Doubts About the Promised Bounty of Genetically Modified Crops (nyt)

“an extensive examination by The New York Times indicates that the debate has missed a more basic problem — genetic modification in the United States and Canada has not accelerated increases in crop yields or led to an overall reduction in the use of chemical pesticides.

The promise of genetic modification was twofold: By making crops immune to the effects of weedkillers and inherently resistant to many pests, they would grow so robustly that they would become indispensable to feeding the world’s growing population, while also requiring fewer applications of sprayed pesticides.

Twenty years ago, Europe largely rejected genetic modification at the same time the United States and Canada were embracing it. Comparing results on the two continents, using independent data as well as academic and industry research, shows how the technology has fallen short of the promise.”

Doubts About the Promised Bounty of Genetically Modified Crops
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/30/business/gmo-promise-falls-short.html
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The Real Story of Automation Beginning with One Simple Chart (Via Scott Santens)

“What should be immediately apparent is that as the number of oil rigs declined due to falling oil prices, so did the number of workers the oil industry employed. But when the number of oil rigs began to rebound, the number of workers employed didn’t. That observation itself should be extremely interesting to anyone debating whether technological unemployment exists or not, but there’s even more to glean from this chart.

First, have you even heard of automated oil rigs, or are they new to you? They’re called “Iron Roughnecks” and they automate the extremely repetitive task of connecting drill pipe segments to each other as they’re shoved deep into ..
Thanks to automated drilling, a once dangerous and very laborious task now requires fewer people to accomplish. Automation of oil rigs means that one rig can do more with fewer workers. In fact, it’s expected that what once took a crew of 20 will soon take a crew of 5. The application of new technologies to oil drilling means that of the 440,000 jobs lost in the global downturn, as many as 220,000 of those jobs may never come back.”

The Real Story of Automation Beginning with One Simple Chart
https://medium.com/basic-income/the-real-story-of-automation-beginning-with-one-simple-chart-8b95f9bad71b
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This Cardiologist Is Betting That His Lab-Grown Meat Startup Can Solve the Global Food Crisis


“Meat without animals. It's not a new notion. In a 1932 essay predicting sundry future trends, Winston Churchill wrote, "We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium." The basic science to grow meat in a lab has existed for more than 20 years, but no one has come close to making cultured meat anywhere near as delicious or as affordable as the real thing. But sometime in the next few years, someone will succeed in doing just that, tapping into a global market that's already worth trillions of dollars and expected to double in size in the next three decades. Despite a bevy of well-funded competitors, no one is better positioned than Memphis Meats to get there first.”

Why This Cardiologist Is Betting That His Lab-Grown Meat Startup Can Solve the Global Food Crisis
https://www.inc.com/magazine/201711/jeff-bercovici/memphis-meats-lab-grown-meat-startup.html
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In our focus on the digital, have we lost our sense of what being human means?great post by Genevieve Bell

“We will need new practitioners to tame and manage the emerging data-driven digital world, as well as those to regulate and govern them. Rather than just tweaking existing disciplines, we need to develop a new set of critical questions and perspectives. Working out how to navigate our humanity in the context of this data-driven digital world requires conversations across the disciplines. In the university sector, we need to rethink how we fund, support and reward research, and researchers. At a funding level, our privileging of Stem at the expense of the rest of the disciplines is short-sighted at best, and detrimental at worst.

Invest in the human-scale conversation

We need to invest in hard conversations that tackle the ethics, morality and underlying cultural philosophy of these new digital technologies in Australian lives. Do we need an institute or a consortium or a governmental thinktank? I am not sure, but I think it would be a good start. We have a great deal of concern about our future and the role of technology in it. We have a responsibility to tell more nuanced, and yes, more complicated stories – governments, NGOs, industry, news media, every one of us. We also have a responsibility to ask better questions ourselves. We should be educated stakeholders in our own future; and this requires work and willingness to get past the easy seduction of killer robots.”

In our focus on the digital, have we lost our sense of what being human means? | Genevieve Bell
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/24/in-our-focus-on-the-digital-have-we-lost-our-sense-of-what-being-human-means
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The new Luddites: why former digital prophets are turning against tech

“In 1967 Lewis Mumford spoke presciently of the possibility of a “mega-machine” that would result from “the convergence of science, technics and political power”. Pynchon picked up the theme: “If our world survives, the next great challenge to watch out for will come – you heard it here first – when the curves of research and development in artificial intelligence, molecular biology and robotics all converge. Oboy.””

The new Luddites: why former digital prophets are turning against tech
https://www.newstatesman.com/sci-tech/2014/08/new-luddites-why-former-digital-prophets-are-turning-against-tech
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AI implants will allow us to control our homes with our thoughts within 20 years, government report claims

“Artificially intelligent nano-machines will be injected into humans within 20 years to repair and enhance muscles, cells and bone, a senior inventor at IBM has forecast.”

AI implants will allow us to control our homes with our thoughts within 20 years, government report claims
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/10/15/ai-implants-will-allow-us-control-homes-thoughts-within-20-years/
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"Der Feind ist nicht Facebook, der Feind sind wir selbst" Interview mit Gerd Leonhard

"Wir sollten Technologie umarmen, aber nicht Technologie werden"

Der Futurist und Humanist Gerd Leonhard über eine digitale Ethik.

"Wir werden in zwanzig Jahren an dem Punkt angelangt sein, wo fast nichts mehr unmöglich ist", sagt Gerd Leonhard im Gespräch mit dem KURIER. Der deutsche Futurist und Humanist sprach bei 4GameChanger über das Thema "Technologie vs. Mensch".

Bei seiner Arbeit hält er es mit einem Zitat des Sci-Fi-Kultautors William Gibson: "Die Zukunft ist bereits hier, sie ist nur ungleichmäßig verteilt." Anders gesagt: "Die meisten Sachen, die wir in fünf Jahren sehen werden, sind schon hier. Wir müssen sie nur suchen und aufnehmen." Leonhard, der sich nicht Zukunftsforscher nennen will, sucht unablässig nach diesen Dingen. "Grundsätzlich bin ich ein Optimist", sagt er, "mit diesen Technologien können wir einen Lebensraum erreichen, der viel besser, menschlicher und freier ist. Aber wir müssen wirklich an einem Strang ziehen, um diese Technologien zu beherrschen". Es gehe darum, sich auf eine globale digitale Ethik zu einigen.

Drei schwierige Themenkomplexe sieht Leonhard auf uns zukommen: Künstliche Intelligenz, Genmanipulation und Geo-Engineering (Eingreifen u.a. ins Wettergeschehen, Anm.). "Man muss bedenken, dass Technologie zur mächtigsten Kraft der Gesellschaft geworden ist", daher gelte es zu überlegen, nicht alles zu machen, "nur weil es effizient ist oder weil es geht", sagt Leonhard. "Wir können wahrscheinlich in 15 bis 20 Jahren durch Genmanipulation den Krebs besiegen. Aber wir sollten dafür sorgen, dass mit der gleichen Technik nicht Supersoldaten gezüchtet werden." Eine solche Dynamik sieht Leonhard parallel zu den Atomwaffen-Arsenalen als große Bedrohung: "Wir brauchen nicht viel Material, um einen intelligenten Roboter zu bauen, der mit bösen Absichten bestückt ist. Wenn wir uns da nicht einig werden, was erlaubt ist und wer das kontrolliert, ist in fünfzig Jahren Game Over für uns."

Zu den aktuellen Gefahren zählt der Autor einen "vollkommen fehlgeleiteten" US-Präsidenten. Dieses Thema werde sich aber schon dieses Jahr von selbst erledigen, prognostiziert er, "weil Trump für alle Beteiligten immer mehr zur Last wird".

Die Zukunftsfrage sei eine andere, viel globalere. Bisher hieß es: Was geht überhaupt und was kostet es? Nun aber gelte es zu definieren: Was wollen wir überhaupt?

"Im ursprünglichen griechischen Sinne ist das menschliches Glück. Und nicht, ein Werkzeug zu werden," erklärt Leonhard. "Und wenn wir das wollen, müssen wir alles, was wir erfinden, an diesem Ziel messen. Wir sollten Technologie umarmen, aber nicht Technologie werden."

(Peter Temel

Das gesamte Interview lesen Sie hier”

"Der Feind ist nicht Facebook, der Feind sind wir selbst"
https://kurier.at/kultur/der-feind-ist-nicht-facebook-der-feind-sind-wir-selbst/260.392.440
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AI May Soon Replace Even the Most Elite Consultants (made me think)

“According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), a new partnership between UBS Wealth Management and Amazon allows some of UBS’s European wealth-management clients to ask Alexa certain financial and economic questions. Alexa will then answer their queries with the information provided by UBS’s chief investment office without even having to pick up the phone or visit a website. And this is likely just Alexa’s first step into offering business services. Soon she will probably be booking appointments, analyzing markets, maybe even buying and selling stocks. While the financial services industry has already begun the shift from active management to passive management, artificial intelligence will move the market even further, to management by smart machines, as in the case of Blackrock, which is rolling computer-driven algorithms and models into more traditional actively-managed funds.

But the financial services industry is just the beginning. Over the next few years, artificial intelligence may exponentially change the way we all gather information, make decisions, and connect with stakeholders. Hopefully this will be for the better and we will all benefit from timely, comprehensive, and bias-free insights (given research that human beings are prone to a variety of cognitive biases). It will be particularly interesting to see how artificial intelligence affects the decisions of corporate leaders — men and women who make the many decisions that affect our everyday lives as customers, employees, partners, and investors.”

AI May Soon Replace Even the Most Elite Consultants
https://hbr.org/2017/07/ai-may-soon-replace-even-the-most-elite-consultants
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Former Talking Heads frontman says consumer tech is working against what it means to be human

It has been about creating the possibility of a world with less human interaction. This tendency is, I suspect, not a bug, it’s a feature. We might think Amazon was about making books available to us that we couldn’t find locally—and it was, and what a brilliant idea—but maybe it was also just as much about eliminating human contact

Former Talking Heads frontman says consumer tech is working against what it means to be human
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/608580/eliminating-the-human/
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Tech Giants, Once Seen as Saviors, Are Now Viewed as Threats (nyt)

In Europe, however, the ground is already shifting. Google’s share of the search engine market there is 92 percent, according to StatCounter. But that did not stop the European Union from fining it $2.7 billion in June for putting its products above those of its rivals.

A new German law that fines social networks huge sums for not taking down hate speech went into effect this month. On Tuesday, a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain said the government was looking carefully at the roles, responsibility and legal status of Google and Facebook, with an eye to regulating them as news publishers rather than platforms.

This war, like so many wars, is going to start in Europe,  said Mr. Galloway, the New York University professor.

Tech Giants, Once Seen as Saviors, Are Now Viewed as Threats
https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/10/12/technology/tech-giants-threats.html