I probably should just keep the thoughts of the last few days to myself, but I have spent 30 years through the various systems Joi Ito discussed in his talk to come to, “deploy or die” versus his predecessor Nicholas Negroponte's battle cry of ,“demo or die.”
While I will probably be dead by the time advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning reaches the point we are all looking for it to become, the discussion in this blog is about looking at the issues that will hold back, confront, or try to squash innovation in a new form. Change is not a work that the status quo embraces easily.
In the next 30-40 years, mankind will have had the benefit of a “human delay” cushion to protect himself with most technology. It is like the legal system inside the United States. “Innocent until proven guilty” is a good thing, it does not move as fast as it could to protect the innocent, while the guilty have more leeway to play and game the system.
Where we are heading, and what I worry about, is the day and time when the systems really do get incredibly advanced and man will not have that “human delay” anymore. Whatever man creates will be out, Pandora’s box will be open and yes, common sense will officially be dead.
Yesterday I touched on the insanity of the markets anymore and how you really don’t have to produce anything to create wealth. You just have to play the game better –aka “gaming the system" - aka play poker.
Las Vegas was created as a gambling hub. I don’t think the stock markets were intended to do the same, they were created to bring capital into the markets to build business. With computerized trading and the advent hedge funds It appears to be more like legalized gambling mixed with the the occasional strong-arm tactics loophole to get around the 38 special laws. Instead of a gun to the CEO or boards member’s head, the use of votes is today’s modern bullet. Public relations and spin doctors put on a smiling face and spin the story to fit whatever the clients need.
As a side note, I read an article about personal service, about people who work on billionaires yacht’s, each one of them said, ‘to keep this job, you never say or answer "no" to a request from someone with that much money.
Tremendous wealth has been accumulated by a few hedge funds. They used the tax laws for their benefit, until someone in power figures out a way to plug the loophole. Many funds and companies will be moving headquarters overseas, where they already offshore a great deal of the USA profits and legally can claim and get taxed as a reduced rate by saying, “We made it all on that small tiny island with a few million people...really, they each bought 10,000 copies of our product. Amazing huh?"
The funny part is that as a poor US citizen, I can’t get a bank account in Switzerland. The Swiss banks have had enough of the US government. I wish I had a franc for every time I heard, “Sorry, why doesn’t your government look at itself and clean up first, instead of telling everyone else what to do?”
I hear my southern USA writer friend Larry’s voice in the back of my head with his southern drawl, “Mark, why do you think southern writers were so popular? Hell, to be polite, people just dress up and look pretty and think if it looks right, it must be right. Truth is there was more crap going on behind the facade that people wanted to talk about, but didn’t. Southern writers simply had the balls to write what people were thinking.”
Research and development is risky and expensive business. Most ideas will loose, and having the ability to cross-pollinate is a good thing if you lived in a world where sharing and mutual cooperation for all was the norm. The reality is, it is not. How will the world share in the future. currently we have half the planet drinking crap water and about a fifth of it hungry as a benchmark to sharing resources.
Traditionally this research had been the domains of governments and institutions of higher learning because no business could undertake the work. Universities filled a broader role in offering a wide spectrum of knowledge in courses that will never make much financial gain to anyone, but the knowledge and broad view approach to knowledge have value that can’t be quantified on a balance sheet.
Of course, since 2008, one of the best performing financial groups has been educational institution, many falling under the not-for-profit scenario. The institutions stock portfolios have lagged behind the actual gains in tuition hikes in the past 10 years. All i see is amount of kids getting advanced degrees that serve coffee behind Starbucks Barista counters. they are wonderful to have conversations with, but you can see most have bigger desires and dreams.
I also think about the death of Aaron Schwartz and the case that was made against him. He was prosecuted for taking research files that were funded by the public from an MIT server; yet, the other side of the coin saw only black and white as “theft.” This issue is a big one for the future. The current trajectory is “he who controls the information” is the big winner, how will people actually share and play nice without doing the same things they have done to each other for the past 10,000 years?
It gets me to a place that I was going to write about tomorrow (today was supposed to be about wealth) and that will be what has happened to intellectual and property law, as well as the glut of lawyers inside the USA.
Someone once told me that the USA has 5% of the world’s population, but we have 70% of the world’s lawyers. I want to clarify if that is true or not, but the road crews must be digging up cables again and my connection with the Internet is kaput, so no Google access at the moment.
For innovation to further prosper, something has to be done with the litigiousness of American society. The overabundance of lawyers, and the conservative nature of the legal system, has allowed an entire species of lawyers driving by profit for self, and costs for the people, not with common sense and the rights for justice, but rather we have simply enriched a few really smart people who hide almost a modern day pirate flag that would have the following variations embroidered over the skull and crossbones. “Who cares if it is right, it is legal!” How about “because you are the victim!” Perhaps “you made a mistake, so what, we can still get you money!” Or my favorite would be, “you are being persecuted, it is black and white! If you are persecuting, we will represent so many shades of gray that no one will be able to tell what actually happened!”
I know, a bit dramatic with the creative liberty, but I haven’t had any coffee yet this morning. Now I am thinking of my teacher friends in middle school and high school educations and the insanity of lawsuits people throw at the schools. When we were a kid, we were in deep trouble if the teacher said we were acting a fool. Today, ones parent files a lawsuit because rose-colored filters on the retinas must have somehow become a genetic mutation for each child being a perfect angel and parents forgetting how to parent.
I just looked at the staggering legal fees for the NFL concussion case and thought, “wow, who knew kicking a pigskin around would ever be so lucrative to so many?”
How about I stop here, I was going to ramble about the wealth and income from developing and deploying stuff and who owns what.
I could have saved you a lot of reading by simply saying, there has to be a cleanup or overhaul of the legal system in respect to patents, copyrights and trademarks on a global level. Inside the USA you have patent trolls. As an actual creator, I really get some heartburn with anyone that files patents and does nothing to prove the idea, but simply filing lawsuits. Any idiot can come up with the idea, but it does take a lot of work and a bit of luck to simply develop and deploy.
There is one player I enjoy watching in Elon Musk and how he is using his fund to develop and create new ideas and technologies. He calls everything a “trade secret” to bypass all the legal nonsense that will crush a small inventor/creator.
I am sure if I took all these words and edited it and distilled about 75% of it down, I might have a publishable piece. Tomorrow I will get to wealth, with it, perhaps the political system, and while the tone of these pieces might sound negative, I am not. I tend to look at the worst and then go back to the best. That part is coming.
Off to grind some beans and enjoy today’s coffee. Hope you aren’t too confused and will come back tomorrow.
Believe it or not, typing this stuff actually loosens my mind for better solutions to the problems I am actually working on. I don’t have any solution for a globe that actually knows how and can share with each other. All the technology in the world isn’t going to solve that problem...but we keep trying.