It's not just basic tasks anymore: Computers can now do work once deemed possible only by humans. And in some cases, the computers are doing it better. In an economy driven increasingly by intelligent automation, which jobs will survive? Hari Sreenivasan reports.
Jeremy Grantham, chief investment strategist at asset manager GMO, predicts agriculture faces severe upheaval as a result of climate change. This is the second of a two-part interview with the GMO co-founder.
Declining civilisations are a lot like a Monty Python skit where people are screaming a bridge is about to collapse and they are inquiring of a crowd if any of them are engineers. Several real engineers hold their hands up but nobody calls on them. Instead, they ask a baker, a hairdresser and a florist what they think should be done about the dangerously unstable bridge. The engineers finally get discouraged and they trudge off downcast. As soon as they are out of frame, the bridge collapses. That's the basic story of the end of the previous 40 or so civilisations we know about.
A friend of mine a couple of years back told me about the Roman Emperor given a tour of the watermills at the edge of the empire where two guys had figured out how to do the work of a thousand slaves grinding bread flour simply by using water power. I went off and read a little bit more of the background on the watermill in the last days of Rome. Sure enough, the late Roman Empire had a half a dozen inventions that could have transformed their lives overnight and reversed their fortunes. Nobody had the brains to try to deploy any of them as solutions. Instead, civil servants were coming up with oxen powered warships (decks covered with manure waist deep in a day) and mice trained to catch grain beetles to control spoilage (Mice poo and fleas as opposed to tighter barrels, which worked in the Byzantine Empire). The exact sort of solutions you would expect to get from a guy with an IQ around average and way too much authority. Stuff that just made things worse.
I continue to be amazed in the present era where you compare the confidence and self-assurance of the self-appointed ruling class on television with the results they are getting. You'd think that with their societies crumbling around them on a daily basis, they might be humbled and start to wonder if the direction they are urging us all in is actually working. It is their special gift to be nearly impervious to feedback. No matter what happens they continue to blame the problem squarely on the existing limitations on government power (which are increasingly non-existent) and believe with religious style zeal that the earthly paradise is always just one more emergency legislation session away. Only a temporary extension of State power, you see … until the "crisis" passes. Except every week there seems to be a new "crisis."
Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666 Friend us on Facebook Aired on the Doomstead Diner on May 22, 2015 Visit the New Diner News Page for Daily Updates from around the Collapse Blogosphere Discuss this Rant at the Podcast Table inside the Diner Snippet: ...Bitcoins, a relatively new form of electronic money are also…
Six degrees Celsius of warming may not sound like much -- probably because "temperatures can swing by 6 degrees within an hour if a warm front passes, and it doesn't mean the end of the world," said Mark Lynas, aut...
I'll get right into it: I don't belong to any human social world, so I can pretty much say anything I like. I don't come with all the heavy Flatland baggage which human sociality brings with it, so what I say stands or falls on its own merits or deficiencies. I don't have to kiss anybody's ass. I'm not harmonizing with other humans. My own self-interest is not involved. In fact, writing the stuff I do goes against my own self-interest. (I should be kissing somebody's ass! For money!) In this way, I can bring a certain objectivity to the...
A robust economy would allow central banks to raise rates and still allow debts to be paid down. But that is not what is happening. And it won’t happen. Junkies rarely go out and get a job... and gradually “taper off” their habit. No. They have to crash... hit bottom... and sink into such misery that they have no choice but to go cold turkey. Now, major central banks are committed to QE and ZIRP forever. They have created an economy that is addicted to EZ money. It will have to be smashed to smithereens before the feds change their policies.
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