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503: Artificially Flavored Intelligence

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Q: Is this what computers dream? A: No. Stop anthropomorphizing.

Q: Is this what computers dream?
A: No. Stop anthropomorphizing.

KMO welcomes Misha Lepetic back to the program. Misha writes about technology and society for 3 Quarks Daily. Anyone who uses Facebook or listens to podcasts knows how the internet can connect us with the members of our tribe we would have never met or known about without technology, but Misha argues that AI and its embodied version, robotics, will allow people to never have to meet, interact with, care about or even consider those members of our shared society who we'd rather forget about. Old people, sick people, socially awkward people. The robots can see to their needs so we don't have to deal with them. Misha brings up past visions of the technological future like Colossus: The Forbin Project, Lawnmower Man, and I Robot to illustrate the evolution of our concerns about the effects of technology on human life and society.

CRV194

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CRV194_coverKMO and Doug Lain summarize and comment on a video by Sargon of Akkad about the so-called alt right. Topics include the ideological changes that have swept the community of science fiction writers in the United States in recent years, white nationalism, right-wing collectivism, human biodiversity and the economics of imperialism.

420 Special

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WOOL420KMO took the host's chair for the Monsters and Hampsters show on WOOL FM, Community Radio in Bellows Falls, Vermont, for a special, marijuana-themed show. Guests include the Dopefiend, creator of the Dopecast, Vermont Senator David Zuckerman, author Adam Kotsko, and Marty, KMO's co-host on the Z-Realm Podcast.

CRV193

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Available to C-Realm Vault subscribers

Available to C-Realm Vault subscribers

The conversation with Amogh Sahu continues in this episode of the Vault. Amogh asks KMO about Vermont, and the discussion gravitates to the interplay between a tough economy and the war on drugs.  Prisons provide employment in rural places by paying rural whites to lock up prisoners who are largely black and latino and who come from cities. This gives rural whites an economic incentive to maintain a particular set of ideological commitments concerning blacks, drugs and crime. The discussion touches on a variety of topics but eventually comes back around to the subject of so-called social justice warriors and how they seemingly have little interest in the topics of class struggle or literal imperialism (only cultural imperialism).

CRV192

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KMO on his last stroll through Green-Wood Cemetery as a Brooklyn resident.

KMO on his last stroll through Green-Wood Cemetery as a Brooklyn resident.

The post-interview conversation with Gaius Publius which was supposed to appear in last week's Vault podcast can be found here. After that, KMO talks about social justice and its college campus champions with Symptomatic Redness co-host, Amogh Sahu.

CRV191

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José Martí

José Martí

The Spanish-American war of 1898 ended Spain’s four-hundred-year rule of Cuba. Cuba became a U.S. protectorate and decades of instability followed, culminating in Batista’s military dictatorship. The 1959 Cuban Revolution is one of the great underdog stories in history, in which a tiny band of young rebels prevailed against all odds. This nationalist revolution quickly fell under the sway of the USSR, and Cuba’s previously close ties with the U.S. were abruptly severed. This presentation by novelist and lecturer Tim Weed, a long-time observer of the island, highlights recent changes in light of Cuba’s long struggle for sovereignty.

502: The Neo-liberal Consensus

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COVER_ART_502KMO welcomes Gaius Publius to the C-Realm Podcast to discuss the history of neo-liberalism and the importance of the two protest candidates who represent the public's frustration with the decades-long project of advancing a billionaire-controlled, predatory, global system of corporate capitalism. The establishment candidates strive to manage expectations for an inevitable decline in living standards and political responsiveness, but the electorate are done with that, says Gaius. All that remains to be seen is whether the rejection of the neo-liberal consensus will come from the left, the right, or whether the Millennials, and others who refuse to have their expectations managed down to something the neo-liberal candidates consider "reasonable" or "realistic," abandon the frame of electoral politics all together and continue the struggle by other means.

 

The Guardian article by Thomas Frank mentioned in the episode can be found here: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/07/donald-trump-why-americans-support

CRV 190

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CRV190_coverKMO and Jeff Wilburn talk about the rejection of the neo-liberal status quo as evidenced by the popularity of outsider candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. All recent presidential elections have been contests that pit one neo-liberal candidate against another. If Trump and Sanders end up with the nominations, this year's electoral ballot will be neo-liberal free. Either candidate's win would constitute a resounding rejection of the status quo.

CRV189

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CRV189_coverKMO and Larry Lowe discuss the thematic similarities between the BBC drama, Utopia, and season 10 of the X-Files. The issue of humans having too many babies is a familiar one, but KMO also invokes the movies Children of Men and The Handmaid's Tale as examples of fictional explorations of the consequences of widespread infertility. While the non-human life on Earth probably wouldn't shed too many tears if humans didn't breed enough to maintain their numbers, in terms of social stability, too few babies can be as bad as too many.

CRV188

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How's that primary contest going?

How's that primary contest going?

KMO and Olga have moved from the Big Apple to Bellows Falls, Vermont. KMO gives his first impressions of life in a Vermont village in this episode. Friend of the C-Realm and Bellows Falls resident, Doug, joins KMO for a conversation about the proposed detention center project being advanced by the Windham county sheriff and how Vermonter's like to think that their state and local government is always blazing a progressive trail into an enlightened future.

CRV187

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Artist, Prophet, Nomad, Hero

Artist, Prophet, Nomad, Hero

KMO and Jim, your Ad Attacker, discuss the Strauss-Howe Generational theory through the lens of familiar C-Realm themes of energy decline, financial turmoil, and the coming crises. KMO and Jim are both Gen Xers, maligned as slackers by the Boomers throughout the 90s, but they make an effort not to beat up on the Boomers TOO much. KMO spends the first half of the podcast just laying out the basics of the theory which breaks the Saeculum or "natural century" into four seasons or "turnings" as Strauss and Howe call them. These turnings, High, Awakening, Unraveling, and Crisis correspond with Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. These turnings shape the young adult cohort that lives through them into Artists, Prophets, Nomads, and Heroes. The most recent examples of these archetypal generational cohorts are the Silent Generation (A), the Baby Boomers (P), Generation X (N), and the Millennials (H).

CRV186

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CRV186_coverThe conversation between KMO and Bruce Damer from C-Realm Podcast 501 concludes here with a discussion of the poison of pessimism and the effects that ubiquitous mobile computing, always-on social media, cognition "enhancing" drugs and unprecedented amounts of screen time are having on young people and the world they take charge of and shape as heads of government and industry. KMO concludes with a reading from and reflections upon The Disadvantages of an Elite Education: Our best universities have forgotten that the reason they exist is to make minds, not careers by William Deresiewicz.

501: Outward Focused

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COVER_ART_501KMO welcomes Bruce Damer back to the C-Realm to talk about the renaissance in space exploration driven primarily by private ventures known collectively as "New Space." Bruce has designed a mission to capture an asteroid with a vehicle he calls SHEPHERD. This technique could usher in the long-delayed era of large scale construction projects in space. Lifting all the components for large structures into orbit from the surface of the Earth is just too costly, so to realize a genuine human space age, we'll need to find a way to use what's already up there. Unlike David Graeber, Bruce does not believe that the shiny high tech future of the mid 20th Century was deliberately switched out for a high-tech surveillance state in which technologies meant to discipline labor and squash rebellion received all the funding. Bruce has a different vision of what's kept our space dreams on hold for so long and what could break the logjam.

CRV185

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CRV185_coverKMO welcomes Eric Boyd of Toronto Hacklab back to the C-Realm to talk about the end of Moore's Law. Chip manufacturers are still designing new and better hardware, but the industry focus has shifted from speed and transistor density  to improvements in energy usage and portability. Later Eric explains why establishing floating colonies in the atmosphere of Venus is more feasible than building colonies on the surface of Mars.

CRV184

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CRV184_coverKMO and Z-Realm co-host, Marty, talk about time travel in science fiction with emphasis on Star Trek and the Terminator series. Is history homeostatic? Does it resist attempts to alter our timeline. What would the possibility of time travel imply for the possibility of free will? Does the concept of multiple, parallel timelines dispel some seeming paradoxes related to time travel? There are no authoritative answers to these questions to be found within this podcast, but it's still fun to tug at the questions.