Brexit Part XIV: The State of the Nation?

By David Murrin

On Wednesday, March 29th, Britain will once more officially begin to chart its own course as a sovereign nation. 288 Days after the famous Brexit referendum vote, Sir Tim Barrow, the British Representative to the EU, will hand a letter from the Prime Minister, Mrs. May to Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council. The contents will notify the 27 members of the EU that Britain is commencing its exit process outlined in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. The formal declaration of Britain’s intention to leave the EU, will commence a divorce process that will last two years. On the eve of this momentous event, how should the landscape for Britain and its impending negotiations with the EU be viewed?

Sentiment within Britain and its national energy

After an exceptionally charged referendum and its surprise outcome, it is a credit to Britain’s national character that with only a few exceptions like George Osbourne, the majority of the population have accepted the outcome and that divisions have begun to mend. Indeed, against the expectations of the remaining camp, both in the UK and in the EU, Britain has gone through its democratic process and maintained its course to trigger Article 50, enacting the will of the people. This process has at times been torturous for Mrs. May, but it has ultimately reinforced the nation’s respect and understanding for the importance of an independent legal system. Additionally, the importance of the role of the House of Lords in its balancing relationship with the elected body of the House of Commons should not be underestimated.

In effect, Britain’s institutions of government have been tried, tested and reinforced by this outcome. In terms of the sentiment across the nation, the positive sense of self-belief has been a surprise to those that wished to remain. However, they forget that the vote to leave derived from an innate sense of self-belief and national confidence that has now been allowed to be manifested. This underlying sentiment will continue despite any severe economic downturn in the next couple of years and this resilience will serve the nation well and provide the energy to chart an independent path in the years ahead. Indeed, this new found sense of the national identity of Britain can be clearly seen in its measured and defiant response to the repugnant suicide attack on the Houses of Parliament and the innocent people walking over the bridge.

Looking forward in the future, such attacks will only continue the process of polarisation of Britain’s national identity. The enduring image of the medical response teams trying to save the life of the attacker that had caused such mayhem, was the most powerful signal of the core values that Britain stands for as a nation. Indeed, what better response could there be to counter such extremism but a combination of strength, humanity and resilience? As we have discussed before, the national energy of Britain is high (see “Breaking the Code of History”) and we should expect to see this driving force urge Britain forward through some inevitably challenging time, when its European cousins falter.

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Posted in David Murrin, European Union, Politics, United Kingdom

Are the political parties looking for clues from a 2005 special election in Ohio?

by Nathan Gonzales (Roll Call)

Are Democrats in the early stages of their own tea party movement? It’s one of the biggest outstanding questions at this point in the cycle. But as we collectively look at the past for prologue, I don’t understand why our memories only go back eight years.

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Posted in Candidates, Congress, Democrats, Elections, Political parties, Politics, Thought-Provoking Analysis

Trouble understanding Trump? George Lakoff may help: “Idea Framing, Metaphors, and Your Brain”

Whether you agree with his politics should not keep you from learning from his research into language and how ideas are processed in the human brain.


Posted in Controversial, Donald Trump, Politics, Thought-Provoking Analysis

When Will The World End? Artificial Intelligence Scientists Discuss Doomsday Plans In Arizona Desert

By Juliana Rose Pignataro

Scientists have begun actively preparing for the end of the world. A group of experts met in the Arizona desert to discuss potential nightmare scenarios that could take place in the future and how humanity might handle them, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

Funded by Tesla co-founder Elon Musk and Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn, the meeting was comprised of 40 scientists, policy analysts and cyber security experts. The group was tasked with coming up with increasingly likely “doomsday scenarios.”

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Posted in Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Controversial, Cyber security, Science, Technology

Resource scarcity, Wars and AI

by David Murrin

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