Future-proof yourself

Sometimes I worry about the future. (When I’m not sleeping I mean). I think about the long haul truck drivers that are going to be out of work. I think about the UPS guy in his turd colored overall getting replaced by a turd colored drone… but most of all I worry about the strippers!

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In a cashless society… how would this work? How will these lithe, fearless acrobats be able to put themselves through college anymore? Will strip joints have to put these performers on a payroll? Where will the hedge fund managers go for lunch? Will society fall apart? Will boobs be relegated to mere mammary gland status?

Think about that next you hit up your crypto-exchange. You guys are killing an institutionalized industry (and maybe the world). I hope you’re proud of yourselves!

Gold. Gold. Gold.

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I used to be a commodity trader. True story. My forte* was more aluminium than gold. But I had a soft spot for the much maligned gold bull. (insofar as I feel a bit sorry for them) Gold is literally the realm of the crazies and fringe loonies. Historically always has been, and is likely to remain so.

*I use the word ‘forte’ quite loosely.

In any any event I thought this was hilarious.

Outsourced!

And you dare mock Capitalism…

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This frees up a lot of my time. Its been great! I haven’t decided whether I want to upgrade to the full self-loathing package yet. Apparently for an extra $1 he’ll run himself into a brick wall.

On the one hand I feel a little bad for him. On the other, he’s earning money which he can use to support his venerable parents and twelve siblings. I do however feel morally obligated to try and balance his capacity to sustain brain damage at my behest with his own hard currency requirements. (I don’t think he’s educated enough to understand what he’s doing is bad for him)

In any event. I totally recommend this new feature. Also the app is great. Very user friendly.

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Its the end of the world…

as we know it. – REM, Document, 1987

And I feel fine?

Many of us like to imagine the things that will end the world. Or is that just me? Perhaps I shouldn’t broadly speculate about what other people do in the bathtub. In my case its usually that, or playing with my U-boat. No, that is not a euphemism. Its an actual scale model U-boat. I thought a plastic yellow duck cast doubt on my masculinity and general Alpha male… eh, ness.

In any event, when I’m not stalking merchant ships in the North Atlantic my mind is drawn to apocalyptic scenarios… like a moth is drawn to the blue light of a bug zapper. I amuse myself with schema that will most likely cause the end times. Asteroids. Artificial intelligence. Anthrax. Which are all very cute (and alliterated) But the real threat ALREADY lives among us! They are known to us. We interact with them every day. We might even be fond of some of them. But these people are the walking, breathing embodiment of the end times. I’m talking about the greatest danger to continued human existence to ever walk the earth, I’m talking about the Baby Boomers.

And their stubborn refusal to die!

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Apparently seventy is the new fifty. My old man just turned 71. He is the walking embodiment of the problem we face. He is healthy, strong and certainly doesn’t fit the mold of the decrepit elderly person he should be by now! There is literally nothing wrong with him, besides the fact that he’s annoying… his doctor gives him a solid thumbs up once a year when he does his full medical. He’s even learnt how to use an iPhone. Which I find mind boggling. He comes from a generation of telex-machines, chalk board stock exchanges and post cards.

The old man is anomalous in so far as he did the much vaunted retirement thing ten years ago. He contributed dutifully to his retirement fund. Did the whole living annuity thing which pays him out until he’s 99. (Which he might actually reach) That’s 28 years away. His mother reached the venerable age of 99. (she was still driving at 90)

This is problematic for two reasons. Well maybe more. Lets see how we go…

REASON 1

Not all Baby Boomers planned for their retirement. Which means they have to carry on working. Which means they stubbornly occupy higher order positions in a company that should be cycling. Only they’re not. Because they’re not retiring… and they’re not dying. So they’re causing this strange bottle neck which cascades down the chain of command. Suddenly the middle manager is in his position longer than his predecessor… the bottom of the barrel guys can’t move up the chain either… because the middle managers can’t move up.

Imagine starting out at a company… instead of up cycling every couple of years, YOU occupy the bottom tier for double the amount of time. More importantly your salary stays the same. ie. LOW. You dare not quit, because there are twenty five graduates with MBA’s and a mountain of student debt waiting outside for your job.

Your twenties and early thirties are supposed to set you up financially. But now being stuck at the bottom for longer means a whole bunch of things. One, if you have student debt… that’s gonna take longer to pay off. And two… less disposable income. Why less disposable income, because old people aren’t dying, plus normal population urbanization means a lack of affordable housing. Just paying your rent in an area where it won’t take you two hours to get to work in the morning is half your salary.

Old people are also going to start putting tremendous pressure on health care. The fact that cancer is now treatable makes the insurance companies very sad. They used count on cancer culling the population. Now people carry on living. The longer they live, the more expensive they become to maintain. Old people fall… break a hip, spend five weeks in the hospital… AND RECOVER. You know how much that costs? Millions. Suddenly the money pool is getting smaller… and smaller… and either they can cut back on what they cover… Or… they can increase the monthly cost to cover the shortfall because the Baby Boomers, like the dusty vampires they are, suck it dry.

REASON 2

Pensions run on mathematical formulas that hypothesize how many people are going to die and when. Up until now its been super accurate. It helps keep the pool of money at a healthy level. In fact pension funds had so much money they didn’t know what to do with it. So they bought shopping malls. Now that people are living longer… anyways… it creates a lot of headaches. Even worse headaches for developed countries like Japan and Germany, where healthcare is free and people rely on government pensions. Those aging populations are economically not a viable anymore… but they’re going to cost a fortune to maintain. And you can’t just let them fend for themselves… because those people vote… and for the most part are politically more active than younger people.

REASON 3

No legacy. This sound a little cold hearted and mean, but its a real thing. Inheritance. The longer your parents live… the less you’re going to inherit. Legacy is a huge builder of inter-generational wealth. Its big part of privilege. The longer baby boomers live… the less there is at the end of the day to pass down to the next generation. Looks like you won’t be able to count on daddies death to pay off that mortgage anymore. (Obviously this might not apply to you…)

REASON 4

Burden. The other end of inheritance. Your parents never catered for their retirement. Or have run out of funds. You can abandon them on the street, which I hear some people do these days. Alternatively you can take them in. And care for them. They bring nothing with them to this particular party and they additionally burden you by eating your food, using your utilities and are continuously asking you to change the channel on ‘The Netflix’. At the same time you have to buy diapers for your insanely expensive toddler, you have to buy diapers for your insanely expensive father-in-law. Even worse if you eventually have to get a carer… or someone to help bath them…

REASON 5

Your boss is an 80 year old. He remembers the war. Which war you’re not entirely certain… but it sounds like he may have actually fought in one… and not, you know, piloting a drone. They used to do that you know… I saw it on History.

You have NOTHING in common with your boss. He doesn’t understand you newfangled marketing ideas. In fact every single idea you pitch him is met with a glazed look. Every day you think about how much you hate your boss… you often think about shooting yourself in the head. You imagine going home…. to your sanctuary. But then remember… that your two screaming children and your father in law have used up all your hot water by now. You re-evaluate why you are actually still alive…

 

The good news is. Well… I’m not sure if this is good news or not. But you too will likely live a really long time. Possibly managing to be a burden on society and your children. If the world hasn’t imploded by then I mean.

Yay us!

Government gofundme

I’m not sure I feel one way or the other about Steven Crowder. If coerced, I would venture that he’s likely too belligerent for me. But that’s the space he’s chosen to occupy in his ideological war. I find a lot of conservative commentators very intense and combative… and their message (which might be very reasonable) gets lost because they’ve been preaching to the choir for so long they’ve forgotten moderates are sensitive to pitch and super weary of the ‘crazy-eyes’. If you come across as particularly unyielding or rabid, you risk pushing people back the other way or in the very least remaining steadfast in their support for the status-quo, which is a pity because there are some really good ideas in… well everything that opposes socialism and neo-Marxism. Its mainly for this reason, ie because the left seems so utterly unhinged at the moment, that people are looking across the divide for something a little more reasoned and logical. Be the exemplar. Not the crass, boor that trades insults on twitter. (that is not aimed at anyone in particular) Stay on topic, be polite. You’ll do better. I believe in swings and round abouts. Politics is cyclical and I don’t think the left will stay insane forever. Eventually they’ll start sounding more reasonable again and be more inclined to disavow their fanatical fringes… just like the right (eh… now… mostly) disavows its kooky, crazy fringe. Make hay while the sun shines and use this opportunity to market some of the better stuff.

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Anyways, I mention Steven Crowder because I saw this. Which I really love. I’m not sure if this a meme though (it might be). In any event it appeals to my libertarian tendencies. Libertianism occupies a position right of center because of its abhorrence of taxes and big government. In other words everything socialism needs to survive. It also has, unfortunately, very few true adherents, because it is so very different from the current model used by ‘western’ civilization and is argued fiercely as an academic exercise at best. People tend not be able to imagine a world where libraries and roads are not funded by some sort of centralized omnipotent source that controls allocation. Which surely is quite an indictment of humanity? Surely our greatest achievement is our ability to cooperate among ourselves to achieve things greater than any one person could? Maybe I am just insanely naive? We seem content to foist the responsibility of resource management onto a ruling class of politicians and bureaucrats who treat our money as something to be used frivolously and as inefficiently as possible.

In any event this post is not about that (before Joey disappears down the rabbit hole reappears later this afternoon with a slightly frazzled look and a ten thousand word tirade)

Imagine trying to Gofundme a war. Or any foreign policy interventionist stuff really. I wonder how that would work out? It would have to be a very ‘righteous’ war, none of this vague WMD stuff. Maybe initially, with some good PR work you could get it off the ground. But people are fickle, especially when they don’t see results. Six trillion dollars later (WAY more in real terms than the Marshal plan spent to rebuild Europe) there seems to be a serious disconnect between cost and benefit. Maybe that’s just me…

This is what amuses me today. So thank you Steven Crowder. Even if I do find you a little suspicious 🙂

Kill the programmers. Save the world.

The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment – Warren Bennis

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In anticipation of this event I already have the dog. My wife came with a Basset hound (not a real dog) and while Warren Bennis wasn’t breed specific, I can only deduce from his lack of a caveat, that he never owned a basset hound. Responsibility is not really their fortĂ©. In fact I often find myself both befuddled and amused that such a creature exists. Afterall canis familiaris comes from genetically engineering a sub-species of wolf. It casts serious doubt on… well… the French for starters.

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Our world is in a constant state of flux. Which I’m largely appreciative of, since for the most part, I am quite partial to a bit of impermanence. It keeps things interesting. And for as long as anyone can remember, futurists, carnival psychics, weathermen and more recently economists have tried to forecast tomorrow.

When I was a toddler I fell out of the wash basket I was using as coracle and smashed my head into the galvanized post of the clothes line. The result was a nifty scar (not unlike Harry Potter). The blunt force trauma however to my third eye (and surrounds) was less endearing and unfortunately debilitating. It meant I was never able access my chakra’s and my ability to predict the future has, as a result, been severely impaired. (Basically zero) Although you could argue that this makes me just like everyone else. Apparently its this amazing commonality that we all share. Regardless of race, gender, political ideology or fiber intake, one of those great egalitarian forces at play.

I can however still make some assumptions about the future and then hypothesize. Which is not unlike mental masturbation. You can practice it on your own and it’s relatively fun.. but really the payoff is short lived and its mortifying if you’re ever caught with your pants down. We still do it though. Some of us daily and routinely. Hypothesize I mean. We suppose things. And then take steps to combat something that hasn’t happened yet. And potentially may never happen.

The opposite of this is mindfulness (I think). Or at least living in the moment. It’s something I’ve been trying to cultivate recently. But it’s really hard. Especially since the future seems quite exciting and potentially somewhat comforting to us. Somewhere out there in the future there is a version of us that is, hopefully, better than what we are now. Although why this should be of solace to us is a little worrisome. Doesn’t that mean that the current version of us is less than optimal? Or even defective somehow? Why do I plan on being better at some future yet undetermined date? What’s wrong with me right now? (besides the obvious I mean)

In any event, while you’re sitting in your little corporate cubicle farm, ready to minimize your Facebook window at a moments notice, you are failing to grasp the grim reality of your situation.

Right now, somewhere, some vitamin D deprived, bespectacled programming fuck is writing code meant to replace you in your job. He doesn’t hate you. (well… he might) This is just the way of things…. and the sooner you realize you are basically an inefficient, time-wasting meat sack with a heartbeat the better off you’ll be.

This machine is guaranteed to be waaaaaay better at your job than you. No more coming in late,  no more smoke breaks. No more sniffing glue or blow off the toilet seat during lunch. No more browsing Pornhub or tweaking your manufactured Instagram life during office hours. In fact, lets be honest, if you weren’t around the company would probably save A LOT of money. And the work would actually get done! Why wouldn’t they want to replace you with a machine? I suppose if you were really good looking they might keep you around. But ugly people are fucked. Efficiency all the way.

Lately I’ve been endearing myself to the other parents in the toddler birthday scene. ‘Hopefully you’re not planning on steering your son or daughter to take up medicine?’ I mention offhandedly. This makes the other adults clustered in the defensive bulwark shift uncomfortably and avoid eye contact. They sense Jo is about to launch into a soliloquy but none of them want to be the one to set him off on his tirade.

‘It’s like wanting your child to become an alchemist. You’re being an irresponsible parent’, I continue, ‘in the future all surgery will be done by robots. Insanely more accurate than your inefficient son or daughter with their shaky hands and opioid addiction problems’. ‘Medicine as we know it will no longer exist. We will still need plumbers though. And probably electricians. Infinitely better career choices in my opinion’.

Going forward I think we have two survival choices. (There may be more, but at the moment my binary brain can only think of two) You can turn yourself into a highly specialized freelancer or you can become an entrepreneur. Neither of these can (as far as I can tell) be easily or cheaply replicated by a machine. And there should (theoretically) always be a demand for both.

Or you can make so much money now that you won’t have to worry about the future. That is the third option.

I’m making the assumption that the machines don’t rise up and kill us all first. After all how many programmers do you think there are right now, sitting in their y-fronts drinking Red bull and mucking about with AI. One of them is sure to get it right one these days. Fuck the terrorists. We should be rounding up the programmers!

If we act now we can…

  1. Stop the technological advance and save millions of jobs.
  2. Stop the unemployed starving masses rising up and murdering the all the 2%ers.
  3. Preserve the status quo. (it seems pretty okay at the moment imo)
  4. and… Potentially save humanity

Now we just have to debate whether humanity is worth saving…

 

Actually… now that I think about it, forget I said anything.