You what?

In that case we’re down to doing things better or making new things. And, right now I see remarkably little sign that there’s a lot of innovation in the world. I’ve said it before, I know, but even a hint that the technological breakthrough that changes the way we work, play and share our world might exist seems remarkably absent from any news I see or hear. Bluntly, business seems incredibly bereft of ideas right now.

We’re in the middle of an absolutely vast industrial revolution. For fuck’s sake, hasn’t he even noted the smartphone? That fastest adopted technology ever in the history of our species?

Jeebus.

56 thoughts on “You what?”

  1. And the lack of innovation that is there is due to the oppressive hand of the government. It’s no coincidence that the innovative modern sectors, like the mobile phone industry, are also the industries that suffer the least from government interference.

  2. his definition of innovashun is along the lines of “a new idea that will reintroduce crappy dangerous manual labour making Real Things in a unionised environment”

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    The West, especially Europe, is surprisingly backward when it comes to smart phone technology.

    Just sayin’

  4. Bloke in North Dorset,

    The sssion on innovation at the Festival of aides that I attended in Bristol made the point that it took a long time for electricity to have a big impact on the way we worked and bring about the huge benefits in growth in GDP that eventually accrued and that we’re still figuring out how to use all the new technologies that are appearing so fast.

    In another session the point was also made that we aren’t capturing the benefits in new technologies in the GDP stats.

    We’ve also got so much more leisure time now so why shouldn’t new technologies be aimed at improving how we use that time? Just because there’s improvent in games consoles, for instance, it doesn’t mean it’s not a good thing as it has improved someone’s utility. Not everything has to be about improving work productivity.

  5. Would this be the same Rithe whose Green New Deal involves “investing in innovative green technologues”?

    This fucking arsehole can’t remember today whether yesterday he liked crisps or he liked chocolate.

  6. Driverless cars, the internet of things, 3D printing, smartphone development, space technologies, drones….Nope, no innovation there.

  7. Another example which might seem trivial but is not: e-cigarettes. A technology which replaces tobacco and will prevent literally millions of early deaths in years to come, and the usual suspects, people who think like Murphy, are desperate to squash it.

  8. “…hasn’t he even noted the smartphone? That fastest adopted technology ever in the history of our species?”

    And still I haven’t got one. “Smart” is amazing tech of largely frivolous benefit, built by organisations of cunts who use it to exploit our every move.

  9. One obvious impact of smart phones (or an iPad mini in my case) – I haven’t bought a physical book for about four years.

    This isn’t epoch-breaking of course.

  10. One of my daughter’s friends is type 1 diabetic and she was telling me that she no longer has to do her fingerprick tests. There’s a thing you can now attach and then scan with a device over wireless, and it’s constantly recording the levels. So, less pain, better readings. Just attach a new one every 2 weeks.

    I’m working in a company that’s developing smart parking. Need to find a space? Click a button on your phone and it’ll find one and tell your satnav to direct you.

    My neighbour’s daughter is developing technology to allow biopsies to be done non-invasively.

    And Elon Musk has just invented solar roof times and even better home power storage.

  11. I forget who it was who theorised that the Great Reform Act only really showed its effects when there was a mass of voters who had grown up with its consequences. I’ve seen the same argued about the Ephialtic reforms in Athens.

    Over the next decade or so, senior management positions are going to start more and more to be filled by people who were children when the Internet came along and in their late teens / early twenties when they first got smart phones. I suspect that things are already starting to accelerate without people really noticing.

    (Obviously this viewpoint is overly flattering to the younger generation and dismissive of the older. Just a generalisation, really)

  12. Rob,

    Things my smartphone and iPad do for me:-

    1. training courses – watch videos on the train
    2. learning German – use my time on the train to do this
    3. travel. Travelled from Swindon to Bern with nothing more than my smartphone – contained national express coach, BA flight, ticket from Geneva to Bern and hotel reservation. Oh, and TripAdvisor when I was there to find a restaurant and Google Maps to get around the city. In the UK, bus and train times anywhere.
    4. internet for my PC anywhere via the hotspot
    5. Tons of music via various apps
    6. Parking. About 3 or 4 apps that mean no pissing around with change. Park at the station, go to the platform and pay while I’m waiting for the train to arrive
    7. A go anywhere password keeper
    8. Satnav
    9. Keep all my discount cards like Costa/Subway rather than carrying bits of plastic.
    10. keeping all my tickets for events (e.g. Eventbrite)
    11. Netflix. My smart TV doesn’t support it, but I can stream from smartphone via Chromecast to my TV
    12. Shazam. “What’s that song called?”. Click…

    For travel, they’re amazing.

  13. Charlie Suet,

    It’s already happening. Blokes in their mid 40s are very savvy now.

    One big thing is work patterns. Presenteeism is dying out real fast. No-one is tracking my hours now. What did I deliver, is what matters…

  14. Charlie Suet,

    Sure. Same idea, universal suffrage (in the UK) was 1928. Voting at 18 was 1969. My parents generation have voted in about 12 general elections. Mine, about half that. Curiously, 1945-1979 election results tended to flip between Labour & Conservative. Post 79, not so much.

    Interestingly, mass-market digital electronics start late 70s. Mass internet adoption begins about 20 years later. iPhone launch was 2007; Facebook general availability was 2006, as was EC2.

    We’re about 10 years into the technology. Just 2 elections.

  15. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Murphy is illiterate (in the old fashioned sense) and innumerate. What the fuck would he know about innovation?

  16. “We’re about 10 years into the technology. Just 2 elections.”

    Already, Google, Facebook, Twitter (+ others?) have been seen using their dominance to influence access to political information (unsurprisingly in favour of the left). This will increase (see “fake news” campaign). As I said, cunts. Cunts who can see everything you do.

    “I haven’t bought a physical book for about four years.”

    More accurately, you haven’t bought a book at all for about four years. You’ve purchased temporary electronic access to the text. Close your account? Gone. They decide you shouldn’t be able to read that text anymore? Gone.

  17. There is no shortage of innovation. Unfortunately a lot of it is being created for, or perverted by, the evil for their own ends.

    Take Theo’s list:

    Driverless cars: Will be used to turn private transport into public. The scum will want your to rent both road and vehicle and will know and control where/when you will be allowed to go.

    The Internet of Things: A fridge that informs on you to local fucking government. No thanks.

    Drones: Snooping and of course death from above delivered by cunts sitting at their desks. Videogame tyranny.

  18. PJF,

    “Already, Google, Facebook, Twitter (+ others?) have been seen using their dominance to influence access to political information (unsurprisingly in favour of the left). This will increase (see “fake news” campaign). As I said, cunts. Cunts who can see everything you do.”

    i’m not sure about Google, but how well is that working out, considering Brexit and Trump? Or maybe, they are having no influence to information as people can just change their URL to samizdata in 20 keystrokes?

    “More accurately, you haven’t bought a book at all for about four years. You’ve purchased temporary electronic access to the text. Close your account? Gone. They decide you shouldn’t be able to read that text anymore? Gone.”

    So? How many times do you read a book twice? And for the massive savings, for the odd one, does it matter that you buy it again?

    On the flip side, Kindle has opened publishing to everyone. The Martian happened because of Kindle. It was the sort of book that the sort of people running the old publishing companies wouldn’t touch.

  19. PJF – I closed my mobipocket account about 6 years ago. The books I purchased? They are on my phone, my ipad, my desktop and my backup storage.
    The books were what we call ‘downloaded’ that means they reside in my electronic files on the computer. I don’t have to try logging in to read them, I simply read them.
    I have probably in excess of 20,000 books just on one device. Many of them never available in print format, some available but £100 plus in print format, under a fiver electronic.

    Been reading electronic books on devices while travelling, waiting for someone, while sitting around etc for about 13 years. Still have the same books I can read today as when I first transferred them to that device. And I still read them.

  20. Stigler, what kind of book would you want to buy that only stands one reading? Jack Reacher crap? I find that Plato is still interesting after 30 odd reads

  21. PJF;
    I’m with The Stigler on this one. For all their apparent omnipotence in controlling what the plebs can access, and driving the poor stupid fools into the arms of the Left111!!11, it’s not actually working that well is it?

    Orlowski has a good piece on it – http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/11/18/fake_news_facebook_moral_panic_overblown/ – and the key bit is this;

    Wait a sec… what happened to the news?
    “Fake news” is now an issue because economically and in terms of social status, the full-time media has collapsed – and it’s collapsing harder (and had further to fall) in the United States than anywhere else.

    And you can include the online only sites, like Slate and Huffington in full-time media. They thought they would have the social status of a Woodward and Bernstein, that they would win the next Pulitzer, save the Constitution, be heroes. And do it cheaper with all the sexy tech.

    What they found was an echo chamber.

    All these arguments about the media, fake news, identity politics, what have you, deny agency to people. They, both sides, all sides, think they’re sheep, drones, bland averages on a marketing dashboard.

    Truly, there’s no such thing as society.

    There’s only people.

  22. Aaand I’ve fucked up the quote. Third para is from Andrew Orlowski’s piece. What follows is my wibbling.

  23. For cyclists, e-bikes, disc brakes and inflatable helmets. Even those saddles where the two springs at the back turn in opposite directions are fairly new.

  24. What the gentry media call fake news is just stuff that does not emanate from them. They lie and distort and conceal more than Infowars, WND and RedFlagNews put together. Much better to feed the plebs with their bespoke, hand-tooled stories lest they succumb to wrongthought.

  25. Diogenes, indeed.
    You make a lovely dinner and then never make it again. You don’t buy a nice snack and then never eat one of those again.
    You don’t buy a nice wine then never buy that type again.
    Someone who loves a book will read it again and again.
    Have read some of my favourite books dozens of times, some less favourite may be only a handful of times.
    A book that I read once and am not interested in reading again I sell, give away or delete as appropriate.
    Looking at the bookshelf in front of me there is nothing there I haven’t read at least 3 times, one I’ve read in excess of 30 times.
    The book I have on my mobile phone at the front of the kindle list I have read 8 times in 3 years. And will probably read it again in the spring once I’ve finished it this time.

  26. Ducky McDuckface:

    More and more, news will be a byproduct of people living, not a job. It was only a job when publishing was so expensive.

    Take Jo Kynaston Reeves who regularly comments here. Not a journalist, someone who works at RBS who happened to have a run-in with Russell Brand and blogged about it. When the Independent, Telegraph, Standard, Daily Mail and Huff Po wrote about it, what value were they adding? Getting it to a bigger audience? Well, maybe, but that was already happening because of the Twitter grapevine. These papers are often only printing things when it’s already been all over Twitter and Facebook.

    The Trump situation (along with things like The Martian) is about the death of these gatekeepers or at least, far, far more choice of “gatekeepers”. In a previous election, the media would have treated Trump as a joke candidate. He would have got the same as or less coverage than say, Jeb Bush. Their narrative would have been Jeb or Rubio. You wouldn’t have heard much about Trump. This time, candidates can connect direct, individuals can share opinions they like. The net is exposing people to opinions that the old gatekeepers don’t like.

    And frankly, anyone who complains about the rules of the game is played after the event can just fuck off. No-one was whining about Facebook or the electoral college before or during the election. Didn’t like that system, maybe you should have been complaining when Hilary’s husband was in charge.

  27. Artificial intelligence; cloud computing; big data, internet of things; self-driving vehicles; robotics;…

    Companies are running faster than ever just to keep up, fears rise that the majority of jobs are going to be automated away, whilst oracle Dick confidently opines that next year’s buggy whip will look remarkably similar to today’s.

  28. This all sounds like current fun for the young.
    But still who will do the breeding and pay for it. Where will they live.
    What and who will they be allowed to say or mix with.
    Who will care for you when you are eighty?
    Smart phones are pretty distractions. The rest is promises.Try living on these.

  29. “We’re in the middle of an absolutely vast industrial revolution.”

    Actually, we’re at the end of the industrial era. The post-industrial era will replace the centralized industrial world with a decentralized world of telepresense and local manufacturing (3D printers and the like). Those techs are going to radically “change the way we work, play and share our world” over the next few decades.

  30. And yet things are remarkably the same. Cars are pretty much the same as they were 70 years ago, just more powerful and reliable. Ditto planes, trains maybe have only stayed the same for 50 years. We still go to the cinema, listen to the radio, watch TV, go to work every day, drink beer in pubs, play sports and grow veg in allotments. Yes we are massively more interconnected than we ever were, but most of human life today would be recognisable to someone from 1950. Whereas if you go back 60-70 years from 1950 you’ve got electricity, powered flight, internal combustion engines, atomic energy, talking films, TV, radio, telephones, all would seem like magic to your mid Victorian era inhabitant.

    Where are the hover boots, jet packs, flying cars, personal nuclear power plants, moon bases and space exploration etc etc that we were promised in the post war era?

  31. @So Much For Subtlety
    “The West, especially Europe, is surprisingly backward when it comes to smart phone technology.”

    Apart from the fact that they design most of them….

  32. Bloke in Costa Rica

    How is a phone in Western Europe any different from a phone elsewhere?

    It’s not so much the huge, paradigm-busting things that are important. It’s the small accretion of capabilities that over the long run enable us to do things that would previously have been either impossible or ridiculously cumbersome. A small example: I was round at a friend’s the other day. I wanted to send him a document, but it wasn’t on my phone. So I opened an SSH terminal session on my Mac through my house firewall, copied the relevant file into my Dropbox, waited five seconds for it to sync and then sent it as a WhatsApp attachment. A few years ago I would have had to wait to get home to email it to him, and even fairly recently I wouldn’t have been able to do every stage of this procedure with my iPhone. The phone itself is remarkable, but it’s the ecosystem that surrounds it that’s the true innovation.

  33. Smart phones are much more useful to those Asian countries which use ideographs, because a swipe based system allows them to write quickly and easily.

    Because the West uses an alphabet we haven’t seen the need to go over as fast. But that’s because we already have a strong advantage and don’t need to, not because we are somehow backward.

    We still go to the cinema, listen to the radio, watch TV, go to work every day, drink beer in pubs, play sports and grow veg in allotments.

    Well you might. I don’t think many modern kids listen to wireless radio at all, and not even really internet radio. That’s one paradigm that is firmly on the way out, along with printed newspapers.

    I also do substantial amounts of my work from home, as physically going in is not always necessary, or even useful.

  34. What I wanted was a spacious modern home with all mod cons, a stable job to pay for it, and reliable, comfortable public transport to get me there. What I got was Candy Crush in my pocket, an expensive device for making cheap plastic geegaws, badly, and electric model helicopters. Truely the future is here.

    Kindle, however, is a godsend.

  35. – “Where are the hover boots, jet packs, flying cars, personal nuclear power plants, moon bases and space exploration etc etc that we were promised in the post war era?”

    And have you noticed how our sex-bots are forever just around the corner?

    Do you think that’s what Ritchie had in mind?

  36. “Where are the hover boots, jet packs, flying cars, personal nuclear power plants, moon bases and space exploration etc etc that we were promised in the post war era?”

    Because the scum of the state don’t want you to have the extra degrees of freedom from themselves such devices would bring.

    Hell, they are boosting the driverless car shit so as to get cars back out of our hands and under their control.

  37. Hasn’t America got the flying car yet? Sure I saw a prototype on the news just a couple of years back, with wings that fold up for driving outside the airport and fold back down to do the takeoff and flying bit.

  38. Where are the hover boots, jet packs, flying cars, personal nuclear power plants, moon bases and space exploration etc etc that we were promised in the post war era?

    You can only begin to make sense of things by starting from what you already know. All visions of the future tend to be projections of the present only more so.

  39. “You can only begin to make sense of things by starting from what you already know. All visions of the future tend to be projections of the present only more so.”

    Hence my point – someone looking to 1950 from 1870 would have struggled to predict what had happened, because it was so different from the start point. Whereas someone looking from 1950 to today would be a bit underwhelmed by the changes. Some very whizzy communications stuff and electronics, and thats about it. We still fly around in (and are building) 747s for example – they first flew 50 years ago. Concorde has come and gone in that time.

  40. This from the comments on Ritchie’s place nicely summarises most of his blog:

    Pilgrim Slight Return says:
    November 20 2016 at 11:55 am
    Speaking for the public sector work force I belong to, if they gave us a proper wage rise for once that would be more useful to the real economy than lining the already heavy pockets of big business.

    The reasons for not giving that rise are purely ideological.

  41. Mr Ecks
    “There is no shortage of innovation. Unfortunately a lot of it is being created for, or perverted by, the evil for their own ends.

    Driverless cars: Will be used to turn private transport into public. The scum will want your to rent both road and vehicle and will know and control where/when you will be allowed to go.

    The Internet of Things: A fridge that informs on you to local fucking government. No thanks.

    Drones: Snooping and of course death from above delivered by cunts sitting at their desks. Videogame tyranny”

    P U R G E

    I’m surprised there’s no come back on this post. Is Mr Ecks being sarcastic? I particularly enjoyed the informant fridge :

    “sir, I’ve heard it told that the oven is planning insurrectionist actions pending the detail that tonight’s decision for food warming has already been decided by exclusive negotiations with that bastard microwave.

    How should we proceed?”

    “Thank you, fridge. Guards! Slap an injunction on that property and order them to be nucivorous.”

    “Warmist scum”.

  42. “Is Mr Ecks being sarcastic? I particularly enjoyed the informant fridge”

    Therein lies either your lack of imagination or your lack of evil intent, or both.

    While its unlikely that fridges could be used by the State in its war on terror (although not altogether implausible if they were fitted with voice command technology and thus able to record conversations) it is entirely within the State’s capability to (for example) wish to monitor a person’s food intake and then determine whether they qualify for NHS treatment:

    ‘I’m sorry Mr Don’t Hug Me, but you can’t continue to have free treatment for your diabetes on the NHS, your food consumption records show that you have exceeded you permitted carbohydrate intake for the last 6 months, in contradiction of your NHS Food Plan, which you signed up to at your last consultation. Please close the door behind you.’

  43. Are we saying, the Jim and Mr Ecks, that this technological revolution is merely a state arranged trompe l’oeil that enables it to weed out libertarian defectors and fatties?

    Are refridgerators the new socialist vanguard?

  44. “that this technological revolution is merely a state arranged trompe l’oeil that enables it to weed out libertarian defectors and fatties?”

    No of course not. But there’s no new technology invented that the State won’t use to control people if they can. If they can spy on you via your fridge, they will, have no doubt about it. Why would you think otherwise? They control and monitor everything else electronic, and spy on the public using all technological means at their disposal.

    You’re just at Standard Leftist Argument Stage 1: Don’t stupid, no-one going to spy on you via your fridge. Look at these dumb rubes, they think the State wants to see what yoghurt they eat, what loons!

    Stage 2: Well of could there will be very strict rules on how the State can use this new method to gather information, and who can use it. No-one need have any fears, it will only be used to target terrorists, extremists and violent criminals, so 99.9% people have nothing to fear whatsoever.

    Stage 3: Well of course it would be very helpful to local police, the council, the NHS and various other State bodies if they could have access to the information gathered, and the right for them to ask for certain individuals to be monitored, in the interests of efficient use of taxpayers money and maintaining public order of course, Strict rules etc etc…..

    Stage 4: Not everyone has monitoring equipment in their house which is making it difficult for the State to acquire the information it needs. We must legislate to ensure ALL households have this installed….

    Stage 5: Winston Smith, you are hereby charged with wilfully tampering with the surveillance equipment that has been installed in your dwelling, in contravention of the Public Order (Electronic Surveillance) Act 2025. How do you plead?

  45. – Jim

    I missed this, and it’s down the pecking order so my response probably won’t get seen.

    “If they can spy on you via your fridge, they will, have no doubt about it”

    errrm [insert private company of your choice]. Poor argument.

    okay, can I counter these comical points that must have taken you a fair while to codify (I suspect a copy/paste of something you’re proud of – nowt wrong with that), please, even though I may not be a ‘leftist’?

    “They control and monitor everything”

    Ah, the Illuminati ‘they’.

    1-5 Aren’t you talking about networking full-stop? What has left or right got to do with private company data-mining? As the tech evolves I doubt even the Chinese state will be able to do fuck all, unless it involves collective punishment.

    I’m sure ‘alt-right’ would agree: major tech corps reduce individuals into ‘trending units’. It’s the way it is. Unless you’re unplugged and do everything with cash with people you don’t see more than once, your actions are being logged somewhere. Somewhere being; private hands.

    You’ve demonstrated that you think the ‘internet of things’ is some sort of state control.

    I will give my refrigerator an offer it can’t refuse. Bastard cold commie.

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