This was not written by a patent examiner

Suppose we are at the point where the evolution of technology may need to stop for three reasons. First, we don’t use most of the technology we have anyway. Second, the technology can’t sustainably work anymore. And third, as a result we’re not going to risk using it.

I stress the ‘suppose’: I gather the iPhone 7 is selling so some people still want tech, but I will guarantee that most users (like me, as owner of a relatively cheap smart phone) use only a fraction of what their phone is supposedly capable of doing.

What happens when we all realise we can happily downgrade, as I did a while ago, without any loss to convenience, at all?

Of course you could say that’s just a syndrome of a mature market (when getting off a tube yesterday I noticed all 12 people who did so we’re carrying a phone in their hand at the time). But what if it’s not just a mature market but technology itself that has matured, and we have realised that? That we will say no to driverless cars? And no to all that automation that will render so many of us redundant? That the human will strike back because although we might get grumpy and we might make mistakes we’re still a lot more comprehensible and a bit less combustible than technology?

I think that possible.

What then?

Reminds of the US patent examiner who resigned because everything had already been invented. In the 19th century.

Also entirely ignorant of the development of technology. Things start out as impossible, then luxuries for the very rich and some decades later they’re good enough and cheap enough for the masses at which point we get a bit of polishing but not much more. and all the effort goes into the next impossible thing the rich would like to do.

As Schumpeter pointed out it happened with stockings which started out as Queenly adornments and became something factory girls could have. It happened with cars, it has/is happening with mobile phones (quite possible the widest adopted technology in the history of humanity and certainly the fastest) and at some point in the future it will happen with driverless cars, cancer treatments and that bloody flying car we were promised.

32 thoughts on “This was not written by a patent examiner”

  1. when getting off a tube yesterday I noticed all 12 people who did so we’re (Ugh!) carrying a phone in their hand at the time.

    At a guess they were heading for his lecture and needed a satnav app to find their way there.

  2. Another of Richie’s “I don’t want it, therefore nobody will” arguments.

    Driverless cars will be one of the biggest advancements in the history of humanity when they happen. Nobody sensible is going to say no to liberating billions of man-hours from the utterly pointless task of piloting a car, when a computer can do it more safely, cheaply and efficiently.

  3. BTW…”I gather the iPhone 7 is selling so some people still want tech” the condescension drips, he’s just a fucking snob at heart.

  4. “Nobody sensible is going to say no to liberating billions of man-hours from the utterly pointless task of piloting a car,”

    So Iyou don’t enjoy driving then..!?

  5. I’m sorry but some way must be found for this individual to be tried and then publicly hanged.

    Technology must stop. Did the fucking imbecile really just say that?

    When is he buying his abacus then?

    Although driverless cars are a fucking scam. They are being pushed by the Turds That Be as a means of control and a cash rip-off..

    They want you to rent both the roads and the driverless shit-wagons that will run on them. Then where/when you go is both under state control and rationed by price. And lots of cash for the scummy state of course.

    I would have thought a Marxian rip like that would be up Murpho’s pipe in a big way.

  6. “Suppose they are a symptom of the fact that we may have reached the limited to complexity?”

    yeah. Like the report that suggested that computers were so expensive only rich governments could afford or need them.

    The man is a fucking moron. I mean. Really. The sort of bloke you listen to for a couple of minutes in a pub and then back away from out of politeness.

    @Magnusw. Driverless cars? Maybe, but there’s no FUN in that.

  7. An excellent idea to mention patent examiner when speaking about Professor Murphy.

    You will start him thinking about Einstein and physics and how for the good of the human race he should divert his prodigious mind from the largely useless field of finance. We could then hope for him to proceed to proof of a global unified theory of everything on the back of a serviette over a ploughman’s lunch and then to develop a working model of an economically and practically viable nuclear fission power plant.

  8. Driverless cars will be one of the biggest advancements in the history of humanity when they happen.

    Personally I think near-flawless virtuality and/or teleportation will be more likely than driverless cars. Certainly not in our lifetimes.

  9. It happened with cars, it has/is happening with mobile phones

    It’s definitely already happened with mobile phones. Everybody – and I mean everybody – in Nigeria appeared to have a mobile phone, right down to the teenage street urchins.

  10. Tim N – in church the other day, the vicar regaled us with a story of a terribly poor village where they had only one solar panel, which everyone in the village had to use to charge their mobile phones. Third world problems.

  11. First, we don’t use most of the technology we have anyway. Second, the technology can’t sustainably work anymore. And third, as a result we’re not going to risk using it.

    The first is wrong. We do use most of the technology we have already.
    The second is wibble. How is an iPhone 7 (his example) less ‘sustainable’ than an iPhone 6?
    The third isn’t a reason, its his conclusion, based on the previous two, one of which is just false, the other just an assertion without fact.

    Remember, this man considers himself to be ‘liberal’.

  12. I must admit I do not use a mobile phone to its fullest extent. I use it merely for what I want to use it for.
    Someone else with the exact same phone will perhaps use it in a different way. The phone caters to both of us and both like the phone. And willing to pay money for the features and services we do want it for.

    That’s the thing with him though isn’t it? It someone else’s choice that is different to his choice. And he cannot stand that.
    So therefore the choices others make must be wrong.

    If I ever restart my psychology courses I can think of several people who’s public persona could be an intriguing dissertation.

  13. Finally Ritchie gets it, at least it’s keeping him busy on Google (he might see the value they offer now)…

    “Many, some offering superficially sensible comment, are doing so using blatantly silly pseudonyms or hide them behind the names of Nazis, North Koreans, or variations on these themes.”

    Ritchie, your blog is full of posters whose names are anagrams, who make acrostic posts and take the piss out of you in various ways. Please takes lots of time checking these out, even some of the regulars might surprise you!

    For those that want to play along, get a copy of the Tor Browser, find an email address already in use on Google, hotmail or whatever, and post away to your heart’s content.

  14. Finally Ritchie gets it

    I wonder who squealed? Because he certainly didn’t figure it out on his own.

  15. BiW

    I was under the impression Richard was one of Tim’s keenest followers – and for that very reason! It just takes him a while to digest what he’s reading…

    Noel,

    Yes, anagrams don’t tend to get pointed out quite so explicitly on here, hence generally waft under the radar!

  16. PF,

    Anagrams are a more quiet personal pleasure. I did enjoy a little smile every time I posted as Chris Cenuittia.

    Someone must have worked it out and told him as Chris’s posts now go straight to delete. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when someone emailed him to say “do you realise that this poster’s name is an anagram of ‘Ritchie is a cunt'”?

  17. The driverless car will get us back to the days when a good horse could carry a semi-conscious drunk home safely. Without the shit on the streets.

  18. Noel,

    That particular one took about 2 seconds to work out (you weren’t exactly being subtle!), God knows how Richard couldn’t instantly see it!

    No names, but I’ve seen a few that one (intuitively) knows are suspect, yet sometimes take an age to crack.

  19. He’s really got a snit on, hasn’t he. Apparently today’s troll names come mostly from Cuba. I wonder if he’s googling them.

  20. Bloke n North Dorset

    I remember when Windows Mobile failed and he declared in his usual pompous style that it was the end of IT, as if the whole world revolved around Windows.

    What next from his great arse, washing machines only need one setting because he only uses one (as do a large part of the population, apparently), only one model of car, television etc.

    He really would have us living in a dirigiste age in no time.

  21. What next from his great arse, washing machines only need one setting because he only uses one (as do a large part of the population, apparently), only one model of car, television etc.

    It’s worse than that: he’s basically saying that because most car owners only use one, two, or three seats in their car they shouldn’t make them with four seats. He’s a fucking cretin.

  22. Tim Newman: It’s worse than that: he’s basically saying that because most car owners only use one, two, or three seats in their car they shouldn’t make them with four seats.

    That seems rather short sighted of him – what about those self-referential family tours of holocaust death camps?

  23. Martin said:
    “It someone else’s choice that is different to his choice. And he cannot stand that.”

    Does anyone remember Eoin Clarke’s post where he complained both that there was too much choice of different coffees in the caff, and that they didn’t serve the type he wanted?

    What happened to Dr Eoin anyway? Did he give up in the face of ridicule, or was he sued into oblivion?

  24. Noel

    The beauty is that he will be unable to keep up this level of diligence for long having the attention span of a mayfly. As for th post itself, it’s further evidence of his b in almost the anti polymath of the modern age. Is there no topic about which he is willing to parade his ignorance?

  25. Matthew L

    Surely not on the inbound journey – but bonus marks in profusion to you for gallows humour.

  26. The beauty is that he will be unable to keep up this level of diligence for long having the attention span of a mayfly.

    Congratulations on whoever got the blatantly silly pseudonym through on that post! (Not saying which one it is, for obvious reasons.)

  27. This type of cretinism isn’t unusual amongst the Guardianists. I recall Jonathon Porritt opining that computers/phones/tablets need never be replaced as any and all conceivable improvements could be provided via software upgrades.

    Still, they’re our intellectual and moral betters, obviously.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *