The future looks bright (and shiny from the light bouncing off the robotic work force.)


Rosy never wanted to render us useless — did she?
A future full of robots. AI bots. Artilects they call them. Bots of every mundane variety. Bots of high level tasks too. Bots supplanting nearly every human endeavor, every human job, every need for work to get itself done. “Get r’ done” Larry would say. Little did we know that that “r” stood for robot.

One of the rosy pictures the happy futurists etch on their iPads is one where humans are freed from the drudgery and toil of hundreds of mundane jobs. Well, we’ve already had that now haven’t we. Brown collar workers, that is, farmers, were the first to go. Then blue collar was next on the list for elimination of grinding toil brought on by robotic automation. Now transbots are on the move soon to replace the eyes and ears and innate GPS of drivers everywhere. Soon AI bots, those artilects, are slated to, in tandem with all the other previously successful robotic replacements, replace easily half of the world’s population in those burdensom, mundane, wage earning jobs.
But that’s OK. No, it’s more than OK, it’s bloody well grand!

Those of us, those millions of us, will be able to settle back and start our little artisanal businesses. You know the type: some will brew beer, bottle wine, distill whiskey. Others will bake bread and sweets. Some will weave and sew and knit. Thousands of others will paint and sculpt, weld steel, blow glass, throw pots. And a fair number of us may sit down and pen away, dreaming up all the epic stories that have yet to be dreamt. Ah, Maggie, can’t ya see it? Won’t it be glorious!

And all those shiny methodical robots will be shuffling about cleaning this, delivering that. Growing our food, taking care of our elders, maintaining and fixing and building and doing all the things our robotic economy will need to get done.

But, you know Jon-Tom’s pub down the street there? The one where he sells that wondrous dark barley ale with the hint of rosemary? Yeah, I’m afraid to say I can no longer afford it. Ol’ Jon-Tom is asking $10.00 a pint now, his expenses being so high. He has to pay for all that grain that the robots grow you know. And you know who owns the robots and the land under the grain right? Yeah, it’s the masters there. The ones who live up on the hill surrounded by their own private robotic police force. So, yeah. I don’t buy Jon-Tom’s fine ale anymore. Can’t afford that savory bread Sonja across town sells either; too dear. Seems that not only does her grain costs so much, but she has to pay for robo-delivery too.

No bread, no beer. No cheese either, same tale. I’ve had to sell all the sculptures I’ve carved (and a few of my tools too) to buy wool clothing for the kids. I’m a fair one with a chisel and gouge you see. I sure wish I could get a job of some sort so that I could pay for the comm-connect my children need to learn their lessons and all the great stuff they have on that KnowledgeNet. But I can’t even afford that. But we survive. The government continues to deliver our human stipend and so we can still buy McDonalds. Those burgers only cost a dollar! I don’t know what’s in ‘em but if it weren’t for them I’m sure we’d all starve. And the ‘Donaldbots that make and serve the food there are darn quick on the job.

Our robotic future is coming. Sure there are hundreds of thousands of existing robotic workers humming along away right now. Well oiled and silent their complaints are a bare whisper. But these are just the first salvo of the robotic arsenal that’s being fired over the wall. With population projections topping 9 billion souls by 2050, you can imagine that we’ll have at least 1 billion TinMen chopping their way into our workforce by then. No one knows the impact 50% automation of all work will have on humanity. But we can get an inkling: current there are 50 million folks on food stamps; shadow unemployment of 15 to 20%, tens of thousands of jobless college graduates. Now double or triple those numbers in the coming decades. That sure is one shiny looking future to me.

The App Economy

In response to:
I see history’s progress as a shift from:
Decentralized to centralization back to decentralized again?
For instance:
From trade craft, blacksmiths, millers, silversmiths, saddlers, bakers, peasants, farmers, hunters, inns, taverns, taxi-drivers, village markets
corporations, large conglomerates, industrial farmers, dispatch centers, market exchanges
The age of the social sharing ‘app’, Uber, Lyft, AirBnb, Angie’s List.
With the app economy, we must trust digital shadows of people and the comments left in this realm about such shadow people. In the distant history we looked people in the eye to judge the trust level. Now? On the net no one knows you’re a dog. Authenticity will always be a problem on the net. And it may be that only those who can afford the authentic credentials will be deemed worthy of trust.

To be a prophet…

Clark rule #2:
To prophesize accurately of future technological, social, evolutionary or cataclysmic events or eventualities one must exceed the probable, or even the possible and delve into the impossible. Prophets do not see what is 20 or 40 years from now, prophets see what cannot be seen, prophets see what appears to be impossible today but will be possible tomorrow.

A prophecy must seem outlandish. Crazy. Absurd. 


Earth ailment documentaries

Is anyone else noticing the increasing frequency of “Earth ailment documentaries”? It seems like almost every Nat Geo, or Discovery documentary these days deals with some new insidious emanation of planetary illness. Chesapeake Bay stripers’ bacterial infection, albatross chick bellies full of plastic (mistaken for fish by the parents), an Exxon Valdez worth of oil leaking from cars in the world — every 8 months! The list is growing, diverse and often strange. Years ago there were mostly documentaries on new technological, biological or astronomical discoveries. These days it’s nothing but problem after problem.

And it’s not like these shows are repetitive or obscure. The incidents and evidence generally shown is convincing and for the most part, alarming. Alarming as the areas affected, the ecosystems are vast. Am I just tuned more acutely to the planet’s problems these days or are we simply entering into a phase of escalating biome degradation that may simply never stop?

For instance, I recently read that the World Health Organization has claimed that the advanced evolution of crippling bacteria may soon shadow the AIDs epidemic. That the lack of new and effective antibiotics, and the dearth of pharmaceutical companies willing to forgo profits for the sake of humanity, are going to allow simple infections, a scrape or a cut, to kill us.

Bisphenol.A, a plastic chemical, leaches from many plastics and emulates estrogen in vertebrate animals. Plastic is a compound built to last nearly forever, yet most plastic we use owe use for only minutes and then we dispose of it. You’d think we should find better purposes for such compounds.

Massive algae blooms caused by fertilizer and sewage outflows creating deadzones of oxygen depleted water.

Huge schools of massive jellyfish eating everything it their path.


Campaign contribution limits

Here’s an idea for  Campaign Contribution Limits.

The Supreme Court of the United States’ recent Citizens United and McCutcheon rulings beg to be translated into Constitutional Amendments. Citizens United should be reigned in by Amendment #28 “Corporations are not People.” 

And the McCutcheon ruling, what of it? Individual campaign contributions should be gated, but how? If you are politically active what might you contribute to the candidate of your choice? What about what the average U.S Citizen can earn in a day? Yeah, a day’s wage perhaps. That seems reasonable. So what is a day’s wage? What is the average American’s daily wage? Well, let’s go find out.

From this image:
it looks like the average daily income would equal:
$52,000 / 365 = $142.00
Hmm, that seems reasonable.
U.S. Constitutional Amendment #30: 
“Citizen contributions, to any single political candidate, shall be limited, per annum, to the maximum of one day’s value of the national average daily gross income as determined at the first day of the year.”
[Amendment #29 remains as “Non-sequential terms for all U.S. Congresspersons”]


Southern Pacific Gaea’s island – GaeaLand

The Keeling oscillation of ~7ppm CO2 every six months seems to indicate that there is a considerable variation of the uptake ability of the Northern Hemisphere to capture (and release) CO2. If humanity could simulate 10%-20% of this uptake using the similar mechanisms that the top half of the planet uses – but in the bottom half we could help alleviate some of the inevitable rise to 450ppm.

So the question is, how to simulate the affects of the Northern Hemisphere? How to simulate the taiga and boreal forests in the oceans below 30 degrees south? Simulate but with a mind toward sequestration. Grow huge swaths of kelp that would die and sink every May. Design buoyant mangrove forests that could float across the southern India and Pacific oceans. Imagine building huge rafts of unrecyclable Styrofoam, and plastics, of wood refuse, and whatever else could be cobbled together and floated down and anchored in the South Pacific. Then start growing floating forests there. Imagine the fishery that would spawn (ha) from such an endeavor. Imagine a human made floating forest island the size of Greenland. Gaea’s island – GaeaLand.