Tag Archives | Economics

Can Transhumanism Overcome a Widespread Deathist Culture?

Mort

Zoltan Istvan via IEET:

The rapidly growing field of transhumanism—an international social movement whose highest immediate priority is overcoming human death via science and technology—is facing a colossal challenge. About 85 percent of the world’s population believes in life after death, and much of that population is perfectly okay with dying because it gives them an afterlife with their perceived deity or deities—something transhumanists often refer to as “deathist” culture.

In fact, four billion people on Earth—mostly Muslims and Christians—see the overcoming of death through science as potentially blasphemous, a sin involving humans striving to be godlike. Some holy texts say blasphemy is unforgivable and will end in eternal punishment.

So what are transhumanists to do in a world where science and technology are quickly improving and will almost certainly overcome human mortality in the next 30 years? Will there be a great civil rights debate and clash around the world?

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Next Jobs Automation Will Kill

liz west (CC BY 2.0)

liz west (CC BY 2.0)

Barb Darrow via Forbes:

Most of us watched as automation displaced factory workers and other laborers; but now many “skilled” workers are getting anxious as the robot overlords come for us.

When automated factories started erasing jobs at manufacturing companies, most of us shrugged: Great, better products cheaper, was the general line of thinking

But as automation keeps creeping up the stack, taking over more of what most would call “skilled” positions, well that’s getting some folks—who consider themselves skilled professionals—nervous.

Take airplane pilots for example. That’s now a dead-end job according to Mary “Missy” Cummings, director of the Humans and Autonomy Lab (HAL) at Duke University (and a former Naval fighter pilot.) She said that “in all honesty” she could not recommend that anyone become a commercial airline pilot going forward, given the current state of the art.

“Commercial pilots today touch the stick for three to seven minutes per flight—and that’s on a tough day,” she told an audience at the MIT CIO Symposium on Wednesday.

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The Scent of a Cabbie

Bluury Streets of SF

Tuesday

5:05am:
The sun’s been coming up early. (Ok. And I’ve been “sleeping in.”) Regardless, I do feel the unrelenting compulsion to race in to work, to beat its rise, like a vampire trying to make his casket before turning to ash. Hopefully, mine will be full of coffee grounds. I need a buzz.

5:30am:
I’m finished greasing Tony’s palms back in the Citizen’s Cab office, and I head out to the lot.

Aside: Yeah, I chanced a $5 bribe on Tony for an airport this morning. I don’t actually expect to see one come my way from dispatch. But I gotta check-in now and then, if only to keep Tony on his toes.

5:31am:
I’m in new ‘ol 137 and I’m immediately overcome with a strong wave of fruity… Well, just strong, fruity. I look around hard, but I cannot find the offending Christmas Tree air freshener, however hard I try.

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Telegraph article in favor of ban on physical currency

frankieleon (CC BY 2.0)

frankieleon (CC BY 2.0)

The Telegraph is running a series of articles with controversial economic theories. This one is an article in support of Denmark’s proposed legislation to ban currency and a call for other nations to do the same. It is preluded with a summary of the article: “Forcing everyone to spend only by electronic means from an account held at a government-run bank would give the authorities far better tools to deal with recessions and economic booms, writes Jim Leaviss.”

As I write, over 3000 comments have been posted to the page of this article and the comments are pretty much what you’d expect.

But the move could be a key moment in the advent of “cashless societies”. And once all money exists only in bank accounts – monitored, or even directly controlled by the government – the authorities will be able to encourage us to spend more when the economy slows, or spend less when it is overheating.
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NSA’s Big Defenders Cash Big NSA Checks

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

via Lee Fang at The Intercept:

The debate over the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records has reached a critical point after a federal appeals court last week ruled the practice illegal, dramatically raising the stakes for pending Congressional legislation that would fully or partially reinstate the program. An army of pundits promptly took to television screens, with many of them brushing off concerns about the surveillance.

The talking heads have been backstopping the NSA’s mass surveillance more or less continuously since it was revealed. They spoke out to support the agency when NSA contractor Edward Snowden released details of its programs in 2013, and they’ve kept up their advocacy ever since — on television news shows, newspaper op-ed pages, online and at Congressional hearings. But it’s often unclear just how financially cozy these pundits are with the surveillance state they defend, since they’re typically identified with titles that give no clues about their conflicts of interest.

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Ganny & the Stormtroopers

SFO CAbbie Underworld

Monday

4:05am:
I wake before my alarm today, relaxed.

OoOooMMmmMmm.

And this time, it’s a good “OM”! My last shift, I was way busy with a bunch of locals (in-town runs). But the real red meat was a ride I took to Redwood City. That’s meter and a half!

(If the ride takes you more than 15 miles from San Francisco’s City Hall, MTA rules sees the driver charging meter and a half. The logic being that the driver and passenger should split the gas and time down due to the return trip.)

Anyway, I walked away with $285! Tony Jr. was working check-out at the bullet-proof glass in the afternoon, and there’s a new deal where drivers can pay gate (cab rental) out of their day’s Cabulous take. Needless to say, Tony Jr. was pretty impressed after he saw that I still had around $210 set to hit my bank account (via direct deposit) AFTER paying gate!… Read the rest

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Nam’s Mission

137

Monday

4:15am:
I awake groggy from the weekend. And I want to call in sick. (ZzZzzzzzZZzzz.)

4:20am:
Ugh! I should work! (ZzzZZZzzz.)

4:25am:
Besides, the road might be a good distraction from my mental state. (ZZzzZZzzz.)

4:30am:
Okay! Okay! I’ll get up!

5:05am:
It’s a (now) rare foggy day in ‘ol San Francisco. I’m slogging up through the Citizen’s Cab lot and headed towards the office.

As I near, Sammy – the new office guy who’s taken over Kojak’s morning shift, passes me. He’s leaving the office with some new West African driver. They’re heading out to the lot … with a jump starter.

Note: Kojak has been moved to the afternoon office shift for some unknown reason. (Unknown to me, anyway.) This is how the cab biz works. Drivers, office workers; one day ya see ‘em. And the next, they’re gone.

Anyway, hmm.

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We Stand to Lose Everything

Aaron Dames writes for Divided Core.

 

We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.
— Carl Sagan

As the 100th anniversary of World War I rolls around, dignitaries and diplomats are commemorating the costly victories and tragic losses of that brutal and gaseous four-year melee which resulted in the deaths of somewhere between ten to sixteen million people. World War I set the stage for its horrific sequel, World War II, which showcased another four years of agonizing mayhem, replicated genocides, and the creation of a Hell on Earth. Millions of people died on battlefields, in death camps, and of disease, starvation, and lack of sanitation in galactic pits of unfathomable misery and suffering. World War II then set the stage for the Cold War, in which the United States, the Soviet Union, and eventually other jingoistic nuclear powers, held humanity hostage through aggressive threats of apocalyptic war.… Read the rest

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The Asshole Factory

Surian Soosay (CC BY 2.0)

Surian Soosay (CC BY 2.0)

Umair Haque via Medium:

Our economy doesn’t make stuff anymore. So what does it make?

My good friend Mara has not one but two graduate degrees. From fine, storied universities. Surprise, surprise: the only “job” she was able to find was at a retail store.

Hey—it’s only minimum wage, but at least she’s working, right? And at a major-league, blue-chip company, An American icon; an institution; a name every man, woman, and child in this country knows; an historic company that rings of the American Dream the world over, besides. Surely, if nothing else, it’s a start.

Perhaps you’re right. Maybe it isn’t the start she always dreamed of…but at least it is one. If so…then awaits her at the finish?

What is Mara’s job like? Her sales figures are monitored…by the microsecond. By hidden cameras and mics. They listen to her every word; they capture her every movement; that track and stalk her as if she were an animal; or a prisoner; or both.

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