Resource scarcity, Wars and AI

by David Murrin info@davidmurrin.co.uk

One of the key principals expounded in Breaking the Code of History (BTCH) was that the majority of geopolitical conflicts are driven by resource competition. This prime driver can easily be considered as a unique human, negative quality.

However, similar behaviours can be seen in nature. Furthermore, they may not be restricted to the organic world as recently such behaviour was observed by the AI division of Google’s DeepMind. This took place during an experiment with AI neural networks trained to learn from experience. When the networks were set the task of collecting apples in the computer game, they initially cooperated whilst there was a plentiful supply of fruit. In effect, they peacefully coexisted and allowed each other to collect the apples because the risk of conflict was not justified compared to the availability of the apples.

However, at a critical juncture as the supply of fruit decreased, their behavior dramatically changed from one of mutual cooperation to one of aggressive competition that resulted in the immobilisation of other competitive networks. Significantly, the smarter the robot was doing the collecting, the quicker and nastier became its behavior.

The conclusions to be drawn are interesting. Firstly, it explains why the majority of people are surprised when peace moves to war. The best example is the globalised trading system of 1914 which presence to many meant that war could never break out as mutual dependency would override aggression. After all, people at the time were so used to the environment of coexistence that they did not sense the other parties’ perception that resources were about to be scarce, which then triggered a more aggressive strategy of militarisation that ultimately led to a global conflict. The key trigger on the road to wars is when one side considers that resources will become short in supply and thus, they start preparing for that eventuality.

Secondly, it means that when Sentient AI arrives on earth within the next decade, it like mankind will inevitably become aggressive when competing for scarce resources. We can assume that those resources will be mankind’s resources and thus conflict seems all but inevitable with our children.

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  © 2017 DavidMurrin.co.uk

Posted in Artificial Intelligence, David Murrin, Robots, Technology, Thought-Provoking Analysis

Thomas Perez defeated Representative Keith Ellison in the battle to lead the Democratic Party in the age of Trump

Former Labor Secretary Thomas Perez—the candidate backed by the Democratic Party’s establishment—was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee on Sunday, as its members chose a close ally of both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to lead the out-of-power party in the era of Donald Trump.

Perez defeated Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the favorite of many progressives, and a collection of lesser-known candidates in a vote of the 435 committee members who participated in the balloting in Atlanta. Perez won on the second ballot after coming a single vote shy of capturing the simple majority needed in the first round of balloting. The final two-way vote was 235-200. In a bid to head off a revolt from Ellison backers, Perez immediately moved to name his rival as deputy chairman, which the party members ratified by acclamation.

As DNC chairman, Perez will be responsible for rebuilding a party that has been decimated in recent years. Democrats lost control of Congress, dozens of governorships, and hundreds of state legislative seats in the last eight years—a period that culminated last November in the most stinging defeat of all: Clinton’s loss to Trump.

To the dismay of many rank-and-file Democrats, the race for DNC chairman became something of a proxy fight that mirrored the presidential primary battle between Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Perez won the support of Clinton and Obama confidantes, while Sanders and progressive groups rallied around Ellison, a staunch liberal who predicted early on that Trump ….

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Posted in Candidates, Democrats, Donald Trump, Elections, Hillary Clinton, Political parties

Black Women in White America: Women’s History Revisited

In 1972, Dr. Gerda Lerner published her pioneering study “Black Women in White America.” That same year, Dr. Lerner and Dr. Joan Kelly Gadol were fighting to prove that women had a history worth recording by co-founding the oldest women’s history graduate program in the United States at Sarah Lawrence College.

shirleychisholm2

In the political arena, a Black woman, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm was waging a competitive campaign to become the first woman president of the United States and activists across the country were fighting an uphill (and ultimately unsuccessful) battle to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.

Much has changed since 1972, and this fact makes 2017 a particularly opportune time to reassess the legacy of Gerda Lerner’s path-breaking scholarship.

Does the adage “the more things change, they more they stay the same” apply in the case of Black women in America today? How has the expansion of scholarship by and about women of color enhanced our knowledge of women’s history and necessarily challenged previous assumptions? How has ongoing structural inequality undermined the gains of the women’s movement of the 1970s? What is the status of all women in a multiracial, multicultural, diversely religious but still deeply fractured America today?

See more from the Political Side.

Learn more about this topic and the upcoming 19th Annual Conference in Women’s History: Black Women in White America, Revisited

Posted in African-American, Candidates, Congress, Controversial, Democracy, Elections, Political parties, Thought-Provoking Analysis, United States, White House, Women

Trump’s Presidency: the German Perspective

by Dominik Meier and Inga Karten, Miller & Meier Consulting, Berlin, Brussels and Washington  (website)

This Tuesday, Donald John Trump took the last hurdle on his path to the US presidency by securing a victory in the Electoral College. In the meantime, the German public has gotten more used to the idea of a Trump administration. After an initial wave of emotional reactions – Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen, for instance, expressed “utter shock and surprise” after the vote in November – commentators and politicians have started to rationally assess the election’s impact on German and European politics.

Germany’s leading news magazine Der Spiegel argues that consequences will be immediate and drastic, especially in economic terms. First, Trump’s announcement that in the future Europeans must rely on their own military resources, rather than on America’s military might, will lead to a massive increase of the defense budget. Experts predict that the current budget of around 30 billion Euro will double. Chancellor Angela Merkel has already declared her plans to spend more money on Germany’s notoriously underequipped army, the Bundeswehr. But per current surveys, around two thirds of all German citizens strongly oppose increased military spending. Political strive seems inevitable.

Second, key decision-makers fear that trade relations between Germany and the USA, a cornerstone of German economic policy since the end of World War II, are in peril. Given Trump’s strongly negative stance on free trade agreements, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will not come to pass any time soon. Vice Chancellor and Minister of Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel has fought long and hard for this trade deal against massive opposition in his own party, the Social Democrats. Thus, Trump’s election is undoubtedly a great setback for him personally. However, consequences might be even more dramatic. At present, the German trade surplus in transatlantic business is more than 50 billion Euro. Germany is used to being an “export nation”, but a more isolationist US economic policy that aims at restricting free trade could alter this status fundamentally.

It is no secret that most German politicians had hoped for – and indeed expected – a President Clinton, rather than a President Trump. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, had even referred to Trump as a “preacher of hate”, a term usually reserved in German discourse for radical Islamic clerics who incite their followers to acts of terror and violence. Merkel offered the President-elect a close cooperation based, as she pointedly added, “on democracy, freedom, and respect for the dignity of all people”. Irrespective of this aside, however, the Chancellor is first and foremost a “Realpolitiker”, a pragmatist who knows how to deal with powerful men and values rational solutions above emotional politics. This week, she sent one of her most trusted foreign policy advisors, Christoph Heusgen, to New York to establish direct contact with Trump’s transition team. Time will tell how these careful advances will pan out.

© Copyright 2016 Miller and Meier Consulting

Ken Feltman: I have known and worked with Dominick Meier for several years and have seen him tame some of the most difficult political personalities in Europe (those who are members of IAPC or EAPC know his diplomatic way of prevailing). His staff is exceptional and Americans are fortunate to have Inga Karten in Washington. Should you wish to contact them, please do so directly or I will be happy to make an introduction. 

Posted in Border control, Congress, Democracy, Elections, European Union, Germany, Immigrants, Politcal Consulting, Political parties, Washington

How Republics End

By Paul Krugman, New York Times

Lately I’ve been reading a lot about the ancient world. Initially, I have to admit, I was doing it for entertainment and as a refuge from news that gets worse with each passing day. But I couldn’t help noticing the contemporary resonances of some Roman history — specifically, the tale of how the Roman Republic fell.

Here’s what I learned: Republican institutions don’t protect against tyranny when powerful people start defying political norms. And tyranny, when it comes, can flourish even while maintaining a republican façade…

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/19/opinion/how-republics-end.html?smid=tw-share

Posted in Controversial, Democracy, Donald Trump, Political parties, Politics, Thought-Provoking Analysis, United States