Update 30th April, 2016
The Space Program was revolutionary, imaginative, positive and confidently executed amidst many challenges, disappointments, and little triumphs over earthbound and human obstacles, politics not the least among them.
No matter, as the model of Remote Manipulation Systems above, dated 1992 shows there was no shortage of ambition, adventure, and vision well before the model was ever launched.
The practical application constructed from that model during the third generation “information revolution” was much more modest than originally envisaged, but its applications were varied and Canadian niche capability, not all necessarily globally marketed.
Will the DAVOS conference as promoted recently really pave the way for mastery over the anticipated fourth INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION or are we really focused on how business and company operations will be affected by anticipated new technologies?
What we do know from our Prime Minister is that his new economic era will be as much about brain power as it will be about fossil fuels. It seems, that the rout of oil prices and the lower value of the Canadian Dollar have been viewed as an opportunity to push INVESTMENTS in Canadian Manufacturing, research and development and HIGH TECHNOLOGY.
Of course the attractiveness of INVESTMENTS, a euphemism for indulging in deficits, is the honey of Corporate and Government welfare greed. Nowadays, we have a number of other pressing Global Trends and impacts to consider such as the declining financial influence of the West as well as ageing populations in Canada and other countries, among others.
Evidently there are the other pressures such as runaway deficits, as well as Government spending emanating from programs where so many public and private entities are making money on the public dime.
Delivering government and core services in the face of ever-escalating costs for hydro core services, consumables, and necessities such as food, are not offset by lower oil prices or the impact of tax relief for the Middle Class.
Those actually paying the tab are the same folks seeing losses of traditional and manufacturing jobs and slipping exports. Long-term low-interest commitments to debt financing or green mitigation strategies by provincial governments now seeking federal relief are added to that same tab and payee.
Our Prime Minister made many election promises, some of which faced the challenge of over promise and under delivery because of political expediency and perhaps “measured” electioneering exaggeration. Some promises have yet to be addressed or completed.
Though the theme of the DAVOS conference is characterized as “the mastery of the 4th Industrial revolution,” our Prime Minister stated that the revolution will not be successful unless it creates real opportunity for the billions who are not at DAVOS.
With the Canadian entourage in DAVOS, as was the case in Paris recently, much has been conveyed on the world stage in an attempt no doubt to gather “opportunity-intelligence” and engage with those of influence at DAVOS, including movie stars.
No doubt work is underway at home on such things as the costs and allocations for wish lists, wants, and needs regarding matters of urgency at home. Boiling Water Advisories on aboriginal reserves, the implementation of 94 Recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee and lifting the 2% cap on First Nations’ funding are among others.
There are costs associated with a New Health Accord and the $20 billion grab bag for social and infrastructure projects among other independent provincial initiatives. We have heard a lot about national consensus on climate change mitigation initiatives, shovels in the ground, and shared contributions between federal, provincial entities.
The horse trading is very likely underway. Alberta seems to be the first to draw federal financial blood to offset in part the impact of introducing technologies and programs disruptive to their resources, capabilities and economies.
There has been deathly silence on the matter of who will be holding the shovels that will be going into the ground. There has nary been a mention of the graduate students being pumped out of universities who are unable to find or take on jobs.
Further, and perhaps more importantly to what extent do we have an appreciation of the needs, requirements or markets for our visionary fourth generation industrial revolutionary products?
We can hardly claim to have a national consensus on Canada’s Natural Resource, Oil, Gas or energy sectors, except perhaps to tax their nominal contribution to Gross Domestic Product.
The reality of declining oil and gas exports, slipping manufacturing, and sliding dollar in the face of rising taxes and services, a dropping standard of living, graduates without jobs, and no budget or transparency of costs for infrastructure spending, hardly puts deficit spending in the promised land of evidence-based policies.
Big Picture unbridled cheerleading about optimism in the genius of entrepreneurship and youthful ambition is one thing, but re-branding as RESILIENT and RESOURCEFUL with a GREEN OUTLOOK speaks more image and marketing than shaping LEADERSHIP AND DIRECTION in the creation of real opportunities.
All that said our Prime Minister has been in DAVOS talking about the Government’s plan to spend billions on infrastructure in an attempt to transition Canada to a low-carbon economy, while dispensing with so-called “labels of fear” by advancing the notion that “Our Diversity” serves as our actual “engine of invention” instead.
We do of course have a record of the Green Energy Program of Ontario and practical experience of that Proof of Concept and its consequences. Technologies are one thing, but business and economic cases are quite another. When Government carbon taxes, program management, and source selection on open markets are part of the formula of re-investments and redistributions, then who manages revenue neutrality in the face of growing deficits?
Unlike Election Promises and spending plans, such a 4th Generation Industrial Revolution transition plan is a lot more than dollars and deficits. New technologies will bring about new ways that things will go wrong when transitional, cost benefit, and conversion plans are short changed.
The knowledge and sharing economies have placed “increasing pressure” on traditional regulatory and policy tools and the way businesses and companies operate. Meanwhile others make claim that we are over regulated and monitored to the point of social engineering and nanny state intrusiveness, where costs of administration and overhead in an audit society exceed the actual costs and or value of core services provided.
As for the big picture future, Stephen Hawking, University of Cambridge Professor in his remarks on January 7th at the annual Reith Lectures on BLACK HOLES, pun intended, said “we are not going to stop progress or reverse it so we have to recognize the dangers and control them.”
Hawking also said that most of the threats humanity faces come from progress made in Science and Technology. They include nuclear war, genetically engineered viruses, and global warming. In the frame of the big picture he said a disaster on earth is “a near certainty in the next 1,000-10,000 years.”
Perhaps 4th Generation Industrial Revolutionaries hope to establish sustaining colonies in space. Some envisage electric remotely driven vehicles in the quest to turn resources into resourcefulness. It was the Space Age that set the 3rd Generation Revolution into practical motion.
Many of those new inventions, and technologies had no commercial value then, but now are still available for adoption or exploitation. Equally so Infrastructure spending is a lot more than about jointly managed federal, provincial, and municipal initiatives or new bridges, public housing, transit, and “green maintenance or upgrades.”
Perhaps at the time of the Liberal Government budget we will learn what is practical, affordable, and protects our resources and economy while stimulating our U.S. European and Trans-Pacific Trade Partnerships at the same time.
Yes, we really need more flesh on the bones of DAVOS and PARIS for that matter – All the world’s a stage!
Update: Ottawa Sun April 30th 2016 – Jamey Keaten – Mighty Hadron Collider Laid low by Weasel.
The large HADRON COLLIDER at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, near Geneva, Switzerland is one of the physics’ world’s most complex machines has been immobilized temporarily – by a weasel. [….] a weasel invaded a transformer that helps power the machine and set off an electrical outage. Authorities say the incident was one of several small glitches that will DELAY PLANS to RESTART the $4.4 BILLION COLLIDER.