Jesus, what a motherfucking hyper-idiot.
Michio Kuku is being interviewed on some talk program about his new book. He's "predicting" the future, with perfectly predictable results.
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Koko Prediction 1:
As life becomes more and more computerized, pure democracy will become more common. Since no two democracies have ever made war with each other, this will bring peace.
Two obvious wrongs, but unfortunately they don't cancel out to make a right.
In fact we're already seeing that technology makes tyranny easier, not harder. (Which really shouldn't have been surprising; wise dystopians from Swift to Huxley to Walker Percy have been telling us this would happen!)
And in fact democracies quite often make war against each other. (I wonder if Babu realizes that his own stupidity is identical to George Bush's stupidity?
These falsehoods don't cancel ... increasing tyranny doesn't lead to increasing peace either ... because war does not depend on the nominal form of government at all. War depends on aggressive impulses and perceived weakness.
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Bobo Prediction 2:
In the future, national economies that depend on agriculture will be worthless because food is getting cheaper and cheaper, while nations that depend on software and entertainment will become more valuable because software and entertainment are precious.
Unlike Kaka's first prediction, this isn't totally false a priori
. At this moment in history the trend happens to be running in the direction he claims. But he's entirely missing the basic economics of both commodities.
Food prices have an absolute floor. You can't conjure up a new copy of an apple by hitting Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V. Food requires real physical land with just the right characteristics, and real physical labor, and real physical energy, and long-term stability, and the right amount of rain and sun, and real human knowledge, and butchers and bakers and canneries. Through the last century we've eliminated part
of the human labor which has lowered the price floor somewhat, but the other factors can't be eliminated.
And because food is big and perishable, stealing is hard to do and easy to catch. You can't steal a steak remotely from the other side of the world.
Software (and entertainment in digital form) can
be copied infinitely many times with nearly zero labor. The price floor is zero. It can only be precious ... in fact it can only have a non-zero price at all ... when copyright laws are strictly and internationally enforced. As long as Chinese and Russian thieves are unreachable by prosecutors in the productive countries, any item of software can be acquired without paying for it. Consequence: Honest buyers are paying much more than they should, because such a large part of the potential demand is being satisfied illegally. In the end, only the most excruciatingly honest buyers will continue to pay. When you know that you can pay either $250 or $0 for an item that you need, only your innate morality will make you pay $250. If the item could be priced at $5 and still yield a profit, the buying public would include a vastly larger population with average morals, which would make it profitable to price the item at $5.
It's a vicious cycle. It could be broken by serious government action in software-producing countries, including 'digital acts of war' such as web blockades. But such actions will not happen because governments in the producing countries are owned by China.