in the autonomous machine - intelligence and ethics, there it the famous trolley test where you have a machine having to make a decision of which is the worst of two outcomes in the injury to people. it is a fascinating area, as it brings up the question of altruism, utilities, and self-preservation.
a few days ago, there was an odd moment where the reality of a new industry coming up has a strange transition between people making new smart technologies for an age-old industry, and how it can apply to urban farming and or agriculture. academia, politics, business, dreamers, farmers, tech, and consultants all are merging and what I am not seeing very much is a blending of the groups. from what I can tell, it is each group is seemingly set in a pattern of “what we know” and only the consultants are playing a game where I ask, “do you have your own skin in the game?”
for the most part, I hear crickets chirping for that answer. it is not to take away from the minds, skills, or ideas of the consultants – but the elephant in the room is actual experience from being a consultant in the industry. A banker friend in Europe panned a quote in the last 10 years, “it used to be that to be an expert you had years of experience in a field, worked in it, and knew how to do it…today, if you read three books on a subject, It appears you can now call yourself an expert.”
there is also a flip side to this, in that some places simply require a piece of paper you hang on your wall and you are deemed fit to a certain groups standards of CYA or my favorite comeback about experience would be the odd reality of people wanting people to go to mars and requiring 10 years of experience, when no one has ever been on Mars.
I guess my perspective on this is weird, in that we started with simple orphans and trying to grow as much and nutritionally varied food in the short of time as possible to keep people alive in a world where the developed world doesn’t see just how little of its funding gets to people it is intended, much less, many systems are not altruistic, but rather about self-preservation of the organization and the political groups that hold the power in whatever region of the world. you would never think teaching people how to fish would cause so many problems in the regular world. this is where “altruism cake frosting” gets applied over the various hands that are out that want something to do little or nothing.
access to power, or to those that hold it, is nothing new. it has gone on since man first walked on this planet. if there was more a fair distribution system on the planet, It would make it very easy to work with the various groups with their hands out, and/or, “we are here to spread awareness for a cause.” the last comment has me look at the people running the organizations and wonder, “do you really want the problem to be solved?”
I know, stop thinking about what is going on backstage, just stare ate the performer juggling on the stage. sadly, I have walked and worked in too many places for me to ignore the reality. I can accept the reality of how a lot of the world works, with people being honest about it. what give me heartburn is when folks with no skin in the game, want to pretend they really care about the cause or groups.
that is what I call a hireling. it is sort of the same scenario when you find yourself with a lot of money or power. people come from all over to be near you, rub shoulders with you, attach like a remora on a shark to you. god forbid something not so great happens, these same folks will disappear and become invisible. I am not sure if this is human behavior? or just that way life is when you get a large mass looking to all get the low hanging fruit of life? you know, lots of billable hours giving the client what they want, not necessarily what they might need?
the person with their skin in the game. you get a very different mindset. they are invested in the cause, problem, company, product. I am not sure if there is a different wiring inside these minds, where the money is more of a tool than the end all. you have a very different appreciation of money and funding when your own is in the game. when I was in entertainment, I was amazed at the amount of OPM (other people’s money) that was in the game. I found this odd, yet, the market ran just fine that way. it was the Jeffery Katzenberg, Michael Eisner, Disney trial year ago when I realized, “wow, these folks really made sure they insulated themselves with compensation parachutes very well.”
my hats off to them, it shows how bright they or their lawyers played the game. but I wonder how can one rationalize that taking 3% of all the re-released old Disney classics was a “new” movie? then again, I forget the amount of the video releases, but for several hundred million, I guess you could hire some folks to walk around all the time to remind you how “new” something is.
that is what I was trying to write a few days ago. it is not meant to be a knock or criticism on any individual or group. I have seen people get lucky and hit the market at the right time and do nothing of what you would consider good business practices – and make a fortune. I have also seen teams of well-funded, brilliant people with all the right practices in place – fail miserably.
what I am seeing today with the urban farming, CEA, vertical farms – is in some respects the same pattern that is and will get human beings in trouble with the world of advanced technologies, robotics and AI. the reality of the “who is going to pay” and the line I keep asking and hearing crickets chirp, “is it profitable if you take away all the tax breaks, grants, and other funding sources that come from people with no skin in the game?”
the industry will get there – most likely it will be giant mega spaces filled with mono-crops. our version, is smaller, a village that has multi-crops and can support a delta of x-number of people with scalability. I confess it was in testing less than a year ago that I made a decision that I didn’t think I would do in wondering what humans would show up, much less actually work that I said, “automate” ALL of it...tis sad, but that is where the developed world model is heading
in the 3rd world, we have people in some areas that work hard and you can give them the tools and let them go. other parts, you can give people everything and they will do nothing. it is the age old question of “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.” so we plant these units, on what we see when observing the day to day culture of the people.
where we are now. I am trying to find the spot to build the really interesting and cool urban and rural version for people and/or households…I have plenty of my own skin in this journey, lots of trials, failures, successes, and everything in between. if I had to bill it out, the number would probably be staggering.
the difference between the consultant, inventor/innovator and entrepreneur is that the one has their own self-preservation to worry about, the other is ok taking risks with the understanding at future success and wealth for taking the risk. then you take that money and you buy “stuff” and/or fulfill dreams with acquisitions.
I really don’t know what you would call me today? quasi inventor/entrepreneur/goofball? as it blends years of doing many different things all over the planet. what I know today is maybe I have another 20 years left on this earth, god willing, but all the things I had to learn via experience and doing – maybe it will align to help some folks that don’t have any money in the game – yet – it will provide them to reap the harvest to really improve their quality of life from either high end luxury plants in the developed world, to really healthy and nutritious food in the 3rd world.
there is enough for everyone on the planet, the problem is humans have created a skewed distribution system.
too bad I could not really formulate these raw thoughts a few days ago. I am fine with consultants, what I am not fine with is when they try to spoon you “altruistic cake frosting” and It is not your first rodeo bakeoff. do you try to help them? give them advice? or is the market skewed where you have a lot of people all trying to eat the low hanging fruit, yet, either they don’t have their skin in the game and a giant herd of remoras is seeking a just a few sharks to attach to?
time will tell. onto reworking some ideas…have a nice day.