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share link   history (20)    society (31)   

The problem with conspiracy theories is that once one is proven out, it is no longer classified as such, but instead becomes considered an accident, evil deed, act of terrorism, act of war, or any of the myriad bad things that fill history books. There is no hall of fame for vindicated conspiracy theorists. A conspiracy theory is simply a plot or mystery that mainstream or official inquiry isn't pursuing.

Once official inquiry begins, the theory simply becomes an investigation, and whoever leads that investigation puts their stamp of normalcy on it. All prior rumors, rumblings and misgivings that preceded the investigation, or even agitated for the investigation, are forgotten, and the theorist is left to work on defending their craziness while working on the next conspiracy.

share link   economics (10)    singularity (14)    futurism (54)   

Money is like Ethernet, binding everybody through the 0s and 1s of stored value. The speed of the network has been rising because of new technologies, new players, and new kinds of money. Technologies include e-commerce, credit card networks, and digital currencies. Players include humans and non-humans. Human players have grown because of growing population size and because of the widening circle of moneyed players in Third World economies. Non-human players include automated trading robots. New kinds of money include forms of debt and novel investment vehicles. Together, these factors indicate that the velocity of money is growing exponentially, in a Moore's Law-like curve.

If so, then perhaps the Singularity will be economic. Riches will cascade suddenly to the corners of civilization, with the overnight emergence of a global Leisure Class, wandering around like philosophers and artists in a School of Athens, just without the necessary slave economy to support it.

share link   writing (4)    society (31)   

People hear about a non-fiction book from a popular magazine article or through an interview on the radio and are seduced by the thesis. They then buy the book and start reading it in earnest, gaining an introductory understanding of the nature of the research backing the thesis. They then often skim the rest of the book or set the book aside.

None of the author's research is retained by readers, nor necessarily even read, even if hundreds of thousands of people pick up the book. And yet those hundreds of thousands will believe in the words of that author, and of those hundreds of thousands, some will be policy-makers or spiritual leaders. The stack of text then becomes a beacon or totem that says, effectively, "This is probably true." People will cite the book after it's initial publication, and eventually the book could be hollowed out. But even if the text were lost forever, the title of the book and the author's name could continue to guide the direction of human thought for years to come.

share link   society (31)    futurism (54)   

If war requires constituents to give their lives in concert for the greater good, then peace should give rise to individualism. As peace expands, so shrinks our susceptibility to control. But the new peace is not absolute, and new outlets for violence against communities have emerged in the form of lone gunmen and home-grown terrorists.

Pre-peace, violent people were controlled via broadcast, with religious or community leaders—who for most of history were the same people—pushing an agenda to the receptive masses. Post-peace, violent people need to be controlled via network. The potential school shooter has to be watched by a web of faculty and parents, looking for telltale signs. The soldier with PTSD has to be watched by a web of psychiatrists and officers, catching them before they take their weapons off base. And everybody else has to have their emails watched and their purchases monitored, just in case one of them decides to give their life for the good of their own, twisted form of retribution.