Monday, September 28, 2015

Robots, AI's, Immigrants...could a Future with no jobs be a good thing?

I really don't see a nearby future with no jobs at all. Immigrants surely  aren't our biggest concen. Those who complain that they are, are a far bigger concern. Because they are detached from reality.

What I do see is a not to distant future with fewer jobs, with jobs taken by robots and AI's and a few people. Times are changing and we can either get on the bus to the future, or we get run over by it. As things are now most of us are about to get run over by it because of the (allowed) greed of corporations, and an inability to change quickly by government and the electorate.

Foolishness in politics and a lack of proper priorities is major a part of our problem. Politicians trying to point everyone in one wrong direction for their own benefit is another problem.

I have said repeatedly before that we need to pay workers more. Why? Because they have been kept back from receiving the increases they have earned and deserved now for decades. And those in charge merely argue reasons why it is okay, rather than reasons why it is not.

Worker need to be working less days per week, less hours per day. Not more. That then would not only give us more workers in the workforce , but would prepare us for when robots do more and more take over our jobs.

We also need to start preparing now for a future of people living longer while there are fewer jobs available.

If we don't make that connection soon, not only will we have shirked our duty as a nation, to increase the quality of the lives of our citizens as we have been doing (or not doing) for years in pushing workers to work more days and longer hours for less money, but we will be unprepared when we find that we really do not need these workers either to to jobs having moved out of country, which isn't as bad as we make it if we had handled things in the ways I'm pointing out, or robotics having replaced our workers.

Having fewer jobs or some day, no jobs, is NOT really a bad thing, We have merely made it that seem that way due to a lack of vision, planning, and proactivity. At the very least we have allowed it to have been made that way.

If we had built our economy properly, if we had other things for people to do, if they had been oriented to consider that once freed from slaving at their jobs, they can move on to higher ideals, things such as the sciences, inventions, the Arts, of bettering humanity's existence both on this planet and off, then the quality of life in general for all would be increasing now and not following a path that is no where near that kind of a consideration.

Now, if you think none of this is possible then you are simply considering the wrong things, and looking at all this in old fashioned, anachronistic ways. You are taking the tact that it's not possible, rather than considering how it is possible. And we need to be considering how things like this ARE possible. If you like, we need to "think outside the box".

But I would argue, we are currently living an existence that is outside of that box already. We have merely be deluded for so long that we can no longer see it, beyond the status quo that has been sold to us as just, "how it is", when really we have all been "sold down the river" just so the rich could become richer, and powerful, more powerful. All at our expense.

I'm not even arguing a national or global conspiracy here. It's just how it is, has been, and those who can, have jumped on the bandwagon in order to further their own agendas, bettered their own lives. It has replaced the American Dream with the Dream of the Rich and Powerful.

And no one seems to have noticed! Though I suspect they are finally now beginning to.

Central to all of these things is not despondency among the masses so much as poor education. In cutting our benefits over the past decades, at letting our infrastructures go, to devolve, we have dumbed down our population and made it easier for some of the stupid beliefs that are going around and have been governing our nation. We need to change that.

We need to be thinking through a new paradigm shift in preparing for it to allow it to happen. We need to be living it and moving on into the future. We need to do  it, ourselves. We need to vote for those who should be running things. Those who want to end big money in politics. Those who will oppose the ignorance and stupidity in politics and in the voting public.

As with others knowledgeable in the topic, I do not so much worry about the resiliency of people but in the inability of the lumbering giants of government, business and finance. We will have to kick them repeatedly in order to give them a consistent and hard myocardial thump to the near cadaver of those who have been handed over the charter to protect us. We need to push through to their central cores, to their hearts if you will. To restart it to once again beat for us and not just as they seem to do so well and so often, merely fend for themselves.

Robots, AI's, Immigrants? Could a Future with no jobs be a good thing?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Digital Dilettantes and Their Fundemental Misunderstanding

I was once one of those believers in “Information should be free." That was back at the beginning of the public internet in the 1980s before the web took hold in the 90s. But the issue really wasn’t not paying people for their efforts, their art, their genius. It was about what can be free being free. 

Information, should be free. Information that IS free, should be made free. Old information surely. Public information, absolutely, and so on. Government for one should be supplying citizens with all the information possible. 

An informed citizenry is far more productive for a nation, for the world, than an ignorant citizenry. 

"I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." --Thomas Jefferson to William C. Jarvis, 1820.

The current spate of dilettantes crying for “free information for all” have diluted the original meaning of the original intent of the phrase. To quote, as friend and fellow author Kurt Giambastiani put it in his blog recently, "Talent Just Wants to be Free: The Idiocy of Digital Dilettantes", there is a problem with thinking that all information should be free. Obviously, artists deserve to be rewarded for their talents and efforts.

Please feel free to go check out Kurt's blog that spawned my blog here as well as his comments there on this blog. Kurt always has something interesting on his blog. He offered this as an example of part of the problem with this information should be free issue: Income for US authors falls below federal poverty line – survey.

If information is made freely available to the general public, it will enhance the human experience overall. Certainly Public Domain works should be freely disseminated to the public, world wide. The downside is that some ignorant people will take in some of this information and yet remain ignorant as we have seen so much of lately. 

At that point those people are stumbling into the realm of stupidity in choosing to accept bad information merely to support bad information they already have. However, if we offer as much good and accurate information as possible, eventually the truth tends to win out. 

Supplying information leads into the same issues we see in the services industry. 

Why for instance does a mixed drink cost more at a bar than at home? Because you’re paying for more than the ingredients. You're also paying for the venue, the mixologist’s skills and knowledge, the server serving you so you don’t have to serve yourself, others of the public congregating in the venue, perhaps music or talent that is supplied, and so on.

So it is with supplying information to the public. 

Someone needs to package, store and disseminate it. The infrastructure leading to accessing that information needs to be monitored and maintenanced. Which is why I think the internet is no different than our roads and bridges and should be available to all to utilize them. If the government needs to pay (through us) to have and make information freely available online, then so be it.

Someone has to do it, and it needs to be done.

That is not to say that new information that has a cost. especially for individuals, musicians and artists, people who deserve to eat and live a good life while producing their works, should have their works devalued. Of course their works shouldn't be free and they should be appropriately compensated for the quality of their time and works.

The issue isn’t so much that these digital dilettantes are wrong, as they are misguided and perhaps being cheap bastards too. 

YES, information should be free and freely available to all. IF it’s free to begin with. At some point then down the long road of time it should become free. Free as in public domain. A concept I think we should retain after the death of the artist and perhaps that of their immediate family. As for the succeeding members of their family retaining rights, there are currently laws in place about that as well as their ability to retain those rights and so on.

We do need to push information out to all humans everywhere who want it and it does therefore need to be free. 

There are also other important considerations as has so kindly and eloquently (as always) pointed out by Kurt Giambastiani. 

Still, people need information to live, to eat, to survive. Artists and content producers do need to live and eat and survive. We just need to consider the context and not gloss over the issues like ignorant and greedy dilettantes.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Getting a project going, moving, done and completed

This story was taken from the book, “Conversations at the American Film Institute with the Great Moviemakers.”

I got this from Robert McKee who was talking about the actor Charlton Heston.

 “Heston said getting his first acting job came down to luck. After a theater production he had auditioned for fizzled and a directing job ended, his wife suggested Heston go to auditions for a production of "Antony and Cleopatra." Heston went over to the office and found it crowded. People who had connections in the theater industry auditioned first. Finally, Heston was the only one left. A staff member asked his name. "I said, 'Charlton Heston. Maynard Morris of MCA sent me up,'" Heston remembered. "I'd never been inside MCA and never met Maynard Morris. She said, 'Well, we're a little ahead, I guess we can see you'... Don't ever say luck doesn't count."

Again, let me be clear just as Robert was being. I'm not condoning lying or cheating to get ahead anymore than he was. That being said, I can tell you what the director Stanley Kramer once told me during a seminar series in talking about how he first got started in film.

He got his first film made through sheer guts. Since he couldn't get together the three pillars of filmmaking, what you need to produce a film, he told the bank that he had he actors and the studio. Then he told the studio he had the bank and the actors. And obviously he then told the actors he had the bank and the studio. And so he got his first film produced.

However that may not work so easily now a days. With instant media and such ease of checking into things now, it still may work if you handle it right. It's not so much in lying about things to get the ball rolling (though maybe sometimes). It's more about your attitude. About what you are projecting to those you need to be projecting it to.

It is about getting things done. Pushing through the impossible to the plausible on into the completed.

Never say die, they say. Never give up. It is those who stick with the process to the bitter end who survive to win.

If you have a dream, don't just dream it, but dream it big, with passion and bring others into that dream. Do things and get things done. Show people you can do those things. Infect them with your passion for your project, your business, your dreams.

You'll be surprised what you can accomplish if you just act like you should be doing what you're doing and then, do it.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Do we really need gun control in America?

Something about gun control just occurred to me. We need it.

Conservatives who are pro gun and concerned about having guns to protect themselves from their own government, are part of the group who have a strangle hold on America in many questionable ways. IF they are truly worried about their government to the point that they need assault rifles should they need to bear arms against their own nation and government, then they should vote appropriately to keep that from being a concern.

So that they do not need guns to protect themselves from their own government. Then they would not need assault weapons, just if anything, hunting and sport weapons and assault weapons (ASSAULT) weapons, are not sport firearms. Listen to this again.
Assault weapons are not sport firearms.

They are weapons.

If they think they need to protect themselves from their own government they need to be active in their government to keep vigilant so they never need weapons against their own stewards of their nation. if their nation is not going the direction they think it should be going and they are involved, perhaps they are looking at things wrong and in the end they are the ones who aren't seeing reality, who aren't evolving. Assault weapons are fun.

There is no doubt about that. Owning a fighter jet or a tank would be fun. Boom, ha ha. Yes, fun. But we should limit weapons. Otherwise nukes would be legal and most would agree that isn't a good idea. So there are limits, there is a border. Perhaps we do not need assault weapons. Yes the old argument when guns are outlawed only criminals will have guns is a double meaning. Only thugs will have and use guns illegally and only law abiding citizens will own them illegally because they have the moral right somehow to them.

If we have guns being used illegally more guns aren't the answer. Social programs are. Yes, that means spending money and spending it correctly. And I wouldn't look to a conservative for that answer. We need mental health considerations and programs. We need to address the things that have led us down a path of having more people in prison than any other country, more deaths by gun than any other country in peace time.

We can have guns enough however and of a type to protect ourselves against illegal guns. Yes, some will die because they too do not have a machine gun. But that is part of life. It's unfair. But when you consider the number of these incidents it's really not much of an issue, it's a fear stoked by people with an agenda that goes all the way up to the gun manufacturers and back around to the most powerful lobby in the world. The US gun lobby. The NRA.

Part of the nightmare we have today, the polarized separation of left and right, of conservatives and liberals falls right on the head of the NRA's divisiveness over past decades and Wayne LaPierre's actions in particular. A man who couldn't even use a gun when he started with the NRA. He was a politician seeking power and he found it in the ignorance and power of the NRA's membership and advocates. He has turned the NRA into something that politicians and Americans fear as well as gun manufacturers.

To say like LaPierre said, what if an armed and trained individual was there when a grade school got shot up, is a stupid, monstrous, decisive thing to say. Inflammatory and it got him a lot of donations from those he was trying to inflame. What if a cop where there? How often are cops really where shootings happen? It's a pipe dream. It's ineffectual. It's a lie.

Then the one time the NRA under LaPierre was going to compromise, after the Sandy Hook school shootings, the Gun Owners of America group, and even harder core of gun supporters than the NRA stepped in and subverted what could have been a good thing, saying that if you give in once you set the tempo for losing more. Which is a stupid thing to say, it's a politician's thing to say, a conservative's comment, a professional's comment, showing no real concern for people at all or for the real issues at hand.

The real issue is not guns, it's people. It's not about people's entertainment shooting guns, it's certainly not for the most of us, about food, shooting game, it's not about protecting America from it's own government. It's about people dying. Or not dying, through some common sense and reasonable measures to protect the citizens of this nation, from themselves. The odd and ironic thing about this is that the citizens of this nation are trying as hard as they can not to protect the citizens of this nation, from themselves.

The point is that those who think they need all guns all the time will never feel safe. Nothing will ever be enough. They will never trust the government, a functionary that swings like a pendulum from year to year election to election from right to left and back again. It's apart of democracy. What these people want is not democracy however. It's something else. And it's something we don't want or need as a nation.

It's past time to do something about it, put these people in their place, and push the NRA back into the safety and sport organization it once was, and was what I grew up with when I looked up to the NRA not as a beast trying to wear sheep's clothing but as an advocate for safety and sport, not murder and mayhem and power.

I used to belong to the NRA. I belongs when I was a kid int he 1960s and was proud of it. I haven't belonged to it in many yeas now. Because I dont' even recognize what it is anymore.

Do we need gun control in America? That's not even a question, it's a fact.