Barbarians at the Mall, II

War Among the Business Models: It has been just short of a year since our June 11, 2016 report on the www.peoplenomics.com website titled “Bezos and Bentonville: Barbarians at the Mall” but the battle is raging in background and actually explains a lot of today’s headlines.

One of our core axioms is that “Everything’s a business model” and the battle over how Americans shop will determine (in large measure) our nation’s economic future.

The story is not there every day.  It’s not like the Trump-bashing malarkey or the “Comey mislead (or didn’t) this way, or that…” or even Hillary’s failure to accept loss because people didn’t like her as much as Trump.

(continues)

The warring business models story is almost ghost-like.  Shows up only now and then, but it’s likely THE story of the decade.  Like “radio” was going into the previous Great Depression.

The coverage of it in the L.A. Times this morning posits that up to 25% of U.S. shopping malls could close in the next five years.

The story is great, but it doesn’t delve deeply enough into the real battle between the (so-called) two party system’s owners.

I refer to The Factions.  In this instance it’s the high tech e-tailers (*like Amazon which has the largest market share) on the one hand and the Real Estate Moguls who have traditionally sold mall ownership fractions to long-term HUGE investors.  Think pension funds, life insurance companies, and so forth.

The business model question really comes down to this:  Suppose you owned a MASSively big Mutual Insurance Company and you were on the portfolio committee issuing guidance.

There, you might have an incredibly difficult decision to make because there are two “shopping models” you could invest in with the goal of having the highest rate of return over the next 10, 20, or even 30+ years.

One of the models is backed by convention and the new generation of real estate moguls, one of which is the President.  Whether you’re talking the mega Malls, or simply high-end mixed use commercial (at the street levels) with mixed residential upstairs, putting money into buildings has always made sense.

Until now.

The other “shopping model” to consider now is what Jeff Bezos has done with Amazon:  In some test markets they are already delivering a core list of about 1,000 products in 2-hours, or less.  They own the world’s largest producer of inventory-picking robotics.  And while the public has been snoozing through this high-end tactical business model war, Amazon is (check me on this) the fourth-largest air cargo operator in the world. (They may be up to #3 now…)

Sitting on the MASSively big Mutual Insurance company policy board is NOT a job you want.

The President has already hinted that he sees an anti-trust issue because Amazon has become so damn successful.

What’s more, when you pick up a paper today and read about how “300 teens brawled on the Jersey shore) this weekend, you wonder if Social Media is more than a technology.  Could it be the emergence of a Digital Mob that is taking over America?

This will not stop being a cornerstone investment problem any time soon.  Jeff Bezos has already purchased the Washington Post and we privately wonder whether the paper’s anti-Trump stance has something to do with reminding the Real Estate Developer in Chief that drones, 2-hour delivery, and happy Prime customers (like me) are voting every day with their wallet…

This is the war.  This will ripple out onto the workforce, particularly in “hot cities” of the West Coast.  Seattle, the South Bay…oh yeah…hot spots of the still-unfolding software revolution.

Back at the investment policy committee level that banks, pension funds, and insurance companies use to grow capital over time, it’s not clear what the outcome will be.

Clearly, former president Obama (who is just closing on that $8.1-million home in DC) is on the side of the Digital Mob.  Saul Alinsky would have it no other way.  A mob is a useful tool, especially with the right leak sources and a supportive Big Paper. Besides, as the NY Times reports, the Obama digs are just miles from the White House.  We would expect nothing less from his revolutionary “government in exile.”

But even with the Mob, there aren’t enough software jobs down the road.  Once the electronic infrastructure is built-out and once the stock-picking robots are deployed (and self-maintaining & repairing) what then will be the basis of income?

Sure, we have seen liberal blatherspeak about some kind of guaranteed National Income floor.  The latest to spew forth was Mark Suckerberg who, while advocating for the digital mob, failed to explain who covers the account balances.

Or, with all his wealth, is there a secret potion?  A way to continuously make-up money on-the-fly?  Like the Fed doesn’t have that nailed?

A middle-ground investment would lay the big money on Wal-Mart.  Well managed, Wal-Mart has one foot in each camp:  They have a great online presence (which is where the Uretopia Ranch collection of 55″ UIHD monitors came from at $321 a what delivered).  But more important than the online “face” Wal-Mart has a real estate presence and if a return is needed, there’s no trip to the Post Office or UPS and then waiting until the product is logged back in.  With Wal-Mart the online merchandise fails are store-returnable.

The investment policy questions are many and diverse.  And for the true conspiracy theorist, would the reason the U.S. has not MOAB’ed North Korea because we ARE waiting for them to develop their program further?  In Peoplenomics Wednesday it was no accident that we reviewed fallout plume dispersals for the Seattle and South Bay areas.

For now, the Peoplenomics subscribers are starting to look past the (likely) summer peak of the markets at new all-time highs in the mid July to September window.  We’re shopping put option spreads out in the December-January period.

Although we would never wish to be on an investment policy committee where billions are deployed, as small, light, nimble players, there’s no point in missing a chance to  “buy low” for the likely downside action to follow.

Seattle is looking at up to a million new residents in the next five years.  And the San Francisco area, already stuffed is likely to be a Fullerto(w)n, if you’ll forgive the feeble attempt at NorCal humor.

Too early to predict how it will end, but like a good movie, this beginning is really a grabber.

Jobs Victims to the Factions

As the war between these factions continues, we have two preliminary job figures ahead of the federal data due tomorrow.

Let’s start out with the bad one:

The press release is similarly grim:

“The number of workforce reductions announced by US-based employers rose sharply in May, as planned job cuts totaled 51,692 for the month. Nearly 40 percent of those job cuts were announced by Ford Motor Company, according to the report released Thursday from global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

May job cuts were 41 percent higher than the 36,602 job cuts announced in April, and 71 percent higher than the same month last year, when employers shed 30,157 jobs.

Employers have announced a total of 214,495 job cuts so far this year. That is down 28 percent from the 275,218 job cuts that occurred last year through May 2016.”

Does take a bit of wind out of the Great Again sails, as we read it.

The other side of the equation is job creation and for that number with have today’s ADP data:

“ROSELAND, N.J. – June 1, 2017 – Private sector employment increased by 253,000 jobs from April to May according to the May ADP National Employment Report®.  Broadly distributed to the public each month, free of charge, the ADP National Employment Report is produced by the ADP Research Institute® in collaboration with Moody’s Analytics.  The report, which is derived from ADP’s actual payroll data, measures the change in total nonfarm private employment each month on a seasonally-adjusted basis.   “

This may be seen as partially offsetting of the higher Challenger job cuts.  Now let’s zoom-in on where the growth was:

What this seems to picture is OK growth in Construction but the real action has been in services under the “business and professional services” category which is (we suppose) app builders and people running implementations to get every company in the world on some kind of in-house ERP program.

Market Futures?  Oh, you would ask that.  Flat and working toward a level opening.

Tomorrow’s federal job data and some trade information should clarify.

With the global markets firming a good bit overnight, I may have to wade back in on the long side on any weakness today or tomorrow.  But we shall wait and see how it rolls.

What to Do on Climate

It will likely be announced today at the White House, but we see a lot of media jumping on the “climate change is real” bandwagon and their coverage is less than even in some cases.

One of the best reads was Reuters which plays it down the middle.

More supportive of keeping the deal was The Atlantic which offers that most Americans want it.

Factional play?  Why ‘shore….

The Bezos Washington Post sounds a little more worked-up with “Don’t compare Trump’s Paris decision to Nicaragua’s; they’ve embraced renewable energy…”

Huh?  WTF?  Don’t these people read?  Believe NUMBERS?

Don’t look now, but should the Bezos Washington Post have looked, they might have found World Bank Data that says Nicaragua imports on the order of 40.858% of its energy (2014) while the U.S. imports just over 7% of our net energy (2015 data here).

Somehow, we think this all gets back to the ongoing e-tail attack longer term on shopping centers.

After that will come the liberal-inspired end of personal travel autonomy (with cars) and the arrival of self-driving vehicles with is all part and parcel of the plan to keep people from moving freely (or cheaply) around the country.

Gotta save the environment, right?  What better way to do it than corral the civpop?

Oh, and on point: US Army to test selfdriving trucks in Michigan.

More tomorrow… I have to figure out what a self-driving car s/w update will cost.  Will that be on disk, or downloaded?

Comments

Barbarians at the Mall, II — 32 Comments

  1. You are not surrounded, you have put yourself in a metal box, thrown away the key and wearing a straight jacket and asked to be dropped into the sea. On the bottom of life, you never look up, you contemplate your naval and call your life tough. Your little pity party day after day demonstrates a shallow mind that gave his brain away. You cannot learn, you do not grow, you cannot reason and so you go. To the bottom of life, all tied up with no way out and no way up.

  2. Jon –

    I forwarded your lovely reply and the entire comment trail to my Millenials – a lawyer, a sommelier and a weaver. I don’t often do that, so I got replies back in an hour or two.

    I find it most enlightening that they all, disagree with you regarding your post.

    My ultra-liberal daughter said that after reading the comment trail, you may be operating under the assumption that everyone on this site voted for Trump. That is very interesting too, as it indicates your reading or comprehension skills are lacking. I didn’t vote for him – couldn’t bring myself to do that…and many people didn’t – lots didn’t.

    I am a far from negative individual – but your diatribe and virulent hatred of others NOT agreeing with you is a great example of why things go negative rapidly in this country. You have made massive assumptions about people you have never met and are noxious and spiteful in your comments to and about others.

    So what is it, exactly, that you are RESISTING with respect to those born earlier than you?? Do you even know, or are you simply an angry bird?

    “Embrace the technological beauty”? What exactly does that phrase mean?

    Even if you voted for someone else, Trump is now OUR president if you live in the US. I understand how you feel, because I was around when Nixon got re-elected. But if Trump as president is your issue, then just vote with your wallet and your feet – go to another country. When you get back, if I am still kicking, we can talk then – because it isn’t any better in other places, just a different set of laws and customs with the same crooked politicians. Maybe then life will have knocked some of those sharp corners from you.

    • Thanks OM2. Eloquent and appreciated from someone else who did not/could not vote for Trump, but who is interested in listening to reasonable discourse from those who chose to.

    • The fact you come on this site and abuse people shows again how disgusting you are. We, the citizens, just put up with 8 years of traitorship leadership, and I wouldn’t dream of that as a justification for abuse of anyone that voted for obama. You are so immature and you have no humility. Your visciousness knows no bounds.

  3. First of all a big THANK YOU for yesterdays article on noo-cool-ier fall out and radiation patterns and the web sites. Extremely practical.
    And now on to the REALLY IMPOTENT STUFF. Poor poor Hillary, 6 months post election and she is still whimpering, now about those evil Russians. She expected more from them , particularly after giving them a great uranium deal. Can any one remember any other loosing presidential candidate whining 6 months post election? (and it was her own elitest, stupid fault R/T following rules).I am waiting with bated breath for the release of Hillarie’s new book ” How I Learned to Love My Compoooter
    Yep, climate change is real , has been for millions of years. Likely caused by a combination of things, volcanism and undersea thermal venting, sun spot activity, magnetic deviation and polar wobble (non of which man can control—yet.) If you think it’s bad now wait till the poles shift.
    Not even going to address Jon’s daily rant. In all honesty I do read his tripe just to keep up with how the snowflakes are thinking (or not)SURPRISE SURPRISE, I do agree with one comment he made “quite your damn whining and get educated” (if you can afford it).

    • “snowflakes ”

      I think the GM retirees who BK’d GM, yet still receive(d) a pension bailout are Snowflakes.

      I think Trump and the Republicans are Snowflakes due to Republicans controlling much of government, yet still whining that Democrats are stopping the agenda.

      Republicans complain about Kathy Griffin, for the children? yet cheered, presumably for the children? when Trump was talking about busting caps in Times Square, “”I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” Trump said at a campaign rally here.”

      Can you clarify in general what a “snowflake” is by definition so we’re all on the same page.

  4. Re: ‘Backward thinking yahoos who only know the type of phrase my crazy uncle used to say at family gatherings.”The world is going to hell in a hen basket” ‘

    Jon: I, for one, think that everyone here has something to contribute, and I graduated from AN IVY LEAGUE ACC PRIVATE COLLEGE IN THE SOUTH U. S., & WENT ON TO GET TWO GRADUATE DEGREES AFTER THAT. I am by no means a backward thinking yahoo.

    I can tell you that life is full of twists and turns. After working awhile, I – as a female only-child – became responsible for my aging, (well-educated), ill parents – and have spent most of my time since 2001 in spates of several months to several years at a time Away from my own life, looking after their health & business affairs. They were a Doctor & Nurse, and tried to care for their health though. This current bout has had me at my Dad’s from January til now. And he is so bad off he is likely never coming home again – just a long ride off into the sunset. I am 50, and have never had time to have a life. Now I will spend the rest of mine – even after he passes – looking after his estate and trying to “turn off the lights everywhere & shut it all down” sort-of. Life is not nearly as simple as you think.

    I spend my days talking for hours with Medicare, hospitals, insurance, utilities, etc trying to take care of simple matters that seem to require 50 people on multiple levels in 100 different offices where no one’s left hand knows what their right hand is doing. Thus, I currently work like a slave for free, doing other people’s jobs. The world is increasingly complex and requires more time to get ANYTHING done now.

    Open your eyes and learn from others. BTW, the phrase is “hell in a handbasket”, which is happening.

    • Thanks for clarifying – I was going to clean out the chicken coop so as to have an excuse to go shopping for them hen baskets the city slicker mentioned.
      I was worried it was another Elon Musk breakthrough I hadn’t heard about, lol

  5. George, I read you every day for your economic insights, which do make a lot of sense, except for that little thing about miscalling the bottom for about 7 straight years, and of course favoring economic policies that cratered the economy over those that tripled the stock market, but wow!! Those politics!! I mean, a “liberal-inspired end of personal travel . . . ?” Really? Really? Wow. Mike

    • Glad you can read…but yeah. The end of the autos-for-all will be the autos for rent and with that will come use controls and with that, bye to another freedom.

      • George,

        I must protest your slam on my ignorance. You don’t know me. This was clearly only a lucky guess.

        Mike.

        p.s., Regarding your climate conspiracies, we morons also have some obscure sayings that maybe haven’t reached you yet. ‘Better to be safe than sorry.’ ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ M.

  6. You say Wal-Mart is a good bet – I, personally, do not shop in or on-line WalMart.
    Here in western WA, the few Wal-Marts that there are, are located in the lower income areas. Don’t know if because of that, the brick stores are dirty, super messy, understocked, understaffed and the parking lots are filthy.
    I once went to a Wal-Mart, ended up having to return something. Turned out, because of the extremely high theft in the lower income areas, one had to actually SHOW their receipt to the security person in order to be allowed to go to the return area. I, do not enjoy being treated that way.
    Although I haven’t traveled extensively throughout the USA, in our travels through WA, OR and CA, it seems as if all the Wal-Marts are located in lower-income areas.
    Concerning on-line shopping- as a long time Amazon Prime customer, I do alot of online shopping for just about everything except clothing and shoes. Due to the inconsistency of sizings, I have to try the stuff on before buying. And I do not want to spend time returning stuff via UPS or USPS and then waiting for credits.
    As far as all the other stuff I buy online – I like going to brick stores to actually see/touch the item I want to buy. Recently during a small kitchen update, I spent alot of time at various plumbing showrooms handling kitchen faucets-making sure the one I bought was the right one – an experience one cannot have via online. And things like area carpets – seeing colors and texture real time because computer monitors do not show the ‘real colors’ and feeling the material is critical.
    Perhaps one day when companies make the return process easier and cheaper (try returning a 9×12 area carpet – the cost is prohibitive and cheaper to keep), it will all be online shopping.
    And those malls that are dying – so many thing that they could be turned into – affordable housing with community areas, medical facilities, schools, animal shelters, even homeless shelters. But that would require real estate developers to lower their greed quotas.

    • I stay as far away from Wal-Mart as possible, just on general principle. (Unfortunately, my husband loves the place, so it’s a compromise.) The one time I did an online order through them, I had to pick it up at a bricks location. It took the customer “service” clerk nearly 20 minutes to locate and deliver my item, with one additional round of “you’re sure THIS isn’t what you ordered?” No thanks.

      As far as Amazon returns, I’ve had to return items few and far between. (One time they even told me to keep the item [a book my husband had just bought for himself] because it would cost more to return it than to just comp it.) When I send in a return request, I get emailed a prepaid return label and instructions with a time window for the return to be completed (usually around a month). I package up the item, slap the label on, and drop the package off at my local Fed-Ex shipping store, where I’ve seldom had to wait more than a few minutes. (I think they used to be the UPS Stores but were bought out by Fed-Ex. Not much difference, as far as I can tell.) I get a receipt for the drop off, and nine times out of ten, by the time I get home, I have an email saying my account has been credited for the return because they can tell from the store scan the item is on its way back to them. No fuss, no arguments, very little having to deal with cranky, underpaid minions of the commerce machine. Sure there are some things I would only consider purchasing in person, after a hands-on evaluation of the goods, or after doing a price comparison and finding a better deal for handing over cash. But overall, Amazon has been more a blessing than a drawback and I have had fewer grumbles dealing with them than with the non-cyber world.

      • “Amazon has been more a blessing than a drawback and…” perhaps a pain for the supplier, because THEY will have to eat the cost associated with unreasonable customers. JMHO

  7. Jon –
    Your arrogance is exceeded only by your ignorance. My STEM kids have switched from STEM into other fields, as the only way they could land a decent paying STEM job was to invest in a PhD! Even then, they would have had to move to either coast, which they did not want to do – primarily because they hated the arrogance and privilege exuded by most of the people they met. Second, the cost of living was exorbitantly high, leaving them with the same low pay after taxes and housing on the coasts. Those are THEIR words, not mine.

    Self-driving cars only work in urban areas and interstate highways – both of which are likely your mainstay by the tone of your letter. Others of us make different choices, live in different places. Everybody moving to the coasts would mean you starved, in point of fact.

    Information society? That is one helluva thing to base a society on. Knowledge I might buy, but basing it on information?

    I also think lumping everyone that does not agree wholeheartedly with your views into a group is stupid, and you know that. I choose not to be offended, as it is the current environment that makes grouping and name calling acceptable.

    Having worked for an H1-B recently, let me explain that it isn’t talent that they want – it is cheap talent and subservience. I took the job working for him, and he could barely speak English, could not write intelligible notes with his code and frankly was not very good at what they hired him for. That is why I was brought in as a consultant – to sort out what this PhD genius had done so he could hold onto his job by actually delivering workable code.

    Finally, my kids got out of school a decade ago, and even then, their education was sorely lacking compared to my own from the 1960-70’s. No world history, no consistent math principles, no civics, not even phys ed was required. It now costs much more to get a lower quality collegiate education – which means kids go into debt they cannot dig out from under. I think that is crazy, and many of them are starting to see that too.

    I don’t disagree that there is a shortage of certain IT people, but the real driver behind H1-B is not talent – it is lower wages from my personal experience. Further, those who have PhD behind their name are not always bright – they are just determined, or have more money. There is a big difference between PhD and bright. I run across it every day.

    There are Chinese interns and H1-B’s all over this country being paid in Yuan directly into their China bank accounts. The sole reason is so their corporate bosses can pay them less.

    I think your points could be made without being so offensive (neanderthals?). I think you should realize that everyone is not like you, and does not like the same things you like – but it doesn’t mean they are lazy or dumb. It just means they are different and take joy in things different from you.

    And there is no panacea – never has been. That’s why things are always changing…

    • Thank you George and Oilman, but your “dressing up” of Jon the con won’t enlighten him. His brain has been fried. He’s in the throes of selling out the country. He is a globalist troll. Paid to come on here and cause trouble. The fact that he is so out of touch shows how crazy the liberal left is and the bs they keep spewing hoping to turn the minds of hard-working decent American citizens. At least we can spot his stench a mile away.

    • Be a long wait, bubba.
      I figure OM2 and I will be around to watch what the New Kids on the Block do with it. Like Obama (rope-a-doping us into the climate scam without having the stones to take it to congress etcf, etc) we are out here in the outback with values that made America a force to be reckoned with, once upon a time.
      You may not know about such “good old days” – a product of an education system that broke the nuclear family and which has pissed away 15 trillion into welfare programs since 1964 with…let me see…NO RESULTS to show for it. You go, new kids…

  8. All this useless talk! There are 3 words which describe this country and our future – whether you like it or not!
    1. Sodom 2. Gomorra 3. Armageddon

    It’s on TV – computers – dumb phones and everywhere –none so blind as they that will not SEE! Enjoy your future!

  9. Get EDUCATED? You mean get in debt to the govt. don’t you? You see, absent the silver spoon NOTHING – not even medical – has gone up more than the cost of higher ed.
    There has been ZERO BENEFIT FROM COMPUTERS, either. The Higher Ed establishment makes vampires look benign.
    No, Jon, we need a full spectrum country. The “accreditation game” is less about academic standards than having the keys to the federal loan vault.
    Student loan debt is towering over a Trillion dollars.
    Your spew is exactly what I’d expect: Look at me – everybody get smart like me.
    No, Jon. People don’t all have the same mental toplogy as Tesla drivers. They are earthy folks who want a job they can go do, produce some value, go home, pop a brewski or three and have a life with family and such.
    You’ve had the Ko9o9lAid and you miss the end of retailing and the seismic shocks of displaced long-term capital deployment that will shortly wash over ‘murca.
    Get a grip!
    Oh, and I’m on an NDA isa robotics, Jon…and when I see what’s coming from out on the bleeding edge, I can tell you t’aint going to be pretty for average folks.

    • Those imported workers were brought in by corporations to save money- There are Americans who can do the job, but they expect to be paid more than a foreign worker.

  10. FREE SW RADIO: TUNE YOUR FREQ IN!!

    Amateur radio club ETGD PI4THT Faculty for Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science

    On this page you can listen to and control a short-wave receiver located at the amateur radio club ETGD at the University of Twente. In contrast to other web-controlled receivers, this receiver can be tuned by multiple users simultaneously, thanks to the use of Software-Defined Radio.

    http://websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8901/

    NO BS!! IT REALLY WORKS!!

    • Or, you can download SDR # (SDR-sharp) and buy a $21 dongle on Amazon, plug it into your computer and have your own shortwave receiver…

  11. I needed a new pair of hikers so yesterday I went to a DSW, REI, Marshall’s, Dick’s and a Bob’s. I also popped into a couple of other stores to waste time.

    Bob’s was going out of business all of its fixtures had price tags on them. In the same mall a Sports Authority was already shuttered. Walking around the malls and stores was like a wake for retail.

    There was nothing enjoyable, delighting or enjoyable about the experience. It was rather depressing actually. It’s no fun feeling like the last man on earth. If shoppers won’t have fun shopping then it’s done and over. Retail is dead, dead, dead.

  12. The more complex the technology, the easier it is to poke a stick in the spokes…

    You can simply repaint the lane lines and an entire convoy will exit the road – the software is very stupid.

    If it is driver-less, then jamming and hacking are both viable for shutting down the entire convoy. Hacking is likely to be more fun because you can send a car or a convoy of trucks through a yard or just park them to block an entire freeway. Jam the wifi signals, and how does the software respond?

    Self driving cars don’t work well in snow, driving rain, standing water or on country roads, especially with oncoming traffic. In Houston, standing water will likely mean days of traffic not moving until the water drains away completely. Clear lane marking is required, and we don’t have that even in Texas, where we spend billions on roads. Software also tends to stop the vehicle when an unexpected set of inputs is encountered – which is not always a smart move.

    The guys doing all this development are very rich, making them juicy targets for the first accidents. They are targeting big cities (where money, road markings, great mapping and congestion are), OTR trucking and military (they spend more for much less return than us civilians do). This system is wholly reliant on GPS and wifi – what happens if the GPS burps because the magnetic north pole shifted a hundred feet over a weeks time (it is doing that regularly now)?

    So I will say it again – every time we lay additional burdens on the internet, it requires more investment and more electrical power. As we put all our bets on this digital spine, which is wholly supported up by our seat-of-the-pants electrical grid, then we are making ourselves evermore vulnerable. Throw in going to mostly electric vehicles, and where exactly are we?

    I am not even touching on the health effects of 5G broadcasting technology – which these developers are assuming is coming. 4G and cheaply built smart electric meters are already causing issues for lots of people.

    We are always stacking new tech on top of new tech and never do we think there could be a problem with the foundation, as long as we get things cheaper and faster.

    Hyper-complexity brings on an army of issues and problems we do not have when people are used. Yes – people bring their own issues and are not 100% controllable or predictable. But we are far more flexible and adaptable than any bit of software ever written, and we do not rely on wifi, GPS or electricity.

    Just some things to mull over…

    • Somewhat related: Remember in Star Trek Next Generation when there was a trial to determine if Data was an autonomous, sentient member of the crew like the humans, or a piece of equipment? Excellent arguments were made on both sides of the issue until Cmdr. Ryker walked up to Data and turned him off.

      The oligarch rulers deeply desire to rid themselves of us and think AI and robotics are the answer. What they don’t realize is that they are organic beings that AI will dispose of just as quickly as us.

      • Sherilyn –

        As they keep piling technology into things (cars, TVs, washers, tractors) the complexity screams to the stratosphere. My new fridge worked for 2 days – then they replaced the logic board. Then after a week, that burned out. They replaced the fridge, which promptly went out a week later. Then they asked me to upgrade to the next level of fridge, at no extra charge.

        I asked them to send me their most basic unit, and it is going on 6 years now.

        I don’t have a smartphone, primarily because I don’t want to be always available and hate reading tiny screens. I don’t need GPS or a compass to navigate, and I sure don’t need 24 hour news or twitter and I don’t facebook. Watching a movie on a pocket-size screen just seems dumb to me when I have a TV.

        Crabby old fossil? Maybe, but I can write software and build computers and lots of things tekky – I just choose not to let it intrude into my life the way some of my family does.

        Oligarchs don’t want us gone – it’s boring lording it over a bunch of robots – no sense of oppressing them or sense of omnipotence. They do want us subservient and working to enrich them. They enjoy lying to us and doing what they want anyway. It’s a shame, but the current system rewards sociopaths and psychopaths – those that can lie most effectively without a pang of conscience. But then again, historically it was rare for the king or monarch to be beneficent – usually they were tyrannical. So maybe it is governance that allows sociopaths and psychopaths to be the top tier?

  13. “One of our core axioms is that “Everything’s a business model””

    My core axioms is that “People have choices” which speaks poorly when history is taken into account. Extremely poorly!

    • Also, just finished watching Frank Capra’s series of “Why we fight.”
      Wonderful history lessons all during my lifetime. Didn’t someone say: The more it changes the more it remains the same. People just don’t learn from history!!

  14. What if the Universal Basic Income is funded by the theft of all our wealth cumulatively, especially once all money is digitized and cash is no longer available? Since most of the people would fall into the group that benefits from such an income proposal, just how much backlash would there be from the remaining section of the public whose lifestyle would be lesser under such a plan?

    Isn’t the goal of a Universal Base Income, to even the playing field? Wouldn’t that process also require a reset of the economy to bring down living expenses to ensure the base income allows minimum standards of living are available, affordable housing, affordable healthcare, affordable food?

    Wouldn’t Universal Base Income be in line with how communism works?

    How else would such a Universal Income guarantee be funded, if not by the way I mentioned above? We’ve seen how welfare income still promotes crime laden neighborhoods where such programs are the main way of support, i.e., the projects are a good example of how free money doesn’t really promote less crime or a minimum standard of safe living.

    The only way a base Universal Income would have the effects that it intends, would be if all people had the same base income in my view and there would still be many people who take that base income and waste it and others find a way to build a business? I don’t know that it would change anything but it would certainly alienate those who have the most to lose, if UI is funded by spreading the wealth of all of us? (Where have we heard that spread the wealth before?)

    Could the idea of a Universal Income be how the economy is reset and prices are also reset to accommodate this new economy?

    Just thinking out loud, because as I currently understand our current economy, and the future role that robots and AI is going to play, which will further reduce the workforce of humans, placing more people in the unemployment line.

    Somethings going to have change to provide some kind of sustaining way for all those pushed out by robots and AI, otherwise those people are going to rebel as they will have nothing to lose.

    Im not promoting or supporting the concept of universal income, just wondering how it would be rolled out and enabled?

    • Universal Income is another yoke. And yes – they will take from the working folks and plop it into the pockets of the welfare class. This will drive more people out of the work force, especially those on the margin. It is a recipe for disaster, and is based on the myth of ever-expanding economics.

      And honestly, I don’t think robots will be what the movies and developers think it will be.

      The military dropped the General Dynamics project because it requires a dense power source, which batteries cannot supply. The only way to power these big robots is with a generator, which creams the design intent. I don’t think a leaf blower motor is desired in battle situations. Until we get a small “power cube” (unlikely without revolutionary physics, which takes lifetimes), robots are going to require more power than people do.

      A human can get a bruise and continue working. Bust a hydraulic line or an electric wire and the robot is down (waiting for a human). Ask a human to do something a little different, and they can do it after a single instruction. A robot requires a new program, because it is inherently a dumb machine. Those machines they tout as smart (Watson) are house-sized banks of CPU’s and RAM, eating gobs of power.

      We are a long way from even the Star Trek computer from 1968, much less a truly thinking robot.

      Remember – everything is a business model. When you see videos of robots doing things that seem amazing, you are only seeing what they choose to show you. You never see much in the way of massive fails, as the guys in the project are looking for more cash to keep going. Funny that they only show the Watson program as a voice in their ad – they don’t show the massive computing complex that it is.

      And don’t forget that the “new” business model for news items is to generate fear and controversy. Robots eating jobs is a huge fear meme. They may do better in very controlled situations (warehouses, assembly lines), but they are not flexible or adaptive except within a tiny universe.

      I am not worried about them taking over the world – most of the rest of the planet cannot afford them!