background preloader

Why the internet of things could destroy the welfare state

Why the internet of things could destroy the welfare state
On 24 August 1965 Gloria Placente, a 34-year-old resident of Queens, New York, was driving to Orchard Beach in the Bronx. Clad in shorts and sunglasses, the housewife was looking forward to quiet time at the beach. But the moment she crossed the Willis Avenue bridge in her Chevrolet Corvair, Placente was surrounded by a dozen patrolmen. Fifteen months earlier, Placente had driven through a red light and neglected to answer the summons, an offence that Corral was going to punish with a heavy dose of techno-Kafkaesque. Compared with the impressive police gear of today – automatic number plate recognition, CCTV cameras, GPS trackers – Operation Corral looks quaint. As both cars and roads get "smart," they promise nearly perfect, real-time law enforcement. Other gadgets – from smartphones to smart glasses – promise even more security and safety. In addition to making our lives more efficient, this smart world also presents us with an exciting political choice. What, then, is to be done?

General: Border crisis threatens U.S. existence Text smaller Text bigger Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly America’s porous southern border and the recent surge in illegal immigration is more than just a “humanitarian crisis,” claims the top U.S. general in charge of Central and South America, it’s a threat to the United States’ very existence. Marine Corps Gen. Particularly in regards to the drug trade, murder rates and terrorist activity brewing in Central America, Kelly says, the waves of Latin Americans sweeping through Mexico and illegally into Texas presents a threat to the U.S. every bit as serious as Iran or North Korea. “In comparison to other global threats, the near collapse of societies in [this] hemisphere with the associated drug and [illegal immigrant] flow are frequently viewed to be of low importance,” Kelly said in an interview with Defense One. It isn’t the first time Kelly has sounded the alarm. “I simply sit and watch it go by,” he continued. Threat spreads through U.S.

How Will the 99% Deal with 70 Million Psychopaths? Did you know that roughly one person in a hundred is clinically a psychopath? These individuals are either born with an emotional deficiency that keeps them from feeling bad about hurting others or they are traumatized early in life in a manner that causes them to become this way. With more than 7 billion people on the planet that means there are as many as 70,000,000 psychopaths alive today. These people are more likely to be risk takers, opportunists motivated by self-interest and greed, and inclined to dominate or subjugate those around them through manipulative means. Last year, the Occupy Movement drew a distinction between the top 1% and the remaining 99% — as distinguished by measures of wealth and income. Of course, this breakdown is misleading since there are many top income earners who sympathize with the plights of others and are not part of the problem. The global economy we have today is built on a deep history of top-down hierarchies that promote domination and control.

Silicon Valley likes to promise ‘digital socialism’ – but it is selling a fairy tale | Evgeny Morozov The outside world might regard Silicon Valley as a bastion of ruthless capitalism but tech entrepreneurs fashion themselves as believers in solidarity, autonomy and collaboration. These venture humanitarians believe that they – and not the wily politicians or the vain NGOs – are the true champions of the weak and the poor, making the maligned markets deliver material benefits to those on the fringes of society. Some of the valley’s in-house intellectuals even cheer the onset of “digital socialism,” which – to quote digital thinker and environmentalist Kevin Kelly’s 2009 cover story in Wired – “can be viewed as a third way that renders irrelevant the old debates.” Leaving aside the battles over the true meaning of “sharing” in buzzwords like “the sharing economy”, one can discern an intriguing argument in all this self-congratulatory rhetoric. Silicon Valley’s oft-repeated tales of “user empowerment” are made of these kinds of promises.

Lobby group unveils plans for 'Catalan army' Pro-independence supporters during a demonstration against the Spanish monarchy and in favour of the independence of Catalonia in Girona on June 26th. Phot A powerful lobby group pushing for independence for Catalonia from the rest of Spain has revealed plans for how the defence forces of the hypothetical country might look. The Catalan National Assembly (ANC) on Tuesday published the plans on its website. The new military force would include light infantry units, amphibious assault ships and surveillance aircraft, Spanish national daily El Mundo reported on Wednesday. There are also plans for voluntary military service and a reserve force to be called up in the event of foreign invasion or terrorism threats. Also included in the plans are provision for a Catalan navy with 2,000 troops according to Spanish newspaper ABC. That force could be trained by a foreign military force, with the UK being suggested, the paper added. SEE ALSO: Fake Catalan euros stir up independence bid

Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour ... By David Cain / raptitude.com/ Oct 23, 2013 Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months of traveling. Because I had been living quite a different lifestyle while I was away, this sudden transition to 9-to-5 existence has exposed something about it that I overlooked before. Since the moment I was offered the job, I’ve been markedly more careless with my money. I’m not talking about big, extravagant purchases. In hindsight I think I’ve always done this when I’ve been well-employed — spending happily during the “flush times.” I suppose I do it because I feel I’ve regained a certain stature, now that I am again an amply-paid professional, which seems to entitle me to a certain level of wastefulness. What I’m doing isn’t unusual at all. It seems I got much more for my dollar when I was traveling. A Culture of Unnecessaries You may have heard of Parkinson’s Law.

​The strange case of America’s ​disappearing middle class | Paul Mason | Opinion The shot was of two women in party dresses taking a selfie next to the Greek riot police. In the summer of 2015 it was an unremarkable sight – middle-class supporters of the euro rallying to save Greece from the threat of Grexit. But when I described the scene, in a voiceover aimed at an American audience, a query came back from the US: this does not sound right; they look too posh to be middle class. Middle class, in the US, means what working class means in Britain. Except that, while nobody – even in Corbyn’s Labour party – goes around saying they represent “working-class values”, all politicians in America claim to represent the values of this middle class. But the middle class is shrinking. The graphs showing the shrinkage read like a textbook example of the future that French economist Thomas Piketty predicts for the world. Middle America is, of course, supposed to be the bedrock of US democracy. Neoliberal economics favour the already rich and those rich in assets.

Offshore babies: The murky world of transnational surrogacy The case of an Australian couple accused of abandoning their child with his Thai surrogate mother after discovering he had Down syndrome — and taking home his healthy twin — has turned global attention to the murky underworld of international surrogacy. Such cases have raised ethical and legal dilemmas, which experts say are the inevitable consequences of an unregulated multibillion-dollar industry dependent on impoverished women in developing countries providing a “product” — a child — so desperately wanted by would-be parents in wealthier nations. In Baby Gammy’s case, which made international headlines this month, the boy’s Australian parents are claiming that the Thai surrogate mother, Pattaramon Chanbua, refused to release the child into their custody and that they lacked the legal right to force her to do so. She said the agency waited until the seventh month to ask her — at the couple's request — to abort the fetus, which she refused to do because she believed it would be a sin.

The Anthropocene: It’s Not All About Us Anthropocene artifacts. (Photo by Garrett, on Flickr) Time to celebrate! Woo-hoo! It’s official: we humans have started a new geological epoch – the Anthropocene. Let’s wait to stock up on party favors, though. Welcome to the Anthropocene: A world that may feature little in the way of multi-cellular ocean life other than jellyfish, and one whose continents might be dominated by a few generalist species able to quickly occupy new and temporary niches as habitats degrade (rats, crows, and cockroaches come to mind). To be sure, there are celebrants of the Anthropocene who believe we’re just getting started, and that humans can and will shape this new epoch deliberately, intelligently, and durably. Is the Anthropocene the culmination of human folly? The viability of the “we’re-in-charge-and-loving-it” version of the Anthropocene – let’s call it the Techno-Anthropocene – hinges on highly optimistic prospects for nuclear power. But the prospects for current nuclear technology are not rosy.

Mapping the Emerging Post-Capitalist Paradigm and its Main Thinkers “We do not live in an era of change, but in a change of eras” is the way Jan Rotmans from the University Rotterdam describes the structural changes impacting our societies. This is also the phrase Michel Bauwens chose to open his latest book yet to be published in English which title is likely to be close to “Towards a post-capitalist society with the Peer-to-Peer”. For thinkers like Jan Rotmans and Michel Bauwens this change of eras is akin to the Industrial Revolution in the second half of the 19th century, and characterized by transitions in various fields. In a nutshell, our societies face 3 major tipping points: A change in social order from a central, hierarchically-controlled society to a horizontal, decentralized, and bottom-up working unit. A changing economic structure: where in the past large, bureaucratic organizations were necessary to produce cheap products, in the new digital economy it is possible to develop products and services locally on a small scale.

The three constituent elements of the Decentralized Computing Revolution | P2P Foundation Excerpted from Gary Sharma: “There are three technologies that will form the foundation of the decentralized computing stack — mesh networks (decentralized networking), block chain (decentralized transactions) and autonomous agents (decentralized decision making). * Mesh networks The traditional network architecture of the Internet is vulnerable. Over the last few days, hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy protesters have been thronging the streets of Hong Kong. Mesh networks are peer-to-peer networks created by daisy-chaining your phone (which becomes a router) to nearby phones using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Mesh networks started taking off with the proliferation of smartphones (no additional hardware is required) and the introduction of Multipeer Connectivity (iOS 7.0 and onwards) and Wi-Fi Peer-to-Peer (Android 4.0 onwards). * Block chain What this really means is that transactions, identity verification, trust, reputation and payments become quantifiable and programmable.

What Shade of Green are You? | Generation Alpha Part 1: The Spectrum of a Movement The environment movement has, of late, become all but subsumed by the climate movement. I point this out not because climate doesn’t matter, but because it’s not the only thing that does. I fear that many important challenges are going unaddressed due to lack of attention. And I fear that our tactics are narrowing in scope, shunning direct action and favouring populism. The emerging trend of the environment movement is toward the centre of the bell curve, both in terms of issues addressed, and the means by which they are addressed. As the movement pulls resources toward the organizations and agendas at the centre of the bell curve the extremities get frozen out, and alternative perspectives get lost. With such intense competition for such limited resources, brand image and recruitment become powerful means for amplifying a perspective, and the movement collapses toward the populist centre, where most of the funding is applied. Bright Green Lite Green

When the Government Tells Poor People How to Live WORCESTER, Mass.—The letters began arriving in the mailboxes of the sprawling public housing complex last spring. The Worcester Housing Authority had tried to make residents self-sufficient, the letters said. The letters explained that step in big letters that were hard to miss: “IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Residents Required to Go to Work/Attend School.” “If you want a government benefit, then you have to do something for it," Ray Mariano, the head of the Worcester Housing Authority, told me, in explaining the program. Worcester is the latest government authority to try and influence the personal decisions of citizens.To make New York residents healthier, for example, Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried to ban super-sized drinks, and last month, U.S. But the Worcester program goes a step beyond many of these initiatives, as the penalty for not complying is so great. Is this the role government ought to be playing in people’s lives? People may make bad choices, Mill and others argue. “It’s too much.

The World Health Organization’s response to Ebola: The devil in dealing with post-Westphalian pathogens is not (only) in the detail | IHP The contrast has been remarkable, to say the least, between the in your face health & social situation in Guinea – which I visited a few weeks ago – and the rather formal diplomatic discussions at the WHO Executive Board Special Session on Ebola last weekend. The heat in Conakry and the cold snow in Geneva were only partly responsible for this brutal contrast. Last Sunday, WHO director-general Margaret Chan and David Nabarro, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Ebola, both addressed country delegates during a historic WHO Board meeting. There was a lot of press around and NGOs were also all over the place. WHO found itself once again in the spotlight, as it is the agency that should lead the international community to prevent and respond to pandemics. An emotional speech was given by Nurse Rebecca Johnson, who got infected while treating Ebola patients in Hastings, Sierra Leone, and survived the disease.

Radical Paganism | PAGANARCH Jason Pitzl-Waters’ recent op-ed piece in The Wild Hunt is fucking excellent. … I stayed a Pagan because it also promised me a world, a culture, remade. A world where multiplicity, diversity, was honored. A world where a singular, all-powerful, male-pronouned, deity was replaced with innumerable pantheons of powers. A world where there was Goddess. Paganism, if it isn’t radical, is worthless. The brilliance of Capitalism is this, that it’s taught us all that we cannot make our own worlds and instead must rely on what the market provides, selecting from the aisles our beliefs, our opinions, and our modes of living. Honoring gods and goddesses [and I note with pleasure that Jason does something not many Wiccan-ish writers do--too often, they talk about the Goddess and ignore the obvious question the polytheist poses: "which one?" Becoming Pagan is a radical act, and it doesn’t end at just buying a pentacle-necklace and making a wand, or setting up an altar to the gods. Like this:

Related: