Like quicksilver – smarts adapting to an erratic environment…
For $56, farmers in India can control the pumps that irrigate their fields… which saves them walking for miles, sometimes for nothing, because the pump-driving-electricity is a bit erratic. It’s called Nano Ganesh.
I can see this as a general principle becoming very widespread – cellphones as controllers for everything. This is looking something like physical telecommuting – where instead of working (in your underpants) on information-processes that are anywhere on the planet, you’re working on physical activities… farming for example.
There’s a movie that I haven’t seen yet that seems to have a fair bit of this – in an entirely unpleasant and exploitative sort of way:
Which you can watch in Spanish etc, because the one with that gravelly hollywood-ese American voice-over is simply too stupid to live.
It’s a nightmare vision this though… it’s not labour-saving in the sense that a farmer saves herself walking for miles just to turn a pump on and off, it’s labour-saving in the sense that the cost (and therefore value) of human labour has been pushed down to the point that people have become inhabitants of matrix-like virtual-sweatshops.
And this is an inevitable artifact of the fact (and I’ll say it again) that our money system is not based on abundance of production, but is lent into existence (at interest) as a scarce resource. Our monetary system has poverty built into it.