January 17th, 2012

War

Neural Wave Machines: Who Should Regulate Them?

As a child of a parent who worked on the Manhattan Project, I have always been concerned about technical advancements getting into the wrong hands. The knee-jerk American mindset would want the "international community" to restrict advanced technology for use only by those nations that kowtow to Washington and her allies. Another school of thought is that Washington is a rogue regime that should not be allowed to control advanced technology. Given Washington's poor track record and her theocratic tendencies, some members of the international community feel that the US should be prevented from developing advanced technologies altogether.

Neural wave technology is at the forefront of this debate. It has an array of civilian applications in the fields of telecommunication and health care, but it is also something that Washington's military planners want to use for their own ends. It would be very easy for civilian use to be usurped by sinister forces or even suppressed altogether with restrictions to a select class of paying customers possessing political connections.

The technology is not as complex as is rocket engineering. It works on the same principle as a holographic projection. Rather than using the visible frequencies of the spectrum, it uses radio frequencies that can be directed and focused toward a fixed or moving position. When the projected pattern is a neural pattern, it is experienced by the person or persons at the focal point as a projection into their own thought space. The content of the projected pattern could be auditory, visual, even kinetic. (Naturally the military is very much interested in the kinetic applications. Imagine a directed energy weapon that could turn the enemy's guns against their own position.)

Who do you feel would be the ideal authority to regulate this technology? Do you believe it should be open to market forces? Do you trust Washington to "do the right thing?"
moose2

The True Big Lie

On Facebook I follow I Acknowledge Class Warfare Exists, which on Sunday shared a link to an excellent Krugman op-ed about how the American playing field is the least level of any developed nation, and how the people claiming the loudest that they are in favor of a meritocracy are doing the most to prevent leveling that field and even work to make it steeper.

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The American Dream — a meritocracy with upward mobility — is, in reality, the American Lie.

Cross-posted to talk_politics and liberal_talk.

Mic

The Player Piano

We have the Book Club, and then we have Utopia as a Monthly Topic. Curiously, a couple of weeks ago I finished reading Kurt Vonnegut's very first book, Player Piano. Here's how Vonnegut begins his writing career:

"This book is not a book about what is, but a book about what could be."

Interesting - after its first release in 1952 there was a second one in 1954 which the editors had planned to re-name to Utopia-14, but then they had second thoughts and kept the old name. And "Player Piano" is a very appropriate name, because the story is about a dystopia, where the world is totally mechanized and the future belongs to the perfect division of labor in society. A small group of oligarchs rules the whole society, but those oligarchs are not exactly capitalists - instead they're engineers and managers, dispassionate and devoid of any emotions. The machines have reached their ultimate triumph, pushing the now useless workers away from the production process and leaving them on the sidelines. The total mechanization is leading society on a collision course between these two classes - the ruling technocrats and the ruled masses.

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