Tag Archives | Geopolitics & Globalization

The Good, The Bad and The Robot: Experts Are Trying to Make Machines Be “Moral”

I, Robot coverCoby McDonald Via California Magazine:

Good vs. bad. Right vs. wrong. Human beings begin to learn the difference before we learn to speak—and thankfully so. We owe much of our success as a species to our capacity for moral reasoning. It’s the glue that holds human social groups together, the key to our fraught but effective ability to cooperate. We are (most believe) the lone moral agents on planet Earth—but this may not last. The day may come soon when we are forced to share this status with a new kind of being, one whose intelligence is of our own design.

Robots are coming, that much is sure. They are coming to our streets as self-driving cars, to our military as automated drones, to our homes as elder-care robots—and that’s just to name a few on the horizon (Ten million households already enjoy cleaner floors thanks to a relatively dumb little robot called the Roomba).

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Disinformation featured artist: Mu Pan and Humanity’s Fundamental Need for Narrative

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Spider Woman。2015. 30″ x 44″Acrylic on paper.

Artist Statement

Mu Pan, born 1976, lives in Brooklyn NY

My work is quite simply about telling stories; stories in actual history, stories in imaginative history, and stories about human nature. I strongly believe in humanity’s fundamental need for narrative in visual imagery. To tell my stories, I often utilize animal forms, anthropomorphic or otherwise, in an effort to show the viewer the folly of human beings and the boundless power of animals. I draw references from the histories of China, Japan, and the United States, all of which have had a huge influence on my upbringing. Having been born into a military family, I am fascinated by battle scenes. Many such scenes in my work point to the irrevocable mistakes humans have made in the past. I re-create the historical scenarios in my own interpretation, perhaps to lament what we can no longer make up for, or perhaps to imagine that justice can prevail, if only in my image.… Read the rest

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“God Is Not A Christian. Nor a Jew, Muslim, Hindu” – Desmond Tutu

"Desmond Tutu 2013-10-23 001" by Libris Förlag - mynewsdesk. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Desmond Tutu 2013-10-23 001” by Libris Förlag – mynewsdesk. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Via Real Leaders:

In this exclusive interview with Real Leaders, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and social rights activist Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu says he is not threatened by the beliefs of others. He believes the world should become more aware of our shared humanity to avoid future conflicts.

You represent a very specific world view, Christianity, yet have managed to mediate between opposing belief systems and make people aware of their common humanity. How have you managed this? 

It doesn’t matter where we worship or what we call God; there is only one, inter-dependent human family. We are born for goodness, to love – free of prejudice. All of us, without exception. There is greater commonality in our belief systems than we tend to credit, a golden thread expressed in the maxim that one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself. 

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Report Reveals $8.5 Trillion Missing From Pentagon Budget

David B. Gleason (CC BY-SA 2.0)

David B. Gleason (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Via Crooks and Liars:

Yahoo Money’ The Daily Ticker  is reporting that is has discovered a Reuters investigation that reveals$8.5 trillion – that’s trillion with a “T” – in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996 that has never been accounted for.

You read that right. While Republican politicians rush to slash food stamps for the 47 million Americans living in poverty – the highest amount in nearly two decades –  Republican U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has the audacity to complain that $20 billion dollars in automatic sequester cuts to the massive and secretive $565.8 billion Defense Department budget are ” too steep, too deep, and too abrupt,” all while the Pentagon and the Defense Department are overseeing massive fraud, waste, and abuse.

For anyone wondering, Reuters reports that the D.O.D.’s 2012 budget totaled $565.8 billion, more than the annual defense budgets of the 10 next largest military spenders combined, including Russia and China.

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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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RITHIKA MERCHANT- Mosaics of Myths

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RITHIKA MERCHANT

Rithika Merchant (1986) deals with creating mosaics of myths that question received histories that are available to us throughout culture. An inherent feminism exists in her decoration undermining the minimalism of modernity that views a woman just as a muse.

In 2008 she graduated with a Bachelors in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design in New York. She has studied painting and conceptual practice at the Hellenic International Studies In The Arts in Paros, Greece. In 2008 she was a resident at the Convento Sao Francisco Mertola in Mertola, Portugal.

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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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A Disinformation Compendium: Imagines Deorum – The Religion of the Ancients

imaginesdeorumqu01cart_0213

 

Imagines Deorum, Qui ab Antiquis Colebantur: in quibus simulacra, ritus, caerimoniae, magnaq[ue] ex parte veterum religio explicatur

Translation:

Images of the gods, who were worshipped by the ancients, in which the images, rites, ceremonies, a grand spectacle of a part of the religion of the ancients is explained.

by Cartari, Vincenzo, b. ca. 1500; Du Verdier, Antoine, 1544-1600

Published 1581

Colophon: Lugduni, Excudebat Guichardus Iullieron Typographus, mense Sextilis, ann. 1581
Portrait of the translator, Antoine Du Verdier, illustration facing p. 1
Headpieces; initials; portraits; printer’s device
Printer’s device on title page–Cf. Silvestre
NUC pre-1956
Baudrier, H.L. Bib. lyonnaise
Silvestre. Marques typographiques — Includes a compendium of the various images of the gods (p. [2-26]) and an index (p. [27-56]) at the end

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