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The Rich Really Are Different.

The article on the new servant class was enough to stop us in our tracks. For those who might have missed it, the article details how the new economy is creating more and more service jobs for the wealthy. The term for these new servants is the innocuous-sounding and inappropriately named, wealth worker- which has a much nicer ring to it than Serf, Wench or Manservant. It seems that now instead of creating living-wage jobs, one that can afford someone to make a living; we are now creating life-support jobs, positions that allow us to just barely survive with hardly any chance of having any savings let alone retiring. While these “wealth-workers” may have some perks such as a flexible schedule it allows their bosses to avoid laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act, which regulates minimum wage and overtime pay they also provide no job security or benefits. Indeed they are fully dependent on the loving grace of their employers who may not be bound by rules of civility and their ability to continue to afford to have hired humans to do their bidding.

As if this was not a concerning enough trend, eyebrows were also raised by the appearance of an article suggesting that we may need to “readjust” the way we pay workers in this country. It seems that with more than 75% of people are living paycheck to paycheck it seems that paying workers more frequently would alleviate the pain of this issue. Heaven forbid that we pay people more money or even a wage that would allow them to get by without the $30 billion dollars that are lent out in payday loans. No- Clearly this is madness. We should create the universal basic income so that every man woman and child can receive the blessings of taxes on technology so that we can continue to support a system intent on grinding most us beneath the wheel. While there are those who will wring their hands and sob that that perhaps the rich could survive on possibly less than oh, say the 4 Million dollars the Walton family (of Walmart Fame) make every hour truly do not understand the pain of living with last weeks fleet of private jets. Yes, as F Scott Fitzgerald said, the rich are different and we should be grateful for the crumbs from the table and smile as they sweep them up with the dustpan and broom.

Andrew Yang, Universal Basic Income, Cyber Slaves

Are we creating a generation of economic servitude?

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As Rome burns, listen to the music…

While it has been noted here and elsewhere that there seems to be a movement to do away with people in the workplace and perhaps in general, the boldest faced example of this was seen recently in the Wall Street Journal article, “Everyone Hates Customer Service. This Is Why.” It seems that companies have started crunching data and using artificial intelligence to determine exactly how angry a customer has to be to hang up on a customer service call and finding a to step in just before that happens. While working to save a customer has seemed to be good business all along, now the point seems to be to push them off until they get to a breaking point before you take action to try to redeem the relationship. It seems almost unfathomable that this strategy would be suggested or even endorsed in any other situation. How would you feel if your boss decided he was going to abuse you until you were ready to quit and only then to decide to take any redemptive action. Would you accept this from coworkers or even your wife?
When we learn, when will we remember that companies are there to serve us, that we are not their servants? Since when do we have an obligation to a corporation that sells us goods or services? Is their obligation to us not greater than their obligation to them- are they not there to serve us? And yet we have become so desensitized to our own power, we cower in fear only hoping that they will continue to provide us internet, phone service, and even government. We can’t help ourselves from giving up our data so that we can be turned into force-fed veal dining on our own waste. Have we no dignity left? What is our purpose here- do our lives have a value other than an immediate material gain- and not even for ourselves but for those so engorged on money and power that they either don’t see or don’t care the effect of their gluttony?

AI, Google, Customer Service

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The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled

Remember, Keyser Söze in The Usual Suspects says, ‘The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that, he’s gone.’ In the same way, the best way to get something you value from someone else is to convince the person who owns it that it has no value. We have seen this reign supreme in the information sector, calling our information “data exhaust” while that same data is mined, repackaged, sold and used to dangle carrots in our face to keep us on a consumer treadmill. Just when it seems this was the extent of our self-endorsed exploitation, the cloven hooves on the doorstep announce yet deeper exploitation of our data and us. No, while the entire idea of capitalism is based on the exploitation of resources, these were considered natural resources- coal, wood, steel, etc. Now with the advent of the new media, a new fertile ground has been found to be exploited. Not just our so-called, data exhaust, which is mined like a precious metal to create a feedback loop to feed us exactly what we expect to see and what it is decided that we need. Not to be content with this level of exploitation, it now seems that when we take a DNA test even that data is being siphoned off to curate our curiosity and life experiences. Deep in the language of the agreement can be buried your tacit approval for your information to be used, shared and exploited in any way. This would allow insurance companies, give you a preferred status due to a perceived “pure” genetic background is pure enough to warrant can drop you because of what is in your genetic background promote you to a preferred status or even convict you of a crime.
Perhaps, while ignorance will not bring bliss but divorce may be our only hope, not in some Luddite revolution but in a conscious choice a conscious digital uncoupling where our privacy and digital dignity is more important than sharing what we had for lunch.

Digital Dignity, ignorance is bliss, conscious digital uncoupling, Luddite revolution, privacy, digital dignity, pure genetic background, eugenics, DNA, DNA testing, precious metals, feedback loop, self-endorsed exploitation, new media, data exhaust, Keyser Söze, The Usual Suspects, The Devil,

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I’m a Victim of Circumstances!

The idea that Facebook was creating its own cryptocurrency intrigues on many fronts. First of all the thought that a private company could take over such a large and public space usually occupied by governments. While I am not suggesting that Libra, Facebook’s cryptocurrency will replace government issue money but if we think that this may not create a copy economy we deceive ourselves at our own risk. In a world were retail giants have fallen silent in the face of Amazon, why should we think it impossible that the government wouldn’t outsource the responsibility for creating currency. We outsource many aspects of our military to Blackwater, our prisons are outsourced to private companies, why not our economy. Why suffer the slings and arrows of uncertainty when we can gleefully turn that responsibility to a conglomerate. The only thing that may make this run a fowl would be the fact that only 27% of Facebook users believe that “Facebook is committed to protecting the privacy of my personal information.” while one might forgive even offer up for sacrifice our data for the latest photo of someones the first course, when it comes to our money, I like to think we take things a bit more seriously. But perhaps that is mistaken. While one of those large banks repeatedly stole from customers and yet, after a slap on the wrist from regulators and still, people gladly trade their dignity as consumers to work with a bank of established liars and thieves. Perhaps we shouldn’t worry about businesses too big to fail and worry about the cost of ones that succeed
If banks can be thought too big to fail, maybe we need to work that Facebook may be too dangerous to succeed.

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On Being

Recently, I have become to notice a difference in verbiage in how we relate to ourselves. We seem to be referring to ourselves as humans and not so much as human beings. While most may simply think of this as a grammatical trifle, it seems to hold a deeper and more disturbing meaning. The omitted word “being” is telling. We seem to be disregarding the fact that we exist in time and space, that we are not just hollow space holders. As Howard Beale in “Network” proclaims, “I’m a human being, goddammit! My life has value!” yet our words betray a slippery slope. We will trade our being for an undisturbed solitude, We will trade a panorama for a panoramic setting on our cell phone camera. We are sated watching a live event in front of us through the friendly confines of our mobile phone screen. Instead of experiencing a moment in time we step back from reality into a loop of prepackaged pre-approved pablum. Of course, it is easier to be lulled to sleep than to be roused to action, indeed many would exchange many civil liberties just to be left alone.
What to do, perhaps the next best step is not to get mad but to stop and embrace the gift of the present.

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Do you matter?

It was with a slightly raised eyebrow that I read the definition of privacy as a human right. As we stumble blindly forward into a world of artificial intelligence and robotics all raising questions of rights and responsibilities of (and to) electronic beings, perhaps, we should also re-examine what rights a human should have. For those who have missed the discussion here, there is an ongoing debate in Europe as to the legal and “human” rights that we should extend to the silicon-based forms that we seem to be creating (to call them life forms seems to step into a quagmire we still are unable to admit exists, let alone being a venue for discussion). It seems that one can not turn around without seeing a slogan or sign that Black Lives Matter or Blue Lives matter or that any number of people matter and yet this seems mere lip service. How willing we are to turn a blind eye to the idea that schoolchildren matter and perhaps turning schools into shooting rangers might not be the best way to express that value. We seem to be working to keep drugs out of our country yet can’t seem to react to the fact that our doctors and drug companies are creating prescription addicts to enhance their bottom line.
The only rights we seem to be respecting are, the governments right to act in whatever way it wishes, the right for large businesses to act in whatever way they deem appropriate to make the largest profit with the least responsibility to anyone other than themselves or their shareholders. We allow credit card purchases to be made online, even allow our personal information to be held online but we couldn’t allow voting to occur via computer even though we can not verify the sanctity of those records.
We seem to be falling over ourselves to trample over the cloth of purple that we claim to esteem, all but blind to our hubris as we are lulled in another warm bath.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And a brilliant mix by Mikestro Music and Eric Thomas

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internet, social media, Technology, Uncategorized

What, me worry?

I believe it was Cheap Trick that had the song with the lyric, “Surrender, but don’t give yourself away” but it seems like that is exactly what is happening as Facebook is going forward in its plans to create its own cryptocurrency for use across its platform and other partner platforms. While we are invited to surrender to a world of convenience and security we also seem to be on the brink of giving too much away. With the creation of a stand-alone currency seems to be running the risk of starting a stand-alone economy. With the global online economy now running almost seven trillion dollars imagine the power that a corporation could wield in world politics. With a current value of almost 2.3 billion, they could become powerful enough to begin to dictate financial policy in the same way Walmart dictates when it will receive certain merchandise to its loading dock. While we have seen the effective ways that savings and loans can regulate themselves into a $160 Billion dollar bailout, and later banks almost bankrupted the economy only to get a $700 billion bailout, what could possibly go wrong with a single industry dominating online currency and online transactions? Let us embrace our inner Alfred E Neuman- why worry? A rising economy lifts all boats even at the cost of flooding the low lying ports. So sit back, relax and enjoy the ever warming bathwater.

https://www.barrons.com/articles/what-facebooks-cryptocurrency-could-look-like-51557576000

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