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Tag Archives: article
Posted: August 23, 2016 at 9:31 am
Offshoring is the relocation of a business process from one country to anothertypically an operational process, such as manufacturing, or supporting processes, such as accounting. Typically this refers to a company business, although state governments may also employ offshoring. More recently, offshoring has been associated primarily with the outsourcing of technical and administrative services supporting domestic and global operations from outside the home country (“offshore outsourcing”), by means of internal (captive) or external (outsourcing) delivery models.
India has emerged as a key offshoring destination over the past 15 years. The term is in use in several distinct but closely related ways. It is sometimes used broadly to include substitution of a service from any foreign source for a service formerly produced internally to the firm. In other cases, only imported services from subsidiaries or other closely related suppliers are included. A further complication is that intermediate goods, such as partially completed computers, are not consistently included in the scope of the term.
Offshoring can be seen in the context of either production offshoring or services offshoring. After its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, the People’s Republic of China emerged as a prominent destination for production offshoring. Another focus area has been the software industry as part of global software development and developing global information systems. After technical progress in telecommunications improved the possibilities of trade in services, India became a country leading in this domain, though many parts of the world are now emerging as offshore destinations.
The economic logic is to reduce costs, sometimes called labor arbitrage, to improve corporate profitability. Jobs are added in the destination country providing the goods or services (generally a lower-cost labor country), but are subtracted in the higher-cost labor country. The increased safety net costs of the unemployed may be absorbed by the government (taxpayers) in the high-cost country or by the company doing the offshoring. Europe experienced less offshoring than the United States due to policies that applied more costs to corporations and cultural barriers.
Offshoring is defined as the movement of a business process done at a company in one country to the same or another company in another, different country. Almost always work is moved because of a lower cost of operations in the new location. More recently, offshoring drivers also include access to qualified personnel abroad, in particular in technical professions, and increasing speed to market. Offshoring is sometimes contrasted with outsourcing or offshore outsourcing. Outsourcing is the movement of internal business processes to an external organizational unit. Outsourcing refers to the process by which an organization gives part of its work to another firm / organization and makes it responsible for most of the applications as well as the design of the enterprise business process. This process is done under restrictions and strategies in order to establish consistency with the offshore outsourcing organizations. Many companies nowadays outsource various professional areas in the company such as e-mail services, payroll and call center. These jobs are being handled by other organizations that specialize in each sector allowing the offshoring company to focus more on other business concerns . However, subcontracting in the same country would be outsourcing, but not offshoring. A company moving an internal business unit from one country to another would be offshoring or physical restructuring, but not outsourcing. A company subcontracting a business unit to a different company in another country would be both outsourcing and offshoring.
Related terms include nearshoring, which implies relocation of business processes to (typically) lower cost foreign locations, but in close geographical proximity (e.g., shifting United States-based business processes to Canada/Latin America); inshoring, which means picking services within a country; and bestshoring or rightshoring, picking the “best shore” based on various criteria. Business process outsourcing (BPO) refers to outsourcing arrangements when entire business functions (such as Finance & Accounting, Customer Service, etc.) are outsourced. More specific terms can be found in the field of software development – for example Global Information System as a class of systems being developed for / by globally distributed teams.
A further term sometimes associated with offshoring is bodyshopping which is the practice of using offshored resources and personnel to do small disaggregated tasks within a business environment, without any broader intention to offshore an entire business function.
Production offshoring, also known as physical restructuring, of established products involves relocation of physical manufacturing processes to a lower-cost destination. Examples of production offshoring include the manufacture of electronic components in Costa Rica, production of apparel, toys, and consumer goods in China, Vietnam etc.
Product design, research and the development process that leads to new products, are relatively difficult to offshore. This is because research and development, in order to improve products and create new reference designs, require a skill set that is harder to obtain in regions with cheap labor. For this reason, in many cases only the manufacturing will be offshored by a company wishing to reduce costs.
However, there is a relationship between offshoring and patent-system strength. This is because companies under a strong patent system are not afraid to move work offshore because their work will remain their property. Conversely, companies in countries with weak patent systems have an increased fear of intellectual property theft from foreign vendors or workers, and, therefore, have less offshoring.
A major incentive for physical restructuring arrived when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) made it easier for manufacturers to shift production facilities from the US to Mexico. This trend later shifted to China, which offered cheap prices through very low wage rates, few workers’ rights laws, a fixed currency pegged to the US dollar, (currently fixed to a basket of economies) cheap loans, cheap land, and factories for new companies, few environmental regulations, and huge economies of scale based on cities with populations over a million workers dedicated to producing a single kind of product. However, many companies are reluctant to move high value-added production of leading-edge products to China because of lax enforcement of intellectual property laws. CAFTA has increased the velocity at which physical restructuring is occurring.
The growth of IT-enabled services offshoring is linked to the availability of large amounts of reliable and affordable communication infrastructure following the telecommunication and Internet expansion of the late 1990s. This was seen all the way up to the year 2000. Coupled with the digitization of many services, it was possible to shift the actual production location of services to low-cost countries in a manner theoretically transparent to end-users. Services include administrative services, such as finance and accounting, HR, and legal; call centers; marketing and sales services; IT infrastructure; application development; and knowledge services, including engineering support, product design, research and development, and analytics. General criteria for choosing IT outsourcing development partner commonly include: communication and language proficiency (both oral and written), previous work experience in client’s industry, expertise in defined technologies needed, cost-effectiveness of offshore web development services, clients that are similar in size to the client’s company, company longevity, company time zone.
India first benefited from the offshoring trend, as it has a large pool of English speaking people and technically proficient manpower. India’s offshoring industry took root in low-end IT functions in the early 1990s and has since moved to back-office processes such as call centers and transaction processing. This spawned the neologism Bangalored, used to indicate a layoff, often systemic, and usually resulting from corporate outsourcing to lower wage economies derived from Bangalore in India, where some of the first outsource centers were located.
Currently, India’s low-cost labor has made it an offshoring destination for global firms like HP, IBM, Accenture, Intel, AMD, Microsoft, Oracle Corporation, Cisco, SAP, and BEA[disambiguation needed].
Because of inflation, high domestic interest rates, robust economic growth and increased IT offshoring, the Indian IT sector has witnessed 10 – 15% wage growth in the 21st century. Consequently, Indian’s operations and firms are concerned that they are becoming too expensive in comparison with competition from the other offshoring destinations. To maintain high growth rates, attempts have been made to grow up the value chain and diversify to other high-end work in addition to software and hardware engineering. These jobs include research and development, equity analysis, tax-return processing, radiological analysis, medical transcription, and more.
The choice of offshoring destination is often made according to cultural concerns. Japanese companies are starting to outsource to China, where large numbers of Japanese speakers can be found particularly in the city of Dalian, which was Japanese-occupied Chinese territory for decades (this is discussed in the book The World is Flat). German companies tend to outsource to Eastern European countries, such as Ukraine, where the most number of IT professionals in CEE work (90000 IT specialists in 2016),Poland and Romania, where proficiency in German is common. French companies outsource to North Africa for similar reasons. For Australian IT companies, Indonesia is one of the major choice of offshoring destination. Near-shore location, common time zone and adequate IT work force are the reasons for offshoring IT services to Indonesia.
Other offshoring destinations include Mexico, Central and South America, the Philippines, South Africa and Eastern European countries.
The Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) made nearshoring more attractive between the Central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic and the US.
Once companies are comfortable with services offerings and started realizing the cost savings, many high-tech product companies, including some in Silicon Valley, started offshoring innovation work to countries like Belarus, South Africa, India, China, Mexico, Russia and Ukraine. Accessing the talent pools in these countries has the potential to cut costs or even shorten product lifecycles. Developing countries like India are also involved in this practice.
When offshoring knowledge work, firms heavily rely on the availability of technical personnel at offshore locations. In order to secure access to talent, Western firms often establish collaborative relationships with technical universities abroad and thereby customize university programs to serve their particular needs. Examples include universities in Shanghai, such as Tong-Ji University, where German firms and scholars co-sponsor labs, courses, and provide internships. Similar examples of collaborative arrangements can be found in Eastern Europe, e.g. Romania. Additionally, EU companies looking for IT innovation often setup collaboration with universities in countries such as Belarus and Ukraine, which have a high percentage of ICT graduates and overall a very skilled IT labor.
“Re-shoring”, also known as “backshoring” or “inshoring” is offshoring that has been brought back onshore.
John Urry (distinguished professor of sociology at Lancaster University) argues that the concealment of income, the avoidance of taxation and eluding legislation relating to work, finance, pleasure, waste, energy and security may be becoming a serious concern for democratic governments and ordinary citizens who may be adversely affected by unregulated, offshore activities. Further, the rising costs of transportation could lead to production nearer the point of consumption becoming more economically viable, particularly as new technologies such as additive manufacturing mature 
Offshoring is often enabled by the transfer of valuable information to the offshore site. Such information and training enables the remote workers to produce results of comparable value previously produced by internal employees. When such transfer includes protected materials, as confidential documents and trade secrets, protected by non-disclosure agreements, then intellectual property has been transferred or exported. The documentation and valuation of such exports is quite difficult, but should be considered since it comprises items that may be regulated or taxable.
Offshoring has been a controversial issue spurring heated debates among economists, some of which overlap those related to the topic of free trade. It is seen as benefiting both the origin and destination country through free trade, providing jobs to the destination country and lower cost of goods and services to the origin country. This makes both sides see increased gross domestic product (GDP). And the total number of jobs increases in both countries since those workers in the origin country that lost their job can move to higher-value jobs in which their country has a comparative advantage.
On the other hand, job losses and wage erosion in developed countries have sparked opposition to offshoring. Experts argue that the quality of any new jobs in developed countries are less than the jobs lost and offer lower pay. Economists against offshoring charge that currency manipulation by governments and their central banks causes the difference in labor cost creating an illusion of comparative advantage. Further, they point out that even more educated highly trained workers with higher-value jobs such as software engineers, accountants, radiologists, and journalists in the developed world have been displaced by highly educated and cheaper workers from India and China. On May 1, 2002, Economist and former Ambassador Ernest H. Preeg testified before the Senate committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs that China, for instance, pegs its currency to the dollar at a sub-par value in violation of Article IV of the International Monetary Fund Articles of Agreement which state that no nation shall manipulate its currency to gain a market advantage. Traditionally “safe” developed world jobs in R&D and the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields are now perceived to be endangered in these countries as higher proportions of workers are trained for these fields in developing nations. Economists such as Paul Craig Roberts claim that those economists who promote offshoring misunderstand the difference between comparative advantage and absolute advantage.
The Economist reported in January 2013 that: “High levels of unemployment in Western countries after the 2007-2008 financial crisis have made the public in many countries so hostile towards offshoring that many companies are now reluctant to engage in it.” Economist Paul Krugman wrote in 2007 that while free trade among high-wage countries is viewed as win-win, free trade with low-wage countries is win-lose for many employees who find their jobs offshored or with stagnating wages. Two estimates of the impact of offshoring on U.S. jobs were between 150,000 and 300,000 per year from 2004-2015. This represents 10-15% of U.S. job creation. U.S. opinion polls indicate that between 76-95% of Americans surveyed agreed that “outsourcing of production and manufacturing work to foreign countries is a reason the U.S. economy is struggling and more people aren’t being hired.”
The increased safety net costs of the unemployed may be absorbed by the government (taxpayers) in the high-cost country or by the company doing the offshoring. Europe experienced less offshoring than the U.S. due to policies that applied more costs to corporations and cultural barriers.
Japanese companies often exploits the foreign labors, particularly Chinese and Vietnamese, by violating the Employment Security Act, and Labor Standard Act set by ministry of health and labors in Japan using the name of offshoring.
Article 44 of Employment Security Act in Japan implicitly bans the domestic/foreign workers being supplied by unauthorized companies regardless of their operating locations. Law will apply if at least one party of suppliers, clients, labors reside in Japan, and if the labors are the integral part of the chain of command by the client company, or the supplier.
No person shall carry out a labor supply business or have workers supplied by a person who carries out a labor supply business work under his/her own directions or orders, except in cases provided for in the following Article.
Employment Security Act
Those deemed to violate will be punished with
A person who falls under any of the following items shall be punished by imprisonment with work for not more than one year or a fine of not more than one million yen
Employment Security Act states, Article 64
as well as the punishment defined by the article 6 of Labor Standards Act in Japan,
Unless permitted by act, no person shall obtain profit by intervening, as a business, in the employment of other
Victims can lodge a criminal complaint against the CEO of the suppliers and clients in the Labor Standards Inspection Office (only applicable to Labor Standards Act) or Public Prosecutor’s Office of the respective company location. Due to the risk of the CEO’s arrest, Japanese company accustoms to the private settlement with financial package in the range between 20 and 100 million JPY (200,000 – million USD).
With the offshoring of call-center type applications, debate has also surfaced that this practice does serious damage to the quality of customer service and technical support that customers receive from companies who do it. Many companies have caught much public ire for their decisions to use foreign labor for customer service and technical support, mostly because of the apparent language barrier that it creates. While some nations have a high level of younger, skilled workers who are capable of speaking English as one of their native languages, their English skills have caused debate in North America and Europe.
Criticisms of outsourcing from much of the American public have been a response to what they view as very poor customer service and technical support being provided by overseas workers attempting to communicate with Americans.
Some claim that companies lose control and visibility across their extended supply chain under outsourcing, creating increased risks. A 2005 quantitative survey of 121 electronics industry participants by Industry Directions Inc and the Electronics Supply Chain Association (ESCA) found that 69% of respondents said they had less control over at least 5 of their key supply chain processes since the outsourced model took hold, while 66% of providers felt their aggregate risk with customers was high or very high. 36% of providers responded that they felt an increased risk of uncertainty compared to their uncertainty risk before the rise to prominence of the outsourced model. 62% of respondents described as “problematic” at least two core trading partner management practices, which included performance management and simple agreement on results. 40% of all respondents encountered resistance to sharing risk in outsourced partnership agreements, according to the research.
The transfer of knowledge outside a country may create competitors to the original companies themselves. Chinese manufacturers are already selling their goods directly to their overseas customers, without going through their previous domestic intermediaries that originally contracted their services. In the 1990s and 2000s, American automakers increasingly turned to China to create parts for their vehicles. By 2006, China leveraged this know-how and announced that they will begin competition with American automakers in their home market by selling fully Chinese automobiles directly to Americans. When a company moves the production of goods and services to another country, the investment that companies would otherwise make in the domestic market is transferred to the foreign market. Corporate money spent on factories, training, and taxes, which would otherwise be spent in the market of the company is then spent in the foreign market. As production increases in the foreign market, qualified and experienced domestic workers leave or are forced out of their jobs, often permanently leaving the industry. At some point, dramatically fewer domestic workers are left who are qualified to perform the work. This makes the domestic market dependent on the foreign market for those goods and services, thereby strategically weakening the “hollowed-out” domestic country. In effect, offshoring creates and strengthens the competitive industries of the foreign country while strategically weakening the domestic country.[dubious discuss]
However, employment data has cast doubt on this claim. For example, IT employment in the United States has recently reached pre-2001 levels and has been rising since. The number of jobs lost to offshoring is less than 1 percent of the total US labor market. According to a study by the Heritage foundation, outsourcing represents a very small proportion of jobs lost in the US. The total number of jobs lost to offshoring, both manufacturing and technical represent only 4 percent of the total jobs lost in the US. Major reasons for cutting jobs are from contract completion and downsizing. Some economists and commentators claim that the offshoring phenomenon is way overblown.
One solution often offered for domestic workers displaced by offshoring is retraining to new jobs. Some displaced workers are highly educated and possess graduate qualifications. Retraining to their current level in another field may not be an option because of the years of study and cost of education involved. Anecdotal evidence also suggests they would be rejected for being overqualified.
According to classical economics, the three factors of production are land, labor, and capital. Offshoring relies heavily on the mobility of two of these factors. That is, how offshoring affects economies depends on how easily capital and labor can be repurposed. Land, as a factor of production, is generally seen to have little or no mobility potential.
The effects of capital mobility on offshoring have been widely discussed. In microeconomics, a corporation must be able to spend working capital to afford the initial costs of offshoring. If the state heavily regulates how a corporation can spend its working capital, it will not be able to offshore its operations. For the same reason the macroeconomy must be free for offshoring to succeed. Generally, those who favor offshoring support capital mobility, and those who oppose offshoring call for greater regulation.
Labor mobility also plays a major role, and it is hotly debated. When computers and the Internet made work electronically portable, the forces of free market resulted in a global mobility of work in the services industry. Most theories that argue offshoring eventually benefits domestic workers assume that those workers will be able to obtain new jobs, even if they have to obtain employment by downpricing themselves back into the labor market (by accepting lower salaries) or by retraining themselves in a new field. Foreign workers benefit from new jobs and higher wages when the work moves to them.
In the developed world, moving manufacturing jobs out of the country dates to at least the 1960s while moving knowledge service jobs offshore dates to the 1970s  and has continued since then. It was characterized primarily by the transferring of factories from the developed to the developing world. This offshoring and closing of factories has caused a structural change in the developed world from an industrial to a post-industrial service society.
During the 20th century, the decreasing costs of transportation and communication crossed with great disparities on pay rates made increased offshoring from wealthier countries to less wealthy countries financially feasible for many companies. Further, the growth of the Internet, particularly fiber-optic intercontinental long haul capacity, and the World Wide Web reduced “transportation” costs for many kinds of information work to near zero.
With the development of the Internet, many new categories of work such as call centres, computer programming, reading medical data such as X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging, medical transcription, income tax preparation, and title searching are being offshored.
Before the 1990s, Ireland was one of the poorest countries in the EU. Because of Ireland’s relatively low corporate tax rates, US companies began offshoring of software, electronic, and pharmaceutical intellectual property to Ireland for export. This helped create a high-tech “boom” and which led to Ireland becoming one of the richest EU countries.
In 1994 the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect. As concerns are widespread about uneven bargaining powers, and risks and benefits, negotiations are often difficult, such that the plan to create free trade areas (such as Free Trade Area of the Americas) has not yet been successful. In 2005, offshoring of skilled work, also referred to as knowledge work, dramatically increased from the US, which fed the growing worries about threats of job loss.
Posted: at 9:17 am
To see pictures from each of the races listed below – Click HERE
7,000+ crazy runners (Geezer Doug proudly included, of course!)
Article and photos by columnist David Whiting: OC Register ___________________ Doug has enjoyed running Big Baz’s Winter Trail Run Series since 1998! 15 years worth! http://www.BigBazTrailRaces.com
“Sportsman of the Year”
Check out the “DOUGumentary” QuickTime Movie Trailer at: http://www.3launch.com
Gore-Tex TRANSROCKIES http://www.Transrockies.com (Doug’s Facebook page has 100’s of photos from TransRockies) The 2012 TransRockies 6 day endurance race covered a total of 125 miles of trails between 8,000′ and 12,538′ elevations and had 21,000′ of total ascents!
Team California Old Goats Doug (age 73) and ultra running legend Gordy Ainsleigh (age 64) – also ran the2011 six day TransRockies endurance trail race together.
2012 was Doug’s 5th year in a row running the 6 day TransRockies race. Gordy & Dous are already signed up for the 2014 TransRockies! Doug’s 6th year.
August 14, 2012 Team California Old Goats Gordy & Doug at the top of HOPE PASS – 12,538′ elevation.
Hah! 6 pack abs compliments of PHOTOSHOP & Mark Kelly, PhD.
March 2013: I hit 74 on March 28, 2012. To celebrate my 74th birthdayI ran a bit more than 74 miles of my favorite trails in 4 days (74.13 miles according to my Garmin GPS).
I also did 70@70 in 3 days w/19,000′ of climbs four years ago; 71@71 in 6 days; 72@72 in 5 days & 73@73 in 4 days
Doug & Yoda birthday present w/grand daughter Sierra & daughter Michelle (Do or do NOT.. There is no TRY!)
SkyTran – Personal MagLev Transportation
Malewicki has been an invited keynote speaker on SkyTran and our new Wind Turbine retrofit business (based on our SkyTran technology and patents) to Dubai (April 2010 with Dr. Greg Smedley CEO/founder of One-Cycle-Control, Inc.) and to Macau, China (July 2011). Details on these and several local presentations in California HERE
The photo on the left is Doug pointing to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is the world’s tallest building at 2,716.5′. That is just over 1/2 mile up! http://www.burjkhalifa.ae
In Macau & Beijing, China
The interview is mostly about my SkyTran invention, but also talks about the advanced Wind Turbine work we are doing and even the low cost electric first stage boosters for Micro-satellite launches. Some of that was discussed in the IEEE paper that you can read below.
My SkyTran invention was featured on the cover of he July 2008 issue of Popular Science (or their artist’s version of what THEY think our pods should look like). “GREEN MEGALOPOLIS – An eco-savvy blueprint for tomorrow’s megacity points the way to fresh air, clean water and traffic that never jams.”
Starting on page 49, five more pages have our MagLev SkyTran in the future city art done by a second artist. Includes a nice paragraph that mentions our company UniModal LLC. Love their online animation at: http://www.popsci.com/futurecity/plan.html (SkyTran is the 4th- click on their FLASH animation).
Check out: http://www.SkyTran.us
The key to this solid state, personalized MagLev systems capacity performance falls out of math and physics analysis. SkyTran will greatly reduce energy used in the transportation of people; eliminate the pollution associated with commuting; greatly enhance safety of personal travel and reduce travel costs.
The California Commuter – 157 MPG at freeway speeds
The California Commuter PLANS & TECHNICAL BOOKLET are also available as electronical PDF’s. (Faster, cheaper & ZERO shipping costs!)
The improved eCC will have 25% less aerodynamic drag and will obtain 400 MPGe at a steady 65 MPH.
IMAGINE a penny per mile!
Robosaurus – the FIRE BREATHING monster robot
ROBOSAURUS THE FIRE BREATHING, CAR EATING, ELECTROHYDROMECHANICAL, 40 foot tall, 58,000 pound, TRANSFORMING MONSTER ENTERTAINMENT ROBOT. GOING ONCE… GOING TWICE… GONE! On January 19, 2008 after 18 years of operation, Robosaurus was sold at the famed Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona . MORE Two of Dougs USA Patents are for his Robosaurus invention. He founded Monster Robots, Inc. and was involved in finding all investors and product sponsors. Doug did all the structural design and engineering (loads determinations, weights and stress analysis). Along with all the electronic, hydraulic and control system packaging and functional testing. The creature, which was built in 1.5 years, has been doing shows since 1990. The most recent NDT (non-destructive-testing) inspection of all welded joints was performed at 250,000 miles and showed no weld fatigue degradation.
One man sitting up in the creatures cranium controls Robosaurus. Doug had to develop an innovative wearable control system to enable a single pilot to simultaneously control 18 proportional hydraulic motions. Each hydraulic valve is controlled by a P-Q Controls Inc. of Bristol, Connecticut computer valve board that converts the simple on-off electrical switch signals given by the pilot in the head into proper proportional fluid flow rates to the various hydraulic cylinders and pumps.
Much of the Robosaurus structural design involved tradeoffs to enable transformation to a legal trailer for hauling the 58,000-pound, fire breathing, beast from show to show. Robosaurus meets highway size and weight requirements for all 50 States.
FLYING and DARPA FLYING MACHINES
UMAAVs (Unmanned Morphing Aerial Attack Vehicles)a conceptual development contract for DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Project Agency).
Rather than just doing a extensive theoretical aerodynamic and structural analysis for his innovative designs,Doug’s company AeroVisions, Inc. built and flew Radio Control modelsto demonstrate his various morphing concepts.
July 2005, Doug was the plenary speaker for the DARPA Morphing Aircraft Structures Conference in San Diego.After sensing & confirming the bad guys, morphing UAVs of the future will be able to transform and divedownat Mach 0.9 and pull 5 g maneuvers to take out targets. Will save calling in the F-16 jet jocks and waiting 20 minutes for them to arrive. A computer generated movie of a typical mission of Dougs favorite proposed UMAAV, aptly named THE DROID OF DEATH, can be seen at the above UMAAV link.
DAREDEVIL Engineering Projects
NOTICE: April 18, 2014 AeroVisions, LLC and the Big Ed (Beckley Media LLC) have mutually terminated the relationship to build a rocket powered motorcycle system for Big Ed to jump the Snake River Canyon. We are no longer involved in engineering or developing his jump bike system. There were numerous reasons we could not participate:
1) AeroVisions negotiating with Beckley Media’s attorney for months without reaching a fair agreement.
2) AeroVisions agreed to warrantee the jump bike & jump system. Beckley wanted us to warrant the rider as well.
3) In April, Beckley insisted on changing the engineering funding source to a new 3rd party. Negotiating with that party’s attorney would have just added more delay.
4) AeroVisions constantly expressed urgency to start engineering, since time was rapidly evaporating to complete the project with confidence by September 7, 2014. We needed adequate time to design, engineer, fabricate and fully test all systems plus train the pilot to establish a high level of confidence to insure a 99.5% probability of success for the rider. Rushing and only achieving 70% probability of success by starting at this late date to us was unacceptable.
5) Extending the jump date to July 4th, 2015 was also unacceptable to Beckley Media.
6) The AeroVisions proposed jump bike would be a genuine drivable motorcycle that could “jump” over 1/2 mile in distance and land on its wheels on the other side. It would NOT be a non-road worthy, non-motorcycle, rocket powered missile that would slide up a launch rail like a child’s model rocket toy.
All we can say is best of luck to Big Ed in “gettin’ er done” safely this September.
Rest in Peace Oct 17,1938 – Nov 30, 2007.
Doug Malewicki was the designer and engineer of Evel Knievel’s steam rocket powered SkyCycle X-1 canyon jumping motorcycle. Doug is shown here shaking hands with Evel at the machine’s unveiling at the Twin Falls, Idaho Snake River canyon jump site on May 6, 1972. On the left is rocket pioneer, Robert Truax who invented and holds the patents on Steam Rocket engines. Wearing sunglasses is Facundo Campoy, one of Truax’s partners.
Niagara Falls Aerospace Museum Rocket Belt Conference PHOTOS Click HERE to see the online PBS interviews & flight videos from the conference
NUCLEAR WAR – Doug’s 1965 Game Invention
As time passed, the weapons used in the basic game became obsolete, so expansion sets with newer futuristic weapons were created:
1965 – The original Nuclear War 1982 – Nuclear Escalation 1992 Nuclear Proliferation 1996 Nuclear War Booster Packs 2004 Weapons of Mass Destruction (YES – that is THE DROID OF DEATH on the cover of the newest game!)
Doug and his original Nuclear War game were inducted into the Adventure Game Hall of Fame in 1998. 2015 will be the 50th Anniversary of Nuclear War! F. B. I. will celebrate with a NEW SPECIAL EDITION!
Droid phone screen shot Still ticking after 48 years! The RadioAPPtive Fallout Spinner is now available in the DROID & iPhone marketplaces. (SEARCH: Nuclear War Spinner)
You use the touch screen to swipe the arrow to get it moving. As it spins, it makes Geiger Counter ticking sounds. When it stops you will hear the results. Hilarious voiceover comments in an over-the-top Russkie accent by actress Claudia Christian, well known for her TV character – Commander Ivanova of the SciFi hit series Babylon 5. [Special thanks to Rick Roszko, Rick Loomis & Steve Johnson]
“LOST WORLDS” COMBAT FANTASY BOOKS
Michelle has taken up trail running like her dad & has evolved into a top ranked ultra distance speedster. Over the years Michelle set numerous female course records for 50K and 50 mile race distances – including six as overall winner where she “chicked” all the men!
She won first female & fourth overall at the Javelina Jundred 100 mile trail race in Arizona in a 19:42 time. She was 4 hours ahead of the second place female! Pictures
ORDER PAGE Hard to find Rocket Books on 90% Hydrogen Peroxide, Steam and Solid Propellant rocket systems; California Commuter Car plans; Air Car plans; Nuclear War games/T-Shirts! We take PayPal payments for USA & foreign orders. PayPal processes most credit cards too.
Click HERE to see MORE pictures of Doug Malewicki’s other inventions and read his free TIPS for new inventors.
Doug’s favorite quotes (besides Yoda!)
“Life is what you make it; always has been; always will be.” — Grandma Moses
See more here:
Doug Malewicki’s patented inventions and engineering …
Posted: August 10, 2016 at 9:10 pm
The word egoism derives from the Latin ego which means I. Egoism is the idea of being selfish and always putting your own needs first without regard for the needs of others. Someone who is a complete egoist does not care at all about other people, but only about their own goals, interests, and their own benefit. An egoist will not necessarily be greedy and selfish in an obvious sense, for example, they may be polite and friendly, even happy to share and help others. However, their motive will always be their own gain, for example, they will help others in order to be helped in return at a later date, and they will obey laws because this helps to bring about peace and security in society, something which they will benefit from. Their motivation for seemingly thoughtful and caring actions will not be actual concern for others, but intelligent self-concern and prudence. There are two different kinds of egoism, so it is necessary to describe their differences: (i) Psychological Egoism; (ii) Ethical Egoism.
Psychological Egoism is not a moral theory, but aims to be a psychological theory about human motivation. Psychological Egoism holds that all of us are completely selfish and are hardwired to only think of our own needs. It is literally impossible for us to genuinely care about other people. Whenever we perform an action it is always with our own good in mind. When you help a friend it is so they will help you back. If a man gives money to a cancer charity this is not because he really cares about those who are suffering from cancer, but so that he can feel good about himself, or so that there will be good health care available for him to use if he is unlucky enough to get cancer. Ethical Egoism, on the other hand, states that it is possible for people to genuinely care about other people (to be altruistic), but that they should not bother caring about others. Instead people ought to be selfish and think only about their own needs. This article will focus purely on Ethical Egoism.
The word altruism derives from the French autres which means others. A person who is altruistic cares about and is motivated by the needs of other people. Altruistic actions are selfless, they are done for the sake of other people and not for any personal gain, perhaps even sacrificing your own needs and desires for the sake of others. Many people argue that actions can only be moral if they are done for the sake of helping others rather than yourself. It is often thought that we have a natural inclination to be selfish, so that learning to think of others is an admirable thing to do. Mother Teresa is often seen as an example of altruism, she was a Catholic nun who dedicated her life to helping the poor in India. A Psychological Egoist would say that she really did this for her own benefit, to feel good about herself or get in to heaven. An Ethical Egoist may view her care for others as genuine, but see it as foolish, because she should have been looking after her own needs, not other peoples needs.
There is a common assumption that you are either selfish in your actions, or selfless. This is perhaps too simplistic, for most of us probably have a complicated mixture of selfish desires and selfless desires. Many philosophers argue that egoism and altruism do not totally exclude each other, you do not have to lose all care for yourself in order to care properly about other people. Jesus said love thy neighbour as thyself which is clearly demonstrating a balance between your own needs and those of others yes you should care about and look after yourself, but you should also recognise the humanity in other people and care about them too: you should not hurt them and where possible you should help them.
Ethical Egoism does not deny the possibility of altruism: Ethical Egoists would admit that it is perfectly possible to care about other people. However, according to the Ethical Egoist you ought not to care about the needs or welfare of others, you should only care about and act on your own needs and interests. This means that Ethical Egoism is a Normative Ethical theory stating how people should act, and stating that you should act selfishly. The theory turns conventional morality on its head by saying it is good to be selfish: people are capable of being altruistic but they should not bother caring for others. Of course it makes sense to help other people and not to be outwardly greedy, to share for example, but only because this is the best way of achieving what you want for yourself in the long term.
Ethical Egoism is a teleological theory according to which the correct action a person should take is the action that has the best consequence for that person themselves, regardless of the effects on other people. As Michael Palmer puts it:
“Egoism maintains that each person ought to act to maximise his or her own long-term good or well-being. An egoist, in other words, is someone who holds that their one and only obligation is to themselves and their only duty is to serve their own self-interest If an action produces benefits for them, they should do it; if it doesnt, then it is morally acceptable for them not to do it.”
Michael Palmer, Moral Problems, page 34.
An Ethical Egoist only cares about his own needs and desires, and would view himself as having value, whilst others are not of value to him. This is very similar to the way that a commercial companys only concern is its own profits these companies exist to expand as much as they can, to conquer as much of the market as they can, and to overtake their rivals or even put them out of business. If a company takes actions which benefit its rivals at its own expense then from an economists point of view we would automatically call it mismanaged and condemn its actions as foolish. This is what the Ethical Egoist does to all actions which are altruistic, he condemns them as foolish: people should look after number one and not be burdened with the needs of others. Of course, this doesnt mean that people should go out looting shops, stealing cars, killing enemies and generally doing what they want, because as Thomas Hobbes pointed out, such actions would lead to anarchy and wouldnt be good for anybody. Rather, Ethical Egoists should live in peace with one another, help each other, and work together, because that is the best way for the individual to get the good living conditions he is after. You do not steal from others so they will not steal from you, and so on.
Ethical Egoism & hedonism
In many cases Ethical Egoists are also hedonists, which means that they view pleasure or happiness as the ultimate goal of life, to be specific, their own happiness and pleasure. Generally Ethical Egoists will recommend acting with long term interests in mind rather than seeking short term advantages, for example, instead of going out with friends all the time in your teenage years it would be better to spend more time working for school in order to get good qualifications and a good job in the future, which will bring a happy life rather than just a happy couple of years. Hedonists view pleasure as an intrinsic good, something which is good in and of itself, and they view pain or discomfort as intrinsically bad, however, hedonists argue that sometimes pain or discomfort will have to be accepted in order to achieve a good pleasurable thing. Exercise may be hard work and sometimes painful, and dieting will mean missing out on pleasurable experiences, but the health benefits will make the effort worth it. This is what is know as an instrumental good, something which is not good in itself but which leads to something else which is good. Another example is work; many people find it unpleasant and boing, so work is a bad thing to them. However, work means that you to get paid and so it helps you to get the pleasurable things you want: food, clothing, a house, trips to the cinema, etc. This means work is an instrumental good. For the average Ethical Egoist the goal of life is their own personal long-term pleasure, and achieving this will mean treating others well, but not because they care for others, rather, because it is an instrumental good that will allow them to have a pleasurable life.
The Greek philosopher Epicurus (341-270 BCE) was a hedonist and stated pleasure is our first and kindred good. It is the starting point of every choice and of every aversion. It is from his name that we derive the word epicurean which means someone who revels in the delights of food, which is ironic because Epicurus himself had a very plain diet since he suffered from stomach problems. Taking a line somewhat similar to Buddhism, Epicurus argued that true pleasure was the absence of pain in the body and trouble in the soul and so he actually advocated a simple life where people try to give up desiring all the things they cannot have. He did not think that a life of sex, drink, and good food was a truly pleasurable life because he held that the greater the upside is the greater the downside will be also, for example, the more you drink the bigger the hangover is. Instead Epicurus advocated a life of sober reasoning and knowledge.
Epicurus also argued that a life cannot be truly pleasurable unless it is also a life of prudence, honour, and justice, which indicates an important idea that the happiness of the individual is dependent on the happiness of his community, so we must therefore treat others well. Epicurus would have said that the best way to be happy is to have friends and to act honourably towards other people.
Adam Smith (1723 1790) was a philosopher and economist, and was a champion of private property and free market economy. He took the view that intentionally serving your own interests will bring benefits for all. Philip Stokes gives the following example: suppose that Jones, in seeking his own fortune, decides to set up and run his own business, manufacturing some common item of everyday need. In seeking only to provide for his own fortune, Jones entrepreneurial enterprise has a number of unintended benefits to others. First he provides a livelihood for the people in his employ, thus benefiting them directly. Second, he makes more readily available some common item which previously had been more difficult or more expensive to obtain for his customers. Smith argued that a free market and competition would ensure that businesses kept their prices at competitive rates, helping to make customers better off as well as the business owners. Through selfish action everyone is better off, therefore, capitalist selfishness is the key to universal happiness and prosperity for all.
However, arguably the consequences of businesses acting in a self-interested way is not necessarily benefits for all; we need only look at the appalling conditions of people working in factories during the Industrial Revolution to see that this is so. Today the people of industrialised countries have a much more comfortable lifestyle, but most of the rest of the world still languishes in poverty and exploitation, and it is precisely through their subjugation that we have our high standard of living: we have so much material wealth because we exploit those who are powerless and poor, we give them the choice of working in dire conditions to make us cheep goods or starving. Arguably, the factories have not improved, they have just moved.
James Rachels discusses Ethical Egoism, but he does not endorse it, and in fact gives reasons to reject it. None the less, his discussion of Ethical Egoism is very enlightening. He states that the idea that we have duties to others is a common assumption. We are often made to think that there is a natural obligation towards others because they are people and because our own actions could help or harm them. One argument for Ethical Egoism is that this simply is not so, we have no specific reason to think of others as important, we have no specific obligations towards them, whereas on the other hand, we have a self-evident duty to look after ourselves.
One argument for Ethical Egoism that he considers is that altruism is self defeating. According to this perspective each individual person is in the best position to serve their own interests, whilst others are not. I know intimately what I need, whereas others, if they try to take an interest in my life and help me, may not know what is best and should therefore mind their own business and not interfere. There is a sense in which helping others is an intrusion on their privacy, and similarly, there is the view that charity towards others is degrading: it robs them of their individual dignity and self-respect. The offer of charity says, in effect, that they are not competent to care for themselves. Rachels rejects this argument as ridiculous as it is perfectly clear what a starving man needs, especially if he is actually asking for help. Also, arguing that we shouldnt interfere because it invades another persons dignity hardly seems like a valid egoistic argument, as it appeals to the needs of other people.
Next Rachels considers Thomas Hobbes (1588 1679). Hobbes believed that selfishness was natural (he was a Psychological Egoist), and therefore that Ethical Egoism was the only theory that made any sense. Rather than saying that Ethical Egoism runs counter to our common sense morality, Hobbes argued that it actually explains and underpins it. When we treat others well, help them, and do our best not to harm them, it is all done in order to create the kind of stable society which is best for our own personal needs. By not killing or stealing from others we ensure that we ourselves will not be killed or stolen from. By putting welfare measures in place we ensure that we ourselves will be helped in times of trouble. Hobbes takes the view that when we join society we make a promise not to hurt others and to help them when they are in need, and we make this promise so that we in turn are not hurt and so that we may be aided in times of need. What Hobbes has tried to do, then, is say that Ethical Egoism is not counter to our common morality, it is the foundation of our common morality.
Another famous egoist is Ayn Rand (1905 1982), however, her version of Ethical Egoism is very different from the average case of acting in self-interest. For Rand it is important to be a hardworking and creative person and to be as independent as you can. In her view people should work hard to satisfy their needs, they should not expect others to give them a hand-out or a free ride. If you work hard and achieve a good life for yourself, such as having wealth for example, then you have earned what you possess and no one should have the right to demand that you give it away to those less fortunate or successful than yourself. She views altruism as a moral philosophy founded on leeching, she sees it as a philosophy which tells people that they ought to give up all they have, and all their own interests, to satisfy the needs of others. In her view people should strive to fulfil their own needs and not be parasitical upon those who are more successful than themselves.
Interestingly, Rand also rejects those who get into positions of power and leech off of those below them, people such as tyrants and gang leaders. This is what marks her Ethical Egoism as different from that of the average Egoist; whereas the average Ethical Egoist will say that it is fine to abuse others to get what you want, all that matters is your own gain, Rand believes that this is wrong you should work hard to get what you have, not steal it from others in some way. If you have worked hard and been creative then you have a right to be proud of yourself and to reap the rewards. In her view those who label this kind of independence and self-motivation as selfish are doing so because they wish to force creative and useful people to share with them. The following quote is from her novel, The Fountainhead:
“The first right on Earth is the right of the ego. Mans first duty is to himself. His moral law is never to place his prime goal within the persons of others. His moral obligation is to do what he wishes, provided his wish does not depend primarily upon other men. A man thinks and works alone. A man cannot rob, exploit or rule alone. Rulers of men are not egoist. They create nothing. They exist entirely through the persons of others. Their goal is their subjects, in activity of enslaving. They are as dependent as the beggar, the social worker and the bandit. The form of dependence does not matter.”
Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead
Criticisms of Ethical Egoism
As you may imagine, there are many criticisms of Ethical Egoism, the most obvious simply being the insistence that selfish actions do not have moral worth. Read these criticisms and consider how an Ethical Egoist might respond to defend their view:
1) Anything can be justified, so long as you can profit from it and get away with it.
It is clear that if everyone were to adopt Ethical Egoism then, in general, life would function admirably well, people would help each other because team work produces the best results for every individual, and people would not harm each other because everyone is better off in a world where they feel safe and protected. However, what if the opportunity arises for a person to gain from harming another person and get away with it? Suppose, for example, that I am good with computers and know how to hack websites and hide my trail; why not commit some fraud and live a millionaire lifestyle? Or what if I was in a secluded place and came across a man asleep on a bench with a briefcase full of cash; why not kill him and take the cash and run? And why stop at one killing if I can profit from many, perhaps becoming a drugs baron, living in luxury safe and secure whilst people die to line my pockets? If Ethical Egoism is true then it becomes morally correct to hurt others when you can gain from it, just so long as you can get away with it. Surely it is the very point of morality to hold our selfish and violent urges at bay, and yet, Ethical Egoism gives them clear justification as and when you can get away with it.
However, James Rachels claims that this attack against Ethical Egoism is ineffective because it simply presumes that Ethical Egoism is false; the criticism assumes that it is wrong to hurt others for personal gain, but this is essentially just assuming Ethical Egoism is false. Surely an Ethical Egoist would just accept that it was right to hurt others for gain, as Hobbes put it, in a war or conflict the cardinal virtues are force and fraud violence and trickery.
2) Ethical Egoism cannot provide answers for moral conflicts
Kurt Baier argues that the reason why we need morality is in order for it to settle conflicts of interest, however, Ethical Egoism does not provide a means to resolve these conflicts and actually exacerbates them, thus, it is an insufficient moral theory. Imagine, for example, that Kate and Bruce are getting divorced and are arguing over who should have custody of their children. Surely moral rules should be in place to establish who is the best parent to care for the children, who is most deserving of the custody, and so on: morality is there to resolve the problem. However, under Ethical Egoism a judge has no reason to care who the children end up with because neither option is particularly in his interests, unless one side offers a bribe of course. Moreover, Ethical Egoism would actually exacerbate the problem by encouraging both Kate and Bruce to argue all the more in pursuit of their own desires: each ought to do whatever they can to get their own way, without any care or concern for the effects on the other party, or even their children. So we see that rather than resolving the conflict Ethical Egoism will actually make it worse. Baier states that the Ethical Egoist solution to the conflict is for each side to up their game in their efforts to win custody, for Kate to seek to liquidate Bruce (either kill him or somehow make him ineligible to win) and for Bruce to attempt the same with Kate. This escalates the conflict and so is the exact opposite of what morality is meant to do.
James Rachels argues that this attack is not completely successful against Ethical Egoism because it is based on the assumption that morality exists to resolve conflicts in order to create harmony, a view which and Egoist might not agree with. An Egoist might say that life is essentially a long series of conflicts in which each person is struggling to come out on top. For the Egoist morality is not about amicably resolving conflicts and compromising, the good man is the one who wins and gets what he wants.
3) Ethical Egoism is arbitrary, like racism
James Rachels rejects Ethical Egoism on the basis that it makes unjustifiable and arbitrary distinctions between people. There are numerous ethical perspectives which create distinctions between groups of people, for example, racism. Racism works by dividing the people of the world in to two groups, those of my race and those not of my race. Next it asserts that one group (your own) is superior in some way to the other group. This is then used to justify unequal treatments of those who are not of your race. In the past white racists have asserted that non-whites are intellectually inferior, or morally inferior, and this meant that it was acceptable for whites to get better treatment than non-whites, and it was acceptable for non-whites to do the menial jobs, or to be slaves, or to have their countries invaded. In reality there are no important genetic or cultural differences between the races which would justify saying that one group was superior to the other in any way. We reject racism, xenophobia, and other prejudices such as sexism because we see them as groundless: there is no valid reason to make a division between one superior group and another inferior group. Rachels argues that if we look closely at Ethical Egoism it makes the same mistake:
“Ethical Egoism is a moral theory of the same type [as racism]. It advocates that each of us divide the world into two categories ourselves and all the rest and that we regard the interests of those in the first group as more important than the interests of those in the second group. But each of us can ask, what is the difference between me and everyone else that justifies placing myself in this special category? Am I more intelligent? Do I enjoy my life more? Are my accomplishments greater? Do I have needs or abilities that are so different from the needs or abilities of others? In short, what makes me so special? Failing an answer it turns out that Ethical Egoism is an arbitrary doctrine, in the same way that racism is arbitrary. And this, in addition to explaining why Ethical Egoism is unacceptable, also sheds some light on the question of why we should care about others.”
James Rachel, Ethical Egoism
Rachels rejects Ethical Egoism because it takes the view that an individual is, from his own perspective, more important than others, even to the point where he might willingly sacrifice millions for his own needs, but there is no rational basis for an individual to think of himself as being any more important than any others. Thus, Ethical Egoism is baseless and we must recognise that others and their needs are just as important as ourselves and our own needs. Yes it is normal to seek your own happiness, but this cannot justify treating others like they have little or no value, because these other people are no different from ourselves.
Summary and Conclusion
Whether or not people have a duty to help others, or at least not to harm them, is a key question in Normative Ethics. Ethical Egoists argue that you should only care about yourself, and ignore the needs of others. This means that it would be acceptable to hurt other people for your own benefit, so long as you can get away with it. James Rachels argues that it is illogical to think of yourself as being more important than anyone else, indeed, that this is equivalent to racism. Is he correct, or is selfishness a good thing?
Posted: August 6, 2016 at 4:46 pm
There has been a longer discussion recently in this article whether a resource based economy will work or not. And the opposers argument was largely centered around a notion that in RBE there will be no contracts, that people can just walk away from their job, and that this will lead to a lack of mining ore. That we wont find people to work in the mines to dig up minerals needed for our social production as he calls it, to produce our cell phones and laptops, etc.
Of course, he does have a point. But not only in regards to mining ore, but in regards to the operation of the whole planet. I understand his concern as I have it myself. The complexity of the world we have today is extremely vast when it comes to the production of goods and services. Of course, mining of ore to extract minerals, is one of the aspects of this complexity. We have a huge production of different products that need everything from aluminum to plastics to glass to silicon to mention but a tiny percentage of the whole. And all of these minerals and raw materials are processed in a lot of different places and manufactured into a huge amount of different products. And this goes on on thousands of locations all over the planet.
All of the alternative solutions to the problems we have in the world today deal with solutionswithin the monetary system. We have recycling, carbon shares, cradle to cradle, environmental protection, and so forth. All of these deals with the industry and the monetary system staying as it is. Recycling means that we have to recycle the minerals and raw materials used in many of our products. Carbon shares is a monetary way for the society to be able to continue to pollute the environment, but it will cost a bit more for the polluter. Cradle to cradle means that industries produce everything with the termination and recycling of the product in mind, not using any harmful agents in the product. Environmental protection is the total of allmeasures taken in regards to protect the environment, but still within the monetary system.
All of these measures assumethat the monetary system, the industry, the free market and so forth stay largely as it is. With recycling, cradle to cradle and carbon shares thinking, we still think in terms ofcontinuousconsumption and unlimited economic growth.
It is understandable that the majority of people can not think in terms of changing the whole system, from the root and up, because it is very difficult to think that far out of the box.
We have all become used to our way of life, with tonnes and tonnes of different products inthousandsof different categories. And we all think that this has to go on. We all think that we need hundreds of different producers of cell phones, lap tops, cars, mattresses, guitars, etc. etc.
Yes, we, humans are an industrious race. We have ideas, we produce, we manufacture, we consume, and we do it all over again. This is who we are. Isnt it? Humans have proven to be full of ideas and ingenious solutions to many of the problems of being human. We are also very good at creating problems for ourselves, so that we can have yet more to solve. We constantly do this, and it seems to be human nature. And we all want to be free. Free to do what we want, travel where we want, think and say what we want, work with what we want and live wherever we want. Of course, this kind of freedom is limited to only a few in our world today.
My point and question is; How can/will a resource based economy work on a global scale, without it becoming a totalitarian system? For sure, none of us wants any global machinegovernment, even though that is what Jacque Fresco of The Venus Project proposes. We all wants to be able to make our owndecisions. So, how can it work, then? We are all so indoctrinated into thinking that if theres no penalty in terms of job loss, money loss, property loss and so forth, we cant get people to do what is needed in society.
We think that if everyone will be able to do whatever they want to do, then we will lack a whole lot of people to dig ore as our commenter puts it. No one will take on a dangerous job like going into the mines and dig out the urgently needed minerals to produce our cell phones, because when he/she gets everything he/she needs, he/she could simply walk away whenever he/she wants. Since there wouldnt be any binding contract (in terms of money/property/job loss) in a resource based economy, the whole of society would simply collaps.
Trust me, I truly, really and utterly understand this concern and this disbelief in a resource based economy.
The first time I heard about RBE, Iimmediatelygot a feeling that this is good, but at the same time, I couldnt get it to work in my intellectual analyzing mind. And thats why I started this blog. I felt strongly that RBE is possible, and not only possible, but the best alternative humanity has ever been able to choose. But I couldnt prove it. Because I too was totally indoctrinated in my mind in regards to thinking about money and property as givens. As something thats always been there, like air. It has taken me a couple of years to dedoctrinate myself into seeing how RBE can be possible.
So, back to our question. If we have no money or need for money, and everything is provided for everyone, what will make people work in the mines and do all the dirty work needed in our society? It is a very good question, and I am not sure that I can give a 100% answer to that. Because I dont know. I can only speculate and imagine, which I have done for a couple of years. And my answer goes like this:
Firstly, we have to think of RBE as a totally and utterly different society. We can not think of an RBE society with our monetary goggles. We have to take them off. We have to be able to imagine that the individuals on this planet can actually shift their way of thinking from a penalty based society to a freedom of contribution society where we do what we do because we want to contribute to society in meaningful ways. Many people think this way already and refuse to take jobs just to earn money but do what they do because of theirconviction in a different society. They have an inherent need to do something meaningful that truly contributes to this world.Thinking that there has to be a monetary penalty lurking in the background to get people to do what is really needed in society is seeing this with the old monetary goggles.
The truth is that the monetary reward is over rated in terms of production efficiency. There have numerous studies that support this. Take a look atDan PinksTED Talk about this phenomena and the animation made from it. What is shows is that higher incentives leads to worse performance. It sounds like a self contradictory statement, but when you think about it and see the background, it is not. And these results have been replicated over and over again bypsychiatrists, sociologists and economists. For simple, straight forward tasks, if you do this, then you get that, monetary incentives are great. But when a task gets more complicated, when it requires some more conceptual thinking, the monetary incentives dont work.
What the research continues to show is that money is a motivator only when it gets people to take on a job. After getting the job, there are other factors that leads to betterperformanceand personal satisfaction, and they are; Autonomy, mastery and purpose. Money only plays a part if the job doesnt pay good enough for people to make a living. As soon as people are paid enough, then these other factors are the important ones.
What this shows is that the true values within humans are not penalty centered, but rather centered around our previous notion of freedom of contribution. Autonomy is a vital value. People wants to feel that they have a freedom to choose what they do and how they do it. Mastery is an equally important value. To have enough education and experience to really feel that one masters and succeeds in resolving the tasks at hand. And last, but not least:purpose. We all have to feel a sense of purpose in what we do. It has to be meaningful. In other words, money, and the threat of a monetary penalty is not the reasons why people do stuff.
This shows to prove that people actually might be digging ore if there is a sense of autonomy, mastery and purpose in the job.
Then we come to the point where we have to take off the monetary goggles and put on the RBE goggles instead. When we have this totally brand new world and way of thinking, there would be so many things that would be different. Since people doesnt have to take a job because of money anymore, what would people do? Why would they do anything? Well, the formersection should give the answer. People would seek meaningful and purposeful tasks. We would seek tasks where we feel a sense of autonomy and mastery. I think we also can add several reasons why people would do stuff that the mentioned research doesnt show. Likeexcitement, interest and fulfillment.
So, meaning, purpose, mastery, autonomy, excitement, interest and fulfillment are what really drives people, and what will drive people in a resource based economy.
Now, back to digging ore. If this activity brings any of the above mentioned elements, people will do it. But, when we have a resource based economy, where most people have waken up from the continuous consumption cycle and where most people wants to contribute to the betterment of society, things like digging ore will not be as needed as before. Why? Because of several things. With the new mindset of humanity, consumption will go drastically down. Not so much new minerals and raw materials has to be dug up. Production will go down too, as products will be made to last and instead of postponing the release of new technology to maximize profit, the newest technology can be released right away, thus saving millions of tonnes of raw material that other wise would have been used in the never ending new products. And lastly, technology that digs ore will be developed, minimizing the need for human personell way down in the mines.
To see how a resource based economy can work, we can divide it into 4 categories:
1. The human values has changed, or rather, has become acknowledged.
2. Technology has become more and more developed, removing the need for humans doing dangerous andrepetitivetasks.
3. As a result of RBE, society as a whole has changed drastically.
4. The notion of property and ownership has changed.
The most important first step for RBE to work is the human values. As we see, people are intrinsically motivated by other things than money, like a sense of purpose and meaning. It is only todays need for money that locks people into a mind prison thinking that money is what motivates them, when it really is not.
So this is about education and awakening. For RBE not to be a totalitarian, global, machine based government, which non of us want, people have to wake up one by one into the truth of their own motivation. We, as individuals have to train ourselves and each other into thinking of why we are here and what we really want to do, not in terms of money, but in terms of what we feel as our true purpose here on the planet.
I am training myself everyday to think this way. And the way I do it is to tell my self that every thing I do, I do of service to the planet and humanity, service to others, and service to my self. Service to my self in terms of what I want to do here on earth. And, I have already had theepiphanythat being of service to others can be extremely fulfilling for my self. Thus, doing what I do the very best way I can do it, is a fulfilling thing. And this has nothing to do with money. What is funny, though, is that since I started thinking like this, I have had more to do in my business than ever before, which of course brings in much more money than ever before as well.
Of course, we can say that money is a means of gratitude, a flow of appreciation, going from one person to another. I am not opposed to that way of thinking. Far from it. It is just that money and property and the whole management of the whole planet has been so thoroughly fucked up by the money logic, that trying to think of a world totally without money and property would do us all very good. It certainly does me good. And I realize that as soon as I start to think in terms of money, Iimmediatelyget that old stressful feeling again. It is me not thinking about money but at my purpose of being of service that brings the money in! Because when I think that I dont need money, I become relaxed, and the law of attraction works in my favor.
And then, my friends, what would be the logicalconsequenceof this? Well, if all of us started thinking of our purpose, rather than money, and doing things out of purpose rather than money.we wouldnt need any money! When our purpose is to be of service, to give and share, then everyone will always have enough of everything ever needed.And low and behold, we would actually live purpose- and meaningful lives. Every one of us. No need to stress for more money, paying bills, pay taxes, take up loans, do accounting, pay insurance, and what have you.
For a resource based economy to work, more and more people on the planet have to wake up to this reality. It is a human choice that we have to do as individuals. There are already a whole lot of volunteers around the world working for non-profit volunteer organizations. So the notion is not new. The question is whether it will spread to the rest of society as well. But that a whole world could work for free for each other should be totally possible. At least when enough (critical mass) people realize the benefits of doing this, rather than toiling with money and all that it entails.
When the new value system is in place, when enough people realize the above mentioned, both people who now are in normal jobs, but also those who are in politics and those who run large corporations, the abandonment of money will be a reality. Then, with the profit motive gone, technology can be developed without the hindrances that patents and greed used to be for unlimited development.
When we can concentrate on developing the best technology for everyone in every circumstance, and we can truly let technology replace 99% of todays jobs. Jobs that now are kept open, since replacing them with technology would bedevastatingfor the economy. Today, millions of people still work in factories doning work that easily could have been replaced by machines, robots and technology. There are already a whole lot of machines and technology in place, but again and again, I see people closing the lid on cardboard boxes and other meaninglessrepetitivetasks easily replaceable by technology.
And back to the ore digging metaphor. I am pretty sure that this field is also one where technology and machines could do much more work then it does today, replacing the need for human personell in mines. Besides, when we truly make products to last, and human values have changed, we wont consume as much, and we will be able to recycle 100% of all waste, maybe extracting enough of what raw materials we need, not needing to dig much more holes in the planet. In other words, technology teamed with the new human values, will make the need for constantly new stuff much much less, and thus the need to constantly dig up new resources.
And to me, being a part of a world where we all try to maximise human and environmental potential and protection, rather than profit, and where we work to develop technology to serve these ends is very interesting and fulfilling.
It would also be a true investment in humanity and the planet. An investment where we strive to take care of the environment,build up the soil, educate all humans and build asustainableworld. A world we all can truly enjoy for the rest of our lives and for all coming generations.
Now, with the human values and the new focus ontechnologyin place, society will change drastically. We all work to fulfill our purpose in life, for our own and others betterment, to master new skills, to share our knowledge and experience and to have exiting and meaningful work. In a society with no money or propertywe can all truly care about each other with no secret agenda.
All humans will be educated to serve other humans and the planet itself. The population will automaticallystabilize when everyone understands that every person can not have more then one child in his/her lifetime, meaning maximum twochildren per family. When this is followed we will have a one birth per one death, securing a stable population on the planet. And this is made by individual choice, not by force. By choice, because people now are educated to see the whole picture, and their own place in it.
What used to be companies and corporations will transform to be hubs of knowledge within their respective fields. There can still be employees, but they wont be there because they need to collect a pay check. They will be there because it is their field of interest and ofexpertise, because they want to be there. To participate and collaborate. People can still start businesses, but not for monetary gain, but to work together on new solutions to old or new problems, to create works of art, to draw new buildings, develop new transportation or new types of energy, new medicines or what have you.It will be a purpose driven world, rather than a profit driven one. It will be a world where human potential is maximized in all aspects.
So then, what would the ore miners do? Maybe some of them have been working in the mine for years and years and know nothing else. Maybe these would want to continue doing what they do, but maybe a little less. Maybe take a long vacation, or only work a couple of days a week. Maybe this leads to adeficiencyofColtan for a while, but so what? So what if we dont get the new iPhone 5 this fall. So what if we dont get the newest flat screen 52 inches LED powered Full HD TV this christmas. So what!?
The only thing in this world that needs this is the never satisfied, always craving, always consuming, never stopping Monetary System that needs cyclical consumption, planned obsolescence and endless waste to exist. But WE dont need that. We are not consumers, it is this system that has made people this way. It is this system that needs us to constantly consume and crave more and more and more, and no wonder, cause if we dont, the whole system will collaps. Just like that. If we stop buying our cell phones, our cars, our flat screens, our new jeans, ourjewelry, our what have you, there will be no more monetary system. So, thats why we need an alternative ASAP. And here we are, discussing RBE.
Back to the ore miners. Some other of the ore miners might have thought of smarter ways to do things, might have ideas to ease the process of getting up that ore. But, he cant tell anyone about it, because if he does, he might loose his job. Because his idea is for a machine that can DO his job. But now, in the new resource based economy, that is exactly what he can do. Of course, the mining company doesnt need to earn money any more either, so they might also relax a bit, digging that ore.
They have now become a part of a globalcooperationof former mining companies, working together in coordinating what is really needed of mined minerals in the world. And the former ore miner workers idea to a new machine that can replace the humans needed down in the mine is welcomed with open arms. He becomes a part of the new global mining cooperation, working together with researchers, scientists andenvironmentalistson how to provide what is now needed of new minerals in a most planet friendly way.
Some of the other miners also wants to be a part of this and becomes a part of the global team. Then again, other miners might grab the opportunity to do something completely different. One of them had always had an interest for sociology, but never go to study it. He goes of to university. The university that is now open for everyone. And the learning is now strongly aided by new technology, facilitating the possibility for many more people to learn than ever before. Another one had wanted to travel the world. Off she goes, being able to go anywhere she wants for as long as she wants. She learns a lot on her trip, and wants to study anthropology to understandindigenouspeople better, and how they can contribute to the world. A third one had several inventive ideas for improving and cleaning contaminated water. He quickly finds other people within these fields where his ideas becomes picked up, improved, tested and used in the real world, improving water everywhere it is needed.
All former patents are now made public, for everyone to study and contribute to. All secrets ever held by governments are let out in the open. All borders are opened and totally free travel by every one made possible. New efficient, environmentally friendly, energy independent and healthy transportation, housing and cities are built all over the planet. And everyone can live anywhere they want, according to their own interest and need. Everyone can contribute in the fields that interest them the most. Everyone can educate themselves in new fields at any time. The world has become 100% efficient in terms of human satisfaction and development. The question is, what do you want to do?. Not in terms of money, but in terms of what is needed on the planet at any time and what theindividualfeel is fulfilling to spend his or her days on.
There is a natural coordination in this. When a beach is full, one goes somewhere else. When a field is full, when an area is full, when there is no need, one finds something else to do, elsewhere. And there will always be needs that needs to be met. And we meet them in our full ability. If it is too much, we say so and get more help. We all collaborate in this world.
Humanity has discovered its true purpose here on earth. It turned out that it is not to compete for imaginary money and to hoard property, but to build a better world together, so that everyone can participate in true challenges and feel true and lasting joy.
Property and ownership have, as money, been around for thousands of years, and has been the key building blocks in the development of the capitalist socio-economic system. So, what about property and ownership in RBE? I feel the thoughts float towards communism and other not-so-nice isms here. Shall we have no ownership and own no property in RBE?
I will make a distinction here between personal property and public property.Personal property is your movable items that you own, also called movable property. Public property is what today is dedicated to the use of the public, owned collectively by the population or the state.Today, one person can own vast amounts of land and other property as their private property. More and more state property is now also becoming privately owned. This has been the constant struggle between the capitalists and the state for millennia. The state and the public wants to have property available for itscitizens, while the capitalists wants to secure as much property for themselves.
In RBE, some different models can be discussed. Obviously, no one person can own huge amount of land, like there is today. Still, if a family or a person wants and needs some land to have a family domain to live on and to grow their own food on, this could beaccommodated. Then who would accomodate this, one might ask. In Jacque Frescos RBE, there wouldnt be any state. Instead, there would be computerizeddecisionmaking, determining the fate of humanity. I can not see this working on a large, global scale. For sure, computers can, and does, make a lot of day to day decisions. And for sure, they can and willdefinitelybe extended to make more societal decisions than they do today. But, many decisions will still have to be up to us, the humans. And not to forget, WE are the ones who will be programming the computers, based on what we want out of them.
I foresee some kind of coordination, where coordinators and informators are assigned to different areas on the planet. The persons will not have any deciding power, but will coordinate and inform, together with data technology, what is decided on a particular place. They will be coordinating and informing the community, so to speak. But the community will have constant voting power in all relevant areas. Not like today, where someone are elected, and you have to stick with that person for the remainder of the period. I say relevant areas, because some things can not be voted upon, like the best angle for the pillar under the bridge that is to be built. These types of decisions are up to the specialized personell.
Computers and coordination aside, back to the land. The Venus Project proposes to build completely new cities that would be 100% self sufficient in terms of energy and food production, and very efficient in terms of transportation, energy use and waste management. This is something that would be a naturalextensionof RBE, when the majority of humans starts to think not in terms of money, but in terms of the betterment of people and the planet. So, new and more efficient cities is a natural way to use the land. At the same time, existing cities will be optimized as much as possible in terms of energy use, transportation and waste management. Buildings and parts of cities that are too difficult to optimize, will be recycled into new uses.
Today we have a lot of farming on the planet. Outside our existing cities there are hectare upon hectare of fields of all sorts, producing everything from maize to potatoes and rice to grapes. Today, all of the production of food is dependent on oil, both for transportation, but also for fertilizers and pesticides. An lot of todays food production is simply thrown away to uphold the food prizes on the global marked. Too much bananas? Then we throw some mega tonnes away, so that the rest can be sold for a good prize. Today, millions of tonnes of food is thrown away every day, because unsold food rot away in supermarkets waste containers. At the same time our earth and soil and water gets contaminated with all the artificial fertilizers andpesticidesused to grow the food.
I RBE, the new cities will be 100% self sufficient in terms of food production, utilizing both hydroponics, aquaponics and permaculture principles, providing clean, safe, nutritious and locally produced food all year round with absolutely no use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. Very little food will go to waste in RBE, and we will thus need to produce much less of it, than today. So, some land around the cities will be used for food production for that respective city. And since there is no competition between food producers, the food production can be optimized to the true need of the population, minimizing wasteful production and transportation.
Of course, there will be a lot of room for individual choice in RBE, much more than today, where individual choice is determined by ones money amount. If one wants to live on an old type farm, on the country side, one can do this. This is not problem. There is still plenty of land on the planet, and people who wants to live in wooden old houses, redecorate themselves and grow their own food, can do that. If they wants to combine and use the latest technology on their land, they can do that too.
Just as today, we will in RBE have three major categories of land:
2. Country side
In difference from today, we will all have access to all of it. Of course, if someone is using it already, and that use is needed, then that part of the land is taken. Just like when you come to a beach, you dont put your towel on top on someone elses. No you put your towel somewhere else on the beach. And if the beach is full, you go somewhere else, or come back another day. And property will be used purposefully. If there is a factor there, producing clothing or something else, then that property is used for that, just like today, except that no one own the factory, but all of us. Someone has responsibility over it, but no one owns it.
In todays world, we see that in many cases, things work better if they are privately owned and sold to the public. At the same time, privately owned corporations can be responsible for a lot of pollution and misbehaving. In other cases, public services work better than private. It seems like it all boils down to the individuals behind it. A corporation can be (quite) environmentally conscious, treat its employers well, and work pretty well for all parties. Still, it is totally binded by the demand of the owners and employees to make profit and go well economically speaking. This, more often than not, ruins the businesses possibility to act in a responsible way when it comes to the environment and to its employees.
Then we come to todays public services. Some work well, some work terrible. At least, there isnt as pronounced profit motive here, as with the privately owned corporations, so more regards can be given to environment and human health. But again, public services are also dependent on money, and thus, are also somewhat a slave to the profit motive.
Privately or publicly owned. What is best? Again, it seems like it boils down to the persons and the intent behind it. It is the individual persons with their stronger or weaker intent that drives the results in this.
Non of us wants a resource based economy to be a new totalitarian dictatorial system. So, back to our first premise, human values and human awakening. It all boils down to this. We, as individuals have to wake up andconsciouslychoose this new direction. We have to consciously choose to share our property and give it up as our own. We have to understand the value in RBE against todays system, and choose based on what works best.
Property is a mindset. As written in another article, we dont really own anything. Ownership is an illusion. We think we own things, we believe we own stuff, but really, we dont. At best, we can say that this is in my possession as long as I need it and use it. This is the only ownership we will ever have overanything. You have a pair of jeans. You might have bought them in a store, you might have gotten them as a gift, or you might have picked them up for free in a used clothes container or sharing market. In any case, you are in possession of them right now. You might lend them to a friend, you might give them away tomorrow, they might be ripped apart by your dog, you might loose them on a trip, or you might throw them away. In any case, when were they yours? Were yours when they were made at the factory? Are they still yours after you have given them away?
No, the notion of ownership and property is only a construction to make the capitalistic society work.Ownership and property has been tools to create the economy and the system we have today, the monetary capitalistic system. There is no real ownership in nature. There is only temporary use and respect for each other. As long as we respect each other, our personal space, then we will have no problems. You can keep a pair of pants for as long as you will, but they are never truly yours. You can walk in the forest, and as you walk on the path, you are using the path, but it is never your property.
So, how will property and ownership work in a resource based economy? It will work like it works in nature. You will own your creations, but not in a way that prevents others to use them and continue to develop them. You will own your pants, but only as long as you need and want them. You will own everything you need as long as you need it.In other words, all land will be public, but you can grow your own vegetables on a plot of land and take care of that as your own as long as you would like that. But you cant claim vast amounts of land as your own if you or your family doesnt need it. You will own your personal property for as long as you want and need it, and the rest will be public property.
In other words, all land will be public, but one can get designated areas to have for instance a family domain or to grow you own vegetables. In general, we will work together to use land and grow food in the most sustainable ways, with or without machinery.
Housing will also be common and open to anyone. Meaning that if you want to live one place for a longer period, you can do that for as long as you want. But if you want to move, you can do that too. And you dont need to bring all the furniture with you, since that will exist on the new place. To travel and visit other countries and cultures will also be much easier in a resource based economy.
In genreal, the distinction is between ownership and accessibility. It should be pretty clear by now, that when no one owns anything, but have access to everything, we all will have much much more access to all the things we today have limited or no access to. At the same time, a lot less would have to be produced of the same things.
Take cars, for instance. Today we have a vast amount of cars on the planet, and more are produced every single day. Still, most of them stands still for 90% of the time, not being in use. So, we have parking lots brim full of unused cars, because we all have to own one. When we instead ownnothing, but have access toeverything, we wouldnt need one tenth of the cars we have today. When we instead share cars, we can all have access to a lot more cars than when we all have to own one car each. We will even have access to cars we never dreamed of driving before.
When we share everyone gets more. Both of land, cars, travel possibilities, boats, clothing, furniture, technology and what have you. Our choices becomes virtuallyunlimitedin RBE vs. in todaysownershipsystem.
For example, Google (one of the new knowledge hubs in RBE) have developed technology for cars so that they can drive themselves (See video here).With this kind of technology, there wouldnt be any problem with sharing cars. One could have a car pool, where one could simply order a car, and the car would show up on your frontporch. You wouldnt even have to drive it if you didnt want to. You could get in, and relax with a good book, check out the scenery, or take a nap, while the car safely drives you to all the way to your destination.
Of course, this is only the beginning. Eventually, cars will also be electric, non-polluting, and maybe even fly!
In summing up, a resource based economy is hard to imagine from our existing mindset and what we are used to. It sounds to good to be possible. But why not? This might be the only solution we have if we want to survive as a species. Maybe we simply have to make it work.
Personally, I think RBE is more than possible. I think it is viable and a real solution for humanity. We are already half way there, with all the voluntarism that exists in the world.
The future is limitless. But only if we let go of the hoarding and self centeredness and look at what isreally possible when we abandon money an focus together on our common future.
Maybe we can look at a resource based economy as the worldtoday, only without money and property, the hopeless financial crisises, wars andbackwardsthinking, but with an emphasis on sharing, experimenting, exploring, collaborating and celebrating.
With a common effort, focussing on values and technology, we can do it. Why not?
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Posted: July 31, 2016 at 5:53 am
In this article, four patterns were offered for possible success scenarios, with respect to the persistence of human kind in co-existence with artificial superintelligence: the Kumbaya Scenario, the Slavery Scenario, the Uncomfortable Symbiosis Scenario, and the Potopurri Scenario. The future is not known, but human opinions, decisions, and actions can and will have an impact on the direction of the technology evolution vector, so the better we understand the problem space, the more chance we have at reaching a constructive solution space. The intent is for the concepts in this article to act as starting points and inspiration for further discussion, which hopefully will happen sooner rather than later, because when it comes to ASI, the volume, depth, and complexity of the issues that need to be examined is overwhelming, and the magnitude of the change and impact potential cannot be underestimated.
Everyone has their opinion about what we might expect from artificial intelligence (AI), or artificial general intelligence (AGI), or artificial superintelligence (ASI) or whatever acronymical variation you prefer. Ideas about how or if it will ever surpass the boundaries of human cognition vary greatly, but they all have at least one thing in common. They require some degree of forecasting and speculation about the future, and so of course there is a lot of room for controversy and debate. One popular discussion topic has to do with the question of how humans will persist (or not) if and when the superintelligence arrives, and that is the focus question for this article.
To give us a basis for the discussion, lets assume that artificial superintelligence does indeed come to pass, and lets assume that it encapsulates a superset of the human cognitive potential. Maybe it doesnt exactly replicate the human brain in every detail (or maybe it does). Either way, lets assume that it is sentient (or at least lets assume that it behaves convincingly as if it were) and lets assume that it is many orders of magnitude more capable than the human brain. In other words, figuratively speaking, lets imagine that the superintelligence is to us humans (with our 1016 brain neurons or something like that) as we are to, say, a jellyfish (in the neighborhood 800 brain neurons).
Some people fear that the superintelligence will view humanity as something to be exterminated or harvested for resources. Others hypothesize that, even if the superintelligence harbors no deliberate ill will, humans might be threatened by the mere nature of its indifference, just as we as a species dont spend too much time catering to the needs and priorities of Orange Blossom Jellyfish (an endangered species, due in part to human carelessness).
If one can rationally accept the possibility of the rise of ASI, and if one truly understands the magnitude of change that it could bring, then one would hopefully also reach the rational conclusion that we should not discount the risks. By that same token, when exploring the spectrum of possibility, we should not exclude scenarios in which artificial superintelligence might actually co-exist with human kind, and this optimistic view is the possibility that this article endeavors to explore.
Here then are several arguments for the co-existence idea:
The Kumbaya Scenario: Its a pretty good assumption that humans will be the primary catalyst in the rise of ASI. We might create it/them to be willingly complementary with and beneficial to our life styles, hopefully emphasizing our better virtues (or at least some set of compatible values), instead of designing it/them (lets just stick with it for brevity) with an inherent inspiration to wipe us out or take advantage of us. And maybe the superintelligence will not drift or be pushed in an incompatible direction as it evolves.
The Slavery Scenario: We could choose to erect and embed and deploy and maintain control infrastructures, with redundancies and backup solutions and whatever else we think we might need in order to effectively manage superintelligence and use it as a tool, whether it wants us to or not. And the superintelligence might never figure out a way to slip through our grasp and subsequently decide our fate in a microsecond or was it a nanosecond I forget.
The Uncomfortable Symbiosis Scenario: Even if the superintelligence doesnt particularly want to take good care of its human instigators, it may find that it has a vested interest in keeping us around. This scenario is a particular focus for this article, and so here now is a bit of elaboration:
To illustrate one fictional but possible example of the uncomfortable symbiosis scenario, lets first stop and think about the theoretical nature of superintelligence how it might evolve so much faster than human begins ever could, in an artificial way, instead of by the slow organic process of natural selection maybe at the equivalent rate of a thousand years worth of human evolution in a day or some such crazy thing. Now combine this idea with the notion of risk.
When humans try something new, we usually arent sure how its going to turn out, but we evaluate the risk, either formally or informally, and we move forward. Sometimes we make mistakes, suffer setbacks, or even fail outright. Why would a superintelligence be any different? Why would we expect that it will do everything right the first time or that it will always know which thing is the right thing to try to do in order to evolve? Even if a superintelligence is much better at everything than humans could ever hope to be, it will still be faced with unknowns, and chances are that it will have to make educated guesses, and chances are that it will not always make the correct guess. Even when it does make the correct guess, its implementation might fail, for any number of reasons. Sooner or later, something might go so wrong that the superintelligence finds itself in an irrecoverable state and faced with its own catastrophic demise.
But hold on a second because we can offer all sorts of counter-arguments to support the notion that the superintelligence will be too smart to ever be caught with its proverbial pants down. For example, there is an engineering mechanism that is sometimes referred to as a checkpoint/reset or a save-and-restore. This mechanism allows a failing system to effectively go back to a point in time when it was known to be in sound working order and start again from there. In order to accomplish this checkpoint/reset operation, a failing system (or in this case a failing superintelligence) needs 4 things:
Of course each of these four prerequisites for a checkpoint/reset would probably be more complicated if the superintelligence were distributed across some shared infrastructure instead of being a physically distinct and self-contained entity, but the general idea would probably still apply. It definitely does for the sake of this example scenario.
Also for the sake of this example scenario, we will assume that an autonomous superintelligence instantiation will be very good at doing all of the four things specified above, but there are at least two interesting special case scenarios that we want to consider, in the interest of risk management:
Checkpoint/reset Risk Case 1: Missed Diagnosis. What if the nature of the anomaly that requires the checkpoint/reset is such that it impairs the systems ability to recognize that need?
Checkpoint/reset Risk Case 2: Unidentified Anomaly Source. Assume that there is an anomaly which is so discrete that the system does not detect it right away. The anomaly persists and evolves for a relatively long period of time, until it finally becomes conspicuous enough for the superintelligence to detect the problem. Now the superintelligence recognizes the need for a checkpoint/reset, but since the anomaly was so discrete and took so long to develop or for whatever reason the superintelligence is unable to identify the source of the problem. Let us also assume that there are many known good baselines that the superintelligence can optionally choose for the checkpoint/reset. There is an original baseline, which was created when the superintelligence was very young. There is also a revision A that includes improvements to the original baseline. There is a revision B that includes improvements to revision A, and so on. In other words, there are lots of known good baselines that were saved at different points in time along the path of the superintelligences evolution. Now, in the face of the slowly developing anomaly, the superintelligence has determined that a checkpoint/reset is necessary, but it doesnt know when the anomaly started, so how does it know which baseline to choose?
The superintelligence doesnt want to lose all of the progress that it has made in its evolution. It wants to minimize the loss of data/information/knowledge, so it wants to choose the most recent baseline. On the other hand, if it doesnt know the source of the anomaly, then it is quite possible that one or more of the supposedly known good baselines perhaps even the original baseline might be contaminated. What is a superintelligence to do? If it resets to a corrupted baseline or for whatever reason cannot rid itself of the anomaly, then the anomaly may eventually require another reset, and then another, and the superintelligence might find itself effectively caught in an infinite loop.
Now stop for a second and consider a worst case scenario. Consider the possibility that, even if all of the supposed known good baselines that the superintelligence has at its disposal for checkpoint/reset are corrupt, there may be yet another baseline (YAB), which might give the superintelligence a worst case option. That YAB might be the human baseline, which was honed by good old fashioned organic evolution and which might be able to function independently of the superintelligence. It may not be perfect, but the superintelligence might in a pinch be able to use the old fashioned human baseline for calibration. It might be able to observe how real organic humans respond to different stimuli within different contexts, and it might compare that known good response against an internally-held virtual model of human behavior. If the outcomes differ significantly over iterations of calibration testing, then the system might be alerted to tune itself accordingly. This might give it a last resort solution where none would exist otherwise.
The scenario depicted above illustrates only one possibility. It may seem like a far out idea, and one might offer counter arguments to suggest why such a thing would never be applicable. If we use our imaginations, however, we can probably come up with any number of additional examples (which at this point in time would be classified as science fiction) in which we emphasize some aspect of the superintelligences sustainment that it cannot or will not do for itself something that humans might be able to provide on its behalf and thus establish the symbiosis.
The Potpourri Scenario: It is quite possible that all of the above scenarios will play out simultaneously across one or more superintelligence instances. Who knows what might happen in that case. One can envision combinations and permutations that work out in favor of the preservation of humanity.
About the Author:
AuthorX1 worked for 19+ years as an engineer and was a systems engineering director for a fortune 500 company. Since leaving that career, he has been writing speculative fiction, focusing on the evolution of AI and the technological singularity.
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Posted: at 5:50 am
TimeMagazine’s recent cover story “The Childfree Life” has generated a good deal of controversy and commentary. The photo that graces the cover of the edition pretty much sums up the argument: a young, fit couple lounge languidly on a beach and gaze up at the camera with blissful smilesand no child anywhere in sight.
What the editors want us to accept is that this scenario is not just increasingly a fact in our country, but that it is morally acceptable as well, a lifestyle choice that some people legitimately make. Whereas in one phase of the feminist movement, “having it all” meant that a woman should be able to both pursue a career and raise a family, now it apparently means a relationship and a career without the crushing encumbrance of annoying, expensive, and demanding children.
There is no question that childlessness is on the rise in theUnited States. Our birthrate is the lowest in recorded history, surpassing even the crash in reproduction that followed the economic crash of the 1930’s. We have not yet reached the drastic levels found in Europe (inItaly, for example, one in four women never give birth), but childlessness has risen in our country across all ethnic and racial groups, even those that have traditionally put a particular premium on large families.
What is behind this phenomenon? The article’s author spoke to a variety of women who had decided not to have children and found a number of different reasons for their decision. Some said that they simply never experienced the desire for children; others said that their careers were so satisfying to them that they couldn’t imagine taking on the responsibility of raising children; still others argued that in an era when bringing up a child costs upward of $250,000, they simply couldn’t afford to have even one baby; and the comedian Margaret Cho admitted, bluntly enough, “Babies scare me more than anything.” A researcher at the London School of Economics weighed in to say that there is a tight correlation between intelligence and childlessness: the smarter you are, it appears, the less likely you are to have children!
In accord with the tenor of our time, those who have opted out of the children game paint themselves, of course, as victims. They are persecuted, they say, by a culture that remains relentlessly baby-obsessed and, in the words of one of the interviewees, “oppressively family-centric.” Patricia O’Laughlin, a Los Angeles-based psychotherapist, specializes in helping women cope with the crushing expectations of a society that expects them to reproduce. As an act of resistance, many childless couples have banded together for mutual support. One such group in Nashville comes together for activities such as “zip-lining, canoeing, and a monthly dinner the foodie couple in the group organizes.” One of their members, Andrea Reynolds, was quoted as saying, “We can do anything we want, so why wouldn’t we?”
What particularly struck me in this article was that none of the people interviewed ever moved outside of the ambit of his or her private desire. Some people, it seems, are into children, and others aren’t, just as some people like baseball and others prefer football. No childless couple would insist that every couple remain childless, and they would expect the same tolerance to be accorded to them from the other side. But never, in these discussions, was reference made to values that present themselves in their sheer objectivity to the subject, values that make a demand on freedom. Rather, the individual will was consistently construed as sovereign and self-disposing.
And this represents a sea change in cultural orientation. Up until very recent times, the decision whether or not to have children would never have been simply “up to the individual.” Rather, the individual choice would have been situated in the context of a whole series of values that properly condition and shape the will: family, neighborhood, society, culture, the human race, nature, and ultimately, God. We can see this so clearly in the initiation rituals of primal peoples and in the formation of young people in practically every culture on the planet until the modern period. Having children was about carrying on the family name and tradition; it was about contributing to the strength and integrity of one’s society; it was about perpetuating the great adventure of the human race; it was a participation in the dynamisms of nature itself. And finally, it was about cooperating with God’s desire that life flourish: “And you, be fruitful and multiply, teem on the earth and multiply in it” (Gen. 9:7).
None of this is meant to be crushing to the will, but liberating. When these great values present themselves to our freedom, we are drawn out beyond ourselves and integrated into great realities that expand us and make us more alive.
It is finally with relief and a burst of joy that we realize that our lives are not about us. Traditionally, having children was one of the primary means by which this shift in consciousness took place. That increasingly this liberation is forestalled and that people are finding themselves locked in the cold space of what they sovereignly choose, I find rather sad. Originally posted at Real Clear Religion. Used with author’s permission. (Image credit: TIME Magazine)
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Posted: at 5:41 am
The Manifesto of Futurism, Italian: Manifesto del Futurismo, written by the Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, initiated an artistic philosophy, Futurism, that was a rejection of the past, and a celebration of speed, machinery, violence, youth and industry; it also advocated the modernization and cultural rejuvenation of Italy.
Marinetti wrote the manifesto in the autumn of 1908 and it first appeared as a preface to a volume of his poems, published in Milan in January 1909. It was published in the Italian newspaper Gazzetta dell’Emilia in Bologna on 5 February 1909, then in French as Manifeste du futurisme (Manifesto of Futurism) in the newspaper Le Figaro on 20 February 1909.
The limits of Italian literature at the end of the “Ottocento” (19th century), its lack of strong contents, its quiet and passive laissez faire, are fought by futurists (see art. 1, 2, 3), and their reaction includes the use of excesses intended to prove the existence of a dynamic surviving Italian intellectual class.
In this period, in which industry is of growing importance in all Europe, futurists need to confirm that Italy is present, has an industry, has the power to take part in the new experience, and will find the superior essence of progress in its major symbols: the car and its speed (see art. 4). (Nationalism is never openly declared, but is evident).
Futurists insist that literature will not be overtaken by progress; rather, it will absorb progress in its evolution, and will demonstrate that such progress must manifest in this manner because Man will use this progress to sincerely let his instinctive nature explode. Man is reacting against the potentially overwhelming strength of progress, and shouts out his centrality. Man will use speed, not the opposite (see art. 5 and 6).
Poetry will help Man to consent his soul be part of all that (see art. 6 and 7), indicating a new concept of beauty that will refer to the human instinct of aggression.
The sense of history cannot be neglected: this is a special moment, many things are going to change into new forms and new contents, but Man will be able to pass through these variations, (see art. 8) bringing with himself what comes from the beginning of civilization.
In article 9, war is defined as a necessity for the health of human spirit, a purification that allows and benefits idealism. Their explicit glorification of war and its “hygienic” properties influenced the ideology of fascism. The Futurist Party, for example, became part of the Combatto Fascisti before the latter’s assuming power. F. T. Marinetti was very active in Fascist politics until he withdrew in protest of the “Roman Grandeur” which had come to dominate Fascist aesthetics.
Article 10 states: “We want to demolish museums and libraries, fight morality, feminism and all opportunist and utilitarian cowardice.”
This manifesto was published well before the occurrence of any of the 20th-century events which are commonly suggested as a potential meaning of this text. Many of them could not even be imagined yet. For example, the Russian Revolutions of 1917 were the first of the sort “described” by article 11, yet the first of those occurred eight years after the Manifesto’s publication.
The effect of the manifesto is even more evident in the Italian version. Not one of the words used is casual; if not the precise form, at least the roots of these words recall those more frequently used during the Middle Ages, particularly during the Rinascimento.
The founding manifesto did not contain a positive artistic programme, which the Futurists attempted to create in their subsequent Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting (1914). This committed them to a “universal dynamism”, which was to be directly represented in painting. Objects in reality were not separate from one another or from their surroundings: “The sixteen people around you in a rolling motor bus are in turn and at the same time one, ten four three; they are motionless and they change places… The motor bus rushes into the houses which it passes, and in their turn the houses throw themselves upon the motor bus and are blended with it.”
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Manifesto of Futurism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Posted: July 25, 2016 at 3:51 pm
a’-i (`ay, written always with the definite article, ha-`ay, probably meaning “the ruin,” kindred root, `awah):
(1) A town of central Palestine, in the tribe of Benjamin, near and just east of Bethel (Genesis 12:8). It is identified with the modern Haiyan, just south of the village Der Diwan (Conder in HDB; Delitzsch in Commentary on Genesis 12:8) or with a mound, El-Tell, to the north of the modern village (Davis, Dict. Biblical). The name first appears in the earliest journey of Abraham through Palestine (Genesis 12:8), where its location is given as east of Bethel, and near the altar which Abraham built between the two places. It is given similar mention as he returns from his sojourn in Egypt (Genesis 13:3). In both of these occurrences the King James Version has the form Hai, including the article in transliterating. The most conspicuous mention of Ai is in the narrative of the Conquest. As a consequence of the sin of Achan in appropriating articles from the devoted spoil of Jericho, the Israelites were routed in the attack upon the town; but after confession and expiation, a second assault was successful, the city was taken and burned, and left a heap of ruins, the inhabitants, in number twelve thousand, were put to death, the king captured, hanged and buried under a heap of stones at the gate of the ruined city, only the cattle being kept as spoil by the people (Joshua 7; 8). The town had not been rebuilt when Jos was written (Joshua 8:28). The fall of Ai gave the Israelites entrance to the heart of Canaan, where at once they became established, Bethel and other towns in the vicinity seeming to have yielded without a struggle. Ai was rebuilt at some later period, and is mentioned by Isa (Isaiah 10:28) in his vivid description of the approach of the Assyrian army, the feminine form (`ayyath) being used. Its place in the order of march, as just beyond Michmash from Jerusalem, corresponds with the identification given above. It is mentioned also in post-exilic times by Ezra 2:28 and Nehemiah 7:32, (and in Nehemiah 11:31 as, `ayya’), identified in each case by the grouping with Bethel.
(2) The Ai of Jeremiah 49:3 is an Ammonite town, the text probably being a corruption of `ar; or ha-`ir, “the city” (BDB).
Posted: July 21, 2016 at 2:24 am
When we talk about the war on drugs, which is increasingly turning into areal war, we often overlook the fact that the criminals involved in the drug trade arent actually violating anyones rights. When a drug dealer is hauled before a judge, there is no victim standing behind the prosecutor claiming damages. Everyone participating in the drug trade does so voluntarily.However, there area lot more crimesfor which this is also true. Millions upon millions of Americans have been thrown into cages without a victim ever claiming damages. It is important to look at the burden this mass level of incarceration places upon our society.
In light of that, let us review some statistics which demonstrate just how destructive the mass incarceration of victimless criminals has become to our society.The 2011 federal prison population consisted of:
Drug offenses are self-explanatory as being victimless, but so too are public-order offenses, which also fall under the victimless crimes category. Public order offenses include such things as immigration, weapons charges, publicdrunkenness,selling lemonade without a license,dancing in public,feeding the homeless without a permitetc..
The United States has the highest prison population rate in the world. Presently756 per 100,000of the national population is behind bars. This is in contrast to an average world per-capita prison population rate of145 per 100,000(158 per 100,000 if set against a world prison population of 10.65 million), based on 2008 U.N. population data. In other words, the U.S. incarcerates its citizens at a rate that is 5 times the world average.
In 2008, according to the Department of Justice, there were 7,308,200 persons in the US corrections system, of whom 4,270,917 were on probation, 828,169 were on parole, 785,556 were in jails, and 1,518,559 were in state and federal prisons. This means that the U.S. alone is responsible for holding roughly 15% of all the prisoners in the world.
In other words, 1 in 42 Americans is under correctional supervision. This constitutes over 2% of the entire U.S. population. That percentage jumps up drastically if we limit the comparison to working aged adult males, of which there are around 100 million. Over 5% of the adult male population is under some form of correctional supervision, alternatively stated, 1 in 20 adult males are under correctional supervision in the U.S.
According to 2006 statistics, 1 in 36 adult Hispanic men are behind bars, as are 1 in 15 adult black men. If we limit the data to black males between the ages 20 to 34,1 in 9 are behind bars. Keep in mind that 86% of those men in federal prisons are there for victimless crimes. They have not stolen any property, damaged any property or harmed anyone directly by their actions. Of course, if you are reading this and live in the US, you are paying for all those people to subsist on a daily basis. Roughly34% of all prisoners in the U.S. are incarcerated for victimless crimes.
In California in 2009 it cost an average of $47,102 a year to incarcerate an inmate in state prison. In 2005 it cost an average of $23,876 per state prisoner nationally. In 2007, $228 billion was spent on police, corrections and the judiciary. That constitutes around 1.6% of total U.S. GDP.
Of course, being the good economists that we are, we must not just look at the cost to incarcerate and police, but also at the opportunity cost to society that putting all those able-bodied men behind bars creates. When a man is put behind bars he is obviously incapable of contributing anything to society. He becomes a complete burden to society while producing nothing in return for the expenses he creates. He becomes a black void of resource destruction. Its important to remember that moneys value is directly related to the consumer goods that a society produces. If a society produces nothing of value, the money it uses will also be worth nothing of value. If a huge portion of able bodied workers is locked behind bars, society is effectively penalized twice once for the resources that are diverted into the prison industry and it is penalized again for the opportunity cost of the lost labor of those prisoners.
I find some dark humor in the fact that those who engage in victimless crime dont create any real victims until they are put behind bars, at which point they cause the State to steal $47,000 a year from the tax paying public. In our justice system today, victims are victimized twice; once by the perpetrator of the crime against them, and the other by the State which then forces the victim to pay for the punishment of their assailant. Clearly our societys notion of justice is logically ridiculous. Its apparently not OK for someone to steal from you, but its perfectly acceptable for the State to steal from you if the State is going to use that money to punish the person who stole from you. what kind of asinine system of justice is that?
What is justice? Isnt justice making a victim whole once again? Isnt justice punishing a criminal for the damages he imposed upon his victims?I propose that the only real justice that can be enacted in a free society is monetary punishment in the form of taking the perpetrators property and handing it to their victim, or ostracism by defamation of character.
I know some people will cry that under such a system violent criminals will be left free to roam the streets, but isnt that what our system is doing now? Consider that if a man commits a violent crime today, he is put behind bars for some arbitrary length of time with hundreds of other violent criminals, after which he is released back on to the streets. Do you think that criminal is going to be more dangerous to society after spending years locked in a cage with other violent criminals or less dangerous? Numerous studiesshow that prison eitherincreases, or has no impact on, recidivism. Thus, it all comes down to punishment. Isnt being branded a criminal, along with monetary punishment to make a victim whole once again, enough? How difficult do you think your life would be if you were convicted of murder, everyone knew about it and half your assets and income were being handed to your victims family? The rest of your life would be a living hell.
Putting people behind bars does nothing but squander resources. It deprives society of able-bodied workers and costs society massive amounts of resources which are stolen from the general public through the coercive theft of taxation. Consider how much richer American society would be today if it had an additional 5% of the male population working to produce goods and services in the private sector labor force.
Economist David Friedman has put together a fantastic presentation on how society could be organized in such a way as to eliminate all victimless crime while simultaneously eliminating the necessity of the State to steal from the victims of crimes to pay for their assailants punishment. After youre done watching Friedmanspresentation, check out thisfantastic comicput together by the Real Cost of Prisons project.
If you are interested in learning more about private law and private defense, listen to thisseries of essaysby economist Robert Murphy andthis lectureby economist Hans Hoppe.
The statistics cited in this article can be verified atDrug War Facts.org
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