I know this goes against the ethos of high-tech, but humans don't have an imperative to be as productive as possible. They don't have to make the most use of their time. They don't have to get as efficient as they could. These are metrics that work fine for our machines, our code. But humans are not machines. Sure, we shepherd the machines, and sure sometimes we are in rivalrous dynamics that increasing efficiency has a payoff, but it is never the goal in itself.
The real "currency" we have, if we are using the term in the sense of denoting essentialness, is our humanness, our mortality, our psyches, our connection with other people and seemingly mundane but meaningful parts of our lives. I mean, look how many of us started baking their breads and enjoying it. It is not a wise use of the "currency of time", but it is part of life very well spent, as our internal reward mechanisms have been telling us.
In James P. Carse's Finite and Infinite Games there one chapter on how the use of machines works both ways. It doesn't only shape the machine but it makes the person more 'machine-like'. In an attempt to operate a machine the person has itself to act mechanical and to comply with the interface of the machine rather than the other way around.
It's I think very evident in the way we communicate today or how everything becomes 'gamified' or even how dating works. Success today has to be defined in formal or quantifiable terms not because anyone actually consciously chose to do it, but because it's the only way you can put it in a computer, which actually was supposed to exist to empower people. It's pretty sad honestly.
I remember an article a while back where archaeologists examined the bones of pre-Columbian women in America. The bones showed the signs of long term debilitating, repetitive work from kneeling and grinding, by hand, corn into flour.
Just last night I watched an American Experience episode on the guy who revolutionized wheat farming. He spent his youth on a farm, harvesting corn by hand, estimating that he'd harvested 1 million ears per season by himself. He was amazed at how wonderful it was to get a machine that mechanized corn harvesting.
I'd much rather mow my lawn with a mower than a pair of scissors.
In the 1960s, my dad was writing a book. My mom would type up the drafts for him. Every new draft meant my mom would spend hours banging it out on the typewriter. Think how much easier that is today with our "dehumanizing" computers. Can you imagine today typing the whole thing over again because you made a misteak?
Machines have largely free'd us from dehumanizing labor, not caused it.
I think you didn't go far enough with the implications of Carse's statement. It's not just that a machine mows your lawn quicker, it's that you have a homogenous lawn in the first place because it is a thing that can mechanically mowed.
For example, why instead of a lawn do more people not have a wild garden, with uneven terrain? Why did everyone feel compelled to put a green square, empty plot of land in front of their houses? is there anything interesting or alive in it, or does it exist because it can be mechanically operated? Given that mowing the lawn is something 'you want to get over with', is it not more accurate to say the lawnmower needs you shoving it around in a system that efficiently maximises lawn-mower production?
To understand the implication of what Carse is saying is to understand that machines don't just enter your environment, they shape your entire perception in a way that makes it conducive to be further operated by machines.
Is living in estranged suburbs with lawns really positive for human flourishing, or is it in a sense the logic of the car and the lawnmower operating on people rather than the other way around?
Is all the corn really part of a diverse diet and ecosystem, or have we adopted the diet because it is the thing that can be mass-produced?
My lawn is mostly wild, I just mow it once a month or so to keep it from being an impenetrable tangle of blackberry pushes about 8 feet high. Cutting those bushes by hand is an exhausting process. I finally got a weed whacker and replaced the string on it with a blade, which knocks them down to a size where the mower can finish them off.
Much as I dislike gardening, I dislike being buried in blackberry bushes even more. I also keep the brush down around the house because it's a fire hazard, and it gives cover for mice to get in the house, and provides avenues for insects to get in the house.
Grass also does a good job of keeping the erosion of the hill I'm on down - blackberries don't. Keeping the grass from going to seed reduces my problems with being allergic to grass pollen.
So yes, there are reasons other than impressing the neighbors.
If I ever do sell the joint, however, I'll have to have it properly landscaped, as I'm sure that'll increase the value of the property far more than it would cost.
> We went to agriculture because otherwise we'd starve. (...) If you think their lives were better because of no machines, I frankly cannot understand that.
It's not like that. We were forced to start doing agriculture by competitive pressure; the people who did could conquer the people who didn't. Agriculture essentially gave us everything we consider achievements and civilization, so I'm glad that it happened, but there is a point made by some historians that the transition from hunter-gathering to agriculture marked a significant quality-of-life decrease for individuals, and we've only rebounded from that in the last few centuries.
> Mechanized agriculture has virtually eliminated starvation.
+/- supply chains. As we're about to see with COVID-19, just because we can sow and reap efficiently, doesn't mean people won't starve.
Anyway, GP's point here isn't that cutting bushes by hand is somehow better - but that the reason most people worry about those bushes, or have a lawn in the first place, is technology. The point may not apply to houses on the countryside, which have to fight off the wilderness for practical reasons. But there's a curious co-dependency between lawnmowers and suburbs. The reason you need a lawnmower is to maintain your lawn. The reason you need to maintain your lawn as a flat sheet of grass is because your HOA wants to make the area look nice (to some standard of aesthetics). The reason they want that is because they can. The reason they can demand that is because cheap and available lawnmowers exist.
If I'm to believe Wikipedia, lawnmowers were created to help maintain sports grounds and large gardens. It seems reasonable to call the homogenized looks of modern suburbs to be in big part a side effect of that invention.
 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawn_mower#History
Starvation greatly limited the number of humans.
Me, I like consistent, varied, cheap food. I like living in a heated dwelling in winter. I like cotton undies. I like being dry in the rain. I like having teeth that last. I like having corrective lenses. I like disco music. I like my office. I like playing with my hot rod. I like knowing that the doc can likely patch me up if I get injured. I don't want to deal with horses. I like glass windows.
All this complaining about modern technology "dehumanizing" people makes me laugh. It's like complaining about a door ding in your Ferrari.
 - As it must. Technology that doesn't modify its surrounding context is just too hard. Humans have built roads since forever, so that they didn't have to build off-road vehicles. Bureaucracy has to fit everything into its square holes, because otherwise it would be impossible.
Yes, it may well be that pausing development where we are would be more comfortable for those of us currently alive. But some people find meaning in the advancement of the human condition. That takes real effort, and causes a lot of people short term pain. But permanently making the world a better place for all future generations is a goal worth achieving, IMO.
Cultivating human potential necessitates the leisure that technology gives us. And when actualized, human potential gives not just the world but the cosmos greater beauty. This makes it self-evidently worthwhile.
That we vastly over estimate how happy success will make us, and how miserable illness and failure will make us. That 6 months after winning the lottery or becoming paraplegic people self-report being equally happy with their lives compared to before. That people become happier when stuck with a thing they can't change, than they do with a thing they feel they can change. That we don't know this about ourselves makes us make choices that make us less happy overall. And that these are surprising results is the reason the talk is worth watching.
Thanks, I take no offence and I understand your intention here. It is important to understand that suffering and happiness are not mutually exclusive, and for some people the intersection might be larger for where happiness intersects with suffering than for happiness or suffering by themselves.
Of course, as I've gotten rid of stuff I don't like and replaced it with stuff I do.
As a hunter-gatherer, though, I wouldn't have such options.
The idea that, if you were a hunter gatherer and didn't have options you would be less happy is the what the talk and the described research is calling false; instead we demonstrably adjust to become happy when faced with no options, which means people like what they have more than they predicted they would not just because they got to choose it, but even if they couldn't choose it.
farms are not shipping cheap crops to us at their expense. They are trading.
> reap the rewards of sweatshop labor in China
These "sweatshops" brought them out of poverty in rural areas - they would've been a subsistence farmer and had less wealth. It feels unfair for them to only be paid pennies for an object that retail for over 50-60 bucks, but that's still better than not having those pennies.
And eventually, as their wealth accrue and they invest it wisely, their productivity and standards of living grows, and they will no longer accept pennies. I don't see why that's so wrong, and the people complaining about this problem just conveniently ignores that almost all of their wealth of products and services comes from this process.
I misplaced a word - at the expense of more local options in need of food. Either way I'd hope that'd be assumed, but I fixed it to not leave it to chance.
> These "sweatshops" brought them out of poverty in rural areas - they would've been a subsistence farmer and had less wealth. It feels unfair for them to only be paid pennies for an object that retail for over 50-60 bucks, but that's still better than not having those pennies.
Make no mistake, they're still in poverty. Go ahead, trade with them. I doubt you would. Your life is almost guaranteed to be far better. It wasn't the sweatshops that brought them out of poverty. What brought workers out of poverty in the 1st world was unions and workers rights - not the jobs themselves.
> And eventually, as their wealth accrue and they invest it wisely, their productivity and standards of living grows, and they will no longer accept pennies. I don't see why that's so wrong, and the people complaining about this problem just conveniently ignores that almost all of their wealth of products and services comes from this process.
This assumes endless growth - an ideal, and assumes that everyone shares in that wealth equally. We know that is definitely not true. Eventually if everyone says "we shall all be paid as our 1st world counterparts", the cost of goods increases, less people buy, and the wealth vanishes, largely because it has been centralized.
This attitude also ignores the impending doom of climate change. People think everything is fine until it's not. It's foolish to think there will not be war, disease, famine in the 21st century. And technology will make it deadlier than ever.
Technology has also saved us from environmental disasters. Whaling was stopped when oil was found. The denuding of trees from the landscape stopped when coal was discovered. (It's still going on in the Amazon, sadly.)
> Technology can be dehumanizing, or very humanizing. It's up to us to curate it properly. Endless advancement in the name of technology will simply destroy the human race.
Whaling largely stopped because of regulation and social factors, not technology, just like cutting down trees - it can be sustainable if you simply do not cut down all the trees in an area, replant, etc. This is an example of curation of technology.
In general, and simplifying the dynamics a bit, I'd say this: what happens in a society is constrained to what makes economic sense. You can attempt change (e.g. get whaling banned), but you will not succeed when the economic pressures go strongly against you (e.g. there's no substitute for whale oil and demand is large, so regulations will not happen because of a combination of lobbying and international competition). Your society is always limited to what economics allow, and the way you reshape that economic landscape is through technology. You find substitute for whaling oil. Or a better fuel than wood. Or (upcoming invention) develop lab-grown meat that's competitive to regular one - I bet that vegans will think it was their activism that achieved a future without factory farming, but the way I see it, once we crack lab-grown meat, factory farming will be gone in a blink of an eye.
Another example I like: there were many attempts at reforming the Catholic church in the past, but the one that succeeded happened after the printing press was invented, which let reformatist ideas spread far and wide before the church could contain them.
Europe has lawn mowers too, but people still don't live in soulless unwalkable dystopian suburbs as Americans. It has to do with a lot more than automation. It's partially crimes, partially race relations, inequality, crime, a cultural desire for large living space deriving from manifest destiny and the dream of the wild west, extreme individualism, sparse population etc.
I watch the robins foraging for worms on mine. I can look out the window and see fat bumblebees lazily weave among the patches of clover in the late morning. In the afternoon, I get to see my child scrambling across it looking for dandelion flowers to make a bouquet.
If it were a wild garden, we'd have none of that, and I'd have much worse insect (ticks, mosquitoes) and deer problems.
I enjoy the sight of my small mini-field. The wilderness brings me disease and pestilence, which I'd prefer to keep at a distance from where my family rests their heads.
I'll take the mower, thank you.
> The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the number of tick-borne diseases is increasing at a record pace while the geographic range of ticks continues to expand. Lyme disease is the most commonly known tick-borne disease, but other diseases, such as ehrlichiosis and STARI, have been discovered and the list of tick-related illnesses continues to grow.
This is a bit like Fussell's observation that glass or mirrored surfaces signal wealth because they imply you don't clean your own house.
Solution: make the computer better. On another note, what do we as a society want?
A. Society wants to survive for as long as it can.
Many decisions don't make much sense. Shouldn't reproduction be considered a crime as optimal population stands at 2-4 billion. If climate change progresses, we would all be dead sooner than later. And more people means more need for energy and construction and everything that accelerates climate change. We defy natural selection as well which we shouldn't given we don't need many people to begin with. Unemployment and automation - you wouldn't have to face that if there were only productive people. Only like 1% of people produce content on the internet, 99% are consumers. If we have less baggage, we would be able to do much more research and don't worry about trivial problems as those are solved through automation. There will be no need for UBI as low skilled folks don't exist. If someone doesn't want to help society survive for longer, they aren't needed.
That's not how the current world works so I am guessing A is partially false.
B. Society wants to survive as long as it can while enjoying hedonism to the fullest.
Might be true. I can't quantify the balance.
C. Survival is a zero sum game and there are many smaller societies coexisting like a network. Competition results in opposite ends for everyone.
This would explain the irrational wars.
Kobe(RIP) on having time for friends:
“I have "like minds." You know, I've been fortunate to play in Los Angeles, where there are a lot of people like me. Actors. Musicians. Businessmen. Obsessives. People who feel like God put them on earth to do whatever it is that they do. Now, do we have time to build great relationships? Do we have time to build great friendships? No. Do we have time to socialize and to hangout aimlessly? No. Do we want to do that? No. We want to work. I enjoy working.”
He was the top or close to the top of a zero-sum system. There can only be a limited number of hyper-popular NBA players deified in our collective consciousness. Of course he is going to be biased on his work/life satisfaction. The relevant bit is, we are not Kobe. I am not Kobe. You are not Kobe. We never will be Kobe. Now, what is meaningful for us to do?
Imagine being a bright, capable mind, and a hard worker. You've decided to focus on a particular career which makes use of some of your skills, allows you a platform for recognition, and pays the bills. Say programming, or a dancer, or a top-tier professional athlete.
Imagine that you still spend your free time satiating your intellectual curiosity in other ways, learning about all the things you didn't have time to devote your life to.
Now imagine that you decide to share your own thoughts and opinions about say, cooking, or politics, or whatever, and you get shot down because a programmer's unique life skills isn't transferable to cooking or politics.
> whatever wisdom they gathered through their exceptionally unique life situation is not going to be transferable to the life of 99.999..% of the world
You can say this about literally any profession when you include the scope of the entire world and the people in it. And this is why we share our knowledge and wisdom with others, because we each only have a few pieces of the puzzle. Kobe shared his point of view so that others might gain some insight into the mind of a hard-working athlete, not so that someone might dismiss his thoughts based on his career (even though you try to claim it's not about his career, you start with the phrase "A popular basketball player", so it's fairly transparent what your meaning is).
Also, it is not the uniqueness of his skills that makes his wisdom questionably applicable on this matter. It is the totality of his life circumstances being radically different. Having enormous financial, social and athletic capital makes his situation very very divergent from practically everyone else’s. And it is not his wisdom about romantic relationships, how to be a father etc we’re questioning, it is about working at the expense of a balanced life, from a person who has a very special kind of work.
So you admit, you're making an appeal to (lack of) authority. And it is based on his profession, or you wouldn't have brought up his profession while attempting to discredit his thoughts.
If you feel like you can identify with Kobe Bryant to the point of finding his work/life advice useful, go ahead. I don't. I find it misleading. I find it harmful. He is far from being the top thinker on this matter. He is not Bertrand Russel talking "In Praise of Idleness". He is irrelevant.
Reread the quote again. He wasn't giving advice. He was explaining his own mentality. You jumped the gun and started criticizing him as if he is proselytizing on the streets.
If there are any criticisms to be had about what Kobe said, they could be made in good faith without an unnecessary mention of his career as a limiting factor of his experience.
This is the core of any addictive processes. Hyperstimulus (e.g. cocaine) will wreak havoc on your utility function to the point one narrows and narrows on that one local goal maximization at the expense of total life satisfaction.
But the problem is bigger than the reward mechanisms. People were not able to say “I bet bread baking will make me satisfied” and go ahead and do it. Only after necessity pushed them to participate in doing it, they were able to realize its value. They had to gather this participatory knowledge before making any prediction on its utility. This inherent information asymmetry makes broadening the utility maximization framework very very hard for an individual.
This is not true for the market; market optimizes the shit out of what they will take out of the worker and the consumer, because market’s objective function is clear. And by them I mean us because it is us who made the market and who treat that objective function of the market is good enough to be objective function of all humanness. It is not, and that is why I’m against using the language of market (currency, utility, productivity etc) in general for all human activity and why I find it inherently dehumanizing; it simply cannot capture all that is human and that is valuable.
These are some of the problems with utility I took away from your comment:
1. Short term utility maximisation does not necessarily align with long term utility maximisation.
2. The utility is difficult to define because we don't know what can contribute to it and how much those components would contribute.
3. The utility, even if defined, can only be partially observed.
While these are certainly valid and interesting observations, that doesn't mean there isn't a latent utility that describes your lifetime's value. If you live a thousand lives and had access to a device to measure the (latent) utility, surely you could it to rank lives as more meaningful or valuable than others.
Looking at it this way, the problems you raise could be seen as opportunities: how should we align short term utility with long term utility? How can we find out which utility components there are and how much they would contribute? And how can we make the utility observable, so that it can be maximised?
Interestingly, attempting to maximise the utility may itself lower the utility as a result of spending time on the maximisation task and the dehumanisation of life as a result of its formalisation.
I would actually love to have a formalized utility framework. I think cognitive science is attempting at this from first principles.
I also think the sense of your use of the word utility here sufficiently encapsulates what I want it to mean. And I think we as humanity have been actually working on these problems for such a long time, though without the formalization as we aspire to. Fairy tales, myths, religions, other wisdom traditions, philosophy schools, states, nations, they’ve been all trying to formulate some part of this utility maximization problem, albeit with abstract, indirect, symbolical etc language, and many many digressions in between.
The name of the game is wisdom; what is meaningful, what should we be doing in life, how not to get stuck in local maxima of our meaning making (i.e. bullshit ourselves).
But right now we have a discontinuity; we have long lost authority of religion, after WWII we’ve lost trust in power of the state, now we are only left with the market to make sense of our lives. For all the fantastic attributes it has, market can’t solve our general utility maximization problem, and that is why I was aversive to use it as a tool anymore.
As for your point on latent utility, I had dreamed about this too, but maximizing with imperfect information is an inseparable part of the game. Like you allude, there needs to be regularization to our maximization endeavors, simply because there might be inherent limits to its computability. There is certain information you will have only after participated in a situation e.g. choosing to be a parent, having a terminal illness etc, which also drastically changes your utility function. Or there are very weird components of the function like the nature of consciousness, problem of free-will etc. that again drastically changes the computation. Or mini-enlightenments after mystical experiences (e.g. psychedelic use) seem to change the utility function itself to approximate reality “better”, which would make that person’s prior computations faulty. In other words, what are trying to do is to actually approximate to that ideal latent utility function by getting more and more wise. And we might have exhausted what market can offer in this regard anymore.
There's a strong argument that not aiming at immediate productivity produces better productivity long-term (e.g. fundamental science, pure mathematics), but that still holds productivity as the primary value.
But what value survival if we lose our humanity?
A resolution is that our intuitions of morality support probabilitistic long-term survival, even if it doesn't seem so in the short-term, shaped as they are by evolution.
I’m sorry if others have tried to force their version of humanity on you, but what’s de-humanizing to one is the humanity of another.
The alienation of the worker in his product means not only that his labor becomes an object, an external existence, but that it exists outside him, independently, as something alien to him, and that it becomes a power on its own confronting him. It means that the life which he has conferred on the object confronts him as something hostile and alien."
You can't deny that there are many things we have to do in modern society that we would rather not do (e.g., taxes). If we can minimize or remove doing these things, then we can spend more time doing the things we enjoy.
- Crosswalks and traffic lights would become non-existent and replaced with more pedestrian overpasses, turning/merging lanes, and other designs. Waiting for the light to change is a huge waste of time for both pedestrians and drivers. It seems like we might get this eventually with self-driving cars.
- Minimization of waiting rooms. If your appointment will be delayed, you’ll be informed of it ahead of time via SMS. Time slots are strictly enforced to avoid overlap.
- Purchase and checkout items while you shop, rather than waiting in line at a cash register. Or just skip shopping in person and order everything via delivery.
- Adoption of remote work and minimization of unnecessary commutes. Plus faster public transit in general. Japan is pretty good with this (the Shinkansen is impressive.)
vegas has pedestrian overpasses and they are a tremendous waste of time - much worse than crosswalks. A better approach would be to keep the pedestrians at grade-level and have car under-passes
Regarding Vegas, it doesnt seem like crosswalks are more efficient, especially from the perspective of the driver. 1) Large intersections with crosswalks tends to have people linger in the middle of the street. This delays the flow of traffic. 2) Right turns are much slower. 3) People who jaywalk. This can be easily observed in Vegas at major hotels. Cars are always struggling to turn into the hotel with large crowds of people trying to cross regardless of the color of the light.
That said, I agree with another poster that crosswalks are optimized to force you into hotels/shops and are subpar.
- Crosswalks don't do well in overly large intersections
- Vegas over-concentrates traffic into large arterials that require large intersections in the first place.
A traditional American street grid, while requiring more stopping time, in general allows traffic to diffuse across many different routes, making large intersections with two ten lane roads unnecessary.
In downtown SF, you could put lower diagonal street bridges which would save an infinite amount of time for people driving.
It has the advantage of being easy on the eyes above-ground. I can imagine in places with serious homelessness issues there could be problems, but the ones I experienced were fairly nice - some more plain than others, but generally graffiti free, well lit, and well used.
If you are disabled (permanently or temporarily), old, have strollers or luggage, then level-changes add quite some time in the best case or are completely unusable in the worst case.
In my experiences traveling with Asia, usually these systems were not outfitted with elevators.
In Sweden, this has been a thing in most larger grocery stores for more than 10 years, e.g. https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&u=https...
The store could gather how much time it took you to scan between items and in which order, but you can pay with cash if you're worried about personal privacy.
I've seen the kiosk system at Kroger in the midwest.
Sam's Club offers a mobile app scanner.
Perhaps it's just the places I frequent, but I've gotten to the point where I take them for granted. Keep an eye out for a kiosk that seems to be a kind of fnord. Check if your nearby groceries have a smartphone app that offers scanning via your phone if you're comfortable with that. The ones I've used worked fine, but I tend not to use the phone apps because I have a chronically low smartphone battery and storage space.
Jobs (unfulfilled value) don't exist to provide a living wage.
A living wage is earned by doing something of value (a job).
I'm struggling to fathom another reason for a job existing (perhaps I'm closed-minded about it).
Jobs are gaps, unfulfilled value -- why would jobs exist otherwise?
I've really like to hear your perspective on this.
but it's not so simple, because then you have to climb up stairs, which takes more time... you walk more steps
add some heavy duty sun and people rather wait in the shade down below rather than climb up.
Also pedestrian overpasses tend to be really narrow (read: uncomfortable)
Also, why should we be so stingy with time? it's better (IMHO) to lived relaxed, otherwise we will end up under conditions similar (they say) to amazon warehouse workers which have their bathroom breaks measured in seconds.
Presumably engineering tech will also get better and cheaper and some sort of rapid outdoor escalator or elevator could also solve the problem.
Regarding stinginess: I understand where you’re coming from, but I also feel like there are time-intensive aspects of modern life which have little-or-no value, like waiting in traffic.
Because it's fungible. If I save 10 seconds, maybe I get to keep those for myself.
I am just (strangely) reminded of Charles Dickens' classic a christmas story: "bah! humbug!".
It would look like what it is today. Sure, there are still inefficiencies, but we have a high standard of living because it is optimized for time. For example, it used to be that 95% of people worked on the farm to raise enough food. Now it's like 2%. Nobody spends time anymore making cloth, which used to be the bulk of "women's work".
> Or just skip shopping in person and order everything via delivery
Isn't that what we do now? I've been doing nearly all my shopping online since long before this quarantine, exactly because it's a huge time saver. I think I visited the mall once in the last year, and that was for a social reason, not shopping.
That's because it's designed and run by the government, which has no interest in saving time.
How many hours do we all waste waiting for a light to change when there's no cross traffic? having a "platoon" of cars come to a halt to let one car cross? having a light turn yellow at the last moment to slam on the brakes? How much gas has this cost, too?
By mounting cameras on the lights and a little AI programming, and an optimization algorithm, I bet the lights could be a major factor in reducing gas consumption, smoothing traffic flow, reducing accidents, and saving time.
In fact, the AI could be self-learning, like the fuel injection systems on cars.
- Customer service is not free of charge after used the up free quota.
- Telephone, video/voice chat are deprecated because these communication require people to use time at specific point rather than in the convenient time they choose.
Oh yeah, that definitely won't make companies just wait until you're in the paid period before giving you service.
I’m not convinced this one would optimize for time unless it’s also optimizing for items falling through the cracks. If non-conformity is actually being caught it means the work has to be done twice to bring it in line with regulation after the fact.
Recent example: Boeing Starliner was not meeting requirements but oversight seemed inadequate ultimately requiring a multi-million dollar re-do once the gaps were caught after it was supposedly finished
Edit: down votes are fine but please extend the courtesy of explaining so as to add to the conversation
I believe this is starting to happen in some places, example (and an interesting video on RFID tags in general)
And of course Amazon Go
But then, we will still waste 20 times more looking at stupid things on internet.
Also I believe our brain is very very much tailored to enjoy rapid resolutions.
Yet I still worry about overuse of the idea leading to more stress (faster faster faster).
I never do any singular thing with the exception of work.
I won’t leave the house unless I can divide and group that time into multiple objectives thus spreading the overhead of time lost against many achievements.
If not in a meeting I have my pleasureable conversations via car phone when I commute some where. If I’m not in a meeting when commuting or talking to friend / family I’m streaming a new pluralsight tutorial over Bluetooth.
I work through any meeting that doesn’t maximize my output to 100%. (I’m remote most of the time)
I listen to self growth audio books when I shower.
When I head to the bar if I’m not killing two birds with one stone networking or meeting a client I’ll bring my laptop to get work done.
Tasks that I cannot streamline and time intensive I pay for.
Blah blah I can go on and on.
Ironically the one thing I haven’t mastered is how to delegate to achieve bigger goals leveraging employees.
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
- W.H.Davies (1871-1940)
This is the part that misled me. It sounds like that blanket statement doesn’t include deliberate leisure time.
Being able to stop and just do nothing once in a while is important. And I do mean "nothing". Not play on one's phone or be idle in front of the TV. Nothing, as in sit down and just be left alone with your thoughts.
That would be great! Then I can keep working until the last minute and, if no SMS was received, teleport myself directly into the doctor’s office.
> Time slots are strictly enforced to avoid overlap.
Then everyone will be scheduled, and charged, much more time than the expected duration of a consultation.
No TV, entertainment etc, which basically exist only because we have more time than we know what to do with, so we pay people to kill time.
I'm sure more of it will come.
The title is abuse (or misunderstanding) of the word "currency". Currency is an accounting mechanism. Time is, well, something else. It's an incredibly valuable commodity, a necessary (but not sufficient) ingredient for any activity and hence any kind of progress, and one which you cannot make more of and so is worth using wisely. But comparing it to currency is a category error.
Which brings me to my second point: it seems intuitively obvious that if you want to use time wisely you should use it efficiently, and typing faster is more efficient than typing slower. But this overlooks a crucial point: typing faster can only produce a linear improvement in your efficiency. If you type twice as fast, you will be able to type twice as many characters in the same amount of time. But there is another dynamic in play: if you type slowly, then the cost of typing will become more painfully evident to you, and that can motivate you to think about ways to type less, and that can lead to exponential improvements in typing efficiency.
I have been coding for forty-one years. I never learned proper touch-typing, and so my typing has always been quite slow by coder standards. As a result, typing boilerplate is extremely painful for me, and I try to avoid it at all costs. That drove me to learn Lisp, and that has led me to a coding style where I only need a tiny fraction of the code that, say, a Java programmer needs to do the same job. So yes, I type 2x slower, but I only have to type 0.1x the amount of code for a net win of 5x. And the techniques that lead me to that win can be applied recursively. There are domains in which I can get 100x or 1000x improvements (i.e. 1 line of Lisp code is the equivalent of 1000 lines of Java or C). I never would have been motivated to learn those techniques if I were able to type fast.
That's kind of sad. The most productive 2 week class I ever took was a touch typing class in 8th grade. We learned on mechanical typewriters where you really had to hammer the keys. This has paid off for me enormously.
> quite slow by coder standards
I spend very little time typing code in, that's not where my typing time is spent. For example, I am typing this while looking at the screen, not the keyboard. I catch and fix mistaeks much faster. When I'm transcribing text, touch typing doubles the speed because I read the original while typing.
I also try and optimize my code for readability, not minimal keystrokes.
That's quite an extraordinary claim. Would you mind sharing some examples of that?
is basically PHP embedded in Common Lisp. So any example I give you to show how cool CL-WHO is you could render it in PHP and conclude that PHP is similarly cool.
The Big Win only happens if you want to combine a feature that is best served by language X with some other feature that is best served by language Y. In the non-Lisp world, you now have to start gluing together code from entirely different ecosystems, whereas in Common Lisp everything lives together in the CL ecosystem (including nowadays the ability to call C code). So I can combine CL-WHO seamlessly with other programs written in CL (and C). That turns out to be a huge win in the long run.
It pretty much comes down to Greenspun's tenth rule . Macros and the ability to embed DSLs are a huge win in certain domains. Two which I have personally worked in are autonomous spacecraft control and chip design. You can do things in Lisp that you could not even conceive of doing in C short of, as Greenspun's tenth observes, basically re-inventing Lisp.
Small examples are easy: for instance, some one-liner in Lisp based on hashing, compared to a five-liner in C, plus 1000 lines of infrastructure: hash implementation, dynamic strings, ...
Big C programs that have the Greenspunned architecture don't need a lot of additional lines to add new functionality.
Maybe not, but it's quite plausible to replace a million lines of VHDL with 1000 lines of a DSL embedded in Lisp.
But 1000x win is unusual. Usually it's closer to 10x. But that's still a bigger win than you're going to get by learning to type faster.
How is this different from developing on say JVM, using Kotlin and finding a library providing DSL for HTML?
I was hoping for practical things that fundamentally impossible to describe concisely in non-lisp languages.
I wouldn't dare to challenge that lisps tend to produce concise code but being able to write 10x less code as basis and 100-1000x less on any regular basis seems too good to be true.
I didn't say I could get 100-1000x on a regular basis. What I said was:
> There are domains in which I can get 100x or 1000x improvements
Domains like that exist, but they are outliers. Normal improvement is 10x.
> I was hoping for practical things that fundamentally impossible to describe concisely in non-lisp languages.
Most programming languages are Turing-complete so nothing is "fundamentally impossible" to express in any of them. The thing that is fundamentally impossible in most non-Lisp languages is to extend the language with new syntax and control constructs within the language itself.
It is of course trivial to embed a Lisp interpreter within any language, and that will let you do Lisp-y things within that language. But then your performance will suck, which is why no one does that despite the fact that it is theoretically possible. It is not so much about what is possible as it is about the ways in which your language molds your thought processes. For a C programmer, embedding a DSL is an esoteric advanced technique. For a Lisp programmer, it's as easy and therefore as common as writing a function.
I know, sorry for misrepresenting that. I just assumed that this happens often enough for you to mention it.
I would be happy with any random 1000x improvement or two you've encountered over the years (imagine something like Java/Kotlin baseline for comparison).
I don't really buy the regular 10x improvement either though (as in something achieved by other means than different form of formatting). Happy to be proven wrong though, my lisp experience is limited to some clojure.
> Most programming languages are Turing-complete so nothing is "fundamentally impossible" to express in any of them
Sure, that's why I said "fundamentally impossible to describe concisely", as in something you can only express concisely in lisp (because of prefix notation? macros? I don't know) and it is bound to be 10x verbose mess in a c-like lang.
I already provided two examples. See: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22980487
"Two which I have personally worked in are autonomous spacecraft control and chip design."
> I don't really buy the regular 10x improvement either though (as in something achieved by other means than different form of formatting).
Why exclude a "different form of formatting"? That phrase is sufficiently vague that it could potentially refer to just about anything.
> something you can only express concisely in lisp (because of prefix notation? macros? I don't know) and it is bound to be 10x verbose mess in a c-like lang.
You are still fundamentally misunderstanding the claim. It is not that there is anything that can be done in Lisp that could not in principle be done in a c-like language with a comparable number of keystrokes. The history of c-like languages is one of continual refinement and adding features that do precisely this.
The difference is that in Lisp if you need a feature that isn't already there you don't need to wait 30 years for standards committees and compiler writers to catch up. All you need to do is take ten minutes to write a macro.
Name the part of the car that enables it to go fast: the brakes.
People can also secure space. We’re used to thinking in terms of real estate, which always prices in the value of a structure or natural resources or potential on top of the raw spatial resource. But the raw three dimensional space can be traded as well, just like time or energy, as it is finite for humans.
Money is just a tangible abstraction later on top of these fundamental parameters of the universe we trade. Providing lots of energy in a small space in a short period of time is incredibly valuable to humans, and so money reflects that. Using energy and time and space in a more efficient way to produce something in a factory is valuable, so money reflects that.
It’s not that money isn’t real currency, it’s just an abstraction layer for tradable natural commodities like time, and energy, and space.
Time goes as 1/(1-V^2)^0.5 in this market. Everything is pretty good until you really want time to stop, then, blammo! The Energy goes to infinity and the Space pretty much looses a dimension. It's especially bad, because it the dimension you're walking along!
Trust me, fella, stick with dollars, at least you can print new ones.
What a racket!
Even the time on Earth you are allotted at birth is constrained by the environment you are born into.
We're born with a relative lack of entropy, which is the only thing that allows us to do anything. Eventually we inevitably return to equilibrium.
our application of energy (both physical and mental) transforms matter and collects/redirects ambient energy to productive use. that’s what generates value—gold in the ground is essentially worthless until we use labor to extract it. that it’s rare and has other interesting properties that make people trade more for it should be reflected in the labor value rather than some coercive capital value.
If I need to grind wheat for bread every day, I could spend hours a day working hard to grind it by hand, or I could spend a month or so to build a very basic water wheel/grindstone and free up all that time.
The resultant bread is still bread either way. If someone chooses to spend all their time doing the old/inefficient type of grinding, by the labor theory of value, they should be able to demand more money for the result. But why pay more money for something that took more time to make than an equivalent product made with automation? We value bread for being tasty and filling, not by how much time went into making it that way.
Some level of labor is almost always required to get raw material into a valuable state, but the amount of labor does not determine the value. Labor just regulates supply; if something takes a lot of work to make, the supply will be lower than if it were easy to make, which affects value.
You can see this by comparing production relative to something that can’t be automated away but is still valued over time - like a violin player.
The machine forces people in the same business down to your level, but people in a less automated arena go up in value relative to your bread.
> can't be automated away
But here is where we discover another component of value that exists in arts: the connection to human mind. Given a piece of music you like that you don't know the provenance of, you'll probably value it different after learning it was composed by a human vs. generated by an algorithm on the spot. It's irrational, but that's how things are with people.
A similar case would be of story generation in games. I don't know about you, but for me, learning that a story or a quest line was procedurally generated essentially destroys my suspension of disbelief on the spot.
And with AI it's not even by chance, even mediocre results are produced only after processing the input of countless humans. It's infinitely less cool of a coincidence than something that is actually random, like sticks forming a sentence where the wind blew them, and a complete NOP when it comes to human self-expression.
once the capital investment has been made, the price of the bread will go down because less labor will be used to make it, as the marginal cost of the bread goes down. the labor in the capital investment will be amortized over time in the price. the capital investment itself should only capture the riskiness portion of the project, not the majority of the resultant productivity gains.
and in many cases, people do pay more for a product made using more labor--i pay more for my manually-roasted beans than i would for mass-roasted ones. the higher price reflects the added labor in the value chain.
that's what i mean by the labor theory of value being more prominent, not to the exclusion of other theories of value.
And I know prices go down due to less labor being needed, meaning more supply results from less investment, but my point is that it’s wrong to assume labor is the underlying source of value. Labor has no intrinsic value. It’s only valuable in relation to output.
For some people, the “image” of a product and the amount of time and care put into it is an important part of that output. So they value products that have high labor costs even when comparable but less labor intensive products exist.
But to take an extreme example, if I banged two rocks together from 9-5 every day for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t expect a paycheck because there isn’t any useful output there, despite the labor.
primarily a value judgment stated axiomatically, rather than proof.
you could also argue that labor is the only intrinsic value, with all other value being projected onto the output as fashion.
I'm not discounting the value of labor relative to output, and it's clearly related to how we assign value to that output, but I think the labor theory of value is too simplistic and places too much value on labor and not enough value on utility.
I would combine the last two and call them "mass" and that currency is just an abstraction for how much mass you "own".
> The most common trade is when a person can trade their time and their body’s energy.
With this example I would say they are trading time and sometimes mass. They are trading time by the duration they work for and in certain jobs taking time off the years of their life. They may also move somewhere for a job even though they don't like the place and they spend their time in an non-ideal location.
They mass comes into effect when they are using their own car and gas to get to work, if they have to pay for their own work clothes, etc.
More reasons to think your comment is more about making the reader feel the insight is deep: there are other important conserved quantities in physics like charge; shouldn't that play a foundational role in economics if your analysis was correct? Will you next say that business leadership is really about "taking charge"?
I also purposefully did not insult the commenter's character, but restricted my reply to the comment itself.
Indeed humans provide very little energy. I've always used this to understand the value of oil to our society. Value, not the current price! :)
A barrel of oil fed into a machine can replace the work of hundreds of laborers. In this perspective, oil is ridiculously cheap, alternatively viewed, it provides us with a lifestyle that is luxiurious and some feats that are otherwise impossible (transoceanic flight).
They are not "trading their body's energy". They a performing a task which requires innumerable inputs, among them energy, vitamins, oxygen, correct ambient temperatures, training, tools, etc. Energy has a preferred fundamental status in physics but it does not have such a status in this economic transaction. There is no reason to emphasize over any of the other inputs. You are bringing it up because of the aura attached to it in in physics.
I didn't get that out of the original comment, and wouldn't presume to apply intent. I think most learned professionals here understand what is meant when they hear or say (for example) "that task took a lot of energy" or "I spent a lot of energy doing xyz..." without having to spell it out in academic terms.
I do disagree with a lot of it since I believe more in maximizing human potential through mindfulness and tuning ourselves instead of our tools.
re: “ You don’t want to be the person who thinks their problem through on a piece of paper,...” For difficult problems I think you do want to be this kind of person. Walking away from your laptop, sitting outside or anywhere relaxing with a pad of paper and a pen, and really thinking is a super power.
The author’s good advice on spending a few minutes a day learning about your IDE/tools can also be applied to the idea of sitting quietly a few times a day with paper and pen and just thinking. If you don’t have this habit, how about trying it for just ten minutes a day to see if it pays off for your work style?
I find that a lot of the time when I’m figuring out how to solve a problem, I need to read a lot of code. Is that something you do before you sit down with pen and paper?
Wow. I hope there aren't many people that think this way, as it sounds like a great recipe for crappy software.
Thinking things through is definitely a super power. And "typing really fast" is usually an anti-pattern.
The act of reflection and organization itself is meditative.
Cannot one do both?
> it gets you thinking. What prevents time from being used as currency? Or are we really doing the same by paying people an hourly rate instead of based on their accomplishments? Not to mention how many lives that million years capsule must have cost.
Also. Economy there had no sense. Every person is passively using 24h worth of 'money' every day by simply existing. That means, to make ends meet they must earn 24h + some surpus to make a living, but the dude earned something like 5 hours in a shift (he had ~23:55 before shift, and 1:04:50 after. If shift lasted 8 hours, he was making just 13 hours per day - totally unsustainable.
The idea was nice, but I feel it was a somewhat wasted potential.
If time really seems infinite to you, and you see the beauty in every "overly time-consuming" procedure, you must draw the line somewhere.
If you wait in line, and every minute, the next in line is served, and you are standing in 5th place, you might think "ok, we've got to wait..give or take 5mins"
Now imagine that every 50 seconds, someone cuts into the line ahead of you, with some plausible excuse (health-related, or "in a rush" or whatever else you'd accept).
How many people do you allow to push you back before you decide to no longer allow people to cut ahead of you? I think that's where you draw the value of your time.
If I'm in urgent care for a relatively non-serious problem, and people who much more urgently need care keep getting served ahead of me, that just seems like the right way to do things, and I'll be happy to wait my turn, or eventually give up and go home.
On the other hand, in line to pay for purchases I would not like for someone to cut in front of me. It's rude, and there is an established norm that they would be selfishly breaking.
The real time killers are mental--fatigue, boredom, procrastination, anxiety, and so on. How many hours do you spend a week on HN or social media? How long are you going to take to do that big refactor you've been putting off? How long do you spend in useless meetings or chats you're not persuasive enough to get out of? At what point is RTFMing too long procrastination? How long do you spend watching N*tflix at home if you really want to get that side project done?
The bottleneck is never your typing speed or your editor commands. That is snake oil by script kiddies trying to sell you something.
It's true for me and I guess for many (most?) programmers: the limiting factor is inadequate capacity to control my own emotional state.
Me too, my .emacs.d directory has thousands of commits. It's fun. All procrastination is fun. It feels mischievous and therefore exhilarating.
I understand more money now could mean you'll have more free time later, but earning a lot with no time for your own personal growth doesn't sound great to me. I'd rather take a pay cut for substantially more time off.
Spend effort on career and job skill development, but treat jobs as transactions of time for money, and I suggest devaluing the value of money once basic needs and saving for future needs are met.
Exactly, that sounds amazing! I'd love to hear more people talk this way when they mention their earnings.
Anki, like using a calendar and communication tools effectively, is just pushing the burden of organization, memory and attention out of your head, and into your environment. This will not only save you time, but it will also, if set up right, give you that sense of peace of knowing that whatever you are doing is exactly where you should be.
It's solid. I learned about it in "Learning How to Learn", but the mental concept stuff is from "The Organized Mind".
However, I tried it out but I couldn't end up using it to 'remember books' or broader concepts that the books convey indirectly. I've started summarising books and using a manual form of spaced repetition to remember them better.
Do you have any advice on organising such knowledge better?
Regardless, I'm reading my previous comment and should admit that I'm quite intense about efficiency in learning. Less so about money. I've spent a lot of time tutoring, making this an important subject to me and I get.... emotional. I apologize if my original comment seems rude. It certainly feels that way to me.
I made this exact comment about two weeks ago, you might find it useful:
It's my daily gym activity for my brain.
I would say the exact opposite. If time is our most precious asset, let's rather spend it on what's really important: family, friends, community, environment, happiness, harmony. Let's pass our time doing things we love just the pleasure of doing it, rather than chasing after money, success of whatever. Let's live in the moment, for the moment.
Long commutes are really the killer here: it’s super difficult to cook a family dinner if you get off work at 6:00, spend 30-60 minutes commuting home, 30 minutes buying groceries, another 30 minutes cooking, etc. Working from home and then cooking dinner with delivered groceries gives you an extra hour+ with your family.
They are, but you are on HN so it's safe to assume you have other options, so why do you commute?
Eh, I think this is a symptom of what I’ll call “Modern Excess Syndrome”: the idea that if unlimited amounts of something aren’t beneficial, then the thing itself is broken. I.e., if ‘more = better’ isn’t true for X, then X is undesirable or broken. It just illustrates the lack of nuance we have in contemporary western society.
You see this play out in lots of ways. Helicopter parenting is a good example: the prevailing assumption is that a good parent is one who spends as much time and resources as humanly possibly with their kids. Yet as a consequence the children have worse outcomes, are less independent, etc. And people are less likely to become parents as they perceive parenthood as an end to their own life as individuals.
The truth is: it is in the nature of some things to be focused, or sporadic, or limited in some way. Chocolate cake is a delicious treat, but eating it for every meal is both unhealthy and destroys much of its uniqueness.
A big issue is that people are not taught and don't teach their kids to enjoy things without outside stimulants. If I have a computer that works (it can be, and actually I prefer, one from the 70s or 80s) and a manual, I can be alone for years. Now with internet it is even easier. But I was taught by my parents to enjoy myself with minimal 'stuff'; books, pen & paper and just my own thoughts. Many people seem to lack that resulting in decisions that are unwise and don't work long term.
The only group of people that have the luxury of prioritizing those more meaningful things are those with enough assets that they can do whatever they want. Everyone else has to try to keep up.
It indeed is if you consider majority of work is not time sensetive even if the person explicitly telling you so, absolutely convinces you that's the case.
This becomes clearer when you move on from an employee to a business owner and the only person you answer to is your customer.
Unless there's a literal environmental disaster, like when my community went up in flames during the California fires - everything else can wait.
Even during the flames burning, houses that were almost on fire were in a waiting line behind houses on fire.
The only reason why "it was due yesterday" works is because the employee believes their value is worth less than what the employer values them at.
>No, it is not. Both Church and Turing proved that.
This is not true, a simple check - are you writing in assembler/C? Why not? They are the fastest languages and both are perfectly complete from Church and Turing standpoint. But of course, there are thousands of other criteria that make the difference.
You can always insist you were arguing for theoretical expressivity when
people start throwing counter-examples at you.
Most important advise to become a useful software engineer. I did not want to believe how many developers just did not give a damn about what exactly makes their code execute and when that happens.
The culture of wasting time is so pervasive that the vast majority of developers who practice it don't even realize that they're doing it - Ironically, they're often the same people who write long articles about how to be productive and who brag about how organized and full their schedule is and how they're using all the latest productivity tools and how high their test coverage % is and how good their workflow and CI pipeline is... I call BS on all this.
People who spend most of their time explicitly thinking about processes are bureaucrats. Truly productive people don't need to think about processes, they evolve naturally through sweat and tears; good processes are the byproduct (emphasis on the word 'byproduct') of a focused mindset of desperately wanting to achieve specific goals, not the mindset of ticking-off boxes from a static checklist where you don't even understand the underlying purpose of the work.
You cannot be productive without a clear sense of purpose and goals. Unfortunately most software jobs today lack purpose - In this case it makes no sense to even talk about productivity. How can you know how productive (how fast you're moving towards your goal) you are if you don't even know what the end goal is. Finishing something is not a goal, it's a task. A goal is about a deeper purpose.
Also if your goal is to help your company earn more money, this is only a worthy goal if you have a way to check your personal progress towards that goal. Usually this is not possible to do in a big company because there are too many people working towards different goals within the same company (sometimes even conflicting goals); the reality is that your work probably doesn't matter so there is no such thing as productivity in a corporate environment because it's not possible to measure the impact of your work in relation to achieving a real company goal... However, if your goal is to maximize your personal ranking or salary within the company, this is a goal against which it is easy to measure progress; that's why personal goals trump company goals every time.
KPIs are a ridiculous, completely futile attempt to fix this problem.
I found interesting the concept of Internal Market. This book appears to be describing exactly what I got in my mind: "Internal Markets: Bringing the Power of Free Enterprise Inside Your Organization
If you are either kind of people and the big organization sucks for you, use a smaller one maybe? Or find another big one that works acceptably? Talk about one differs slightly from another?
You can rant about the deficiencies of big organizations or you can observe a well known fact that it is a very hard civilization-wide problem. Fortunes are made even from minuscule optimizations in this area and there is no shortage of execs experimenting with these. And here enter you with "the reality is that [employee's] work probably doesn't matter".
"Usually ... it's not possible to measure the impact of your work in relation to achieving a real company goal"
You say a few things here:
1. Earning money is a worthy goal if you can measure your personal contribution towards it
2. It's not possible to measure that way in a big company
3. Too many people working towards different and even conflicting goals at big companies to do so
4. Because you cannot practically do so, your work's use value is not objectively measurable or provably useful
I don't think this is wrong in a statistically significant number of cases. But I also don't think it's helpful for thinking about the bottlenecks, release hatches and self regulation systems that tend to dominate a corporation's behavior. Your day to day experience being an engineer at a company has everything to do with:
1) how customers buy what makes the company money
2) how the company's continuing operation is funded
3) how executives and founders have structured leadership and management
In some companies, the customers are other businesses. In others, they're directly consumers. In still others, they're imaginary, or planned to exist in the future. In some companies, the continuing operation of a company is funded by present and future sales. In others, the continuing operation is funded by successive rounds of seed and growth stage dilutive fundraising. In some companies, leadership and management is structured around loose confederations of business units, lines of revenue, and product subdivisions. In others, it's structured around research domains, manufacturing pipeline stages, geographical market regions, or intellectual property holdings.
In any case, that's a far cry from "it's not possible to measure the impact of your work in relation to achieving a real company goal" -- just because it's not possible for _you_ to measure or argue the impact of your work doesn't mean that it's generally not possible. In fact, I would argue that learning how to credibly and objectively plan, measure and articulate the impact of your work is a huge part of what makes for a senior individual contributor. You will obviously come across challenges and inaccuracies in the exercise, but it doesn't invalidate the use value of it for both you and the firm. If personal goals are trumping company goals every time, then you work at a company with weak executive leadership and vision and should find one stronger at those areas if you can.
You work and convert your time into currency which can be traded for other goods or services.
When currency is manipulated, it allows the manipulator to make your currency worth more or less. effectively theft.
I.e. what if you actually needed Fortran to write a program designed for scientific computation, or Prolog for GOFAI etc. Maybe some cases would fit into several languages ("I showed that SimCity is a special kind of database so you can write it in SQL") but you would have proven gaps in capabilities.
Language disputes would be way more fun.
P.S. After you finished thinking about this, think about what model theory would look like if Lindström's theorems were false.
We use so many special chars, i cant imagine that it is faster.
I don't use it myself but I assume that it would be faster than regular QWERTY typing, but only once you've used it for several years.
Time is only money if you think of it that way. If your typing speed is holding you back from things then sure learn to type faster. But I don't type nonstop for hours at a time. A sentence here or there and then reflection.
Joules. MJs for sake of unit sanity.
Energies are cheap where they're produced, but you have to spend extra MJs to send them to where you need it.
Having a few thousands MJs in Pluto bank will make you rich there. But it requires millions of Earth MJ to send energy to Pluto. The exchange rate of course fluctuates with space infrastructure and flattens out when better technology of sending and storing energy becomes available.
The conversation on queues especially; I can absolutely side with the new dev there. Queues have guarantees, database writes have guarantees, you just pick the ones you care about, not decide based on irrational fear of losing data.
This section feels like a stub where the author forgot to finish it. Was really hoping for some good ideas.