Moore & Moore

Those interested in technology most probably have heard about Moore’s Law, named after Gordon E. Moore, co-founder of Intel Corporation together with Robert Noyce in 1968. In 1965 Gordon Moore observed that the total number of elemental components in integrated circuits (chips) doubled every year and would continue to do so.

During the next 4 decades the definition of Moore’s original law has been reinterpreted and redefined several times. Probably the most known redefinition is a quote from an Intel executive stating that microproecessor performance doubles every 18 months. Nowadays chip performances still increase with a similar rhythm, but this is not true for the number and densities of the basic element Moore talked about back in 1965. Actually, the latter is only doubling every three years.

But then there’s another Moore´s law, a much less known related one: “Demi” Moore’s law. I couldn’t find who defined this law, but here it is:

“The value of information technology progresses at half the speed predicted by Moore´s Law.”

This is a genuine paradox: more information can be produced and sent in less time, thanks to the inventions born out of human brains, but the human brain´s capacity isn’t evolving fast enough to absorb it all.

The total digital information available duplicates faster and faster and at this time is estimated to be happening every 14 months. People spend more and more of their time consuming information just because it´s available, shifting gradually from a pushing to a pulling mode to gather information, even if it’s irrelevant! Technology progress exceeds our capacity to handle all the information is reaching us, causing more and more people getting stressed by information overload or even being unable to distinguish correct from incorrect information.

So, is Moore & Moore (or more and more) good for human kind? I guess we’ll never know.

Where does the money come from?

Paul Grignon produced a 47 minutes animated documentary film about the creation of money and the modern banking system. It is a must-see video if you wonder where the money comes from (certainly not from gold or silver). A few elemental phrases I picked to warm you up:

The vast majority of money is not created by the Government, it is created by private corporations known as banks. Banks create money out of nothing. In the past, money represented value, today money represents debt. New money is created whenever anyone takes a loan from a bank.

In the artificial world of money, a bank’s promise to pay money it doesn’t have is allowed to be passed off as money and we accept it as such. Even more amazing is that once we realize that money really is DEBT, we realize that if there was no debt there would be no money!!!

Loan fees, interests and taxes should be paid too. This money isn’t created so everywhere, there are other borrowers frantically trying to obtain the money they need to pay back Principal, Interest and fees from a total money pool which contains only Principal. It’s clearly impossible for everyone to pay back the Principal plus the Interest. And so, more and more new debt money has to be created to satisfy today’s demands for money to service the previous debt. But, of course, this just makes the total debt bigger. In other words, debt is perpetual and unpayable.

How can it be that the people who actually produce all the real wealth in the world are in debt to those who merely lend out the money? We are completely dependent on Commercial Banks, that is, a small elite is controlling the world.

As Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) said:

“Money is a new form of slavery, and distinguishable from the old simply by the fact that it is impersonal—that there is no human relation between master and slave.”

There’s also available a video in Spanish and an english transcript can be found here.

Urban farming

The world population has passed the 7 billion line and has been growing during the last decades above 1% a year. The average annual growth rate is decreasing and people are moving from rural areas to the cities at a fast pace. As of today 50% of the world population is living in cities and is expected to reach about 70% in the year 2050. In absolute numbers this would be 70% of 9.5 billion persons which means a 100% more food necessary in 2050!

As food production is about 1/3 of our environmental footprint, mainly caused by producing food far from where it will be consumed and also deseasonalization of the agriculture, new farming methods are being searched for. An interesting development is called “urban agriculture” or “urban farming” which basically means cultivating food within the city limits, close to the actual consumers.

Roman Gaus explains in a TED video the closed fish-vegetable system his team has developed and demonstrates that food can be grown without soil and using 90% less water. Their concept can be located on empty roof tops.

True business models relying on the urban farming concept have arisen out of the need to depend less of fossil fuel intensive transport (95% of United States food has traveled more than 1000 miles (1600 km). BrightFarms and Sky Vegetables are two USA based companies that design, construct and even finance greenhouse farms at supermarkets roofs.

Business communication

It’s not possible to live without communication, not only for individuals, but also for organizations. Communication is the act of communicating and refers to the process of sharing information between individuals or groups through a common language. Business communication is this same process, but limited to business information. Classically, business communication is divided into external communication, to interact with (potential) clients and other companies, and internal communication, to make things happen within an organization. But the boundaries are blurring as companies are increasingly outsourcing business activities and want to interact more and more intensively with their (potential) clients and users. Besides this, project based collaboration with other organizations is becoming very popular, even with business competitors (see coopetition).

The more efficient your business communication is, the more productive your company gets, which at the end should lead to more competitiveness. This doesn’t only mean that time spent to non-business related issues should be kept to a minimum, but also that individuals should have various ways to contact others in a comfortable way and get response in a timely manner according the urgency or the priority. Do you know your business costs of failed or inefficient internal and external communication?

As society is evolving faster and faster, it’s becoming more and more important for a company to have good telecommunication solutions and collaboration tools. The better they integrate the fewer barriers for the employees to get their work done in an efficient way. Nowadays, information technology offer numerous ways to communicate and to collaborate at reduced costs, but still, many companies rely just on antiquated services like fax or a limited service like telephony. There are so many other ways to communicate and to work together, but I will extend on this in future posts.

Kent Larson: Brilliant designs to fit more people in every city

Obviating the discussion about the acceptable size of world population, Kent Larson explains current thinking about how to fit more people in every city focusing on city organization, individual mobility, house design and intelligent management of space.

Source: http://www.ted.com/talks/kent_larson_brilliant_designs_to_fit_more_people_in_every_city.html

Online education

Daphne Koller is enticing top universities to put their most intriguing courses online for free, not just as a service, but as a way to research how people learn. In the TED video she explains the many advantageous of online education, being one of them to provide equal learning opportunities to everyone around the world.

Mastery learning leads to better results than lecture based classes do, but not as good as individual tutoring. Online education allows personalization and to tutor and evaluate every single student continuously, thousands of them at the same time. Active learning instead of absorbing information passively not only enables faster learning processes, it also can help stimulating creativity and that, at the end, can lead to a wave of innovation.

Source: http://www.ted.com/talks/daphne_koller_what_we_re_learning_from_online_education.html

Connectivity = Productivity

Iqbal Quadir is an entrepreneur born in Bangladesh who has proven that investing in technology empowers the citizens, even in poor countries. He has achieved to build a mobile telephone network in Bangladesh with private investment. I highlight three quotes from his appearance at TED:

Specialization needs dependability and dependability needs connectivity.

Connectivity leads to dependability that leads to specialization that leads to productivity.

In short:

A telephone is a weapon against poverty.

Source: http://www.ted.com/talks/iqbal_quadir_says_mobiles_fight_poverty.html