker.

  36. eventually the idea will be whatever device we use will just be a “window” into the power of a server system that is consistently kept up-to-date and ever improving, no updates to the “client” device will be necessary

    Nope. Okay, serious prediction. The next paradigm shift will be the death of the client server model, as sufficiently fast, always on connections will make data entirely distributed with no centralised moderators. This will utterly destroy the current “cloud” model and the “Google paradigm”.

    Also, monobikes.

  37. The bit that gets me with t’folk of today is they can open their gobs about anything and witter on like morons and the rest of us are supposed to believe them.

    When I read a book by Krauss on cosmology, I respect his knowledge.

    Porritt trained as a barrister, gave up on that and became an English teacher. Now, having presumably read a modern issue of Nu Syentist he’s an expert on ecology and the environment.

    Still, a friend of mine blames Wellesley House School, where sports were compulsory and, in a typical bid for notoriety, Porritt was champion at heading the shot.

  38. “the death of the client server model”

    Humans will always exist as the “client”, certainly the client interface might disappear but the human client wont.

    Unless you are proposing the ultimate in distributed computing where humans themselves become the source of computing power (and perhaps are kept in a virtual reality by the machines to provide them with the heat energy they need to function, if this hasn’t happened already).

  39. Runcie,

    The term “client/server” refers to particular computers as the clients and other computers as the servers.

  40. God knows why many young people support the Greens – as this despotic little aristo wanker clearly states, they want to enslave you for a considerable part of your life. Just think about that, if you are capable of doing so.

  41. Ian B,

    Nope. Okay, serious prediction. The next paradigm shift will be the death of the client server model, as sufficiently fast, always on connections will make data entirely distributed with no centralised moderators. This will utterly destroy the current “cloud” model and the “Google paradigm”.

    No central moderators? So, multiple, encrypted versions of data replicated on multiple sites, or what? And how do you keep them all synchronised?

  42. I predict that the most interesting and life-changing aspect of life in 2050 will be something that we cannot predict.

    Porritt, classic Malthusian, that he is, can only extrapolate. The future is unpredictable. Some dweeb is sitting in a room now inventing something that nobody has predicted and that will change the rules completely.

  43. Tim A-

    You only need one copy. You probably don’t need to even encrypt it, though you probably would. Bitslice it, send each slice to a different node, add some clever parity type stuff to cover the odd missing slice because somebody’s connection is down, and treat the whole internet as a “cloud” instead of somebody’s server farm.

    It depends how long we take before we’re in a position where every node is always on except for the occasional breakdown, and sufficiently fast.

    Email would probably be an ideal first application, due to the relatively low bandwidth.

    At which point, the applications on the home nodes are doing all the donkey work, and we can say goodbye to Google charging a price of privacy in return for free server space.

    The other big challenge is to come up with a decentralised navigational paradigm to replace the current search engine model. I lie awake nights puzzling over that one. The absence of a built-in efficient navigational system was one of the great oversights of the web, and inadvertently opened the door to the very bad problem of gatekeepers having too much influence.

  44. Ian B,

    And how do you manage things like modifications to a file? Where do you store the index of all the locations of all the bitslices? Slicing things up is certainly possible, but you still need to manage those things.

    As to your other problem, I don’t really find much of a problem with finding things with Google. The RDF/semantic web thing is maybe another solution, but it’s too easy to game.

  45. You don’t need a global index of the locations of all the bitslices, all you need is a local index of the bitslices you own. An index entry would (simplistically) boil down to slice x on IP address a.b.c.d.e.f. This provides a high level of security as, so long as somebody hasn’t got your local index, any cloud data is just a mass of meaningless bits that cannot be reconstituted into your data. Just to be sure, one might want to also, say, rotate bits every word, so that a slice is e.g. word 1, bit 1, word 2 bit 2 etc.

  46. “to cover the odd missing slice”

    What? You mean at least double or triple copies of everything to cover, amongst others, dropped my phone in the toilet, it fell out when running across the road and a bus ran over it, power went out for a couple of days and my computer went down (not in a good way!)

    Plus, always connected or not, who wants their precious battery life being drained by constant accesses from others, or to be responsible for others’ data?

    I’ll take a network of server farms thanks. Google is remarkably cheap and through their own self interest provides a very reliable service. Ooh, Adam Smith again!

  47. “the man’s a fucking half-wit to think that you can set hardware designs in stone”

    Worse than that – what happens when one of these standardised components gets changed (along with all the concomitant changes to other components). Do you send out an edict that everyone must upgrade?

    In certain industries, this does in fact happen. The last analogue TV signal in Australia was switched off a few weeks ago. But this was a process that took years. What he’s recommending is slowing down the pace of change to glacial levels.

    In the meantime, I’ll need to replace my 25 year old 34cm TV in the kitchen because it’s now useless. Fortunately, due to the throwaway culture (translated – don’t bother to make things last too long because the cost isn’t worth it and it will probably get broken, tossed out, or whatever before then) I’ll be able to replace it cheaply, less than a meal out for one, instead of shelling out serious coin for another “lifetime” product.

    You can buy Dualit toasters that are exactly what he describes – built to last, you can repair them indefinitely. They also cost a bomb.

  48. Ian B, you’re describing a system where everyone has a little bit of the information, possibly heavily duplicated, yet the main requirement of mass interconnectivity is no storage at a local/personal level.

    As an example of this concept consider git designed by Linus Torvalds after getting fed up with centralized source code systems, but in the real world we get Github which takes it right back to a centralized repository, because that’s what developers really wanted.

    The majority of people don’t want to be a contributor, being part of a shared distribution places restrictions on anonymity, personal data and storage, most want a simple consumer device, your model doesn’t apply not because it isn’t possible, but because it isn’t wanted.

    Distribution is fine for a core network of servers, that is what cloud computing is, but ultimately the end point consumer only needs a thin client, the thinner the better.

  49. Ian B,

    But that then means that you need that data stored locally, so I can’t be at another office and just open it up on a PC.

    The rest of it, you could pretty much implement now – grab yourself a java/c# manual and get coding!

  50. Ltw-

    That’s why I said it’s a technology for the future, not yet. But we are already not far from an always connected world. Most people were on dialup 10 years ago. Things are moving fast and we’re still at a primitive stage. And, devices don’t get destroyed that often. With suitable strategies you’d have a robust system.

  51. @Ltw
    I think he wants what my grandmother called “the little man round the corner” with a brown work coat & cloth cap. Heavens forbid no roll-up in the corner of his mouth though. Touch of the forelock & a ” I’ll soon have that going for you, young sir. Just needs a touch with me soldering iron here. Drop in in your way home sir & I’ll have it ready for you.” They both share a sort of Edwardian mentality. And probably be wanting to pay Edwardian prices.

  52. Ian. Sorry to be a threat of rain on your parade but if all this data’s traveling RF, aren’t you going to be running into bandwidth problems with all this? This is not just you running this system. It’s everyone running it. The way you’re describing it, you seem to be using several times as much bandwidth as we do now.

  53. You’re all missing the point. From the DM article.

    “Mr Porritt’s organisation, Forum for the Future, is working with Sony to explore whether the habit of ‘upgrading’ technology, which sees millions of devices thrown into landfill, could be consigned to history and whether a ‘handset for life’ is possible.”

    Its all a great marketing scam by a multinational corp who is more interested in making themselves look like a caring sharing green organisation than any real future gazing. They’ve managed to fool Porritt into making their campaign look legit from the greenie point of view.

  54. Runcie-

    I disagree. The thin client model is out of the ark; it’s the very thing the developers of the first PCs were rebelling against, and rebranding it as “the cloud” doesn’t change that. It puts the power back in the hands of the few with the mainframes. This is obviously popular with those who own the mainframes; Google are quite open, and always have been, about not being a services company but a manager of people and their lives. Indeed, Sergei Brin started off in data mining, and the search engine was just an application of that. Larry Ellison works himself into a frenzy every few years about killing the PC. And so on. So it’s more a question of what *they* want, not what consumers want.

    My sister has no idea whether her phone is a thin client or a fat client, all she knows is that it does stuff. A “true cloud” system as I’m tentatively describing has far more anonymity, data storage scale automatically as more users join up, and requires no active contribution from users. It simply works in the background. It’s just that instead of their email being stored on Google servers and being data mined and festooned with adverts, it’s entirely private. Nobody else sees it. Nobody else can see it. Other than to the data owner, all the bits are meaningless spoodge. If you delete an embarrassnig photo, it’s gone forever and nobody can put it back together again. It’s all win.

    Tim A-

    Yes, but one way around that is to have the file indices in the cloud as well. You then carry a small index to them, around on your mobile or whatever.

    There’s probably a better answer than that. The key element isn’t precise implementation, it’s getting the data out of data centres or, perhaps better put, turning the whole net into a data centre.

  55. BIS-

    Yes, you’d need more bandwidth, but that’s something we’re guaranteed to get ever more of. But that’s one reason for spreading the data out in chunks and slices. The overall bandwidth demand would be no more than is currently demanded from cloud services. Minus all the adverts.

    Also, one wheeled motorbikes.

  56. Ian
    How can you have more bandwidth? not in the “freeing up” meaning government charges a ruinous price for something it doesn’t own, but actual bandwidth. i’d imagine it’s limited by the possible frequency discrimination & there will be physical limits.

    “It’s just that instead of their email being stored on Google servers and being data mined and festooned with adverts, it’s entirely private.”

    Hear a lot of people with moans about g-mail & googlemail & h*tmail. Why do you use it? The only thing I use freemail*for is what I call trashmail. Unimportant conversations. I run several paid for e-mail accounts. Encrypted if needed. No ads. Secure servers. Loads of storage. if I get a problem, I ring the provider & swear at them. Costs me about £40 p/a. Just over 10p p/d It’s hardly ruining me.

    *All in non English speaking countries. Some don’t even use Latin alphabets. That’ll bugger the snoopers (I hope)

  57. BiS

    I hate to agree with Ian, but it’s just a terminology problem. No, there isn’t more bandwidth. But the way we use it can always increase. I’m still astounded by the various DSL technologies. Who would have thought that a couple of copper wires could carry that signal over those distances?

    My objection is more philosophical – anytime you see a distributed data retrieval model, you see people throttling what can be retrieved from their device. This is truly relying on “the kindness of strangers”. Hint – don’t.

  58. We can extrapolate wealth creation quite well, so by 2050 world GDP will be 4 times higher, there’ll be about 10 billion of us, and we’ll probably have colonized Mars. But socially my money’s on cyclicals. So with a bit of luck the government will be 20 hyper-networked volunteers and we’ll all be devout Methodist-Muslim laissez-faire churchgoers, dress Victorian style, cover up the legs of our piano-like entities, and be obliged by law to carry personal fusion laser cannons to keep the peace (provided we’re Methodist-Muslims, that is).

  59. Wish I had your confidence Mr Gibbon
    My money’s on horses being the big thing in 2050.
    And not just for eating.

  60. There is some merit there, at least in the smartphone side of things. My Samsung Galaxy S II is now nearly 3 years old. The hardware still works fine (because I’ve looked after it), and, being a former flagship device, is actually still quite performant for the apps I use even today. The only limiting factor is that Samsung probably won’t upgrade Android past 4.1.2 even though it’s perfectly capable of running newer versions that are required for new applications.

    My proposal would be for a voluntary ‘embedded software’ kitemark that allowed consumers to choose devices that had stable firmware implementations with a good plan for future support and upgrades. If they didn’t want to get 5+ years out of their smartphone/TV/whatever, they could get the kitemarkless alternative, presumably at a discount.

  61. Also, forward-looking design doesn’t need to be too much of a limitation. The Motorola 68000 had 16 bit internal and external buses, but its registers (and address space) were 32 bits wide. That made the eventual upgrade to the subsequent 32 bit bus versions rather easier than it was for Intel and Microsoft when they introduced the 80386.

    Of course, there’s a bit of Dualit ‘built-to-last but at a cost’ thinking there, I’ll grant you; 32 bit registers when 16 bit registers could well have been adequate.

  62. Also, forward-looking design doesn’t need to be too much of a limitation.

    For trivial examples of forward thinking. For example, working out how we will use quantum computing in future communications devices is going to take some time after we have working-outside-the-lab quantum computing devices. And then you’ll always have the left-field bright idea. Like the WWW. Would you want to be stuck with the hardware equivalent of Gopher?

  63. For trivial examples of forward thinking.

    Point taken. But it’s somewhat unusual that we even accommodate that.

  64. Alex B-

    The problem is, “forward looking” means producing something currently useless in the hope it’ll be useful in future. That makes the product now more expensive for no reason. To make matters worse, 68x machines were a dead end, so it would have been a complete waste.

  65. Rob – “God knows why many young people support the Greens – as this despotic little aristo wanker clearly states, they want to enslave you for a considerable part of your life. Just think about that, if you are capable of doing so.”

    Socialism is easy to understand – people want access to other people’s property and daughters. It is really just a dressed up form of a mugger’s ideology. Naturally young people have no money and a lack of any alternatives to other people’s daughters. So they will follow anyone who tells them it is right to take other people’s money and their daughters ought to be handing out free blow jobs.

    Now, socialism has more or less collapsed. But the Green movement is saying much the same thing. In the end, if there were well paid jobs with no work and free blow jobs in clubbing baby pandas, the young men of Britain would be supporting that too.

  66. bloke in spain – “Guardian 2050: “In a statement from the Berlaymont Palace, it was announced this morning that World President for Life, Richard Murphy (see attached supplement for awards) had passed away in his sleep late last night…””

    You think he has got that much longer in him?

    Myself, I think the *best*case*scenario* is that the Guardian in 2050 will say this:

    “تمام انسان آزاد اور حقوق و عزت کے اعتبار سے برابر پیدا ہوۓ ہیں۔ انہیں ضمیر اور عقل ودیعت ہوئی ہے۔ اسلیۓ انہیں ایک دوسرے کے ساتھ بھائی چارے کا سلوک کرنا چاہیۓ۔”

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