Rambling, thoughts and profundities on the subject of security and privacy in Web 2.0 and in particular Virtual Universes technologies. Occasionally I might diverge at bit.


More about the IBM Chicken

A few days ago I posted IBM's chicken ad without comment. In retrospect I should really explain why I thought it was significant, as well as funny. Everyone, except the German government, knows that we are in a severe recession probably by a breakdown in consumer confidence rather corporate problems, and some people are talking about depression. While, I think this has been 10 to 15 years in the making, it's a waste of time playing the blame game at the moment.
The point is that every crisis needs to be looked at as an opportunity. The Great Depression and the ensuing World War II left the US with a lot of very good things. We got Social Security, the basis for Medicare, the FDIC and other programs. World War II brought us the GI bill and allowed many people to study (like my father) who probably wouldn't have done so otherwise. This gave us a well educated population (and the US was already a leader in education back then, believe it or not) that felt well secured compared with previous generations. This, in turn, led to immense prosperity. Of course, it helped that World War II didn't destroy any US infrastructure, unlike in Europe, giving the US a head start.
So, how should this crisis be used to our long term benefit? The IBM Think marketing campaign is a good starting point for thinking about this. What IBM is trying to sell us (and yes, they want to profit it from it, of course) is the idea that technology in the hands of clever folks (IBMers, presumably, although other folks will do I guess) we can streamline our supply chains and operations. This is not only good for our balance sheets, but can be good for the environment, culture and well being. We have got in the habit of importing produce from California to New York, but a friend in California mentioned recently that they don't get to consume the produce grown on the farms next door. The supermarkets get their produce shipped in from central depots (although I hope they just getting stuff from other parts of California.)
I'd like to see people cutting the waste in the system and making these cuts permanent so that we are left with a sort of virtual infrastructure superimposed on a (hopefully) improved physical infrastructure allowing produce to reach us in an energy efficient manner. I'd also like the produce to be created in a way that makes sense. The example in the Chicken video was that it takes 10 calories to produce 1 calorie of food. Obviously, this is plain stupidity and so a cost/effect balance has to be achieved.

1 comment:

adam said...

Glad you liked the chicken video!

By the way, your post prompted me to share my story about trying to find local produce in southern california grocery stores as a kid... and my continued frustrations on the topic: http://bit.ly/Qwhp