WAR AND PEACE
FREEDOM OF SPEECH
What will 2014 bring? As an alleged Futurist, as each New Year ticks into being and as my lifespan ticks towards its inescapable conclusion, I write a forecasting article. To date, these articles have been about what I imagine will come; some predictions have been quite accurate. But this year I am writing of what should happen - because I more and more realize that the future of the human race doesn't "happen" to us; we make it happen. We create our own future through our wise or stupid, conscious and unconscious actions. So let us try and make 2014 a great vintage year for mankind.
WAR AND PEACE - 2014 marks the centenary of The Great War - World War One; when Kaiser Wilhelm (Kaiser Bill) and his German pals attempted to rule Europe and Russia by force of arms. He was actually fighting his uncles, nephews, cousins and other relatives - all descended from Queen Victoria - who ruled Europe. It was a family matter (some say an incestuous family matter) - that incidentally sent millions of young men to their deaths, ushered in Spanish Flu, one of the worst pandemics ever, and marked the end of "soldiers' wars" that tried, but usually failed, to keep civilians out of it. All sane people, about 50.01% of the population, agree that war should be abolished. But the world is wracked by wars, large and small, all terrible, all destructive, all wasteful. What should happen is that all weapons of war should be confiscated and all warmongers committed to mental asylums at the earliest signs of psychopathic mental instability. But, as one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter, we must first create social justice and fair wealth distribution to deprive the handful of insane vicious leaders of their revolutionary mob enraging arguments. We have to abolish gangster-economics wherever and however subtly it rears its ugly head. This requires intelligent cooperation and world government. The insane are solitary, paranoid and disorganized; the sane should insist. In the meantime - global mass media reveals the enviable lives of the perfumed overweight HAVES to the massed ranks of the unwashed undernourished HAVE NOTS - so wars will continue to escalate through 2014.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND INFORMATION - Laurie Penny, an editor of The New Statesman, writes today 3 Jan 2014 in The Guardian that "Cameron's 'porn' filter is a mask for censorship creep". She succinctly scotches the tired old government excuses, trotted out by regimes such as North Korea, the USA, China and the UK for controlling all internet content. I have often written over the years about the many attempts by well meaning politicians, moralists, medics, religionists, control-freaks and all sorts of other freaks to censor the internet. So far they have failed - as they must. Prime Minister David Cameron's anti-wanking /masturbating /Sin of Onan, anti-pedophile and anti-terrorist filters to be imposed in 2014 by teams of politically selected puritans at BT, which ultimately controls all UK internet access, will frustrate the lawful (if sinful) browsing of about 100% of sexually active males and 70% of sexually active females - including Members of The House of Commons and The House of Lords - according to reliable statistics from the past 20 years. As an unpublicized aside, the filters will also block film and music piracy and no doubt all sorts of valuable copyright, education videos, Blue is the Warmest Colour, politically incorrect satire and of course all state secrets will follow. Bang goes the Freedom of Information Act. Will it work? No of course not. As BT intrudes into the internet lives of 62 million citizens, the majority will quit the BT networks and find uncensored Service Providers to link them to the New Free Internet. The UK government once controlled what their 'subjects' (we are subjects not citizens) could listen to on the BBC Radio. Immediately pirate offshore wireless broadcasters, such as Radio Caroline anchored in the North Sea, to broadcast unsuitable, unlicensed content to the morally degenerate British youths. Cameron's Thought Police Laws will break BT's monopoly and usher in the new era of European wireless connections and the New Free Internet. In the meantime, all Onan-wracked, purblind and partially deaf Brits will have to write to Mr Cameron at 10 Downing Street "Please Sir, Can I look at some government approved dirty pictures on the internet this evening?"
JUSTICE AND FAIRNESS - Most courts, judges and lawyers are bastions and arms of the entrenched government and dispense justice accordingly. Most conduct cases extremely slowly, taking years over what could be concluded in a few days. Some see these extraordinary time delays as a necessary pause for wise justice to be asserted over knee-jerk revenge and retribution. Others see the delays as months and years when deals are done, witnesses are leaned on and evidence is fixed, confounding justice and serving the powerful. In a reasonably fair, reasonable democracy - both these views have some truth in them. In insane and crooked dictatorships, the delays are indeed to enable fixes - directives by the regime - to be imposed. However, with cameras allowed into courts, and maybe, who knows, into police stations, the main reason for delays will be be more and more evident; court systems are chronically inefficient and desperately old fashioned. A crime such as false accounting in a large organisation, say stealing $1 million, is not as complicated as the (usually freed) defendants pretend. Such major attacks on and robberies from society can be easily summarized - we now have machines called computers that run EXCEL - and put to a jury. Most such cases take a few weeks of clerical work - not years. As with all backlogged professional services - the courts need more lawyers and judges; even if, heaven forfend, larger numbers mean lower fees. 2014 should see rapid progress of all crimes and misdemeanors and equally rapid, public dispensing of justice. The big thieves and rogues will be more justly harassed in 2014.
ELECTRONIC REVOLUTION - The electronic and mass communications revolution which dates from about 1985, when ISDN Lines, Microchips and Desktop personal computers swept the IBM Golfball typewriter and tethered Dictaphone into the museum, continues apace. Now led by that miracle of technology and miniaturization, the globally available mobile or cell phone. I think that most common devices - TV's, radios, telephones, cell-phones, desk-tops, laptops, IPads, IPods, touchscreens, games-consols, are rapidly converging - and within a few years they will be like the motor car is now - offering a common, easy to know, easy to use global user-interface. The manufacturers and software writers are rapidly inventing and making every possible option to please every possible user and quite soon the users will decide what options they really need and want. Then 90% of the controls and software will be compatible across the board and be locked down. Office Suites will be printed onto chips and have little need to rapidly evolve. Users will take the devices so much for granted that we will forget we are using them. A 1980's survey of machines at home by Media Professor, Roger Silverstone, found 90% of respondents forgot to list the telephone; it was so much part of the furniture. So it will be with today's screens and tools and games - even when they produce 3D images. The novelty will start to wear thin in 2014. But the availability will continue to spread like wildfire. Most new devices will be wireless. Companies that try to lock in and restrict their customers (see Censorship above) will go the way of the UK's once cutting edge now dead computer industry - ICL and Sir Clive Sinclair. Companies that copy all our data to government agencies will rapidly die as customers circumvent them.
SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP - The world needs a spiritual vision, more today than it has ever done - and for the past 200 years such visions have been silenced by the onslaught of science, consumerism and monetarism. Today we have a glimmer of hope in the emergence of Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby - both intelligent, thoughtful and perhaps ethical world leaders. However - they both have massive inertia in their own ranks to overcome - misogyny, sexual bullying, conservatism, prejudice and superstition are rife in the ranks and threaten their organisations. What the organised religions should do is to offer financial services, banks and currencies - on an ethical basis. They have been sitting on the fence, in the pockets of the establishment for too many centuries. If they don't engage in the heart of their communities - they will die of irrelevance.
|FEELING CHILLY IN NEW YORK?|
IN FAHRENHEIT OR CENTIGRADE
IT IS DAMN COLD
GLOBAL WARMING & PANDEMIC - I write about this a lot. My two novels spell out the course of global warming - my e-book Out of the Depths (see right margin) accurately predicts today's bitter weather in New York and London as ice caps melt. There is no doubt at all that the ice-caps are melting. I don't think the meltdown can be reversed. But will governments take any action before the flood waters are washing across their government offices floors? Probably not. This dereliction of duty will see the end of government as we have known it. As the sea displaces 5 billion of us from the coastal margins, supply lines will be cut, (why oh why won't they bury electricity cables?) food will be in short supply and illnesses will thrive. Coincidentally - The End of The World is Nigh - The End of The Present World Order - is deemed by some sects to have have commenced in 1914, so 100 years on is a special centenary for doom laden bibliophile prophets. Move to higher ground (and move your money onshore). When? I don't know. You can judge as well as I can how long it takes an ice cube to melt. The North and South Pole ice cubes will add 300 feet to sea level. UK government is cutting 1,500 jobs from flood protection agencies in 2014. Doh!
NB - Melting ice absorbs energy and heat in the process - reducing temperatures around the ice. The massive ice-mountains in Greenland and Antarctica are cooling the air as they meltdown from Global Warming - contributing to extreme weather events. It is counter-intuitive but the extreme cold in the US Midwest doesn't mean that global warming has reversed.
MEANWHILE IT IS TOO DAMN HOT IN AUSTRALIA TODAY... "A major feature of the [latest] heatwave was the very large margin by which some records were broken, particularly in northern New South Wales," the bureau said.
Read more: The Sydney Morning Herald
FROM GANGSTER ECONOMICS TO SANE ECONOMICS - All economies are still run by favored gangs of bankers, industrialists and public servants, fronted by political parties. So, at each change of government the taxation, budgets and expenditure are reallocated to fill the pockets of the newcomers and pitch the old guard into the exterior darkness - where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. These money grabs are very costly for the 99% of taxpayers who have to cough up. About 5% of the working population work in financial services "The Money-Economy" which is a ridiculously high cost for bookkeeping - and the regular crashing of the system through bookkeeping errors. Why we allow a bunch of spivs and crooks to print our money and control its distribution is a mystery. What needs to happen is world government, a world currency and the whole money economy run on a couple of powerful laptops. This will save the UK for example about £60 billion a year - and prevent the regular decimation and misdirection of people's savings. Politics will start to move away from gangs and refocus on issues. 2014 will be the beginning of the end for party politics and the beginning of mass referendums to agree new public policies. The budgets will follow sane policies not bent politicians.
GROWTH INDUSTRIES - Education, education and education. The internet is a great, unprecedented, ever growing river of information. We all have access to it (David Cameron aside) but we need to be able to utilize it. Data will have to be ranked, collated, categorized, analyzed, evaluated - and then applied to the human race and our planet. This is the next great work. All the new things we will be enabled to do will require energy - unlimited energy. We have access to geo-thermal, wind, solar, wave, ocean current, tidal and hydro-electric - and eventually to planetary movement energy; more clean energy than we will ever need. There will be existing growing and new industries starting in 2014 to harness the energy for the world. New clean transport systems will installed. As more nations realize that most liquidity has been hidden in tax-havens, they will do more printing of money to compensate - and will invest the new money in refreshing their infrastructure. Invest in civil engineering, building and all that follows from it.
SHRINKING INDUSTRIES - Dirty energy will be phased out. Most primary and factory goods will be further automated - requiring computer and automation engineers. Most distribution, including food, will be automated, requiring far fewer people. We will have to find new ways of including people in the money economy via wealth sharing. Internet shopping is outpacing high street stores. Amazon and E-Bay are racing into the lead - so fixed stores, shopping malls etc will continue to decline, as will office blocks as telecommuting and virtual presence grows. There will be less freight and commuter transport. Consumers are becoming bored with endless updates of the same old stuff - so sales will decline as everyone has - or can have - everything. Move on to more intelligent design and media content. 2014 will be a major change year in goods and services.
CONCLUSION - I think 2014 will be a year that brings deep and substantive change to mankind and heads us towards World Government and intelligent cooperation.