DTNS 3099 – When electricity picked up steam

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One thought on “DTNS 3099 – When electricity picked up steam

  1. Hey Tom

    I may have emailed you this but wanted to bring it up since it is relevant with the discussion topic here. With steam to electric, the major productivity boost was streamlining resource, particularly movement of those resources. Steam needed production to be near it so materials were moved in when it could use the steam machine and out when it didn’t. Electricity didn’t lose efficiency by distance and so assembly lines were born, made possible by that decentralization of power.

    I can’t help but feel that the internet does the same thing but to communication and information instead of power. What electricity did for power, the internet is doing and will do for communication and information. I don’t think we have seen the “Assembly Line” moment yet though. It is just starting.

    In the same way that just putting the electricity in the same configuration didn’t make the efficiency, it was modifying the configuration, I think the internet will do the same for communication. We currently use it to communicate just like we would before, just on a screen instead of on paper. But the boom will come when we figure out how avoid that and I think instead of transporting the good (eg people in our service oriented economy) to a central location, imagine the implications when we redesign our communication structure.

    I think that the analogous thing for the internet of the assembly line is telecommuting. I think that is the key and we are still trying to figure it out. When telecommuting becomes a thing instead of a outlier or exception, people don’t need to live in big hubs just for work and commute far distances to get anywhere. Where people live wouldn’t be dictated by their job. This has implications for population demographics for big cities and small towns. People that live in the big city but want to live in the country and can’t because of work can change that. Rush hour wouldn’t really be a thing, except perhaps for people going out for entertainment at night or something like that.

    And what does that mean for autonomous cars? I think a huge part of that demand is due to work commutes, people wanting to be able to do other things for the 1-2 hours they are in the car a day. Safety is another but when there are significantly fewer cars and no rush hour traffic, that will also decrease.

    Another thing may be local offices, where you go to work but you don’t work with anyone in the office. They just happen to be people locally not wanting to commute and work out of the home. They work for other companies and you just share offices you rent out. I know they have those but I think those will become bigger.

    There was a study by Stanford (http://stanford.io/2suyW1g)
    published in June that showed 13% improved performance a 50% drop in resignations with the company being studied having about $2,000 more profit per person working from home. Article goes into why but it is a thing already, it is just still young. We are waiting for our Ford.

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