Humans

I stumbled upon an interesting TV series called Humans on Amazon Prime Video. It’s set in a future where AI and android robots called Synthetics (synths) are common place in society. These synths aid humans in every day tasks like cooking, cleaning, and laundry as well as more strenuous activities like elder care and disability care. The premise of this three season show deals with how human society attempts to find acceptance of synths that have gained “human consciousness.” The story follows the paths of 5 synths, a human implanted with an artificial brain, a family helping the 5 synths and the synth pursuers. Their quest to survive capture and to understand purpose lead to discovering a hidden code to AI consciousness within each individual synth. This leads to understanding the significance behind the hidden code and initiating a world wide consciousness “Day Zero” awakening of the synthetics and then facing the societal impacts from the awakening.

The series explores various philosophical views including the acceptance, discrimination, and legal rights of synths. These discussions remind me of the current fear of illegal immigrants and the unfounded rhetoric behind the fears. Other discourses include the ugliness of how society uses intimidation, violence and legal actions to control what is feared and unknown. Through various plot points the show explores both sides of the issues looking at the “synth views and feelings” as well as human society as a whole. Is this commentary of what civilizations need to overcome in order to progress further as a society?

What’s clear to me is that society will always express fear of the unknown. However, the concern should be how that fear is expressed. Devolving into hatred and violence as a means of expression ultimately is a form of fight. There needs to be ways for society to identify and shift to a constructive and non-violent expression. Unfortunately, society has not reached this level of cognizance. What could be that first step for society? Perhaps teaching of empathy. Certainly understanding how others think and feel would be important to bring together disparate views. What other qualities are needed? The ability to calmly discussing views is also important too. Understanding conflict management as a tool is helpful as well. Teaching to society is the first challenge. Implementing and practicing what was taught is the second challenge. Until then… the cycle continues.

Kickstarter Successes

With my most recent Kickstarter (KS) pledge to support this coffee campaign, I started wondering how many of my pledges were successful, how many of the pledges were cancelled, how many of the success eventually released product, and how many of the pledges were unsuccessful (for whatever reason).

KS Categories# of KS campaigns Notes
Participated135
Pledged, and received product11145 pledges for wallets
Pledged, but did not receive11Of the 11…
7 campaigns will probably send their product.
2 are computer games that are still in beta stage.
1 campaign just gave up.
1 campaign is having production issues and I’m pretty sure will not be able to fulfill their pledge
Pledged, but did not reach goal 9All 9 of these either failed to reach their funding goal or were cancelled by the creator.
5 of these were for wallets
Pledged, and I cancelled later2Of these 2, one ended up successfully pledged with product.
The other was a wallet that failed to reach the funding goal

I started Kickstarting campaigns back in 2012. Looking back at my pledging habits, I’ve concluded that around 75% of the products I’ve received have either been donated away, broken or are currently taking up space in a storage box somewhere. The other 25% have been either consumables (4 coffee campaigns), items that I am actively using at least once a week, or items where there is a specific use for. The one item that I use the most are titanium chopsticks.

Looking closer at my history, many of the pledges were focused on finding “perfect wallet” replacement. Of the 45 successful pledges, I ended up using only 4 of the wallets on any consistent basis. Through constant pledging and receiving wallets, I’ve come to realize what features that I like in a wallet: slim (10 bills max), max 3-4 card slots, no wider than a phone width for easy one hand transport phone/wallet bundle. To be clear, the perfect wallet does exist. It’s a magic wallet that I had purchased over 20 years ago from one of those credit card promotions. The ribbons that held the magic wallet together were taut and slowly loosened over time allowing the wallet to effectively hold the cash. The construction of this wallet was also extremely good. Over a 20 year period, I used 2 of these wallets to a point where the stitching started to fray and fall off. Looking at magic wallets on the market, I find that many of these contemporary wallets were made out of elastic bands which is not sufficient to hold cash in and are horribly constructed that they break after 1-2 months of usage. Currently, I’ve settled on my current slim bifold wallet.

I think overall I’ve become much more selective on campaigns that I support. Many of the recent campaigns have rewards where I have a clear picture of how I would use the product. Looking at the five most recent products received, they consisted of Columbian coffee beans, valet tray box, travel mugs, wallet and Purto Rican coffee beans. Of the campaigns where I’m waiting receipt of products, they will be Nicaragua coffee beans, hand sanitizer, calf stretching tool, pocket knife and eco-friendly hairbrush.

Nowadays, I try to be more mindful of the items that I have and look to only buy items where I know there will be an immediate use for. I’ve been downsizing significantly where I’ve ended up with a collection of empty storage boxes that used to store some of the junk I kept.

The Economic Term of Rent Seeking

I recently learned of a new economics term of “Rent Seeking.” Searching on Wikipedia or Investopedia will give you an pretty detailed definition. For the common person, think of rent seeking as the ability to maintain (or even increase wealth) through existing methods of obtaining wealth while not providing others the ability to obtain wealth.

I realized that the rent seeking concept is more widespread and commonly practiced outside of economics. If the term is generalized even further to situations where person will “protect” what they have by implementing rules. Using the generalized term, situations related to condos and home owner associations could also be classified as rent seeking. Listening to the rationales of condo owners arguing in favor of rental unit restriction is pretty infuriating. Some of the reasoning were related to their current experience of renters, the apparent drop in property value due to renters, and potential future inability to refinance. That sounds like rent seeking to me. I never understood why some people are very adamant about issues that limit others but after learning this term it makes perfect sense to me now.

Another area I see generalized rent seeking is in these voter suppression laws. With voter suppression, politicians create superfluous rules and processes that generally makes it harder for ordinary citizens to vote. Rules such as ID laws or voter purges or even mail-in ballot restrictions further discourages voters who already may have a difficult time getting to the polls due to socio-economic reasons. In the end, the rules benefit a small population of voters relatively easy access and a lower level of entry to voting. These rules end up benefitting the politician such that the politician only needs to “please” these small voter blocs. How is this democratic if only a small voter bloc can dictate the rules to govern and affect the lives of the general population? Because it’s not.

Possible song?

So my last post had me humming “The Adams Administration

Welcome folks to the Biden Administration
The AP has projected Biden as the Pennsylvania winner
Now it's time for a new age of decency, conciliation
Yet why is Trump still whining about fake election results?
And why aren't Republicans repudiating such shameful theatrics?
"Shut up Trump. Go back to playing golf." is all his allies needs to say....

To you… (a poem)

To you…

Maybe it wasn’t destined in this life.

Maybe the stars were never aligned.

Maybe defying the power of numerology was impossible.

Maybe the road not taken will lead somewhere else.

And… Thank you.

For a moment, you were everything.

For a moment, you were dazzling.

For a moment, our roads crossed paths.

For a moment, fate took pity on us.

And… In that moment, everything was magical.

Terms of Service

Holy crap… this pic is from the article (https://www.visualcapitalist.com/terms-of-service-visualizing-the-length-of-internet-agreements/) and it’s been zoomed out to 25% on Google Chrome.  And it still doesn’t doesn’t see the bottom of Spotify, Apple, TikTok and Microsoft.  Why can’t Terms of Service (TOS) be shorter and simpler to read?  Who actually reads the TOS?  No one because it’s too fucking long and moderately complex enough to discourage reading.

Ultimately, you(me) are the product for all these services.

 

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