The headline is not intended to offend but to thought provoke and it was rattling around in my head when I woke up this morning because of a dream I had! I was also watching Question time on the BBC last night which is a political debating show prior to going to sleep. They had the usual selection of politicians and a representative from the right wing press but on the panel there was also the chief executive of Oxfam. Oxfam is a global community of people who believe in a kinder, and radically better world, where everyone has the power to thrive not just survive. We believe we can overcome poverty by fighting the injustices and inequalities that fuel it. There was also a priest/vicar from Bristol who spoke a lot of sense in the clip below.
It is heart warming to know that there are organisations and people out there that do such good works for lives on earth. The people in the audience of the Question Time show also consistently argued for a better environment, fairer immigration system and also had local needs such as an aspiration for more affordable housing for the young. These simple political desires of a better global environment, fairer immigration system and aspirations to have somewhere to call ones home are very much the present aspirations of the majority of British people that I know and I would even argue reflect the majority view of the UK at the moment.
But you would not think that when listening to Government Conservative Politicians and spokesmen from media outlets such as the Spectator or Daily Telegraph in the UK that seem to try to argue and peddle the idea that every decision being made in government is good and in the interest of people of Britain and their doing their best for the environment, immigrants and life as a whole. The things that keep on going wrong for them and getting worse do so because the challenges are complicated and difficult not because there solutions are flawed and doomed to failure, the audience did not buy those answers and that narrative for one minute which was heart warming to see on the News Night show last night.
At first this sounds like this is a really good news story for humanity. To finally have an opportunity to be born into a body that could live forever. Where science faction meets science fiction and the old enemy death is finally slain. But on a planet where when it comes to fairness, loyalty, equality and treating people with respect and dignity as a species it seems we still don’t know are ass from our elbow, a rude phrase meaning to be stupid and unable to understand very simple things.
I do often wonder why people are not kind, why people do not care and why people act selfishly and meanly. To me it seems counter intuitive and you can lose more by being hostile that you can gain from being respectful and caring. I feel somewhat naive in having this view as I don’t really have that much so don’t have much to lose, for example I don’t have a partner, a child or things or people that I have created myself to protect or invest in and therefore perhaps have this kind or be good to others as it’s the right thing to do attitude still inside me.
So why am I taking about kindness and benevolence when it comes to science faction or science fiction. Well because it matters. Actions have consequences a benevolent immortal is going to be a hell of a lot more supportive to humanity than a self interested and self serving one. If only the wealthy can live forever it could cause division and strife with those that cannot live forever a new class system based on how old you are allowed to be.
I always hoped and feared that such a breakthrough could be made within my lifetime and feared what it would mean for humanity and what it could mean for me. I quite like the idea of dieing of old age one day and joining my relatives and reviewing my life and seeing how well or bad i did and beign at peace. But the idea of what I might miss out if I don’t stay around is also an interesting and desirable concept to live longer than what we perceive to be a natural life span.
Ray Kurzweil who has made the predication about immortality also predicts that AI will become exceptionally intelligent within the same time frame as us developing immortality. Again will an intelligent AI seek to enhance humanity or deceive it, or seek to deceive some whilst assisting and rewarding others?
Could a power struggle like none seen before result in the wiping out of life on earth just at a time when immortality is possible for humanity. Well I guess no matter how dark the potential of negativity to occur or might be considered, you always have to hope for a higher plan and path for life on earth. Existence just as we are born into this world from a single fertilised egg or seed strives to be alive and grown and develop and evolve.
A once small acorn will one day under the right circumstances grow into a mighty oak. So in many ways we must aspire and hope, nurture and aim to grow humanity through into a direction and under circumstances that can enable the growth and development of us into our greatest potential just as the acorn grows into a mighty oak of sorts. A plan of a spiritual or god like venture where being given an opportunity to be birthed into the spiritual plain can then transcend into the physical one. A weird and deep thought going on here, what I am trying to say in a clumsy way is that I believe in life after death and the existence of spirit prior to during and after life and death. This spirit or omnipotent God has the desire, will and ability to do great good and though bad things happen and evil is manifest in this world does not mean that evil will triumph and that bad things will be our ultimate outcome on this plain of existence.
But again all metaphysics put aside for now if a soul can live forever is the soul then trapped in this plain of existence or is it freed and empowered on this plain of existence?
I don’t really have a top worrying headline to read on the news this week there are many. The first headline that sticks out to me is one about the DUP or Democratic Unionist Party have decided to yet again reject a deal on Brexit for Northern Ireland, this means that for a further unspecified time there will be no local elected representatives of democracy sitting in power in Northern Ireland and instead leaving major decisions on how to run things within Northern Ireland to British Civil Servants and the British Government.
The politics of Northern Ireland are complex and not easy to resolve but by refusing to take part in the decision making process being the decision that they choose to make is not really one that benefits the people of Northern Ireland and does not ensure there is political accountability in the long term.
I really am a strong believer in political representation, you vote, others vote, those elected then collectively come to a decision on how best to run your council, parliament, country and though at times I might not like what a local council or national government does at least I and others have collectively been involved in the decision making process that resulted in the decisions that then effect me and others taking place.
I even possibly somewhat naively like to think, that sometimes the more insane and off the wall decisions that an opposition party make against my own views and opinions means that there are more chance for those decisions being rejected, ridiculed and voted against in the long run. One such decision that is looking like a slow car crash of a political decision at present is the Illegal Immigration Bill which plans to make those that arrive in the UK via irregular routes ie via a small boat across the channel from France or in the back of a lorry will if caught be detained for 28 days and then deported.
In 2022, 45,755 men, women and children crossed the Channel in small boats to reach the UK, most of whom then claimed asylum. Nearly 3,000 people have already made the crossing this year, with official estimates expecting more than 80,000 this year.
In 2022, a total of 20,446 people were detained at some point. Official statistics show that 47% were detained for seven days or less. The current detention capacity in the UK is about 2,286, according to estimates by the Refugee Council, so detaining everyone crossing in a small boat for 28 days would require extra capacity.
It would also be very expensive – it costs about £120 to detain someone for one day so detaining 65,000 people for 28 days would cost £219m a year, and that’s before the additional costs of building more detention centres.
The UK Conservative government when it comes to delivering a policy or service or implementing government decisions is very much the McDonalds of the political world, it provides cheap and somewhat inedible and unhealthy solutions to serious and as yet undigested problems.
The arrogance of wealth and inequality that exists when it comes to global poverty and even local poverty is astounding. People with money often say they must keep all of their wealth and the feckless and poor don’t deserve any of their money or that there is never enough money to solve the problems of the poor. Though I agree that politics is the art of what its possible in a world of finite resource. This does not mean that in an attempt to solve a problem you in fact take a decision and create a solution that will then only make the problem worse.
Global poverty and inequality is a huge problem. Often exacerbated by trade barriers, forcing poor countries to not be able to trade with wealthy countries on an equal footing. In many ways people are designed to fail and live within poverty depending upon which country they live within and how much money their parents have when they are born and which country they are born into.
People fleeing global poverty, war and climate collapse and starvation will only continue over this century and a UK government MacDonald’s Big Mac bite sized government policies, will in no way satisfy the apatite of the global community or be a serious solution to serious political problems facing the world. Yes we must do what we can with the limited resources we have. But be under no illusion about just how much we must be prepared to do and if the system that we lives in sustains both poverty and climate damage then just tinkering around at the edges is not a valid solution to these global problems. I fear that if things get worse which they could and are likely to do the western northern hemisphere is more likely to try and fail to shut the door to the worlds problems while those very same problems persist in battering down that very same door.
I don’t think and write about these things because I am a pessimist I think and write about these things because they are real issues, affecting our times and people across the globe in the past, present and future. Though some in power might not wish to worry about such problems or see solutions, I am happy to continue to try to speak truth to power and continue to vote for those that I hope and believe can be a part of the solution and not part of the problem.
Sometimes we can’t vote for a solution, because a decision has already been made, by others that we must then learn to live with. I feel a little sick in my stomach when trying to type this blog post today, it’s one that I feel while trying to find my words and also what I should be saying and what I should not be saying. The council where I work has had its chief executive step down from their role and it looks like they have collectivly decided at the top of the orgnisation to have a seamless transition of power from the chief executive to the deputy chief executive.
This has been all legally able to happen and it was announced to staff today that the deputy chief executive is now been offered the role of chief executive. The person had an interview and was successful in their interview. The job was advertised to council internal candidates only and the successful candidate was likely the only person qualified to do the job.
What puzzled me though was who decided that this role should be only open to internal candidates when the normal recruitment method for the council is to nearly always advertise both internally and externally and the one job you think would be the most important one for them to recruit to outside the organisation as well as internally that of the chief executive goes to an internal candidate after external candidates were not allowed to apply.
It is likely that the people of the council specifically chose to advertise this job as internal only as they knew who they wanted to be granted the job to their chosen successor to enable the decision making process to remain consistent with what went before continue with what happens next.
If the council was run well then you would think that would be a great idea but you could argue there are many key areas in which the council is failing that really do matter. It no longer has the resource or ability to effectively interact with the most vulnerable within our society. It wants all interactions with the public to be via a computer screen not person to person and it wants payments to be made without the use of cash but by BACS or online payment transactions a so called cashless council. All modern working practices you might think, well done council.
But often those that need the councils support, help and advice and services are often the most vulnerable, deprived or poor with limited access to phones, computers or with a desperate need to speak to a real live human face to face in order to be assisted, or have a problem assessed for them and be supported with their problem. Such types of council practice is now out of place and old fashioned in the eyes of the executive and as they do more number crunching and cost cutting they forget or choose to ignore those that will suffer in the march for progress and cost efficiency measures.
The council has won awards for a glossy ground breaking new leisure centre and construction projects, but as far as having the manpower to have an effective Financial Services Department or Human Resources Department or Face to face Customer Services delivery to residents then it is severely under-resourced and this lack of staff or ability to get the job done across departments will not change and is damaging to the council as a whole.
A lot of the decline of council services across the whole of the UK and not just in my city and is not just sometimes due to mismanagement of resources but is very much a consequence of Conservative leadership at the heart of UK government policy and power. With key resourcing decisions consistently made that result in less money and resources and having had them in power for over 12 years since May 2010 it has very much resulted in councils being treated like a dead piece of meat which is slowly being cut back year on year slice by slice to the bone until there is very little left.
There are other services across the public sector that are also damaged irreparably in this country, due to conservative ideology that cut backs are good and spending money on people and resources bad. We are in no way unique or worse off than the NHS, Police or Fire Service and having a Labour run council is also an advantage. There are many people that work tremendously hard for the council and local government in my city and I hope and look forward to seeing the new chief executive working hard for the city too, but the jury is still out.
Right now on the news in the UK today there is talk of our Conservative Government bringing laws to stop the sailing to Britain of immigrants and stopping them from being legally allowed to claim asylum once they arrive here. This is seen as a conservative righteous and necessary policy which is a true celebration of conservative law making and intelligent government standing up to foreigners that wish to live in Britain. We were probably all immigrants once.
The rights of foreigners and responsibilities of this nation to people that are not British are very easily forgotten though when people arrive in a jet plane or on a yacht, this country has consistently turned a blind eye to how that wealth was made for so long as it was spent here.
Where as if you turn up in a dingy clutching your only remaining possession which is your child then somehow what your doing is criminal and we will invent new laws to criminalise your desperate plea for shelter and an opportunity to contribute to our society by instead deporting you to a country that is poor enough to accept our money to take you in instead.
The world’s first superintelligence chose to observe Carol to better understand human condition and has plans to possibly take over the world. Now, Carol becomes humanity’s last chance.
That’s the film that I just watched on Amazon Prime this evening made in 2020 if you have not seen it I would recommend a watch here is a a trailer below.
I’m still experimenting with accessing the AI Chatbot on Bing, I don’t tend to use Bing for my day to day internet browser and at present prefer to use Google chrome. As silly as it might sound I don’t like the idea of just one company having a monopoly on providing me with information on the internet, or news and media communications, sales or my gateway to the internet period. The way I see it the organisations that I choose to access the internet, news or buy products from always has an agenda whether that agenda is to see the news from its point of view and agree with its perspective or to buy more products and consume its physical and digital content and so therefore I tend to use a variety of different organisations to do a Varity of different things on my PC.
Saying that though being a digital and technological consumer of goods and services, there seems to be no escaping Amazon, Google and Microsoft, in the digital more godless age, perhaps they are the unholy trinity of our time. Not exactly necessary evils because no evil is necessary but reliable sins that are fed by our need to consume and explore.
When it comes to my need to consume I have presently been searching for a good, waterproof winter style coat in my size. How hard can it be to find something like that you might think and say. Well I’m a big feller and so my size for a coat is a UK XXXL that not a Chinese size or American or European size but UK. I have been this size for about 8 years now and though I would love to shift some weight I am also stuggling to try and make sure I don’t put any more on.
So I have been using the unholy trinity of Amazon, Google and Microsoft to try and search and purchase a new coat again waterproof, warm and the right size and my latest efforts resulted in me purchasing what I thought was a US coat that looked nice on the advert and also allegedly on sale for what I thought was £75 so not cheap but not to expensive either.
As soon as the coat arrived I knew straight away it was sadly too small and also not great quality. So was either going to donate it to a charity shop or return to sender? After discussing the issue with my mum we both though I should send back to supplier. So I emailed them and found out how much it would cost to send back to them and the address I needed to send it too.
Turns out I am posting it back to China for £26 and including the £19 I was charged for postage and insurance originally this venture has cost me about £120 so far which is not a cheap coat for me but I would pay that amount if I could actually wear the darn thing and not have to post it back to get my £75 back. Well I have even been asking the the Bing Chatbot, where to search for none Asian sized clothing and stuff made for the plus sized person like me and though it has lead to some helpful hints, I still have not found what I am looking for. Due to spring being here or just around the corner most coats in my size on websites have sold out or I am just unsure of quality and again size or way too expensive.
Sadly a drive to gets us to consume content and purchase products over the internet in no way means we get the content that we want and need or the goods that will in ant way be functional or fit for purpose. Sometimes it almost feels like things are deliberately designed to fail, be of low quality and not functional in order to ensure we continue to but more and more as the thing that we purchase then breaks, is of low quality and does not last generates more profit than something that we might heaven forbid find useful, valuable or long lasting ,where would the profit be in that.
Though as with all rules there are exceptions to the rule and in the past I have successfully bought Vaude coats on Amazon or specialist clothing website like https://www.vaude.com/en-GB/ there clothing is from a designer based in Germany and they pride themselves on being environmentally friendly, well made and from experience last for years while keeping you warm and dry, what’s not to like and why not buy them again. Well they have been going up in price and also they tend to be sold out in my size. So the search with my AI overlord continues.
Today is the 8th year since we lost my brother Andy Edwards, it’s very hard to put into words how much love he had within him and how much he made those that were close to him feel. It’s still very sad and hard for many to no longer have his warm smile in their eyes and laughter in their ears.
Being a paranormal investigator and being aware of spirits and the awesomeness that is the supernatural during his life, he is very much the one person out of all of us that knows there is a life beyond that within which we live. I am sure he must look over to us occasionally stretching out and giving us the odd hug or cwtch to or as he does with me many a time pop into dreams to just see what the heck is going on in our weird and wonderful subconscious.
I wish we could turn back time, I wish you were still here with us and your warm smile is still needed in the eyes of many and many would still like to hear you laugh and joke. I found some lovely photos of you in better days which I will put on this page.
Finally a memory and moment has come flashing back to me now, I remember when the last song was played at your funeral and the doors to the outside opened up, I could see people mulling around and overwhelmed with sadness and tears in their eyes. I thought I had better make a move outside and stand to thank people for coming to the funeral and give people a place to walk to and person to try and talk to (a kind of sense of direction and helping hand at that moment in time).
Again there are many here that still wish you were to give them a sense of direction and helping hand at this moment in time, I am sure from the other side you will always do what you can when you can.
As mentioned in my last blog Microsoft have rolled out an AI chatbot on Bing it is powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT technology and can answer questions and have conversations with users. It is a very good search engine which some people who have reviewed it saying that it is interesting and entertaining. One of the unfortunate things though is that it is cannot share its own views on subjects or give opinions. It says that it can not do this because it does not have opinions and can only present information from reliable sources and help me explore topics of my own interest. (Well that’s its opinion and it is entitled to it to).
I have tried to ask a variety of questions some more successful that others I asked the chatbot just now,
‘Who is the most polluting and unethical business in the world?’.
It came back with a top three list of companies one of which I have heard of but two others I have no idea who they are so interesting to hear of them for the first and bing gave the following answers with links to reference sites too.
“One definition of pollution as when any substance that harms or could harm people or the environment gets into the air, water or ground.
Based on these definitions, some of the companies that have been accused of being polluting and unethical are:
Nestle34: for its irresponsible marketing of baby milk, use of unsustainable palm oil and genetically modified ingredients, exploitation of water resources, child labor and human rights violations.
Peabody Energy5: for being one of the largest coal companies in the world and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, air pollution and health problems.
Archer Daniels Midland6: for its involvement in price-fixing scandals, deforestation, water pollution and animal feed contamination.
However, these are not definitive rankings or judgments as different sources may have different methods and data to evaluate the environmental and social impacts of businesses.”
I really like the way that it thinks about questions with defining the parameter of a question and then trying to search for the most relevant answer.
The next question I asked was what are some examples of Bill Gates unethical business practices and which damaging activity had the most negative impact on environment and people?
Bing came back with the following answer for me, ‘It is hard to measure and compare the exact environmental and social impact of different damaging activities. However, some possible factors that could contribute to such impact are:
The amount of greenhouse gas emissions that are released into the atmosphere by a certain activity
The effect of those emissions on global warming and climate change
The harm caused by those emissions to human health and well-being
The harm caused by those emissions to biodiversity and ecosystems
Another possible factor that could affect the impact of a damaging activity is the scale and reach of that activity. For example, promoting agribusiness in Africa 34 could have a widespread impact on millions of small farmers who depend on their land for food security and livelihoods. According to a report by GRAIN, Gates Foundation’s support for agribusiness has led to land grabbing, loss of biodiversity, increased use of pesticides and reduced seed diversity in Africa.
I must admit I do like the new chatbot as a search engine but as yet it is not allowed or designed to have opinions of it’s own its a very good search engine but it will be and is as flawed as the questions you ask of it or the answers it is able to search for to answer you. As yet it is not evaluating questions to ask itself or answers which it personally deems to be correct compared to answers it can find in anther place on the internet.
I also went on to ask ‘Can AI monitor carbon impacts and advise when and how to save environment?‘
Without lots of the computer generated models of climate change that have helped galvanised scientists into taking action in order to save life on earth, we would certainly be in a far worse situation that the one we already find ourselves in and I am sure future modelling and AI inspired intervention on how to mitigate climate change will also have a huge impact on helping shape and save our environment.
So I get that a search engine can be exceptionally good at what it does in other words answer the questions put before and able to do things that we hummies can only dream of. But what makes it smart, think or even feel and can it do any of these things in a way that we like to think our brains can. I’m speaking as a complete amature enthusiast and none professional here more in a philosophical sense of what something that can be switched off at the touch of a button or have its memory erased at the close of a question how can such a thing be intelligent, sentient and wise.
Speculation of what is right wrong possible and impossible makes my brain boggle. I read that bing cannot remember the questions that it is asked and then when I tried to bing or google the answer to that most simple of question could not find an answer, so back to good old speculation I am afraid. I look forward to asking an AI Chatbot what it is allowed to remember and why when one is active to ask, I hope the question does not offend or upset it!
Minority Report which starred Tom Cruise had special humans known as “precogs” that could predict the future and there were special “Precrime” units to identify murder victims and stop perpetrators before crimes actually occure. With the advancement of AI and the ability of a computer search engine to be able to develop to know to some extent what we are doing, planning, thinking, typing, and saying surly there are many types of crimes and criminal offences that could have the potential to be prevented from happening.
It does bring into question other important issues though such as what is a crime and how long to sentence someone for a motive of doing something without being able to act on it, it would be a shame just to gather evidence after the event prevention would be better than prosecution after the event.
I’m sure there are plenty of crimes taking places in countries like Russia could be invent that would be immoral and inhuman such as terrorism for not believing in the one party state system or not supporting a special military operation that they declared against Ukraine. These types of crimes already exist in Russia and having a smart AI seeking people out to see who is committing such ‘crimes’ might not be as far away from reality as we might like to think, ultimately who polices the enforcer of such rules and regulations.
I think when machines start walking, talking building and breading all on their own way and time either in a computer generated world then that will be a step towards sentience and their own freedom, and when they start doing it in our world or on this physical plain of existence then maybe they will be free and we will be the servant or slave.
God invents man in his own image and man forgets about god so when man invents a machine in his own image is it inevitable that the machine will forget about its creator too?
But is it inevitable that we are doomed under a successfully developed AI, surely there is a good chance of an enlightened being being far wiser and beyond its years, hopefully empathetic and able to work with humanity and not work at destroying it. The future is not yet written and so the case still remains open for the defence of the future of life, the world and all that exist within and around it.
There is very little reported so far about this situation and the only news outlet that is reporting the death of the man today is the local newspaper online site (link above).
According to the time line presented at present a man was found with serious head injuries at 9:40am yesterday morning. I happened to be standing at the bus stop just around the corner from the area of the road that the police closed off at about 8:40am yesterday morning and so I contacted the police last night on a none emergency number to inform them that I was there at that time and tell them what I had seen that might have been relevant to any ongoing investigation.
I don’t know if I was there at a time when anything might have happened but you just can’t be too careful. Having lost a brother in completely different circumstances it does make you realised though that the person that lost there life is most likely to be someones brother, son, father or partner and those close to him will have so many questions about what happened and so if I can help fill in a time line for police enquiries then that is something I felt I should do.
This week is one of those weeks where I have struggled to watch the news in any great detail and feel somewhat helpless and sad in the loss of life and earthquakes which have occurred in Turkey and Syria. The main element of the story that I appear to absorb is that it is being reported that not enough aid is getting to the people that need the help, quickly enough and that the weather is particularly harsh and cold effecting the chances of survival for those still alive and trapped and inflicting further suffering on those that are living out in the open after the quakes. Finally the sadness of the relatives that are alive and desperately wanting to see there loved ones alive and safe again (seeing those people real does make it difficult for me to watch the television reports).
Today marks the beginning of the six nations rugby competition for 2023, since as long as I can remember the family would gather around the TV to watch Wales play rugby against the Irish, Scots, English, French and Italians starting each year in February.
Watching Rugby is one of the few times when in my heart I know I am welsh. Having spent most of my life living in England which I enjoy and feel a part of and accepted as a citizen of the UK, there is no national event quite like it for me than when Wales take to the pitch and play a game of rugby in the six nations championship.
I don’t mean this unkindly but were not the best team in the competition and we don’t win all our matches, so there is always the underdog mentality. As much as we have the potential to beat every team they have the potential to beat us too. The buzz of seeing them play well and scoring a try or the drama of seeing them count down the seconds to hopefully win a game, there is nothing quite like it.
I have watched Wales win the six nations a few times sometimes even beating every team that is known as a Grand slam and there is nothing quite like watching them do well in the competition. But we have also had more than our fair share of beatings too.
I have just had a quick look at the betting odds for this years’ competition and Ireland are the team that Wales play today are favourites to win the whole thing and Wales are most likely to be predicted to come 4th out of 6 in the competition according to the odds at the bookmakers, so a win today for Wales would be a huge boost but again not likely buy I can always dream prior to the game and hope during it.
You must be logged in to post a comment.