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Illustrating articles

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by Roger Hicks, Aug 4, 2017.

  1. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    I wrote two new philosophy/ politics/ economics pieces for my .eu site, Cities and Villages I and Cities and Villages II. Then I thought they might work better with some illustrations, so I illustrated them. The next step was to speculate on whether people might be interested in how I chose the illustrations, and the background to them. The result was Illustrating Cities and Villages, which also provides links to three short stories set in the village in which I live. Now, all three pieces are up.

    There's an awful lot of work in this (and in the short stories, etc.), so I hope people like what I've been doing. I also fell to wondering, though, if the freedom to do this sort of thing is what might result from my suggestions about Universal Basic Income in Cities and Villages II. After all, state pensions (which are the only pensions Frances and I have) are a UBI given after a certain age.

    Once you get past the arguments about affordability, it seems there are two responses to UBI. One is that it will free us all up to be more creative and less consumerist, creating essays, pictures, short stories and more (music and dance, for example, though I'd not be much use at creating either). The other possibility is that we will all sit on our backsides and do nothing at all times. No doubt some will be more creative, neighbourly, etc., and others will just slob out, but I can't help feeling that people's reactions probably reflect their own creativity or lack of it. Read the articles and see what you think.


    Last edited: Aug 4, 2017
  2. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I always thought the idea of a UBI was to make sure everyone had enough to live on when the jobs they would have done were being done by machines. Silly me. Of course the UBI will only work when the wealth of a state is fairly distributed but that's ___ing communism and therefor A BAD THING. Those who think Britain took a wrong turn when it closed down the workhouses will agree with me on this. Meanwhile, I'll lie down in a darkened room and dream of wealth like a good capitalist drone.
    steveandthedogs and Roger Hicks like this.
  3. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Ah, but if the wealth is fairly distributed one (or more accurately an anarchist) would argue there would be no state. But this is not the time or place for reigniting that debate. ;)

  4. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    A good read all round.

    Roger Hicks likes this.
  5. cliveva

    cliveva Well-Known Member

    We have been here before, if you think of the UBI as a grain store ration, were in early civilisations they fead the people from the collective grain store.
    The big problem , coming at us fast, is that technology is taking away the opportunity of employment from those who are not intellectually gifted or able to learn a complex skill.
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  6. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    Actually, technology is going to take away the opportunity of employment from plenty of people who are gifted and are able to learn complex skills. Robotic surgery, machine-learning health diagnosis, machine learning legal software, none of this is far away.
  7. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Tony,

    Probably true for very many things -- it's already happening with some kinds of legal software, in particular -- but I suspect that as with self-driving cars (and indeed airliners) there will be times when (for example) the surgeon has to intervene in an operation. n many areas, meaningfuull automation will continue to be 20 years away for many years; as it has been for oh, I don't know, 20 years.

    Also, some diagnostic tools (e.g. auscultations) are often as much psychological as physical: they're a way for doctors to do something moderately useful while on the lookout for more important factors and while trying to build the patient's confidence. Some of the "box ticking" mechanical diagnoses, such as the fingernail clips to see if the patient's nails are turning blue, are plainly carried out by technicians who don't understand what they are doing.

    The one that's going to be hardest to automate is entertainment, where drugs may be the answer: let the patient create their own entertainment, in their heads. Journalism is also an interesting one. A lot of it might be quite easy to automate, but choosing the underlying paradigms and algorithms gives even more scope for abuse than Murdoch, etc., currently take for granted.


    EightBitTony likes this.
  8. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    I don't doubt we'll need human involvement, but the amount and level is going to change significantly. Hospital porters - you don't need them if the hospital trolleys can drive themselves to the destination, and you just have staff at either end to move the patient. Also, in 20 years both the pace and breadth of changes brought about by computing have accelerated, not slowed. I don't think 10 years away for significant impact is out of the question.

    Virtual Reality. We can already interpret what people are thinking by scanning their brains, and LCD screens are shrinking all the time.
  9. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Tony,

    First para: Or indeed 20. My only reason for saying 20 is that most such big steps have been 20 years ahead throughout my life. There's also the question of what you call "significant". And, of course, whether it's best to have one lot of porters accompanying the trolley, one at each end, or two lots, one at each end; quite apart from the fact that all sorts of things commonly block hospital corridors and need to be moved aside in different ways. I'm not saying you're wrong: just being less optimistic/ enthusiastic/ unrealistic (all could be argued to apply).

    Second para: in my (very limited) personal experience, and the much wider experience of friends and authors whose work I've read, drugs are a lot more real than VR. Dreams certainly are, and I have wide experience of those. I've tried state-of-the-art VR at Arles and I think you'd need drugs as well -- so why not cut out the middleman and go straight to the drugs?


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