AuthorTopic: The Surlynewz Channel  (Read 504051 times)

Offline K-Dog

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3330 on: July 19, 2018, 08:58:36 AM »
Yuri was being interviewed by a member of the John Birch Society.  He was giving JBS exactly what they wanted.  Making the world safe for billionaires one lie at a time.

That that defunct crime syndicate of a communist aberration formerly called the Soviet Union had an active propaganda effort is no surprise.  No surprise too that it had developed a sophisticated understanding of human nature and covert warfare abilities which rivaled the ability of our State Department ability today to start color revolutions and pepper the globe with NGOs of all kinds to further dark and sinister goals.

But what do I know of such things, nothing really, and I implied Yuri lied, but did I?  Read it again.  JBS was what I was referring to.  Yuri told the truth spun with a flair in which he  excelled.  The flair of a trained propagandist.  It was not a career Yuri wanted and that is why he defected from the USSR if you read up on how he got to Canada.

If you are clever and imagine an arc of collapse, Seneca cliff optional, you will find reasons to suit your own political predilections why it will all happen without any problem.  Show someone a chicken and then describe the egg it came from and people will believe your explanation.  Few will stop to think that the holder of the chicken likely never saw the egg it came from. Was it really brown?

Looked at from a certain point of view what Yuri says is absolutely true.  Looked at from another way and there is a whole lot more too it.  Looking at it in ways uncomfortable to the distorted ways which we all personally see the world is very hard, and often the result is no less distorted.  Looked at from a very high altitude here, Yuri was embellishing authentic beliefs and genuine esoteric knowledge with a practiced spin in return for JBS picking up his tab.

I see the truth of Yuri reflected in today's situation.  Did Russians 'HACK' the election whatever that means? Yes they did.  Did Russians really influence JSP to vote Trump and steal away her rightful fiefdom from Hillary.  No they did not.  A back room of pimple faced chicken chokers and a few hundred thousand dollars did not influence JSP to become an idiot.  JSP did that all by him/her-self.
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Offline Eddie

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3331 on: July 19, 2018, 09:10:02 AM »
Yuri was being interviewed by a member of the John Birch Society.  He was giving JBS exactly what they wanted.  Making the world safe for billionaires one lie at a time.

That that defunct crime syndicate of a communist aberration formerly called the Soviet Union had an active propaganda effort is no surprise.  No surprise too that it had developed a sophisticated understanding of human nature and covert warfare abilities which rivaled the ability of our State Department ability today to start color revolutions and pepper the globe with NGOs of all kinds to further dark and sinister goals.

But what do I know of such things, nothing really, and I implied Yuri lied, but did I?  Read it again.  JBS was what I was referring to.  Yuri told the truth spun with a flair in which he  excelled.  The flair of a trained propagandist.  It was not a career Yuri wanted and that is why he defected from the USSR if you read up on how he got to Canada.

If you are clever and imagine an arc of collapse, Seneca cliff optional, you will find reasons to suit your own political predilections why it will all happen without any problem.  Show someone a chicken and then describe the egg it came from and people will believe your explanation.  Few will stop to think that the holder of the chicken likely never saw the egg it came from. Was it really brown?

Looked at from a certain point of view what Yuri says is absolutely true.  Looked at from another way and there is a whole lot more too it.  Looking at it in ways uncomfortable to the distorted ways which we all personally see the world is very hard, and often the result is no less distorted.  Looked at from a very high altitude here, Yuri was embellishing authentic beliefs and genuine esoteric knowledge with a practiced spin in return for JBS picking up his tab.

I see the truth of Yuri reflected in today's situation.  Did Russians 'HACK' the election whatever that means? Yes they did.  Did Russians really influence JSP to vote Trump and steal away her rightful fiefdom from Hillary.  No they did not.  A back room of pimple faced chicken chokers and a few hundred thousand dollars did not influence JSP to become an idiot.  JSP did that all by him/her-self.

Yup.
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Offline Surly1

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Congratulations, Mr. President: Zuckerberg Secretly Called Trump After The Election-- Internal documents show Facebook’s own marketing strategy was influenced by what it learned from its valued customer, the Trump campaign.

Headshot of Ryan Mac

Ryan Mac

BuzzFeed News Reporter

Headshot of Charlie Warzel

Charlie Warzel

BuzzFeed News Reporter

Last updated on July 20, 2018, at 5:25 a.m. ET

Posted on July 19, 2018, at 3:51 p.m. ET

Tyler Comrie for BuzzFeed News

In the days following Donald Trump’s election victory over Hillary Clinton, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg placed a secret, previously unreported call to the president-elect during which, sources told BuzzFeed News, he congratulated the Trump team on its victory and successful campaign, which spent millions of dollars on advertising with Facebook.

The private call between Zuckerberg and Trump, which was confirmed by three people familiar with the conversation, is just one in a series of private endorsements from Facebook employees of the Trump campaign’s ad efforts on the platform. The company declined to comment on the call. The White House press office did not respond to a request for comment.

While Facebook has been reluctant to publicly acknowledge how well Trump used its social network to reach voters, it has celebrated the Republican presidential candidate’s campaign internally as one of the most imaginative uses of the company’s powerful advertising platform. In addition to interviews with Trump campaign staffers and former Facebook employees, BuzzFeed News obtained company presentations and memos that show the social media giant viewed Trump’s campaign as an “innovator” of a fast-moving, test-oriented approach to marketing on Facebook.

These memos and presentations indicate Facebook took the methods it learned from the Trump campaign to further refine a marketing model called “Test, Learn, Adapt” (TLA), which it currently uses to assess its own advertising. These internal documents are a candid recognition by Facebook of the GOP candidate’s advertising success and reveal the degree to which the company views Trump not just as a potential regulator or a source of misinformation, but also, above all, a valued customer.


SWAYING SENTIMENT

The Trump campaign was able to sway voting sentiment via Facebook advertising with a rapid testing approach, according to a late-2017 Facebook marketing team note on TLA, which discusses the example set by the Republican candidate’s advertising strategy to drive donations and voter turnout.

The company touted the lessons it learned from the Trump campaign for its current "Here Now" effort, a multimillion-dollar advertising push to assuage users’ privacy concerns and the glut of misinformation cluttering the platform. In addition to primetime television spots and “False news is not your friends” bus ads, the effort also included marketing on the Facebook platform itself, where the Zuckerberg-led company fed messages to some of its more than 2 billion users that were calibrated with the help of the TLA ad-testing methodology.

“In reality, Facebook loved us during the campaign,” Gary Coby, the 2016 Trump campaign director of digital advertising and fundraising and RNC director of advertising, told BuzzFeed News. “Their team was heavily involved because it was a great learning experience and Hillary's team was not doing much.”

Another former Trump staffer, speaking on background, confirmed the company was impressed with the campaign’s efforts: "Their team showered tons of praise on our team."

In response to questions from BuzzFeed News, Facebook noted that the company offered the same level of support to both campaigns, reiterating its responses to Congress following Zuckerberg’s appearance in front of both the House and Senate in April.

“While we offer insights into how our products work and provide technical support, campaigns make their own decisions about how to use our tools,” Katie Harbath, Facebook’s global politics and government outreach director, said in a statement to BuzzFeed News.

Trump staffers and Facebook’s internal memos, however, make it clear that it was the Republican presidential candidate’s campaign that used those tools to much greater effect. In an internal presentation document from 2017 obtained by BuzzFeed News, one Facebook marketing group suggested that the company “bring in innovators,” specifically naming the Trump campaign, to brainstorm how it could refine its own ad strategies.

A Facebook spokesperson said the company did not end up inviting anyone from Trump or Clinton’s campaign to present on their use of Facebook. “Our work with the Trump team was similar to that of any major client we have,” the spokesperson said.

Facebook’s reticence to publicly weigh in on the Trump campaign’s use of its ad platform has rankled some within the former campaign. “I believe Facebook was a great platform for the president,” Trump 2016 campaign digital director Brad Parscale, who is now serving as Trump's 2020 campaign manager, told BuzzFeed News. “I’m completely disappointed that Facebook won't step up and announce to the world how well we used the platform and that we changed the way Facebook advertising will work in the future.”

So far, any praise for the Trump campaign’s use of the platform has been made in private. In April, Bloomberg reported that Facebook internally circulated a white paper just after the election that showed that Clinton spent $28 million from June to November 2016, while testing 66,000 different ads. In comparison, Trump spent $44 million in that period and tested 5.9 million versions of ads, suggesting his campaign’s Facebook strategy was “more complex than Clinton’s and better leveraged Facebook’s ability to optimize for outcomes.”

Parscale has echoed those comments, explaining on 60 Minutes last year that the site obsessively tested ad creative and messaging — up to 100,000 different versions per day of different ads. That involved “changing language, words, colors, changing things because certain people like a green button better than a blue button,” he explained to 60 Minutes, outlining the automated alterations that were made to spit out different versions of an ad. “Some people like the word ‘donate’ or ‘contribute.’”

Facebook declined to comment on the white paper.


“FACEBOOK AS IT WAS MEANT TO BE USED”

People familiar with the Trump campaign described a close working relationship with Facebook throughout the campaign. In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Facebook said it “provided advice on best practices including insights on which ad formats were generating the best performance results and how to use their insights to determine best strategies.” The company also noted that most of the work of building and scaling ad campaigns was executed by “third-party vendors.”

While Test, Learn, Adapt had been used by Facebook with other customers before the Trump campaign, documents show that following Trump’s victory, the company used the presidential campaign as a key example of the method’s efficacy. Described by one former employee as “glorified A/B testing” — a common method of running experiments by changing one variable — TLA involved developing “many ad combinations” using different “messaging,” “creative,” “format,” and “delivery,” according to a late-2017 internal Facebook presentation. A client would then test each combination “against the smallest possible audience” on Facebook, with the one generating the most engagement being scaled to a full audience.

The late-2017 presentation said that TLA had already been employed by three different internal Facebook marketing efforts, including a campaign for Facebook’s Craigslist competitor, Marketplace, and to test advertising “to improve perception of information integrity on Newsfeed” to users in Brazil and Indonesia.

That same strategy was also employed on Facebook’s advertising tests for News Feed within the US as part of the current Here Now campaign, according to a former employee and confirmed by a company spokesperson, with millions of Facebook users now opening up the social network’s app or website to see ads proclaiming “Clickbait is not your friend” or “Data misuse is not your friend.”

“Those learnings were taken directly from the Trump campaign,” said the former employee, who declined to be named. “Trump used Facebook as Facebook was meant to be used.”

Still, you won’t hear any current Facebook executives saying that publicly.

“They should have been out celebrating our work like they did with Bernie and Obama,” Coby told BuzzFeed News. “They gave us the same tools, but we took it to another level and showed them how to use their own platform in a way commercial and political marketers haven’t seen before.” ●

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Surly1

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Localization: A Strategic Alternative to Globalized Authoritarianism
« Reply #3333 on: July 20, 2018, 04:13:49 AM »
Localization: A Strategic Alternative to Globalized Authoritarianism
In order to see how corporate deregulation has led to a breakdown of democracy, to increasing fundamentalism and violence, and to the rise of far-right political leaders, it is vitally important that we see the broader connections that mainstream analyses generally ignore.

Children going to school in Hanle, Ladakh. (Photo: Flickr/Prabhu B Doss)

For those who care about peace, equality and the future of the planet, the global political swing to the right over the past few years is deeply worrying. It has us asking ourselves, how did this happen? How did populism turn into such a divisive and destructive force? How did authoritarianism take over the political scene once again?

From my 40 years of experience working in both industrialized and land-based cultures, I believe the primary reason is globalization. When I say globalization, I mean the global economic system in which most of us now live – a system driven by continual corporate deregulation and shaped by neoliberal, capitalist ideologies. But globalization goes deeper than politics and the economy. It has profoundly personal impacts.

Under globalization, competition has increased dramatically, job security has become a thing of the past, and most people find it increasingly difficult to earn a livable wage. At the same time, identity is under threat as cultural diversity is replaced by a consumer monoculture worldwide. Under these conditions it’s not surprising that people become increasingly insecure. As advertisers know from nearly a century of experience, insecurity leaves people easier to exploit. But people today are targeted by more than just marketing campaigns for deodorants and tooth polish: insecurity leaves them highly vulnerable to propaganda that encourages them to blame the cultural “other” for their plight.

Let me illustrate how this happened in Ladakh, or Little Tibet, where I first visited as a young woman and where I have worked for over four decades. Situated in the Indian Himalayas, Ladakh was relatively isolated – culturally and economically – until the late 1960s. When I arrived in the early 70s, a campaign of Western-style development had just been launched by the Indian government – giving me the opportunity to experience what still remained of the ancient culture, and to observe the changes that came with modernization.

In the old culture, work involved providing for the basic needs of the community—food, clothing, housing. Although there was little money, there was no evidence of the kind of poverty one sees all over the so-called ‘developing’ world — where people are hungry or malnourished, and have neither adequate shelter nor clean drinking water. In fact, throughout Ladakh I was told regularly: “We are tung-bos za-bos”, which means “we are self-sufficient, we have plenty to eat and drink”.

During my early years in Ladakh, a remarkable degree of social harmony was evident; particularly noteworthy was the fact that the Buddhist majority and Muslim minority lived peacefully side-by-side. Of course there were problems, as there are in all human societies, but the harmony and joie de vivre I encountered were vastly different to what I’d known growing up in Europe.

Within a decade, however, there was a terrifying shift away from the traditional harmony, as Buddhists and Muslims began seeing one another as enemies. Ethnic and religious differences began to take on a divisive political dimension, causing bitterness and enmity on a scale previously unknown. Young Ladakhis, for whom religion had been just another part of daily life, took exaggerated steps to demonstrate their religious affiliation and devotion. Muslims began requiring their young daughters to cover their heads with scarves. Buddhists in the capital began broadcasting their prayers over loudspeakers, so as to compete with the Muslim prayer call. Religious ceremonies once celebrated by the whole community – Buddhist and Muslim alike – became instead occasions to flaunt one’s wealth and strength. In 1989, tensions between the two groups exploded into violence that took several lives. I heard mild-mannered Buddhist grandmothers, who, a few years earlier were sipping tea with their Muslim neighbors and even celebrating each others’ religious festivals, declare: ”we have to kill the Muslims before they finish us off”.

Outsiders attributed the conflict to old ethnic tensions flaring, but any such tensions had never led to group violence in 600 years of recorded history. As someone who lived there and spoke Ladakhi fluently, I had a unique perspective as both an outsider and insider, and it was obvious to me that there was a connection between the economic changes wrought by development and the sudden appearance of violent conflict.

The most noticeable changes in the economy centered on food and farming. Imported food, heavily subsidized by the Indian government, now sold at half the price of localproducts, making local agriculture seem “uneconomic”. Food self-reliance was steadily replaced by dependence on the global food system, and many Ladakhis – the vast majority of whom were farmers – began to wonder if there was a future for them.

Changes in education also had a huge impact. In the past, Ladakhi children learned the skills needed to survive, even to prosper, in this difficult environment: they learned to grow food, to tend for animals, to build houses from local resources. But in the new Westernized schools, children were instead provided skills appropriate for an urban life within a globalized economy – a way of life in which almost every need is imported. The new schools taught almost nothing about the Ladakhi way of life; instead children were implicitly taught to look down on the traditional culture.

The locus of political and economic power changed as well. Traditionally, the household was the center of the economy, with most of the larger decisions taken at a village level. With the arrival of the new economy, economic and political power became centralized in the capital city, Leh, leaving villagers out of decisions that deeply affected their lives. Meanwhile, young men were being pulled out of their villages into Leh in search of paid jobs. Suddenly cut off from their village community and in cutthroat competition with hundreds of others for scarce jobs, their once secure sense of identity was deeply eroded.

These changes were further amplified by an influx of foreign tourists, by the introduction of satellite television, and by a bombardment of advertising campaigns – all of which served to romanticize western, urban culture, making the Ladakhis feel backward and stupid by contrast.

It was clear to me that the arrival of the global economy had created a pervasive sense of insecurity and disempowerment. On a practical level, the Ladakhis were becoming dependent on far-off manufacturers and centralized bureaucracies instead of on each other. Psychologically, they had lost confidence in themselves and their culture. It is not hard to see how people who feel insecure and disempowered can turn to anger and extremism.

The speed and scale at which these changes took place in Ladakh was overwhelming, making the structural connection between globalization, insecurity and conflict very obvious. It was also clear that the same process is underway around the world: the economic system, I realized, has become a driver of fear, fundamentalism and political instability worldwide. And in both the global North and South, the enormous psychological and material insecurity fostered by globalization has greatly magnified the ability of demagogues to use fear and prejudice to manipulate public opinion.

To reverse this trend, neither a politics of identity, nor of conventional ‘left’ versus ‘right’ politics, is sufficient. Instead, we need to fundamentally change the structural economic forces at the root of the problem. Those forces have been unleashed by the deregulation of global banks and corporations, and reversing that process is our best hope for peace and stability.

In order to see how corporate deregulation has led to a breakdown of democracy, to increasing fundamentalism and violence, and to the rise of far-right political leaders, it is vitally important that we see the broader connections that mainstream analyses generally ignore.

Globalization & Insecurity

Many people, especially on the left, associate globalization with international collaboration, travel and the spread of humanitarian values. But at its core, globalization is an economic process – one that has been at the heart of neoliberal ideology and the corporate agenda since the end of Word War II. In the Global South, it’s referred to as ‘development’, in the global North, as progress. But in both North and South the fundamental process is the same: the deregulation, centralization and privatization of business, finance and politics.

These days, this is mainly accomplished through ‘free trade’ treaties that give corporate entities the freedom to move across the world in search of the cheapest labor, the least stringent health and environmental standards, the biggest tax breaks and the most generous subsidies. These treaties enable corporations to move operations – and consequently jobs – wherever they please. They even give them the right to sue governments over laws or regulations that threaten their potential profits – thus making a complete mockery of democracy. Locked into a system requiring constant global “growth”, communities have seen their local economies undermined, pulling them into dependence on a volatile corporate-led economy over which they have no control.

The trajectory of growing corporate power is not inevitable or natural, nor is it a consequence of supposed ‘efficiencies of scale’, as many assume it to be. Rather, it is the result of decades of policy choices by national governments as well as international bodies like the World Bank and the IMF, which deliberately support the big and the global in the belief that corporate growth is the pathway to peace and prosperity. Not only have global corporations and banks been allowed to take advantage of differences in labor, health, safety, and environmental standards across the globe, they have also been granted huge tax breaks and massive direct subsidies. Even more insidiously, the corporate system has been built on a range of indirect subsidies – largely for the infrastructure on which globalization depends. Global marketers like Wal-Mart, Amazon and Apple require a well-developed and constantly expanding transport network of seaports, railways, airports and mega-highways, as well as massive amounts of heavily subsidized fossil fuels for transport. To monitor their supply and delivery chains they also need advanced satellite communications technologies – something also required by global banks and financial institutions for moving capital around the world. In almost every country, educational systems have been shifted towards training students for the skills needed by the corporate world. All these mechanisms structurally favor big and global businesses over those that are localized or place-based, and most have been paid for not by the corporations themselves, but by the taxpayer.[1]

Even the global businesses that appear to have been ‘bootstrapped’ into existence by charismatic entrepreneurs owe much of their success to government largesse. As author Mariana Mazzucato argues, even the iPhone was less a product of Steve Jobs’ imagination than of publicly funded research by the US Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation.[2] And Elon Musk’s futuristic businesses have benefited not only from $5 billion in direct local, state and federal support, but from decades of research on, among other things, rocket technology.[3]

Job insecurity

As corporations have been freed up, the jobs they provide have become increasingly insecure. For example, under the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the USA suffered a net loss of an estimated 700,000 jobs as manufacturers relocated to Mexico, where wages were cheaper and labor standards lower.[5] But globalization is an ongoing ‘race to the bottom’, so not all of those jobs stayed in Mexico: between October 2000 and December 2003 alone, Mexico lost 300,000 jobs because Chinese mass-produced exports to the United States were cheaper.[5] Overall, Mexico’s farmers were the biggest losers: highly subsidized agricultural products from the United States infiltrated their local markets, undermining the livelihoods of approximately 2.3 million small farmers.[6] Many of these farmers ended up in Mexico’s crowded cities, where they were forced to compete with one another for low-paying industrial jobs. With few viable options, many ended up migrating – legally or not – to the United States. These victims of globalization, ironically enough, often became the far right’s scapegoats for American job losses.

While the media has emphasized rising standards of living among industrial workers in the global South, the benefits for workers there are heavily outweighed by the benefits to the corporations that offshore their manufacturing operations. Of the price paid for an Apple iPhone, for example, less than 2% goes to the Chinese workers involved in its production, while 58% is captured by Apple as profit.[7]

It’s not only the disappearance of jobs that leads to stagnant or declining standards of living, but the threat that jobs can be easily taken elsewhere if workers don’t accept lower wages, longer hours or fewer benefits. In this way, the many multilateral and bilateral “free trade” treaties now in force serve to undercut workers’ bargaining power and depress wages even for the corporate jobs that haven’t been offshored.

Jobs are also lost as businesses are centralized and scaled up. When a global corporation – propped up by a range of tax breaks and subsidies – enters a new market, the local economy tends to experience a net loss of jobs, as smaller competitors that tend to be more dependent on human labor go out of business. Some studies have shown that every new supermarket in the UK entails a net loss of 276 jobs.[8] The online marketer Amazon has destroyed 150,000 more jobs than it has created, according to a report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.[9] Like other online retailers, Amazon has not only benefited from communications and transport infrastructures built at public expense, it has avoided collecting state and local sales tax from its US customers – sales tax revenues that states and localities desperately need – giving Amazon a price advantage of as much as 9.75% over main street businesses.[10]

At the same time, many jobs are being lost to advanced technology. The obvious example is in manufacturing, where robots have replaced a wide range of skilled workers, but technology is having a similar impact on agriculture. The global economy’s export-led markets demand huge amounts of standardized commodities; producing those foods on a large scale means monocultural production, which is heavily dependent on industrial machinery and chemical inputs, but requires only a relatively small agricultural labor force. As a result, there have been massive declines in livelihoods in the agricultural sector. In the EU, nearly 4 million farms with holdings under 10 hectares have disappeared in the last decade; today, just 3% of farms control more than 50% of total EU farmland.[11] In the US, the Census Bureau considers farmers such a demographically insignificant population that it no longer tracks their numbers, but it is estimated that there are now fewer farmers in America than there are people in prison.[12] As information technology becomes more sophisticated, jobs in many other sectors are being transferred away from people to computers. For now, poorly-paid manual work and highly-skilled positions are relatively protected from this trend, but technological advance is leaving everyone more insecure about their job.[13]

Political insecurity

Deregulation of corporations, including banks, has enabled a handful of giants to monopolize global markets. Some have grown bigger than nation states, both in terms of wealth and political influence. These multinationals have used their unprecedented power to lobby governments into still more economic deregulation, using mechanisms such as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses in free trade treaties to sue governments and attack public-interest regulations.[14]

While ‘free trade’ gives big players the freedom to do as they please, it means quite the opposite – more regulation and restrictions – for smaller, nationally-based players. Governments have been lobbied by big business to constrain the activities of smaller businesses by locking them into unreasonable standards and convoluted bureaucracy. In many cases, an unfair burden falls on small-scale enterprises through regulations aimed at problems caused by large-scale production. Battery-style chicken farms, for example, clearly need significant environmental and health regulations: their millions of genetically-identical, closely confined animals are highly prone to disease, their tonnes of concentrated effluent need to be safely disposed of, and the long-distance transport of processed poultry entails the risk of spoilage. Yet a small producer – such as a farmer with a few dozen free-range chickens – is subject to essentially the same regulations, often raising costs to levels that make it impossible to remain in business. Large-scale producers can spread the cost of compliance over a far greater volume, making it appear that they enjoy ‘economies of scale’ over smaller producers.

At the same time, governments themselves have been impoverished by corporate deregulation. Their funds have been stretched by the heavy subsidies handed out to attract big business, and their revenues have been eroded by tax breaks, offshoring, and the ability of multinationals to hide profits in countries with lower tax rates. The deregulation of finance has left governments ever more indebted to global banks and corporations. At the same time, governments are left to cover all the externalities – the social and environmental problems that are the inevitable by-products of global growth.

Increasingly distanced from the institutions which make decisions that affect their lives, and insecure about their economic livelihoods, many people have become frustrated, angry, and disillusioned with the current political system. Although democratic systems worldwide have been hugely compromised by the de factogovernment of deregulated banks and corporations, most people blame government leaders at home. Because they don’t see the bigger picture, increasing numbers of people have grown susceptible to the false claims and empty promises of unconventional, authoritarian candidates, who are thereby able to gain a foothold in political arenas.

Psychological insecurity

As local, even national, economies are undermined, the fabric of interdependence that holds communities together begins to fray. This not only leads to social fragmentation and isolation, it also unravels the safety net ensuring that the surrounding community can be relied upon for help in times of hardship.

At the same time, the global consumer culture that supports corporate growth is relentlessly expanding. People all over the world are targeted with advertising messages telling them: “you are not good enough as you are, but you can improve yourself by buying our product.”

As face-to-face relationships deteriorate and real-life role models are replaced by distant, artificial images of perfection in mass media and in the hyperbolic world of social media, unhealthy comparison runs rife. These trends are associated with rising rates of disorders such as anorexia, anxiety, aggression and even suicide, while social isolation, domestic stress and increasing economic pressures have given rise to epidemics of depression and addiction.[15]

Left insecure and marginalized by the new economy, people can be highly vulnerable to prejudice. In the global South especially, the breakdown of communities and cultures is severing rich intergenerational relationships and uprooting identities, often replacing them with unhealthy alternatives that reflect a desperate need for belonging. Ideological fundamentalism and extremism seem to offer an explanation for worsening social and personal ills, as well as a radical solution. It can provide personal validation and meaning, solidarity and a sense of community – all essential human needs that have been undermined by globalization.

The uprooting of land-based populations – a dramatic and visible trend in the countries of the global South – has been the driver of much of the ethnic conflict, fundamentalism and radicalism in that part of the world. In the global North, rural areas have been similarly hollowed out by global economic forces. Small family farms tied to the global food economy are caught between the rising prices charged by the agribusinesses that sell them inputs and equipment, and the falling prices paid by those that purchase their production. They simply cannot compete with heavily subsidized export-led agribusinesses, and their steady demise has decimated the localeconomies and communities they once supported. Young people who have grown up in these rural areas often see no future for themselves there: not only are jobs scarce, but – just as in Ladakh – the media and advertising tell them that urban life is ‘cool’, glamorous and exciting by contrast. These parts of the country – referred to as ‘the heartland’ in the United States – have become fertile ground for far-right authoritarian movements.

Challenging Authoritarianism: the prospect of localization

We urgently need widespread awareness of the big picture of economic deregulation and its impacts on our communities and personal lives. It is only ignorance about this system that enables the pseudo-solutions of Trump, Brexit, Duterte and others to gain strength, even as the global economic system marches onwards, unfettered. Despite the fact that these right-wing political forces are often branded as “anti-globalist”, they are actually serving to strengthen global monopolies.[16]

Any movement to address the woes of the disenfranchised must not only expose and diagnose the systemic illness of economic deregulation, but must also present a coherent alternative. I believe economic localization is the most strategic solution. The localized path would involve a 180-degree turn-around in economic policy, so that business and finance become place-based and accountable to democratic processes. This means re-regulation of global corporations and banks, as well as a shift in taxes and subsidies so that they no longer favor the big and the global but instead support small scale on a large scale. Rebuilding stronger, more diversified, self-reliant economies at the national, regional and local level is essential to restoring democracy and a real economy based on sustainable use of natural resources – an economy that serves essential human needs, lessens inequality and promotes social harmony.

The way to bring this change about is not to simply vote for a new candidate within the same compromised political structure. We instead need to build up diverse and united people’s movements to create a political force that can bring about systemic localization. It means raising awareness of the way that globalization has made a mockery of democracy, and making it clear that business needs to be place-based in order to be accountable and subject to the democratic process. We need to start talking politics with one another – with those concerned about social justice and peace, those focused on unemployment, environmental issues, or spiritual and ethical values. It means raising awareness of the common interest that unites single-issue campaigns and bridges left-right antagonism. Creating face-to-face local groups that then link up nation-wide and even internationally, can form a diverse movement – a critical mass – which can enter politics and remain strong in its pro-democracy/anti-corporate position, despite the systemic vested interests that it will inevitably have to challenge.

Although such a global movement has not yet arisen, in some countries we’ve seen glimpses of the widespread desire for fundamental change. In the last UK election, the Labour party manifesto included several progressive measures, such as re-nationalizing key sectors that have been taken over by private corporations. Although Labour did not win the election, it received a large proportion of the vote. In the US, the 2016 presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders was another example of a politician responding to the growing chorus of voices critical of corporate control of the economy.

However, the issue is complex: the nation state remains the political entity best suited to putting limits on global business, but at the same time more decentralized economic structures are needed, particularly when it comes to meeting basic needs. These localized economies require an umbrella of environmental and social protection strengthened by national and even international regulation, but determined through local political engagement. This comes close to the platform of La Via Campesina, originally Latin American but now global in scope. Although it does not run candidates for political office, it has come to represent over 400 million small farmers worldwide in campaigning for food sovereignty and in opposition to corporate deregulation.

Localization is a solution-multiplier. It can restore democracy by reducing the influence of big business on politics and holding representatives accountable to people, not corporations. It can reverse the concentration of wealth by fostering the creation of more small businesses and keeping money circulating locally. It can minimize pollution and waste by providing for real human needs rather than desires manufactured by the consumer culture, and by shortening distances between producers and consumers.

Localization also enables people to see more clearly the impacts of their actions: in smaller-scale economies, for example, one readily knows whether food production is dependent on toxic chemicals, whether farm workers have been mistreated, and whether the land remains healthy. In this way, business becomes more accountable.[17]

By prioritizing diversified production for local needs over specialized production for export, localization redistributes economic and political power from global monopolies to millions of small producers, farmers and businesses. It thereby decentralizes political power and roots it in community, giving people more agency over the changes they wish to see in their own lives.

The exponential growth in localization initiatives – from food-based efforts like community gardens, farmers’ markets, community-supported agriculture schemes and urban agriculture, to local business alliances, decentralized renewable energy schemes, tool lending libraries and community-based education projects – attests to the fact that more and more people are arriving, in a largely common-sense way, at localization as a systemic solution to the problems they face.

Here is a brief sampling of some initiatives already underway:

  • In Fitzroy, Australia, people meet monthly at a local park to exchange produce, seeds, eggs, jam, chutney, flowers, recipes and gardening tips. There is no money involved and people are encouraged to take what they want. This self-described Urban Harvest not only helps people save money on food, it provides an opportunity for residents to get to know their neighbours and build community links.[18]
  • In the US state of Vermont, The Pine Island Community farm enables refugees, mostly from Africa and Asia, to continue the agrarian and culinary traditions they left behind when they were driven from their homes. Not only does the farm offer these immigrants the opportunity to grow and raise affordable, culturally relevant foods, it connects them with each other and with their new community.[19]
  • In Oxfordshire, UK, the Low Carbon Hub is working to create a locally-owned, decentralized renewable energy infrastructure, turning rooftops and brownfields into a micro-grid for local needs. The project is paid for through sales of community share offers.[20]
  • Even the financial system – the source of so much mischief and woe – is being localized with profound effects. In the slums of Fortaleza, Brazil, for example, a community bank, Las Palmas, was created and is governed by local residents with the aim of meeting local needs. Among other things, it issued its own currency, which circulates only within the community. When the project began, only 20% of purchases were made locally; today, that number is over 90%.[21]

These are just a handful of the literally thousands of creative grassroots initiatives that demonstrate both the viability of localization and its systemic benefits.

Unfortunately, localization is sometimes confused with isolationism and even right-wing nationalism. In fact, the opposite is true: localization requires international collaboration and solidarity in order to halt the corporate juggernaut; it is built upon a profound respect for cultural diversity, and therefore tolerance for differences.

The town of Preston in the UK is a good example of how localization expands collaboration. In 2011, the city and county councils set about localizing procurement in response to cuts in national government funding. By changing the spending focus of six regional institutions, including a police force, housing associations and colleges, they managed to increase the amount spent at local suppliers from 14% to 28% in two years. Concurrently, there was a growth in the number of local cooperative businesses.[22] Far from being isolationist, the Preston council is now collaborating with other cities across the EU, as part of the Europe-wide Procure Network, to explore how they can make similar changes in their local economies.

Other networks are growing at national and international levels. These include the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), which unites hundreds of localbusiness leaders from all over North America to share best practices. Likewise, the New Economy Coalition brings together NGOs, businesses and activists across North America to exchange strategies for localizing. The Transition Town network links together groups that are working to de-link as much as possible from the fossil fuel economy. My organization, LocalFutures, has set up an International Alliance for Localization (IAL), which takes this exchange to a global level and currently includes organizations and individual members from more than 50 countries. True localization means small scale on a large scale, and that takes collaboration at all levels.

A major challenge to the acceptance of a localist agenda among progressives has been the impression that local and natural are ‘elitist’ and affordable only to those of comfortable means. Corporate think tanks have been effective in disseminating this message, but the relatively higher cost of healthy alternatives – whether organic food, local natural building materials and fibers, or alternative medicine – is largely a product of externalized costs and government subsidies for export-oriented corporate production. Strip away all that artificial support and the cost of globalized products would be out of reach for most.

A related ‘elitism’ charge is that the Northerners working to localize their economies are turning their backs on the impoverished people of the global South, who need Northern markets to pull themselves out of poverty. The truth is that many years of export-oriented ‘development’ (with its roots in colonialism and slavery) have left most countries of the South deeply in debt – most of it incurred to build up the infrastructure needed for global trade. Today, the lion’s share of the wealth created on the backs of Southern workers goes to finance this debt, not to meet local needs. Promoting localization means encouraging people in both North and South to diversify their economic activity and become more self-reliant. For Northerners, this would mean getting off the backs of people on the other side of the world, whose impoverishment is a direct consequence of having been forced into producing for export rather than for their own needs. Reversing dependency on both sides would not involve some sort of overnight boycott; instead it would be a careful economic process that includes close North-South grassroots collaboration.

In light of our global crises – environmental, social and economic – governments would do well to fundamentally shift direction. Rather than continuing to deregulate and subsidize big, global banks and businesses, they should focus instead on supporting local trade and small producers. Since food is something that everyone, everywhere, needs every day, a key focus should be on rebuilding the local food economy. Doing so strengthens the entire economy, rebuilds community, and helps heal the environment. It also contributes to resiliency in the face of climate change: diverse localized production systems in an interdependent network, rather than dependence for our basic needs on far-off sources, will better equip communities to withstand the upheavals to come.

Needless to say, the PR departments of global corporations are working hard to counter this message – telling us that whatever the costs of the global food system we have no choice but to double-down on chemical- and energy-intensive monocultures, genetic engineering and global trade if we are to feed the world’s growing population.[23] What they simply ignore is that studies conducted all over the world reveal that smaller farms are more productive per unit of land, water, and energy than large-scale monocultures.[24] Industrial agriculture is only efficient when measured in output per unit of labor: monocultures are great if the goal is profit for the few at the expense of millions of farm jobs, but not if the goal is to sustainably produce as much food as possible with the earth’s limited supply of arable land, fresh water and energy.

Those who live in the global North – where the industrialization of agriculture has been underway for many generations – can easily lose sight of the fact that most of the food consumed in the world today is produced by small farmers on holdings of fewer than 5 acres.[25] To replace those smallholdings with industrial monocultures means destroying the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people, and pushing them into real poverty in urban slums. We should not be surprised when a sizeable fraction of those millions become frustrated, angry, and susceptible to extremist views.

The global food system is inefficient in other ways, especially when one considers ‘redundant trade’. In a typical year, Britain exports over 100,000 tons each of milk, bread, and pork, while importing nearly identical amounts. The same is true in the US, which exports and imports nearly 1 million tons of beef, and hundreds of thousands of tons of potatoes, sugar, and coffee.[26] In some cases, it is literally the same product that is both exported and imported: for example, prawns from Scotland are routinely shipped to China to be shelled by hand, then shipped back to Scotland where they are breaded, packaged and sold.[27] This may pad the bottom lines of the agribusinesses involved, but it can hardly be called efficient.

As it is, the trade-based food system is incapable of feeding the current global population sustainably. With food more tightly controlled by corporations than ever before, some 870 million people are undernourished[28] – even though more than enough food is produced to adequately feed everyone on the planet. In the US, for example, long supply chains and the corporate elimination of cosmetically blemished produce means that over 40 percent of the food grown for human consumption is eventually discarded.[29] The amount of food thrown away globally is four times what would be necessary to feed all the malnourished people in the world.[30]

To support the local food movement, subsidies could be redirected towards strengthening local infrastructures, including distribution lines that connect localproducers with local consumers, and even giving financial support to small-scale, diversified farms themselves. Such policy changes would see local, job-rich, community-based, ecological economic systems become the mainstream remarkably quickly, thereby enabling even low-income wage earners around the world to benefit from their local economy. Similarly, reducing subsidies for fossil fuels and increasing taxes on more polluting industries would internalize many of the hidden costs of resource-intensive economic systems, bringing market prices more in line with actual resource and pollution costs. These shifts would have the effect of making localproducts the cheaper, more accessible option for the wider population.

The rise of authoritarianism is just one of many interrelated impacts of economic globalization. Today’s global economy heightens economic insecurity, fractures communities, and undermines individual and cultural identity – thereby creating conditions that are ripe for the rise of authoritarian leaders. If globalization’s environmental costs – climate change, desertification, flooding – are allowed to rise, we can expect ever larger waves of refugees that will further destabilize nation-states while straining their willingness, as well as their ability, to act humanely.

The most strategic way to address all of these crises is to immediately begin scaling down and decentralizing economic activity, giving communities and local economies the ability to meet as many of their own needs as possible, including the human need for connection.

The movement for economic localization will require many facets of strategic change-making: the spread of awareness, dynamic political campaigning, enlightened grassroots action and international collaboration. This may seem inadequate to the scale of the crises we face, but the banner of localization has the potential to engage huge numbers of people from both sides of the traditional political spectrum, and to bring together hundreds of single-issue campaigns. It enables us to move past the “blame game” and the antagonistic divisions caused by confusion and fear-mongering, instead uniting us in a common cause underpinned by big picture understanding of the common roots of our many crises. In this way, systemic, collaborative localization is ultimately the most effective antidote to authoritarianism.

This article was originally published by the Transnational Institute.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Surly1

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People Don’t Buy Products, They Buy Better Versions of Themselves
« Reply #3334 on: July 21, 2018, 07:51:59 AM »
Interesting. Always good to know the extensive pedigree of how we are being manipulated. As noted earlier in a different story. AI Lagos have taken that to new depths.

People Don’t Buy Products, They Buy Better Versions of Themselves-- What Apple, Samsung, and Starbucks learned from Pepsi

Go to the profile of Zander Nethercutt

Photo by John Fornander on Unsplash

The year was 1957, and Pepsi — like many of the youth at that time — was dealing with an identity crisis. Despite efforts from marketers, Pepsi was being outsold by its biggest competitor and perpetual market leader — Coke — by a factor just shy of six to one, even as it was selling at half of Coke’s price. It wasn’t the product that was lacking, it was that Pepsi’s brand ethos — indecisive and directionless — was a fragmented shell of what it would need to become to take on Coke.

At the time, Coke was unrivaled, having succeeded in convincing the American public that they’d captured everything good and wholesome about American life within the murky confines of a glass bottle. This clear transcendence of the competition was not unlike Apple’s; like devotees react viscerally to a green speech bubble in iMessage, so too was it that, to anyone who embraced the deeply American traits of exceptionalism, community-mindedness, and of course, Santa Claus, consuming anything other than Coke would’ve been considered heresy.

Coke even affiliated itself with Santa Claus. Photo by Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG/Getty

In 1963, Pepsi hired a young advertising executive named Alan Pottasch to address the issue. Pottasch’s task was, to put it gently, difficult. He was to reinvigorate a brand competing against one of the most successful of all time, a product that not only outclassed Pepsi in every consumer-driven category, but was also — chemically — nearly identical. And so Pottasch made a decision that would later become iconic — as he put it, “…to stop talking about the product, and start talking about the user.” Here is Tim Wu in his book, The Attention Merchants, on the decision:

[Pottasch] thus conceived of marketing Pepsi without reference to its inherent qualities, focusing instead on an image of the people who bought it, or should be buying it.

For the first time in history, a brand decided to promote the type of user that purchased a product as opposed to the product itself. Beyond that, Pepsi promoted the idea of an entirely new generation, one free from the manipulative, consumerist messages being perpetuated by the mass media. (It was, after all, the 1960s.) This group would come to be known as “The Pepsi Generation.”


The Pepsi Generation was revolutionary because it was the first time a brand convinced people to purchase their product by focusing on the type of person that doing so made them. No generation before had ever so vocally longed to transcend themselves — to escape the consumerist mindset and achieve truly independent thought — and thus Pepsi’s message, drink our product and do exactly that, reached the perfect group at the perfect moment.

Here’s Wu quoting Pottasch on the success of the campaign:

“For us to name and claim a whole generation after our product was a rather courageous thing,” Pottasch would later remember, “that we weren’t sure would take off.” But his intuition would prove correct. “What you drank said something about who you were. We painted an image of our consumer as active, vital, and young at heart.”

Over the next decade, Pepsi — as a result of the Pepsi Generation campaign — gained significant market share on Coke. And while the campaign was revolutionary, the recipe for its success was simple. As Wu points out, “Desire’s most natural endpoint is consumption.” In other words, the campaign simply reimagined what people desired. This generation longed to escape consumerism, and the fact that Pepsi convinced them to do so by embracing it — purchasing a Pepsi, after all, is about as consumerist as it gets — is a testament to the genius of the campaign. Those who bought in and became a part of the Pepsi generation were searching for a new way to feel, rather than a new beverage to drink. Pepsi’s genius was that it found a way to be both.


The profundity of the Pepsi Generation campaign is twofold. First, its success reinvigorated a brand on the verge of being knocked out in an early round by one of the greatest competitors of the 20th century — Coke. Second, even decades later, it is nearly impossible to find a brand that has not used the strategy Pepsi pioneered: selling not a product, but a better version of ourselves.

Consider Apple. To be an Apple user — at least in the era of Jobs — was to “think different.” Critics might laugh at that characterization of an Apple user now, given the homogeneity and ubiquity of Apple products, especially among the wealthy. But those critics would miss what Apple didn’t: people don’t buy products because of what those products do, they buy products because of what they can do — or what they imagine they can do — with them. This idea even permeates Apple’s retail strategy. Apple employees will never show you how a product works, rather they will let you use it, forcing you to familiarize yourself with the product, yes, but more importantly, yourself in its presence. A diverse range of product options to choose from, after all, will never be as captivating as a homogenous product that turns you into a superhero — and Apple has the latter in spades.

The silhouette is nothing if not an invitation for you to imagine yourself in the context of the iPod. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty

Samsung learned this the hard way, dogmatically focusing as they did for the longest time on promoting the features of their products, as opposed to the person you could be by using them. Now they avoid talking about the speed of their processors or the depth of the blacks in their screens because 99% of people don’t care; what they do care about — selfishly — is what they will become — “makers, directors, creators,” in the words of Casey Neistat — if they use a Samsung product. The message? Be like us. The solution? Buy a Samsung.

Samsung even reworked Pepsi’s initial genius, realizing that it is as powerful to portray the person people aspire to be as it is to portray the person they aspire not to be — in Samsung’s case, the brainwashed Apple user who never makes the switch. The consumer who finally does is the one Samsung shows in their commercial, “Growing Up,” the better version of the “Apple Sheep,” portrayed leaving behind those who foolishly opt for the iPhone, the clearest among them a scowling man with the iPhone X’s trademark “notch” etched into his hairline. The message? Don’t be him. The solution? Buy a Samsung.

It is far from just tech companies, though. Adidas and Nike both do it, the former with a similar line of thinking to Samsung’s, and a similar list of influencers. Starbucks does it by crafting beverages like the Unicorn Frappuccino, a drink that famously and unsurprisingly “looks better than it tastes.” While a poorly-flavored but photogenic drink wouldn’t have sold in prior generations, to this generation — our generation — it does. Why?

Similar to how Pepsi understood they would never compete with Coke on product alone, Starbucks understands that in 2018, it is less about the drink itself than it is about who the drink makes you — on Instagram, and thus in real life. And regardless of what you think about us millennials — narcissistic, selfish, vain, outspoken — one thing is abundantly clear: as a result of social media and the Internet, our generation is more conscious of how we are perceived — by friends, family, colleges, jobs, hell, even people we’ve never met — than any other generation, ever.

Social media is well-understood to be contributing to identity politics, but I’d argue it’s contributing to something deeper: identity paralysis. This condition is one in which we have a forced awareness of how everything we say and do — even the seemingly inconsequential, like the shoes we wear, or the airline we fly — reflects on us. It follows that our generation would also be uniquely drawn to brands that make us feel how we want to feel about ourselves, even as how we want to feel about ourselves is often nothing more than how we want to be perceived externally. Like Starbucks with the Unicorn Frappuccino, we prioritize external perception over just about everything else. The social media market, where we live now, demands a focus on visible characteristics — which are, by their very nature, external — from designer drinks, yes, but from individuals, too.

Given all of this, I propose that analysts routinely overlook how people feel in the context of a brand when considering the value of a company. This “statistic” isn’t discussed on earnings calls and there is no way to measure it on a balance sheet. But perhaps that’s because it has only begun to matter; Pepsi, after all, was the first company in history to market itself by promoting the image of consumer that drank it, as opposed to the product itself — and that was only 50 years ago. Since then, consumers, aided by social media, have become far more conscious of who they are in the context of the products they use than even Pepsi could’ve imagined. In this society of ultra-conscious consumers, successful brands will be those that make consumers feel the way they want to feel about themselves.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Eddie

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Re: People Don’t Buy Products, They Buy Better Versions of Themselves
« Reply #3335 on: July 21, 2018, 10:25:02 AM »
Interesting. Always good to know the extensive pedigree of how we are being manipulated. As noted earlier in a different story. AI Lagos have taken that to new depths.

People Don’t Buy Products, They Buy Better Versions of Themselves-- What Apple, Samsung, and Starbucks learned from Pepsi

Go to the profile of Zander Nethercutt

Photo by John Fornander on Unsplash

The year was 1957, and Pepsi — like many of the youth at that time — was dealing with an identity crisis. Despite efforts from marketers, Pepsi was being outsold by its biggest competitor and perpetual market leader — Coke — by a factor just shy of six to one, even as it was selling at half of Coke’s price. It wasn’t the product that was lacking, it was that Pepsi’s brand ethos — indecisive and directionless — was a fragmented shell of what it would need to become to take on Coke.

At the time, Coke was unrivaled, having succeeded in convincing the American public that they’d captured everything good and wholesome about American life within the murky confines of a glass bottle. This clear transcendence of the competition was not unlike Apple’s; like devotees react viscerally to a green speech bubble in iMessage, so too was it that, to anyone who embraced the deeply American traits of exceptionalism, community-mindedness, and of course, Santa Claus, consuming anything other than Coke would’ve been considered heresy.

Coke even affiliated itself with Santa Claus. Photo by Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG/Getty

In 1963, Pepsi hired a young advertising executive named Alan Pottasch to address the issue. Pottasch’s task was, to put it gently, difficult. He was to reinvigorate a brand competing against one of the most successful of all time, a product that not only outclassed Pepsi in every consumer-driven category, but was also — chemically — nearly identical. And so Pottasch made a decision that would later become iconic — as he put it, “…to stop talking about the product, and start talking about the user.” Here is Tim Wu in his book, The Attention Merchants, on the decision:

[Pottasch] thus conceived of marketing Pepsi without reference to its inherent qualities, focusing instead on an image of the people who bought it, or should be buying it.

For the first time in history, a brand decided to promote the type of user that purchased a product as opposed to the product itself. Beyond that, Pepsi promoted the idea of an entirely new generation, one free from the manipulative, consumerist messages being perpetuated by the mass media. (It was, after all, the 1960s.) This group would come to be known as “The Pepsi Generation.”


The Pepsi Generation was revolutionary because it was the first time a brand convinced people to purchase their product by focusing on the type of person that doing so made them. No generation before had ever so vocally longed to transcend themselves — to escape the consumerist mindset and achieve truly independent thought — and thus Pepsi’s message, drink our product and do exactly that, reached the perfect group at the perfect moment.

Here’s Wu quoting Pottasch on the success of the campaign:

“For us to name and claim a whole generation after our product was a rather courageous thing,” Pottasch would later remember, “that we weren’t sure would take off.” But his intuition would prove correct. “What you drank said something about who you were. We painted an image of our consumer as active, vital, and young at heart.”

Over the next decade, Pepsi — as a result of the Pepsi Generation campaign — gained significant market share on Coke. And while the campaign was revolutionary, the recipe for its success was simple. As Wu points out, “Desire’s most natural endpoint is consumption.” In other words, the campaign simply reimagined what people desired. This generation longed to escape consumerism, and the fact that Pepsi convinced them to do so by embracing it — purchasing a Pepsi, after all, is about as consumerist as it gets — is a testament to the genius of the campaign. Those who bought in and became a part of the Pepsi generation were searching for a new way to feel, rather than a new beverage to drink. Pepsi’s genius was that it found a way to be both.


The profundity of the Pepsi Generation campaign is twofold. First, its success reinvigorated a brand on the verge of being knocked out in an early round by one of the greatest competitors of the 20th century — Coke. Second, even decades later, it is nearly impossible to find a brand that has not used the strategy Pepsi pioneered: selling not a product, but a better version of ourselves.

Consider Apple. To be an Apple user — at least in the era of Jobs — was to “think different.” Critics might laugh at that characterization of an Apple user now, given the homogeneity and ubiquity of Apple products, especially among the wealthy. But those critics would miss what Apple didn’t: people don’t buy products because of what those products do, they buy products because of what they can do — or what they imagine they can do — with them. This idea even permeates Apple’s retail strategy. Apple employees will never show you how a product works, rather they will let you use it, forcing you to familiarize yourself with the product, yes, but more importantly, yourself in its presence. A diverse range of product options to choose from, after all, will never be as captivating as a homogenous product that turns you into a superhero — and Apple has the latter in spades.

The silhouette is nothing if not an invitation for you to imagine yourself in the context of the iPod. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty

Samsung learned this the hard way, dogmatically focusing as they did for the longest time on promoting the features of their products, as opposed to the person you could be by using them. Now they avoid talking about the speed of their processors or the depth of the blacks in their screens because 99% of people don’t care; what they do care about — selfishly — is what they will become — “makers, directors, creators,” in the words of Casey Neistat — if they use a Samsung product. The message? Be like us. The solution? Buy a Samsung.

Samsung even reworked Pepsi’s initial genius, realizing that it is as powerful to portray the person people aspire to be as it is to portray the person they aspire not to be — in Samsung’s case, the brainwashed Apple user who never makes the switch. The consumer who finally does is the one Samsung shows in their commercial, “Growing Up,” the better version of the “Apple Sheep,” portrayed leaving behind those who foolishly opt for the iPhone, the clearest among them a scowling man with the iPhone X’s trademark “notch” etched into his hairline. The message? Don’t be him. The solution? Buy a Samsung.

It is far from just tech companies, though. Adidas and Nike both do it, the former with a similar line of thinking to Samsung’s, and a similar list of influencers. Starbucks does it by crafting beverages like the Unicorn Frappuccino, a drink that famously and unsurprisingly “looks better than it tastes.” While a poorly-flavored but photogenic drink wouldn’t have sold in prior generations, to this generation — our generation — it does. Why?

Similar to how Pepsi understood they would never compete with Coke on product alone, Starbucks understands that in 2018, it is less about the drink itself than it is about who the drink makes you — on Instagram, and thus in real life. And regardless of what you think about us millennials — narcissistic, selfish, vain, outspoken — one thing is abundantly clear: as a result of social media and the Internet, our generation is more conscious of how we are perceived — by friends, family, colleges, jobs, hell, even people we’ve never met — than any other generation, ever.

Social media is well-understood to be contributing to identity politics, but I’d argue it’s contributing to something deeper: identity paralysis. This condition is one in which we have a forced awareness of how everything we say and do — even the seemingly inconsequential, like the shoes we wear, or the airline we fly — reflects on us. It follows that our generation would also be uniquely drawn to brands that make us feel how we want to feel about ourselves, even as how we want to feel about ourselves is often nothing more than how we want to be perceived externally. Like Starbucks with the Unicorn Frappuccino, we prioritize external perception over just about everything else. The social media market, where we live now, demands a focus on visible characteristics — which are, by their very nature, external — from designer drinks, yes, but from individuals, too.

Given all of this, I propose that analysts routinely overlook how people feel in the context of a brand when considering the value of a company. This “statistic” isn’t discussed on earnings calls and there is no way to measure it on a balance sheet. But perhaps that’s because it has only begun to matter; Pepsi, after all, was the first company in history to market itself by promoting the image of consumer that drank it, as opposed to the product itself — and that was only 50 years ago. Since then, consumers, aided by social media, have become far more conscious of who they are in the context of the products they use than even Pepsi could’ve imagined. In this society of ultra-conscious consumers, successful brands will be those that make consumers feel the way they want to feel about themselves.




What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline Surly1

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Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich
« Reply #3336 on: July 26, 2018, 03:43:39 AM »
Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich-
Some of the wealthiest people in America—in Silicon Valley, New York, and beyond—are getting ready for the crackup of civilization.


An armed guard stands at the entrance of the Survival Condo Project, a former missile silo north of Wichita, Kansas, that has been converted into luxury apartments for people worried about the crackup of civilization.

Photograph by Dan Winters for The New Yorker

Steve Huffman, the thirty-three-year-old co-founder and C.E.O. of Reddit, which is valued at six hundred million dollars, was nearsighted until November, 2015, when he arranged to have laser eye surgery. He underwent the procedure not for the sake of convenience or appearance but, rather, for a reason he doesn’t usually talk much about: he hopes that it will improve his odds of surviving a disaster, whether natural or man-made. “If the world ends—and not even if the world ends, but if we have trouble—getting contacts or glasses is going to be a huge pain in the ass,” he told me recently. “Without them, I’m fucked.”

Huffman, who lives in San Francisco, has large blue eyes, thick, sandy hair, and an air of restless curiosity; at the University of Virginia, he was a competitive ballroom dancer, who hacked his roommate’s Web site as a prank. He is less focussed on a specific threat—a quake on the San Andreas, a pandemic, a dirty bomb—than he is on the aftermath, “the temporary collapse of our government and structures,” as he puts it. “I own a couple of motorcycles. I have a bunch of guns and ammo. Food. I figure that, with that, I can hole up in my house for some amount of time.”

Survivalism, the practice of preparing for a crackup of civilization, tends to evoke a certain picture: the woodsman in the tinfoil hat, the hysteric with the hoard of beans, the religious doomsayer. But in recent years survivalism has expanded to more affluent quarters, taking root in Silicon Valley and New York City, among technology executives, hedge-fund managers, and others in their economic cohort.

Last spring, as the Presidential campaign exposed increasingly toxic divisions in America, Antonio García Martínez, a forty-year-old former Facebook product manager living in San Francisco, bought five wooded acres on an island in the Pacific Northwest and brought in generators, solar panels, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. “When society loses a healthy founding myth, it descends into chaos,” he told me. The author of “Chaos Monkeys,” an acerbic Silicon Valley memoir, García Martínez wanted a refuge that would be far from cities but not entirely isolated. “All these dudes think that one guy alone could somehow withstand the roving mob,” he said. “No, you’re going to need to form a local militia. You just need so many things to actually ride out the apocalypse.” Once he started telling peers in the Bay Area about his “little island project,” they came “out of the woodwork” to describe their own preparations, he said. “I think people who are particularly attuned to the levers by which society actually works understand that we are skating on really thin cultural ice right now.”

In private Facebook groups, wealthy survivalists swap tips on gas masks, bunkers, and locations safe from the effects of climate change. One member, the head of an investment firm, told me, “I keep a helicopter gassed up all the time, and I have an underground bunker with an air-filtration system.” He said that his preparations probably put him at the “extreme” end among his peers. But he added, “A lot of my friends do the guns and the motorcycles and the gold coins. That’s not too rare anymore.”

Tim Chang, a forty-four-year-old managing director at Mayfield Fund, a venture-capital firm, told me, “There’s a bunch of us in the Valley. We meet up and have these financial-hacking dinners and talk about backup plans people are doing. It runs the gamut from a lot of people stocking up on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, to figuring out how to get second passports if they need it, to having vacation homes in other countries that could be escape havens.” He said, “I’ll be candid: I’m stockpiling now on real estate to generate passive income but also to have havens to go to.” He and his wife, who is in technology, keep a set of bags packed for themselves and their four-year-old daughter. He told me, “I kind of have this terror scenario: ‘Oh, my God, if there is a civil war or a giant earthquake that cleaves off part of California, we want to be ready.’ ”

When Marvin Liao, a former Yahoo executive who is now a partner at 500 Startups, a venture-capital firm, considered his preparations, he decided that his caches of water and food were not enough. “What if someone comes and takes this?” he asked me. To protect his wife and daughter, he said, “I don’t have guns, but I have a lot of other weaponry. I took classes in archery.”

For some, it’s just “brogrammer” entertainment, a kind of real-world sci-fi, with gear; for others, like Huffman, it’s been a concern for years. “Ever since I saw the movie ‘Deep Impact,’ ” he said. The film, released in 1998, depicts a comet striking the Atlantic, and a race to escape the tsunami. “Everybody’s trying to get out, and they’re stuck in traffic. That scene happened to be filmed near my high school. Every time I drove through that stretch of road, I would think, I need to own a motorcycle because everybody else is screwed.”

Huffman has been a frequent attendee at Burning Man, the annual, clothing-optional festival in the Nevada desert, where artists mingle with moguls. He fell in love with one of its core principles, “radical self-reliance,” which he takes to mean “happy to help others, but not wanting to require others.” (Among survivalists, or “preppers,” as some call themselves, fema, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, stands for “Foolishly Expecting Meaningful Aid.”) Huffman has calculated that, in the event of a disaster, he would seek out some form of community: “Being around other people is a good thing. I also have this somewhat egotistical view that I’m a pretty good leader. I will probably be in charge, or at least not a slave, when push comes to shove.”

Over the years, Huffman has become increasingly concerned about basic American political stability and the risk of large-scale unrest. He said, “Some sort of institutional collapse, then you just lose shipping—that sort of stuff.” (Prepper blogs call such a scenario W.R.O.L., “without rule of law.”) Huffman has come to believe that contemporary life rests on a fragile consensus. “I think, to some degree, we all collectively take it on faith that our country works, that our currency is valuable, the peaceful transfer of power—that all of these things that we hold dear work because we believe they work. While I do believe they’re quite resilient, and we’ve been through a lot, certainly we’re going to go through a lot more.”

In building Reddit, a community of thousands of discussion threads, into one of the most frequently visited sites in the world, Huffman has grown aware of the way that technology alters our relations with one another, for better and for worse. He has witnessed how social media can magnify public fear. “It’s easier for people to panic when they’re together,” he said, pointing out that “the Internet has made it easier for people to be together,” yet it also alerts people to emerging risks. Long before the financial crisis became front-page news, early signs appeared in user comments on Reddit. “People were starting to whisper about mortgages. They were worried about student debt. They were worried about debt in general. There was a lot of, ‘This is too good to be true. This doesn’t smell right.’ ” He added, “There’s probably some false positives in there as well, but, in general, I think we’re a pretty good gauge of public sentiment. When we’re talking about a faith-based collapse, you’re going to start to see the chips in the foundation on social media first.”

Surly note: Loooong article.

Read the rest here.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Surly1

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You Will Lose Your Job to a Robot—and Sooner Than You Think.
« Reply #3337 on: July 26, 2018, 04:02:51 AM »
You Will Lose Your Job to a Robot—and Sooner Than You Think.
Automation helped bring on the age of Trump. What will AI bring?




I want to tell you straight off what this story is about: Sometime in the next 40 years, robots are going to take your job.

I don’t care what your job is. If you dig ditches, a robot will dig them better. If you’re a magazine writer, a robot will write your articles better. If you’re a doctor, IBM’s Watson will no longer “assist” you in finding the right diagnosis from its database of millions of case studies and journal articles. It will just be a better doctor than you.

And CEOs? Sorry. Robots will run companies better than you do. Artistic types? Robots will paint and write and sculpt better than you. Think you have social skills that no robot can match? Yes, they can. Within 20 years, maybe half of you will be out of jobs. A couple of decades after that, most of the rest of you will be out of jobs.

In one sense, this all sounds great. Let the robots have the damn jobs! No more dragging yourself out of bed at 6 a.m. or spending long days on your feet. We’ll be free to read or write poetry or play video games or whatever we want to do. And a century from now, this is most likely how things will turn out. Humanity will enter a golden age.

But what about 20 years from now? Or 30? We won’t all be out of jobs by then, but a lot of us will—and it will be no golden age. Until we figure out how to fairly distribute the fruits of robot labor, it will be an era of mass joblessness and mass poverty. Working-class job losses played a big role in the 2016 election, and if we don’t want a long succession of demagogues blustering their way into office because machines are taking away people’s livelihoods, this needs to change, and fast. Along with global warming, the transition to a workless future is the biggest challenge by far that progressive politics—not to mention all of humanity—faces. And yet it’s barely on our radar.


We Already Have a Solution for the Robot Apocalypse. It’s 200 Years Old.
That’s kind of a buzzkill, isn’t it? Luckily, it’s traditional that stories about difficult or technical subjects open with an entertaining or provocative anecdote. The idea is that this allows readers to ease slowly into daunting material. So here’s one for you: Last year at Christmas, I was over at my mother’s house and mentioned that I had recently read an article about Google Translate. It turns out that a few weeks previously, without telling anyone, Google had switched over to a new machine-learning algorithm. Almost overnight, the quality of its translations skyrocketed. I had noticed some improvement myself but had chalked it up to the usual incremental progress these kinds of things go through. I hadn’t realized it was due to a quantum leap in software.

But if Google’s translation algorithm was better, did that mean its voice recognition was better too? And its ability to answer queries? Hmm. How could we test that? We decided to open presents instead of cogitating over this.

But after that was over, the subject of erasers somehow came up. Which ones are best? Clear? Black? Traditional pink? Come to think of it, why are erasers traditionally pink? “I’ll ask Google!” I told everyone. So I pulled out my phone and said, “Why are erasers pink?” Half a second later, Google told me.



Not impressed? You should be. We all know that phones can recognize voices tolerably well these days. And we know they can find the nearest café or the trendiest recipe for coq au vin. But what about something entirely random? And not a simple who, where, or when question. This was a why question, and it wasn’t about why the singer Pink uses erasers or why erasers are jinxed. Google has to be smart enough to figure out in context that I said pink and that I’m asking about the historical reason for the color of erasers, not their health or the way they’re shaped. And it did. In less than a second. With nothing more than a cheap little microprocessor and a slow link to the internet.

(In case you’re curious, Google got the answer from Design*Sponge: “The eraser was originally produced by the Eberhard Faber Company…The erasers featured pumice, a volcanic ash from Italy that gave them their abrasive quality, along with their distinctive color and smell.”)

Still not impressed? When Watson famously won a round of Jeopardy! against the two best human players of all time, it needed a computer the size of a bedroom to answer questions like this. That was only seven years ago.

Read the rest HERE.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Surly1

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The Global Heatwave Is About to Hit Your Wallet
« Reply #3338 on: July 26, 2018, 04:12:45 AM »
The Global Heatwave Is About to Hit Your Wallet
Scorching weather across the globe makes fields too dry for crops, rivers too warm to cool power plants, and leaves wind turbines idle – and it’s pushing commodities prices higher.




Note: Bloomberg's interactive charts won't copy. Go to original to view properly.

Commodity producers are having a summer to remember, for all the wrong reasons.

A heatwave across swathes of North America, Europe and Asia, coupled with a worsening drought in some areas, is causing spikes in the prices of anything from wheat to electricity. Cotton plants are stunted in parched Texas fields, French rivers are too warm to effectively cool nuclear reactors and the Russian wheat crop is faltering.

The scorching heat is extracting a heavy human cost – contributing to floods in Japan and Laos and wildfires near Athens. Relief from soaring temperatures, which topped 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) in the Arctic Circle, may not arrive for at least two weeks.

It’s a timely reminder of the vulnerability of global commodity markets to the changing climate, as human activity disrupts the behavior of plants, animals and the march of the seasons. 

Grain Pain

Wheat prices surge to a three-year high as the heatwave hurts Europe's crop

Source: Euronext

The heat and lack of rainfall is pummeling crops across Europe as far as the Black Sea. Output in Russia, the world’s top wheat exporter, is set to fall for the first time in six years, while concerns continue to mount about smaller crops in key growers such as France and Germany. Wheat futures for December have jumped almost 10 percent in the past month in Paris, with prices this week reaching the highest since the contract started trading in 2015.

After years of bumper harvests, global output could drop this year for the first time since the 2012 to 2013 growing season. This could have political and social ramifications. Egypt, which relies on subsidized bread to feed its almost 100 million people, is already paying the highest price for its imports in more than three years.

French Power

High temperatures are forecast to continue in France, disrupting power plants

Source: The Weather Co. using GFS model

French farmers aren’t the only ones finding the weather too hot to handle. The country’s fleet of nuclear power plants is also suffering.

Rivers have become too warm to effectively cool the reactors, and Electricite de France SA may be forced to cut output later this week at two stations. The hot weather also has forced a German coal-fired plant to curb operations and reduced the availability of some plants in Britain fired by natural gas.

France gets more than 70 percent of its power from 58 atomic stations and is a net exporter of electricity to neighboring countries. Any reductions in output would potentially boost prices across the continent.

The sultry conditions are also leaving wind turbines virtually at a standstill. In Germany, wind output over the past 10 days has been a third lower than the average for the year so far. Windmills are also becalmed in Spain, Italy, the U.K., Denmark and Sweden. Solar operators are enjoying the weather, but they can’t fill the gap left by wind and demand for natural gas is rising. 

French and German day-ahead wholesale power is at the highest for the time of year for a decade, while in Britain they’re the most since at least 2009.

Texas Power Surge

Electricity prices surge as Texas heat smashes records

Source: Data compiled by Bloomberg

Over in Texas, power prices are also jumping due to the heat. The northern part of the state smashed a 93-year-old daily temperature record last week, sending demand surging as people heeded advice to stay indoors and crank up their air conditioning. Wholesale prices for electricity secured a day in advance reached three-year highs, although they’ve since fallen as temperatures moderated. 

Temperatures got so high that the National Weather Service was advising north Texas residents to avoid walking their dogs, lest they burn Fido’s paws. But for farmers in the west of the state, the drought was hurting even more than the heat. 


The West Texas cotton belt – the world’s most productive area for the crop – is brown, baked, cracked and dusty. The dryness is so bad that close to half of the state’s crop is in poor or very poor condition, U.S. government data show. About 4.5 million acres of the fiber are planted in the region, 60 percent of which depends on rain because it isn’t irrigated. 

"I lost everything in the dry land,” said Lloyd Arthur, a fourth-generation farmer in Crosby County. He’s not expecting to harvest anything from about a quarter of the 2,000 acres of cotton he sowed this season.

Stunted Crop

Cotton futures are up more than 10% this year on drought fears



Ron Harkey, the president and chief executive officer of the world’s largest cotton warehouse in Lubbock, expects to get 1.5 million bales from members of a growers cooperative in the area this year. That’s down from 2.5 million last season. Tighter supplies have helped drive cotton traded in New York up more than 10 percent this year.

— With assistance by Mathew Carr, and Jason Gale

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Golden Oxen

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Re: The Global Heatwave Is About to Hit Your Wallet
« Reply #3339 on: July 26, 2018, 05:25:42 AM »
Items mentioned here in Surly's posting plus likely rises in items due to the trade war tariffs and recent move higher in oil products are sending signals it is time for folks to spend as little as they can and set aided a stash.

Shopping at Walmart, may soon become like shopping at Tiffany's if this rhetoric turns into reality :-\ :-\


                           

Offline Eddie

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Re: You Will Lose Your Job to a Robot—and Sooner Than You Think.
« Reply #3340 on: July 26, 2018, 05:34:19 AM »
You Will Lose Your Job to a Robot—and Sooner Than You Think.
Automation helped bring on the age of Trump. What will AI bring?




I want to tell you straight off what this story is about: Sometime in the next 40 years, robots are going to take your job.

I don’t care what your job is. If you dig ditches, a robot will dig them better. If you’re a magazine writer, a robot will write your articles better. If you’re a doctor, IBM’s Watson will no longer “assist” you in finding the right diagnosis from its database of millions of case studies and journal articles. It will just be a better doctor than you.

And CEOs? Sorry. Robots will run companies better than you do. Artistic types? Robots will paint and write and sculpt better than you. Think you have social skills that no robot can match? Yes, they can. Within 20 years, maybe half of you will be out of jobs. A couple of decades after that, most of the rest of you will be out of jobs.

In one sense, this all sounds great. Let the robots have the damn jobs! No more dragging yourself out of bed at 6 a.m. or spending long days on your feet. We’ll be free to read or write poetry or play video games or whatever we want to do. And a century from now, this is most likely how things will turn out. Humanity will enter a golden age.

But what about 20 years from now? Or 30? We won’t all be out of jobs by then, but a lot of us will—and it will be no golden age. Until we figure out how to fairly distribute the fruits of robot labor, it will be an era of mass joblessness and mass poverty. Working-class job losses played a big role in the 2016 election, and if we don’t want a long succession of demagogues blustering their way into office because machines are taking away people’s livelihoods, this needs to change, and fast. Along with global warming, the transition to a workless future is the biggest challenge by far that progressive politics—not to mention all of humanity—faces. And yet it’s barely on our radar.


We Already Have a Solution for the Robot Apocalypse. It’s 200 Years Old.
That’s kind of a buzzkill, isn’t it? Luckily, it’s traditional that stories about difficult or technical subjects open with an entertaining or provocative anecdote. The idea is that this allows readers to ease slowly into daunting material. So here’s one for you: Last year at Christmas, I was over at my mother’s house and mentioned that I had recently read an article about Google Translate. It turns out that a few weeks previously, without telling anyone, Google had switched over to a new machine-learning algorithm. Almost overnight, the quality of its translations skyrocketed. I had noticed some improvement myself but had chalked it up to the usual incremental progress these kinds of things go through. I hadn’t realized it was due to a quantum leap in software.

But if Google’s translation algorithm was better, did that mean its voice recognition was better too? And its ability to answer queries? Hmm. How could we test that? We decided to open presents instead of cogitating over this.

But after that was over, the subject of erasers somehow came up. Which ones are best? Clear? Black? Traditional pink? Come to think of it, why are erasers traditionally pink? “I’ll ask Google!” I told everyone. So I pulled out my phone and said, “Why are erasers pink?” Half a second later, Google told me.



Not impressed? You should be. We all know that phones can recognize voices tolerably well these days. And we know they can find the nearest café or the trendiest recipe for coq au vin. But what about something entirely random? And not a simple who, where, or when question. This was a why question, and it wasn’t about why the singer Pink uses erasers or why erasers are jinxed. Google has to be smart enough to figure out in context that I said pink and that I’m asking about the historical reason for the color of erasers, not their health or the way they’re shaped. And it did. In less than a second. With nothing more than a cheap little microprocessor and a slow link to the internet.

(In case you’re curious, Google got the answer from Design*Sponge: “The eraser was originally produced by the Eberhard Faber Company…The erasers featured pumice, a volcanic ash from Italy that gave them their abrasive quality, along with their distinctive color and smell.”)

Still not impressed? When Watson famously won a round of Jeopardy! against the two best human players of all time, it needed a computer the size of a bedroom to answer questions like this. That was only seven years ago.

Read the rest HERE.

I think dentistry is about as cutting edge as tech gets in the medical world.

We have scanners, cad cam machines that can carve a restoration (with a great fit) out of a solid block of porcelain in 20 minutes. We have digital radiographs and CT scans and a lot of other cool, expensive toys available to fix teeth.

But I'd put the odds of robot dentists actually treating human patients at about a zero percent probability. Won't happen, in the best of times. In collapse, we'll be headed back into the steam era, if we're lucky.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline Eddie

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Re: The Global Heatwave Is About to Hit Your Wallet
« Reply #3341 on: July 26, 2018, 05:38:20 AM »
Items mentioned here in Surly's posting plus likely rises in items due to the trade war tariffs and recent move higher in oil products are sending signals it is time for folks to spend as little as they can and set aided a stash.

Shopping at Walmart, may soon become like shopping at Tiffany's if this rhetoric turns into reality :-\ :-\

Rivers have become too warm to effectively cool the reactors,

That's a pisser, too. Nobody thought about that one.

Time to inventory the food and water preps, for sure..
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline Surly1

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Re: You Will Lose Your Job to a Robot—and Sooner Than You Think.
« Reply #3342 on: July 26, 2018, 01:34:59 PM »
You Will Lose Your Job to a Robot—and Sooner Than You Think.
Automation helped bring on the age of Trump. What will AI bring?




I want to tell you straight off what this story is about: Sometime in the next 40 years, robots are going to take your job.

I don’t care what your job is. If you dig ditches, a robot will dig them better. If you’re a magazine writer, a robot will write your articles better. If you’re a doctor, IBM’s Watson will no longer “assist” you in finding the right diagnosis from its database of millions of case studies and journal articles. It will just be a better doctor than you.

And CEOs? Sorry. Robots will run companies better than you do. Artistic types? Robots will paint and write and sculpt better than you. Think you have social skills that no robot can match? Yes, they can. Within 20 years, maybe half of you will be out of jobs. A couple of decades after that, most of the rest of you will be out of jobs.

In one sense, this all sounds great. Let the robots have the damn jobs! No more dragging yourself out of bed at 6 a.m. or spending long days on your feet. We’ll be free to read or write poetry or play video games or whatever we want to do. And a century from now, this is most likely how things will turn out. Humanity will enter a golden age.

But what about 20 years from now? Or 30? We won’t all be out of jobs by then, but a lot of us will—and it will be no golden age. Until we figure out how to fairly distribute the fruits of robot labor, it will be an era of mass joblessness and mass poverty. Working-class job losses played a big role in the 2016 election, and if we don’t want a long succession of demagogues blustering their way into office because machines are taking away people’s livelihoods, this needs to change, and fast. Along with global warming, the transition to a workless future is the biggest challenge by far that progressive politics—not to mention all of humanity—faces. And yet it’s barely on our radar.//

I think dentistry is about as cutting edge as tech gets in the medical world.

We have scanners, cad cam machines that can carve a restoration (with a great fit) out of a solid block of porcelain in 20 minutes. We have digital radiographs and CT scans and a lot of other cool, expensive toys available to fix teeth.

But I'd put the odds of robot dentists actually treating human patients at about a zero percent probability. Won't happen, in the best of times. In collapse, we'll be headed back into the steam era, if we're lucky.

Were everything to trend per the present, I could see a single proprietor with a host of tech add-ons. But troof be told, I agree that we are headed back to pliers and ether.

IN other news, I am going in for oral surgery tomorrow. Having a molar removed. Will be thinking of you and a pair of pliers...
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline azozeo

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Re: The Global Heatwave Is About to Hit Your Wallet
« Reply #3343 on: July 26, 2018, 02:03:55 PM »

[/quote]

Rivers have become too warm to effectively cool the reactors,

That's a pisser, too. Nobody thought about that one.

Time to inventory the food and water preps, for sure..
[/quote]



When did this mcnugget pop into the radar.

Ho-Che-Min, che wow wow....
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Offline Eddie

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3344 on: July 26, 2018, 02:18:58 PM »
The most painful part will be the wallet extraction, most likely.

Oral surgery is a lot like regular dentistry, it just costs more, especially if the guy is a real oral surgeon. (4 year residency).

PM me if you have questions during the post-op period.

What tooth is coming out and why?

You don't have to answer that publicly. I was just curious. Good luck. I'm sure it'll go fine.



What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

 

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