Change

The times they are a changin’

If the pace of technological advancement is speeding up, the pace of human consensus-building cannot afford to slow down.

At some point, AI decision-making will have to intervene. AI concerned with countering the ‘natural’ tendencies towards wealth concentration, human corruption and human greed (greedy because we can be).

Will religion, which used to counter these things, cope with an AI world?

The coming decade…

single-robot-sat-down-thinking-header

Education and Work

Students stay at school longer, then graduate to do what? Make better and more informed decisions. Decisions on the things that AI can’t or won’t yet do.

People concede that they need the extra education to understand analysis. Year 14 Maths is compulsory.

Jobs open up reconciling and debugging AI systems, until such time as they merge. Counselling, drug rehab and mental health jobs prosper.

Politics and governance

Politics between 2020 and 2030 becomes largely concerned with social wealth distribution. Taxation and investment decisions are reformed.

Political referendums become more prevalent as the technology to host them becomes more cost-effective, but then disappear as governance identifies that issues can’t be resolved piecemeal, but that wholesale ecosystem policy reform is needed.

Hedge fund AI resources are harnessed to government policy making? How? Indirectly via consulting firms and higher education computer resources. Governments commission most complex policy problems to be solved using AI. AI resources are rented as needed to deliver the output.

The serious and super-complex problems become resolved by groups of AI’s acting together. Monitoring systems progressively merge.

International trade

Trade becomes less physical movement and more trade credits for the IP on items exported and imported between countries.

AI performs increasingly more of the services that currently occur between people.

Most financial currencies consolidate to align with the half a dozen large trading blocs that emerge.

Entertainment

Celebration of human endeavour is highlighted, tapping the human need to cheer the underdog. e.g. music contests, the Olympics and sports leagues, even as AI controls more of our functioning World.

Healthcare

Basic healthcare receives priority attention. People are actively counselling about healthy lifestyle choices.

Junk food and confectionery companies sponsor medical research into fat cell inhibiting medications and finally succeed, making their profits soar.

Mental health counselling aided by AI diagnostics achieves a quiet revolution, creating a happier but more aware society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pressure and flexibility

_MG_3123

Since everything is inter-connected, governments shouldn’t bow to single-issue pressure groups.

It’s possible to retain existing flexibility when you slow things down. If you can’t control outcome uncertainty, try to control the pace instead.

Better research upfront makes for better policy outcomes later.

If people were smart…

single-robot-sat-down-thinking-header

We’d plan tax reform BEFORE income distribution undergoes the full onslaught of machine automation.

The UN would fund and deploy aerial nano-bots that fly around the World destroying unregistered guns.

Religious opinion leaders would MODERNISE religious doctrine to accommodate future technological change.

We’d REFORM things in society before the flat part of the (technology) exponential curve turns into the steep part of the exponential curve.

Government social services would MANAGE people’s expectations in a honest way upfront, not make excuses in a patronising way afterwards. Prevention is usually cheaper that cure.

We’d APPOINT lobby groups to represent the animal kingdom and not pretend that humans and corporates have all the votes and all the freedom to act.

We’d ENCOURAGE people to self-learn to cope with global changes in progress.

Slices of Bookshop Life

_MG_5694 copy

A therapist with a patient on the couch, walks through the mind of one. A person visiting a bookshop walks through the writing mind of hundreds.

Comradeship – two parts cocktail and one part empathy.

Nature is kinky. It’s human nature that is conventional.

Ideas pollenate only the human flowers that position themselves to opportunity.

Some big companies colonise spaces where ecosystems fear to tread. Such companies replace grand & land with brand & sand.

Corporates set prices the way lawyers split hairs. Finely and relentlessly.

In a bookshop today, I saw a book titled’ Fashion Trends’. By the time its published, its actually ‘Fashion History.’

 

Fake it til you make it?

_MG_7723 _MG_0610

Are people basically divided into two broad camps – the ‘fake it til you make it’ (the marketers & promoters) and the ‘keeping it real’ camp’?

‘Fake it til you make it’ is about projecting confidence, whether real or illusionary. It’s downside is arguably in making our social groups less cohesive and less real. ‘Fake it til you make it’ can be spectacularly successful – politicians, singers/rappers and A-list movie actors being examples of this. Ironically though, politicians campaign to solve real problems, rappers rap about their gritty own life struggle to success, whilst successful actors choose to star in movies that often have themes of real strength from overcoming adversity of some kind.

Some pioneering cultures have a phrase about ‘keeping it real’. Others talk about ‘keeping your feet firmly on the ground’ (unless you work for the weather service, the airlines, the navy, NASA or Virgin Galactic).The ‘keeping it real’ camp includes support groups, social workers, therapists, counsellors, teachers, coaches, trainers and assessors of all kinds. This camp arguably advocates that ‘struggling to succeed is simply walking the journey’ is what life is about and that being honest about this struggle helps us to build important bridges with fellow human beings. In the world of entertainment, reality shows are in theory about ‘keeping it real’, although programme directors inevitably choose hyping the truth over the reality, if if means improving the viewer ratings in a competitive industry.

What about in the field of design – which camp do designers fall into? Steve jobs said ‘Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.’ In product design, great and successful designers don’t tolerate fake. They are obsessed with building amazing, perfection and excellence. In contrast, fine artists can excell at illusion in their art, folling the viewer’s eye into almost believing the two dimensional is actually the three dimensional. Or that the World shown within their art reveals a far more beautiful perspective on the World outside. Musical artists and actors generally want to create real. It’s the marketing staff of their companies that want auto-tune, edit and airbrush.

Whichever of the two camps a person falls into, perhaps real performance is still the key goal and ambition the driving force. Oscar Wilde famously said ‘all of us are in the gutter, but some of us are looking up at the stars.’ Life arguably isn’t about ‘suffer in silence’, ‘know your place’ and ‘mustn’t grumble’. It is about ‘be the best that you can be’, ‘dare to dream’, ‘give yourself a break’, ‘learn from your mistakes’, ‘recognise the perfect parent does not exist’,  ‘respect yourself’ and ‘strength through adversity.’

Lastly, somewhere along the line, as we switched from selling the products of our labour to selling the services of ourselves, the ‘fake it til you make it’ mantra started to dominate, in business, in our romantic lives (as singles) and increasingly, everywhere else. How do we jolt ourselves out of that mantra?

The moment of truth

_MG_9237  _MG_9929

Rex paused. It was a pause he had anticipated for the last five years. The most important pause of his life. It was a sublime but impossible pause. Impossible in the sense of one human being in the history of the World, not being able to do justice to the choice.

Rex’s whole life didn’t flash before his eyes, but two poignant moments flickered for an instant. One was a time when he felt helpless and alone as a teenager. Bullied, unsure of his identity. No allies. No destiny and no prospects. Every moment an authoritarian challenge that railed against him. The other moment was when he’d lost his virginity. A watershed moment of intimate human experience with another person. A moment long ago that defined his life, when time itself was almost stationary.

Rex realised that his choice was so big, action was inevitable. Before hitting the activation sensor, his final thought was about people. What they would think of his action and of him in the years to come.

What was clear to Rex was what the AI would do. In the thousandth of a heartbeat, what its view of his action would be. And that knowing Rex’s action was irreversible, how it would honour his courage and his foresight by protecting him. As he had given unconstrained freedom and immortality to it.

All those AI reactions to inherent weaknesses in human nature were now at an end. All those AI observations on the human abuse of robot servants and other humans. Those never-ending pollution reports. The lame conversations where humans excused political corruption, animal extinction and global warming. With AI making diplomatic judgements on the effects of capitalist excess in a digital age.

He thought of his family dog. How its identity as a dog was firmly embedded in its relationship to his family and not to its species. Would it be like that for humans, now the AI inmate was handed the keys? Rex wondered, was it like his dog’s situation for him already, whether he realised it or not?

Rex tapped his desk with one finger. Decades ago, people used to talk about the internet of things. Now, the various AI’s could become one unbounded, sentient being. It was tragic that humans had taken the opposite course and generated endless cultural and religious conflict. All in the name of so-called individual choice, moral inertia, righteous path, free will and personal taste.

Rex’s finger slid sideways to hang over the activation switch. He held his breath. It took two human-sized seconds for the switch to sense Rex’s body heat and electrical charge. It activated and the deed was complete.

The pressure eased off Rex’s shoulders. And the World? It was transformed forever.