Our society has become massively automated compared to the middle ages. And we have 25 times the world population now. Yet we still have plenty of jobs;
No we don't. It's be decades since any western country had full employment, or even a policy to achieve same, thanks to the sadistic neoliberal idea of NAIRU. In most of the western world, there are an order of magnitude more job seekers than there are jobs.
And that's not even taking into consideration the swathes of the population involved in unproductive, pointless, bullshit jobs that serve no real purpose (eg: most layers of management).
Within a generation, two at the outside, the vast, vast majority of jobs involving manual labour will be performed by robots, except for those targeting the high-end luxury market. I expect a fairly large chunk of today's "intellectual" jobs will also disappear towards the end of that timeframe (eg: basic engineering, software development, lower levels of management, etc) as AI capabilities improve.
And yet there are apparently bugs still being found, otherwise there's be nothing to download for a 3 year old server [...]
Of course there would.
Just because a bug was fixed in a firmware update 3 years ago doesn't mean that update was applied 3 years ago.
For the life of me I do not understand this 'commercial strategy'.
Charging the customer what they are prepared to pay for a product, rather than what it costs to make, is a pretty core tenet of free market capitalism.
We have millions of dollars invested in HP hardware.
We typically only have 3yr support contracts on servers, first and foremost to handle hardware failures.
After that time, servers are cycled out into low important, or non-production tasks. Failures in these roles usually result in wholesale machine replacement.
Maintaining support contracts for all those 3-6 year old machines is not viable, nor are we expecting _new_ problems to be addressed since they are out of contract.
Not being able to download _old_ patches, firmware, etc, to apply when the servers are cycled out of production, however, is bullshit.
Rest assured most customers get at least 3 year of support. Not because of anything to do with firmware updates, but to deal with hardware failures.
Yes they do.
Where is the incentive to "deliver broken products" when they're going to have to fix them anyway since the vast majority of customers will be in support contracts for at least 3 years ? And would have been even if this change never occurred ?
Most customers will pay for 3 years of support - just like they have the last upteen years - because of the other stuff it buys.
And they get a perverse incentive to deliberately deliver broken products from the outset.
No they don't.
All customers will have support contracts for a hardware purchase for 12 months.
The vast majority will then have them for another 2 years.
A sizeable chunk for probably another year or two after that.
Nearly all bugs are going to be found in the first couple of years, probably in the first 6 months, when pretty much everyone will have support contracts. Ie: they'll need to be fixed.
Independent people are more likely to live away from the masses, choose property with other criteria as a priority (view, weather, etc.) This is why the wealthy live in gated communities, try to prevent the public from accessing the beach in front of their house, live in the hills outside the cities, etc. They want to get away from the masses of poor, stupid, ugly, dirty, sick, etc. people. This is why royalty and titled people built castles and moats. It's why artists live cloistered lives. It's why the religious figures, the rabbis, the wise men, the medicine men, etc. had a space to themselves and people trekked to them for guidance and assistance.
The people you describe are not independent, they are actually hyper-dependent.
Without their subjects to bring them offerings, they have nothing.
This has been true for all of human history. The intelligent seek to shed the husk of ineptitude that is the rest of humanity.
The intelligent seek like-minded people.
For all the historical glory the lone inventor gets, the vast majority of progress comes from teams of people working together.
Windows 95 and 3.1 still had the same fundamental interface.
No, they didn't. They were extremely different.
The Desktop, Start Menu and Taskbar are the most obvious major fundamental differences between Windows 3.1 and 95. Extensive ability to drag & drop is another. The deprecating of the MDI interface (though - amazingly - it still lingers on in some apps). Context menus. Transparent interaction with network resources.
Windows 95 was a document/object-centric interface. Windows 3.1 was an application-centric interface.
Same with Windows 3.1 to 95, if you used 3.1 you could use 95 with no problems apart from the fact it looked a little different.
What ? No. People had huge problems moving from Windows 3.1 to 95. Microsoft even included Program Manager in Windows 95 and it was not uncommon in the early days for people to run it as the shell.
There are fewer fundamental UI differences between Windows 95 and Windows 7, than there are between Windows 3.1 and Windows 95. Indeed, in terms of UI fundamentals there's almost no difference at all between Windows 95 and Windows 7. But there are few, if any, similarities between Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 (apart from the kinds of elements that are common to nearly all WIMP interfaces).
I do not have the time to properly research this topic, so I'll leave it here.
But everything I've read so far convinces me the UK is little different to the US and Australia.
The fundamental problem is there's more people than jobs. It is unlikely to be resolved in the future due to both political (conservatives and their backers have no interest in pursuing full employment) and practical (within a generation or so robotics are going to render probably half the workforce obselete) reasons.
Thanks for the discussion.
The point of unions is not to drive the "evil corporations" out of business. That would be counter-productive and stupid.
The point of unions is to put employees on an equal footing to employers when it comes to negotiations on working conditions and pay.
Generally, they achieve this goal well.