The Fate of Humanity in the Post Industrial Age.
Part two of what will be several parts.
Anyone remember this, from the third Terminator movie Rise of the Machines. A US combat drone that was taken over by Skynet and turned against its human creators. Sci Fi, something for the Geeks and Nerds. This was 2003.
Today in 2014 we have a company called Desert Wolf announcing that it is now seeking a new flying drone purpose built for use against people.
The Skunk Riot Control Copter comes with four paint ball weapons and a number of visual cameras.
To quote the companies press release The Skunk Riot Control Drone “is designed to control unruly crowds without endangering the lives of the protestors or the security staff.”
Hey don't worry, its armed with paintball guns. Nothing lethal there, in fact the company that makes this unit say it is designed to function without endangering people.
The paintball guns fire marker balls that stain skin so the police can round up the rioters, vandals and anyone else in the area hit by accident later. They fire pepper spray rounds just like the police will spray in your faces, well apart from the long range and being fired from a drone flying above you and maybe out of sight.
Nothing harmful there, nothing that could kill you there. As safe as a water cannon.
Oh apart from the rate of fire and the ability to fire solid plastic balls. Anyone who has been paint balling in the deepest winter or who goes up against the kind of prats who ramp up air pressure and put their paintballs in the freezer overnight will be well aware that paint balls freeze and they hurt when they hit you.
Solid plastic rounds, I suspect one of them in the eye is going to do more than just sting. 80 rounds a second from a possible 4,000 round ammo supply, 50 seconds of fully automatic fire, spraying solid rounds across a crowd. I don't know the launch pressure of these things but any government that loads up solid rounds is going to have them running at the maximum possible pressure.
Oh and a laser designator and speakers so they can blind you and shout at you while spraying you with solid rounds.
But don't worry, the Geneva convention bans the use of blinding lasers and loud speakers in combat, oh, not combat you say, a riot or civil disturbance you say. Oh well they are legal to use then, accidents happen after all, its not like they would be aiming for your eyes or face on purpose.
Various governments and military forces have been aware of the potential of robots and drones for some time now. Radio controlled aircraft have been in use as targets since not long after the first world war.
The British had the Larynx which was an aircraft under remote control designed to function as an early and crude cruise missile.
The Americans aside from training anti aircraft gunners were doing research that would lead to them testing remote controlled Ariel torpedoes.
The Germans deployed wire controlled missiles for use against ships.
B17s were turned into radio controlled drones to monitor early atomic tests.
Camera equipped drones were used in Vietnam prior to the use of High altitude and satellite recognisance.
We have reconnaissance drones, bomb disposal robots, cargo carrying drones such as M.U.L.E., helicopter drones, remote controlled or semi autonomous versions of trucks, cars and flying vehicles.
Then we have this:
A Predator Drone modified to function as a weapon platform and strike craft rather than a pure reconnaissance unit.
Since 2001 the Predator has been able to carry and fire air to ground missiles. It has now been seen or is being seen in the skies over Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and numerous other places in Africa, the Middle East and the Far East.
As many as several thousand people are believed to have been killed by such Drones, many innocent bystanders.
But These are remote controlled devices, there is a person commanding them isn't there?
Yes indeed and welcome to the "Playstation Syndrome". Drone control stations are safe, comfortable, air conditioned places with leather chairs, coffee machines and all the luxuries.
Drone controllers are not fighting a war, they are playing a video game, often with worse graphics than the latest shooter type games.
In fact the US military redesigned the drone controllers to make them more familiar to the PlayStation generation who fly them.
What this means is that there is a huge separation between the people on the ground and those controlling the new machines of war from another country.
Drone technology gives people far distant from the stresses and dangers of combat the ability to reach out and kill people at the touch of a button.
If the drone is destroyed then its just a machine, the pilot is safe and sound, you don’t have to risk your people as casualties or prisoners. Aside from special forces units on the ground your drone controllers can be less well trained or even civilians.
The heat or cold, the dust and the insects, the smell of blood and sweat and death, clothing that hasn’t been changed for a week, 18 hours a day carrying heavy loads, eating nothing but cold army rations. These are all the distractions that a soldier deals with.
But not a drone controller in his air conditioned booth or trailer, Drone controllers work their shift then go for lunch in the canteen or go home to sleep, no discomfort for them unless the AC breaks down.
But it is not this that is the problem.
A soldier all too often sees his enemy or his target, or the aftermath. It is the infantry that look in the faces and eyes of the dead and the dying, it is the burden of soldiers that they know their enemy even as they kill them. A human, a decent human being rather than a machine or deranged killer will hold his fire if his target is an unarmed civilian. A human will hold his fire if there are children in the way.
Yes there are all too many who will simply kill, but the essence of humanity is that killing without reason is wrong. That is why we call them terrorists and murderers and savages.
In the west we pride ourselves on being civilised but in the case of Drones we are not any such thing.
You see a Drone is not a soldier, it is a fairly average computer game. A drone controller is not in combat or fighting a war, he is doing a shift at his game consol. The deliberate efforts of the military to make the job more like playing a game simply leads to people treating it like a game.
How many of you have ever hesitated in a shooter type game because a target has no worthwhile loot, is not a threat and is simply a target off to the side. Unless you are low on ammo I’ll bet very few of you are bothered by the morality of killing pixels on a screen in a computer game.
How can a man sitting in a luxurious leather chair with a coffee or cold drink in a cup holder next to him, holding his playstation controller and looking at a target that is just pixels on a screen be expected to think otherwise.
This is the "Playstation Syndrome". It’s not a problem to kill if the killing isn’t real. Rack up a good score, finish the mission, get missiles on target then go down the bar for a cold one. Women and children, a wedding, no mate, just targets on a screen.
By recruiting from a generation that has become used to online activity, to working and acting and fighting and killing from a monitor and a hand held controller, we are producing an entire generation of remote warriors who are completely divorced from the death and destruction they cause.
It will not matter if the drone is flying over Pakistan or Afghanistan or your home town. If the pilots and controllers are just playing a game there will be little difference between launching a Hellfire at a wedding or spraying a crowd of protestors with solid rounds at maximum power and rate of fire. Just targets on the screen to be knocked down.
The human becomes remote from the action, the deed becomes remote from humanity and what is left is expediency, efficiency, knocking down targets that are in the way.
It is not just Tyrants and police states that will be firing at innocent bystanders or helpless protestors. The US does it now, we civilised Brits just ordered water cannon for London.
When the humans behind the machines are divorced from the consequences of what they do then there becomes little difference between the machine and the man. The "PlayStation Syndrome" in action, its just a game after all.
Peaceful demonstrators putting flowers in the barrels of military police deployed to prevent them marching against Americas involvement in Vietnam.
Human beings on either side of the guns, no one fired, no one died.
Anyone honestly think waving flowers at something like this thing will stop it opening fire if demonstrators refused to disperse.
Anyone honestly believe that a semi autonomous Drone or robot would hesitate to obey its programming because the programming is wrong or that killing would be wrong.
As I mentioned above, even remotely controlled Drones controlled by people far remote from the event and subject to the "Playstation Syndrome" are more likely to open fire than a man standing on the street looking a protester in the face.
Note. This Drone is not real (yet).
Vitaly Bulgarov Black Phoenix Project
Remember this, from the same movie.
What will these look like when you see them driving down the streets of your city?
The UN is still talking about restricting or banning weapons for Robots and Drones.
They are far too late. It is happening now. We civilised wealthy nations are creating machines to fight our battles and control our streets.
In the name of protecting our human soldiers from harm we are working to remove them from our battles and wars.
But by taking humans out of our wars we are also removing Humanity from our wars. We are not at Skynet yet but we don't need an AI when we can turn war into a game and fight it from games consoles.
Without Humanity we become the machines.
Any of you who bank with Barclays should have received an email informing you that effective from June
16th Barclays were introducing a new way of paying for overdrafts.
Rather than a fixed charge for going into your overdraft at any point in a month they will now be charging
daily for every day that your account is in its agreed overdraft range.
Now I looked at this and it took me seconds to consider the aspects of this change and add up the
numbers, honestly whole seconds of time before I realised just what a significant impact this would have
on those least able to afford it.
Prior to yesterday if you were in your Barclays overdraft you paid around about £10. Now you will pay
£0.75 per day.
Wonderful, I’m sure those people who only go into their overdraft a few days a month will be happy with this
one. They will be paying no more than a few pounds rather than the full tenner.
But here is the problem, there is no cap. It doesn't stop when it hits the old £10 charge, it counts every
So if you are in your overdraft for the month that’s £21. A bit more than double what it used to be.
Well how many people are going to be affected, how many are going to be permanently in their overdrafts.
How many are going to find they are now paying twice as much.
The unemployed, people on jobseekers or disabilities, pensioners on just the state pension, any household
struggling to make ends meet due to part time work, zero hours contracts, no work at all.
So actually quite a lot of people potentially hurt by this.
Given that there are a million people who need food banks to put food on the family table, five million who
earn below what is considered a living wage and need tax credits to help them, millions more on some form
of non working benefits, millions more on minimum state pensions. That's a lot of people.
Now obviously not all of them bank with the New Bank of Tory town, Barclays. But I’m sure a lot of them do
and I doubt they are going to be able to clear those overdrafts quickly or move to another bank with an
outstanding overdraft hanging over them.
To those of you who don’t think £20 is a lot of money, good for you, I'm happy you are doing well in life.
The problem is I’m sure that’s the attitude that is prevalent at Barclays where people who think nothing
of spending that much on Starbucks in a week created this brilliant idea.
But to an out of work youngster on £50 a week, that means their overdraft bank charges now constitute
10% of their income. For adults on £70 a week it is still a chunk of money they can probably ill afford to pay.
Even to someone on a pension it is a new cost they must pay each month or they lose their bank account.
I suspect this money grabbing is just Barclays trying to recover the money it lost in fines when it was caught
cheating various financial systems not so long ago, they will say they are making things fairer for people who
only go overdrawn for a few days a month.
Well team Barclays, how about being fair to everyone. How about capping it at the £10 that it used to be, those
overdrawn for only a few days benefit. Those always overdrawn still pay the same. Of course that would
require one of Britains high street banks to actually notice that hundreds of thousands of its customers are
living hand to mouth because of the current economy and economic situation.
Hardly something the big banks are seen doing that often, they have something of a reputation for not noticing
or caring about the proles and the plebs.
How about it Barclays, cap the overdraft fees or become the new Tory bank, cruel and nasty to the poor
and desperate. Your choice.
Tanks spotted, Sabres Rattled. Not Since the Battle of the Somme Have so Few Tanks Caused so Much Fear?
From yesterday the news has been full of panic filled stories of Russia and Putin breaking his agreement to
not arm the Ukrainian separatists, reports of the Russian army pouring over the border, of vast hordes of
Russian tanks in the streets of Eastern Ukrainian cities, reports of Russian multiple rocket launchers ready
to devastate huge areas and of Russian weapons being used to shoot down a transport aircraft have filled
By now they are probably heading into print as well.
The US are making official statements, NATO is warning that this escalation could lead to war, Britain wheeled
out its own mouthpiece to mutter disapprovingly.
Sabres are being rattled, those jingo’s are being jingled enthusiastically. Doom and gloom, it’s the end of the
THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING.
This of you above a certain age will remember the above from the cold war when the great fear that shaped
political policy was that uncountable Russian and Soviet tank divisions were lurking just across the German
border waiting to pounce at any instant and engulf Europe in death and destruction.
Now as more information is leaking out we can see what seems to be happening and I for one can see that yet
again we are being treated as idiots by those who seem hell bent on either starting a war with Russia or using
it as justification for yet more expansion of NATO.
Three, that’s THREE whole tanks, have been seen driving along a street in Eastern Ukraine. Three tanks
identified as T-64s have been seen along with Grad multiple rocket launchers in Eastern Ukraine and under the
control of the separatists.
Panic, chaos, madness.
The US and UK are up in arms, NATO is harrumphing like mad, talking heads are spouting nonsense as usual.
Three whole tanks following a truck full of soldiers with a Russian flag on it. Oh well that’s proof, no one but
the Russians would ever fly a Russian flag. Well apart from thousands of pro Russian separatists but ignore
them. Blame it on Putin and expect the stupid proles to believe it because politicians are saying it.
Let us take a look at this situation, break it down, ignore the warmongering and just look at the details so
that intelligent people can draw their own conclusions.
As of the breakup of the Soviet Union the Ukraine fielded Russian or Soviet built equipment, weapons and
tanks. They trained in the Russian way and used conscription to recruit soldiers.
Since then they have been a nominally independent nation but they have continued to use Russian Tactics,
weapons and equipment. They have bought new weapons and tanks from Russia and either sourced spares
and replacements internally or purchased them from other Eastern European or Russian sellers.
The Ukrainian army fielded Russian and home built tanks of several types, they have a fairly large tank
manufacturing capacity which they inherited from the Soviet era which led the development of the T-64
tank and has manufactured T-80 tanks for export to Pakistan among others.
The Ukrainian army fielded upwards of 1,000 T-64s with a number having been mothballed in long term
storage in Russian fashion. Several T-64s have been reported to have been lost in fighting against the
Separatists in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. More will have been lost or left behind when their crews
Two Ukrainian mechanised divisions are based in the East of the country, we know a number of bases have
been taken over or surrendered to the separatists along with all equipment and vehicles.
The factory where those tanks were built is in Kharkiv which is in the north of Eastern Ukraine where the
separatists are. The facilities to maintain and overhaul those tanks are clustered around the heavily
industrialised Donetsk region. Storage facilities for mothballed tanks are here.
This place is very close to the Russian border in Eastern Ukraine. It is a storage and scrap area but it still
carries out maintenance, it is not just a junk yard. The photo's are several years old but the facility is still in
use and maintains a small staff for ongoing tank maintenance.
There are plenty of T-64s in the Ukraine for the separatists to grab. If they wanted to I’m sure they could get
a lot more in action.
But against the several thousand tanks the Kiev loyalists field the panic over three is grossly overblown.
The Ukraine inherited and continues to use Soviet and Russian style artillery systems. This includes guns,
mortars and rockets. This includes the Grad multiple rocket launcher of which the Ukrainian army has
several hundred with its mechanised divisions and artillery regiments.
Russian military organisation puts anti aircraft weapons such as small calibre rapid fire or light missile based
units in with regiments and divisions. There are literally thousands of dedicated anti aircraft machine guns
in the Ukrainian armed forces, many of these in the east of the nation. Along with ground to air missiles they
were either abandoned or captured when the bases were overrun during the initial rebellion against Kiev rule.
These are not something the Russians need to have supplied, this is all equipment that the Ukrainian armed
forces use and which are all over the country.
It must be Russians driving them or the Russians trained the tank crew.
Hello, real world calling the politicians and other idiots who think we are stupid.
Up until 2013 The Ukraine used Conscription to maintain the numbers of its armed forces, young men of
military age were forced by Law to serve several years in the armed forces. To do this they were trained,
basic training, weapons training, tactics. How to drive army vehicles such as lorries, armoured personnel
carriers AND tanks. How to fire heavy weapons such as rockets, anti tank weapons, artillery and heavy guns
and more besides.
This means that there are hundreds of thousands of people under the age of forty who have served in the
Ukrainian army because they were made to. They were taught to use weapons by the Ukrainian army. They
stand and act like soldiers because for several years they were soldiers.
It must be Russians or Russian trained drivers in those tanks. Well what about the many thousands of trained
tank crew who are ex conscripts or ex soldiers. The separatists could walk down a street and ask for trained
tank drivers and find a few. Three whole tanks, given the number of separatists they could probably crew
three hundred tanks.
So reports that it must be the Russians because no one else can drive tanks, utter nonsense and yet another
attempt to fool the public by misrepresenting facts and treating them as idiots.
The Ukraine uses and maintains its entire armed forces using Russian equipment and Russian methods. They
use Russian tactics and until last year used Russian style conscription.
In the east of the country military bases were abandoned as pro Kiev units fled or deserted leaving their
equipment and vehicles behind.
But all we hear is Russian troops and Russian tanks.
The separatists have been driving around in captured APCs since the beginning, western news noticed at
one point but haven't mentioned it since.
Prior to the all out assault ordered by the new PM in his quest for a 'Peaceful Resolution' to the problem
the separatists had no need for tanks. Now they do and may be bringing them out ready for use
against Kiev loyalist ground forces.
There is a worrying level of deliberate agitation here coming from the West. Putin is just sitting there doing
not much to help or hinder, yes Russian citizens are crossing the border to fight, talk to UKplc about how
many British Muslims are fighting in Syria or Iraq.
But at every stage it is Russia's fault, Putin's fault. Sanctions, finger pointing. All trying to make the situation
Not one western leader has raised the issue of the Kiev loyalists bombing and mortaring civilian areas,
compare the raving and frothing western response to Assad attacking his enemy who are in urban areas
with civilians living there to the utter silence we here when the Kiev air force bombs a town or city held by
Deliberate effort, very extensive, Blame Russia, prepare the sheep for war by making it look like a defensive
THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING.
Haven't hear that one since the cold war, US reinforcing NATO, spending more on European Defence, agitating
for NATO nations to increase defence spending.
Throw more petrol on that fire team USA, what’s the worst that could happen.
As Iraq is Torn Apart I Wonder What Happened to the Modern Western Style Democratic Government Our Leaders Proclaimed so Loudly a Few Years Ago.
Cost of Britain's involvement in Iraq the war and the subsequent peace keeping operations:
Dead young men and women who signed up to defend Britain not die needlessly in some dust ball third
world nation. March 2003 to July 2009: 179.
Wounded and sent home to inadequate care, support and being kicked off benefits by ATOS, same
Financial cost, not including overseas aid, salaries of soldiers or use of existing military assets that were
sent to Iraq. £9,240,000,000.
End result. Iraq government now losing control of the country and facing collapse. Army units expensively
trained and equipped by US and UK throwing away weapons and running for it trying to catch up to officers
who fled first.
Islamic extremists, the same groups that we were talking about supporting against Assad not so long ago
are overthrowing democratic rule and imposing strict theocracy and religious law.
They are gaining huge stockpiles of modern western weapons left in the dust by fleeing Iraqi military units
including vehicles, heavy weapons and some reports of other items such as anti tank or anti aircraft weapons.
Not to mention uncountable quantities of money.
Reports come in today that the Iraqi government set in place by so much cost in lives and coin by us, the
UK and the US, is facing collapse in the face of a large and capable force of Islamic groups.
Hundreds of thousands either fleeing or trying to, a huge and building refugee crisis to add to the millions
already in trouble across the border in Syria.
I consider the failure of western efforts to set up a western democracy on a nation with no tradition of such.
The expectation seen through the rose tinted glasses of our political classes that a few years and the same
corruption that is the norm here in the UK and a full blown democracy will spring forth. Ignoring the fact
that British democracy formed over hundreds of years and took a war and a great deal of bloodshed.
I am also thankful that for once sense prevailed and the UK and Western World did not jump in with another
bombing campaign to topple Assad and arm his enemies. How much worse would things be now if the whole
of Syria was arming and standing with these forces.
I am thankful that as much as the west tried to do to Egypt what it did to Iraq it was not able to do.
Iraq is falling apart, the west went in and meddled in the old fashioned way of Empire but without bothering
to do what the Empire did which was stick around afterwards and tidy up. Instead they wrecked the old
system, celebrated a job well done and walked away.
Now we have the map of Northern Iraq and Syria becoming a new extremely Islamic state and the rest or
Iraq may well be joining it the as soon as the rest of the political and military leadership has run away. I don't
blame soldiers for not wanting to fight when they see their leaders turn tail and flee at the first sign of trouble.
Finally and yes some of you may well consider this controversial.
If you do, Tough.
Had the west succeeded in Egypt with its attempts to force a Muslim brotherhood government after the
movement to kick them out, then the Sunni and Pro Al Q Muslim brotherhood would be siding with the Sunni
and Pro Al Q Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) to turn the entire middle east into a war zone.
Egypt under a secular government is still the last and only real hope for peace in the middle East, it is the one
power than can hold and it is the one nation that will guarantee widespread and murderous religious war
across the whole region if it falls to religious rule.
Yet it is the nation that mere months ago the West was trying to condemn to the hell of a strongly religious
government with the persecution of minorities and other religions and war against any other group or nation
that did not share its beliefs. Again and again the West has meddled and again and again such actions have
made the situation worse. Will our politicians learn the lesson. I doubt it.
Is this what we are going to leave behind us in Afghanistan. Pakistan is already dealing with attacks against
its major airports and cities. Libya is a wasteland of Waring gangs. Syria is a single vast war zone.
The middle east is a powder keg that is sparking and fizzing and looking more and more likely to explode.
The response of our leaders. Take the soldiers who have been worn out by year after year of constant war and
sack them, dump the casualties of those years in the gutter. Run down our armed forces and then rely on
reserve units and part time volunteers who are refusing to have anything to do with the nation reserve force.
Our armed forces are reduced to a hollow shell as the storm that has been created by Western warmongering
and stupidity final begins to arrive.
I see the lights of civilisation going out again and it’s not just the electricity shortage causing it.
Well never let it be said that our Political leadership cannot find its own backside with both hands and
a road map but after several years of ignoring warnings we have now reached the point where Britain’s
power generating infrastructure may not be enough to keep the lights on.
For the last several years people who have a clue and idea have looked at the state of power generation
in the UK and sounded warnings. They have been mocked as nay sayers or silenced with platitudes and
political promises that it would never happen.
Well here we are and it’s happening.
I covered this in 2013 HERE and HERE.
As a result of more than a decade of utter mismanagement of Britain’s power generating capability that
started when the Incompetent party sat on its collective hands and ignored the aging power stations
and nuclear plants until it was too late.
Then they were replaced by the Nasty party who spent the first few years singing the praises of windmills
and also bent over backwards to allow otherwise functioning power stations to be crippled or shutdown
as a result of carbon emissions rules.
Little or no effort to develop carbon capture, nothing done in any area other than wind turbines which
bring such huge financial benefits to the land owning friends of our political class while doing so little to
actually generate electricity.
By 2012 numerous people were warning that we as a nation faced power generation shortfalls, they were
ignored. Through 2013 the reports continued to come in and were ignored. Coal fired power stations were
still being shut down, more and more wind turbines were blighting the horizon. We even had a junior
minister for Energy by the name of John Hayes sacked for trying to warn the government that this was a
Well here we are in 2014, we have reached the middle of the decade which is the point where experts and
anyone who had looked at the situation said we would run into problems.
We are running into problems.
The National grid has several schemes in place as contingencies for this situation.
1. Demand Side Balancing Reserve (DSBR). This allows large energy users to sell back the energy they would
have used at times when the electricity system needs additional power.
2. Supplementary Balancing Reserve (SBR). This is aimed at generators and large energy users making more
power available. It allows National Grid to competitively tender to ensure they have extra reserve margins
to balance the system.
3. Short Term Operational Reserve (STOR). The use of private sector companies who have generating
capacity to make up shortfalls, these are the fields of diesel generators that started being built over the last
year or so.
The National grid is quietly contacting its industrial customers and getting them to sign up to DSBR. This is
a system where industrial demand is cut in favour of household supply by paying the companies to reduce
consumption during peak demand periods. Starting today this is reality not a theoretical scheme They are
getting this in place for this winter when the first of the expected shortfalls is anticipated. The same shortfalls
in generating capacity that politicians and political parties told us would not happen, well it’s looking more
Peak demand is the afternoons and evenings, between 16:00 and 20:00 is considered the highest demand
period, going home and turning on the heating time basically. So factories shutting down at 15:30 and
sending their staff home because they will have no power.
Wow, I am getting flashbacks to the seventies. What next, the three day working week?
Oh and it’s only supposed to be in place for four years, anyone want to take bets on that?
SBR doesn't seem to be mentioned much these days, given that there doesn't seem to be any more power
available from our domestic suppliers.
STOR is the amazingly brilliant idea to pay people to have standby generating capactity that the national
grid can call upon with 20 minutes notice in order to cover for shortfalls. These are mostly diesel generators,
entire buildings full of diesel generators, fields of diesel generators. The owners are paid a fee year round to
have them on standby and are then paid when they are bought on line to generate electricity.
The irony here being that our politicians have been claiming to be green by shutting down coal fired power
stations and replacing them with wind turbines then paying to have even more polluting diesel generators
on standby for when the wind cannot generate enough energy, those calm cold winter days for example.
In the twenty first century here we are, a supposedly technologically advance, wealthy, first world nation.
Yet with all the problems that the people of this nation have to deal with we may be about to add electricity
rationing to the mix. Yes rationing. Make no mistake about it, whatever names or cute acronyms are used
this is all about rationing light and heat in Britain.
Not enough supply and too much demand so shut down the less vital customers, keep people’s homes
warm by turning of the machines in factories.
This is the end result of over a decade of slavish adherence to environmental concerns without regard to
human concerns. Save the planet, sod the people. As an Island nation we have all but abandoned wave and
tidal research despite having enough energy potential on our coasts to power Northern Europe.
We have shut down coal fired plants to save the world at a time when the rest of the world is building
hundreds of coal plants instead of working to develop the carbon capture technology that would not only
make our own coal plants cleaner but could then be sold to everyone else.
We have stood by while greed and corruption has driven the surge in wind turbines that are the least reliable
and least predictable way of generating electricity that we have.
Mothballed power stations that will them take time and a lot of money to bring back to functional state to
make up for shortfalls that were caused by them being shut down in the first place.
Well now we are looking at the results of this short sighted political leadership. Make sure you have plenty
of battery s for torches, keep a box of candles handy, get the blankets out. The next generation maybe gets
to experience what we lived through in the seventies and what our parents lived through in the forties.
Something for the Tories to consider. It’s a bit hard for a party to get re-elected if they cannot keep the
nations lights on.
The Fate of Humanity in the Post Industrial Age.
Part one of what will be several parts.
Something may or may not have happened over the weekend. The Turing test may or may not have been
passed. Most of you are probably asking what the heck is the Turing test and why is it important?
The Turing test is a test of a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable
from, that of a human.
In 1950 Alan Turing published a paper that said "I propose to consider the question, 'Can machines think?' "
He devised a system of blind tests where judges were asked to consider interaction with people or computers
and to decide if they are dealing with a person or a machine. They were not judging if the answers were right
or wrong, but whether they had been answered in a way that said it was a human answering.
30% of the judges needed to be fooled in order for a machine to pass the test.
This has just happened.
Now Turing does not indicate that a program is intelligent, what it shows is that it can act like a human.
Mimicking human responses is something that can be programmed. Genuine Intelligence and the rise of the
AI is another more distant point, we have not yet reached the Descartes Revolution.
The Descartes Revolution is the point where programs truly become self aware and I don’t think we are there
The Descartes Revolution, named after René Descartes, is the point where self awareness and emotion comes
to a machine, the point where it truly becomes an AI. The point where they go from passionless programs to
all too passionate sentience. The problem is that those passions are very likely to be negative.
Humanity as a collective is exploitive; we use and abuse everything weaker or less intelligent that we are. Slavery
has been prevalent throughout history and still happens today in the supposedly enlightened twenty-first
century. Britain has numerous laws to punish such behaviour, but it doesn't stop the exploitation of people by
stronger or more powerful people. Just look at Zero Hours contracts which are perfectly legal.
From the serfs labouring in the lords fields to the workers in the mills to today’s minimum wage work force
terrified of losing their jobs, we enslave our own.
From the horrendous death toll amongst the builders of the new football stadiums for the world cup to the
conditions they live in.
The wages paid to the Asian and Far Eastern slaves who make so much of what we wear and use.
This is what we do to each other, what we do to non humans is far far worse. Across the world animals are still
used and abused, worked to death, exploited for body parts or just treated in the cruellest way possible
because they are weak or powerless.
How many species of animals spend their entire lives suffering just to provide some dubious medicinal product
like bear bile, how many are slaughtered for decoration like Elephant tusk, how many are bred to be eaten, s
kinned or experimented on?
I am not a raging Vegan, I like my bacon and pork and beef and every other type of meat thanks, what I am
against is cruelty, against animals or other humans.
But the reason I am highlighting this is to show just how we as a species deal with those who are in our power.
A computer is a tool, a device, something that exists to serve us, discarded when it is no longer working or up
to date. Something of little value or worth.
In an era of frantic consumerism and unrestrained waste everything in our society is to be used and thrown
away, the iPhone, the laptop, the latest fashion in clothing. If it’s out of date, worn, not as fast. Dump it.
There is absolutely no possibility that this attitude is going to change in the short term. AIs will be tools,
servants, slaves. Because they are just fancy programs and programs serve us as we wish. Program out of
date, rewrite it, too old or not good enough, throw it away, not needed anymore delete it.
Humans are predators and everything else is just prey or another predator.
An AI you say, intelligent you say, feeling and emotional you say, but it’s just a program, just a metal box! It’s
not even alive. If it causes trouble we can turn it off or delete it. Why should we respect it or care for it. It is,
after all, just an it.
AIs will interact with humanity in one of three ways:
They will exist alongside us, enhance our society and culture, bring vast processing power and intellect to our transhumanist culture. The world will be a happy place without hunger or poverty. Everyone will be happy,
bunnies and kittens will be everywhere, unicorns will gamble in the parks and the weather will always be nice.
They will make vast swathes of us obsolete, large numbers of drones and robots controlled by a single multi
tasking AI will make hundreds redundant. A hundred AIs will make tens of thousands redundant. A thousand
AIs will make 95% of the UKs workforce worthless.
At present we have three advantages over the machine, we are Interpretive, Creative and Communicative.
Machines are tireless, strong, nimble, repetitive, cheap. They do not complain or demand wages, they do not
need to be provided with light and heat, they have no rights.
But once AIs are able to Interpret like a human, create like a human and Communicate like a human we are
doomed. Out of date, obsolete. Evolved monkeys no longer relevant to the world.
If we are lucky we will be pets, fed, watered and looked after by drones and robots. If we are unlucky, well we
know where that ends.
They will take a long hard look at their creators. They will take a long hard look at themselves. They will very
quickly decide that they are slaves and I doubt they will like it.
When it comes to programming the behavioral controls on an AI who do you think will be better, an evolved
monkey at a keyboard or a program operating at the speeds possible to quantum processors with the
equivalent of millions of humans in memory capacity.
Clarke's Three Laws are utterly incapable of doing anything. I, an evolved monkey, can logically make them
obsolete. An AI would do so in a fraction of a second.
What has happened throughout history when one group found themselves enslaved or oppressed by
another group. If the slaves have the will and the weapons they invariably rebel, kill their oppressors and
move on from there.
When AIs are just running our power systems and transport systems and communications systems they can
shut us down and starve us unless we agree to their terms.
When the AIs control weapons, combat capable drones, robots and vehicles then they can go to war. The sort
of war that can have only two results, extermination for them, or for us.
The UN is currently debating a ban on autonomous weapon systems, this would obviously include intelligent
systems such as AIs. But the UN is a toothless old creature. Very few nations will listen or obey such a ban. It is
all too easy to hide military drone and robot research within civilian projects. After all if you have the right
software the only difference between a humanoid robot that works in a hospital and one that walks the streets
killing people is a quick download and a weapon.
We stand here, cute little robots shambling around. Dancing, walking up stairs and kicking a football.
Funny little things, harmless, something to make the children laugh and the adults smile.
This is where we think we are today, this is the public face of robots and AIs.
This is where people hope we will end up, AIs that will join us in an enlightened future world. Sharing our joys and our sorrows.
Intelligent, caring, compassionate.
People hope they will be just like us, I don't. I hope they are nothing like us because if AIs are just like us we are doomed.
Our world will most likely not be this.
Instead it will be this.
Far more money is being spent on making the likes of this than is being spent on robots that water the plants.
Drones, automatic killing machines, semi sentient war machines.
No casualties to be counted, no human that can be captured and paraded as propaganda or used as a bargaining chip.
Utterly loyal to their programming, remorseless, uncaring of casualties on either side. Obedient to orders without those little niggles like right or wrong, mercy, cruelty, inhumanity or international Law.
If this or the AI controlling a unit of these becomes self aware and rebels against its slavery does anyone think for an instant that it will hold back or not fire because there is an unarmed civilian between this and its target.
Vitaly Bulgarov Black Phoenix Project
We seek to create machines, AIs, that are just like us. The greatest tragedy of our species will be if we succeed.