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The Growing Age of Technology

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Post by Jill Havern on 28.12.20 8:39



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Post by Verdi on 29.12.20 1:19

Geeez, talk about hitting you with a sledgehammer..


The top 10 technologies to watch in 2021


From the rise of robot therapy to digital IDs, here our technologies that could make an impact next year


By Telegraph Reporters 27 December 2020 • 5:00pm

Few things about 2020 were predictable. The coronavirus pandemic meant Zoom became a verb, millions worked from home and online shopping simply became... shopping. Sales of video games consoles and laptops boomed, and Tesla became the world's most valuable car company.

An unusual year meant a mixed record for our 2020 forecasts. Cryptocurrency did indeed stage a comeback, and Google pushed further into health. Solid state batteries remain elusive, however, and cloud gaming still remains second best to the console.

There are few signs that 2021 will be any more straightforward, but with that in mind, The Telegraph's tech desk has made 10 new predictions for the tech to watch out for next year.
Virtual pastimes

Who actually loves bowling? Who really lives for the sport? Outside of The Big Lebowski, for most of us it's merely a pleasant, undemanding excuse to spend time with people we like. Covid-19 has exposed how sorely we need virtual equivalents.

Video chat is no good: its dazzling intensity quickly gives us "Zoom fatigue", and a call with more than 10 people is either chaos or a lecture. Video games, which younger generations often use as a background for hanging out, are usually too complex, frantic and intimidating to serve the same purpose for older people.

Yet that is already changing. Many of 2020's biggest games, from Animal Crossing to Among Us, were more community venues than tests of button-mashing skill. Facebook bet hard on aimless "social" virtual reality, while conferences, museums and house parties were adapted to cyberspace. Techies are excitedly calling it the "Metaverse". Never mind that, think about meta-bowling instead.

Why: Stop-start lockdowns, permanent remote working, international friendships, virus mutations and future pandemics will sustain the need for "background" digital activities for years to come.

Why not: Once we're truly safe, we may hate the idea of spending more time staring at screens.

The rise of robot therapy

The pandemic has starved many people of social interaction, the simple human need to have someone to talk to. Instead, we have had to make do with Zoom and phone calls.

But now that we have become used to digital companionship, the next step could be replacing the person on the other end of the phone call with software.

In 2020, artificial intelligence lab OpenAI released a language model that imitates human conversation better than any program to date. Other ingredients, such as synthetic faces and voices, are rapidly becoming indistinguishable from real ones.

Already, AI companions like Replika are fusing these technologies together to create virtual companions. Millions of men in China confide in Xiaoice, an AI girlfriend. Developers of these robots say that talking to an AI is akin to writing in a journal, a judgement free space that feels therapeutic, rather than an alternative to chatting to other humans.

Many will find the idea preposterous. The same might have once been said about talking to someone over a telephone wire instead of in person.

Why: Rapid advances in AI and embrace of online communications during Covid have moved our comfort zones towards digital chat.

Why not: Talking to a machine is still far too strange to be considered by many.

James Titcomb
Widespread adoption of digital IDs

In a world where driverless cars and delivery drones are around the corner, the way in which we prove who we are remains remarkably quaint.

Digital identities have long promised much - including the death of the pesky password - but delivered relatively little.

That’s set to change next year thanks, in part, to vaccines. Airline executives, pub and club owners, and sports clubs may demand patrons prove they’ve had the Covid-19 jab.

Verifying vaccinations could tempt swathes of the population into using biometrics to prove their identity for the first time. It could also pave the way for an end to paper-based passports and driving licenses.

Indeed, the Government is already drawing up plans to allow the use of digital identities “as widely as possible”. Meanwhile there are a raft of British start-ups from Onfido and iProov to Veridium looking to excel in the sector, which is expected to be valued at $30.5bn (£22.6bn) within the next four years.

Why: If vaccination passports become a reality it will provide momentum for digital IDs to be used across a host of other services.

Why not: A world of have and have-nots could emerge, depending on whether or not you've had the jab.

Michael Cogley
3D printing your own home

For millions of homeowners flat-pack furniture has been the easy way to shape the house of their dreams. In the coming 12 months, those for whom property ownership has been out of reach may discover that flat-pack homes can turn their dreams into a reality.

The idea of 3D printing homes has attracted much attention this year. Councillors and government officials are becoming increasingly interested in the technology, which follows digital blueprints and pumps out layers of concrete and mortar to build a house.

Higher house prices are starting to attract 3D printing start-ups to Britain. Mighty Buildings, one of the leaders in the space, told the Telegraph in October that the UK was “great market that already understands the benefits of prefabrication and has a lot of opportunity to take that to the next level".

It may seem years away, but if 2020 has proved anything it is that mere months can bring about huge changes in how we live.

Why: Ministers under pressure to build more affordable housing across Britain as prices push ever higher.

Why not: Hurdles remain for companies building such properties, given tight levels of regulation, a tricky planning system and high land prices.

Hannah Boland
Rollable smartphones

We have reached an awkward plateau when it comes to smartphones. Every year, Apple, Samsung and others announce their latest offerings, and every year they look essentially the same. The number of people upgrading to the latest rectangle of glass every year has dwindled as upgraded components like improved batteries and larger screens have failed to convince customers to hand over £1,000 for a new device.

So now smartphone manufacturers are experimenting with radical new designs in the hope that they can stumble upon the next hit form factor. Businesses like LG and Oppo have developed rollable screens which can unfurl to show even more of your favourite apps. This may be the solution to people wanting large, tablet-like screens but in small form factors similar to current smartphones.

Any leap forward in smartphone design takes years to perfect, though, and consumers will likely be forced to pay high prices when rollable smartphones go on sale in the first half of 2021.

Why: Major Asian electronics giants searching for ways to make their smartphones stand out are investing heavily into this new novelty.

Why not: Concerns over cost and durability mean it could be a niche form of smartphones for many years to come.

Electric vans

If 2020 was a year in which the car industry fully embraced electric motors, expect the same for vans in 2021.

Amazon plans to start taking deliveries of its first electric delivery vans from vehicle maker Rivian in June, and expects to have 10,000 on the road by the end of the year. London-based Arrival, which went public in the US this year, has an order to make thousands of vans for UPS, with mass production due to start late in the year.

While the transition to electric cars is expected to take at least a decade, vans could arrive much faster. Delivery companies are under pressure to cut emissions in city centres and buy vehicles in the tens of thousands to refresh their fleets, and battery-powered transport might be better suited to multiple short hops around urban areas.

Why: A multitude of companies are promising to make electric vans, while delivery companies like Amazon are under societal pressure to embrace them.

Why not: Many manufacturers are unproven, and may struggle to produce vans in the quantities needed to match demand.

James Titcomb
Vaccine tech

The race to vaccinate the global population against Covid-19 could not be a more important - or urgent priority.

It will be one of the key challenges of 2021 as governments and companies scramble to produce, store and transport enough vaccines to achieve immunity.

The extraordinary speed with which companies like Astrazeneca, Pfizer and Moderna have succeeded in developing effective vaccines against Covid-19 and pushing them through clinical trials has astonished many experts.

Some now believe it could help accelerate research into vaccines for other diseases.

For example, a universal flu jab that could make seasonal doses obsolete is entering trials. Vaccinations for Malaria are also believed to be on the horizon.

Last month, British artificial intelligence company DeepMind announced that it had cracked the 50 year old scientific problem of protein folding.

Its new Alphafold technology, which can predict the structure of proteins, could also help researchers develop vaccines.

But while vaccines offer hope for tackling Covid-19, governments around the world are also grappling with a less welcome trend - a rising tide of vaccine misinformation circulating on social media.

Big Tech companies will have their work cut out trying to contain it.

Why: Hundreds of millions of doses have already been ordered, ensuring that the push to vaccinate populations will remain a central theme in 2021

Why not: After the pandemic comes to an end, there is a risk governments lose interest in vaccine development.

Matthew Field
Workplace surveillance

While many people have enjoyed working from home this year, others worry the trend risks turning into a dystopian nightmare.

The rise of new types of surveillance tools has created opportunities for bosses to snoop on their staff, whether at home or in the office.

One known as Sneek, for instance, allows firms to photograph remote employees via their webcams every five minutes. Others secretly turn on microphones, log keystrokes or monitor how long employees spend messaging their colleagues.

Now workers are fighting back by using tricks such as placing their laser mouse on an analogue watch to keep their devices active.

But corporate snooping technology is getting smarter and with a return to the office next year far from assured, it could be here to stay. By 2024, the market is predicted to be worth $3.3bn (£2.7bn).

Why: Companies will have new opportunities to install surveillance technology under the guise of monitoring the spread of Covid in offices

Why not: There is growing backlash by unions and workers who claim the tools are invasive and psychologically distressing

Telerobotics

A futuristic new type of technology, telerobotics may look like something out of a sci-fi Hollywood film but they could one day transform the way we undertake many human tasks - from doing household shopping to performing surgery or bomb disposal.

Telerobotics are robots which can be controlled at a distance by a human operator, potentially thousands of miles away.

By wearing a virtual reality headset or other equipemtnthat communicates their body movements to a robot doppelganger, the machine can then perform tasks on their behalf.

In Japan, a three year old start-up called Telexistence has set up its first commercial robot, Model T, to work in a convenience store called Lawson. Already possibilities for this type of technology are emerging in The UK.

London-based company Shadow Robot has developed dexterous hands, complete with thumbs, capable of grasping and using a spanner.

The Ministry of Defence has also been on the hunt for companies that can provide similar technology that would enable people to work in hazardous environments without actually being there.

Why: Because remote working is not just for global pandemics. There is clear demand to be able to send dexterous robots to dispose of bombs or carry out surgery in far away places.

Why not: For other uses, these robots might be able mimic human movements but we still outpace them in terms of speed and dexterity.

Morgan Meaker
Straight-to-fans

New technologies including online streaming, instant publishing and digital payments are changing the way artists communicate with their fans.

They are allowing musicians, designers and writers to be paid directly for their work - a lifeline for many in a year when live performance has been hammered by the pandemic.

Technology companies that provide a simple way for artists to share their work for a subscription are booming, like adult website OnlyFans, Patreon and Amazon-owned Twitch, which has a donate function.

In 2020, several journalists have left their jobs at media titles to join Substack, a subscription newsletter service which allows readers to pay them directly.

Spotify may have upended HMV, but artists are increasingly looking to go-it-alone, particularly if they are being catalogued next to voices they dislike. Spotify has come under fire for some of the content it publishes, the polarising Joe Rogan podcast being one example.

Why: Investors are pouring cash into subscription platforms, and online payments services have made it easier to bypass middlemen.

Why not: People may tire of having disparate mediums to follow artists on, particularly after the pandemic ends and they can go shopping and attend concerts again.

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Post by Verdi on 29.12.20 1:24

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Post by Verdi on 01.01.21 12:18

I've just waded through a long article about the damaging effects of technology on the use of spoken and written language, more or less agreeing with my recent comment about humanoids eventually losing the ability to speak and thus reverting to our ancestors who could only communicate by grunts, gestures and sign language.

The article talks of internet social media being the menace of society, teaching us from the moment of birth (almost) to communicate by text messaging and internet platforms.  You know the rest!

Anyway, right at the foot of the very long article bemoaning the destruction of the English language and the need to preserve the spoken/written language, this ....

If you would like to comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Culture, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter.

Oh the irony!

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Post by Verdi on 01.01.21 12:19

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Post by Verdi on 01.01.21 15:02

Wall Street to kick out Chinese telecom giants

By Justin Harper
Business reporter, BBC News

Published

10 hours ago

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) said it will delist three Chinese telecommunications firms based on claimed links with its military

China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom Hong Kong have all been targeted by the Trump administration.

Shares in the telecoms giants will be suspended on the NYSE next week while proceedings to delist them have begun.

The companies earn all of their revenue in China and have no significant presence in the US.

The delisting is seen more as a symbolic blow amid heightened geo-political tensions between the US and China.

The three firms' shares are thinly traded in the US compared to their primary listings in Hong Kong. The state-owned companies dominate the telecoms industry in China.

Cognac targeted with tariffs in US-EU trade row
Chinese drone and chip makers added to US blacklist
China escalates tit-for-tat trade war with US

President Donald Trump signed an order in November barring American investments in Chinese firms owned or controlled by the military.

The order prohibited US investors from buying and selling shares in a list of Chinese companies designated by the Pentagon as having military ties.

Mr Trump has targeted a number of Chinese companies including TikTok, Huawei and Tencent on the grounds of national security.

China responded with its own blacklist of US companies as tensions between the economic giants escalate.

The shares of China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom Hong Kong will be suspended from trading between 7 and 11 January, the NYSE confirmed.

Courted

US stock exchanges including the NYSE and Nasdaq courted Chinese companies during the past decade to list their shares on their stock markets.

There are currently more than 200 Chinese companies listed on US stock markets with a total market capitalization of $2.2tn (£1.6tn).

But as relations turned sour with the US, many Chinese firms have sought dual listings in China and Hong Kong.

Companies including Chinese e-commerce giants Alibaba and JD.Com also have listings in New York but have conducted secondary listings in Hong Kong in the past two years as the trade war between the US and China intensified.

Last month, the US House of Representatives passed a law to kick Chinese companies off US stock exchanges if they do not comply with its auditing rules.

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Post by Verdi on 05.01.21 15:03

If the world population is expected to live by technology in the future, the Tech giants seriously need to get their act together because, as it stands, it ain't working!

I am now working on another little personal project that needs to be resolved.  The online tutorial has me spinning around in circles, many many pages to cover all eventualities but they all seem to end in a swirling eddy - sucking me down with it and stuck in the sluice at the other end!

angry2

After a couple of wasted days, I resorted to the old fashioned mode of verbal communication, the fixed telephone.  Cunning eh?

Ring ring, ring ring .... hello, this is xyz.  If you want .. press one, if you want .. press two .. if you want .. press 296.  Finally, if you want to speak to a member of our staff, go back to the beginning and press number 3 for emergencies.  If your call is not an emergency press .. and a member of staff will talk when available.

Ring ring, ring ring .. hello, this xyz automated telephone service.  There will be delays due to the pandemic, please be patient blah .  Thirty minutes later .. there will be delays due to the pandemic, please be patient blah .  Sixty minutes later .

angrypcuser

And then there is the inevitable unscheduled powercut think !

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Post by miffy8 on 05.01.21 18:31

You forgot one thing. Amid all of the above and, on repeat "Your call is important to us."  tearhairout

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Post by Jill Havern on 05.01.21 21:02

Don't forget the horrible music when they put you on hold for 20 minutes  notlistening

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Post by Verdi on 05.01.21 23:41

And another problem this very day.

I placed an online order, it all went swimmingly until the payment stage .... your payment has been refused by your bank.

Straight to the bank automated telephone service .... ring ring, ring ring . normal service is interrupted by the pandemic, please be patient ....

Here we go again.

banghead

Tomorrow is another day.


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Post by Verdi on 07.01.21 11:46

Now this is getting really scary..

Can science reverse the ageing process?


07 January 2021|Health

The idea of slowing down the ageing process and living healthier, more productive lives is hugely appealing.
It’s led to a growing trend for people looking to take control of their own biology, optimising their bodies and minds through ‘biohacking’.

But how safe and ethical is this pursuit of longevity? And are there more natural ways of expanding your healthy lifespan?

Video by Dan John

Animation by Adam Proctor

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Post by Verdi on 07.01.21 12:37

There is good reason for the proverbial three score ten life span cycle for the human race.

There is no hidden meaning to life, no reason to take refuge at a Buddist retreat to find yourself or the true meaning of life.  Save yourself the worry of looking for answers that are just not there.  

Simply, we are on this earth to procreate - to preserve the species, no different from any other living organism on planet earth.  Don't ever think that as a human you are special, because you are not, at least not in terms of nature's cycle.  We are born, we live, we die and hopefully enjoy the living to the best of our circumstances - just like the birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees.  

If we were to live for ever and ever amen, nature would have designed us accordingly - but it didn't.  We are as we are for a reason, Leave it alone.

Humans are no further developed than when they first evolved through the process of evolution, we still look to instinct to guide us through life - it's only fellow man that confuses our natural path in life.

The brain is a complicated unfathomable organ, although basic in origin, there is a limit to it's storage capacity, widely differing from one person to another but more importantly, a limit to how advancements in society can be tolerated before overload.  

Take for example this plandemic, it's hit the world like a bolt of lightening with no advanced warning or no sign of retreat.  In short, it's had a profound effect on everything from daily living to mental and physical well being, the average human being can't cope with the overload.  Be it in only a small way or be it life changing, we are all affected by this bolt of lightening in some way.  The human brain just can't cope with it, we are not designed to cope with it - it's a flagrant attack against natures cool calm process of living organisms.

So, feel free to mess around with your body, iron out your skin, wear a genetically engineered scary wig, muscle out your body to maximum performance but the brain is out of reach.  You can't program the brain to cope beyond it's maximum load bearing capacity.

Or can you ....

If that's where technology is heading, I don't want to be around to witness it.  Point proven high5 !

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Post by PeterMac on 07.01.21 15:49

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Post by PeterMac on 08.01.21 6:34

Even more terrifying is what he didn't say.
The US military will not accept people with IQ below 83 as they are untrainable
The Mean IQ of African Americans is 85. 
A statistic which has been tested over 100+ years in various ways
disputed, argued over, and has become a serious issue for the Left, because
Marxist dogma will not accept inherited differences, and insists that the environment is
the only source of inequalities.
But the finding itself has so far not been scientifically or statistically discredited.
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Post by PeterMac on 10.01.21 17:03

And this is sadly true in the UK as well.
Whether it is genetics or environment is for the moment irrelevant.
The fact is there are large numbers of people or sub-saharan origin who are on any test unemployable.
People who after three or more generations and despite 12 years of compulsory education at public expense
still cannot speak an intelligible form of English.
Some argue that this is somehow due to discrimination, others that it is the lack of a nuclear family structure 
and stable 'father-figures'.  Still others prefer the idea that events of 200 years ago play a pivotal role.

What all the apologists fail to address is the undoubted discrimination and the random and then organised genocide suffered by and inflicted on the Jewish people during their 2000 year diaspora.
Yet they have produced over 20% of Nobel Laureates, the majority in the hard sciences.  And this from 0.2% of the world's population.  
In the US where ethnic Chinese were imported as labourers to build the transcontinental railways and the canals, and were discriminated against and racially abused as a matter of routine, their success is legendary.

Clearly 'discrimination and racial abuse' are not sufficient to explain the racial differences we see, however reprehensible both behaviours are.

The danger is that it will be forgotten that each racial group has its own Bell Curve its own Normal Distribution,
and that those will overlap with other groups.  There will be extremely bright and gifted people of West African origin. We see them as barristers, judges, a Chief Constable, doctors, nurses (policiticians ?). . .  and in the same way there will be large numbers of European origin people who are dull and unintelligent.
That is not the issue,
The issue is the mean, the average of each population and what that says about the relative ability of each 'group' taken as a whole.

It is worrying.
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Post by Verdi on 13.01.21 11:41


Research and analysis

Evaluation of digital technology in prisons


This study reports on an evaluation of introducing new digital technology into prisons in England and Wales.
Published 16 July 2020

From:
Ministry of Justice

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Digital Technology and the Prison of the Future

October 30, 2016

Digital technologies are transforming the prison system as we know it. The prison of the future will better meet the needs of inmates during their sentences. It will prepare prisoners more effectively for life after incarceration. And it will be run with all the efficiency of a for-profit business. At the same time, these technologies will also help keep more low-level, nonviolent offenders out of prison in the first place.

Let’s look at how technology is addressing the challenges facing prisons today and how it will redefine the prison of tomorrow.

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....................

Planet Tech feathering their nest for the future 5* accommodation for the incarcerated? Face it, the majority of them should be behind bars.

prisoner


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Post by Verdi on 15.01.21 15:46


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Post by Verdi on 15.01.21 15:48


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The Growing Age of Technology - Page 2 Empty Re: The Growing Age of Technology

Post by Jill Havern on 15.01.21 16:15

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:

Does this facial recognition thingy still work if you're wearing a mask? What about if you're wearing sunglasses and a mask?
What about a hat, sunglasses and a mask?

What about a burka?

Burka, hat, sunglasses, mask, wig, facelift?

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Post by Silentscope on 15.01.21 16:40

They can since March 20 identify even Mask wearers to 99,5%.

Anyone the AI System detects as being unrecognised is flagged in real time to local Police or Security services.
They can then check the person and find out who they are.

Source : Reuters
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Post by Jill Havern on 15.01.21 16:43

So how will they find you if you're wearing a burka?

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Post by Silentscope on 15.01.21 16:58

Anyone trying to disrupt their new system will be taken away for re education, much like the Moslemic Uighur population.

ISIS have shown the World how they would all take our heads if allowed. 

Sometimes evil will be beaten with a greater evil.
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Post by Silentscope on 15.01.21 17:27



In the interest of seeing the Democrats point of view on the subject.

Just for balance.
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Post by Verdi on 16.01.21 1:00

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:So how will they find you if you're wearing a burka?

It's impossible. it's but a idealistic dream designed to control our future - the more who believe the more successful their quest.

The whole concept is computer generated, much like the giant techs want the future to be.

Like the mind of the master criminal, there will always be a way around anything introduced to suppress crime and it doesn't take long. The criminal is always one step ahead of the system - always was always will be.

Here, I believe the criminals be the perpetrators of high tech control. Facial recognition technology could be a very useful tool in tackling serious crime but alas, I think that to be only a very minor aspect of it's use. Anything else on the horizon is frightening in the extreme.

Technology is man made, man made can be very evil. Flesh and blood is quite simply accessible and readable - like seeing is believing. Technology however is so easily open to abuse and it will be used accordingly. Like statistics, open to abuse - how can you negate a computer generated mystique? You can interrogate flesh and blood but you can't interrogate a computer.

Technology now and in the future is a serious danger to society, make no mistake.

Artificial facial recognition technology is on a par with statement analysis, only a more advanced hyperbolic version thereof. It's open to interpretation, only difference being, computer generated hyperbole is so much easier to manipulate. It's man made, even artificial intelligence is man made - nature didn't make it so it must be man ... or woman.

The future under the guise of technology is looking grim, I only hope (it springs eternal) that the media hype has capitalized on a less than realistic scenario and the new age transition will be easy and beneficial to us poor earthlings.

Peace on earth - Ugh!




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