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[05 Dec 2016|10:59pm]

"A report put out in February 2016 by Citibank in partnership with the University of Oxford predicted that 47% of US jobs are at risk of automation.

In the UK, 35% are. In China, it's a whopping 77% — while across the OECD it's an average of 57%.

And three of the world's 10 largest employers are now replacing their workers with robots."

"We can do this, I am an enormous optimist for my species; but it will require the elites, from London to Harvard, from Cambridge to Hollywood, to learn the lessons of the past year.

To learn above all a measure of humility."
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[05 Dec 2016|10:15pm]

"The German car companies have a problem. They have all that investment in the technology of making precision power machinery. But electric motors just aren't that complicated mechanically. Their edge over China disappears."
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[05 Dec 2016|07:40pm]

The large majority – me included – wants to be passive and rely on an
efficient state apparatus to guarantee the smooth running of the entire
social edifice, so that I can pursue my work in peace. Walter Lippmann
wrote in his Public Opinion (1922) that the herd of citizens must be
governed by “a specialised class whose interests reach beyond the
locality" – this elite class is to act as a machinery of knowledge that
circumvents the primary defect of democracy, the impossible ideal of the
"omni-competent citizen". This is how our democracies function – with our consent:
there is no mystery in what Lippmann was saying, it is an obvious fact; the mystery
is that, knowing it, we play the game. We act as if we are free and freely deciding,
silently not only accepting but even demanding that an invisible injunction
(inscribed into the very form of our free speech) tells us what to do and think.
“People know what they want” – no, they don’t, and they don’t want to know it.
They need a good elite, which is why a proper politician does not only advocate people’s interests,
it is through him that they discover what they “really want.”
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The Rules for Rulers [02 Dec 2016|06:26pm]

Cicaty click
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[25 Nov 2016|01:48am]

Arī tas, ko jūs mēdzat dēvēt par "faktiem". Ir tieši tik vienkārši:
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Vice and vices [25 Nov 2016|01:37am]

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BBC, In our Time: Baltic Crusades [24 Nov 2016|06:59pm]

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Visiem cibas [info]ctulhu [24 Nov 2016|02:34pm]

"The historian Nils Gilman wrote a book titled "Mandarins of the Future" about the legacy of modernization theory -- one of the Cold War's many examples of instrumental technical rationality gone horribly wrong. Modernization theorists believed that societies passed through deterministic and linear stages of political, social, and economic development. Modernization theory also can be viewed as small part of what is known as the "high modernist" view of the world, the belief that science and technology has an unlimited capacity to reorder the world. While high modernism and modernization theory are distinct (high modernism should be understood as a superset of modernization theory), both shared a common belief in the ability of top-down planning, the discovery of solutions through rational design, and the supremacy of scientific-technical experts. These were the means by which utopia would come.

[..] [T]echnical rationality often worsens intractable social problems rather than fixing them. In many cases, it even creates new problems! However, faith in experts and rational planning is only one part of technical rationality. Technical rationality is embodied within organizations.

[..] Thus, technical rationality's problems do not stem solely from hubris. Technical rationality's flaws arise from the pathologies of "rationalization" and its dominance in social life. Weber suggests that an era dominated by rationalization processes will see the dominance of calculation as the motivation and cause of social action (to the detriment of everything else).

[..] I will now detail why the continued plea for the tech world to do something -- anything -- to use technics, rational design, and experts to solve intractable social problems is not just profoundly wrong but also militantly stupid. Much of the world's social problems arise from technical rationality and its bureaucratic "technology" run amok. More of the same is not a solution but part of the very problem that technical rationality supposedly is supposed to solve.

[..] It is difficult to see how any objective history of the 20th century can justify the belief that all problems are tractable and that it just takes some smart people who care to fix them. Moreover, it is difficult to see how any objective history of the 20th century can avoid the conclusion that top-down centralized planning by scientific-technical experts in social and political matters has led to....undesired consequences, to put it mildly.

[..] Why do these people have such a burning desire to see engineers and bureaucrats use computers to "solve" problems that ANOTHER band of engineers and bureaucrats with computers created in the first place?"
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[24 Nov 2016|12:07am]

"I'm a nationalist. I'm an economic nationalist,"
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Status update [23 Nov 2016|11:52pm]

"Let's look at the world in question.

Europe can barely hold itself together as it is - whether the Eurozone or EU - their overall economic system is rolling from one disaster to another while 0.3% growth is cheered. Europe has registered near zero real growth for a decade at this point. Their cooperative systems are all imploding as nations - from Sweden to Britain - put up barriers. Russia is guaranteed to seek more territory in Eastern Europe with nobody to stop them. Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal are all still in economic disaster mode and trying to recover or not implode further. German banks are acting like a depression is on-going, while the German economy is barely expanding. Finland has been in a near decade long soft depression. Norway's oil party is over, the next 20 years will be mostly austerity for them. France is a worsening mess both economically and politically. The UK has no idea what it's doing one way or another; Britain will be a mess for years to come due to Brexit. Oh and not one European country can actually afford to spend a dollar more on defense (and none of them really want to outside of Russia). The US pulling out of Europe in terms of military would cost those economies a hundred billion dollars per year that they don't have and would substantially increase nationalism and infighting.

Japan is fully subservient to the US because they have no means to deal with a rising China threat (they're already bankrupt at a government level and can't even remotely afford to defend themselves without nuclear weapons, their standard of living is rapidly falling thanks to endless Yen debasement). Japan is also still mired in a 25 year economic stagnation caused by debt and bad Keynesian economic policies, a stagnation which isn't going to end so long as they keep doing the same thing over and over again (which apparently they are going to do). Japan is in no position to stand against the US (which is why Abe just paid a visit to Trump, their position is exceptionally weak right now), nor are any other nations in Asia except for China. There is also almost zero unity in Asia, thanks to the divisive nature of China's aggressive territorial ambitions.

South America? Forget about it. Two of their three largest economies are in depressions (Venezuela is beyond that actually, they've fully collapsed as a nation). The other, Argentina, is barely starting to drag itself out of a deep recession. Who there is going to stand up to the US? Not going to happen, they have far bigger problems to deal with in their own backyard.

Australia? New Zealand? Canada? They might lodge complaints, let their grievances be publicly known, but that is all they can do.

Africa? They have no power or unity to cause the US problems.

The Middle East? Happy to keep the fossil fuel party going and would be promoters of the US tanking the Paris Agreement.

And that's it. "
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[23 Nov 2016|11:06pm]

"In the early days of tackling these [machine translation] problems, computer scientists teamed with linguists and tried to code grammar. At IBM, a group including Mercer and Brown reasoned that the problems would be better solved using statistics and probabilities. (Their boss, Frederick Jelinek, liked to say, “Whenever I fire a linguist, the system gets better.”) "
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Alien of extraordinary ability: Michal Zalewski (poļu izcelsmes 1. paaudzes imigrants ASV) [23 Nov 2016|08:35pm]

"Ultimately, we all live in bubbles and we all have biases; in that regard, not much sets CNN apart from Fox News, Vox from National Review, or The Huffington Post from Breitbart. The reason why most of us would trust one and despise the other is that we instinctively recognize our own biases as more benign. [..] We even have serious scientific studies to back that up; their authors breathlessly proclaim that the conservative brain is inferior to the progressive brain. Unlike the conservatives, we believe in science, so we hit the "like" button and retweet the news.

But here's the thing: I know quite a few conservatives, many of whom have probably voted for Mr. Trump - and they are about as smart, as informed, and as compassionate as my progressive friends. I think that the disconnect between the worldviews stems from something else: if you are a well-off person in a coastal city, you know people who are immigrants or who belong to other minorities, making you acutely attuned to their plight; but you may lack the same, deeply personal connection to - say - the situation of the lower middle class in the Midwest. You might have seen surprising charts or read a touching story in Mother Jones few years back, but it's hard to think of them as individuals; they are more of a socioeconomic obstacle, a problem to be solved. The same goes for our understanding of immigration or globalization: these phenomena make our high-tech hubs more prosperous and more open; the externalities of our policies, if any, are just an abstract price that somebody else ought to bear for doing what's morally right. And so, when Mr. Trump promises to temporarily ban travel from Muslim countries linked to terrorism or anti-American sentiments, we (rightly) gasp in disbelief; but when Mr. Obama paints an insulting caricature of rural voters as simpletons who "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them", we smile and praise him for his wit, not understanding how the other side could be so offended by the truth. Similarly, when Mrs. Clinton chuckles while saying "we are going to put a lot of coal miners out of business" to a cheering crowd, the scene does not strike us as a thoughtless, offensive, or in poor taste. Maybe we will read a story about the miners in Mother Jones some day?

Of course, liberals take pride in caring for the common folk, but I suspect that their leaders' attempts to reach out to the underprivileged workers in the "flyover states" often come across as ham-fisted and insincere. The establishment schools the voters about the inevitability of globalization, as if it were some cosmic imperative; they are told that to reject the premise would not just be wrong - but that it'd be a product of a diseased, nativist mind. They hear that the factories simply had to go to China or Mexico, and the goods just have to come back duty-free - all so that our complex, interconnected world can be a happier place. The workers are promised entitlements, but it stands to reason that they want dignity and hope for their children, not a lifetime on food stamps. The idle, academic debates about automation, post-scarcity societies, and Universal Basic Income probably come across as far-fetched and self-congratulatory, too.

Most progressives are either oblivious to these biases, or dismiss them as a harmless casualty of fighting the good fight. Perhaps so - and it is not my intent to imply equivalency between the causes of the left and of the right. But in the end, I suspect that the liberal echo chamber contributed to the election of Mr. Trump far more than anything that ever transpired on the right. "
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[23 Nov 2016|06:15pm]

Ja Tramps blefoja par iespējamo draudzību ar Krieviju, lai par savu "secretary of state" beigās izvēlētos Romniju, tad jāatzīst, ka tā nav nekāda amatieru līga ar Klintones "reset pogu". Tas būtu ģeniāls "pokerface" blefs.
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