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/tech/ - Technology

"Technology reveals the active relation of man to nature"
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Here is a video from a nice youtube channel that combines entertainment with education.

If you didn't watch, it explains the potential for using the heat storage capacity of houses to buffer energy for reducing peak loads on the grid and for buffering renewable energy fluctuations. This can be achieved by using networked devices like the so called smart thermostats that dynamically time shift energy consumption from heating and cooling in the home to low-power-demand periods of the day like late into the night.

It's a very efficient scheme, but reality will look very different. Technical optimization of this type produce a value add which could be used for the benefit of the end user like the video describes it, but that value add is going to be captured by capitalists instead. They will use any of these efficiency gains to reduce their investment-cost in fixed capital like power-transmission-lines and generators. They will not do stuff like improve the grid capacity, they will maximize switching off low income users as long as the existing capacity is enough to not inconvenience all the rich people that will pay higher rates. It will create a divide in society for the ability to use energy.

But minimizing cost and maximizing profitability at the expense of end users is not the only abuse vector. It allows for energy use profiling, which causes all sorts of privacy violations. These will have consequences like the power company being able to find out about your "inflexible power demands" where you will pay the higher electricity price no matter what. Do you like to brew hot caffeinated been juice in the morning ?, well get ready to have your addiction monetized!

This system also gives Capitalists the ability to influence demand. Capitalists do not want to sell commodities for low prices with low profit margins they want to sell for high prices with high profit margins. So what will capitalists do with the ability to control electricity demand, they will remotely switch on stuff until demand causes the prices for electricity to reach the highest level the market will bare. If they can control your heater or cooler they will crank it up to eleven during a demand-troth. If they can they will switch on the heater and the AC at the same time so you don't notice a temperature difference, but if you only have a heater they will settle for turning your home into a sauna. Profit comes before your comfort, what are you going to do not use electricity ?

If you are a friend you will agree that the temperature setting in my house is for me, not for profits, and blame the capitalists who fail to upgrade capacity for power-blackouts.

But lets say we overthrow capitalism, and replace it with a sane economic system where end users can capture the value add, would it be reasonable to do this ? I think the answer to this is still no. We build all the technological infrastructure so we can remove our self from the unpleasant aspects of our environment. And this is reintroducing environmental factors back into the system whose primary purpose is to remove them. Houses are for people, they can be used as a thermal battery, but maybe they shouldn't. We could add dedicated thermal batteries to houses so people don't have to live inside the battery. That way optimizations just can't contradict anybodies comfort, by design.


A friend linked that video yesterday, it took him 10 minutes to admit what that alternative was, I stopped watching after that. uygha just babbles around, get to the point smh


Tech solutionism that only optimizes negative effects without attacking the cause. But prolonging the lifespan of capitalism with superficial gadgets is a profitable market right now. Top porkies (investors) just love the idea that we simply need better tech, they're the primary dupes of this snake oil sold by entrepreneurs.


Just hire a union of bricklayers to build you a masonry stove in exchange for labour-day vouchers, then use logs from local kolkhoz managed horticulture area to fuel it up. Why pay the greedy capitalists for heat when you live in USA where it's above freezing point 11 months of the year, right? Just don't trip over your power cord extenders and die in a styrofoam-OSB housefire, okay?

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