News — At The Edge — 6/22

Signs of things to come — cyberwar, digital chaos, fewer jobs & dysfunctional behaviors — that pose hard choices related to global stability.


US ramping up cyber-attacks on Russia —

“US is escalating cyber-attacks on Russia’s electric power grid…[with] potentially crippling malware inside [it]…partly as a warning and…to put the US in a position to conduct cyber-attacks should a significant conflict arise….

[However] ‘broad hesitation’ to tell Trump about the details…[due to] concern over how Trump would react, and the possibility…[he] might reverse the operations or discuss it with foreign officials….

[Also] shift to a more offensive strategy…[so] defense secretary can authorize, without special presidential approval, routine ‘clandestine military activity’ in cyberspace…[for] offensive online operations.”

Tim Cook says Silicon Valley has created too much chaos —

“[We’re] at a moment that demands some reflections. Fueled by caffeine and code, optimism and idealism, conviction and creativity, generations…have used technology to remake our society….

[But] lately [crises]…tempered optimism. Consequences have challenged idealism. And reality has shaken blind faith…[as] this industry is becoming better known for a less noble innovation — the belief that you can claim credit without accepting responsibility.

We see it…with every data breach, every privacy violation, every blind eye turned to hate speech, fake news poisoning our national conversation, the false miracles in exchange for a single drop of your blood….

It feels a bit crazy that anyone has to say this, but if you built a chaos factory, you can’t dodge responsibility for the chaos….

If we accept as normal and unavoidable that anything in our lives can be aggregated, sold or even leaked…then we lose…more than data. We lose the freedom to be human…[because] chilling effect of digital surveillance is profound and it touches everything.”

One day of employment a week is all we need for mental health benefits: study —

“As automation advances, predictions of a jobless future have some fearing unrest from mass unemployment…

Aside from economic factors… self-esteem and social inclusion…paid work of eight hours or less a week…[has] mental health problems reduced by an average of 30%…[with] no evidence…more than eight hours…boosts wellbeing….

[So] to get the mental wellbeing benefits of paid work, the most ‘effective dose’ is…one day a week….

’We have effective dosage guides for everything from Vitamin C to hours of sleep in order to help us feel better, but this is the first…asked of paid work…[and] step in thinking what the minimum amount of paid work people might need in a future with little work to go round’…including ‘five-day weekends’, working just a couple of hours a day, or…having two months off for every month at work….

[But] reduction of hours would need to be for everyone, to avoid increasing socioeconomic inequalities…[and] quality of work will always be crucial. Jobs where employees are disrespected or subject to insecure…contracts do not provide the same benefits.”

Five Lessons from History —

“[T]he most important lessons from history are…so fundamental to the behaviors of so many people that they’re likely to apply to you and situations you’ll face in your own lifetime….

  • Lesson #1: People suffering from sudden, unexpected hardship are likely to adopt views they previously thought unthinkable….It’s not until your life is upended, your hopes dashed…that people begin taking ideas they’d never consider before seriously…[as] in Germany , where the Great Depression…destroyed all paper wealth…[and] someone helps you get out of an emergency situation and into a better life…think people would then say, ‘This is all such nonsense. I’m against that’? No. That doesn’t happen….
  • Lesson #2: Reversion to the mean occurs because people persuasive enough to make something grow don’t have the kind of personalities that allow them to stop before pushing too far…in economies, markets, countries, companies, careers…because the same personality traits that push people to the top also increase the odds of pushing them over the edge….Long-term success in any endeavor requires two tasks….[1] Getting something often requires risk-taking and confidence. [2] Keeping it often requires room for error and paranoia….’Being right is the enemy of staying right because it leads you to forget the way the world works.’
  • Lesson #3: Unsustainable things can last longer than you anticipate….There are two reasons why. One is incentives. The other is storytelling…. Rule of thumb: The more unsustainable an industry gets, the more it relies on inexperienced workers….Exposed to pay they couldn’t dream of…[the] incentives lean heavily towards not rocking the boat….Stories are more powerful than statistics because…real life is messy and involves…different parts of the world that are easy to leave out of spreadsheets but easy to tell in stories…that makes sense to you…. The solution is knowing the difference between expectations and forecasts. The former are good, the latter should be used sparingly….
  • Lesson #4: Progress happens too slowly for people to notice; setbacks happen too fast for people to ignore….Growth is driven by compounding, which always takes time. Destruction is driven by single points of failure…and loss of confidence, which can happen in an instant….[So] the speed differences between growth and loss explains…why pessimism is seductive to why long-term thinking is so hard.
  • Lesson #5: Wounds heal, scars last….Those who survive calamities…have a remarkable ability to adapt and rebuild…far greater than you expect…[but] the scars of their ordeal remain forever, changing how they think about risk, reward, opportunities, and goals for as long as they live….

We can see and measure just about everything…except people’s moods, fears, hopes, grudges, goals, triggers, and expectations. That’s partly why history is such a continuous chain of baffling events.”

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May you live long and prosper!
Doc Huston

Consultant & Speaker on future nexus of technology-economics-politics, PhD Nested System Evolution, MA Alternative Futures, Patent Holder —

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Doc Huston

Doc Huston

Consultant & Speaker on future nexus of technology-economics-politics, PhD Nested System Evolution, MA Alternative Futures, Patent Holder —

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