There is no doubt anymore that informational science and technologies are growing at an exponential pace. As a result, many are beginning to use those technologies to augment and enhance their own biological substrate. It is the first time in history where there is now a growing population of cyborgs whom live among us.
For the first time in a quarter-century, we’re about to see a vacuum of political and intellectual leadership in the Democratic Party. An entire generation of leaders — including Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Bill and Hillary Clinton — will be leaving the political stage. With them will go an entire infrastructure of policy advisers, political strategists, associates, friends, and hangers-on.
So, literally overnight, we entered the stage of the great normalization. We’ve gone from the almost universal belief among the elites, media and a large number of the American public that electing Trump would be a disaster for the country, the economy, our liberty to an apparent shrug of the shoulders and sycophantic search for advantage in the new order.
As Donald Trump prepares to assume the presidency, Americans must learn to distinguish the ways he is uniquely terrible from the ways in which he is not so terribly unique — except as a matter of degree. His extreme behavior shouldn’t be “normalized,” to use the year’s newest word. But neither should the lies and deceptions of his more “respectable” colleagues.
I voted today and in spite of all the cynicism of my fellow citizens, I enjoyed it. I love going to my local polling place. I live in the mountains and have the luxury of knowing the people who work there, bumping into neighbors and never, ever having to wait in line. We may be the middle of nowhere, but our polling place rocks. Every vote of mine felt good, even the presidency. Those of you who follow my blog know I’m pro third party, so yes, I voted my conscience today, but more over I also got to vote for a US Senator, US Congressperson, State Assembly and TONS of ballot measures (I live in Cali—we had over 17 propositions!)
Toute une série d’articles de presse reprennent régulièrement ce thème vendeur des « robots tueurs d’emplois » : « Les robots, le chômage et les emplois de 2030 » (France Info, 10/05/2015), « Robots au travail : 3 millions d’emplois menacés en France d’ici 2025 » (La Voix du Nord, 25/05/2016)… En même temps, d’autres vont insister sur les nouveaux emplois créés (ingénieur-e-s, technicien-nes…) et soutenir qu’il n’y a pas de crainte à avoir : « Des centaines de milliers d’emplois créés par la robotique » (Monster, 16/04/2015), « La vérité sur les robots destructeurs d’emplois » (Slate, 06/06/2016).
Since its inception, the field of existential risk studies has recognized “bad governance” as an important factor that could modulate overall existential risk — or constitute an existential risk in its own right, if such governance were to gain global control.
In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election, various class-struggle leftists have been emphasizing neoliberalism as the culprit and highlighting the plight of the white working class. Proponents of these analyses exhort us to organize with the white working class for economic justice as a key component of antiracism.
Tis the season for post-mortems… for pompous declamations and dissections, explaining to us all what the F— just happened. And so, across the next week or so, I’ll offer summaries and links to a panoply of rationalizations for this bizarre turn of events. How liberals, conservatives and other pundits got it wrong… and what I think may be glimmers of actual insight.
If you ever had the opportunity, would you have sex with a robot? Keep in mind, when I reference robots, I’m not thinking about completely mechanized machines, with sharp ridges and gears. Rather, these robots would be the culmination of years of research in the fields of soft robotics, synthetic skin and organ printing, and artificial intelligence (AI). In other words, unless you were to cut them open, you wouldn’t be able to differentiate them from actual human beings
Access instead of Ownership
One of the most radical and potentially disruptive ideas for the near-term blockchain financial services market is Securities as a Service. Consider the music industry, where in the past, it was quite normal to purchase and own records and CDs, but now music is often accessed through digital media services like Spotify. There is access to music, but not much thought of ownership. “Listening to music” is the consumable asset, which is priced per network models for its access and consumption.
For the past two years, Zoltan Istvan has been campaigning for the US presidency on the Transhumanist Party, a largely one-man show which nevertheless remains faithful to the basic tenets of transhumanism. Now suppose he won. Top of his policy agenda had been to ensure the immortality of all Americans. But even Zoltan realized that this would entail quite big changes in how the state and society function. So, shortly after being elected president, he decides to hold a national referendum on the matter.
As William Gibson has famously pointed out, the job of the science fiction writer is not to predict the future but to construct one plausible version of it from the pieces already laying around. I assume that Malka Older was trying to do this deliberately low key Gibsonian thing with her novel Infomacracy, but given the bizarre nature of this current election cycle she instead, and remarkably, ended up anticipating not merely many of its real or feared events, but even ended her novel on the same note of exhaustion and exasperation and even dread resulting from the perceived failures of representative democracy now expressed by many among the elites, and from another the other angle, the young.
Before Bill Gates was a billionaire, before the power, the cultural cachet, and the Robert Downey Jr. portrayals, computers were for losers who would never get laid. Their potential was of course independent of these considerations, but Steve Jobs could become one of the richest people on Earth because he was fascinated with, and dedicated time to, something that cool kids — specially from the wealthy families who could most easily afford access to them — wouldn’t have been caught dead playing with, or at least loving.
Standing as we are with our nose so tightly pressed against the glass, it’s impossible to know what exactly the current, crazy presidential election will mean, not just for American, democracy, but for the future of democracy itself. Of course, much of this depends on the actual outcome of the election, when the American public will either chose to cling to a system full of malware, corrupted and buggy, yet still functional, or risk everything on a hard reboot. This would include the risk that we might never be able to reset the clock to the time before we had plunged over the abyss and restore an order that while outdated, ill-designed, and running up against the limits of both still managed to do the job.
Fellows Kevin LaGrandeur and John Danaher were interviewed by Future Left about the potential impact of automation and computerization on the future of the American workforce. Their comments are included in an initiative to get theAmerican presidential to address this issue in their platforms, and their comments are also included in an article here.