Posts Tagged homo Deus

Sunday Column (501)

How are we doing? The height of summer and it is warm. Or it has been warm. Allegedly this is due to the jet stream not moving air and weather around the way it normally does, because there isn’t enough cold air above the Artic which means hot and cold air aren’t making the jet stream flow. See this article for a more scientific explanation. I did some research for this topic and want to share accordingly. But also as this heatwave goes on globally (!) there are more articles emerging, including one that had highlighted the high temperatures above the Nordic hemisphere being above 30 degrees Celsius for far too long, and higher than ever before 🙁

We shouldn’t complain, yet the heat gets to me. It’s not what I am used to. And I am probably too British to not complain about the weather. Either way, too good or too bad. What I really worry about though if that’s the start of global warming or if that’s a one off. The Independent says that our minds are ‘clouded’ with our own short term memory and that the weather might just be going through cycles and there is nothing unusual about it. On the other hand, of course, climate change results in spring happening earlier and the seasons being affected, yet is the heat wave down to climate change?

The Guardian on the other hand says the heat wave is due to carbon monoxide, and again not unusual but supported by climate change if I read and understand it correctly. So if I summarise, we should get used to the weather being more extreme and warmer in the spring, colder in autumn, seasons are shifting but the heat wave as such isn’t due to climate change on its own but more a result of a few factors coming together, which as such are also influenced by climate change. Not sure if that is all sensible or not? And surely the Arctic being warmer is due to global warming. Maybe it’s just another earthly cycle, which means we get a colder atmosphere and ice age again sometime too?

I cannot help myself but getting worried. And maybe it is because of the books I read like Sapiens and Homo Deus. The Doomsday scenarios of the world, historical and futuristic, are there. Should we put people in charge who think the world is going to end and we are all ending up in an escape pod or spaceship? Are we relying on finding a solution to the problems humans have created in the first place? On top of that we have Brexit, see my comment last week. Are we living in the most peaceful times on our planet yet instead of going after other nations and cultures we decide to kill ourselves via carbon monoxide emission, ocean pollution and all of the changes affecting our weather? And if that isn’t enough we start changing the political system to add a bit of spice to life? Sorry for a big rant 😉

We should just worry about everyday life, our jobs and families, about not having too much sugar and how we pay for our pension and mortgage. And maybe we should worry about AI and it taking over the world (Human Deus)? Shouldn’t we be happily engrained in society, helping others, and wonder what our kids want to do with their lives? Wasn’t that the life our parents had just one generation ago, or is that me painting a rosy picture of the past? Have I forgotten the struggles they had? Instead, we are worrying if the first person living to 150 years has been born, and if we all live past 100; and in the same breath we talk about our planet being destroyed and us having to go to space. I sometimes don’t really know what to think anymore. And maybe I should stop reading books like Homo Deus and just enjoy the weather as it is…. What do you think?

Given my nature, I just cannot stop thinking about the global impact of those changes. Over 25 years ago I was part of an environmental group warning about the pollution of the oceans and global warming. What have we done to our planet since? I feel like I am turning into a philosopher to a certain extend, and wonder if we end up in space ships driven by AI? Or if we all die young, so we don’t have to worry anymore. Or as Elon Musk or Homo Deus states, maybe we are part of a big model, actually living in the year 3000, and we went back to experiment with the planet to see if we can save it. And will we? And are we? If it is an animation, we would, wouldn’t we?

Given the other part of my nature, I am an optimist. I am positive and believe that we will always come up with a new solution, something that will save mankind. Of course I would not rely on it but somehow we will. There might be mass exodus and mass extinction, and maybe another war, but similar to the TV Series of 100, there will be few of us that will be saved. Maybe that’s what the planet needs? Aren’t we all in it together?

Maybe not my most motivational post, but I thought I share this, as there aren’t any other news. Sommerloch, the German saying of ‘summer hole’, no news in the summer. And I don’t really want to bore you with my day to day all the time 🙂 Hopefully an entertaining, yet thoughtful post. Next on my reading list is a book about AI – maybe you get more posts like that.

I hope you enjoy the summer.
Have a good one, wherever you are,
Volker

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Sunday Column (499)

A full working week it seems. Not quite, actually, only four days, but I was working in London and I was busy. I suppose I will get used to it again very quickly. I also recorded another podcast and managed to finish the audio book Sapiens. In all honesty, I wasn’t as taken with the book as everyone else seemed to be. Some interesting snippets of human history but a lot of bla bla about life. Never mind, another book done. I very much enjoy reading Richard Branson’s biography, it is a fun story of a successful man’s life. Stories of Success, really.

However, I then started Homo Deus by the same author of Sapiens and it is more interesting as it is looking to the future. It is about how things might look like moving forward for humans, and mankind and on this planet in general. A philosophical book, it gets you thinking, but again if I didn’t listen to it whilst out running, I am not sure it is my time worth spend taking it all in. Nevermind.

I started writing this post as I sit at Clapham Junction on a Gatwick Express service, air conditioned, cold and with wifi access. We were held as London Victoria got evacuated due to a fire alarm. When the train guard announced that we were held due to London Victoria station being evacuated, you could see how people got really quiet on the train. I am not sure if my perception comes due to me reading about 9/11 in Richard’s book, or because everyone went really quiet, but people just seemed to be worried. And that’s a fear we are living with: terrorism. Although, based on the Homo Deus book, more people die of overeating than undereating these days, and terrorism or airplane accidents are very rare. That of course doesn’t necessarily go in line with our perception of things.

What both books show me time and again is that our thoughts form what we make of our environment. I wasn’t too worried it being a terrorist attack but it crosses one’s mind. And then your mind can go on a rampage. What if the city was under attack, would it not be better to sit in Clapham? It surely would be. It was a false alarm, which is good and we continued our journey. Your thoughts however determine what you make of things.

On that note, on Friday I had a day off. My last one for a while but holidays with the family, and I spend with cars. We had a courtesy car from the garage, an SUV, a Skoda Kodiaq. I really enjoyed driving it but it isn’t sportive, it is an SUV. On the one hand I like sitting up, maybe changing my driving a bit and enjoy more comfort. Skoda has a nice ‘Landrover green’ colour they introduced and next year they bring out hybrid models. Let’s bear all that in mind for now 😉

I also spend the day looking at a few Jaguars. My choice of a second car is clear: a Jaguar XK8 or XKR, 2006 model or younger, as the older model is too small for me. Now I need to find the budget and the time to look at one and buy. Or will I hold off and be sensible. But for what? Life is for living and who knows how long we can enjoy it. Anyway, lots to think about.

And on that note it was the last day of school for the boys. Now I got two boys in middle school from September, they are just growing up so quickly. I love that as much as I hate it. Being able to join the leavers’ assembly was great, a bit emotional but overall it is great to see them moving on, growing up and becoming little grown ups. What will the future hold for them? Will AI and robots rule the world when they will be our age? Nothing ever stays the same, things always change.

Let’s use my parents as an example who have been able to connect with us since the introduction of What’s App. I remember putting coins into a phone booth when calling my grand parents from a holiday. Nowadays we send pictures instantly, whilst then we had to develop a roll of 36 pictures and got them a week after the holidays. Wow. We are talking half a life time here, and things will only get faster.

Have a great summer, enjoy things whilst they last.
Volker

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