What did IEET visitors read, watch, and bicker about in May? Sex & gender, religion & atheism, robots, psychopaths, death, space, and the self were all popular topics. Statistics with links are provided to the Top 12 in three categories:
Today around the globe too many atrocities are being committed with impunity in the name of god, allah and other constructs, which have over the ages, been identified or associated with the so called supreme being. The dream of a secular peaceful world where people of all faiths and none can coexist in harmony - continues to elude many across the region. Millions of people- theists and atheists- continue to suffer and are abused due to superstition, religious fundamentalism and supernaturalism. In this piece I will focus on two of such areas.
In this essay, I outline Five futures for Pakistan: (1) the Pendulum continues forever, (2) Collapse, (3) Joining Chindia, (4) the Great Game, and (5) a South Asian Confederation. The most familiar and likely are based on the pendulum of rule by the military and rule by landlord/politicians. However, what is needed is to move from the more likely and less desirable futures to a process of anticipatory democracy where the citizens of Pakistan consider, create and commit to building their preferred future.
As one of the world’s oldest professions, prostitution has historically often been relegated to the dark corners of human society, scarcely mentioned and generally ignored as much as possible. When it does emerge into mainstream discourse it is inevitably followed by the predictable group polemics which accompany almost every social issue of our time, generating fierce and often entrenched debate across the political spectrum.
The claim that robots are taking our jobs has become so commonplace of late that it’s a bit of a cliché. Nonetheless, it has a strong element of truth to it. Not only are machines taking “blue collar” factory jobs—a process that’s been underway for years, and no longer much of a surprise except when a company like Foxconn announces it’s going to bring in a million robots (which are less likely to commit suicide, apparently)—but now mechanized/digital systems are quickly working their way up the employment value chain.
Are humans becoming obsolete in the workforce? Many experts believe the answer is yes. The amazing win for IBM’s Watson computer over humans on the quiz show Jeopardy, proved that automated systems are getting closer to reaching human intelligence levels.
The demand is rising for enhancement technologies. A recent article at Forbes argues the market is ripe for a means of cognitive augmentation, hypothesizing “IQ” as the next trillion dollar business. And culturally, more are becoming comfortable with the idea of using technology to improve their mood, physiological well-being, creativity, and performance.
Asian economies managed to progress from starvation in the 1960s to the top tier of development and wealth. In 1981 East Asia had the highest poverty rate in the world, higher than Africa. In 2011 two of the top three economies in the world were from East Asia, and very soon they might have three out of four including the number one.
It appears that a small cabal of the Good Billionaires—those who got rich through innovation and who feel loyal to the future—are about to to fund a new effort worth some excitement and attention. It aims at transforming not just our Earth—but the whole solar system. And, along the way, this endeavor may help bootstrap us back into our natural condition… a species, nation and civilization that believes (again) in can-do ambition.
While taking the train from Hong Kong to Shenzhen last night, I started chatting with Ruiting Lian about seasteading, and before long I came up with what may possibly be the wackiest workable business model ever: a seastead focused on creating and experimenting with psychedelics, with a dual business model of psychedelic tourism, and patenting of newly discovered psychedelic-related psychotherapeutics.
On April 10, 2012, I spoke at the San Francisco Swissnex office on a panel entitled “Data is* the New Oil.” When I was told the title of the panel, it struck me as an odd metaphor. Oh, I understand the intent: oil was the fuel for the 20th century industrial economy, and information is the fuel for the 21st. But oil has a key characteristic that simply isn’t true for data.
Experts believe this could be the final straw driving society towards a work-free life From assembly line robots, to ATMs, to self-checkout terminals, each year automated systems take over more jobs formerly held by humans. Now, experts predict that many professional jobs are at risk. Teachers, doctors, and governing officials, could all be replaced by intelligent systems in the near future.
In just three decades between 1990 and 2020, the internet will have grown from linking just a few experts in labs to connecting the entire human species through computers and mobile phones as well as billions of objects into an “Internet of Things,” a seamless web of infinite data. As a result, we have transitioned from the familiar Information Age into the uncertain Hybrid Age, an era in which technology is rapidly becoming ubiquitous, intelligent, and social, radically transforming our societies, markets, and governance.
Last year I predicted that the Chinese bubble will burst soon, and that it’s unlikely that China will become the biggest economy in the world any time soon, contrary to what most analysts predict (See The great illusion?). Now it looks like India might also disappoint, although for completely different reasons.
In a survey taken of over 4,000 scientists across the globe, 70% of whom were men, researchers found that people consider science a “family unfriendly” career. Over half of survey respondents said that work clashed with family responsibilities several days per week. While women in the sciences have long complained of problems with work/family life balance, this is one of the first studies to reflect widespread male dissatisfaction with the same issue.
We asked “Do you believe in a universal Basic Income Guarantee? What amount would be satisfactory?” More than half of respondents approved of a universal stipend of something between the poverty level and the median income, and another 9% approved of a universal stipend of something less than the poverty level.
Depending on how you want to think about it, it was funny or inevitable or symbolic that the robotic takeover did not start at MIT, NASA, Microsoft or Ford. It started at a Burger-G restaurant in Cary, NC on May 17, 2010. It seemed like such a simple thing at the time, but May 17 marked a pivotal moment in human history.
These words are being written from the veranda of a small house in an African valley, in the hour just before dawn. In the past week I’ve met people from Pakistan, Great Britain, Iraq, Australia, New Zealand and several other countries, as well as South Africans from all backgrounds. And they’ve all asked me the same thing: What’s going to happen with the Occupy movement?
(CNN) —A whole lot of us are stuck with credit-card debt that goes up each month, mortgages worth more than our homes and student loans that extend into infinity. So it’s only natural that we look at the debt crisis from the bottom up: from the perspective of the 99% who are getting screwed.
In view of current and recent turmoil throughout the Middle East, a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem seems ever more distant. Basically, a solution can only come from direct talks between Israel and a unified Palestinian Authority, but stable Arab regimes are essential and a prerequisite, as, realistically speaking, a solution is unthinkable without the granting of citizenship to all refugees, in Jordan, in Syria, in Lebanon, and elsewhere.
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon recently said that he felt safer in Lebanon than he did when Occupy marched past his house. If nothing else, it proves that Wall Street bankers haven’t gotten any better at risk management—the art of knowing where danger lies and avoiding it—than they were when their bad bets crashed the economy and caused the Great Recession.
Future Flesh is squatting on your plate. Are you nervous? Stab it with a fork. Sniff it. Bite! Chew, swallow. Congratulations! Relax and ruminate now because you’re digesting a muscular invention that will massively impact the planet.