Nature Isn’t Good and Isn’t Bad Either!

Is progressing a bad thing or a good thing?  Some people out there prefer that we could live like we were in the past because we couldn’t develop as much and so we didn’t pollute the environment.  They would argue that living closer to mother nature would naturally be good and be healthy, and anything otherwise is just bad!  They would argue that scientific advancements like nuclear power would be bad and so forth.  Basically, they would like to roam naked in the wood and prefer doing things more naturally!  Once again, are they right or wrong?

This specific case, I think they’re not only wrong but super stupid!  In the movies, we got superhuman, but in this case, we got super dumb ideology!  Why?  Just like any tool, it got two sides!  One good and one bad!  Like a knife, you could use a knife to cut food or kill people!  One is good, and one is bad!  So, when scientific developments are meant to be used for good, these things are naturally good.  These things are more natural than a rock which sits pretty on the ground all day long!

People who argue that developments are bad should ask the dinosaurs why they had extinct!  Isn’t it obvious that the dinosaurs couldn’t think as deep as humans thus they could not fly away for a brief vacation till things on earth cool down?  This is why scientific advancements are super crucial for the human race as a whole!  We need to be able to escape one rock and cultivate another just so we could avoid our own extinction!

Us humans tend to be not only stupid but we are also very arrogant!  We tend to think that what we got would last forever!  Unfortunately, we could not live forever, and our human race won’t exist forever also!  Why?  Even the sun will cease to exist eventually!  So, even the scale of the universe would not last forever, why would we think our earth would last forever?  If earth would not last forever, how will human race last forever?  Isn’t it natural for earthy humans to devise plans for our continuation even though we know nothing would last forever?

So, let’s get back down to earth and think simpler!  I think nature itself is just a tool!  If you’re sick and needing a cure, the right herbs naturally would cure you.  If you’re not too careful and eating the wrong mushrooms that exist naturally in nature, you would naturally die!  Nature exists as both good and bad!  So let us not be that stupid to think that developments are bad, and whatever exists naturally is naturally good!

Sometimes, hugging a tree is bad for the whole human race!  Instead of hugging a tree, we need to plant trees as a development and common sense!  Don’t argue that any development is bad!  Don’t just say nuclear power is unsafe!  In fact, I believe that we may need more advancement in nuclear power so we could suppress the tyranny of distance within our universe so we could travel far and cultivate more out-of-this-world colonies (i.e., in space) so we could lengthen the human race lifespan!

Meeting A Cousin From Another Galaxy!

Imagine that our universe is already predestined and whatever which needs to be accounted for is probably already being counted ahead of time.  Imagine a hand of God would assign one or multiple meaningful ways to combine the fates of his/her creations.  Perhaps, a hand of God decided that each of his creation is made of binary numbers, or perhaps it’s another method that would be in play instead.  Anyway. let’s assume that a hand of God decided his creations should be made of binary numbers.  In this universe, the binary numbers would be the ones and the zeros.  Combining these ones and zeros together would form a unique intelligent being.  Through the chance/random process, the possibility of creating the same unique intelligent being could be recreated, because let’s assume that the hand of God didn’t specify a rule that prevented such thing from happening.

So, imagine such a universe is real, wouldn’t you want to know perhaps us humans are not special?  Could it be that through such a randomized process (with repeated chances) the human DNA isn’t that unique in the universe?  As I alluded earlier, if the universe is already equipped with proper configurations, then it should not be too hard for the universe to give rises to chances so the process of creating human all over again would occur again.  Sometimes, the process of recreating the same intelligent being could be reproduced more than once through chances.  If this is mathematically possible in our real (not imagined) universe, then I wouldn’t be surprised if there is another human race or races out there that occupy another planet within this universe!  So, is it too outrageous to think that we could meet an alien that isn’t from this galaxy that got two hands, ten fingers, a nose, a beautiful handsome face, and similar charismatic, intelligent mannerism?

In my opinion, I don’t think it is so outrageous to think such possibility could exist out there.  Of course, we could meet aliens that are out of this world and got no feature that is similar to us at all.  But I don’t think we should discount the possibility that we could just meet up with ourselves from another galaxy!  It’s like a cousin that we never knew we had!

Can the age of Automation Change How We Conduct Wars of Tomorrow?

Playing games like Total War: Attila got me thinking of strategies.  Obviously, keyboard commander here which is me got no real experience in this sort of things.  Still, I want to dig into this sort of things anyway.  So, I was thinking that since the Industrial Revolution, machines have allowed the world to be much smaller which has given way to faster communication, faster travel through hard to traverse arteries such as the vast ocean and so forth.  These monumental Industrial Revolution byproducts changed how the world conducted its wars, because before the Industrial Revolution wartime strategies had to account how much time it would take for something to be set up and executed.  Of course, in today world with advanced AI, Internet, Encryption, Quantum machines, and hypersonic missiles and so forth, we still have to account time as a necessary ingredient in wartime strategy.  So imagine how much more important it was for time to be an ingredient in wartime before the time of Industrial Revolution.  Nonetheless, I think we’re in the post-Industrial Revolution period now, because the age of Automation is upon us.

My question is, can the age of Automation change almost everything that represents the Industrial Revolution?  After all, we had witnessed how the age of Industrial Revolution changed things of the age before it, right?  In my opinion, I think the age of Automation will create and change things that will outdated if not all then most of the Industrial Revolution byproducts.  For an example, wartime strategies will have to be changed to fit with time in the age of Automation.

One thing for sure, in the age of Automation, time is an even more important ingredient than ever before, because everything will speed up so much faster.  Imagine the automation of Artificial Intelligence such as self-learning for machines that would speed up the intelligence of machines so these things can self-regulate and self-plan and self-execute directives according to common sense that the humans drill into these machines’ logic programs.  Well, I think since AlphaGo, self-learning AI has already actually happened.  In my opinion, self-learning AI may speed things up so much faster that may make human decisions in wartime seem to be outdated as if we’re comparing today supercomputer with the supercomputer of the 1970s.  Even better, we should use the analogy of quantum computing versus supercomputing of the 1970s.

As we achieve hypersonic technology to speed up the deliverance of weapons and travel modes, self-learning AI will be able to automate things at much faster pace than ever before physically.  Of course, this would force humans to have less time to plan than ever before when changes occur in wartime.  Unless us humans could predict the future, us humans may use self-learning AI to pre-plan possible scenarios of wartime changes to allow self-learning AI to be even faster in execution during a war.

Furthermore, self-learning AI could allow the automation of swarming tech to advance further.  Immagine a swarming of missiles that is capable of allowing each missile to be smart and carrying its own decoys.  The idea of blocking out the sun with swarming of smart missiles and decoys and at the same time preventing the negative chain reaction among the missiles could be very interesting indeed.  What could be automated in the air could also be automated in the sea, and so we could expect more of the same smart machines that would be self-driven to attack targets using the sea as the cover and a travel medium.

Weapons and AI could be categorized as the ingredients for tactical operations, but if one thinks bigger then one could see the accumulation of tactical events would paint a picture of strategy.  Over time, automation would replace the ways that we’re using to conduct a war in wartime.

It is normal for us to belittle continental powers of the past when they disregarded naval power even though some of these continental powers were faced with vast ocean fronts.  But we have to know that before the Industrial Revolution age the ocean was regarded as a natural barrier.  Some historic continental powers took such idea into comfort till disasters struck them down for good.

Some historic naval powers were overconfident with their naval strength and didn’t develop their land forces, allowing their only strength to be taken out by their smarten-up adversaries.  If I’m not wrong, the Phoenicians were a naval superpower but the Romans were not.  Of course, the Romans turned the tide against the Phoenicians when the Romans figured out how to build similar ships to the Phoenicians’ ones.  I think the Romans caught a sunken Phoenician ship on its shore and managed to reverse-engineer it to make copies.  Afterward, the Phoenicians were history.

In today world, I don’t think countries that border ocean would dare to favor land forces over naval forces or vice versa.  Why?  Natural barriers are no longer a big deal nowadays.  Nowadays we got technology that could go undersea, on the sea, on the land, over the land, invisibly in the air, and into space — think you can take any comfort in any natural barrier?  We could be doing all of these things in hypersonic speed in the very near future.  So I think it’s foolishly for any country to rely on outdated strategies of the past ages when such a country has to confront with possible adversaries in the age of Automation.

A country such as China is not only thinking about building up a modern naval force to protect the maritime silk road, but this country is also building up channels on land to tap into all possible solutions and scenarios.  Gone the day of Zheng He’s downfall when a new Chinese emperor thought maritime power was useless because he took the comfort of a natural barrier.  Could we afford to make the same mistakes today by relying on natural barriers and other misguided comforts?  I don’t think it’s wise to take any comfort in the age of Automation because I think even self-learning AI could be hacked into.  I’m pretty confident that wartime strategies for tomorrow will be way different than the past.

 

So, Neoliberalism Is Wrong And Dangerous?

It was kind of hard for me to follow all the details within the YouTube’s video lecture on “Neoliberalism and History, or: How Should We Understand China?” in which professor Michael Puett of Harvard weaves a web of cautions and insights on why Neoliberalism ideal isn’t perfect and could lead to a danger of a breakdown of a society.  In the video, he also admits that people for centuries have been trying to create ideal worlds in which they believe to be natural and perfect and so whatever and whoever that doesn’t fit within such an idealistic world would ultimately be forced into accepting the ideal world or be perished through violence.  Sometimes, people in the pasts were lucky to be flourished at certain periods within such an ideal world they created and believed to be natural, but often they all failed in the end.  The dangerous thing about believing in an ideal world to be natural and perfect, professor Michael Puett points out in the video, is that the people within such a world often fail to see the hidden dangers of such a world they create and live within.  People in such a world would fail to learn the mistakes of other alternate worlds that had gotten created by other people of other cultures in the past and present since they would believe there would be no viable alternatives to their idealistic, perfect world.

Regardless the winding details that professor Michael Puett weaves on the dangers of believing in an ideal world, I think I got the gist of it all as he neatly ties all the knots together in the video near the end of his lecture.  Basically, I think what he says in the video is that China is also creating an alternate ideal world known as Confuciusism, and this Confuciusism is competing against Neoliberalism in another so-called ideal modernity-ism.  So, there are some dangers that hide within a Confuciusism too.  Nonetheless, I think he supports how the current Chinese government is regulating the Chinese economy and the Communist party itself — he talks in regarding of spheres of influences act upon another to regulate and prevent dangers — because the Chinese government is behaving in this very manner by creating spheres of various influences that prevent tycoons and corporations from controlling the market — thus preventing the market controllers to control the population and the government itself within China.

You could argue that the ultimate sphere within China is the Communist party thus the danger of this sphere is being too powerful and no other sphere could provide the check and balance to this Communist party sphere.  Nonetheless, professor Michael Puett admits in the video that all systems (ideal worlds) have mostly failed eventually within history, and so as long the never-ending learning process in constructing a better world is vibrant the flourishing society could be played out as we speak.  Thus, I think — as long the Chinese communist party is self-consciously keeping itself in check to prevent corruptions and so forth and to carry out the right regulations and policies to prevent the market from harming the populous at the same time keeping up with the demands of the Chinese populous — the Chinese government could, in fact, preserving the positive aspects of the Chinese communist party sphere.  Basically, as long the ultimate sphere in China isn’t going down the negative path, the other spheres would be kept in line to do the positive aspects that those spheres are designed to be doing.

In summary, I guess, as long the one entity isn’t believing the world they create is natural, then there is room for self-awareness in which mistakes could be foreseen and corrected.  I guess the one entity could improve one’s entity-self by learning the best aspects of the one entity’s past and other past worlds.  By avoiding the mistakes of the one entity’s past and past worlds, the one entity could avoid from repeating the same mistakes that occurred in the many periodic pasts. So the gist of it all from this lecture is that to be self-aware and to encourage the competition of different spheres of influences so a better future could be created.  Oh, one more thing, the world we create or creating isn’t natural and perfect, but it’s an ongoing work in progress.  It could be morphed into whatever shape as long the shape would provide a prosperous society and a prospect of a better future.  It could be an ongoing morphing shape so the society could continue to be prosperous as long as possible.

We Can Marry Democratic And Authoritarian Values Into One!

The above video tries to explore the idea of marrying Democracy and Meritocracy values into one system.  In real life, currently, we do not have a system in which both values could be incorporated in a balance manner.  For an example, in the West, Democracy is being valued more, thus the systems lean toward mediocre leaders with greatest popularity.  In the East, the opposite case mostly occurs.  Still, there probably are situations that smooth sailing does occur for the West, and bad sailing does occur for the East.  This is a luck and bad luck happenstances.  For an example, the people in the West might just pick the best leaders by chance, thus the system could be run by the most popular leaders who are not mediocre.  In the East, bad luck could occur, thus the system could have corrupted, mediocre leaders who hold the positions of power and don’t want to relinquish such powerful positions — thus they become unpopular for sure.

The luck and bad luck happenstances are the unexpected elements, thus these things are beyond the control of the system.  What people want are the system that can be configured in a way that ensures the highest chance of electing the best leaders that could run the country in the best manner if possible.  Unfortunately, electing is more of a popularity contest than electing the best leaders.  Why?  Election is about who got more votes, and thus in theory anyone could be running for a position to get votes.  Strangers vote for each other — it’s more about who appears to be the most competence gets the popularity — thus getting the position.  In the Meritocracy system, a pretender who could keep the act together might also appear to be competence, thus fooling the previous leaders who vouch for his or her promotion.  Still, the Meritocracy system is built to ensure the highest chance of picking leaders according to meritocracy values.

When marrying Democracy with Meritocracy, we’re running into a direct conflict.  Democracy encourages the priority of voting while Meritocracy encourages the priority of strictly observing/testing before a promotion.  Thus, in reality we don’t see any system which distributes equal powers to Democracy and Meritocracy.  In China, I think some local regions do have elections, but it’s obviously one party state — so there is no true election at the very top.  So the true dilemma is how are we marrying the Democracy and Meritocracy together?

I have an idea!  Why don’t we have a constitution that ensures a house of Democracy which governs by election, but the house of Democracy is there to examine the performances of the most popular leaders who had gotten the positions through the voting process.  After the leaders’ terms are up, they need to be either promoted to longer term positions according to their performance-report-cards, but if their performances are poor they could be demoted or even be impeached.  Once they got promoted to longer term positions they could move into the house of Meritocracy.  Still, even once they reach the house of Meritocracy, more examinations must be done to ensure that the leaders within the house of Meritocracy are truly excellent.  If they’re just pretending to be excellent at their jobs, they could still be impeached within the house of Meritocracy.

Well, I think the idea I suggest above could be tested out for the case of marrying Democracy and Meritocracy together.  It’s like the people got to participate in a popularity contest before the real leaders could eventually be recognized.  Such a system does provide layers of examinations of our leaders so they could not take it easy and get so corrupted such as becoming lazy in serving people, involving in corruptions and scandals, and so forth.  What do you think?

Nationalism Vs. Globalism, Where Does This Lead? Probably to a Nowhere!

Globalism seems to be getting a bad rap lately, because locally people are suffering from global competition.  Jobs from a global market either had already been moved to another part of the world in the name of efficiency in cost and whatnot or will be replaced by market elsewhere that is more competitive.  So, locally, people are not feeling good at all about global aspects.

We’re seeing many people try to promote local brand, local ideas, local culture, and local anything over anything global.  Of course, it’s not a bad thing to promote local culture, ideas and whatnot, because these things are essential for a local life-force.  Nonetheless, when we become too extreme in promoting local over global agenda, we may create an atmosphere that would lead to a road of violences and not of solutions.

Imagine how the Nazi or similar groups came about or will be created because of such extremism.  Basically, I believe that the Nazis were not only Hitler’s henchmen, but many of them were believing in a movement of a pure race mentality which believes in purity and superiority over other identities.  So, in Hitler’s time, if you’re a Jew, you would be considered the lowest scum of all scums on earth, thus Hitler did try to wipe out the entire Jewish identity from the planet earth.

The Nazi mentality would seem making sense for the Nazis, but on the outside most people would not agree, because such a movement promotes senseless killing and senseless violence.  Thus I think anything that is taking too extreme may do more harm than good.  So, in these days, many people are promoting local brands over global brands, and it’s not really a bad thing.  Nonetheless, I think we should do this on a scale that makes sense — by not overdoing it.  If not, we may promote a form of extremism that will only incite a bigger conflict eventually.

Imagine a scenario in which we would close off our border, stop trading with everyone else globally, and try to create a self-sustain nation in which we believe that would stop global competition and bring better economic prosperity for people within our nation — this looks a lot like North Korea now.  But we all know that North Korea isn’t doing very well economically for a very long time.  Actually, North Korea had been poor since the conception of its whole political body.

Just right next door, China, once was as poor as North Korea, but now this neighbor known as China has become the largest economy on earth in term of Purchasing Power Parity measure and many people suggest that China will become the largest economy on earth in nominal GDP term sooner than later.  The neighbors cannot be any differ in term of size and economic prowess, because the gap between the North Koreans and the Chinese seems to be the size of a galaxy — an exaggeration of course but relevant nonetheless.

China achieved all of their success not by closing down borders, stop trading, and try to be self-sustained like North Korea, but China opened and continues to open up just the right amount of space for foreign trades, investments, cooperations, and whatnot.  So, I think China did think about how to face the challenge of global competition before they opened up their economy just right which had allowed them to be where they are today.

For countries like the United States, we’re facing a challenge of cost efficiency, and so our products are more expensive to export.  Perhaps we should think about closing our door with just a right amount of space but leave the door open just wide enough to stem the outflow of jobs — creating enough breathing space for people within the country to survive and thrive and compete.

Nonetheless, such a solution is only for short term treatment, because in the future our technologies may be so disruptive that the technologies we will employ will take away all of our jobs.  When such thing occurs, no matter how many borders you close down, how many trades you stop from occurring will not be able to keep jobs at home.  So, the solution won’t be available in the basket of creating jobs for the people, but the solution would be in the basket of how to support a society in which people will no longer work for a living, on a global scale.

What is the solution?  At the moment, I don’t think any single solution would be satisfactory in answering the AI taking away jobs question, because we’re not actually suffering from a total domination from a machine overlord just yet.  Instead, we’re seeing machines slowly take away jobs from various people in various sectors.  Eventually though, the Artificial Intelligence would get so smart that it would take away most jobs from the people.

If AI is inevitably going to take away most of our jobs, we should steer the course of such a trend to benefit the humanity.  After all, we’re the humanity!  So, I suggest that we should employ smart machines to create the abundances that we need to free us all from basic necessaries, and this would allow us to focus on living better.  We then would probably question ourselves what would we do if the smart machines do all the jobs.

Will we become so bored and mindless that we rather die young than live too long?  Nonetheless, in the future we may have technologies that would extend our lifespan.  But there is a possibility in which we as the humanity as a whole would try to explore the next frontier which is the universe itself.  Maybe the smart machines would get us to be so free that we would venture out into the farthest space within the universe to explore and question not only our origin, but the universe itself — and have a better chance at doing this than ever before.

Anyway, after watching “Nationalism vs. globalism: the new political divide | Yuval Noah Harari” TED Talks video on YouTube, my brain starts to question a lot more about our future.  This brief essay is the result of my watching of this video.  The video is right after the break.  Enjoy!