And often out of sight, and out of mind . So using sustainable in a different sense; sustainable growth, the idea that the weightless economy provides sustainable growth guaranteed has been somewhat challenged by recent events. The history of humankind has been a long history of environmental degradation, and the point I m making is that even though new technologies are clearly far more benign than the old technologies with regard to the environment, there is too a price to be paid. There s one idea in particular, which is the smart grid. And a particularly interesting idea is the fact that we could use computer technology on an interactive way, in the way in which the internet is interactive with us to fine tune our electricity demand, right down to very very small tolerances so that for example, when your tumble dryer is pumping away on a boiling hot day, there may be a sensor in there that will actually lower the temperature of the tumble dryer, because it doesn t need it quite so much. At the moment we just pump the stuff out down wires and people use it, and nearly always people use too much.com/watch?v=q4dG6_1EF9U
I do agree also with Hamish that new technologies actually can be used to make the impact of man on the planet less severe. Or indeed, home working one other way in which you substitute an electronic transfer for a physical one. Clearly there s no doubt that the old fume belching, smokestack industries that have dotted Britain since the industrial revolution 200 years ago were enormously polluting in their output.
The idea of the weightless knowledge based post industrial economy is great in many respects, but it uses an awful lot of electricity. We think of man being in harmony with the environment, when he was a hunter gatherer, but in fact that s not the case; man modified the environment enormously and has done ever since he broke out of being an ape and learned to use fire, and learned to use throwing weapons. I like the idea of using servers to heat Iceland; maybe we could use them to journal pad heat Aberdeen or other places in Britain that are cold, and also of course figuring out what to do with computer waste, which we touched on, Mike