How and why did non-printed digital media take over?

That the kingdom of media and communication is ruled by the digital is no news. Some 20 years ago it wasn’t news, yet, but a future vision. How and why did this revolution happen? To analyze this, it’s more useful to divide media into printed and non-printed categories, rather than into printed and digital. This is because the value chains of printed media were first digitalized – and gained hugely from that – and only later were they gradually taken over by the non-printed digital media. The progress of this revolution is illustrated in Scheme 1, where columns represent value-adding chains of media, proceeding from feed stock storage to final end-use – the reception of delivered knowledge by a human consumer. The field of knowledge, again, is divided into four segments; from the lowest value knowledge (data) to that of the highest value (understanding). In the case of understanding, absorption, rather that mere reception may be a more proper term for the end-user’s role.   Digital technology reduced the need of printing first in the upper-left corner of the matrix, i.e, in the beginning of media’s value chain and when data, the simplest form of knowledge was handled.  This started to happen already in the 1970’s, when, e.g., first digital cash registers and inventory systems were launched. (In Finland it was done by Nokia, when the company was still also making rubber boots and sneakers.). However, here the user interface is still usually a printed receipt. Gradually, as digital technologies developed, non-printed media started taking over all four value chains presented in Scheme 1. Today, the market share of...

Shall the gigantic subsidies to fossil fuels cease?

The “Polluter pays” principle is well and widely accepted among policy makers and industries. Applying this principle is the basis on which, e.g., modern waste management and recycling systems are successfully built – and the construction continues. The consumer is increasingly often put in the driver’s seat, when new waste minimization and recycling initiatives are introduced. Maybe the most striking exception to these practices is carbon dioxide from the use of fossil resources – primarily as fuels. Managing carbon dioxide waste by the same principles and practices would mean that the cost of removing carbon dioxide waste from the atmosphere should be added to the consumer prices of fossil fuels, and that the industry should arrange the removal. The same division of responsibilities would hereby be applied to CO2 recycling. Not applying the “polluter pays” principle and good waste management practice to carbon dioxide waste means a huge subsidy to fossil fuels. Based on the rough numbers available, the CO2 collection cost alone would add some 250$ to the price of an oil barrel. Incidentally, the cost of planting forest and growing a corresponding amount of wood to do the collection – and also the first step of recycling – is of similar magnitude. This translates into gigantic (actually even larger, “terantic” or trillions of dollars) annual subsidies to the use of fossil resources, globally. The fact that the subsidies given to the use of renewable fuels and power are marginal when compared to those poured to fossil fuels, doesn’t mean that subsidizing renewables is always a good idea. Subsidies tend to cause forgetfulness in critical thinking. When there...