Gas up or plug in?

With the recent increase in the price of oil, Harold nails a very important idea:

An interesting dichotomy is appearing in our world. The price of communication is decreasing while the price of transportation is increasing. Most of our transportation systems rely on oil and it is becoming more expensive to travel any distance.At the same time, many of us have the luxury of cheap global communications, with fixed monthly long-distance rates, e-mail and more recently – voice over IP.

Unlike Harold, I suspect this will not help telework since the reasons why people want to have their employees over company desks is a matter of control. No matter how much it costs, people will want to feel they can control their employees’ time. And this is not some kind of evil plan. The reality is that most people are unreliable: when left alone, most people will not work on their assigned tasks or not at all. I’ve supervised enough students to know what can happen, even with the brightest people.

We have to look at this new phenomenon in relationship with the aging population.

As consumers, we may come to choose to expect goods and services to come to us. The large mall everybody drives to, might be replaced by smaller local stores people can walk to. Night classes might be replaced by online classes.

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the Université du Québec (TELUQ).

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