Cognitive Capitalism is nothing like your grand-dads Capitalism

Source: The end of capitalism has begun | Books | The Guardian

A spectacular read – bristling with commentary over the last 600 years, connecting the dots to the next civilisational shift that will occur in our lifetimes.

Austerity is not eight years of spending cuts, as in the UK, or even the social catastrophe inflicted on Greece. It means driving the wages, social wages and living standards in the west down for decades until they meet those of the middle class in China and India on the way up. Meanwhile, flushed with free money, the 1% has got richer.

In the absence of any alternative model, the conditions for another crisis are being assembled.

Neoliberalism has presided over the demise of capitalism, even as Capitalism is backed into a corner by Information technology, and automation.

Neoliberalism, then, has morphed into a system programmed to inflict recurrent catastrophic failures. Worse than that, it has broken the 200-year pattern of industrial capitalism wherein an economic crisis spurs new forms of technological innovation that benefit everybody.

That is because neoliberalism was the first economic model in 200 years the upswing of which was premised on the suppression of wages and smashing the social power and resilience of the working class. If we review the take-off periods studied by long-cycle theorists – the 1850s in Europe, the 1900s and 1950s across the globe – it was the strength of organised labour that forced entrepreneurs and corporations to stop trying to revive outdated business models through wage cuts, and to innovate their way to a new form of capitalism.

The result is that, in each upswing, we find a synthesis of automation, higher wages and higher-value consumption. Today there is no pressure from the workforce, and the technology at the centre of this innovation wave does not demand the creation of higher-consumer spending, or the re‑employment of the old workforce in new jobs. Information is a machine for grinding the price of things lower and slashing the work time needed to support life on the planet.

A takeaway full of hidden implications, that stayed with me: That in the current age, ‘Information is physical, and software is a machine’

Change money, to change the future

The standard money story inevitably goes something like this:

“In the beginning there was barter, with people trading chickens for corn. Then people invented money in order to deal with the inefficiency of this. They nominated a particular commodity to be a universal ‘store of value’ and means of exchange for transactions between all the other commodities. Precious metal coins satisfied the characteristics necessary for this, but at some point we started using paper money, which isn’t really a commodity but is still a store of value. And now we are moving to digital money, a world where money is ‘dematerialized,’ becoming mere bytes of information … ”

You should be intensely skeptical about all of this.

Source: The Future of Money Depends on Busting Fairy Tales About Its Past — How We Get To Next

Friction/Less Friendships

When keeping in touch is frictionless,
and you are never really out of touch,
and the frictionless, easy, contact becomes a habit preferred over the real worlds’ awkwardness, snail-pace and effort, then…

…are you really friends anymore with people around you, or just ‘in touch’?

Rethinking ‘knowledge’ in the Internet Age

A gentle, insightful and intuitive book review that deserves to be a book by itself.
Sign of the times

This is the greatest time to be a curious person who wants to learn, and it is the greatest time to be a complete idiot. The internet is revealing both the power of our traditional ways of knowing and the fact that traditional knowing has always been a product of flawed humans going wrong and going right together.

Clean Disruption

Perhaps the last 100 years was just a blip of centralized energy and personal transportation after all — looks like the next decade is reversing the two.

A brilliant talk with numbers, made at an Energy conference, on how the next 10 years wont be like the last 100.

“Politicians. Businessmen. Nobody’s watching them anymore.”

As newsrooms disappear, veteran reporters are being forced from the profession. They dedicated their lives to telling other people’s stories. What happens when no one wants to print their words anymore?

More true in the US than India, at the moment…

Source: These Journalists Dedicated Their Lives to Telling Other People’s Stories. What Happens When No One Wants to Print Their Words Anymore? | The Nation

AI & The Future Of Civilization

Listening to Stephen Wolfram dismantle and Unpack complex ideas is always the most relaxing thing ever…after all the hysteria and scaremongering about AIs destroying humanity, this is a cool clear look at whats really going on. No Drama, no fuss.

I find the idea of the building of a language to help Humans and AI communicate with each other on a common platform and share a view of the world, as being very central to making real AI possible and relevant. Not, you know, the apocalypse.

Source: AI & The Future Of Civilization |