Archive for February, 2016

The technozombie invasion

February 13, 2016

RE: How Technology is Compromising the Human Condition
(How Technology Is Turning Us Into Zombies)

This happens every time.

When reading and writing was introduced kids stopped looking to the elderly for wisdom and the elderly stopped looking to provide it. When enough reading and writing was done people gave up on language design, language stopped evolving rapidly.

I’d go as far as to say that towns and cities no longer needed their own intelligent people to ponder life and inspire action. It all happened increasingly far away.

Radio was a similar milestone, now the songs of each town could be forgotten in favor of screaming boxes. The people use to make music themselves before the radio took over.

Television, this device had people sink into a thoughtless coma. There was a time when the majority would watch TV when they woke up and get back to it when they got home again. Kids no longer looked to their parentsĀ  for wisdom and parents stopped providing it.

Computers, the web and the mobile web are highly similar events. Most notably in that all of the above were introduced as a revolution in information access. That is the only sad part about it: We didn’t govern the process of adoption to be that beautiful thing it could have been.

Not sure where to put it but even drugs could go on the list, drugs can give enlightenment, ease pain and give you a fresh view on life. No need to agree necessarily, we can still agree what happens when consumption becomes an uncontrolled process.

Food can be educative and nurturing until one starts stuffing random things in uncontrolled amounts. The steam engine, cars and planes each made great contributions to society but if one never gets any exercise one slowly withers away, the convenience kills us collectively.

I’d go as far as to say that not countries but time no longer needs its own intelligent people pondering life and inspiring action. The dead wrote “all” of these things down for us, they build this civilization we ended up living in. It is not ours, we are disqualified from tinkering with it. We might desire to and put effort in it, the masses will just move on to the next stage of unisex assimilation.

Perhaps the best we may hope for is for nature to do her thing and create compatible sub species. We seem well on our ways. The zombies are many and they hunger but they are slow and unsophisticated, they wont necessarily succeed eating our brains.

Maybe we should just laugh about it.

Remove necessities from capitalism to empower it

February 3, 2016

What would happen to the modern world if we had not to work for money? Work doing what we love? In short, if we did not need the money to buy our goods? As would acquire our goods? Which could be an exchange instrument?

While the result depends on how you implement it we lack the ability to guess the result. Our mind is funny in that we attribute value to our guesses without much consideration for complexity. Likewise, it is impossible to compensate for our own bias. If the hypothetical is complex enough to make guessing impossible we end up purely reflecting our personal experience in life. The topic is not at all relevant anymore. You may for example take any useful idea, business or technology that really had a huge impact on society and imagine or read what people thought of it before it was done by others.

To take a silly example, work on binary transmission in the form of the telegraph was started around 1830. Some 50 years later the first wireless signal was received. From our perspective looking back it should have been entirely obvious what to do with it. 20 years later, in 1901, a signal was send over the Atlantic. It wasn’t that the whole world envisioned in advance what amazingly useful thing this could be. I remember when a car phone was commonly considered something silly. We could have had mobile phones many decades earlier, maybe not a computer but a box that sends and receives text messages is not much more revolutionary than the telegraph.

One could argue it is an obvious development but apparently the obvious is still outside our average ability to guess.

In contrast, your idea has many not very obvious angles. Even if we assume such a system to be easy to build there is no way to tell what would happen if you lift people out of the ME-ME-ME capitalist utopia and put them in this completely alien place.

If we further assume people would be quick to adapt and see the glory of the new world it would only take one or two generations before the “great” example of how not to run society is forgotten. Someone might make a similar topic in a similar place where people ponder the idea to create a currency and use it to trade apples for oranges. Some would argue it simply can not work while others would find the idea fascinating. The arguments wouldn’t be very different from the ones posted here.

I therefore take some liberties with your question and take it as to ask what would happen if we ripped the necessities of life out of the hands of capitalism, nationalize this 5-10% of the economy and allow charles ponzi and his frenemies to play their game with everything else. We would no longer *need* to work for that what sustains us, we would work for everything else one can have. This has countless attractive properties that are guaranteed to work.

If housing, food, drink, cloths and medical care, water, electricity, internet, telephone are provided our wages could be much much lower which would give an immense boost to the economy.

Likewise, if everyone can go to school without complexities the economy will benefit immensely. We could enjoy all kinds of experience by taking up unpaid internships.

Working, rather than a means to earn a living could become a learning opportunity.
As long as the employer doesn’t have to pay you he wont mind putting you to work, again the economy grows.

Currently almost everyone needs full time employment simply to sustain himself, this means businesses have to be designed as stable as possible. The design goal is not to become what they can become, stability is much to important to ignore. In the current paradigm, no matter how hard you try, you always have to many or to few employees.

If working hours would be reduced and people had a lot more training and experience we would have a system with great redundancy. As soon as your business needs a hand we have plenty of skilled idle hands willing to jump in right now – for the right price.

Likewise, if you have to much employees for the amount of work at hand you can simply send people home. It isn’t a death sentence anymore, you spend a week on the beach and return all refreshed. One can simply work much harder after a vacation and one is much more motivated without the axe hanging over your head.

Rather than treating workers like children who need to be taken care of our business people can focus on their business. (they are actually good at that) Rather than employees distracting them with important financial problems the employee can help grow the business. If the violin market is slow and making violins is your passion you can just continue to go to work and make violins without getting paid for the labor.

The capitalists would end up creating so much wealth most wouldn’t dare to complaint about it. Complaints will come from people who currently sit on their ass extracting wealth from everyone else. They are the cause of world hunger, inequality, wars, etc By definition they are not bringing value to the table.

Things would look the same but work very different.

A store for example would be a building where products are sold for what they cost to make – in stead of 95% going towards the mortgage and employees who also have to pay rent and buy food in similar stores where 95% of their money again vanishes.

You think you are buying ice cream but in reality you are paying the rent for the toy maker who made a toy for the kid of the guy working in the ice cream factory. If we cut out the rent seeking ice cream is mostly water, if you pay the 5 cent for it or not doesn’t make much of a difference.

Tractors are cheap for the amount of food they produce, if the crop is not something exotic the guy driving the tractor can simply be employed by government. Challenging or luxury types of agriculture like say making wine are not real necessities and can/should be done in a commercial setting. If there is no real innovation going on government can organize it. It wont be madly efficient but it shall be robust and stable.

Finally, the most miraculous thing that would happen is that nasty jobs would first pay amazingly well, this in turn would motivate us to automate as much of them as possible. If you cant get a cheap wage slave to brush your toilet for you you might as well have it coated with nano-materials that repel all dirt and buy that robot arm that scrubs the tiles tirelessly the year round. People would design those for fun in their free time, optimize manufacturing for fun, with cheap labor abundantly available the arm can be produced on a large scale making it even more affordable for a larger audience.

Our economy is so sluggish because we’ve put way to many people in jobs that do not contribute sufficiently to the bottom line, our system doesn’t motivate us to automate tasks that can be done by machines. Every time we refuse to automate a task we lose one person to a task that really shouldn’t exist. Society as a whole still has to provide for the guy only he isn’t giving something back, it only seems like he does. We are wasting all kinds of resources that we can use some place else or are finite. When people work they destroy the whole planet, to have useless jobs is a grave mistake.

Thanks for your time, its been fun.