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Efficiency

efficiency infinity far future futurphilosophy

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#1
Jakob

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Yuli Ban's post on efficiency a while ago got me thinking, so I guess one good thing came out of that thread.

 

If efficiency is always going to increase, is there a limit? Is there some point at which the laws of physics (and possibly metaphysics) prohibit further increases in efficiency? If so, what's that limit, and what do we do when we reach it? Personally, I think...

 

There are many orders of Infinity...It is like a hierarchy: of universal structures--and of ambitions...There is no rest. No limit. No end to the Beyond--no boundaries which Life, and Mind, cannot challenge, and breach. Nebogipfel, in Stephen Baxter's The Time Ships, 1995.

 

Discuss.



#2
Mr.posthuman

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there is no limit for efficiency 



#3
monsta666

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If efficiency is always going to increase, is there a limit? Is there some point at which the laws of physics (and possibly metaphysics) prohibit further increases in efficiency? If so, what's that limit, and what do we do when we reach it? Personally, I think...

Efficiency is ultimately limited by the second law of thermodynamics. In an isolated system there is always a tendency for entropy to increase and this increase in entropy occurs because as energy is transferred some of it is always wasted. This increase in waste leads to more disorder. A little technical but it is easier to see this if we try and totally ignore the second law. Put it this way; if a machine could achieve 100% efficiency then it would be a perpetual motion machine which most people would recognise is impossible. So theoretically there is an absolute limit on efficiency that goes just under 100%. However I believe in a more practical setting the limits would be far lower for example most internal combustion engines are within the 30's in energy efficiency with the most efficient reaching around 50% efficiency. Seeing as the law of diminishing returns applies to most things then the gains in efficiency would likely decline over time.

 

From an economic point of view increased energy efficiency can lead to extra demand of a given product as the expense per unit decreases. To put this into context if I can make my trucks 3% more fuel efficient then the cost of running them per 100 miles would decrease thus I could deliver goods cheaper and this lower cost will mean increased consumer demand which eventually means my trucks are used more. This increased demand can counter some of the efficiency gains and is known as the rebound effect. If demand is sufficiently elastic i.e. highly responsive to price decreases then the demand increase maybe greater than the increase in efficiency thus leading to an increase in overall energy demand. This phenomena is known as Jevon's paradox.


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#4
Jakob

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^Granted, efficiency is limited to <100% under the known law of physics. But here's a puzzler: alternative facts universes. This paper suggests there's an entire hierarchy of alternate universes (it'd be interesting if all types coexisted). Regions beyond the observable universe, bubble universes, and quantum universes are interesting, but they're not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about universes where the very rules of the game are different. The basic mathematical and physical equations could be entirely different. Is it then imaginable that a universe could hypothetically have utterly different parameters where conservation laws (mass, energy, momentum) and thermodynamics simply don't apply, or are radically different? Ones where strange, incomprehensible laws do apply? Ones where 'magic' is an actual thing, even?

 

This is metaphysics, not science, by the way. I'm not suggesting that humans or any other intelligence in the universe will ever exploit these in a meaningful fashion. Just throwing it out there.



#5
Alice Tepes

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^Granted, efficiency is limited to <100% under the known law of physics. But here's a puzzler: alternative facts universes. This paper suggests there's an entire hierarchy of alternate universes (it'd be interesting if all types coexisted). Regions beyond the observable universe, bubble universes, and quantum universes are interesting, but they're not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about universes where the very rules of the game are different. The basic mathematical and physical equations could be entirely different. Is it then imaginable that a universe could hypothetically have utterly different parameters where conservation laws (mass, energy, momentum) and thermodynamics simply don't apply, or are radically different? Ones where strange, incomprehensible laws do apply? Ones where 'magic' is an actual thing, even?

 

This is metaphysics, not science, by the way. I'm not suggesting that humans or any other intelligence in the universe will ever exploit these in a meaningful fashion. Just throwing it out there.

asking the question of maximum efficiency is good, but as soon as you bring in "alternate universes" and "metaphysics" the question becomes unanswerable because there is no concrete information about theses supposed places. see https://en.wiktionar...ing_laser_sword for more.


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#6
Jakob

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LOL Newton's flaming razor laser sword...


Edited by Jakob, 28 January 2017 - 04:41 PM.


#7
Erowind

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I don't like Newton's flaming laser sword from a philosophical standpoint. The razor is fine when applied to science where it belongs, but for philosophy it completely destroys almost any philosophical argument one can make. Science for the quantifiable stuff and philosophy for the things we cannot study with the scienctific method.  


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#8
Alice Tepes

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I don't like Newton's flaming laser sword from a philosophical standpoint. The razor is fine when applied to science where it belongs, but for philosophy it completely destroys almost any philosophical argument one can make. Science for the quantifiable stuff and philosophy for the things we cannot study with the scienctific method.  

yes i understand that point but we are talking about efficiency here which is inherently quantifiable. so, I would say it definitely applies.


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#9
Erowind

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I don't like Newton's flaming laser sword from a philosophical standpoint. The razor is fine when applied to science where it belongs, but for philosophy it completely destroys almost any philosophical argument one can make. Science for the quantifiable stuff and philosophy for the things we cannot study with the scienctific method.  

yes i understand that point but we are talking about efficiency here which is inherently quantifiable. so, I would say it definitely applies.

Agreed







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