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True Techno Optimism and the Roboeconomy

One thing one can say about our world is that usually, anything that can happen will happen. It is an insecure environment now that technologies are proliferating that we haven’t yet had the time to understand the implications of. This is apart from the delayed effect risks of what we may invent. A good example there is plastic, which is about to be in the bloodstream of most animals and humans for a long time as it is ground to dust on our beaches and landfills.

Information technology seems harmless. It has one big vulnerability, it is energy intensive. We have no clue what it will do to us once virtual reality reaches its maturity. Will it captivate a large portion of the affluent population? Will it drive men away from women as they can find virtual partners to coexist with? What will artificial intelligence add to VRs ability to drive our minds crazy. Dreams will come true, but they will remain dreams. This kinds of unknowns are now on the horizon.

In every field there are now new options that wheren’d there or simply wheren’t used before. 3d printing, genome sequencing, near autonomous and freely mobile sensing platforms. You can’t tell whether your phone is listening to your conversations (through speech recognition) or actual people, The biggest problem is control. We don’t have it. We are floated on a stream of positive projections of the future, marketing new technology as a benefit, just like in the 50’s.

One can wonder : Who is paying for all this, and why. The answer is simple. Its the fossil industry. Simple motives as well : 1. It distracts us 2. It drives fossil fuel consumption. Just like the 50s where a time where the demand for oil could not keep up with supply, and onstacles had to be removed to allow the explosion in fossil fuel use (and revenue), like the gold standard, now we need to drown out the call for renewables by offering a plethora of opportunities. To much is on offer, what should we choose, what should we worry about. and oh, yes. climate change.

The forces that are corrupting our governments, turning them into lakeys of industry, is also eroding our ability to control what comes into our world. It is not hard to make a virus or sequence DNA, create chemical compounts or a drone that can do harm. It is very easy. As one that has experimented with small computing platforms I know this is a watched space. Not everyone can get access to easy to work with microcontrollers (smal customizable processing units).

The question should be : How to make this mayham safe. The answer is simple : By making it independent and unrelated to fossil fuels. The reason is simple : The need to sell fossil fuels, and create fossil fuel cashflows is behind the push of this new techno-renaissance. Without it it would be organic. Now it is used as a tool to blind and confuse us.

Because we need to make this avelanche of technology safe, we have to, we create clear priorities. The source of productivity, development, mining, etc. has to be green. Solar, wind wave energy. The use of the technology should go towards greening our planet. This makes some of the technology usefull, other parts not. Even though large insurers are already creating a genome bank for EU citizens (for example) and all kinds of selective treatment are waiting to increase insurer profits, this is not the worst problem if we manage to remove the fossil fuel sales incentive.

As soon the fossil fuel cashflow driver disappears a process or technology will be treated differently. For example, a motorcycle running on fossil fuel keeps a gas station owner happy, and a whole logistics chain all the way to the refineries and wells. A wind turbine with a electric charging station can exist autonomously, powering many electric motorcycles. But the owner doesn’t care about highways, about a whole army of other people that need to keep their jobs. He/she can care about the best service, about the sustainability of the operation. About local issues, and is not forced to present a dominant force.

Our current fleet of internal combustion cars requires a huge complex network of elements that get and supply the fuel. You get adds with oil motor monsters telling you you need to grease your engine with special oil, you have to burry the elderly that no longer can take the NOx and CO, VOC your inefficient noisy engine spews out. No innovation there, unless you go electric.  Then you can have independent solar farms that could (in theory) produce their panels locally from scratch. Solar plants whose assets can be 100% recycled given there’s enough electricity to do it. No global head office for charging stations. It may exist, but it is not necessary.

On the other hand, the elimination of fossil fuel as main driver for economic developemt also creates new opportunities to use the new technologies. Now the fossil logistics chain and economic utility of a region determines how it is developed. It is unlikely a buzzling Dubai style hub will emerge in Alice Springs Australia. It did arise in Dubai because of the fossil fuel wealth in the region, because the oil sheiks wanted their own Paris, because it makes no sense to be rich if you can have your own parties. It also arose because it made builders rich. It provided an opportunity to get rich building, even though the place has very little to offer. Now that the hausse is over, money has changed hands, the place is a cost center, consumming massive amounds of fossil fuels daily. Building with slaves is common, anyone with something to sell that boosts some ego can go there and sell. Is it sustainable? No. That’s the point of the entire thing.

With renewables one could start a dubai in Alice springs. First one would plant forrests around the place, irrigated with water brought there using solar electric logistics, at next to zero cost. The climate would change, the air would become more humid, buidling could commence with only solar and sand. The land would be able to feed people and all the things people needed could be furnished, all the while the area of new forrest would be expanded. No need for an airport or rampant building, the newest technology, robotics could be used to develop the place so it sustains its population and visitors. In the long run the whole of dry Australia could be turned green and almost no cost would be associated, because the solar energy, stored in wood and susequent fuels, plastics and solid structures, would be its own driver for expansion and security for the community. The people would always be in charge, and never be subject to a class of economically brainwashed lakeys of fossil expansion.

The techno optimist is right, but rather than driving him/herself into some technology frenzy, with things doubling and millions and billions etc. it is possible to view it like a new toolkit, that we have to find a user for that is not driven by profit or economic expansion or adressing the anxieties of the elites, but by creating sustainable communities, by restoring our ecosystems, by maximizing life. Those goals are in themselves sustainable, they will bring health, happyness, freedom and companionship for all. They will usher in the Roboeconomy 😉

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Moore’s Law and the Techno Evangelism

Ray Kurzweil is an amazing guy. He is one of the proponent of the modern techno evangelicals. His talks are full of promise and optimism, full of new amazing possiblilities, new frontiers. He has done some incredible things like discover that Moore’s law has been true continuously even before the first computers. You may feel already that this introduction is preparing for a great reversal of praise..

This is not Ray Kurzweil

It is not really. The people that tell you Moore’s law of doubling of the number of transistors that fit on a chip or the amount of memory stored on a hard disk is true, are happy with progress. Aren’t we all. The question is : What does this progress mean. What can we read into it. How can you tell an audience that has been smothered in positive buzz about all kinds of technology to cool it a bit. To step back and see what real progress is achieved. If one looks at it that way, the answer may disappoint.

Moore’s law has come true for decades now, but what does it mean for our daily lives? We are more synchonized in our thinking and behaviour, but is that a good thing or just economically usefull?

We like to lose control, but only in a safe environment. Raveling in promising technology provides the mix, we can think ‘we don’t know what will happen’ and at the same time ‘but it must be good’ because it is ‘more’, almost literally. Moore’s law, we all want more, and it is more, because it means doubling! No clue what is said or implied or meant, no clue wether we have any control over the moral side of change, we are on a happy ride to the future.

The ideas about the brain he explains above where in 1990 textbooks. Otherwise he’s completely wrong about the way he interprets information on the brain. It is a series of annecdotes strung together in a serious confident voice. This is what his audience needs, it doesn’t like to distrust him for his boldness in presenting all these unkowns. Muck like a preacher teaching about the promised land. A sentence like “You will connect the modules in the Neocortex to the cloud” as kind of extention is such bullshit. “You will expand your neocortex without limit”. Please. Ray does not know that neocortical regions all inhibit each other, so once we have external corex additions, our mind will be effectively shut down.

A younger prodigy of Kurzweil is Salim Ismail. He can run down a number of new amazing technologies that turns our living world into a morphable feast. Fosforescent cats, tricoders, transformational technologies in the field of medical science. And “Solar energy is double in its price performance and has been every 2-5 years”. His talk below is really confusing in it’s mixing of quantities. Google car video material : “O my god, It’s driving itself! AAAAAArg”. Out of control but amazed. Exactly the same formula.

Really to disect these stories is easy for someone like me who was actually a neuroscientist and actually understands most technologies mentioned. Ismael says : That’s his amygdala freaking out. The maygdala mediates fear responses, like a flinch when something hits your eyes. “Every regulatory mechanism is now going to break down”. Switching to the digital media business showing a revenue drop. As if this has any bearing on any topic? What happened to digital media? They went digital! Next a new doubling mantra about 3d printing. Predictions where wrong, it was exponential. Next AirBnB has its turn. Its growth also shows an exponential curve. This is the message of Salim Ismail. Be aware that growth is not linear anymore, but probably exponential.

Wonder : What problem are we trying to fix here? Because confusion is a problem.

Salims talk is realy a whirlwind of facts and details about new technology. It’s mumbo jumbo to most of the audience, and so what can the audience pick up? the words double, millions, you don’t need, dissruption, disappearance. The mind holds on to the parts of what is said it can. “Three billion new minds will come online” omg. It is really impossible to keep up with his rapid fire of technology examples. Even the trained mind will be exhausted by such a useless summation. It’s actually a well know hypnotic technique, a confusion trategy. Here it is used to take a new view of the world, to sell the necessity to choose a new ‘business perspective’.

Growth and adoptation of technology has to do with many factors. One is cost. The above graph shows the growth of Paypal. I was looking for the growth of faxes, but this is pretty much the same thing. Why? Because one faxmachine is useless, one paypal account (that allows you to pay digitally between email type adresses) as well. Once a number of people have faxes they become more valuable and the pressure to have one grows. With Paypal the owner Elon Musk didn’t wait, but just paid people to open an account. Once the growth of Paypal caught on people thought they needed it and opened accounts for free.

Paypal’s growth curve was payed for, just like Ubers

Interesting enough Paypal grew in the era of sucky phones and a budding internet. Yet it grew quite like the Fax machine and some other inventions found later. The answer why is simple : They where technologies that where an improvement for everybody, so the growth had a lot to do with simply knowing about it. This is a function of human networks, and as those multiply knowledge by an exponential factor (5 people have 5 close friends who have 5 more friends) with cost friction and other losses along the way, you get an exponential curve. The lessen to be learned here is that people usually only adopt something if they see it in their enviroment, and maybe that if you want to strike this well of customers you need to make something small that most people find so usefull they will prioritize to buy it over what they would otherwise have bought.

Uber down $600 Million, about 1/3 an average Wallstreet bonus

Uber, also used as an example by Salem and Yuri van der Geest (in Holland) is no accident. They are not making profit, so how can it operate? Simple : Wall street money. Just like Starbucks, Mc Donalds etc. etc. If you can make huge losses you will always succeed in pushing out the competition. That is no miracle of exponential adaption, unless you ignore the cost, then you offer a better option where one wasn’t before, and you get exponential growth. Any product with marginal inprovement that has money backing it’s initial losses will show this pattern. Of course most people don’t know Wallstreet will never run out of cash, even though we all do know the US prints its own money at zero interest rates. The miracle is that we still accept it.

Yuri van der Geest is a dutch writer who create the book Exponential Organizations in which he combines books about innovation and opinions of famous opinionators like Bloomberg and Arianne Huffington. Ceo’s validated the methodology (whatever that means). This guy is not the first to take a lot of fantastic examples and claims and cross relationships (which may or may not exist) to dazzle the reader into disorientation. The final advice is to embrace technology. But we where already doing that.

Yuri’s final conclusion echo’s my view of the future that I call the Roboeconomy, that I have been blogging about for a while now. The question the Roboeconomy answers is how to make the adoption of technology benign. The key is to remove the pressure to grow an ‘economy’ by using only renewables. This makes ‘funding’ for change always local, always proportional. In the interview above Yuri is correctly called out about his interpretation of low tech growth like Ubers as an expression of high technology, it is not, it is a marketing exercise.

A good example of a multi million marketing exercise against solar is Solyndra. This solar company was run into the ground to serve as a negative example to discourage solar for the Republicans.

As someone that knows more about the arduous path of Tesla it is hard to accept Yuri’s nonchalant expectation that this approach can be adopted by others. The key to Tesla’s succes is that everything about it was terribly hard  (even though an initial investment of 60 million could be made by Elon Musk). Several times, even quite recently Tesla came close to bankruptcy, it did not have the luxury of running a $600 million deficit like Uber, because it was truely disruptive, and true disruption is fought tooth and nail by the market.

Yuri sounds like what I think he is, a techno evangalist, techno optimist, who triggers people to be amazed. He is an entertainer of sorts, who offers no leadership, nor does Salem, nor Kurzweil. The key to these ‘thinkers’ is simple : Economism. Of course there are limitless funds and accolades for anyone good at that.

 

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Economics, The Soul and The Ego and the return of Royalty

We are autonaton, robots, biobased, wetware, bio-electronic systems is you wish. We protect ourselves, we protect behaviour that allows us to exist, and if those two factors are satisfied we hang around. This is to say, if we are able to express our natural behaviour.

In normal situations our systems have a soul, that soul is an effect that binds behaviours and properties and then stops. It accepts because the basic needs of the system are met, and because doing much more would use up our resources and this may become a risk in the future. It accepts also because we can’t be perfect, we ususally are not. Another reason why we have this mechanism to bind and accept is that we change, we grow.

If we grow up in a stabile environment we will learn what we need to do to also be accepted by others, and we will adapt to change by accepting it, as we grow older. Rarely will we have to assert our individual needs over that of others or at all. We would do that in puberty, and find a mate and then things would quiet down again.

Today our society doesn’t work like that. We are not left alone, We are not presented with a stabile environment and we are barely allowed to see our own children grow up. This is because we are dealing with two unnecessary factors : Scarcity and ownership. Ownership is not bad when you own what you need, but it is bad when someone else owns what you need. A house, a place to grow food, a place to work, these things are usually not yours. The bank owns your house and you pay for it. The farmer owns your food and you pay for it. But you work somewhere and you are payed for that.

In our society we are pushed out of our soulfull existence. If we don’t act we can barely enjoy freedom or express ourselves. Our freedom is taken by those that have put ownership of houses and lands out of reach by driving up the prices. These are not the people that use the land or live in the houses. These are the people that tell you you can have a house if you go into debt with them and work for 30 years to pay them. These are people just like you that want to sit on their asses and use your trust to put you in a place where your soul gets sidelined by your ego. Worse still, a position in which you will do that to others.

The ego is part of us that helps us survive, it knows what we can do, what resources it has and will make us aware if we need them. Normally we express it at no cost to anybody, we make decisions that not only help ourselves, but also others, or that are in line with the role or task the have in the community. Our egos operate within our soulfull selfs, and nobody will notice them. Maybe we see a solution to a problem, a shortcut to happiness, and then we will express our egos and other people may thank us. We normally don’t express our ego to the detriment of others.

Not so today. In modern society the ego is made king. This is done by threatening us, by seducing us with an easy pick, which then turns into a lead manacle. You can buy a house easy, but you can’t earn the mortgage easy. To earn the mortgage you are asked to express your ego, and make life harder on others so they express their ego. This system is led by the top ego expressers, the rich that show you their richness. Their possesions that shine with that intrinisic appeal. There certainly are soulfull rich and wealthy, and you will always see those are the ones least under threat. A rich London banker is not soulfull, but all ego, and he/she tells you that “Its a dog eat dog world, you need to fight to survive”. How poor is a person that needs to fight to survive?

If you cram to many people in a small room, they could stand there without much agitation, if they manage to share space just so they all have some room (some dark associations with people crammed in rooms sorry). If someone outside the room pokes into it with a stick, and people start to move, choking others, then all hell breaks loose. This is our society. The room is not real. It is not small, it is much bigger. The small room we are expected to believe we are in is defined by fossil-economic principles.

What are we fighting for when we express our ego, besides our existence in this ‘room’. We are fighting because 1. Our resources are scarce 2. Our fight means safety for some of us, the people that run this system. Our resources are scarce because our primary resource is not solar or wind or geothermal energy but fossil energy. Solar is not scarce, even though devices to harvest it still are. Solar energy can power the manufacturing of more solar energy devices, so at a certain tipping point we will be flooded with them at next to zero cost. Then our energy resources will not double, or tripple but multiply by more than 2000.

The system we have now is designed to deal with scarcity in a way that benefits some of us, which is the second reason we are fighthing : The safety of these few. One can talk about the elite, about the bankers and agitate towards them. That’s great. Then we express ego, and the ‘elite’ and the bankers see that one coming for miles. What is really going on is that there is a spectrum of personalities with on one side the dirty undeveloped analphabetical beggar and on the other hand the clean, organized, highly educated rich person. Two of the most important properties of the rich are 1. They like to be clean and do not like what is dirty (this defines a republican and is a scientific result) 2. They like to build protection (which is an extention of staying clean). This very basic property drives these people to express ego, usually more than the people around them, because they need to protect against that which they feel threatens them. And they are right, their behaviour is not evil or anything.

We are all born differently and raised in an unique way. This means we all have innate and learned sensitivity to our environment. We may trust easy because our trust was never challenged, or we may trust nobody because our trust was proven misplaced at a young age. We may be very cleanly or we may like to live rough. Certainly when courtship plays a role we can not prevent people from wanting to show they are fit, clean, healthy and powerfull. The economic system has taken this build-in property of the population and put it to work. Who wants to be clean and powerfull can be, by earning money, and putting others to work. This economic system is designed to make the world better for many, and it works, but it also has two major flaws : 1. It uses fossil fuels, 2. It has a banking system that depends on this type of energy to retain the cashflows they live off. As a result our society is super ego driven, and it is driven off an ecological cliff (or is already over it).

The true solution is surprising : We need royalty and noblemen. We need to allow the rich to be rich, and make it so they do not also need to serve an economic system to be themselves. We need to accept that some people like to live simple lives. We need to look at the people that manage cashflows and try to eliminate as much of them as possible (from their roles). We need to return ownership close to those live in or on the property and assign it by productivity of the land, not by the ability of one individual or another to generate cashflow (generate profit in the economy without producing goods or services). This way local, small scale systems will emerge, and our ego’s won’t be asked to act up all the times. We can make our local environment clean and green and beautifull, and  not even lose all the technology and luxury we enjoy today. We will create a better world that can still allow us to trade and travel, but also to live normal human lives with very little stress.

A meritocracy is in place when we look at our ‘old’ noblemen and royalty, their instinct to protect meant they protected ‘the realm’ and for their willingness to risk their lives they would enjoy part of what they protected. Modern technology makes it so that we don’t need to live in such a precarious situation, but we will still see people with stronger ambition and those with more average goals, hopes and dreams. The system or nobility makes room for that with minimal harm to those that are naturally more soulfull. The system is in fact still in place, because in Holland people that done things for which many are gratefull are still rewarded with different grades of nobility. They can come from any part of society.

To move towards a more soulfull society the defeat of the bankers and fossil industry is key. That is done by building more renewable energy sources, organizing with that goal, because solar by its nature gives power to the local community. You can observe how the soulless banker elite at the same time trieds to build an infrastructure that ensures you won’t be able to access energy, key to your survival, through them. They want you to keep feeling that greed and express that ego while it is not in your nature. If you want to feel happy and content then you need to make it so what you need is in your hands. Because of climate change there has never been a better time to start working on that than today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ubiquitous Surveillance versus Journalism

These days walls have ears and eyes. You may have approved an app on your smartphone that takes pictures and listens to you when you don’t know about it. Anyway cell tower info can track your moves even if you have not approved it. Face recognition on street cams can identify you and public transport, Uber and airlines, keep track of you. There seems to be no way to move around unnoticed.

This moving around may or may not have attention of potential political adversaries. Our governments are not homegenous but consists of a group of loosely cooperating institutions all trying to abide by the laws. Companies and interest groups meanwhile are trying to change laws so that they can make more money or protect their members.  Many things go unnoticed simply because there’s nobody to detect them, for example the EPA was stripped under Bush so a lot of environmental crime went unnoticed. Many regulatory institutions are either owned by the industry or completely bought.

In this environment Journalists are under threat. Journalists are no longer independent researchers of the truth, in most cases they play a political role of exposing wrongdoings in a context where desperation is causing all sides to commit crimes. Smearing however is a powerfull tool to herd people to one direction or another, find a good opportunity to smear and you can win a war (and certainly start one). Free journalism is fought from Holland to Turkey, where in Holland you’re not supposed to talk to green, in Turkey you should not insult Erdogan. The issue of insulting Erdogan is used to distract us from more important news.

So on thee one hand your most intimate moments are now recorded and stored, and you have no idea how they can be used against you. For example, you can be invited to talk about new ways to organize society, an organization can be created around you which allows a certain interpretation of your moves and soon enough you can be convicted as a terrorist, if you in fact only had the desire to reduce suffering and create a society more free and just. you on the other hand are supposed to guard privacy and not make photos in public. If you organize to do so and create a counter surveillance organization you will be branded a terrorist sooner or later.

The mistake is that we consider journaism important. It can be, but only politically impacting journalism is, and then the question is how effective is it. First order of business of journaists should be to get a grip on surveillance of themselves and others. In reality a journalist has to write pieces for publication online or elsewhere and follow the current narrative, which is designed to seda and herd the public into a certain mentality. “Putin shows off new weapons” was the news yesterday, but Putin did not show off new weapons at all. What is the problem with Putin wanting to keep the resources he has to himself. What is the problem of the US it wants the EU to excalate a new arms race (which makes no sense at all).

Putin believes in a multipolar world and sadly one powered by fossil fuels, and this is correct and desirable as we transition to renewables (outside Russia). The US meanwhile wants to retina a monopolar system to enrich its banks and secure its own supply of fuels. The current fires in Canada are a major threat to US stability if they result in shutting down tar sands operations. Imagine that happens and at the same time oil from Venzuela and the Middle East stops flowing.

A group of reporters, writing pieces that will expose problems that can be fixed while suggesting a way forward with more renewables to solve tension inducing fossil fuel dependency, more examples of how things could work or news about initiatives of people getting over their desperate state inplementing solutions that server their physical needs, so they don’t sink into some ideological justification to deny others theirs. A state of journalism that is unlicenced, that is not gratefull to be allowed to be first class state propagandist in chief. A transparent view of information, from surveillance by video, wifi, cellphone, payemnt, public transport, and a shut down of it when it serves no public purpose.

We may be to late, our society may have reached a tipping point of inexperience due to the virtula nature of media, people may not be able to care enough in large numbers anymore to see they have an existential interest in keeping things simple, transparent and real. We are certainly driven to more desperation and lack of interest by right wing pro fossil fuels (no solution) politics. Maybe journalisms task is to inspire us towards choosing broadening our experience because it demonstrates to us that what we thought was true was in fact propaganda.

 

 

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Ethereum and Ether, the Cryptocurrency of Developers

While and since Bitcoin got main stream an incredible number of cryptocurrencies have entered the scene. It is not a complex thing to start one, you need small applications that can be downloaded and run on a pc to create a network, then in that network you run your crypto block chain algorithm.

Crypto currencies have no central issuer, and hence there needs to be a mechanism to bring them into circulation. This is done through so called ‘proof of work’ which is a method of approximately equalizing all people wanting to own the currency. By investing electricity and hardware into making random guesses for a lottery number all people trying are equal and the ‘winner’ will rightfully own the new coins. It really works like that, Bitcoing mining is nothing more than guessing a long character string.

 

This ‘mining’ is a problem for the climate, it wastes enormous amounts of energy, but it is intrinsic in a truely decentralized ‘trust-less’ currency. Still the people with more calculating power can dominate what counts as a valid transaction, and cuts in the network (f.i. a cut between Europe and Africa) can cause a split in the block chain, in theory Bitcoins could be spend twice.

One of the more recent currencies is Ether. Ether seems to be designed right. It is not so much a community fiat currency, like Bitcoin, where users of all kind can use the coin or not. This type of unenforced use eventually runs into trouble. If you have to pay taxes but can’t in Bitcoin you have a problem, and if some new coin is launched that provides a better guarantee to be valuable Bitcoin will be sold off for that coin. The luck of Bitcoin is that it has been traded back and forth between USD and EU so often that people can use it as a proxy Dollar or Euro, which of course is not what any cryptocurrency is about.  Ether corrects this.

 

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Peace Within Reach

Today is May the 5th. In holland we commemorate our liberation from Nazi occupation by the allied forces. The US, UK, Canada pushed North from Belgium and all around the country people where celebrating, eating chocolate and killing traitors and collaborators. Desperation always creates opportunity for people with low moral standards, and the dutch wheren’t all saints, even though we like to remember the heros of the ‘England spiel’ (see the movie Soldier of Orange).

The story of the second world war is really how ignorance got a grip over an exhausted Europe, how the anger of one man who thought about it and decided to unite people by hate, caused the death of over 44 million. It is above all a story of industrial ambition, the hand of industry carried Hitler to his power, not the frustration of the germans, not their sense of superiority. The jews where an easy victim, it is typical for anyone that wants to rise in power, on any scale to show agression to the weakest, because it is that show of agression that makes others fall into line with them.

For me the lesson of the Holocaust is not that people are cruel, or that nazi’s are animals, but that large organizations can disable the ability to apply morality. The result can be that normal honest industrious people can become part of a terrifying killing machine.

Love is a double edged sword, because it does not only cause us to care, but also to hate. Love is not a positive or negative, it expresses itself in a contrast. The contrast between morality applied to what is loved and no morality applied to what is not loved can be witnessed in every action movie. The hero’s wife is killed, he loved her, he is enraged and commences to destroy countless lives. We hate with him, because his love imploded. The hate was always there, it is natural. The force of love increases the division between what we do and what we don’t care for, so we learn to protect our loved ones and defend against all else.

Why talk about the effect of love? It’s because it was used to make the perpetrators of the Holocaust as cruel as they where. Their self love was amplified by Hitler. They where ubermensch, they where superior. This meant they loved themselves and hated all the rest of the world. The jews where used to further build the contrast of them versus us. The doctors that performed euthenasia on twins, taken from the Roma, jews and disabled where vain, idle, ambitious and bought into the notion they where superior. Their self love translated into indifference to the lives of ‘not them’.

We need to seek a scale in society that makes the love we feel least dangerous

Hitler institutionalized the psychology that would insulate his germany from the rest of humanity and turn it into a killing machine. He used systematic propaganda and terror to force people to comply. He found help in the young, who have no developed morality (if it is not the instinct to love) and criminals to augment his amry of honest germans who ‘just did their job’. The organization he created was what drove people to destroy so many lives. On an individual level only the very vain and ambitious, or downright criminal people would otherwise have committed the attrocities.

Maybe you can say that the ease with which you can make someone threaten the life of another determines the dept of immorality you can exploit. A firing squad made up of jews that would be killed if they did not perform the job. They would be threated by someone who may never have killed anyone, but could in theory with impunity.

I read a letter once in the Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem, it was of a proud german officer that explained how he increased the throughput of the gas chambers of his camp. It was written as if it was his challenge to produce as much model T Fords as possible.

The irony is that Hitler did take a look at the Ford factory. He got a lot of help from industry, not only to bring him to power but also in organizing his deportation scheme. What was later to become IBM delived punch card computers that made it possible to find and select people based on race. The logistics of the deportation of minorities to the camps would not have taken on the scale without this automation. It shows that industry has no morality, it can, but usually it does not because the directors in it care for themselves, not for who falls victim to their lust for profit. The insulation of superiority works very strongly for people that see themselves provide necessary products and services to thousands of ‘consumers’. In the First World War this drive from industrialists was perfectly evident, the war would have stopped much earlier if its emperor had not been pressured into continuing by them.

So to me the lesson if WO II is this set of rules :

  • Don’t allow yourself to feel superior to others.
  • Don’t allow any ideology to create a sense of superiority in its practitioners.
  • Don’t allow industry to dictate what happens.
  • Don’t allow money to dictate what happens.
  • To disable industrial pressure downsize industry (horizon rule).
  • To disable a unifying force in industry go renewables.
  • To disable sensitivity to hate speach spead wealth equally.
  • Always reduce the scale of power to its lowest level.
  • Don’t allow decisions to be made at the aggegate level.

The horizon rule dictates that no company can serve clients or be owned by anyone beyond the horizon as seen from the company office. Alternatively it can mean the action radius of vehicles starting from the company HQ.

We came from a society like this, a small farm community society. It did have large trading centers, from Oslo during the Vikings, Persepolis during the Persian world hegemony, Venice etc. but power was fragmented. The world was a swamp of interests. The Chinese Ming dynasty or the Mongol empire where examples of organization combined with sudden death policies and they created large functioning economies. But those where still human scale. In the fossil era we have seen superhuman wars, super human production and super human organizations dominating our lives. We see a drive to turn people into AI controlled drones, as happy destructive end points for fossil fueld production chains. It seems like a good thing to consume Will.I.am music and wear the latest brands but the same system can be turned to drive hatred, the ignorant comfort it allows makes people indifferent to the destruction necessary to maintain it.

With renewables we can return to the ‘small farmer’ scale without losing our technological advances. We are wise to do so to disarm the large organizations that make us hate russians, muslims, Cruz, Trump. We are wise to do so because in the case of a fossil fuel supply calamity we will be safe. We are wise to do so to prevent genocides such as those of WOI ad WOII. We are also wise to do so because it is simply the better option for everybody except those living off fossil fuel cash streams.

Fossil cash flow has caused a lot of unnecessary waste and destruction as it does not matter what happens, as long as fossil fuels are used, cashflow can be skimmed and the money can be spend on luxury goods/lifestyles.

The engineers of the 1900s who suddenly saw a glut of coal and steel to realize dream projects where right to execute them, to push humanity ‘forward’. But along the way it created a class of people that did not depend on progress, social equality, but simply made money if more fossil fuels where used. They caught the once in a billion year opportunity of addicting our planet to fossil fuels, uniting it in a sense, making it a controllable thing with a top down political structure : fossi/banks/industry/society. The  proponents still work to consolidate this structure. But this structure includes weapons manufacturers, Haliburtons, large companies that don’t care who dies for their profit if it is not affecting them. It practices eugenics by advertising and selecting based on racial and economic factors. Homeland security, NSA, trillion dollar operations all happen because of this centralized approach, that exist to protect it.

This world economy, driving our ecological support system to zero is polulated by billions of people who don’t consider what they do immoral, just like the selecting camp doctor in Auschwitz thought he was ‘just doing his job’. The problem is the scale of things. The problem is the inability of people to exercise their morality over their own actions. They are either to desparate, to distracted, to misinformed but every time it is the scale of operations that makes this situation dangerous.

To protect against WOII psychology we need to return from a ‘global economy’ to a ‘multilateral economy’ and to do that we need to shed dependence on fossil fuels, because they create a centralized economic system due to their centralized production and distribution. The competition for these centrally distributed fossil fuels makes people desperate and ready to execute immoral acts.

It is lucky that to move towards such localized economy we are also solving a lot of poblems and preventing more harm to be done to our already precarious state. Wealth equality based on renewables, and alertness to systems that are sensitive to developing a war mentality will steer us to a world that cooperates, shares information and technology, lives off renewables and restores its ecology. Learning from the wars and with todays technology world peace is within reach.

 

 

 

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Thinking Clearly About the Oceans

We have written about the oceans for years. They are the key to surviving climate change. If we let them die we are lost, if we don’t we still have a lot of problems, but we have a chance. The reason is that oceans will becom toxic and will produce toxic gases that will choke life on land, plants and animals. Only life adapted to swamps may survive.

Today a newsblip announced that by 2030 we will already see oxygen stress in ocean animals. Of course today already large parts of the oceans are anoxic. Today the warm temperatures are making growing seaweed in shallow waters more difficult. We see Kelp forrest suffering. That’s half of all the oxygen we breath that is under threat. Doing something about it requires a new mindset.

Today if people talk about saving the fish and oceans they think about sanctuaries. They think about conservation and indeed it helps to have fish nurseries and leave those animals alone. Greenpeace is removing Fish Aggregation Devices because they cause a lot of bycatch, but they do not see how these devices are the future. Because conservation is not going to be enough. This judgement is not made out of some kind of idle desire for more action, it is simply true : The oceans will die no matter how big you make your sanctuaries. Creating ocean sanctuaries is like stopping with beating the victim up. We have to do more to save it from dying from its wounds.

Oceans can be saved because they can bring wealth, because they can sustain people’s lives. If we try and let them. The current fossil energy system does not want to invest fossil energy in large scale attempts to reduce the damage, even if it wanted to the banking system will sit on the mechanism to channel it into the right direction, by controlling the money flows.

Shell, Exxon etc. could of course direct energy to owned factories that make devices like offshore fish farm cages or wave drivenocean nutrient pumps, they have enormous (and immoral) control over an important resource, but whatever is done, fossil fuels will be a limiting factor, not a force large enough to return our atmosphere to normal concentrations (even with CCS).

We thought about the challenge and think we should use ocean grown biomass (bamboo) and plastics floating around to build the infrastructure to protect our oceans. This includes fish farms, seaweed farms, pipes and mechanisms to increase oceanic oxygen, To sustain people that have an interest in expanding the size of the living ocean. Perhaps even technology that reflects sunlight of the oceans, to replace the ice.

 

 

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The Chile Challenge

SpaceX is preparing to send a rocket to Mars in 2018. They are increasingly succesful in landing and reusing their launch vehicles, so the cost of putting things in orbit is dropping for them, as Elon envisioned. As the goal of SpaceX is not just profit but also to create a viable alternative to Earth for humanity to survive catstrophies on, sending a rocket there asap is a logical step.

Honey, I’m home!

The process of habitating Mars won’t be too easy, landing there is difficult, once you land you have to breath and be safe from radiation, eat and have an environment that doesn’t depress the hell out of you, and getting this in place will take time. The good thing is : Mars is habitable, it has CO2, it seems to have water. It will work. Soon enough (also with the new EM drives for space ships) we will see trips from Earth to the Moon, Mars and beyond (still a 30 year trip to the nearest planet).

On Earth we have a different challenge, which is not to go extinct and see our oceans turned into lifeless toxic gas spewing acid pools. This sounds dramatic, but it isn’t. In the history of our planet it turned very hostile to life quite a few times. If you’re a sulfur breathing microbe, then you don’t need to worry. Otherwise do something.


This rover is pretending to be on Mars..

One country that knows all about harsh circumstances is Chile. Its Atacama desert actually quite closely models the circumstances on Mars. It is a very dry country, and we don’t mean they are humourless (although humour means liquid, so in a way…). Chile has a lot of sun (warning : long image).

Especially at the top the insolation is crazy, yet nothing grows because of the cold Humbold current from which little water evaporates. on the other side the mountains of the Andes keep all the moisture on the Argentinian/Bolivian side. It rains very little, so 0.2 inches per year, or sometimes, as a freak event 2 inches (2015). Even so, the country is drying up because of climate change.

Economically Chile is a mining country, it has copper mines, lithium, gold, tin ,diamonds, it is actually powering some of its mines with renewable energy .

You can see from the above image that there is plenty of room for more panels 😉 But really, there is plenty of room for everything. There is enormous room for life. We think Chile should start a challenge to green itself. Completely, using only renewable energy. This is the Chilean challenge, it will be terraforming on Earth, it will be cutting atmospheric CO2 and be a blessing to the country.


Chile has Lithium, so could build a mega battery factory and export.

There’s one technology we think should be used, and who wants to know what it is will have to be an investor paying some cash up front. The other ones are low pressure ionic desalination, drones, irrigation systems. Israel is an expert but it really isn’t that hard. What will be hard is to start this thing. Once it gets going it wil pay for itself, it will create jobs, provide food.

Economics is all about exploiting opportunities, we are nearing the end of the economic era and entering the Roboeconomic era, in which renewables and robotics change what counts as an opportunity. Basically if you have sunshine, water, minerals, you will be capable of generating circumstances welcome to life, trees, food, fish and thus people enjoying those resources. No longer is our planet divided into the invisible hinterland where industry wreaks havoc and a pretty cityscape where the wifi generation pretends to be relevant, we can live everywhere where the fundamental requirements are met, and we can use renewables to make that so if necessary.

How long before Chile turns from Mars into Earth? It’s up to us.

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Economics, Roboeconomics, Extraeconomics

To podcast

In Holland our attention is drawn to Paul Mason, a voice of a different kind of economics, different from the classics, different from Piketty (Mason wants young people to revolt). In another news item an economics lecturere mr. Paloni in Glasgow is removed from his job for teaching deviant economics, even  though the degree “successfully incorporate[s] pluralist approaches to teaching economics”. Something is going on. We too have rallied against 20th century capatalism and economics for a while, presenting our visions of Roboeconomics and Extraeconomics.

You can identify a classic economist in disguise by seeing if he/she suggest we fear automation. We need to do that only as long as it competes with us over the same resources

First off we think that any economics trying to redefine the economy by reorganizing people or redistributing money is missing the point entirely. It is not even a matter of ownership, although more individual ownership would bring about changes, just like collective ownership would (something immediatly associated with communism by well indoctrinated conservatives). The main problems are not solved by redistributing money or people or even ownership. They are Automation and resource depletion. Automation is a problem because of resource depletion.

Why is automation a problem because of resource depletion? Because one of the important resources is fossil fuels, and most automated production lines and chains run on fossil fuels. The problem is caused because fossil fuels are scarce. The economy is a system to distribute them to where they generate the most cash flow. A production line of running shoes generates more cashflow per joule of fossil fuels, or per dollar invested, than a jogging consumer. Therefore more money is channeled (by the financial system) to the shoe factory than to the consumer. If there was more energy to go around this difference would matter less (as we’ve seen in the 50s to 80s), but right now energy is tight, fossil energy may be cheap, but there is less every day.

Machines and humans compete over the same fossil fuels, and machines generate more cashflow

To those that want to maximize (not optimize) cashflow renewables are not welcome. They destroy cashflow. So a shoe factory that starts its own bioplastic farms and runs its machines on wind energy falls of the radar of 20th century economics. It doesn’t need to buy fossil fuels, it doesn’t even have to get the money to buy them when selling their product. It doesn’t compete with the consumer for the same energy resources. It would look to the economy like a loss if many companies and supply chains became energy self sufficient.

So automation is a problem as long as it uses scarce depletable resources like fossil fuels. As long as it does it has to compete with humans that also use those resouces, and economist, bankers, those living of the cashflows need automation to push people into poverty and get better from it.

There are number of movements for basic income, in Switzerland, Australia, Holland. They are presented as a fair solution when machines are making jobs obsolete. We agree, that automation makes jobs obsolete and we see that people must be given the means to buy stuff or the automatic production would grind to a halt. It is our old connundrum we coined a few years back :

If you have a machine that makes everything that everybody wants,  does this mean (option 1) that everybody is jobless and unable to buy what the machine makes so poor and destitute, or (option 2) is everything free and can everyone live in wealth?

The answer of our current fossil credit cashflow economics points to option 1. The renewable powered world obviously allows option 2. We are transitioning and economics is simply not build to deal with option 2. Still even in a fossil fuel dependent economy basic income could exist, but it would be constested continuously because of competition between humans and machines. For now their main function would be to quiet down the demands for a sustainable society. Comfort is the great passifier..

Enter Roboeconomics.

Roboeconomics is the economics that understands that automation can lead to joblessness, but doesn’t worry because it strives to solve the resource competition between humans and machines. Roboeconomics strives to replace all energy sources with renewable ones. As it does the cost of production of products and services will drop, and credit to buy goods and services can be created and given out as basic income. The main function of this basic income is to allow consumers to make choices for one product over another. Other than that necessary jobs are a bonus to whoever does them, but they should never be a burden or cause of suffering. Because there is no predatory capital market and credit scarcity there is no need for companies to hoard their inventions or even compete very hard in the market. The dynamics completely change to a more benign, less wastefull, more culture driven (but less marketing dominated) system.

Besides the elimination of energy resource dependency Roboeconomics als strives to replenish and generate resources. This can be done using automated systems, also running on renewables. We see remote tree plantations run by drones that care for many acres of forrest, plant it, water it, prune it. We see oceans with floating islands of fish and seaweed farms, even dry sweet water agriculture, securing life in our oceans. These operations can involve people, but they dont service a market. They are ‘Extraeconomical’. We have written about this type of enclave or operation before.

If there is a purpose there does not need to be an ideology, it’s possible, but not essential

Extraeconomic enclaves don’t need to be in a desert somewhere (although this is where investors and economist like it to happen, as a kind of wierd ‘out there’ example). It can be right in every community, and in a way already is, so local farms supplying local communities. The point is that the enclave sustains itself, does not allow investors in, does not participate in the market. What doesn’t happen yet, but what should happen in extraeconomic enclaves, is that more resources are created than are consumed. It is obvious how this differes from current economic thinking, which tries to bring everything to the market. For this Extraeconmic enclaves will need their own currency, or none, simply a ledger so tasks are divided equally between the people involved.

Extraeconomics results in self sustaining enclaves, which can form a patchwork and are resource abundant, potentially everywhere

We are already moving to a Roboeconomy, but 20th century economist can’t deal with it, won’t deal with it because of the consequences for financial sector/banking jobs and the domination of the fossil industry. We know the media is fossil industry dominated and it will not openly think what is presented above. No Fox News will announce that to get out of this increasingly plutocratic trap we need to start replacing fossil fuels with renewables, and pay a basic income to whoever is not working to give access to sustainable production. This would require farms to go organic on a massive scale (which they will anyway) for instance.

Of course we suffer from a vanity induced eugenic reflex as well. Some conservatives like the existential squeeze humanity is facing. Today 330 million indian are suffering in 119 farenheid/45 Celsius with little water. A few months back Delhi was in panic because rebels obstructed a water supply channel. Many are going to suffer before we can move to Roboeconomics, so the sooner the better.

Scaring and depressing people without a solution in mind only damages them, asking young people to rebel without a way out is simply an overture to turmoil and war. The solution is simple and it is within reach.

Roboeconomy.com

Extraeconomics.com

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The CarbonCredit System

More detailed “Banks and Carbon Divestment”

We live in a world still largely powered by fossil fuels. We also live in a world dominated by the financial sector. Both things are related. There is a deep dependency of the financial and banking system on fossil fuels.

The reason the banks depend on the fossil sector is because they create credit, which is simple numbers in an account, or paper money when it is drawn from the ATM. Those Dollars, Euro’s and Yen would not be attractive to anyone if you could not buy fossil fuels with them.

Imagine what would happen if you had money that did not buy fossil fuels? You would go to the gas station and not be able to fill up your tank. You would go to the airport but the airline would say “Sorry, but your money does not allow us to buy our fuel, we can’t accept it”. You would go to the clothing store and the person would say “With your money we can’t run our store, we can’t transport our cloths, we can’t pay our workers in asia who want to drive mopets..”. So this function of money is fundamental.

Economists won’t agree because it is their job to make you believe fossil fuels are just another commodity, that money buys everything, always has and always will. It doesn’t unless you make sure it does. The wars over oil and gas are over our carbon-credit system. The system run by cooperation between the fossil industry and the banks.

Why is this important? Because we have to get rid of fossil fuels from our society. How can we get rid of the thing banks see as essential to their business model? A few percent renewables is ok, but a society with only renewables will not be possible in the current model. Therefore the growth of renewable energy is obstructed by the current fossil/financial system.

What happens if you make a solar panel? You need fossil fuels to do it (still). That means the price of the panel reflects the price of the fossil fuels. You have to compare the price of burning fossil fuels directly with that of burning it in the process of making a solar panel. The latter thing is smarter, because one solar panel can avoid the need to buy about ten times the energy you invest in making it. For that reason there should be no debate or competition. One should make as much solar panels as possible because it would multiply wealth!

Because banks depend on the fossil fuel cashflow however solar and direct buring of gas in power plants still have to compete. And they can lobby for levies on panels so the price rises, and they can make the installation system more complex so the cost rises. The banks want fossil cashflow and they can generate it by making things as expensive as we can afford. A nice side effect of this is that if you make things expensive, people need money, and come back to the banks.

The world needs to see this carboncredit system, understand it. Money is still expected to buy oil and gas, gas based electricity or it is worthless. We need to make this relationship explicit, quantify it so that we can capture the productive power of fossil fuels before it reaches the market, and direct it at no cost to the manufacturing of energy multiplying technology like wind and solar. We can then sell the output of those wind and solar panels by loaning out wind and solar electricity credit, and do so much longer than the bank could loan out its carbon credit.

Banks like we know today and the financial system as we know it today will not exist in a fully renewable powered world, because they are a product and part of the carboncredit system. We need to take this system and direct it because on its own accord it will never move away from fossil fuels, and it will keep pricing renewables comparatively to fossil fuels.