Posts Tagged ‘Forecasts’

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 »

The Fifth Paradigm?


There’s a complete lack of theoretic elegance — or even basic structure — to this, but it still strikes me as basically right.

The image is over two years old. but I’ve only just seen it (via). The text pinned to it is from February this year, and also makes a solid forecast. The basic direction of capital teleology hasn’t been this pronounced for a century (at least).

September 17, 2016admin 104 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Technology

Quote note (#225)

Fairly sure this isn’t intended to be funny:

… if emissions were to continue at a high rate over the next few decades, the ocean could rise as much as three or four feet by 2100. […] Experts say the situation would then grow far worse in the 22nd century and beyond …

February 26, 2016admin 6 Comments »

Geopolitical Arbitrage


… things will get very ugly in London when the Square Mile and investment banking sector ups and decamps for Frankfurt, leaving the service sector and multiethnic urban poor behind.

The specifics of this prediction are nutty, if only because mainland Europe is going down the tubes much faster than the UK, but the abstract anxiety is spot on. The globalization of the right is entirely about geopolitical arbitrage (while that of the left is about homogenizing global governance). All the critical trends point towards the exacerbation of the ‘problem’. The 21st century is the epoch of fragmentation — unlike anything seen since the early modern period — shifting power to the footloose, and away from megapolitical systems of territorial dominion. Being left behind is the rising threat, and we can confidently expect to see it consolidating as the subtext of all leftist grievance. You can’t just leave. Watch.

The obstacles to geopolitical arbitrage — i.e. spatial Exit pressure — are security constraints. It requires defensible off-shore bases (and Frankfurt most certainly isn’t going to provide one). Eyes need to be fixed firmly on secessionary dynamics (fragmentation), techno-commercial decentralization of hard security, crypto-anonymization, artificial intelligence, and the emergence of capital outposts in the Western Pacific region. More exotic factors include opportunities for radical exodus (undersea, Antarctic, and off-planet), facilitated by territorial production (artificial islands). The machinery of capture needs to keep all of these escape routes firmly suppressed in order to perpetuate itself. That simply isn’t going to happen.

Capital is learning faster than its adversaries, and has done so since it initially became self-propelling, roughly half a millennium ago. It’s allergic to socialism (obviously), and tends to flee places where socialist influence is substantially greater than zero. Unless caged definitively, eventually it breaks out. Over the next few decades — despite ever deeper encryption — it should become unmistakable which way that’s going.

January 18, 2016admin 39 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy
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Sentences (#36)


The single worst impediment to better forecasting is a culture in which respectable people aren’t supposed to notice the obvious precisely because it’s obvious. Dr. Merkel, for example, isn’t stupid or notably less competent than her peers; she’s just part of a zeitgeist in which there are certain things you aren’t supposed to say because they are so clearly true. But if you aren’t allowed to talk and write in public about the truth of stereotypes, it’s hard to always remember them when making decisions in private. (XS emphasis.)

When fretting about the radical entrenchment of the present social order, it’s worth recalling the degree to which it has cognitively incapacitated itself. Chronic lying is hard. Eventually, it results in mistakes.

January 11, 2016admin 23 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations

Glide Path

Fernandez takes a clear-eyed look at where things are actually heading right now:

Conventional wisdom has had a pretty bad run these last 15 years. For that reason there is little purpose to trusting it further. Instead it might be better to predict a future based on observable trends rather than scenarios that politicians [promote?]. If those trends convey any information one would expect to see in 2025:

1. The self-destruction of the Muslim Middle East;
2. The rise of ethnic and national politics in Europe;
3. The widespread resurgence of religion and cultural identity as a consequence of (2);
4. Mass expulsions or segregation in large parts of the world to deconflict incompatible communities
5. Everyone packing personal weapons like the Wild West
6. The collapse of multi-ethnic countries into simplified pacts based around of national defense, with most social law generated by local communities and affinity groups;
7. One or more large regional wars with casualties in the tens of millions.
8. Several, possibly many WMD attacks on major cities involving radiological weapons, low yield nukes or biological agents.
8. The collapse of any realistic expectation of Peace on Earth, with the remaining hope of mankind vested in the new space frontier.

Such a world would be rough, dangerous and in many places, miserable. Perhaps it will not even be as good as that; for the list above omits the occurrence of an event equivalent to World War 3, in which case we can describe the future with a single word: ruin. But it is the world we are building, absent any change of course. The oddest circumstance is that politicians still pretend without the slightest basis, that if we stay their perverse course we’ll go right through the ruin and out the other side and find the dream we glimpsed as we crossed into the 21st century. […] It’s a condition they call Hope, though there’s another phrase for it: whistling past the graveyard.

October 15, 2015admin 19 Comments »
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Quote note (#173)

Within the next half-century, the American West Coast faces a far from insignificant threat of massive geological calamity:

When the next very big earthquake hits, the northwest edge of the continent, from California to Canada and the continental shelf to the Cascades, will drop by as much as six feet and rebound thirty to a hundred feet to the west — losing, within minutes, all the elevation and compression it has gained over centuries. Some of that shift will take place beneath the ocean, displacing a colossal quantity of seawater. … The water will surge upward into a huge hill, then promptly collapse. One side will rush west, toward Japan. The other side will rush east, in a seven-hundred-mile liquid wall that will reach the Northwest coast, on average, fifteen minutes after the earthquake begins. By the time the shaking has ceased and the tsunami has receded, the region will be unrecognizable. Kenneth Murphy, who directs FEMA’s Region X, the division responsible for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska, says, “Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast.”

In the Pacific Northwest, everything west of Interstate 5 covers some hundred and forty thousand square miles, including Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Eugene, Salem (the capital city of Oregon), Olympia (the capital of Washington), and some seven million people. When the next full-margin rupture happens, that region will suffer the worst natural disaster in the history of North America.

Realistic accommodation to the prospect of black swan events is psychologically — and even epistemologically — impossible. It’s worth trying to hold onto the thought, however, that unpredictable, singular events, utterly senseless within the principal narrative structures of human history, could at any point throw all expectations for the ordered unfolding of developments off a cliff.

July 15, 2015admin 26 Comments »

Great Decoupling II

The hushed question guiding the world:

“How much robotics escalation are we actually getting in exchange for those hamburgers?”

A (comparatively rare) XS prediction: The Great Decoupling is a transitional event that isn’t going away, and can be expected to accelerate. The ‘capital goods sector’ — today probably more reliably captured as B2B enterprise — has shifted to a permanently higher level of economic significance, indexing the secular decline in labor-power acquisition as a central resource requirement of automated capital. In strict reciprocal conformity with this, consumer goods production is steadily shedding its privilege as the ultimate justification for economic activity in general, and can be expected to undergo roughly continuous decline as a proportion of overall business activity.
Hail Mary Pass for status quo preservation: a basic income.
Cultural re-narrativization in compliance with the trend: the ‘new economy’ requires every individual to adopt a corporate identity. Tap into the B2B traffic, or drop out of the game.

May 27, 2015admin 56 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy

Great Decoupling

Seen on Twitter:


What we’re seeing here is still open to a variety of very different interpretations. From the XS perspective (more Right Accelerationist than NRx on this topic) it is notable that escape-phase capital autonomization should look exactly like this. At a certain point, the machines are in this for themselves. It’s a complex maneuver to pull off within an Anthropoliced social history, but the break out appears to be unmistakably underway.

It’s important to note that ‘labor productivity’ is actually measuring machine auto-production within a legacy anthropomorphic metric. Correct for the complacent species vanity of that, and it immediately delivers far more informative signal.

ADDED: Directly on-topic.

May 25, 2015admin 61 Comments »
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Reality Boxes

Acknowledgement of a conservation law is typically a reliable indication of realistic analysis. There’s a notable example here (embedded in an important article):

In the past, individuals could suffer death or disability due to small genetic defects, for example in their immune systems, for which modern medicine now routinely substitutes and which welfare cushions. But even modern medicine and welfare have their limits. W.D. Hamilton stated that when the misery resulting from mutations grows too great to bear — for medical, economic or humanitarian reasons — the load will be reduced, either naturally or artificially — painfully through elevated rates of mortality, or painlessly through eugenics.
[My emphasis]

The slogan It’s going to happen one way or the other is engraved upon the gateway to the Temple of Gnon.

May 13, 2015admin 23 Comments »