power

Cry freedom

_MG_6660-Perseverance-Place-for-WebIs freedom now a zero-sum game? 

In the distant past, there were new lands to explore and colonise. Phase one – human freedom was on the rise.

Then came space constraints, leading to wars over resources, nationhood, human conquest and slavery. Some problems like global warming, wealth distribution inequality and global pollution grew to become almost unsolvable.  Phase two – overall human freedom grew, but much was offset.

Now, as the Internet of Things grows in prominence, will its freedom to operate, come at the expense of human freedom per se (Phase three)?

If we continue to obsess about Phase two shortcomings, then by the time we collectively think about Phase three, Phase four will be upon us…

The evolution of political representation:

  • Working people gain their own representation.
  • Women gain their own representation.
  • Children gain their own representation.
  • Gay people gain their own representation.
  • Trans-gender people gain their own representation.
  • Cyborg people gain their own representation.
  • AI systems gain their own representation.

If people were smart…

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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.

Fake it til you make it?

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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?

Emulate with extreme prejudice

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A’s hire other A’s. B’s hire C’s, because if they hire A’s, their B level performance will be laid bare. Morale: Hire an A to lead your organisation and radiate A’ness (not anus) outwards to everyone else.

Extreme ability is rare. Extreme talent is rare. Yet common sense is anything but common. Non leaders have talent and ability. Yet they choose not to stand out. Would they rather live in a World that could be so much more beautiful with their help?

Some leaders fail. To turn followers into team members. And team members into leaders of new teams. And so it goes.

Devolution piled high

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The UK post-election Tory government wants to push more decision-making powers onto English city mayors and their city or regional councils. Meanwhile the EU parliament takes more decision-making power away from Westminster each year. And the SNP will ensure Scotland gets greater devolution of decision making from Westminster in the future as well. Qu: After the EU referendum, if the UK stays in the EU club, will we then need a House of Commons at all? And if the need for the House of Commons reduces, how about abolishing the House of Lords at the same time?

On a related note, did the Tory’s ever look at creating a set of States and a ‘one House’ federal government, instead of devolving powers to the cities and regions.

Firstly the boundaries of the UK States/Cantons could be set to make them of roughly equal population size (based on an updated set of electoral boundaries). This will be more democratic than devolving powers to a set of city majors of areas of uneven population size.

Secondly, Britain could borrow the best of the Swiss system, with regular local referendums and a relatively weak federal, one house government. Since the population of each State would be a similar size to the current populations of Wales and Northern Ireland, a number of States could be created for London and about two for Scotland. All of the States could then provide per capita proportionate funding to run a federal government structure of modest size and budget to manage relationships with the EU and other countries on behalf of the UK States. Net result: the annual costs to run much of Westminster government (including the entire House of Lords) , all of the Welsh Assembly and all of the Scottish Parliament could be given to the NHS system.

That’s one referendum worth holding. My question: Would the overall cost of government be less and would democracy be strengthened by such a change?

Tech politics

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If Moore’s Law will continue for the foreseeable future, does it have a cousin keeping pace with it  – the growing  number of people unable to understand how technology works?

Are the people who care about technology advances, steadily becoming confined to just two groups only – those who will profit from them (designers and investors) and those who benefit from them by paying across their hard-earned cash (customers)? If so, how do governments socialise the advances of technology, so we all understand and care? Is there a political party out there campaigning for this?

Is this the best UK democracy can do?

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