Quality of Life, workload, economy, new bussines model
Quality of Life
University of Ljubljana
QoL and Informatics?
This presentation is meant to be
• provocative (to keep you awake),
• surprising (to give you more information) and
If you stay awake to get the information you may
even accept this challenge at the end.
R&D & QoL
• QoL research is becoming one of major research topics.
• The main purpose of developing new technologies is (or at
least should be) to make life easier, more pleasant - to
• The same holds for information and telecommunication
In spite of all that
• we still have to work at least 8 hours/day to sustain our lives
and much more to be successful in what we are doing,
• life is becoming more and more stressful, and
• in general, we are not much more content than our
In the stone age a man needed about 2 hours/day to sustain his
life (hunting) the rest was used for entertainment and rest.
Koala needs only 1 hour/day to sustain its life (finding food), the
rest is used for pleasure (3 hours/day) and sleep (20 hours/day).
• R&D are governed by economy and politics.
• Politics are governed by economy.
• Economy is governed by profit.
What has gone wrong?
Everything is governed by profit.
• Profit based economy requires exponential
• Positive feedback is built-in.
• We assume (incorrectly) that more profit will by
itself yield better QoL.
• The production should grow some N% per year for economy to be
stable (exponential growth).
• It is limited by
– energy consumption,
– natural resources,
• More production requires more consumption.
• More consumption requires more production.
Systems with positive feedback are unstable.
US great depression in thirties, Roosevelt, New Deal
Law of QoL factors
More is not always better
QoL is non-monotonic functions of QoL factors. Increasing one
factor over certain limit necessary causes the decrease of QoL.
Examples of factors:
oxygen, food, sun, water, medicaments, rules, laws…., and even freedom of
choice (Barry Schwartz, Tyranny of Choice, Scientific American, April 2004)
increase decrease increase decreaseno
• We R&D what we are paid for.
• We have no time to think about QoL.
• Often, we even have no time to care about
quality of our own life1,2
And what do we do?
Participants of this symposium obviously do not fit into this category
Some search results
to make my point
Search term: “quality of life”
Source No. of matches
ISI Web of Science 56,972*
Science Direct 11,140*
IEEEXplore - all periodicals since 1951 2**
Informatics an computer science 0
* Most of them from Health Care and Medicine
**Both in IEEE Engineering in medicine and biology magazine
QoL & ICT
• We are used to talk about QoS
providing a set of pre-agreed system parameters that
would satisfy customer*
• Lately we also talk about QoE
providing a set of pre-agreed subjective quality of service
• What we should begin to talk about is QoL
providing services that will improve quality of life
New definition from my PhD student
• To be able to increase QoL we first need to have
some measure of QoL.
• I recently recommended logarithmic QoL index
• Much simpler QoL index also exists, which is …
a smile on a face,
or the a number of smiling faces.
A new business model
• Models based on profit forces more production and
greater efficiency (exponential growth).
• It is not anymore hard to produce something, it is hard to
• More and more people move from production to
• They still have to work hard to make their living.
• If they cannot sell anything, they cannot buy anything.
• Due to positive feedback it leads to crisis.
A new business model, not based (solely) on profit
is thus required.
No business model
How can it work?
• Although there is no need for increasing efficiency,
motivation (if this is not profit) is still needed.
• It is in our very nature, that we like to make others
happy. We usually limit this to our family, our friends,
and our pets.
• It is also in our nature to seek recognition.
• A smile of gratitude can sometime be the greatest
recognition and can be much more rewarding than a
• Unfortunately, it is also in our nature, that we like to
make others angry and envious. We do not want this to
Is it utopia?
• No. The no business model is already emerging in IT.
• IT is ideal for testing it.
– Developing software requires very little resources beside human
effort. It is thus affordable not to be based only on profit.
– Open source
• Different motives, but all non profit based.
freeware and open source
• If you work for free (from enthusiasm, for recognition, to
help, …) there is no need:
– to release SW incomplete because of time pressure
– to intentionally leave something for later releases,
– to make it just look fancy even when it does not function
– to make new releases with options that nobody needs,
– to intentionally complicate it, so nobody can use it without
• If the source is open
– users can improve it and adopt it for their own need,
– all other users can benefit from that,
– only some part of SW can be used or reused in another SW.
Back to the aim of my talk
I believe, there are many, many brilliant minds
among IT people.
This is a challenge.
If only a tiny portion of their efforts would be
consciously focused on improving QoL, imagine what