Tag Archives | Society

Automation Makes Us Dumb

FANUC R2000iB AtWork.jpg

“Human intelligence is withering as computers do more, but there’s a solution,” says Nicholas Carr in an essay for the Wall Street Journal:

Artificial intelligence has arrived. Today’s computers are discerning and sharp. They can sense the environment, untangle knotty problems, make subtle judgments and learn from experience. They don’t think the way we think—they’re still as mindless as toothpicks—but they can replicate many of our most prized intellectual talents. Dazzled by our brilliant new machines, we’ve been rushing to hand them all sorts of sophisticated jobs that we used to do ourselves.

But our growing reliance on computer automation may be exacting a high price. Worrisome evidence suggests that our own intelligence is withering as we become more dependent on the artificial variety. Rather than lifting us up, smart software seems to be dumbing us down.

It has been a slow process. The first wave of automation rolled through U.S.

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Veterans Day and the Last Day on Earth

Aaron Dames writes for Divided Core:

On the eve of Veterans Day, President Obama announced that he will send another 1,500 Americans troops to Iraq to advise the Iraqi military on how to fight militants in a civil war.

While not seeking Congressional approval for the troop surge, the White House intends to request $5.6 billion for this latest military campaign, the end of which is nowhere in sight. This at a time when cost of the decade-long war in Iraq has exceeded $2 trillion ($6,250 for each American citizen), which makes it one of the most expensive clusterfucks in modern history. Yet war spells profit for numerous weapons manufacturers (roughly half of all the weapons in the world are sold by the United States), military contractors, and oil companies, all of which have joined hands with the mainstream media to churn out war propaganda and lies while funding the election campaigns of unscrupulous politicians who later vote to re-direct taxpayer dollars to their corporate sponsors.… Read the rest

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Facing Up to the Capitalist Within

“Prayers on deck, slaves under the deck—John Newton’s Christian slave ship.” Credit: http://emmock.com/2013/01/22/bible-blog-945/

“Prayers on deck, slaves under the deck—John Newton’s Christian slave ship.” Credit: http://emmock.com/2013/01/22/bible-blog-945/

Georgie Wingfield-Hayes writes at openDemocracy:

It’s easy to blame the economic system for causing social and environmental problems, but what is that system built on? Isn’t it us?

John Newton (1725-1807) is best known for penning the hymn Amazing Grace in the later years of his life as a minister in the Church of England. In 1788 he published a pamphlet entitled Thoughts Upon the African Slave Trade, in which he spoke out strongly against what he called “a disgraceful branch of commerce.” But for much of his life Newton worked on slave ships, including four years as captain of his own vessel taking stolen African men and women to the American colonies.

Newton’s transition from slaver to minister and activist was inspired by one particular event. On a return journey to Liverpool in 1748, a great storm had threatened to sink his ship, and the fear he was forced to face affected him profoundly, changing his views about the people who were imprisoned beneath his feet.

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RoboLaw: Why and how to regulate robotics

smlp.co.uk (cc by 2.0)

smlp.co.uk (cc by 2.0)

via Robohub:

The issue is often raised whether robotics needs to be regulated. While some believe that there is no need to intervene because regulation may stifle innovation, others believe that indeed there is need to intervene since robotics may otherwise prove disruptive. However, both arguments are partial, and for this very reason wrong. Thanks to existing laws, a robot (like any other physical phenomenon) is already instantly regulated in the very moment materializes.

Contrary to popular belief, the law is faster than any technological development.

If a time machine was invented tomorrow and time travel became reality, every aspect of the machine would already be regulated before news of the device could be shared with the world. If the first time traveller did not come back from his or her trip to the past, that person’s spouse could, under existing legal frameworks, sue the inventors of the time machine and claim them liable for the accident.

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The Rise of the Barbarians and Why the United States Has Lost All Credibility

The Pale Blue Dot, the Earth suspended in a sunbeam like a mote of dust.  Image from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_Blue_Dot

The Pale Blue Dot, the Earth suspended in a sunbeam like a mote of dust.

Aaron Dames writes for Divided Core.

Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

– Hermann Goering

The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities.Read the rest

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Festivals, Politics, and Change

Some enlightening words by David Nickles, of the DMT-Nexus’ magazine – The Nexian:

We can collectively dream of worlds that surpass our wildest individual imaginings and bring them into being year-after-year—and we do. Is it really less conceivable that we could take actions in our daily lives to challenge the systems and structures that seek to deny us access to that which we need to survive? By all means, change yourself and your festival culture, but don’t stop there. Unless we act to dismantle the destructive cultural constraints that hold us hostage, our change will never manifest beyond personal revelations and state-sanctioned temporary autonomous zones. We know we are capable of incredible actions; now is the time to focus on ways to break free of the culturally-prescribed containers of festival settings and to build new worlds that truly realize our fundamental needs as human beings.

Humberto Braga recently wrote an article entitled “How and Why ‘Conscious’ Festivals Need to Change,” where he argued forgoing one year of Burning Man in order to buy our way out of dominant culture by building a techno-utopic retreat.

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Marty and Michael in Math Magic Land

Is there an Occulted Numeric Language Embedded Within Our Culture?

Via Midwest Real

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A visual representation of Pi to 10,000 digits.

I shan’t bullshit you my friends, I suck at math. If you forced me to do algebra with a gun to my head, the event could only end with my landlord having PTSD. I really wish that wasn’t the case, because numbers truly do fascinate me.Somehow, we can manipulate these immutable, immortal concepts in such a way that we’re able to extrude complicated objects into this world. Just take a look at all the amazing feats of engineering and architecture around you at this very moment that you’re taking for granted. It’s truly amazing, almost magical stuff. And it’s all there, at least in part, because of what we do with numbers.

Now that we’ve established that my mind is a burrito of mathematical ineptness and ignorant awe, perhaps I’m extra susceptible to being manipulated into being mesmerized by witnessing simple patterns, or mathematical slight of hand (we’ll get to that later).

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The Irreverent, Allegorical, Satirical, Psychedelic Opus That is Closure in Moscow’s Pink Lemonade.

Journey deep down the rabbit hole with Closure in Moscow and their allegorical, psychedelic opus that’s soaked in a perfectly balanced brine technology and satire.

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pink lemonadeThere’s no group of creatives that has it tougher than today’s musicians. Their craft is exceedingly simple to steal, consume, judge, then cast aside like yesterday’s Hot n’ Ready crust (what this shockingly red handed dork who looks like he went straight from a wedding to reviewing a 5 dollar pizza doesn’t tell you is that it’s the most inexcusable food of all time).

To be fair, we have a right to be skeptical. The vast majority of today’s music is formulaic, predictable, shallow, devoid of any deeper meaning and often crafted for the sole purpose of grabbing the attention of the nearest industry turd. Then there are bands like my guests, Closure in Moscow.

Closure has always leaned toward the “all-in” approach with their music, but their latest release, Pink Lemonade, pushes the chips forward like nothing I’ve ever heard before.Read the rest

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