thinking

The coming decade…

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

Creatives and Suits

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Are there just two types of people in the World, whether we’re talking about strong and weak, beautiful and ugly, cowardly and heroic, patient and impatient, logical and non logical, emotional and non emotional, or creative and non creative?

Personally, I think everyone exists on a spectrum of all of these things and more. People are complex with unique combinations of genes and personalities. Amongst the wider population, there are probably all sorts of combinations on a sliding scale of these things. And on a changing basis, minute by minute.

Humans love to generalise and pigeonhole people – it is both entertaining and lazy thinking combined. Creatives and suits, Vulcans and bleeding heart liberals, left and right wing, male and female, young and old, have-a-go heroes and those who live life vicariously.

I believe all of us are capable of change and on our own unique journeys of development, influenced by the school of hard knocks, the inspiring people we meet, the knowledge we uncover and things like parenthood or the death of someone we love, which change us forever.

We might choose jobs and careers that emphasise different things to onlookers, but even the most structured jobs can have their creative problem-solving moments, requiring human solutions. We all solve problems daily. Is solving a problem non creative? So-called logical people can use intuition, show initiative and spontaneity and have aspects of their life that are repetitive and creative, whether in work or play.

True scientists, like statisticians, seek patterns and underlying relationships. They also accept that the real World is full of rich spectrums, not binary examples. Neuro-surgeons and mental health doctors alike know that the human brain is complex and not categorised into simple left and right brain thinking people. Design may be creative with execution non creative, or visa versa.

Perhaps we should just abolish the phrase ‘visa versa’ and replace it with ‘visa versatile’?

Going off the reservation, taking the road less travelled, taking a walk on the wild side…

dont-give-up  Kids boredom

In my experience, it’s the small tributaries of the river, the overlooked pockets, and the unexpected that offer the most value. Whether you’re a traveller, a student, an explorer, a researcher, or an investigator, what is fresh, what’s genuine and what is original, is the stuff outside the mainstream and off the beaten track. Another aid is in joining up our unexpected insights from one ‘tributary’ with those of another. And by holding two opposing ideas or concepts in your head (as a traveller, reflecting on what you see through local values and through your own cultural values is an example of this). In some ways, stating all this is blindingly obvious, but in others, it’s revealing a pathway to the sublime & subtle.

We make progress as a species, as a culture and as individuals, by pushing our buttons. By pushing our boundaries, making improvements and gathering new insights. So far, we’ve done this faster than any other species, except perhaps viruses. And it’s been high-growth-off-a-high-base too.

Is human love more advanced than the love shown in other species? It’s hard for us to see, even when as researchers and nature filmers, we’re looking hard. The love an animal mother shows for its offspring, given its mental and sensory capabilities, is probably just as valid as human love for other people, given our own mental and sensory capabilities. And arguably, we’re more prone to cruelty and indifference than other species too. Especially since our awareness of the World (and the Universe) is so much greater.

Finally, is it wrong to let our children get bored? On the list of wrongness towards children, I doubt it figures in the top ten, although you may disagree. However, given the direction the World is going, we’re going to need to maximise human creativity like never before.

Like for many things, the earlier you start, the more proficient you can become. Perhaps already, we provide:

-too much of too few types of entertainment and

-entertainment without mental challenge,

to the younger generations (and ourselves). As an aside, we arguably produce too much content that simply feeds our basic emotions and prejudices too.

Technology that encourages people:

-to screen out the complexities of life that we should not ignore,

-to screen out the information we need, to make informed decisions with, as parents, as voters and as citizens,

isn’t something to be applauded and worshipped. Instead, we should be critical of it and demand better. All of us, including our kids need to become those critics.

United (in basic principles) we stand, divided we all fall

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The chair that we sit on to project our influence into the World is made stronger by 5 equal sized legs – family, national identity, regional/local identity, belief group and friendship group. Take one away, or choose to let them become of massively unequal size and you will sink down…

No religion (ideas and values) can remain stuck in the past, any more than science (ideas and information), political ideology (ideas and values) or legal system (principles rules and values) can remain stuck in the past. Those that cannot see this cannot realistically expect to lead their religion, their science community, their political party, or their branch of the legal system.

TAB

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Thinking – tip-toeing through the mind field.

Acting – fooling out of love.

Believing – a conviction doing time.