State of Things


  • Coder

    @Thenomain said (in the Video Game thread)
    I also cannot think of a time I am any more nervous and anxious about our future. Obviously I want it to go one way over another, but I called it a war because I think we have some core ideologies that are clashing hard. It's nerve-wracking. It's amazing.

    I want to find the happy middle ground. Except for over science. Businessmen and religious organization who are trying to push an anti-science agenda for their own profit or beliefs can fuck right off. Humanity will be worse off for the attempts of these people.

    This is now the entirely wrong thread for this. Hm.

    New thread! :)
    Ideologies are clashing all the time, the world over. That's why we have news. :) Now is no different than a hundred years ago, or fifty. The topics are just different.

    Progress can keep marching, I say. I have zero issue with people gaining equal rights, I support the fuck out of it, both verbally and with my donated time now and again.


  • Admin

    Please let me know if this is off topic, @Rook.

    I think automation is about to fuck our universe up. In the next 15 years or so human kind is going to be changing in a really dramatic fashion; I can't (no one can, IMHO) say if it'll be for the better or not.

    Just about any manual job imaginable is going to be automated, and unlike any other time in the past far fewer new jobs will be created to take their place. This isn't 'farming is getting industrialized but factories need workers so people go to cities instead'. This is 'massive unemployment is just around the corner for big chunks of the population, and it will be here to stay'.

    Not talking about jobs like drivers or food servers, I'm talking a massive impact to everything from lawyers to doctors to CEOs - for example while a top notch doctor will probably still be superior to a machine (at least at first), going to your local practitioner for routine checkups will be a thing of the past.

    There are remedies being discussed - such as a universal income - which are at best in their infancy now, and many years away from being anywhere close to become implemented. It's almost a certainty our rate of automation will outpace social measures taken by most governments to at least some degree, based on how pessimistic we're prepared to be.

    So what is the State of Things? IMHO, about to get a real kick in the ass.


  • Coder

    Yeah, I know, @Arkandel. My job is actually helping ITs in companies mature their organization into automation taking over menial IT tasks. It's what I do, so yeah, right there with you. I see things starting in that direction, but I think that lots of things will have a LONG way to go to be automated.

    I think @Thenomain and I were more having a commentary on the state of interactions, socially. Lots of different things coming up that have been there for years, but with social media accelerating and changing the national/world conversation, it is like the natural development and adoption rate is not only speeding up... it is having the natural bumps and challenges that one might imagine with a sped-up adoption rate.

    They say that it takes at least a generation for an idea to be absorbed into social norms. That rate is changing into sometimes a decade or less. I think society (especially older society or the non-digitally-integrated) is having trouble 'speeding up' to that pace. It was one of my points, somewhere in this sub-thread discussion, that I think that slowing down the conversation every now and then... simply with some listening... is something we could all do well with.



  • Being a Waterfall-based Config Mgmt/Ops person, I can agree that this is a cause for concern.

    My suggestion is to get ahead of the ball and start training on information security certs like SSCP, CISSP, CEH.

    The more companies rely on agile/automated methods, the more safeguards will need to be in place to maintain security. The number of operations staff may drop, but the number of security eyes will need to increase. InfoSec is not only on the rise, but but global telecommunication environment has proven that there will always be good use for an InfoSec person or a certified ethical hacker (CEH)

    Edit: because typos



  • On the one hand, I think perspective is useful. My dad was involved in the protest movement during the Vietnam War (and was later drafted as a conscientious objector). He wasn't at the Democratic Convention in 1968, but he had friends who were involved in the riot. We talked about it a bit during the campaign last year, and I'm not sure I can really internalize the scope of that kind of social unrest. This seems bad, but it's not really comparable. We have generational tunnel vision, both in terms of social change and the upheaval that comes with automation. We've been here before, though I don't know if we've learned anything (it's the not learning anything that I view as the actual problem).

    On the other hand, I'm certainly uneasier than I've ever been in my lifetime. I don't know what the next five years are going to look like. There are ideas I think would be helpful in making the future a softer landing, (universal basic income is one of them) and fundamental changes in the way we think of and value work (we're in drastic need of better and more child/elder-care, for example).

    I don't know. It's heavy shit.



  • Are we discussing from a global perspective or an American perspective?



  • In high school (late 80s) my friends and I called it the dumboning (ala highlander the summoning) in which people were just dumbing down, becoming more base (like grammer and moving from more fun to funner).

    The best example is when the movie Idiocracy came out (Terry Crews was a hilarious President who made fun of his citizens, less funny when RL mirrors this). Lego movie joked about the state of affairs ... The best sitcom is 'Where's My Pants'. Jeff Bridges said it best from American perspective as Will McAvoy sums it up in the America Is Not the Greatest County Anymore monologue.

    That and we're getting old.

    My daughter's generation is more environmentally aware than any generation has been, even more than the birth of conservationists and national parks movement. They're more aware of social and behavioral conditions. The news is more sensational.

    Crime is compared to the 50s. Crime is up sense then, but trending down since peeks in 70s and 80s. What the 50s never reported, and thus is not a good comparison to today, domestic crimes were left in the family and not reported. Hate and race crimes were overlooked far more in the 50s than today. The still happen, they're still atrocious, but much less of Billie Holidays strange fruit today than in the 50s.

    Things look bad sometimes, half probably from our own maturity, but as always there is hope.


  • Pitcrew

    Socially I'm not too worried. Trump & co represent the backlash you always get, but the overall trend is clearly positive, especially in the younger generations. There's some good literature about how conservative christian communities are having a hard time selling their kids on the 'gays are evil' thing as gender diversity becomes far more visible and celebrated in every part of media (and more visible among their own peer groups as a result). Lady Gaga > local preacher, and it's hard to convince people their perfectly nice trans friend is actually the devil.

    The environmental stuff is worrisome because there are some basic laws of physics you can't simply ignore once you change your mind. It's going to take some major cities being underwater & massive crippling droughts for the conservatives to have to give up this platform, probably, and by then a lot of damage is going to be done and possibly very hard to reverse.


  • Coder

    @Ghost said in State of Things:

    Are we discussing from a global perspective or an American perspective?

    I am discussing from my perspective, which is American. Unlike many Americans, I am willing to change my perspective if it means I have a more complete understanding. But I suspect any aspect of this discussion is regional.

    I could see the USA breaking down a la the EU, but not reasonably outside science fiction.



  • I think what we are witnessing is a struggle between two lines of thought:

    • All people matter

    Or.

    • The people who make themselves matter mean more

    The fact of the matter is, the only reason some menial jobs exist is because they can't be automated. Very few corporate entities actually pride themselves on providing jobs to people to feed their families. Many corporations will gloat about this job creator status and use it as a shield to defend other unethical practices, but it's not very genuine. My own father stated, recently, that the coal industry was completely justified in dumping waste water into rivers because it saves them money and allows them to feed more families. Bullshit. That's not why they do it. Everyone knows it.

    So, in the next five years, we will see something interesting. Automation is coming, and with the removal of jobs due to automated process, it will be largely up to the ousted employee to maintain their skill set and keep themselves marketable. With the general survival mindset here in America being "if they're worth it, they'll find a way", I foresee a lot of people being left behind in the dust as their services are simply no longer needed.

    In short, I think these two ideologies are already clashing, but only one side of those ideologies has the buying power to sway politicians, and that is the side that owns businesses, corporations, directs industry, and would rather the common person be treated as a temporary asset.


  • Coder

    I have to agree here (again, fuck) with @Thenomain. I've said, for a long time, that I thought that a civil war was coming to America... and it seems that no matter what happens, it is getting closer and closer to that. We see traditional, unbiased news reporting gone (to mirror what @Lotherio says about 'Newsroom', where that monologue starts the series), and the likes of Rather, Brokaw, Jennings, and other greats simply replaced by the likes of Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Thom Hartmann, and a slew of others that have sold their show out for advertising dollars. So the news outlets are pushing agendas now, is my point, and not unbiased, fact-based and fact-checked news.

    Social media is deciding fates of lives before the courts are. It used to take weeks and weeks are newspaper stories for the public to form opinions, now it takes less than an hour as Like and Share start wildfires of opinionated, incompletely-informed pieces across the twitscape.

    It's scary. I think it's pushing (at least America), blindly, toward confrontations. We already see rioting, protests, hate actions.


  • Coder

    @Ghost said in State of Things:

    • All people matter

    This makes me think of two pretty different things.

    1. Everyone gets a trophy for participating. I grew up at the beginnings of this and I think it eventually undermined the reward of effort. There must be a reward of effort (he says, as a strong opinion). All people matter in the way that I believe the American Founding Fathers meant: Here's your opportunity, and everyone gets the same one. I think this means that we must use the tyranny of government to assure that everyone has the same reasonable chance to flourish.

    2. Black Lives Matter. It took me a long time to understand why the response of "All Lives Matter" to this movement pissed off so many people. It's not that all lives don't matter, it's that Black Lives Matter was the part of the discussion that they wanted to have; having someone tell you that you're being selfish when your attempt is benevolent is pretty sucky, and so the movement felt undermined and manipulated. I don't blame them.


  • Coder

    @Ghost said in State of Things:

    1. Black Lives Matter. It took me a long time to understand why the response of "All Lives Matter" to this movement pissed off so many people. It's not that all lives don't matter, it's that Black Lives Matter was the part of the discussion that they wanted to have; having someone tell you that you're being selfish when your attempt is benevolent is pretty sucky, and so the movement felt undermined and manipulated. I don't blame them.

    From my perspective (someone who avoids watching either 'wing' of the news, and social media), things turned bad when the media took off with the movement's message without explaining it in a concise manner that was easily consumed. People who didn't know what the core of the message was and how it was meant to be made simply took it as an egotistical "We are worth more than you" statement, which was NOT what was meant.

    It ballooned from there, and no real media outlet wanted to do anything but fan the flames because they were getting viewers, which meant more advertising interest...



  • I hear ya on those points. Maybe I'm slightly nihilistic about this, but even for the people who want all people to matter, there will always be a leaning towards but I should matter more than that guy.

    Even in some kind of true Utopia, with the competitive nature of people, an ER Doctor would never accept some kind of true equality where he makes just as much as a bus boy in a sports bar. So with the everyone gets a trophy or black lives matter or omg white privilege people, I tend to look at it all with a slanted brow.

    They're all just people in a competitive society, lobbying to the referees to apply negatives to the people they're competing against to promote positives for themselves. It's socio-political cannibalism and in the fear of not having enough, we're finding new ways to exclude people from the competition pool all of the time.


  • Politics

    @Ghost said in State of Things:

    I hear ya on those points. Maybe I'm slightly nihilistic about this, but even for the people who want all people to matter, there will always be a leaning towards but I should matter more than that guy.

    You're not being nihilistic here. It appears that you are being willfully ignorant.

    There is any of a million difference potential sources for this information, but let me try to repeat what @Thenomain said, but differently. Black Lives Matter was a movement to protest how the death of black people at the hands of law enforcement was being swept under the rug or chided without consequences. The purpose was to shed light on something which is horribly ignored out of spite or contempt.

    This isn't in the same league as Trophies for Everyone! or White Privilege Sux!!!. Minorities of all stripes can live with being beleaguered, underappreciated, and unpinned, but when you cannot live there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

    I seriously wonder if you've been living under a rock or something.


  • Coder

    I just think that @Ghost was speaking of natural self-preservation/self-advancement instinct, @Ganymede ? At least, that is how I read it. I think that it is true that it is ingrained in all of us to compete, sure, but as Gany points out... not at the expense of others, not to that degree, no.



  • @Arkandel said in State of Things:

    I think automation is about to fuck our universe up. In the next 15 years or so human kind is going to be changing in a really dramatic fashion; I can't (no one can, IMHO) say if it'll be for the better or not.

    There is a great opportunity in this, but it is one we are typically hamstringing ourselves from the jump, re: preparing ourselves to take advantage of it.

    That's creativity. Imagination. Art.

    These are things with the potential to allow us to grow as a world community, and they are considerably harder to replace with automation. (Automation can help, but it is not and cannot, by its very nature, be the same as human expression.)

    They are also the first ones we cut off at the knees the moment money gets tight.


  • Coder

    I also don't think we should get caught up on any one expression of social upheaval. The cover of Time Magazine is "Attack of the Billionaires" or something like that. There's a Men's Rights documentary made by a feminist that also features how some feminists are almost militantly against a group who has literally done them or theirs no harm. (Yes, I watch Shoe On Head. No, I'm not a fan. Yes, she does offer some points that are not commonly discussed which I think should be.) We have the media trying to do too much with too few resources or care. We have Anonymous.

    I like @Rook's summary that we are more capable of sharing ideas than ever, and it's been a long time since I've seen the USA eager to do so. Some of the ideas might be stupid, but we can respond to that, too. (Thank you, Neil deGrasse Tyson, for leading one of the charges.)

    Part of why I'm excited is because I feel that we haven't had a lot in the way of "The Commons" or a desire for conversation. I see so many people yelling that they're getting tired of getting yelled at and it's starting to get through thick skulls. We may need to see more violence before it starts to calm down, or some true horror like War With North Korea, which would shake up the entire world. I don't want to see these things, but I can see them happening.



  • @Ganymede said in State of Things:

    You're not being nihilistic here. It appears that you are being willfully ignorant
    I seriously wonder if you've been living under a rock or something

    I fail to see where this sort of rude language towards me is respectful, constructive, or called for. Please tone down the pulpit.

    I wasn't commenting on the validity of "black lives matter" or specific movements. As @Rook pointed out, I was commenting on the way people seem to already be cannibalizing each other. We are a competition in America, with each other, for survival in a sense. The resources? Healthcare, jobs, stability, housing, comfort, etc.

    So, my rhetorical moral quandary is this: How can people strive for equality in a society where setting yourself apart from others as being more valuable is the main element of securing stability?

    While I do not endorse it in any way, shape, or form, other people failing to succeed, being disqualified, imprisoned, or being branded something ugly greatly increases the chance of other people to capture those limited, unguaranteed resources.

    It's a very convincing psychological reason to give no fucks about the people who are falling behind. The more they fall behind where you don't, the more reassurances you have that you won't fall behind, yourself.


  • Coder

    I think of things this way... In any given group, you will have a spectrum of 'heat', if you will. Indulge me in the mind exercise.

    In a church, to use a wide-spread example, you have those that drink on Friday and Saturday night and come to church on Sunday and basically put in their time. Let's call them the 'blue', or cool side of the heat spectrum. Then you also have those that pray fervently every day, observe every religious rule that they know of, and generally frown on and avoid vices. This is the 'red', or hot side, of this group's "heat spectrum" that I picture.

    You see this in every group where sub-groups are probable. High school class. Large groups of friends. Work offices.

    Here's what I see as the real danger -- media (traditional news, social, anything with a large audience) tends to gravitate toward the 'louder voices'. Violence gets the airtime, be it physical or verbal. You hear about personalities posting Tweets that start a flamewar that no one not subscribed to those personalities would know about if it weren't for media calling attention to it.

    It is the adult, modern equivalent of the class bully being watched by the entire school beating up a smaller/younger/underdog kid. The vast majority stand around and just watch. But a few egg that bully on. Bad Things happen.

    Apply that mentality to the world hotspot issues right now, and you see where it could theoretically go.


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