●The more budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes.
●Austerity starves the economy to feed the government, and leads to civil disorder.
●Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.
●To survive long term, a monetarily non-sovereign government must have a positive balance of payments.
●Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.
Recently I posted, “How IBM can change the world.” and “Who, in the world of economics, is asking for that next super-computer? Both posts described why the field of economics desperately needs, and will radically be changed by, a computer having the skills of Watson, the IBM machine that won Jeopardy.
These posts told why increasingly, thinking machines will replace human labor, and why the thrust of economics must change from “full employment” to optimum employment – the situation in which people will be required to work less and have the opportunity to live more, while machines do more work.
In “How would you make disemployment work?” I suggested these preliminary steps for our Monetarily Sovereign government:
1. Legally reduce the traditional 40 hour work week to 30 hours and less.
2. Prevent hunger for lack of dollars. The government could provide for everyone’s basic food supplies by paying grocery stores to offer free milk, meat, fish and vegetables.
3. Provide health care for everyone. The government could pay for 100% Medicare for every American of all ages.
4. Keep people from suffering homelessness. The government to pay for home mortgages at a minimum level (Rather than “minimum wage,” we could have “minimum home mortgage,” where people could add dollars for more expensive homes. Or “minimum rent,” something akin to the government paying for hotel stays).
5. Just as today we provide free education, grades 1-12, the government should provide free college and advanced degree education to every American.
6. Begin with government-paid-for local, public transportation, then expand this by paying airlines and railroads for free national public transportation.
Now comes NewScientist Magazine, with articles bearing on this subject:
NewScientist Magazine, August 22, 2012
Watson turns medic: Supercomputer to diagnose disease
by Jim Giles
More than a year after it won the quiz show Jeopardy!, IBM’s supercomputer is learning how to help doctors diagnose patients. Progress is most advanced in cancer care. “It’s a machine that can read everything and forget nothing,” says Larry Norton, a doctor at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
When playing Jeopardy!, Watson analysed each question. Then it looked for possible answers in its database, made up of sources such as encyclopaedias, scoring each according to the evidence associated with it and answering with the highest rated answer. The system takes a similar approach when dealing with medical questions, although in this case it draws on information from medical journals and clinical guidelines.
Watson is now absorbing records – tens of thousands at Sloan-Kettering alone – of treatments and outcomes associated with individual patients.
William Audeh, a doctor at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, says the last few months have involved “filling Watson’s brain” with medical data. The technology is particularly useful in oncology because doctors struggle to keep up with the explosion of genomic and molecular data generated about each cancer type.
Nurses are now training Watson by feeding it test requests and observing the answers.
Watson’s system is virtually identical with that used by human doctors – compare symptoms, treatments and outcomes – except Watson “can read everything and forget nothing” and has no emotional biases, and can work 24/365.
Here’s another snippet from the same article:
Preparing for your financial future
Is your pension invested in the best possible way? To answer this question involves weighing up multiple investment options, future income prospects and the experience of others in similar situations. It is the kind of problem that most people struggle with, but which IBM’s supercomputer Watson may be able to tackle.
IBM announced in May that it has partnered with Citi, a multinational bank, to explore the idea of training Watson as a financial adviser.
Again, this is exactly how you and your financial advisor decide your investments. Compare historical risk and opportunity with current and project economic fact. Except you can handle only a few variables, and have many human biases that cloud your judgement. Humans are notoriously poor judges of risk and reward (thus the existence of Lotto.)
A “Watsonesque” machine would learn everything and forget nothing — and not buy Lotto tickets. It also would do a better job projecting those economic facts.
And then NewScientist published this:
Digital doppelgängers: Building an army of you
15 August 2012 by Sally Adee
Alex Schwartzkopf can be in more than one place at once and, in principle, do thousands of things at the same time. He and his colleagues at the US National Science Foundation have trained up a smart, animated, digital doppelgänger – mimicking everything from his professional knowledge to the way he moves his eyebrows – that can interact with people via a screen when he is not around. He can even talk to himself.
It’s becoming possible to create digital copies of ourselves to represent us when we can’t be there in person. They can be programmed with your characteristics and preferences, are able to perform chores like updating social networks, and can even hold a conversation.
These autonomous identities are not duplicates of human beings in all their complexity, but simple and potentially useful personas. If they become more widespread, they could transform how people relate to each other and do business. They will save time, take onerous tasks out of our hands and perhaps even modify people’s behaviour.
For example, the website rep.licants.org, developed by artist Matthieu Cherubini, allows you to create a copy of your “social media self”, which can take over Facebook and Twitter accounts when required. You prime it with data such as your location, age and topics that interest you, and it analyses what you’ve already posted on your various social networks. Armed with this knowledge, it then posts on your behalf.
In principle, such services could one day perform a similar job to the ghostwriters who manage the social media profiles of busy celebrities and politicians today.
The Australian company MyCyberTwin allows users to create copies of themselves that can engage visitors in a text conversation, accompanied by a photo or cartoon representation. These copies perform tasks such as answering questions about your work, like an interactive CV. “A single CyberTwin could be talking with millions of people at the same time,” says John Zakos, who co-founded the firm. MyCyberTwin also uses tricks to add a touch of humanity. Users are asked to fill in a 30-question personality test, which means that the digital persona may act introverted or extroverted, for example.
In the past year or two, Apple has filed a series of patents related to using animated avatars in social networking and video conferencing. Microsoft, too, is interested. It has been exploring how its Kinect motion-tracking device could map a user’s face so it can be reproduced and animated digitally. The firm also plans to extend the avatars that millions of people use in its Xbox gaming system into Windows and the work environment.
So could avatars be automated too? It already happens in gaming: many people employ intelligent software to control their avatars when they’re not around. For example, some World of Warcraft players program their avatars to fight for status or to farm gold.
To similar ends, in 2007 the National Science Foundation began Project Lifelike, an experiment to build an intelligent, animated avatar of Schwartzkopf, who at the time was a program director. The hope was to make the avatar good enough to train new employees.
Jason Leigh, a computer scientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, used video capture of Schwartzkopf’s face to create a dynamic, photorealistic animation. He also added a few characteristic quirks. For example, if Schwartkopf’s copy was speaking intensely, his eyebrows would furrow, and he would occasionally chew his nails. “People’s personal mannerisms are almost as distinguishing as their signature,” Leigh says.
These tricks combined to make the copy seem more, well, human, which helped when Leigh introduced people to Schwartzkopf’s doppelgänger. “They had a conversation with it as if it were a real person,” he recalls. “Afterwards, they thanked it for the conversation.”
The Project Lifelike researchers are now building a copy of the astronaut Jim Lovell, who flew on Apollo 13 and will answer questions at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium, and one of Alan Turing, who will field questions at the Orlando Science Center in Florida. Others are working on ways to create doppelgängers that will persist after people die.
And the beat goes on:
Meanwhile, Bickmore and his team are developing animated avatars of doctors and other healthcare providers. One of the nurse avatars they created is designed to discharge people from hospitals. In tests, he found 70 per cent of patients preferred talking to the copy rather than a real nurse, because they felt less self-conscious. Doctors, meanwhile, could use avatars to streamline their work. “A doctor might want to make a copy, for example, if they are the pre-eminent expert in a field,” Bickmore says.
As with doctors, academics could spread their workload too. “This would allow you to teach as many sections as your department desires,” Bailenson says. With several copies operating simultaneously, a teacher could jump between them at will, inhabiting any one without ever letting on to the students.
A British company called Philter Phactory makes autonomous bots called Weavrs (that) can operate Twitter accounts and other social media on a person’s behalf. The company’s selling point is that Weavrs can be used to trawl the web for interesting links about certain topics, then post status updates or share videos and articles about them.
Many actors and performers have digital personas, sometimes created against their will. It seems laws will need to be adapted to define who can control people’s digital selves (see “Double jeopardy”).
Jaron Lanier, an author and Microsoft researcher, worries about technologies that claim to amplify our efficiency. “If you’re a history professor and you can operate 10,000 of these (bots), why does the university have to hire any other history professors?” Lanier asks.
Visualize you always have lived in a grass hut. A hurricane is coming. You know with absolute certainty, the hurricane winds will destroy your hut. Do you ignore it, or do you build, and move to, a concrete building?
We know with absolute certainty, hurricane “Disemployment” is coming to the island of economics. We already have felt the rising wind. Will we continue doing what we always have done, using the same old ways to search for “full employment.”
Several excellent economists, whom I know, belong to “The Center for Full Employment and Price Stability.” I hope they change the thrust of their thinking from “full employment” to optimum employment, and help our island prepare for the hurricane.
What do you think?
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Nine Steps to Prosperity:
1. Eliminate FICA (Click here)
2. Medicare — parts A, B & D — for everyone
3. Send every American citizen an annual check for $5,000 or give every state $5,000 per capita (Click here)
4. Long-term nursing care for everyone
5. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone
6. Salary for attending school (Click here)
7. Eliminate corporate taxes
8. Increase the standard income tax deduction annually
9. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America
No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth. Monetary Sovereignty: Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia. Two key equations in economics:
Federal Deficits – Net Imports = Net Private Savings
Gross Domestic Product = Federal Spending + Private Investment and Consumption – Net Imports