Nothing can destroy my productivity the way Twitter can. There are a lot of potential distractions, especially the multitude available over the internet, but Twitter’s nature makes it far more distracting than web browsing, email or even other social networks. Continue reading
Rick’s latest post on the creativity crisis raises the possibility that the current slowdown in technological advance is merely a period of adjustment rather than a permanent slowdown. I have three reasons for remaining pessimistic.
- The slowdown is historically unprecedented, not just part of a cycle.
- The reasons for the slowdown are built into our economy and politics, so it cannot easily be reversed.
- Even if this is just a temporary phenomenon, the results could still be catastrophic.
The greater fool effect is well established as a key mechanism that allows bubbles to inflate to ludicrous valuations: investors who know prices are too high keep buying. Prices can stay too high in a similar way outside a bubble: not necessarily massively over-valued or in the context of a broader market bubble. Continue reading
I have thought about this before, but a question my nine year old daughter asked me crystallised the idea. The (already existing) regulatory process can be tweaked to provide an alternative to patents that would make the market more competitive, reduce over-head costs of research, and reduce litigation costs and uncertainties. Continue reading
The old, and much debated, question of why a benevolent and omnipotent God would allow suffering has many answers, but there is a more intuitive grasp of one answer to be found in works of fiction (at least one by an atheist). Continue reading
I am entirely unable to understand Boston Consulting Group’s much publicised claim that the “internet economy” contributes 8.3% of UK GDP. They do not define what they mean and I cannot reconcile it with the numbers. Most of the discussion in their document is of online retail so that is clearly important, but lets start with a key question. Continue reading
This is a list of various possibilities that could be true, and which would be very frightening if they are. They are varied in scale an effect, but are all unpleasant. I have left out nuclear war and natural disasters (such as super volcanoes) as we know they are possible. I am interested in things that have a reasonable likelihood of being try, but are not known. Continue reading
Investors, and others who try to predict the future, are often fond of thinking in terms of megatrends. Changes in demographics, climate, technology and culture are often discussed. One that I believe to be the most significant of all is rarely mentioned, and I have never seen the implications discussed. It is also hard to accept, because it appears to be disproved by experience. Continue reading