Cheap and Effective

The Value of People

Sun, Feb 28, 2021 at 7:49 AM

Ignatz,

Yeah, I would think exterior lighting would be fairly extensive. They wouldn't need to have every light on at once, necessarily, but over all, I'd imagine that this, and other working vessels, would have a great many exterior spots and floods available. I mean, it's a very cheap, effective safety feature, wouldn't you think? Also, it would increase the ship's visibility in space, which, unless they were rigged for silent running due to pirate activity, they'd always want. Being spotted at a distance by the cameras of other vessels is one of the basic ways a vessel maintains its safety.

Although a great deal of attention is paid to bad actors in the freight-hauling sphere (that is, pirates, smugglers, etc.), in point of fact, the overwhelming majority of dangers in space are those stemming from honest accidents. These are caused by human and AI errors, a lack of current data about star systems, basic software bugs, mechanical failures, and (very occasionally) natural phenomena, such as unstable primaries, and impacts with uncharted debris large enough to cause serious damage.

Safety railings would be another of those very inexpensive preventative measures that every ship designer would indulge in freely, since they cost so little compared to their benefits. Most vessels in space are formed and assembled through automated means. Even the machines doing the assembling were built by automated systems, and the refined metals and other parts are (largely) obtained from automated factories in metal-rich star systems. In other words, the shipyards aren't paying people to form, fit, and attach a ladder or catwalk to the ship. They may have to pay for the metals involved; then again, maybe not. So many companies are owned by massive conglomerates that it's not at all unusual for a mining consortium to be a subsidiary of a supercorporation that also owns one or more shipyards.

Ultimately, in a future time when most raw materials are simply sitting there, free for the taking (if not exact free of cost), the biggest expenses come down to energy, time, and human expertise. Energy production by Ejoq's era is cheap and easy. It isn't without cost, per se, but it's not the big expense we are burdened with today. Time and human expertise, though, are as valuable as ever. Maybe even more so, since automation will have taken up the lion’s share of both. What remained would be very valuable and expensive, indeed.

Wow! The thoughts that come to you when you see a well-lighted ladder!

-David