Can the Aussie Millennium Drought School California?

drought-02TNI have to admit to being a little biased here. I lived in Australia, mostly Melbourne, from 1972 though 1986 and found it to be a wonderful place. Not completely without problems, but in the big scheme of things, a place where we can learn some valuable lessons. Melbourne, a city of more than 4 million, had its act together.

In more recent times, southern Australia, and Melbourne in particular, has had to deal with the Millennium Drought, which lasted from 1995 through 2009. The last areas affected were not declared drought free until May of 2012. (more…)

The California Drought – A Wake Up Call

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Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about the California drought. The situation has become so dire that Governor Jerry Brown has instituted wide ranging restrictions on water use. It’s important for the rest of the country because a significant percentage of the vegetables and nuts consumed in the US originate in California. So, are food prices going up? Will there be an exodus of Californians into neighboring states, reversing the Dust Bowl migrations? Is the drought the result of climate change? What are the not so obvious lessons to be learned? (more…)

The Robot Future – Artificial Intelligence and the End Game: Part 2

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There must be 1000 lists on the internet describing which jobs are at most likely to be replaced by artificial intelligence. No point in duplicating that work. It’s not that complicated to figure out that repetitive work that takes place in a single location is going to be the first to go. The less those workers get paid, the longer they are likely to stay employed. It’s the legend of John Henry. And just like John Henry, even if you beat the steam hammer, you’ll likely die of exhaustion. (more…)

The Robot Future – Artificial Intelligence and Employment: Part 1

Image from Blutgruppe

A revolution in robot technology and machine intelligence is upon us.  It’s an avalanche that’s going to sweep away the previous tradition of working for a living. This is not a revolution you can watch from the sidelines, it will affect every American citizen who works. Our capitalist definition of work and career is going to change in dramatic and unpredictable ways. The commercial and military advantages of artificial intelligence make it a certainty. It’s time to start thinking about the new world order and planning your future. (more…)

Stephen Hawking – Wrong about Artificial Intelligence

Stephen Hawking Portrait
“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” says Stephen Hawking.
“It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate,” he said. “Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”
Professor Hawking’s comments are just a little bit scary. Since the Professor is one of the great minds of our generation, we should pay attention, but not accept this conclusion without some skepticism. (more…)