Saturday 20 December 2014

Kevin Kelly - Critical Uncertainties

About 4 years I made a list of critical uncertainties for me. Things I had no clue which way they would go in the future. Would you add any?
What, if anything, will slow down China?Possible answers: internal revolution, population decline, environmental realities, absolutely nothing.
What information will people not share with each other?They share medical records, purchases, dreams, sex fantasies. What about their taxes?
How many devices do we want to carry?Ten, two, one, or none?
What will modernize Islam?Will Islam's "Reformation" be political, theological, violent, or glacial?
How much bandwidth is enough?We have enough pixels in a camera, enough hi-fi in our music, how many gigs/s before we no longer think about it?
Will we trust governments or corporations more?Who do we want to run our education, libraries, police, press, courts, licenses, and communication networks?
What is the "natural" price of a book, movie, or song?Once distribution and production costs fall or disappear, what will we charge for creations?
Will (or where will) the future ever become cool again? Optimism is a necessary ingredient for innovation. What will renew it?
How bad are the harmful effects of surfing the net?Are the bad effects of short attention temporary, inconvenient, or fatal?
Is nuclear fusion (synthetic solar) economically possible? Making energy like the sun does might too cheap to meter or as uneconomical as a perpetual motion machine.
When will Moore's Law stop?At least 90% of our progress today hinges on cheaper, faster computation every year. Stop one, stop the other.
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Saturday 13 December 2014

Obama's valedictory should Echo Eisenhower's: Beware the Military-Industrial Complex

Fifty years ago, Dwight Eisenhower delivered what has become, with the possible exception of George Washington's departing speech, the best-known presidential farewell address in U.S. history. In his valedictory, Ike famously warned against "unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex." That final phrase entered the political lexicon almost immediately, signifying the notion that a permanent ruling class, encompassing the Pentagon and its corporate suppliers, was on the verge of controlling the American government, even in peacetime.

Eisenhower's advice has largely been ignored, but remains a strong ideological stand against the power elite, also known as the plutonomy, that controls the United States.

Obama is NOT a lame duck president. His flagship initiative, the Affordable Care Act, also known oft derisively as Obamacare is a great step forward for most Americans. But I feel he needs to make a stand on foreign policy, the plutonomy and America's emerging police state.

I am sure that time will validate Obamacare, it aim's to introduce some of what we in the rest of the Anglosphere take for granted, namely affordable healthcare for all citizens. Fox news and the Plutonomy that governs America may rail against it but the key to America's success in the 21st century is to remediate the inequality  that separates the financial elite from the rest of American society.

When the Roman Empire had reached its height, and was already in terminal decline, Rome had 1.2 million people, dwarfing other major cities. 600 thousand of them were slaves to the top one percent. Rome, like America had by this point stopped serving its citizens and instead served the interests of it's military industrial complex and their global ambitions. In Rome's case what this lead to was the outsourcing of war to cheaper 'barbarian' Germanic forces. These German warriors went on to turn on their former masters and gain absolute power and in the process ravaged and destroyed much of western civilisation, bringing on which we now regard as the Dark Ages.

I know Obama does not support the military industrial complex. He has kept America out of middle eastern conflicts even at the expense of being perceived as a foreign policy 'lame duck' . Obama is a power speaker who can make his thoughts resonate in a way that Eisenhower's valedictory speech did, even if it takes 50 years to be appreciated.

My health routine