News — At The Edge — 8/24

The new censors: The global gag on free speech is tightening —

  • First, ruling parties in many countries have found new tools for suppressing awkward facts and ideas.
  • Second, they feel emboldened to use such tools, partly because global support for free speech has faltered. Neither of the world’s superpowers is likely to stand up for it….

Misinformation Has Created a New World Disorder —

  1. Purveyors of disinformation — content that is intentionally false and designed to cause harm — are motivated by three distinct goals: to make money; to have political influence, either foreign or domestic; and to cause trouble for the sake of it.
  2. Those who spread misinformation — false content shared by a person who does not realize it is false or misleading — are driven by socio-psychological factors….Crucially, disinformation can turn into misinformation when people share disinformation without realizing it is false….
  3. malinformation’ to describe genuine information that is shared with an intent to cause harm….

The world’s monetary system is breaking down —

Where will evolution take us in the Fourth Industrial Revolution? —

  1. evolution is a progression of form and function, but it is not purposeful….[In] biology…if it works, you keep it; if it doesn’t, you get rid of it’…[but] now witnessing the most revolutionary stage of evolution, when we give up evolving by biology alone…[and] tools such as CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing…[can] reshape genomes and alter biological form and function…has already begun…[and] raises further questions, the most urgent of which is how to manage collateral changes to the environment….
  2. When massive volcanoes erupted 252 million years ago…a mass extinction event…wiped out 96 percent of all marine life and 70 percent of all vertebrates on land….186 million years later, a giant asteroid hit the Earth…[ending] era of the dinosaurs….Anthropocene’s climate and environment are thought to be predominantly influenced by human activity…[and] may also bring Earth to…a non-linear change…where the effects are not proportionate to the cause….[T]he ocean is expected to contain more plastic than fish by 2050, with untold effects on the fish themselves and the humans who eat them…[plus] new evidence that there could be a slowdown in the ocean’s great conveyor belt that is responsible for moving heat and nutrients on a planetary scale. Rapid urbanization might…dwarf the impacts of climate change and the acidification of our oceans….
  3. It was only from the middle of the 18th century that people came to realize that the future could be different from the past, and that their destiny could lie in their hands…[and] had much to do with science and technology….The more technological innovations we create, the more social innovations we need to accompany them….Advances in our ability to exploit expansive data has brought us into the realm of smart devices and artificial intelligence, but at the same time, has changed our outlook on privacy and security….

Can We Rely on Our Intuition? —

  • The fast system…is more prone to error…[yet] may increase the chance of survival by enabling us to anticipate serious threats and recognize promising opportunities.
  • [T]he slower thought system, by engaging critical thinking and analysis, is less susceptible to producing bad decisions….

MIT develops a sensor that can work underwater without a battery and send back data —

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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 —