I wrote my last post, “Why Are We Falling Apart?” in response to a heartfelt editorial by David Brooks of The New York Times. Confronting today’s epidemic of inhumane behavior in America – reckless driving, unrest in schools, fights on airliners, hate crimes and murders – he asked, “What the hell is going on?” His plaintive and honest answer was “I don’t know.”
In my post, I explained why I thought we have been falling apart – not just recently but gradually for the past 40 years, and not just in the United States but in fellow industrialized nations around the world.
But understanding reasons is only gets us so far. What matters is what we can do about it.Read more
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” – General Sun Tzu
Good Friday (April 15, 2022) – Sun Tzu is one general that Vladimir Putin evidently didn’t consult.
Luck has hit the Russians like a dry sponge the past six weeks. That is, they have been struck lightly by it and seem oblivious to the nails driven into the hands and feet of their soulmates across the border. But in the wake of this war on cities – this crucifixion of cities like Mariupol, Kharkiv and Volnovakha – those of us who smugly thought we knew anything about the dark side of human nature have also found ourselves on the wrong end of our intelligence. We need to now reconsider much about our own “security” and what it really means. “War will surprise you,” another general, Dwight Eisenhower, said. He was wise to note it with such Zen precision. Because it will try your soul if you even are watching it through social media combat.Read more
When I first saw the Grand Canyon many years ago, I asked myself the question that every visitor asks. How did this great big, amazingly beautiful hole in the ground get here?
The answer is a story that defies intuition. The Colorado River snakes through the region and lies now at the bottom of the immense canyon. Like all rivers, it carries small bits of stone that chip away at the riversides and river bottom, one tiny spec at a time. Keep that up for a few centuries, and the river slowly deepens its channel.Read more
The advancements in artificial intelligence of the past few years have been mind-blowing. They have given rise to much research and analysis about the future of work. They have also given rise to a lot of nonsense. The trick is to figure out which is which.
On one side of the argument are respected academics and global consulting organizations. In their tremendous book, Race Against the Machine, Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson offered dire predictions of the increasing power of AI and the erosion of jobs it will bring. Their advice? Don’t fight it – instead, figure out how to work with technology change to get the greatest benefit as individuals and as a society. There have been dire predictions about how big job losses will be, but the best-informed numbers come from the McKinsey Global Institute. They predict that automation will eliminate only 5% of today’s jobs. But it will also have an impact on 60% of total jobs. On average, workers in those fields spend one-third of their time doing routine work, and routine labor is the easiest to automate. So, no matter what you do for a living, it would be wise to buckle your seat belt.Read more
“Anyone who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” -Voltaire
The violence you saw on January 6 in the USA was not accidental. The violence was the point! Donald Trump used violence like a mobster to work over the American electorate and to let them know that next time it would be worse if they didn’t play along. Time will tell if the most robust of democratic nations and its oldest living republic will manage through the political plague. So far, the chisel to cut the stone for a new monument to civil unity seems dulled.
Political violence has been a tactic of every disgruntled, bullying ideologue or insurgency for as long as we have organized ourselves into communities. We saw it recently in Afghanistan. Despite the effort of people like ICF Visionary of the Year Amirzai Sangin to bring the nation into a new era through broadband communications, civil progress was thwarted.Read more
Virtual reality (VR) is the future. The biggest tech businesses in the world say so. Facebook is building the metaverse where you will spend your days with a headset strapped over your eyes and sensors in your clothing, interacting with people and things who aren’t really there. Apple is reported to be planning introduction of a “face computer” in the next year or so – but of course, they were also rumored to have a plan to manufacture cars at one point, so we’ll see.
To these thrilling tech developments, I have just one thing to say. Virtual reality is dumb. Not bad, not destructive – just dumb.Read more
With the goal of leading the upgrading and transformation of industries and the development of digital technology, the Taiwan government is implementing the "Smart City Taiwan Project" through the Industrial Development Bureau of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The central government, local governments and industries are working together to develop innovative applications in 22 counties and cities across Taiwan in six major areas, including "health," "governance/security," "transportation," "agriculture," "education" and "tourism/retail," through the Public-Private-People Partnership mechanism. Since its inception, the project has yielded fruitful results, with about 300 enterprises participating and developing 223 smart services that benefit 8.54 million people. In addition to solving local problems, the project has also opened up international development opportunities for industry players.Read more
Daniel Patrick Moynihan
If the cliché “Ignorance is Bliss” were true, legal marijuana would go up in smoke. Our ignorance would be sufficient to keep us happily stoned. In our state of Bliss, we would be sublimely governed, assured that our rights were fully secured and knowing that our daily bread would produce loaves plentiful enough for generations. Would World Peace be far behind for dummies and cafones?
But as that bothersomely observant Greek Plato said about ignorance and its consequences, “Those who believe they are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.” (Write in your own association to modern times here. _________ I’ll wait.)
One of my heroes, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, was a sharp observer of the human community. He famously reported on the utter collapse of the family and the coarsening of our social relations. He concluded famously, “We have defined deviancy downward.”Read more
There are three ways a community enters the 21st Century and becomes an Intelligent Community. The first two are like choosing root canal. The third is the option to floss and brush.
Amirzai Sangin, the former Minister of Communications & IT for the Republic of Afghanistan makes an exclusive appearance at the ICF Summit on Thursday. Mr. Sangin was ICF’s Visionary of the Year in 2006 and has written a new book about his experiences in Afghanistan.
One: A region, community or an entire nation can swerve with near fatal consequences and smack into its moment of truth. It there meets the realities and requirements of the digital age. It is dragged out and hopefully recovers enough to be dragged in to the right lane. This collision often is the result of a total economic or social collapse caused by a tsunami. History does not always signal when it changes lanes. So the local industry begins to fade into the dusty pages of economic history without much warning. More often than not a company or a cluster of them, those upon which prosperity had been built, chases after some hot little trophy city in the Sunbelt. Or sails off to a country in Asia where the workers are still climbing toward the middle class and willing to work for unthinkably low wages. In this case, the community is in desperate shape and reaches out like a man caught swimming in a riptide. The good news is that if you do not panic and go laterally for a while, you can get out of a riptide.Read more
What do Intelligent Communities know that others do not? The Answer: Epistemic Humility.
I know. It’s cryptic. I’ll explain later.Read more