October 29, Auto Parts Workers Rally Across Ontario CAW members in more than auto parts workplaces took part in a series of lunchtime demonstrations outside their plants during a province-wide day of action on October The protest was the culmination of months of planning and involved 15, workers across Ontario. Parts workers called for a stop to the downward pressure on working conditions, employer demands for severe contract give-backs and demanded greater respect for work ownership, including the right to follow work in the event it is relocated to other facilities — with the collective agreement in tact. CAW President Ken Lewenza told a crowd of demonstrators in the parking lot of Burlington Technologies that cutting the wages and benefits of workers will not solve the uncertainty facing the parts industry.
This is the text of my keynote speech at the 34th Chaos Communication Congress in Leipzig, December You can also watch it on YouTube, but it runs to about 45 minutes.
As a working science fiction novelist, I take a professional interest in how we get predictions about the future wrong, and why, so that I can avoid repeating the same mistakes.
Science fiction is written by people embedded within a society with expectations and political assumptions that bias us towards looking at the shiny surface of new technologies rather than asking how human beings will use them, and to taking narratives of progress at face value rather than asking what hidden agenda they serve.
Or rather, I write science fiction, much of it about our near future, which has in recent years become ridiculously hard to predict.
Our species, Homo Sapiens Sapiens, is roughly three hundred thousand years old. Recent discoveries pushed back the date of our earliest remains that far, we may be even older.
For all but the last three centuries of that span, predicting the future was easy: Let that sink in for a moment: As an eminent computer scientist once remarked, computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about building telescopes. The same can be said of my field of work, written science fiction.
Scifi is seldom about science—and even more rarely about predicting the future. How to predict the near future When I write a near-future work of fiction, one set, say, a decade hence, there used to be a recipe that worked eerily well.
Buildings are designed to last many years. Automobiles have a design life of about a decade, so half the cars on the road will probably still be around in And therein lies the problem: Nobody in was expecting a Nazi revival inright?
Only this time round Germans get to be the good guys. But unfortunately the ratios have changed. Ruling out the singularity Some of you might assume that, as the author of books like "Singularity Sky" and "Accelerando", I attribute this to an impending technological singularity, to our development of self-improving artificial intelligence and mind uploading and the whole wish-list of transhumanist aspirations promoted by the likes of Ray Kurzweil.
I think transhumanism is a warmed-over Christian heresy. Many of you are familiar with design patterns, an approach to software engineering that focusses on abstraction and simplification in order to promote reusable code.
When you look at the AI singularity as a narrative, and identify the numerous places in the story where the phrase " Towards a better model for the future As my fellow SF author Ken MacLeod likes to say, the secret weapon of science fiction is history. History, loosely speaking, is the written record of what and how people did things in past times—times that have slipped out of our personal memories.
We science fiction writers tend to treat history as a giant toy chest to raid whenever we feel like telling a story. But history is useful for so much more than that. I only remember the s with the eyes of a year old. My father, who died last year aged 93, just about remembered the s.
But westerners tend to pay little attention to cautionary tales told by ninety-somethings. We modern, change-obsessed humans tend to repeat our biggest social mistakes when they slip out of living memory, which means they recur on a time scale of seventy to a hundred years.
History gives us the perspective to see what went wrong in the past, and to look for patterns, and check whether those patterns apply to the present and near future.
And looking in particular at the history of the past years—the age of increasingly rapid change—one glaringly obvious deviation from the norm of the preceding three thousand centuries—is the development of Artificial Intelligence, which happened no earlier than and no later than What lessons from the history of the company can we draw that tell us about the likely behaviour of the type of artificial intelligence we are all interested in today?
Old, slow AI Let me crib from Wikipedia for a moment: In the late 18th century, Stewart Kydthe author of the first treatise on corporate law in English, defined a corporation as: Subsequently, the law was extended to limit the liability of individual shareholders in event of business failure, and both Germany and the United States added their own unique extensions to what we see today as the doctrine of corporate personhood.
Of course, there were plenty of other things happening between the sixteenth and twenty-first centuries that changed the shape of the world we live in.Toyota's production system (TPS) was originally generated aiming to go up against the fixed mass production arrangement prevalent in Western auto designers and makers.
And at this time, the mission of satisfying local total demand has necessitated an expanded small-lot creation. Gmail is email that's intuitive, efficient, and useful. 15 GB of storage, less spam, and mobile access. Information technology is revolutionizing products. Once composed solely of mechanical and electrical parts, products have become complex systems that combine hardware, sensors, data storage.
Sep 24, · Let me summarize Erik's argument essay as this: 1. Free software and open source are a poor way to adapt and grow software. 2.
Dynamic mechanisms that don't even require access to source are. Information technology is revolutionizing products. Once composed solely of mechanical and electrical parts, products have become complex systems that combine hardware, sensors, data storage.
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