Adonis Diaries

Archive for November 11th, 2015

Corporate power unbound: No remedies decided for the next financial crisis

Governments are liberating global corporations from the rule of law and leaving them to rip the world apart

international assault on democracy?

What have governments learned from the financial crisis?

I could write a column spelling it out. Or I could do the same job with one word: nothing.

The lessons learned are counter-lessons, anti-knowledge, new policies that could scarcely be better designed to ensure the crisis recurs, this time with added momentum and fewer remedies.

And the financial crisis is just one of the multiple crises – in tax collection, public spending, public health and, above all, ecology – that the same counter-lessons accelerate.

 Andrew Bossone shared this link

“This, in a world of accelerating complexity and booming corporate crime, is pure recklessness.

But fear not, they say: economic power no longer needs to be subject to the rule of law. It can regulate itself.”|By George Monbiot
Step back a pace and you see that all these crises arise from the same cause.
Players with huge power and global reach are released from democratic restraint. This happens because of a fundamental corruption at the core of politics.
In almost every nation the interests of economic elites tend to weigh more heavily with governments than do those of the electorate.
Banks, corporations and landowners wield an unaccountable power, which works with a nod and a wink within the political class. Global governance is beginning to look like a never-ending Bilderberg meeting.

As a paper by the law professor Joel Bakan in the Cornell International Law Journal argues, two dire shifts have been happening simultaneously.

On one hand governments have been removing laws that restrict banks and corporations, arguing that globalisation makes states weak and effective legislation impossible. Instead, they say, we should trust those who wield economic power to regulate themselves.

On the other hand, the same governments devise draconian new laws to reinforce elite power.

Corporations are given the rights of legal persons. Their property rights are enhanced. Those who protest against them are subject to policing and surveillance – the kind that’s more appropriate to dictatorships than democracies.

Oh, state power still exists all right – when it’s wanted

Many of you will have heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

These are supposed to be trade treaties, but they have little to do with trade, and much to do with power.

They enhance the power of corporations while reducing the power of parliaments and the rule of law.

They could scarcely be better designed to exacerbate and universalise our multiple crises – financial, social and environmental. But something even worse is coming, the result of negotiations conducted, once more, in secret: a Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), covering North America, the EU, Japan, Australia and many other nations.

Only through WikiLeaks do we have any idea of what is being planned.

It could be used to force nations to accept new financial products and services, to approve the privatisation of public services and to reduce the standards of care and provision.

It looks like the greatest international assault on democracy devised in the past two decades. Which is saying quite a lot.

So the self-hating state proclaims that it has no power while destroying its own capacity to legislate.– internationally and at home As if the last financial crisis had not occurred, and as if unaware of what caused it.

George Osborne, in his most recent speech to the City of London, told his audience of bankers that “a central demand in our renegotiation is that Europe stops costly and damaging regulation”.

David Cameron has boasted of running “the first government in modern history that at the end of its parliamentary term has less regulation in place than there was at the beginning”.

This, in a world of accelerating complexity and booming corporate crime, is pure recklessness.

But fear not, they say: economic power no longer needs to be subject to the rule of law. It can regulate itself.

Some of us have long suspected that this is bunkum with bells on. But until now, suspicion is all we’ve had.

This week the first global review of self-regulation is published. It was commissioned by Britain’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, but it covers every sector from payday lenders to dog breeders. And it shows that in almost all cases – 82% of the 161 schemes it assessed, voluntary measures have failed.

For instance, when the European Union sought to reduce the number of pedestrians and cyclists killed by vehicles, it could simply have passed a law instructing the vehicle manufacturers to change the way they designed their bumpers and bonnets, at a cost of roughly €30 a car. Instead, it relied on a voluntary agreement with the industry. The result was a 75% lower level of protection than a law would have delivered.

When the Welsh government introduced a 5p charge for plastic bags, it cut their use by 80% overnight. The Westminster government claimed that self-regulation by the retailers would do the job just as well. The result? A grand reduction of 6%.

After seven wasted years, it succumbed last month to the obvious logic, and introduced a charge.

Voluntary schemes designed to prevent the advertising of junk food to children in Spain, to cut greenhouse gases in Canada, to save water in California, to save albatrosses from long-liners in New Zealand, to protect cosmetic surgery patients in the UK, to stop the aggressive marketing of psychiatric medicines in Sweden: fail, fail, fail, fail.

What the state could have done with a stroke of the pen cheaply and effectively is left instead to the fumbling efforts of industries that, even when sincere, are fatally undermined by free riders and opportunists.

In several cases, companies begged for new laws to raise standards throughout the industry. For example, those who make plastic silage wrappings for farmers tried to get the UK government to raise the recycling rate, while garden companies wanted regulations to phase out the use of peat. The governments refused.

Was this the result of blind ideology or grubby self-interest – or both? The biggest donors to political parties tend to be the worst operators, using their money to keep malpractice legal (consider Enron).

Because the parties they fund bow to their wishes, everyone else is forced to adopt their low standards.

I suspect that governments know as well as anyone that law is more efficient and effective than self-regulation, which is why it is not used.

Restraining the electorate, releasing the powerful: this is a perfectly designed formula for a multidimensional crisis. And boy, are we reaping it.


Degrees of consciousness? A way to Bypass the Free-Will philosophy

Unconscious under anaesthesia, dozing off, automatic activities, spinal consciousness, protoplasmic consciousness, deficient self-consciousness, sub-conscience…

Deficient attention span related to levels of habit formation…

For example:

Phonemes acquire a meaning at the level of morphemes. Words have to be related to the context. Sentences are linked to a larger reference plan.

Verbal activities take the inverse path: They change from the higher mental hierarchy to the mechanical movements of the vocal chords.

Having difficulties in verbal intelligence, or having problems verbalizing to clarify ideas and intentions, is necessarily representative of problems in the higher levels in the staircase of the mind: The mind gets in close loops and unable to find ready open doors to the lower levels for activating the automatic mechanisms.

An alert mind is constantly moving up and down the staircase of the hierarchy and acquire talents and skills quicker than a slower mind.

Are we confusing Degrees of consciousness with Degrees of freedom?

The more constraints and independent variables are included in a game or an experiment the more degree of freedom increase and the less free we are to navigate the game.

The less the number of constraints the more the latitudes to practices free will choices.

If mankind is totally dependent on his genes, mankind would be very homogeneous and monotonous.

The genetic factor define the level of our physical and mental stability.

It is the Epigenetic transmission of Nurturing behaviors, in a broader sense, (such as family and community customs and traditions, peer pressures, climate, environment, food consumption, educational methods, varieties of opportunities…) that transfer attitudes, tendencies and characters to individuals that are different of how the genes would normally behave.

It is the epigenetic that defines your attitudes and characters on how your community perceives you.

Epigenetic acquisitions can last for many generations, even though they are considered of temporary nature compared to genes.

Arthur Koestler in “Janus, 1979) offered this maxim:

Comprehend everything and never forgive your emotional tantrums

The corollary to this principle is:

1. Demand a minimum of free-will from the others and

2. Demand a maximum level of free-will to yourself

This No danger maxim in dealing with others is very hard to practice and apply.

We prefer the easy way of “Don’t understand the others and forgive your emotional outburst 77 times a day”

You appreciate a civilization that initiate its communities to pay attention to their outburst when saying “This is inadmissible, you should control your emotion…”

Instilling the habits of discipline and order in your daily behaviour is tangibly administer through team sports activities and military service.

Habit formation is more than a second nature: It is who you are in your community.

When emotions get aroused, and they are frequent, control is relegated to the primitive levels of consciousness.

The saying: “Know yourself” is a cheater.

The total conscious of the self, the identity of the knower and the known will never be reached.

We are not looking through a single reflective glass but a multitude of glasses, reflecting ourselves to infinity

The “Complementarity principle” in physics state that an atom can behave as a solid and as a wave

It is important that, when we get conscious of an automatic reaction or behaviour, we stop our activity and analyse a little how we proceed in our action.

For example, as we hold the fork to eat, we could wonder how other civilizations eat without forks. Or how other civilizations hold a fork or a writing pen.

We have got to bring consciousness to our habits to keep our brain alert and alive.

The more we are conscious of our automatic behaviors and reactions the more the “free-will” activities will increase.

At least, so that you could claim your free-will actions are increasing in frequency.

Two chumps tapping the back of one another: Peter Diamandis and Ray Kurzweil and their Nanobots

I consider Ray Kurzweil a very close friend and a very smart person.

Ray is a brilliant technologist, futurist, and a director of engineering at Google focused on AI and language processing.

He has also made more correct (and documented) technology predictions about the future than anyone:

As reported, “of the 147 predictions that Kurzweil has made since the 1990s, fully 115 of them have turned out to be correct, and another 12 have turned out to be “essentially correct” (off by a year or two), giving his predictions a stunning 86% accuracy rate.”

Ray Kurzweil’s Wildest Prediction:

Nanobots Will Plug Our Brains Into the Web by the 2030s

Two weeks ago, Ray and I held an hour-long webinar with my Abundance 360 CEOs about predicting the future.

During our session, there was one of Ray’s specific predictions that really blew my mind.

“In the 2030s, we are going to send nano-robots into the brain (via capillaries) that will provide full immersion virtual reality from within the nervous system and will connect our neocortex to the cloud. Just like how we can wirelessly expand the power of our smartphones 10,000-fold in the cloud today, we’ll be able to expand our neocortex in the cloud.”

Let’s digest that for a moment.

2030 is only 15 years away…

Directly plugging your brain into the internet? Upgrading your intelligence and memory capacity by orders of magnitude?

This is a post about the staggering (and fun) implications of that future.

The Basics

The implications of a connected neocortex are quite literally unfathomable. As such, any list I can come up with will pale in comparison to reality…but here are a few thoughts to get the ball rolling.

Brain-to-Brain Communication

This will deliver a new level of human intimacy, where you can truly know what your lover, friend or child is feeling.

Intimacy far beyond what we experience today by mere human conversation. Forget email, texting, phone calls, and so on — you’ll be able to send your thoughts to someone simply by thinking them. (A sure invention for hating any kinds of loving and intimacy)

Google on the Brain

You’ll have the ability to “know” anything you desire, at the moment you want to know it.

You’ll have access to the world’s information at the tip of your neurons.

You’ll be able to calculate complex math equations in seconds.

You’ll be able to navigate the streets of any cities, intuitively.

You’ll be able to hop into a fighter jet and fly it perfectly.

You’ll be able to speak and translate any language effortlessly.

(And where is the fun if life is so easy and effortless? where is personal value and character formation? How the kid’s brain will develop without focusing and training his brain?)

Scalable Intelligence

Just imagine that you’re in a bind and you need to solve a problem quickly.  (Nothing can wait for another hour of effort and patience)

In this future world, you’ll be able to scale up the computational power of your brain on demand, 10x or 1,000x…in much the same way that algorithms today can spool up 1,000 processor cores on Amazon Web Service servers.

Living in the Virtual World

If our brains can truly connect at high bandwidth, you will be able to bypass our current sensory organs (eyes, ears, touch) to the point where brain’s perception of reality can be driven completely by a gaming engine — a virtual world. (And our sensory organs will atrophy exponentially)

Likewise, the connections would exist in the motor cortex of your brain as well. When you move your limbs, imagine a corresponding set of virtual limbs (your avatar) moving perfectly in the virtual world.

This is about creation of The Matrix x 1,000.

Extended Immune System

In my webinar discussion with Ray, he outlined how we already have intelligent biological devices, the size of blood cells, that kill disease. They are called T-cells.

They can recognize an enemy and attack it, but they don’t work on cancer, retroviruses, et cetera.

In the future, nanorobots will be able to communicate wirelessly, download software when new pathogens arrives, and attack cancer, cancer stem cells, bacteria, viruses, and all the disease agents.

They can also work on metabolic diseases like diabetes.

They could also maintain healthy levels of everything you need in the blood, including nutrients, and basically repair and eventually replace damaged organs.

Downloadable Expertise

Remember the scene in The Matrix where Trinity needs to learn how to fly a helicopter, and Tank downloads a program teaching her how to do it? We’ll be able to do this.

Need to perform emergency surgery? Just download the ER doctor program. (If trained Not to faint when seeing blood. Anyway, surgery will be performed bloodlessly)

Need to learn a new language? Download it. (Even Chinese? And all these verbal languages that have no alphabet?)

Want to cook the perfect meal? Download the chef module. In fact, you probably won’t even need to download it — which takes up memory — you’ll probably just “stream” expertise from the cloud.

Expanded and Searchable Memories

We’ll be able to remember everything that ever happened to us (because we’ll store our memories in the cloud), and we’ll be able to search that memory database for useful information. (What a nightmare. We forget in order to survive and go on dude)

When our memories will become searchable, we’ll also be able to make them contextual by cross-referencing our calendars, GPS coordinates, health data, stock market, current news, weather conditions, and anything else that might be relevant to that particular moment in time.

A Higher-Order Existence

Ray talks about how a connected neocortex will bring humanity to a higher order of existence and complexity — expanding our palate for emotion, art, humor, creativity, expression, and uniqueness.

He says, “We’re going to be funnier. We’re going to be sexier. We’re going to be better at expressing loving sentiment. We’re going to add more levels to the hierarchy of brain modules and create deeper levels of expression. People will be able to very deeply explore some particular type of music in far greater degree than we can today. It’ll lead to far greater individuality, not less.”

While this future may sound fanciful to many, let’s remember that exponential technologies are initially deceptive, before they become disruptive.

And today, there are many labs around the world working on molecular machinery, CRISPR/Cas9 systems that allow us to edit our own genome, and brain-computer interfaces (through cortical implants and the field of opto-genetics).

So what if these fields of technological progress double every 18 months? In 15 years (2015 – 2030), we will have a 1,000-fold improvement over today. What does a future one thousand times better look like? Perhaps it’s what Ray describes…

If this future becomes reality, connected humans are going to change everything.

We need to discuss the implications in order to make the right decisions now so that we are prepared for the future.

Note: All that mankind really need is a software that prompt us how to deal with problems according to an experimental mind.

Otherwise, we will continue to be subjected to religious and abstract notions and myths that capture our emotions and world view.




November 2015

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