Automatons, Robots and Money

For over four decades various computer scientists and thinkers have pondered the rapid growth of computing into the realm of artificial intelligence (AI) and when, rather than if, computers will become “smarter” than humans.  There is considerable agreement that AI entities will eventually be able to perform actions humans will be unable to comprehend and significant agreement on when this occurs – sometime in the next 30 years.

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What About Marriage?

For quite a while, political dialogue has repeatedly returned to the subject of marriage.  The focus has been the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the “right” of same sex individuals to marry.  Opposing views are deeply ensconced in their respective positions and any coalescing of thought on the subject seems unachievable.

The origin of marriage is a social and religious rite that has evolved into law such that marriage has become spiritual and secular, social and legal.  Why is government, at any level, concerned with marriage?  What is the possible interest of government in the relationship between two, or more, people who choose to marry consistent with their conscience and the morals of their culture?

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Perception Management

The term “perception management” leads one to conclude it is a technique to influence the belief others have of an event or action.  That is, the application of “spin” following an event with the hope of reinforcing the interpretation of the event to reflect favorably the position or image of the spinner.

Actually, the definition above is not even close.  Perception management is the whirling dervish of spin.  Where spin attempts to influence the interpretation of events, perception management attempts to create events in the minds of the community with predetermined attributes useful to the organization creating the perception.  Where spin deals with events after they occur, perception management deals with how events are interpreted before they occur.  In fact, there is no requirement in the execution of perception management that the event actually occurs at all, only the belief that it did.

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May Day

Yesterday was the first of May, May Day, or, in some parts of the world, International Workers Day.  International Workers Day is a national holiday in over 80 countries.  It “is a celebration of the international labour movement and left-wing movements.”(  Yesterday was also a colossal failure.  Most of the local media seemed surprised that anything was happening.

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Bill of Responsibilities — Legislative Clarity, Transparency, Scope and Duration

The is the second posting expanding on the Bill of Responsibilities proposed in a posting on April 4, 2012.

Legislative Clarity

The third proposed amendment in the Bill of Responsibilities deals with the obscure nature of much of Congressional legislation.

Legislative Transparency

The fourth amendment in the proposed Bill of Responsibilities deals with giving everyone, including the members of Congress, enough time to read and comment on proposed legislation.

Legislative Scope

The fifth amendment to the proposed Bill of Responsibilities deals with predilection of Congress to pass legislation that is not apply uniformly to all citizens and specifically to Congress’ exemption of themselves from legislation.

Legislative Duration

The sixth amendment of the Bill of Responsibilities deals with how long legislation remains in effect.

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Bill of Responsibilities — Citizen and Language

An earlier post (April 4, 2012) defined a number of amendments to the United States Constitution that, together, could be considered a Bill of Responsibilities akin to the original Bill of Rights.  What is the reasoning behind each of the proposed amendments?  In this post, I’ll expand on the first two of the suggested amendments – citizenship and official language.

Who is a Citizen?

Amendment A — Citizens

Section 1

A Citizen of the United States of America is a person whose mother or father is a citizen of the United States of America, has obtained citizenship through the process of naturalization, or is a Citizen at the time of the adoption of this amendment.

. . .

Amendment B — Language

Section 1

The official language of the United States shall be English.

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Bill of Responsibilities

The United States of America may be unique among the civilizations that have existed on Earth.  By many standards it is a young civilization and by others, very old.  Its very existence rests on a Constitutional foundation that, in total, consists of approximately 4600 words that can be printed on a half dozen pages.  It may be the shortest Constitution ever written and the most inspired.  The Constitution defines the structure of the government of the United States, and the duties of the three branches created.  It defines a single crime — Treason.  The Constitution is clearly written and available to everyone.  Compare this to the Constitution of the European Union, which consists of over 160,000 words of complex legal language not easily understood by the general population.

While the Constitution defines the functions of the three branches of government and the rights of the citizens and States are defined in the Bill of Rights, nowhere are the responsibilities of the Congress and citizens defined.

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A while ago, I was engaged in a conversation with a colleague in a management position with a medium sized company.  Somehow, during a discussion of the frustrations related to his position, he related a story of his interaction with a new employee.  He had met with the twenty-something employee for the previously scheduled, six-month new employee review.  During the review, he outlined how well the employee had been performing during the previous six-months and a number of ways the employee could improve their performance, raise their productivity, and pursue a career with the company.  Overall, he felt the employee could benefit from, what he felt was, constructive criticism and become an asset to the corporation.

Everything seemed reasonable until the next morning, when he received a phone call from the employee’s mother demanding that he show a better appreciation for her child’s contribution to the company and refrain from demeaning and upsetting comments directed at her child.

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