Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

Sentences (#97)

Post-smug politics:

One of the most arresting aspects of the start of the Trump era is that nearly everyone, regardless of their political persuasion, seems convinced that their side is losing.

Perhaps because the thing that’s winning is unrecognizable? Partly its the rise of China, partly its Capital phase-transition, and partly its the messy stage of collapse. In any case, it looks like the signature of the Outside.

April 27, 2017admin 23 Comments »
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Quote note (#349)

I’d call it the Xenosystems Scenario, but it’s apparently already taken:

The architect of the world wide web Sir Tim Berners-Lee today talked about some of his concerns for the internet over the coming years, including a nightmarish scenario where artificial intelligence (AI) could become the new ‘masters of the universe’ by creating and running their own companies. …

Hard for me to imagine how this could possibly not happen.

April 12, 2017admin 18 Comments »
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Twitter cuts (#123)

This is not — of course — conclusive. It would be a stretch to say that it isn’t suggestive. As far as practical politics are concerned, current leftist priorities look strikingly self-contradicting. Islamization or popular sovereignty — choose one (or less).

The essay at the attached link recommends re-education as a remedy, in an age when the dominant organs of opinion formation have collapsed into culture war and unprecedented illegitmacy. Good luck with that.

ADDED: On point.

March 16, 2017admin 25 Comments »
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Bluexit

Simply, yes:

Don’t organize. Pack. […] Not literally, of course. Not even the good people of Canada should have to stomach a mass migration of moping American liberals mumbling, “Live locally … make art.” What I mean is that it’s time for blue states and cities to effectively abandon the American national enterprise, as it is currently constituted. Call it the New Federalism. Or Virtual Secession. Or Conscious Uncoupling — though that’s already been used. Or maybe Bluexit.

March 9, 2017admin 56 Comments »
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Quote note (#333)

Cochran:

There must have been some selection for IQ – without it, our brains would have disintegrated. But that selection can’t have been very strong, or intelligence would have gone up like a rocket. Today it’s going down at a rate of something like three points a century – think what would have happened if it had changed that rapidly, either up or down, over the last couple of millennia.

If humans aren’t already too stupid to live, they will be soon.

February 19, 2017admin 40 Comments »
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Civil War II

… is looking like the one thing everyone can agree on (1, 2, 3, linked in order of escalation).

Prompt via.

January 20, 2017admin 67 Comments »
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Quote note (#320)

The dark tide:

Ultimately, democracy itself will be called into question. A remarkably small number of people will be contributing anything in terms of technological progress or economic growth. In the post-work world, the vast majority of people will simply be consumers, passively absorbing increasingly degraded cultural products which cater to their worst instincts. But because of universal suffrage, these masses will still have the political power to direct more public goods their way, even as the entire System becomes financially unsustainable. A major crisis is all but inevitable. …

January 5, 2017admin 27 Comments »
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Quote note (#319)

Greer’s analysis has its questionable idiosyncrasies, but at its level of maximum abstraction it’s hard to contest:

As 2017 dawns, in a great many ways, modern industrial civilization has flung itself forward into a darkness where no stars offer guidance and no echoes tell what lies ahead. I suspect that when we look back at the end of this year, the predictable unfolding of ongoing trends will have to be weighed against sudden discontinuities that nobody anywhere saw coming. We’re not discussing the end of the world, of course; we’re talking events like those that can be found repeated many times in the histories of other failing civilizations.

He systematically underestimates the contribution of unprecedented positive-feedbacks, in the opinion of this blog, but — perhaps ironically — factoring those in only strengthens the broad prognosis. It’s mostly night now.

January 2, 2017admin 12 Comments »
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Quote note (#294)

West:

I’m rather inclined to believe that neither the UK or the EU will necessarily be around as this century matures, and it won’t be the economic or emotional catastrophe people imagine. Sad though it would be to see ane end of ane auld sang, Scotland would do fine as an independent nation. They gave the world Adam Smith, after all.

(The whole article is a sanity-packed delight.)

October 18, 2016admin 41 Comments »
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Quote note (#288)

James Lovelock stirs things up in The Guardian:

… The most sensible energy solution would be to cover 100 sq miles of the Sahara in solar panels. “It would supply the whole of Europe with all the energy they needed,” but it won’t happen “because it would be so easy for terrorists to go and bugger it up”. So for now, nuclear energy is the only viable option. […] But all this, he clarifies cheerfully, is more or less academic. “Because quite soon – before we’ve reached the end of this century, even – I think that what people call robots will have taken over.” Robots will rule the world? “Well, yes. They’ll be in charge.” In charge of us? “Yes, if we’re still here. Whether they’ll have taken over peacefully or otherwise, I have no idea.” […] … when Lovelock outlines this vision, his tone is so matter-of-fact that for a moment I wonder if he’s joking. He isn’t. “We’re already happily letting computers design themselves. This has been going on for some time now, particularly with chips, and it’s not going to be long before that’s out of our hands, and we’ll be standing aside and saying, ‘Oh well, it’s doing a good job designing itself, let’s encourage it.’” Computers will develop independent volition and intuition (“To some extent, they already have”) and become capable of reproducing themselves, and of evolving. “Oh yes, that’s crucial. We’ll have a world where Darwin’s working.” Darwinism doesn’t work now? “Oh no, we’ve temporarily turned Darwinism backwards. I mean, we preserve the ones that would not have survived.” […] He pauses, and adds quickly: “Don’t let’s get dangerous on this one. I don’t want this appearing in the Guardian that he just wants all the dumb and the lowlifes wiped out.” …

October 2, 2016admin 24 Comments »
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