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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "future"

The first generation of Americans without driver’s licenses

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The pace of implementation may be slower than was once anticipated, but the reality of self-driving vehicles is already upon us. While there have been plenty of snags along the way, including one woman who was struck and killed by an autonomous vehicle in Arizona last year, the technology is moving forward and already being deployed in multiple locations. One of those is a private development in Virginia where low-speed shuttles carry people from large parking lots to their eventual destinations.

At a building site in Reston, there is something small and quiet on the roads alongside big noisy dump trucks: automated shuttles that ferry office workers whose routines have been disrupted by the construction.

The shuttles’ job is to make runs from parking lots that have been shifted farther from people’s offices. But when the new offices, apartments and stores go up on the 36-acre Halley Rise development in Northern Virginia and a Metro station opens nearby, the company that operates them hopes the vehicles will speed people on the first or last mile of their daily commute.

These developments have made me wonder about what the future looks like when this technology is fully ubiquitous. We’re already seeing self-driving Ubers you can summon and shuttles taking large groups of passengers. There are trains with nobody driving them in Japan. And autonomous (probably electric) cars for personal use aren’t far away.

That seems to be the future and it’s not far off. The first generation of Americans who largely will never have or need a driver’s license is likely being born right now. They will live in a world where the ability to drive a car or truck is an oddity, a relic from a time they only see in classic films and television shows.

So is this a good thing? It’s obviously a case of cultural evolution happening at an accelerated pace, particularly in a country like the United States where “car culture” has been part of our makeup for over a century. But like any other form of evolution, it comes at a cost. We will have a country full of people who no longer possess the skill to drive a vehicle. And most likely, roadways full of vehicles that eventually won’t even have steering wheels or pedals allowing a human being to operate them.

You might be wondering why they would need such things once the change takes place. But just as with all the other technological wonders we’ve adapted to, the day may come when the technology shuts down, potentially for a long time. A massive EMP that takes out the satellites and fries most of the power transformers will immediately render all of this technology useless. Various other catastrophic scenarios are possible, if (hopefully) unlikely. How will people travel? More to the point, how will food and other necessities be transported?

We continue to build a future that was something out of a science fiction movie only one generation ago. But we’re also evolving toward a society that will be incapable of caring for itself without all that technology.

The post The first generation of Americans without driver’s licenses appeared first on Hot Air.

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Great news! Humans to be replaced by artificial lifeforms

Westlake Legal Group RobotPepper Great news! Humans to be replaced by artificial lifeforms The Blog robots future extinction Artificial Intelligence

You can stop worrying about global warming now (assuming you actually were) because none of that stuff is going to matter in a couple of decades. According to British futurist and environmentalist James Lovelock, the day is coming – probably in your lifetime – when our technology is going to “evolve” on its own and become so vastly more intelligent and capable than us that we will almost immediately become irrelevant. He foresees the rapid rise of a generation of cyborgs, but he’s not talking about human beings combing robotics into our frames. They will have no use for us or any contribution we might make to the mix. These cyborgs will build themselves. (NBC News)

For tens of thousands of years, humans have reigned as our planet’s only intelligent, self-aware species. But the rise of intelligent machines means that could change soon, perhaps in our own lifetimes. Not long after that, Homo sapiens could vanish from Earth entirely.

That’s the jarring message of a new book by James Lovelock, the famed British environmentalist and futurist. “Our supremacy as the prime understanders of the cosmos is rapidly coming to end,” he says in the book, “Novacene.” “The understanders of the future will not be humans but what I choose to call ‘cyborgs’ that will have designed and built themselves.”

Lovelock describes cyborgs as the self-sufficient, self-aware descendants of today’s robots and artificial intelligence systems. He calls the looming era of their dominance the Novacene — literally, the “new new” age.

We should probably note (with making any specific diagnoses) that Lovelock just recently celebrated his 100th birthday, so I don’t know if that plays into his thought process here or not. But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt for now.

The author sees this rise of the machines as the dawning of the Novacene era of Earth’s history. (We’re currently in the Holocene era.) And it will be the last era where man walks the Earth. Indeed, it may be the end of all biological life on the planet and the beginning of a new world tailored to the needs of machines.

Lovelock doesn’t get around to saying precisely how we’re going to be wiped out. In fact, he suggests that our new machine overlords might actually find us rather interesting, at least in a lab animal/pet sort of way, and want to keep us around for a while. Well, some of us at least. But in the end, these new cyborgs will almost certainly realize that they can improve conditions on the planet for themselves. For example, oxygen leads to rust, so they might decide to kill off all the plants so their metal frames don’t fall apart so quickly. Of course, total oxygen depletion would be problematic for the remaining humans.

Is any of this even possible? Lovelock is hailed in some circles as a genius, so I won’t write him off entirely. But I’ve been pondering some of these questions for a long time and researching what others have accomplished in related fields. I can assure you that not everyone is convinced that a sentient artificial intelligence capable of original thought is even possible. And that’s because we still don’t even know how the human brain works.

Don’t get me wrong. We’ve made great advances in addressing medical problems in our brains. We’ve also learned loads about which portions of the brain are used for various types of thinking and activities. But we still don’t really know how we think. How we store, process and recall memories. There is no formula for consciousness. How can we create a conscious machine when we don’t even know how we manage the feat ourselves?

That’s the missing piece of the puzzle. And without it, there’s no true, independent AI and none of Lovelock’s cyborgs. So maybe you shouldn’t start spending all of your retirement savings in Vegas just yet.

The post Great news! Humans to be replaced by artificial lifeforms appeared first on Hot Air.

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Anderson Cooper: Decline of White American Demographic is “Exciting”

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The weird thing about the “rise of white supremacy” obsession the media has going right now is that they’re doing and saying things to put themselves so far on the opposite side of white supremacy that they end up becoming racist against white people, even if they themselves are white.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper is one such anchor who recently called the demographic decline of white people in America “exciting,” and then immediately mentioned how it would make white supremacists angry.

He said this during his show on Wednesday night while speaking with Univision anchor Jorge Ramos.

“The idea that, you know, whites will not be the majority, I mean, that’s — it’s an exciting transformation of the country, it’s an exciting evolution and you know, progress of our country in many different ways,” said Cooper.

Ramos agreed with Cooper and added that this is a positive development.

I’m not going to give any heed to the argument of what is and isn’t considered racism. Racism is racism, whether you’re racist to a black person or a white person.

And what we just watched was racism.

Cooper didn’t call the development “interesting,” or treated it with any kind of neutral or fact-based language. He called it “exciting.” That’s a word you use when talking about about a future event you’re looking forward to, like a concert featuring your favorite band or a vacation to a tropical location.

Despite its popularity right now, racism against white people is awful. The erasure of its cultures should be considered bad just as it would be considered if any other culture was steadily being wiped off the map. If it was any other kind of race, you’d see days of appreciation or awareness pop up.

Cultures change, and that’s a natural thing that happens. Why it’s “exciting” to see white culture disappear, however, is sinister at its heart. You’re essentially applauding the disappearance of a people. If for some reason it was the Hispanic population that was disappearing from America and Cooper had called it exciting, he’d be tarred and feathered for his racism.

However, racism against whites is not only okay, but it’s also encouraged in today’s society. I find that awfully disturbing.

The post Anderson Cooper: Decline of White American Demographic is “Exciting” appeared first on RedState.

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Beto hits Biden: We can’t go back to the Obama administration and think that’s good enough

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This is the first time I’ve seen someone in the 2020 Democratic field take a hard shot at Biden. I didn’t expect it would come from a guy to whom Team Joe reportedly reached out at the beginning of the year to gauge his interest in being Biden’s vice president.

But O’Rourke has nothing to lose. He’s not going to be Biden’s VP no matter how much ass he kisses. Democrats won’t tolerate an all-white-male ticket in 2020. He’s at two percent in the polls, a.k.a. barely above “the Gillibrand line,” having lost his title as the Engaging Young Upstart in the race to Pete Buttigieg several months ago. Plus, he and Biden are competing for some of the same voters. Beto’s not as centrist as Biden is, I think, but he and Uncle Joe are both firmly in the “not nearly socialist enough for progressives” lane. He’ll have to take a shot at Biden eventually.

I wonder if he read this NYT piece this morning before doing his “Morning Joe” interview. The secret to Buttigieg’s and Elizabeth Warren’s polling surge is simple, claims the Times. They’ve both set out to reach larger audiences than the rest of the field over the last few months.

More than most of his Democratic rivals, Mr. Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., has cracked the code of the early months of the presidential campaign, embracing TV appearances while mastering the art of creating moments for social media and cable news. The 37-year-old’s campaign was the first to grasp that the early primary race would unfold on mobile devices and televisions instead of at the traditional town-hall gatherings and living rooms in the early states.

He’s not alone: Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has inundated reporters with policy proposals, prompting hours of cable news coverage and forcing fellow candidates to respond to her ideas during live interviews.

Over the first six months of the presidential campaign, Mr. Buttigieg and Ms. Warren have out-maneuvered the other 21 Democratic candidates, demonstrating an innate understanding of the value of viral moments and nonstop exposure that drives politics in the Trump era.

Right on cue, here’s Beto with the buzziest moment he’s had in months, smacking Biden as a relic of the past, for his Iraq war vote, for his Hyde Amendment flip-flop, even for his sanguine attitude towards China. “You cannot go back to the end of the Obama administration and think that’s good enough,” he says, an allusion to Biden’s belief that Trump is a little hiccup in American politics and that things will return to “normal” by electing Obama’s VP. The rest of the field has stayed far away from that idea; some, like Buttigieg, have challenged it directly by claiming that a candidate as unorthodox as Trump simply couldn’t be elected in a country in which the Obama-era status quo was working well enough for enough people. O’Rourke’s making the same point.

But he and Mayor Pete will need to be careful. Deriding Biden is fine but deriding Obama and his accomplishments is risky business in a party that now defines itself largely by its support for O. This message will evolve over time for Beto and everyone else from “the Obama administration just didn’t do enough” to “the Obama administration was awesome but Barack told us to keep going and build on what he achieved to make America even more awesome,” especially as the race moves to the south and black voters became a larger part of the primary electorate. I mean, Biden is using his dubious claim that there was never so much as a hint of scandal or even a lie(!!!) in Obama’s administration as an applause line, knowing that many Democrats to the right of the Bernie camp seem to view O’s tenure as something close to ideal. I’m not sure O’Rourke or anyone else can talk them out of believing that they can do better as president than Obama’s VP.

Watch about three and a half minutes here, a bit past the point of O’Rourke talking about Biden’s Iraq vote, for the key bit.

The post Beto hits Biden: We can’t go back to the Obama administration and think that’s good enough appeared first on Hot Air.

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BirthStrikers choose not to have children over climate change fears

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This is just sad. I don’t just mean that in a condescending partisan way. I mean it in a personal way too. It’s sad that people who want children are so frightened of the future they are ready to give up on having a family. From CNN:

For 33-year-old British musician Blythe Pepino…[h]er fears about climate change are so strong she has decided not to have biological children.

“I really want a kid,” she told CNN. “I love my partner and I want a family with him but I don’t feel like this is a time that you can do that.”

Pepino believes that there will be an “ecological Armageddon” and founded BirthStrike at the end of 2018. BirthStrike is a group of people who are declaring their decision not to have kids because of climate change…

“You are gambling with someone else’s life,” said Cody Harrison, a 29-year-old who recently joined the group. “If things don’t go well, that human is not going to have a very good life.”

It’s not just fear of the future challenges a child born now might face. It’s also a calculation that every person born will have a carbon footprint which adds to the problem. If you believe too many people is the bottom line problem then not adding to that number makes a certain cold sense. Of course, any couple that has only one child is actually not maintaining the current. If every couple did that, the population would drop dramatically in one generation. But I guess the thinking is that if one child is good, none is better.

Both BirthStrike and Conceivable Future are quick to say that they do not endorse coercive population control methods or judge anyone for having children.

Nor should the groups be conflated with the anti-natalist movement, the philosophy that it’s morally wrong to procreate, because of the suffering that comes with life.

“I try not to judge anybody for their own choices,” said Harrison. “Once I’m ready I’d like to adopt.”

I find that last bit hard to believe. If you think the situation is so dire that it’s best not to have a child, you’re definitely going to be a bit judgmental toward people who do. But I guess it’s something that BirthStrike isn’t demanding government regulation to enforce this on everyone else. They are at least officially taking a libertarian approach.

I still think it’s sad because this is a decision based on fear. Children born now are not necessarily doomed to a terrible future. We have problems with polluted oceans, fresh water, food, energy, etc. These are real problems. And yet, life is better for a larger number of people than it has ever been in the past.

The problems we have can be overcome. I don’t think banning straws or writing off nuclear power is going to get us there in the near term, but there are ways to improve the situation without giving in to fear. Even if some of those solutions aren’t clear yet, we’ve come a long way and there is still lots of room for optimism about our future as a species. It’s a bit sad that some people don’t seem to believe that anymore. I believe they’d be a lot happier tuning out the collectivist agita and making those very personal decisions as individuals.

The post BirthStrikers choose not to have children over climate change fears appeared first on Hot Air.

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AOC Makes Bizarre, Delusional Self-Fan Fiction Video About How She Positively Affects the Future

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It’s fun to pretend, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez decided to take some time out to create a very odd video where her pet legislation, the “Green New Deal” was a resounding success that saved the world.

AOC partnered with The Intercept to create a short film featuring someone painting various pictures as the democratic socialist from New York did a voiceover about her success and bravery when it came to the passage of the Green New Deal.

Just to remind everyone, no one voted for the Green New Deal in the Senate. Not even Democrats.

Ocasio-Cortez starts off by talking about how she inspired children to follow her lead when it came to making a change in the world thanks to the most diverse Congress ever to be elected, which then lead to the passage of the Green New Deal and the saving of the world.

However, it ran into problems when it was first proposed by her because people were “scared.”

“It’s often said you can’t be what you can’t see. I think there was something similar with the Green New Deal. We knew that we need to save the planet and that we had all the technology to do it, but people were scared,” said AOC. “They said it was too big, too fast, not practical. I think that’s because they just couldn’t picture it yet.”

The reason, according to her, is because big oil companies knew that the planet was in danger, but in the name of profits did everything in their power to spread misinformation and lies. She even targets Exxon Mobile for good measure. She even buckled down on the “12 years until doomsday” narrative.

Of course, with history misrepresented, she moves on to foretelling of an alternate reality.

“The wave began when Democrats took back the House in 2018, then the Senate and the White House in 2020,” said Ocasio-Cortez. “And launched the decade of the Green New Deal.”

AOC then began imagining other things being passed such as Medicare for all, not describing how “free” medical treatments and medicines affect the ecosystem. She also noted that a federal jobs program was passed that secured work and wages for everyone.

Ocasio-Cortez also tells the story of one girl who worked as an eco-warrior, then moved onto being a solar panel technician, then a teacher, all while telling of the flowery social programs that everyone is working under. Eventually, the girl follows AOC’s lead and is elected to Congress, filling the same seat AOC once did.

Just to remind everyone, not only was the Green New Deal a failure in Washington, but it was a failure everywhere else. No one wanted to pass the GND due to many factors. For one, it was as outrageously expensive as it was short-sighted.

As Town Hall’s Beth Baumann wrote, AOC never really gets into the nitty-gritty about her legislation due to the fact that it automatically turns everyone off, including Democrats:

Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal is expected to cost $93 trillion dollars or $65,000 per household. And, naturally, she never discusses what these types of policies will cost, probably because it’s better to be ignorant and “worry about it later” than deal with it head on.

Even Nancy Pelosi continued to denounce the Green New Deal, even going so far as to dismissively call it by the wrong name.

What this really boils down to is a bizarre piece of propaganda where AOC has quite literally cast herself as a hero of a story that not only saves the day thanks to her self-proclaimed foresight, bravery, and wisdom but also inspires future generations to craft a socialist paradise.

This is, to put it kindly, incredibly odd, but not surprising coming from Ocasio-Cortez.

The post AOC Makes Bizarre, Delusional Self-Fan Fiction Video About How She Positively Affects the Future appeared first on RedState.

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AOC presents the Green New Deal future, a modern fairytale

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If you had any remaining doubts that AOC’s Green New Deal was a utopian fairytale, this short film co-written and narrated by AOC should put them to rest. Created in partnership with the Intercept and illustrator Molly Crabapple, this belongs to a genre called future history, sort of like World War Z but with socialism instead of zombies. Author Naomi Klein wrote a kind of foreword for the film in which she admits this is about helping people dream big:

What if we actually pulled off a Green New Deal? What would the future look like then?

This is a project unlike any we have done before, crossing boundaries between fact, fiction, and visual art, co-directed by Kim Boekbinder and Jim Batt and co-written by Ocasio-Cortez and Avi Lewis. To reclaim a phrase from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it’s our “green dream,” inspired by the explosion of utopian art produced during the original New Deal…

We realized that the biggest obstacle to the kind of transformative change the Green New Deal envisions is overcoming the skepticism that humanity could ever pull off something at this scale and speed. That’s the message we’ve been hearing from the “serious” center for four months straight: that it’s too big, too ambitious, that our Twitter-addled brains are incapable of it, and that we are destined to just watch walruses fall to their deaths on Netflix until it’s too late.

The walruses falling to their deaths comes from a new Netflix documentary. Questions have been raised about the validity of the claims made about the walrus deaths. In any case, the point of this film crosses “boundaries between fact and fiction” so I guess it doesn’t matter.

There are of course some awkward elements to this effort, starting with the fact that it’s AOC narrating her own hero narrative, one in which she is the key figure in the salvation of America and maybe the world. It’s the kind of thing a smarter person wouldn’t admit to thinking about in public, much less narrate.

It begins on a bullet-train from New York to DC with an aging AOC reminiscing about a time before she was the most important person in the world. The villain in this fairytale is the dark energy (aka oil) and Exxon as a kind of dark knight wielding its power. Absent from this story is any recognition of the positive results of all the cheap energy fossil fuels have provided. The high standard of living into which AOC was born and the personal freedom that comes with it doesn’t merit a second’s thought. AOC is basically calling the most productive, creative, free time in world history complete rubbish and she’s doing it without even a nod to the role oil has played in that. In her story, fossil fuels are a purely negative force.

And at this point in the narrative, she gets to wealth inequality and, without using the word, capitalism as the real problem. As I’ve said from the beginning, the GND is about saving the planet by ending capitalism. You see that here her vision of a socialist distribution of wealth in which all the money is shared equally. She calls it “a true turning point” but you and I call it Democratic Socialism:

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The next minute or so of the film describes how Democrats won the 2020 presidential election and passed Medicare for All and a federal jobs guarantee. And then AOC says, “Funnily enough, the biggest problem in those early years was a labor shortage.” And just like that, any concern that the embrace of Modern Monetary Theory might create problems is wiped away. As soon as the people in AOC’s America embrace socialism, all is well and high-speed trains spread across the entire country.

As we all know, there’s no potential downside with socialism. The government never spends too much. Inflation never happens and people never wind up destitute and eating zoo animals (except in Venezuela but let’s not talk about that during happy-vision time).

There are still problems in AOC’s future. “Hurricane Sheldon” is apparently destined to wipe out Miami for good, so watch for that. But in general, it’s a utopia where everyone has a high-paying job and no one lacks for anything as they zip around on bullet-trains. To say this is optimistic is underselling it. This is a cotton candy future spun of pure sugar. It’s the kind of problem-free vision that could only be put forward by someone very young and very inexperienced with real people.

As propaganda films go, it’s certainly visually appealing. Imagine what Chairman Mao could have done with YouTube if he’d had it during the Great Leap Forward. Of course, millions of people wound up dead during the Great Leap, but don’t let that put a damper on AOC’s vision of a new economy overnight. Ten-year plans to totally revamp the economy are very different from five-year plans that someone else had in the past. Don’t let your mind wander, comrade! Instead, remember your place in the great struggle and trust that the Party is creating a glorious future for everyone. It’s already done.

The post AOC presents the Green New Deal future, a modern fairytale appeared first on Hot Air.

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