Comments

Episode-1823- A Chat with John Pugliano — 65 Comments

  1. Jack was thinking about you with last night’s tragedy being probably 45 mins from your front door. If you have any comments on it we’d be all ears of course.

    I don’t know why anyone would doubt the robot takeover. The writing is on the wall.

  2. Have you heard of or read “Humans are Underrated”? I thought it made lots of sense… gist seems to be that the only jobs left for humans will be jobs that humans demand get done by humans.

    • Haven’t read that book but my thoughts are that what Artificial Intelligence will be weak at is Wisdom (applying knowledge) and Creativity (again a form of applying knowledge). So humans will continue to excel in those areas. Also people will continue to wants human contact from people they LIKE…would you rather use an ATM or a bank teller that treats you extremely nice and looks like Angelina Jolie/George Clooney?

  3. I should have finished the way I started the episode with a quote from the history update…
    Horace Greeley said, “Go West, young man, go West. There is health in the country, and room away from our crowds of idlers and imbeciles.”
    Today I think we can modify that to read, “Embrace technology, there is wealth there and room away from our crowds of idlers and imbeciles.”

  4. Heard John mention is ‘paradigm shift’ thinking about people who got pulled over by cops. It made me think about how I’ve watched COPS for 30 years or whatever now, and when it started (even as a ‘kid’) would think ‘yea, get them punks!’, and now I only enjoy the show when something silly happens. Half the time I’m yelling at the TV ‘leave them alone!!’.

    • The history segment regarding Olbers’ paradox(http://tspwiki.com/index.php?title=1823), was ultimately about paradigm shifts, it took over a hundreds of years, with a strong reason to object to the current model of thinking, but the incorrect idea remained. This may have been a case of “You can’t beat something with nothing” as Gary North likes to say; without another idea to take it’s place the old paradigm will stubbornly remain, despite it’s failings.

  5. When checking out in a big box store, I’ll wait a bit longer in line to get the human to check me out rather than get out quicker through the self-check out line. It gives the human a job and purpose. They are trying to train us and I am resisting, though my effort is so small.

    • In most instances (not all) I find the human less competent than my fellow shoppers in self check out.

      • @Evelyn, it doesn’t matter, it really doesn’t.

        In the end it won’t even be auto check out. It will be get your stuff and leave. We are so close to that already it is insane.

        Also why do we believe that a check out system is “the right system” in the first place? Humans have been “civilized” about 10,000 years now, what makes us think something about 100 years old maximum is “the right way” or the “natural way”.

        You can bet a lot of people resisted the current system too. How many people that do this job do you think actually like the job? How many find any meaning and purpose in it? How many would keep doing it if you handed them a check for 2 million dollars?

        What value other than an income for low skilled individuals does this “work” provide humanity? I am not being harsh, just asking you to really examine what you think about this. Why you think that way and is it logical.

        • I was trying to edit my reply but timed out.

          I am being selfish, I like the brief contact with people. And although they would rather be doing something else with there time many seem to care about the people who briefly pass through their lives.
          I did use the “saving jobs for people who need them” mantra and my protest was/is using live checkout lanes. It is logical for now.
          It might not be “the natural way”, but automation might not be “the natural way” either. If I feel like they are saying “get your stuff and leave” I might not go back.
          Who knows what will be? Deliveries in pods, grocery’s on demand, etc… Replicators… 3-D printer are close but not there yet.

          I think you are thinking further ahead than I am right now, that’s okay, that’s why I listen to you.

    • It depends on what I am shopping for. If I am grocery shopping, I will use a self check out since I want things bagged up a certain way. I find that the people in front of me are completely clueless when it comes to these things.

      So, it depends.

      • You know what I hate, when a checker/sacker, puts one thing in one bag, all by itself, especially it if is already in a bag or easy to carry. Say a bag of potatoes or a jug with a handle. WTF reason is there to add another bag.

        Or when you say, you can just put that in that bag and they are like, no I can’t, because of some bagging rule, it is my shit, put it in the fucking bag, is what I want to say.

        Or checkers that look at every item like they want to know what it is, start asking you shit, like what do you do with this? Or the tools looking at parsley or parsnip that have no idea what it is!

        Automation can’t come fast enough to this sector for me.

      • Or if they over pack a bag, something gets smashed or the bag tears. I completely agree here.

        • Here one, if you really want to piss of the people in the qeue behind you, put all your stuff in your bag then take it all back out again and put them back into the bag in a different order, then look at the bag and smile at a job well done.

  6. There’s a very simple formula for determining where you’re going to see automation:

    number of people performing the job
    x
    compensation per person
    =
    potential savings

    If cost of development < potential savings…

    It gets done.

    Low lying fruit first (simplest (cheapest) development -or- highest potential return)

    Better tech (faster/cheaper or ready made components (software or hardware)) = lower cost of development

    Regulation will ALWAYS lag innovation

    Recently I have seen SEVERAL AI systems rolled out by Google, Apple & Microsoft that your average user will not even realize have been rolled out (I don't do any sort of social media stuff, so I don't watch their changes).

  7. On the school thing, another use of school loans right now is basically welfare (providing money for living expenses).

    Locally I’ve noticed two things at our local college:

    1) MUCH older students suddenly appearing at the college. Lost your job, or retirement not working out? Get a college loan! You’ll be dead before you need to pay it back anyway! Just out of high school, parents have thrown you out and there are no local jobs? Get a college loan, and live off of it until things ‘work out’!

    2) College as a ‘parking’ location. There is a local halfway house for developmentally challenged adults. During the day I used to see them at the local bookstore; all day, almost every day. The bookstore closed. Suddenly I started seeming them at the local Starbucks, chatting and drinking sugary coffee drinks. They’re funding got cut. Where did I just start seeing the entire group? At the local junior college.

    I’m also curious if another reason for increased enrollment is the availability of low cost health care, which is often made available to students.

    • Number One Above – My sister-in-law had a breakdown at work and went ape shit, cussing people out, acting like a jackass, etc.

      The normal solution, crazy woman gets fired, learns lesson, busts ass, finds new job, moves on, no longer does this stupid shit.

      Today’s solution – Crazy lady gets a diagnosis of actually being crazy but calls it having an illness, (NOTE not a mental illness, allergies, environmental reactions, etc.). She then milks workers comp until it expires, then applies for state assistance. She spends two years in her apartment doing NOTHING, I mean NOTHING. As in when I and my son moved some furniture into her apartment she didn’t even hold the door open.

      When she moves to government assistance she can’t afford her apartment. She moves to my niece’s home (her daughter) for two more years (we are four years in now) she lives in their basement with almost no expenses during this time, while collecting welfare, but she says it isn’t welfare it is “assistance”. Waits a year and applies for government housing, after a year gets said housing. Has a nice 1 bedroom apartment in a little Colorado town where she can walk everywhere. (note she does have her car because we paid it off for her when all this started, it had a few thousand dollars on it so we just paid it off).

      Near this apartment is a college, crazy lady now goes to said college on a variety of grants and loans, credit is shit of course but school loans she can still get. Working on her “accounting degree” taking one to two courses at a time! Government says she can work at least some now, so they give her a job helping people at the place she lives, takes great care not to work too much and loose a dime of benefits. “Works” (which amounts to running her beak at old people to “help them”) a few hours a week.

      Walks the little town many working people could not afford to even live in. Enjoys here classes and how old is said woman, 58! She had over two years of credits from the 1970s approved for her degree by the way and has been dicking around with “completing her degree” now for about three years.

      Contrast this with the following, in 7 years, her daughter (my niece) dealt with a divorce, a remarriage, became a mother to three girls in the remarriage, worked full time though all this, moved from Arkansas to Texas to Colorado. She busted her ass, and didn’t get just a degree, she got a BA, then a Masters. She owes very little money on those degrees and did most (not all) via distance learning.

      What are the odds that her mother will repay a single dime of her “student loans” and should she ever accidentally complete her BA, what are the odds she decides to “invest” in her Masters. Assuming that she did complete her Masters by say 63 (I’d be shocked), at that point, let me ask you this.

      Who is going to hire a 63 year old woman with a Masters in Accounting/Finance who started school in 1974 and completed her degree in 2022, never really worked in the field other than some book keeping, got fired for a mental break down that was really just throwing tantrum, then milked the system and did no real work since 2010!

      Said woman has already secured government housing and let me add at 63 would now be eligible for actual SSI, which she is already on. Now with that degree done she can go to “income based repayment”, meaning NOTHING at all, free house, free money, done.

      U-S-A, Number One!
      U-S-A, Number One!
      U-S-A, Number One!

      I need one of those Giant Meteor 2016 Bumper Stickers now! http://amzn.to/29taYHu

    • Sorry Jack, should have included a ‘trigger warning’. 😉

      When you crunch the numbers on the number of people that are ‘working’, and apply your own observational powers to how many of those are REALLY working…

      You’ll be amazed by the wealth and abundance being provided by so few. The surpluses are astounding to allow so many to remain in extreme grasshopper mode, without triggering instantaneous economic collapse.

      This isn’t even getting into the number of those ’employed’ who are ‘working’ within government.

      Bureaucracy : The Art of making the possible impossible.

      All of this actually gives me hope. Heaven on earth is easily possible.

      • Man you are fine you just made an excellent point I felt like expanding on with real world knowledge.

  8. My biggest problem with the automation thing is it is fine for certain things. Especially mass production. If you require anything that requires thought due to changing situations, or implementation, I just don’t see where it can be automated. So, somethings will be automated, others not.

    As for self-driving cars, I don’t like this at all. There are definitely people who would benefit from it, as they can’t drive or pay attention to save their lives (or the lives of those around them). I don’t want to put that much power into the hands of some computer controlling where I go, how fast I get there, etc.

    I don’t even like the auto sensors for collision avoidance. I think it creates a very passive driver who is paying attention even less.

    Fridges that remind me to buy stuff? Really? Again, no thanks.

    I seem to be kind of regressing in technology (which is weird because I work in it). If I could easily get rid of my “smart” phone, I would in a heart beat.

    • The fact that you don’t like it, won’t change it. I really didn’t like the idea of cell phones when they came out. I was like, hell no, when I am gone, I want to be gone, leave me alone. I felt the same way about pagers. Many people did.

      As to “If you require anything that requires thought due to changing situations, or implementation, I just don’t see where it can be automated.”

      The fact that you don’t understand how this is already being done, doesn’t change that it is being done. And it is being done rapidly. Robots and code won’t replace every human function, but how much is enough to completely destabilize the economy and force a radical shift in the economic paradigm? I would say about 15% beyond our ability to create “new jobs”.

      Meaning if automaton replaces 60% but we can create 50% new roles with that we can likely adapt under the current paradigm. However if we have automation eliminate say even 40% but can only create 20% new roles for people, a radical shift will occur at that point. And let me tell you it isn’t IF it is WHEN, the day we are displaced at about 15% beyond our adaptation point we will hit the true tipping point and we will be forced to change the entire underlying economic structure.

    • I get that because I don’t like it, that it is coming, and coming fast.

      I hear the “automate” mantra in my job all the time, and I have used it to take care of things that are easily repeatable with in a project I am working on or to do things that need to be done for every project. It makes me more efficient, and eliminates the chance I make a mistake. As with many things where I work, it is on the trajectory to be the “magic bullet” for everything that ails the company be it real or perceived. I’ve seen quite a few one size fits all solutions that we are still trying to force into the wrong sized and shaped hole.

      I also get the potential financial ramifications, and that is what has me jittery for lack of a better term. Not so much for me (I’ll admit there is some of that there), but for the workforce as a whole.

      I see the potential for self driving cars, especially for people with disabilities who need or want that independence, or for mass transit where it has a set route, set stops, again I’m fine with that. It eliminates a huge burden to the tax payer. However, to completely take over a complete aspect of my life and leave it in the hands of a computer, or Cthulhu forbid a computer and a faceless bureaucrat, I’d rather not.

      My biggest question is, is just because we CAN do something, should we? Is it moving to fast to save a buck, and will it just end up putting everyone in a hurt locker all in the name of profit? I dig capitalism, but is that truly the right decision.

      Will we, as people, become even more disassociated from our fellow man? Believe me there are times I completely despise people and want nothing more than to be left completely alone, but are we really any better off with social media, texting, etc. than we were 30 years ago?

      Those are some of the things I think about with this stuff, who knows maybe I’m just completely, 100% wrong, and we’ll end up in a Star Trekesque utopia where most everyone is happy and doesn’t have to worry about anything but the Borg.

      • “My biggest question is, is just because we CAN do something, should we? “.

        Note: Human beings have always done something if that something is doable.

  9. Most people do underestimate automation. They now use robots for picking weeds from lettuce fields. A robot performed surgery this year. Artificial intelligence is spreading through the legal field like wildfire. Computers paint and compose music now. We will still need surgeons, lawyers, drivers, composers, just a whole lot less of them….

  10. Halfway through listening… did John say, “it’s going to be bread and circuses?”

    • Indeed, that means, “a diet of entertainment or political policies on which the masses are fed to keep them happy and docile.”

    • Interestingly, the bread and circuses period in Rome came about due to widespread unemployment, and therefore unrest, within the middle class.

      The ‘technology’ of the day they were displaced by was the large number of captured slaves from Roman conquests of surrounding countries. Which were being conquered to ENLARGE the sizes of Roman farms.

      Hey, wait… this is sounding oddly familiar! Small farms gave way to large centralized farms leading to unemployment and unrest? Where have I heard this before?

  11. If anyone still doubts that robots are going to take or jobs they really need to watch CGP Grey’s “Humans need not apply” video on YouTube.

  12. In a way, it seems like a lot of this discussion is very similar to what was occurring twenty years ago with the Internet. The experts were saying that by 2005 or so, at least half brick-and-mortar stores would be gone, yet over 90% of all retail sales dollars still occur at a physical retailer today. Rather than replace physical retailing, the Internet has, for the most part, augmented it by making information and transportation flow much smoother and efficiently than they did before.

    Did the Internet put a lot of people, especially in certain industries like travel agents, out of business? Yes, but think of how many people’s jobs today are tied to the Internet and didn’t exist twenty years ago either. The Internet didn’t really eliminate jobs; it simply replaced the type of jobs many people had.

    I believe that the same will happen of automation. Will many of the menial tasks that humans do now be replaced by robots? Of course, and to deny this is foolish or ignorant. But what new jobs will spring up as a result, tasks that we can’t even imagine now? Remember that 98% of American workers were employed directly or indirectly in the agricultural industry a little over 100 years ago, and yet we don’t have massive unemployment as a result of the machination of growing crops, and I don’t hear anyone complaining about the comparatively low food prices we enjoy today as a result.

    A very interesting aspect of human progress is that when we eliminate one job, another, more productive, job is created, and that has happened repeatedly throughout human history. Will automation break all the rules? Possibly, but I’m doubtful.

    This also reminds be very much of Bastiat’s argument in 1845 against protectionism of French industries like candle making. He sarcastically argued that banning free sunlight from entering any kind of structure would boost the economy of numerous ways (i.e. people would buy more candles). While he was doing so to demonstrate the idiocy of protectionism, it also illustrates that if something can be done for free or in a less expensive way, it should be done, regardless of its impact on jobs. And so it will be with automation; if a job performed by humans can be replaced with automation, be it robots or code, with a net resource gain, it should be done.

    I really think that John’s comment about wisdom and creativity being the realm of humans and not machines is very accurate. Neither computers nor robots can create, and they do not possess wisdom. The need for these traits will not disappear; rather, it will increase greatly.

    • Wow time scale much. Brick and Mortar is on the way DOWN HARD. There are malls less than 20 years old with trees growing though the roofs at this point.

      Sure there are lots of retailers left but they are hurting. I go into many big brand stores and wonder how the doors are open. Gander Mountain put a store in near us, they will be out of business in 2 years or less, if not online is paying for their loss. Went to a Staples recently because I needed something now, not tomorrow from Amazon, guess how many customers at 11 AM on a Saturday, 3, including me.

      Last time I was in Best Buy there were perhaps 6 non employees in the store. Yesterday at TSC I had to yell to find an employee, they were so dead there wasn’t even anyone on the main floor, I could have walked out the door with out paying and no one would have known, but of course my ethics would not let me do that.

      About the only places that are crowded any more are the huge box stores that do 100 things, Home Depot, Walmart, etc.

      Amazon is doing more and more same day delivery, when it gets up to speed that world is going to be dead, big time.

      • There’s an interesting ‘failure factor’ that often gets overlooked.

        Unlike mom & pop stores, big chains can fail ‘all at once’. If x% of their stores are unprofitable, they often can’t ‘descale’ in time to keep from collapsing. Which means LOTS of stores all shutting down at the same time and effecting a lot more communities.

        An example here is ‘Sports Authority’ which just went from ‘going concern’ to ‘gone’ over a weekend. Bankruptcy didn’t work out for them, and instead of downsizing, all 450 stores are closed.

        This also ties into commercial real estate weakness. 450 store fronts are suddenly empty.

      • For the first quarter of 2016, 92.2% of all retail sales are off-line. A huge portion of those sales are impacted in some way by the Internet, but the final sale is occurring in a brick-and-mortar store. That’s the current time-scale.

        https://www.census.gov/retail/mrts/www/data/pdf/ec_current.pdf

        And yes, online sales are increasing, but not by huge jumps. Compared to the same quarter last year, 93% of all retailer were off-line. Those are the hard numbers.

        My point is that changes are coming, but because many, if not all, of these changes require a change in consumers’ behavior, they don’t happen overnight. But I will not dispute that big changes are coming.

        • This makes my head hurt because people are so easily misled. How here?

          Single largest retail sales category in the US? Food!

          That is the one item that has for now been largely insulated from the net effect, it is about to go into a tail spin.

          Run those numbers and eliminate about 750 billion dollars, that is about what groceries do annually in the US.

          Now factor in the following

          1. Pull though retail. In other words the gadgets, gizmos and other stuff people buy when grocery shopping at Walmart, Costco, Sams Club, etc.

          2. The inflation of food.

          Do that and consider that your 1.1 Trillion of off line retail per quarter becomes say 1.1 Trillion – ([750 billion/4] – [100 billion/4] pull though) = 890 billion in actual off line stand alone non food assisted retail quarterly.

          Now that 90ish billion in online retail is more than 10% of the total.

          What would happen if we took out the other non practical stuff from retail to order right now? Boats, ATVs, Cars, large bulky appliances, etc?

          The problem with top line numbers is no one analyzes what creates them, especially if they tell the story the viewer wished them to.

      • Jack, my point is just that it has taken a lot longer than many people thought for online retailing to get a significant share of the overall market, though its impact on off-line retailing has been greater than many thought (i.e. people can easily check prices and off-line retailers have to compete with this, product information and reviews have pushed out a lot of low quality merchandise out of the market, etc.). And yes, online retailing is gaining momentum, but it’s been a lot slower coming, by at least a decade, than many people thought. I just suspect that the same will be true of automation, but I could be wrong.

        And certain categories of off-line retailing, particularly those you referenced earlier like electronics and sporting goods, have been hit much harder by online retailing than others. Best Buy has been flirting hard with bankruptcy for years, and other category specialists are in a really hard spot as well. But others, like online groceries, have had a much harder time, even in cities where they are available, because most consumers just don’t like it.

  13. Deflation is everywhere and even more on the horizon.

    No doubt about it, the only way we’re moving forward from here without a deflationary collapse (with a resulting government collapse) is printing money and handing it directly to citizens. Giving more and more cheap debt (money) to those at the top, clearly isn’t going to produce a sustainable inflation.

    As of right now, there is no real conceivable mechanisms that the government can directly hand money to individuals. If / When that occurs that is my key indicator of where we’ll be going.

    • Crazy thought, what if and it is a big FUCKING IF, they did go to a UBI (universal basic income) under deflation scheme.

      To do so you create AmeriCoin on the BTC block chain model. This is a true Fiat Currency, in other words this is the US with tons of assets, our existence itself backs the new US Dollar.

      Since it is a block chain it is actually PUBLIC. Like BTC there is a known total quantity that can NOT be altered. As the currency is printed you have first an inflation, a level, then a sustained long term deflation. Current economy equals disaster but with a BTC model it equals sustainability.

      Each year the government pays all citizens sufficient to meet certain basic needs, chiefly the most basic housing, health care and food. For everything else you are on your own, say we even make allowances for the ACTUALLY disabled who can’t find a charity, but they must try that angle first.

      Following what BTC did in 3-4 years inflation would end, leveling and deflation would begin. Hence the total coins given to each citizen, each year would go DOWN, and since they are infinitely fractionable, you never have a currency shortage.

      As the cost of goods and services go down the value of each 1/100th of a coin goes up.

      In return anyone who wants to do more can keep 100% of UBI, and are only taxed on additional monies. That tax could be a flat tax, say 15%, no deductions other than basic deductions for business expenses.

      Some would say you can’t do this, but with the right PROGRAM you could. Surplus coins could be held in reserve to meet needs of UBI for say 20 years as the system stabilizes. While over time less money is created, less is needed.

      Such a system should be able to run a century or two with stability, what then, well fucking hopefully a people given 200 years of this type of system would evolve to the next level. Dare I say it far closer to real anarchy!

      Such a system could be so automated as to preclude the need for a government to oversee it.

      I know I am dreaming, big time, but math wise and economics wise there is NO REASON said system could not only work, but work far better for everyone from rich to poor than our current one.

      • Very interesting.

        Insidious and I were talking on the phone the other day about the aspect of money as it is. Long story short, it clearly only works because people have a self created (and or socially reinforced) disillusion that money (debt) is scarce. Meanwhile people believe its some sort of mathematical model or some sort of thing that makes logical sense. Far from it.

        The system you’ve described here, actually sets up a technical backing of a monetary supply that seems reasonable. In a way if you want to sit out from the use of your capital by holding on it, its likely deflation will continue to allow your holdings to have value for use when you need them (want to do something).

        Whereas the current environment seems that increasingly we all need to do more because the money has no life of its own (for growth), and yet is scarce. Very odd.

      • One of the interesting things about a deflationary currency is that you receive ‘interest’ (an increase in value) without risk/investment.

        Whereas in our current system to MAINTAIN the value of your savings, you have to risk the loss of those savings.

        This makes for an interesting continuum:
        Worst – Debt based currency (loss of value without action)
        Neutral – Gold currency (maintains value without action)
        Best – Deflationary currency (increases in value without action)

        The only negative I can see in deflationary currencies is an increased incentive towards hoarding. The more you hoard, the smaller the amount of currency in circulation, so the higher the rate of price inflation (less currency in circulation = higher value for each currency unit).

        Of course that valuation is currently being made AGAINST a fiat currency, so it’s difficult to say how it would actually work in a hypothetical world without a debt based currency to value it against.

  14. Last night I spent nearly an hour trying to check into a hotel that I had already pre-checked in online. All I needed was to pick up the key. Had to wait in long line and talk to two employees. Could have done without the human interaction and would have gladly just dealt with a competent robot rather than dimwit employees.

    • You can actually do that already with your phone at certain Starwood hotels. You just check in using their app and then use your phone as your door key.

  15. Can’t stand typical supermarkets. Sad places with sad employees and often obese customers who always buy nasty junk food. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are usually a better experience. That said, when it’s summer/fall here in New England I try to go to farmers markets as much as I can (at least twice a week). It’s my way of supporting local farmers and craftsmen as well as (hopefully) eating better quality food. A lot of vendors accept credit cards with their phones/iPads so I don’t have to worry about cash too much. I noticed though that it’s not like supermarkets where you grab your stuff and try to leave as soon as you can. I see folks talking to vendors all the time, there’s usually some live music playing with chairs on lawns if you need to take a break or listen, folks bring their kids and dogs (can’t do the latter in a grocery store), drinks, food, ice-cream are being sold. It’s like a social event. I hardly ever see any seriously obese people (not to pick up on anyone, I’ve struggled with extra weight myself and I know it’s not easy) but the difference is quite telling.

    I wonder if the typical grocery stores are going away due to automation/online sales while farmers markets are staying because they’re fulfilling the “wants” (i.e. good food, social interaction) as Jack likes to say?

  16. Jack, you often have interesting and informative things to say. Same for John. But whenever you deny global warming or man’s role in it it detracts from everything else you say. Fossil fuels are killing the planet, and are about the most anti-permaculture force out there. We will eventually run out of oil. And there is not hundreds of years of natural gas available, unless you believe the con artists who are seeking investors to keep the shale oil “revolution” Ponzi-scheme going.

    Even if you want to ignore the global warming/climate change that is significantly and adversely affecting the planet even now, you need to consider the effect of natural gas wells and hydraulic fracturing on the planet. Fracking involves hundreds of toxic chemicals being injected into the ground. Chemicals that will be around for generations. Aquifers are threatened. Ever been around an oil or gas well? They stink. That’s because they’re leaking not only greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, but carcinogens, as well.

    The only way the shale oil revolution can be sustained is to constantly be drilling and fracking, because the output from wells drops off dramatically after 18 months. So you end up with thousands of wells involving hundreds of toxic chemicals in the adjacent ground (and water) and air, and the companies drilling and maintaining the wells have to keep luring investors to provide the money needed to keep the whole scheme going.

    Renewables are practical. Wind and solar are just a couple of options. Maybe nuclear? But we should be moving away from fossil fuels ASAP. Natural gas is a terrible option. And talk about theft. Most people don’t own their mineral rights. If an oil or gas company has the mineral rights under your property they can come in and pretty much do whatever they want on your property. Roads wherever.

    Set up a major industrial operation (well or wells) operating 24/7. Next to your home, if that’s the site they prefer. It’s surprising you’re on the fossil fuels band wagon, since you seem to care about government and corporate overreach, and chemicals, in your personal life. Hard to imagine something so negatively impacting us as fossil fuels are. I hope you change your tune at some point.

    • In other words actions don’t matter to you, words do, that is the definition of a religion.

      • Also I spent 4 hours with a man that actually DOES fracking as an engineer. He is also a permaculturist. He isn’t youtube educated on either side of the issue. After that experience, I can say, fracking is not sun shine and lollipops, BUT, it sure as hell ain’t the demon you have been told it is.

        Lastly until renewable energy builds renewable energy technology products it isn’t practical. Until you have a solar powered plant, building solar panels and a solar excavator mining the minerals, any belief that renewables are valid is an illusion or a willingly accepted delusion. And no emotional argument will ever and I mean ever alter that reality.

    • @Dan –
      I came across this article recently:
      http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/07/fossil-fuel-use-in-us-is-at-its-lowest-percentage-in-over-a-century/

      What’s interesting is the graph. ‘Other Renewables’ is wind & solar. ‘Biomass’ is wood.

      To replace petroleum, natural gas & coal as energy sources would require about 80 quadrillion BTUs of ‘other renewables’. Or about 26x the number installed in the last 30 years.

      This of course completely ignores how energy is used. Use of electricity for transportation for example would require huge changes to the entire transportation infrastructure.

      Not posting this as a slam. If you’re concerned about this issue, and are looking for implementable solutions, you’re going to have to start with the SCIENCE of this issue.

      • I think we should start saying facts instead science since facts are facts and science shows itself to be for sale.

        • yeah, not the right word choice.

          even ‘fact’ is suspect these days.

          by ‘science’ I meant ‘objectively provable facts’, but those are pretty hard to come by.

          in this particular case, I hear people saying ‘we need more renewables’ all the time, but no one seems to understand the amount of energy we’re currently using.

          getting to our current renewable numbers required massive government subsidies, and as those graphs show, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the total energy being used.

          this is the usual case of looking for a ‘solution’, ‘out there, by those people’, or ‘by everyone’.

          I can’t fix the US energy situation. I can’t ‘fix’ my neighbors energy choices. I can totally fix mine.

        • Agreed. And what none of them seem to get is the energy required to mine the elements for the super batteries that make them all work. When these start running on solar or other “alternative sources” and extract more than it takes for them to run the extraction, we can talk about renewable being viable.

          I am not saying we won’t get there and I damn sure want to but as said, Daniel Patrick Moynihan “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts”

        • a ‘fixed’ energy system to me means:
          production & use of energy is not permanently damaging living systems; to include air & water contamination with pollutants.

          this is of course ‘my utopia’ and it might take 100 years to get there.

    • Was musing on the closing of Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in CA this morning. Here’s the ‘renewable’ math:

      Plant Annual Output:
      18,000 GWh (giga = billion)

      In 2015, SEIA says 7.5Gw of panels were installed in US.

      In CA, the average time for power generation is 5.1 hours, so those panels would generate: 7.5GW x 5.1h = 38.25 GWh

      The SEIA also says total installation of panels is 29GWh, annual output: 147.9 GWh

      So, to replace the single nuclear plant (18,000 GWh annually), you would need to install 121x all of the installed solar in the US, or you’d have to install the same amount of panels that were installed last year… for 470 years.

      How many solar panels?
      One Panel = 300 W x 365 days x 5.1 hours/day = 558kwh/year

      18,000,000,000 kwh (nuclear plant)
      divided by
      558 kwh (single panel output)
      equals approx.
      32.2 Million Solar Panels

      • Your math is off somewhere. Solar PV, including utility and grid-tied home systems, accounted for 1.04% of all electrical output in the U.S. in 2015.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_the_United_States

        Solar PV is obviously still tiny in terms of energy production, but it’s rapidly gaining ground. In 2012, nuclear plants produced 178 times more power than all utility and grid-tied solar panels, but this dropped to just 30 times more in 2015.
        http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.cfm?t=epmt_1_1

        But of course, it’s taking nuclear power and fossil fuels to create and transport the solar panels, and the minerals used to create solar panels, many of which are quite rare, are obviously finite. The panels themselves will not last indefinitely, and it’s yet to be determined how much of the material in solar panels can be recycled effectively as there aren’t yet enough old panels to justify a recycling industry for them.

        The other aspect of this is that even now, the vast majority of solar panels are being installed in places where grid power is substantially more expensive than for the rest of the nation. Significant improvements to the cost effectiveness of solar PV will continue to be needed in order for it to continue to grow as it has in the last several years. Federal tax incentives are also driving a significant amount of this growth.

        Even in a ‘best case’ scenario for solar PV advocates, it’s going to take many years, if ever, before it can actually replace non-renewable energy sources.

      • @William –
        Very likely my math is off, as these are quick and dirty calculations, and they’re based on solar hours in a particular location in the US. Solar in Arizona is going to do much better.

        Wiki is saying 26.8 GW of solar delivering 41.8TWh of annual output (SEIA says more is installed). That would be 1559.7 Wh of annual output for each W of solar installed, or 4.27 W/day per watt installed.

        This single nuclear plant is managing 18 TWh annually, so 43% of all solar in the US.

        =

        Wiki article is including Solar Thermal solutions which sidestep some of the issues you listed with PV.

        =

        I’m not sure how accurate this is, but it’s interesting:

        Average household electricity use around the world

        This suggests it should be fairly easy to use 1/3 the electricity per household (Germany levels). There are a lot of factors involved obviously. Easier to reduce than build.

  17. I think that if technology marches forward and replaces most jobs, the elites will have little need for most people and will get more control over technology, which will serve them. The average Joe, might have less access to technology. It’s a different point of view from what I’ve seen anyone take but there are a lot of ways this could go. More detail on my blog post at:

    Will Technology Obsolete Your Job

    Bob

    • To be rich one must have income, we the pukes spending our money are the income of the elites, even the way they print money with banks requires us to borrow, they are fucked too unless the system changes. Which is why it will change to serve their needs. Not because they really give a shit about us, rather that they need us. Just as a farmer cares for an injured animal that he will slaughter in 90 days anyway, however the farmer likely cares a lot more for the animal than they do for people, however, the analogy applies.

  18. My $.02.

    1- Good show and I think you’re both right.

    2 – As I look up at the sky here in DT Phoneix and see the constant take off-landing of jets and see the people in their cars running around I think to myself where are all those people going?

    My answer as a faithful Traditional Catholic (Yes, I know God is a bad word around here but just because you don’t believe does not make it that God does not exist) is simple: Straight to hell. This is not a judgement by me it’s just a fact.

    BTW, please google “The Miracle of the Sun”

    Eternity is a long time folks; are you POSITIVE of your viewpoint/belief in God???????

    • First God is not a bad word around here, don’t know where you got that but lose the drama.

      However, telling others they are going to hell is really stupid, it supposes you know the mind of God and have the right to speak as to what God will or will not do. There is a commandment about that, likely your catechism convinced you it was saying the words God and then Damn in order, it isn’t, never was.

      FWIW if you want to continue to push more and more people away from all revealed religions, keep talking that way.

      I don’t have to share your faith to respect it but, respect is a two way street and you might know your own faith better before you go telling others about it.

  19. Any more info about the electric motorcycle you mentioned at the end? I tried googling it some but I only found articles about people who did it and not any actual how to plans.