This whole thing with ISIS has got me thinking. I O’Ded watching talk shows that I have taped starting with my favorite, Charlie Rose. I wanted to hear from a bunch of different perspectives that were calm and deliberative rather than the nightly insanity of obscene tours of terrorists apartments and inane interviews with the neighbors.
Whether you were for it or against it this thing started with the invasion of Irag in 2003. Osama and his band of Al Quaedas were holed up in Tora Bora while we went hell bent for leather towards Baghdad. When we arrived Louis Paul Bremer III was our man in charge. He was a decent diplomat but hardly a top flight manager. The first thing he did was fire 300,000 of Sadam’s soldiers. Seems on the surface to make sense but the absurdity was these guys were making about $200 a month. For $6 million a month we could at least keep them under a watchful eye.
They became the Genesis of ISIS. They were trained, had a command structure and did not exactly turn in all their weapons upon departure….and most of all were out of a job. Unemployment being what it was they literally had nothing to do. Now some enterprising radicals approached them with a better idea. And they were off to the races. Slowly at first but picking up steam. It is a theme for ISIS recruitment today. They go to the unemployed and disenfranchised and promise them notoriety under the guise of religion. You can be something. We will even let you rape women and chop off heads to boot. What’s not to like?
So we started off with a good idea and it blew up in our face. Please don’t go on about whether we left too early or all we need is a little more time. Somehow it seems if ten years and $2 trillion couldn’t do the trick then I think we have to cut bait. Worse is the fact that I don’t think we really thought through what a power vacuum would be created and their idea of democracy was not really simpatico with ours. Outcomes became nightmares.
Let’s get off wars and get to something more fun. The Internet. It happened almost by accident. People wanted to send messages in a simple way and the rest is history. As it grew exponentially we graduated from laptops to smartphone to tablets and we were all connected electronically. Very cool. But wait a minute nobody told me that my life would be subjected to scrutiny, sexting, parsing by major companies and of course Lord Snowden blowing the whistle on the NSA.
This marvel of media or shall we say social networking had an incredible capacity to let little known people become famous. You could publish a book, musical composition or even a manifesto on line without the hassle of corporate America. But wait, you mean you can steal downloads of music and movies without paying for them? You can reach millions just by Facebook or Twitter? Damn, if I am a radical or malcontent I now have a voice. Hmm, I don’t think we thought of that.
I love to hack around but I never thought my life would be invaded by what you call hackers. These guys can steal your identity, trade secrets, access to our power grids and even the Department of Defense. Was that really in the cards at the onset? Why weren’t some of these geniuses really thinking ,”What hath God wrought?” There is always tomorrow.
Back in 1965 we put in a little thing called Medicare. It was supposed to ensure that old people would not go without medical help. No one was living that long so it seemed like a palatable and even cheap solution to a problem. Now the government figured for Part A hospital expenses in 1990 would come in at $9 billion. It was actually $67 billion. For physician services the number today was to be $500 million. Sadly the actual number is $168.3 billion.
It actually gets worse. Many of the medical advancements today are the result of government funding in a round about way. It never argued about high priced procedures and exorbitant drugs. The bigger and better, the more we paid. Now these treatments helped people have a longer if not questionably a better quality of life. We were discovering new and better ways to prolong life for a mere 3-6 months at the cost of Who cares? That sounds harsh but it is a dilemma that only grows more complex by the year. We may someday have to pay this bill in full and nobody will know how we got here. You know ,”The guy behind me is paying.”
Nobody could have foreseen these things but the real question is should they have? The Industrial Revolution put millions of people to work and created a financial bonanza that has lasted over 150 years. Now that we have developed our ways of life around a manufacturing society how do we make the transition to a technological society? Should somebody have thought that through or was it even possible? I think when we look at these things they evolved through that marvelous thing called man’s ingenuity and creativity. It just seems to me now that we are traveling at such a warp speed we may just go off the cliff without even knowing it.
Nobody has a faster hair trigger than me. I can take an idea and run with it without carefully considering the consequences. Don’t bug me with naysaying and pragmatism, I am on a mission. I am an innovator. And that is where the practical has to come into play as much as I hate to admit it. We should develop the ability to temper both. Yin and Yang. If it was 500 years ago it would not be so complex.Today? Oi Vey. Somebody should turn the music down so we can at least take a break at this party. You are right. That is an outcome that will probably never happen. Hey, I tried.
Ted The Great.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been one of the most debated fields of science. Simply put we are trying to endow a machine with all the attributes of the human mind. The most difficult part has been ethics,empathy and sensitivity. It is projected that by 2050 AI will enable a machine to be smarter than man. Thank God I don’t think i will be around for the outcome.
Space travel and its science has created a wonderful array of products from freeze dried foods. memory foam mattresses, cochlear implants,water purification, solar cells. Unfortunately contrary to common belief it was not responsible for Tang, Velcro, nor Teflon
Robotics is simply the use of machines to perform human tasks. There have been usages in physical therapy by helping people with missing limbs to walk. The self driving car can be considered one. Ditto drones. The development of robots in every aspect of our life has created the reduction in the manual workforce manyfold. Some jobs will never exist again.
Good ideas with bad outcomes.”The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”.(idiomatic) A proverbial expression used to signify the futility of making detailed plans when the ability to fully or even partially execute them is uncertain. I concur.