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HUMANITY DOOMSDAY CLOCK - Moves forward to 2125 due to election of US President trump.

Estimate of the time that Humanity will go extinct or civilization will collapse. The HUMANITY DOOMSDAY CLOCK moves forward to 2125 due to US President trump's abandonment of climate change goals. Apologies to Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists for using the name.


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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Who Gets the Money - Labor Productivity has Far Outstripped Wage Gains in the USA

Barry, My Liege:

As you know, workers in the United States of America have shown consistently increasing productivity for half a century or more.

Productivity is a simple concept, just divide the total output of the country, or the real GDP, by the total number of hours worked and you see a measure of how much wealth each hour of work produces.

Clearly, there are several factors which combine to increase productivity.

Increasing the amount of capital invested in the workplace will result in higher productivity as machines replace workers. And, developing new technologies which result in a single machine replacing even more workers also increases productivity.

Both of these factors can be attributed to business owners and the owners are entitled to a fair return for their investment in our market economy.

But, workers also have contributed to the productivity increase by improving their personal education levels. They have done so at their own expense and are therefore entitled to a portion of the increased wealth they produce in the form of higher wages.

However, increasing labor productivity has not correlated with higher wages, as seen in the chart below:

Your faithful servant

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Boorish Rich Kids Make the Case for Inheritance Tax

Barry, My Liege:

This space has suggested consistently that income inequality is bad for the country.

Part of the equalizing process is to institute an inheritance tax so that each generation is required to make its own way and so that we do not create an hereditary noble class.

Luckily, the boorish behavior of many rich kids lends credence to the idea that inherited wealth is bad for the country.

Follow rich kids here, if you have the tolerance:

Please pass a strong inheritance tax.

Your faithful servant,

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Stop Corporate Spying, Change or Veto the CISA Bill

Barry, My Liege:

Proposed legislation called the CISA, gives corporations and government too much power.

Please veto the legislation and insert more privacy protection for citizens.

Read the article here:

Your servant,

Autonomous Weapons: an Open Letter from AI & Robotics Researchers

Barry, My Liege :

Here is the text of the letter:

'Autonomous weapons select and engage targets without human intervention. They might include, for example, armed quadcopters that can search for and eliminate people meeting certain pre-defined criteria, but do not include cruise missiles or remotely piloted drones for which humans make all targeting decisions. Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has reached a point where the deployment of such systems is — practically if not legally — feasible within years, not decades, and the stakes are high: autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms.

Many arguments have been made for and against autonomous weapons, for example that replacing human soldiers by machines is good by reducing casualties for the owner but bad by thereby lowering the threshold for going to battle. The key question for humanity today is whether to start a global AI arms race or to prevent it from starting. If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow. Unlike nuclear weapons, they require no costly or hard-to-obtain raw materials, so they will become ubiquitous and cheap for all significant military powers to mass-produce. It will only be a matter of time until they appear on the black market and in the hands of terrorists, dictators wishing to better control their populace, warlords wishing to perpetrate ethnic cleansing, etc. Autonomous weapons are ideal for tasks such as assassinations, destabilizing nations, subduing populations and selectively killing a particular ethnic group. We therefore believe that a military AI arms race would not be beneficial for humanity. There are many ways in which AI can make battlefields safer for humans, especially civilians, without creating new tools for killing people.

Just as most chemists and biologists have no interest in building chemical or biological weapons, most AI researchers have no interest in building AI weapons — and do not want others to tarnish their field by doing so, potentially creating a major public backlash against AI that curtails its future societal benefits. Indeed, chemists and biologists have broadly supported international agreements that have successfully prohibited chemical and biological weapons, just as most physicists supported the treaties banning space-based nuclear weapons and blinding laser weapons.

In summary, we believe that AI has great potential to benefit humanity in many ways, and that the goal of the field should be to do so. Starting a military AI arms race is a bad idea, and should be prevented by a ban on offensive autonomous weapons beyond meaningful human control.'

Please support this.

Your faihtful servant