Roland Dürre
Wednesday March 27th, 2019

Growth, Inflation, Travelling and the Future

Some time ago, I heard in the that our Federal Government corrected the figures concerning the expected economic growth for 2019. It is now 1%. Is that good or bad?

Yours truly giving a wise presentation …

First and foremost, there is the question if this number is a nominal one or a real one. If it is real, then it also considers the inflation rate. If it is nominal only, then that would mean that we have no growth or even a negative growth. Because, even the official number for the expected inflation rate in 2019 is 1.8%. That is more than the expected growth.

And to me, it feels like we have more than these “official” 1.8% of inflation. You only have to look at the price increase if you go and buy rolls at the local bakery. Or how the cemetery costs for my mother have developed. Or the rents in general. They say that stamps for letters will also soon be more expensive – and the same is true for public transport. Well, stamps are a good example: following the old rules, the Deutsche Post would have been allowed an increase of 4.8 per cent. That would have been from 70 to 73 Cent for a standard letter. Now they believe it will probably be from 85 to 90 Cent for a standard letter. So let us forget about those 1.8%.

Under this light, we actually tend towards a negative growth rate. And I think this is good news. I am sure that less is more. If there is more and more growth, people will fly more and buy bigger cars.

Looking at my own life, I realize that I consumed far too much. But I also flew too much, went too much by car and ship. I now try to reduce these things.

I am more or less car-free, which is not really as easy as I thought it would be. Because, after all, travelling is nice and also rather important. You learn a lot when you travel.

But even bike tours cost a lot. There is no doubt that the highlights among my bike tours were Crete, Cyprus, Tunisia, Morocco and Cuba. Well, in general, you need to fly to get there.

Germany, Austria and Italy are also nice destinations for bike tours. You can actually do it by train, but the offers get worse all the time. A few years ago, they banned bikes in the night trains to Rome.

However, I also did many ship cruises. My last trip was in the Caribbean, where I learned extremely much. The same is true for my Antarctic trip, as well as my South Sea and Asia and Middle America trips.

Currently, ship cruises are really suffering from a bad reputation. Understandably. Actually, it starts weighing on my conscience.

Island hopping in the Mediterranean Sea is also something I like very much. You find out a lot about the culture we have inherited. You can enjoy nice hiking tours. And every few days, you can end up on a new island.

Except that you have the ferries. They are either huge or extremely fast. And they all transport cars. Which means that even the smallest island will be full of cars during high season. And the ships probably drink more oil than the slowly moving cruise ships.

There is another disadvantage to travelling, too. If I travel, I will need somewhere to stay overnight.

Because mostly I do not sleep in my tent. At the same time, I have several unused rooms at home and am using rooms in the guest country. Well, they had a nice idea: . It was the simple idea that you could let other travellers have your rooms while you yourself were travelling. Except that in real life it does not really work so well, which many town elders deeply regret.

I am currently trying to fly less. And I want to take the regional trains when going on bike tours. But I do not wish to totally abstain from visiting other countries and cultures. For instance, this summer, a very old wish of mine will come true. I will take the train from Moscow and go to Peking and visit my son. Unfortunately, there is no longer a good train connection between Bavaria and Moscow. In other words: the long train trip will start with a flight to Moscow. And going home from Peking is, of course, also easiest if you fly.

If I do not travel, I save a lot of money. I would have to burn the money if I do not want it to cause me damage. Because if I give it to someone else, what will they do? They will probably take the next plane and spend their holidays in the sun. Because it is fun and basically not very expensive.

So what should we do? As I see it, the countries of this world have the duty to control what is detrimental to all of us. In our consumer system, this can only be done through the price. That means we need to increase the tax on energy and especially on Kerosene. If such a measure reduces growth, then this is not a disadvantage but something we will want.

Now some of you will say that this is not fair because only the poor will suffer. But: is it really necessary that we all drive a SUV and fly to the DomRep?

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Wednesday March 20th, 2019

The Digital Car of the Future (extrapolated)

This is how we will live in 1975 – Hobby title page of November 1955/strong>

Extrapolation is if you extend a message beyond its actual range. Mostly, you can only extrapolate after having interpolated.

Even in mathematics, this is not easy. Now I will try and give a soft future prognosis about our life with mobility. I will not use mathematics but only logical and cynical ideas.

I imagine what digital land-based vehicles, also known as cars, will look like?

As always, I start with (German) Wikipedia. Currently, you will find the following description:

 


The term autonomous vehicle defines a car or other vehicle that can drive, steer and park without being influenced by a human driver (highly automated driving – Hochautomatisiertes Fahren) or  autonomous driving – Autonomes Fahren).


 

Well, I wish it were that easy. Initially, when I was thinking of an autonomous car, I believed that such a vehicle comes and picks me up and looks a little like a scooter. Like the ones we drove as children on the fairtground. And I hop in and the car brings me to where I wanted to go and that was it.

Then I read the newspapers (especially the section Mobilität of the SZ weekend edition). And I found out that such a car must be able to do a lot more.

  • It is fully digitalized. That means I can do all the things I can do at home with WLAN. 
That is especially nice if we – the car and I – are standing in the queue. Then I can do all my work sitting in the car – just like in the home office – and that means I will not need to go to work by car.
  • The car is probably also supposed to be able to fly. 
That will be quite necessary if you wish to avoid all the queues. And because I want to take the direct route. Without having to zigzag around on the streets.
  • During longer drives, you will also want to sleep in the car. For instance if you drive from Munich to Hamburg at night. Basically, I want to go from Munich to Westerland. Except that I will hardly get to Sylt sleeping Because they have the Hindenburg-Damm with the old railway. So here is another barrier for the car of the future. Naturally, this is not a problem for the flying car, which would simply fly over it. 
The problem will start when I need (for me and my companion) a seat that is about as comfortable as that in the business class or first class of a plane. In other words: it cannot be a city scooter. Instead, it would have to be closer to a sort of camper. On the other hand, if I have this kind of car, then I will not need a hotel. The parking place I need does not have to be close to the destination, either. The car can easily take me there on the next morning. And then it flies away and returns when I want to go back to Munich. All these things are supposed to happen through digitalization.

 

A car comes flying … Hobby title page of August 1956

So I need some kind of drone around a VW bus. After all, this new wonder vehicle does not need to be owned by me.

We have ”shared economy“, don’t we? So I can order the vehicle by a simple click – regardless if it is a city scooter or a camper. Then it will come, neatly cleaned and prepared for the trip. It will not matter if I want to go to the coffee shop around the corner or travel far. And I will enter and we can start.

What a nice new world!

But it will probably only be for the very rich. For those who, in former times, were nobility and bishops. Who used to have the coaches and horses. Along with the coachmen. As part of a feudal life.

The “normal people” will be taken to central points from central points by “people movers” (what they used to call public transportation). And then they have to walk the rest of the way or else take electric rollers, skateboards and other mobility toys that will then have been invented. Provided the Federal Minister of Transport will find a solution. Currently, that is not what seems to happen.

And then I meet a young software engineer. He went to get a job at BMW, because programming an autonomous land-based vehicle is allegedly one of the few remaining challenges for computer scientists today. And, like many analysts and decision makers, he still believes in the autonomous car.

I have my doubts about the nice new future world. My reasons are quite banal. For instance, I believe that, in times of climate change, impoverishment, destruction of infra structure and social problems, we will have other things to worry about. Also, I am not sure that the people who live in precarious situations find it so great if they see how the rich are flown through the air in luxury limousines.

They say that a university (Universität) situated somewhere in the ex-GDR already designed the first autonomous bicycles. Based on tricycles (because it seems that autonomous bicycles are probably too hard to make).

Well, I can only say how much I like the good old individualized mobility on two wheels. I would gladly tolerate e-bikes (which brings us back to motorized individualized mobility MIV). But it should be reasonably motorized with true joy in driving.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Saturday March 16th, 2019

Tenerife and its Thieving Magpies

Carl and Gerlinde (instalment # 61)

Honestly – for all normal humans, it is truly an extraordinary delight if they, at long last, can be gleeful without all restraint. At least, this is certainly true for Carl!

And he feels he can enjoy that glee particularly when it is about Tenerife. That island where Gerlinde, a few years ago, had sought refuge for a few weeks when, in a spell of mental incapacitation, she had thought she needed to separate from Carl. But then, what clear-minded woman would ever separate from Carl?

None – at least that is what Carl believes.

And in the end, Gerlinde did not really do it! Because as soon as she had seen what grandiose advantages this miraculous creature of a man had, she had commenced snuggling up to him again after surprisingly little time.

Naturally, he had been quite happy to have her back: after all, they had really gotten along brilliantly over all these years. And, to this day, he did not understand why she had needed this time-out at the time – and on this stupid island Tenerife to boot! He had never really liked it. And he also had never ever wanted to fly there.

And where he now – for the sake of peace – had flown again with Gerlinde. Just like all those other seven million tourists who spent time here every year. And they were old, fat, from England and Germany and France and even – who would have thought it possible – from Russia…

And Carl had to admit that this “Barceló“ in Puerto Santiago with its four stars was actually not a bad hotel. Even if he felt reluctant about admitting it: this hotel really sat near the black lava coast in such a picturesque way that it reminded you of a crusader. You could imagine starting your voyage at any moment. Directly into the Atlantic Ocean, passing San Sebastian, the Capitol City of Gomera, just like long ago Christopher Columbus who also, just like Carl and Gerlinde, had only the endless blue ocean in front of his nose every day and every night – and the stiff westerly breeze.

Admittedly, the splendid promenade along the small fisher harbour in this small town of Puerto Santiago, too, was not bad. Regardless of the many bad construction sins along the promenade that stretched far into the hinterland, even up the black volcanic slopes.

The lone diver, who was chained to a steel balustrade, looked funny. The contraption was probably meant against thieves and against the strong Kalima that blew from Africa all the time. He had advertisements from a diving school in his breast pocket and both his arms looked surprisingly unhappy as they hung down. And although his left hand had been bitten off – probably by a frustrated terrier –a long time ago, his right hand, wearing a red glove, courageously pointed into the thirty-metre abyss of a black Barancos that flowed into the near ocean directly behind him. Its powerful waves had been rising up and eating into the black lava coast for millions of years day in day out.

To the left behind the diver, you could see the newly built spectacular town fairground that jutted out far into the ocean and at the front end of which stood the statue of a deserving Spaniard. It was surrounded by Guanches that had visibly been treated poorly by the Spaniards, who had not left their work unfinished in the name of Christendom: with the exception of hints in the genes of the current population, nothing was left of them today.

Almost every other day, Carl and Gerlinde strolled along the fairground towards the Arena, enjoying the marvellous view onto the ocean and regularly making their way towards one of the typical pubs, where they would regard the lively atmosphere on the small beaches while sipping their Cortado and Aqua con Gas.

The same was true for this Thursday. Except that, today, the Kalima was blowing even stronger than before, which meant that at noon, when they were again commencing with their stroll, they were quasi surrounded by a permanent coat of sound. Countless tourists made their way through the broad pedestrians’ paths and practically every single pub along the street was firmly in the hands of semi-nude old men who mostly quietly sat behind huge beer glasses with their white-haired wives. However, when they spoke, what they said mostly sounded English, very seldom German and never Spanish.

When, almost in a fearfully good mood, Carl returned with Gerlinde in order to eat their usual portion of grilled sardines with ample rose wine at the Paraiso del Sol, he suddenly got the impression from the sound of the Kalima that something inside his body there was a short vibration. It was not the cell-phone he was carrying in his breast pocket. After the second vibration, he knew that it came from the backpack behind. He quickly turned around and even touched one of the two darkly attired, black-haired women who were far too close behind him but showed not the slightest degree of surprise.

Instead, they passed him without any reaction. All of a sudden, he found himself annoyed at being by himself, took the backpack from his back and unbelievingly stared at the two wide-open compartments of his backpack with the scarves, hats, water-bottle, spectacle container and hairbrush in it. In shock, he called for Gerlinde who had walked a few steps ahead and not noticed anything about the two ladies before her – probably Roma – having intended to steel from him. They probably had not found anything interesting in his backpack.

Still in the process of calling, Carl, besides a paralyzing helplessness, felt an intense anger rise inside and would really have liked to overwhelm those two pick-pockets immediately. However, these two were not even reacting to his calling out to Gerlinde. Instead, they pretended that all this racket had nothing to do with them. In fact, they even positioned themselves next to the chained diver, took a leaflet out of his breast pocket and studied it with interest.

Carl felt that he, too, with his open backpack, had to be there and was there in a few strides. However his study of the leaflets consisted of constantly gazing at the two dark magpies, which they did not even seem to notice.

Suddenly, Gerlinde stood next to him and said: “Carl, I will now go and buy those shoes we saw together yesterday in the shop over there”.

”Okay“, Carl said apathically, without actually knowing what Gerlinde was talking about. He continued staring at the two black ghosts before him…

”But I will need some money from you, I do not carry any money on me. I am sure you have it in the front backpack pocket as usual, don’t you?“

Before Carl could react, she lifted the backpack that Carl had hanging over his arm and miraculously produced four 50-Euro-bills out of the third small backpack compartment that the beasts had not opened and that only contained Aspirin and a few drugs. She then disappeared without another word to the opposite side of the street.

Suddenly, Carl got the impression that the two black misery messengers no longer kept their painfully preserved facade of good temper: they replaced the leaflet back in the diver’s breast pocket with such a jerk that he almost toppled over regardless of his chains. Then they hurried away. As their distance from him grew, the venom they showered each other with increased. At least to Carl it looked like they were accusing each other of having spoiled a huge chance in a truly amateurish way.

And Carl not only realized suddenly why he was so deeply in love with his boisterous Gerlinde, but also and above all felt the heart-warming power of justified glee rising from inside…

K.H.
(Translated by EG)

PS:
In Instalment (XXI)
Hinter Sonnenbrillen vor Gomera
loves Gerlinde her time on Teneriffa!

Roland Dürre

POWER in Social Systems

In my last article , I gave you my ideas about the three terms FREEDOM, LOVE and POWER..

When I was still powerful 😉

Quasi as a continuation of these ideas, I will now deal with the question:

What is it about enterprises and generally society and POWER?

POWER also plays a huge role in the context of movements such as  #newwork, “democratic enterprise”, and intrinsify.me. POWER is not only a determining factor in enterprises, but also in the political system, where our social coexistence as countries is organized.

Traditionally, POWER always belonged to men without further thought. In our country, it is still the old white men. Women were and still are ignored, except if they act like men. And children are kept small whenever they try to get in a word – because they are worried about their future.

POWER is relevant in churches, clubs, families, relationships, i.e. in all sorts of social systems. It is always the same. Everything is about who is in a position of power and who is not. And if you are in a position of power, you are better off than the others.

Yesterday

Since classical times, there has always been a ruling class that had the power in our cultural spheres. In Medieval Times, we had feudalism and precariat (Prekariat). Even in old Greece, there were citizens and slaves. In our regions, there were masters (land owners, knights, church dignitaries), a few free citizens and serfs in Medieval Times (fiefdom is just a category of slavery). Until the end of the 19th century, fiefdom was quite normal in many countries of Europe if you lived in rural areas – that is where the important food was produced. City air frees you – that is how people started to gain freedom in cities. And then came the revolution and enlightenment with its national wars.

So how did it continue?

Today

Today, we have a middle class. So far? It lies between the very rich and the very poor. The rich become richer and richer and the poor become poorer and poorer. The middle class seems to disappear.

Tomorrow

I imagine that we will have few very rich people. The huge majority will be part of the Precariat. Let us do some research:
 


precariat
[pertaining to the distinctive vocabulary of the educated class] {noun}
Part of the population who, especially due to long phases of joblessness and deficient social security, live in poverty or are directly threatened by poverty and only have limited chances to climb up.


 

You can easily remember the word precariat if you remember what precarious means. Those who belong to the precariat will live in precarious circumstances. Let us take another look at the dictionary: what is the meaning of precarious?
 


precarious
[pertaining to the distinctive vocabulary of the educated class] {adj}
Made up in such a way that you find it hard to come up with the right measures and decisions, not knowing how to get out of a difficult situation.
”a precarious [economic, financial] situation“


 

Those who live precariously will have few rights. They will be suppressed by an oligarchy of parties and associations. As a consequence of the climate catastrophe, along with the collapse of the infra structure and several similar factors, the people living in the precariat will be the absolute majority. They will be ruled by the religion of consumption. This is how a new kind of slavery could arise. It will no longer be based on ownership of people but on supervision and manipulation. A huge majority of persons will probably be governed by a small number of pseudo-democratic feudalists.

For a short century, we actually believed that democracy gave the citizen as the “sovereign” power and made him superior. Now we are surprised to find out that this was just an illusion.

All we can hope now is that it might still be enough for bread and games in the future.

RMD
(Translated by eg)

Roland Dürre
Friday March 15th, 2019

Freedom, Love, Power.

Three very central but also very abstract terms.

Big welcome – with baby bottle (1984).

When I was young, I mostly thought about freedom. It was very important for me. And since I am a little brain Messie, I collected definitions of freedom. I also wrote an article with eight definitions of freedom.

Be not afraid, it does not contain such a thing as “the freedom of car drivers”. However, a beautiful description of freedom is still missing. I want to add it now. It is by the German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Schelling (Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, ab 1812 Ritter von Schelling, * 27. Januar 1775 in Leonberg, Herzogtum Württemberg; † 20. August 1854 in Ragaz, Kanton St. Gallen).
 


Lucky is he,
who can be what he is,
who measures his way
and 
his destination
with his own eye.


 
When I grew older, I was fascinated by the term LOVE. I also wrote many things about it, for instance A day of love.
Only the experiences of the last two years brought me to the realization that POWER is the central term in our social life. It influences our social life fundamentally. So now I look for definitions. Here is what I find:
 


https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/power


 
As I see it, that is not good enough if you think about our lives in social systems.

I find more in Gerhard Wohland
 


Power is the social consensus that makes activity possible regardless of disagreement. Neither organizations nor enterprises are possible without hierarchically structured power. Romanticized ideas of new work find this connection embarrassing. But secret power is also power – it is only less useful.


 
Wow, that really is something I need to think about. With the exception of the usefulness in the last sentence, I actually agree.

Then I ask friends who provide me with the following two definitions:
 


Power is if you can lie without being punished for it.
and
Power is if you have the right to define things.


 
Well, as you can see, it is quite rewarding to think and read about POWER. That is what I will do. And as soon as I know more, I will again write about it.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Monday March 11th, 2019

Who Owns the Internet … ?

Ob er die Antwort wüsste?
Roman copy of a Greek Plato portrait, probably by Silanion and now displayed in the Academy after Platon’s death. Glyptothek München.

I generally claim that, before you can look for solutions, you need to ask the right questions. Currently, I am wondering – not only in my presentations – about the future of digitalization.

I fear that the internet is threatened on several levels. So I come up with central questions.

Here is a very central question:

Who owns the internet?

I mean this exactly as I write it. My smart phone and my computer, which are both also part of the internet, belong to me. But who owns all the connections and computing centres you need for the network? And who is master over the definitions? Who will decide upon a change in protocols if this becomes necessary due to a change of users? Who is in charge of security? Who is responsible if the infra structure becomes deficient?

Well, I already asked the question several times. Because I do not know the answer. I asked some very knowledgeable people who usually know all about digitalization and related topics. But they, too, could not give me an answer.

But perhaps my readers know the answer?

In that case, maybe you can also answer some of the following questions:

Who owns Wikipedia?

Our huge thesaurus infra structure. It is unique in its independence and freedom. It is also free of advertising. It belongs to no concern and no party. It is designed on an honorary basis and financed by donations. A wonderful example of open source. It is actually something the community could be proud of.

What are we going to do when there are no longer enough Wikipedians left to maintain its growing infra structure? When the technology becomes antiquated and the system breaks down? Who will get or take possession of the Wikipedia empire when it collapses?

Maybe you have more exciting questions? For instance: what will we do when Youtube or other services are terminated?

I look forward to reading your answers.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday March 10th, 2019

Facebook: Enemies of Vaccination Get Less Room .

Under this caption, I read what Heise.de says:


Now, facebook, too, joins in the battle against the growing number of enemies of vaccination. The US portal announced first measures.


And then:


More and more resistance

With this step, facebook follows Pinterest and Google, who have similarly started to cut down the space for vaccination enemies on their platforms. Pinterest no longer shows any hits if you type “vaccination“ or “vaccine“, a short tima ago, Youtube announced that it will cut off the money flow for video channels of vaccination enemies. Based on information of the world health organisation and the US centres for epidemic plague control and prevention, facebook will now start measures against vaccine hoaxes.


This news is an excellent example for modern times. We also want to introduce upload filters in Europe. Facebook, Google and Pinterest profess to know what is better for the world. And they decide who can say what they think and who cannot.

It was not the candle that made me immune against polio but the oral vaccination.

When I think vaccination, I immediately think polio. In my childhood, I saw this cruel illness in many children. And, of course, for me, the oral vaccination against polio was a huge blessing. After all, I knew that this was how many people were protected against the fatal results of the illness.

Consequently, the vaccination against polio was a huge success for me – also for the pharmaceutical concerns.

The thing that was almost as bad when I was young were children suffering from the consequences of Contergan. Initially, this was also a terrible illness. At the time, we did not know that the deformations were caused by a very questionable pharmaceutical product.

This is how I developed a very early mistrust against pharmaceutical concerns and their products. After all, they had shown with Contergan that they did not look too closely when it came to business. I fear that this industry will gladly make money with vaccinations, even if said vaccinations are not exclusively beneficial. This means that, regardless of the fact that I am not a vaccination enemy, I sometimes have my doubts if all vaccinations make sense. Thinking of the flu, the first thing that comes to mind is Tamiflu, of which we know that the most important healing it caused was for the balance sheets of the Swiss pharmaceutical concern Roche.

Every autumn, I ask myself if I should register for the flu vaccination. After all, being now almost seventy, I belong to those who are particularly at risk. However, I always decide against it because I read that the immune systems of older people have a very well working immune memory.

There are vaccinations that I consider extremely necessary and reasonable (hepatitis, polio, yellow fever, …) and there are others that I consider detrimental. And since, also due to the DVSGO (data protection), we have no medical practice that is based on big data, it is rather hard for me to decide.
But I am happy to see that such topics are discussed critically – and I find it a catastrophe if the powerful think they need to act. In fact, looking at the prospect of upload filters makes me want to yell:

Nib Things in the Bud!

Something is wrong with the internet if powerful concerns want to and actually can influence the process of opinion building. And if this becomes the initiative for legislative procedures.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Tuesday March 5th, 2019

After Mardi Gras, There is Ash Wednesday.

 

Property, violence, justice, safety and abstinence …

 

It does not matter if you run, ride a bike, ski or drive a car. If you hit someone, then this is violence. Speed is violence.

 

Stone mask from the pre-ceramic stone age around 7,000 before Christ. One of the world’s oldest masks (Musée Bible et Terre Sainte, Paris)

Today is Mardi Gras. You can wear masks. You can wear costumes. Fool’s freedom means that you can take another role. And you need not stick by all the rules and keep up all the moral laws.

That feels nice. For several weeks, they have now made laws that look arbitrary to me and that I cannot understand. Because now the Great Coalition have changed from the argument mode to the working mode. Since laws mostly are not very good, I preferred the argument mode.
After they took the German Citizenship away for IS fighters, there is an EU-wide attack on the internet. But they also discuss the great liberty of German car drivers, the speed limit. A Swedish (?) producer restricts the cars to 180 km/h. Somehow or other, this is unimaginable in Germany. Basically, I do not even understand why cars that drive faster than 130 km/h are allowed on any streets at all.

Because I am personally against all speed. Both in life and in a car. For instance, I would feel a lot more comfortable if cars were allowed no more than 30 km/h in towns and no more than 70 km/ on highways, along with a maximum of 120 km/h on motorways.

But on the other hand, I am against all sorts of prohibitions. How can I solve this dilemma and still give a good reason for limiting the speed of vehicles? By introducing the factor violence! After all, in our times, the application of violence is a monopoly of the state. That is also true for weapons (let us ignore for the sake of argument that there are many exceptions, even in this country). This means that humans consciously agreed to not use violence and that only the state can use it in very clearly specified situations.

Well, knocking down a pedestrian or cyclist is just as much an act of violence as driving into another car. And that is exactly what people in civilized countries have agreed to forego. That makes it quite simple when it comes to speed limits and limitations for objects of the MIV (Motorisierter Individual Verkehr), part of which are also electrically powered vehicles, such as e-bikes.

What is left in our times that actually moves people? As I see it, the answer is: property, justice, safety and abstinence.

Property.


Does it make sense that legal persons have the same rights to property as actual persons? That ideas – we know they should be free – can become private property? Or that even data are considered private property? 
What about common land? What exactly belongs to the common land and how to treat it? What about the self-possession of persons? Or will we get a new form of fiefdom?

Justice.


Arithmetically, it is impossible, at least that is how it seems ever since Aristotle. But what is suitable? Should society award social credits in order to regulate it? Or should some be expropriated?

Safety.

What is safety. Perhaps protection from violence? That would mean we come full circle. We do not want violence against us. If I am a pedestrian, I do not want to be hit by a car or bike. And so on.

Abstinence.


Everybody knows that, if we want to save the planet, we will not only have to change many of our habits, but also practice abstinence. And what do we do? We fly more, drive bigger and bigger SUVs and eat bigger and bigger portions of meat.

Besides property, justice, violence, safety, power and abstinence, there are many more inter-related topics. They are so complex that the only chance to contain them is a new social consensus.

Tomorrow is again Ash Wednesday. Then the hilarity is over. I already dread the political meetings with their speakers. They will again bark and beat. Both men (CSU) and women (Grüne, SPD). Because this is all about the sovereignty over the regulars’ table. And not about peace and social consensus.

It is really sad – so take off your mask and atone.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Aebby
(Dr. Eberhard Huber)

This is the title of an article Aebby (Dr. Eberhard Huber) published in his projekt (B)LOG. It is a censorious discussion of the current “agility hype“.

For me, “agile“ describes a quality that is excellently described in the agile manifesto. Unfortunately, agile (just like digital and innovative) has now become part of the Business Theatre instituted by the top managers of German Enterprises. They deal with all kinds of things, but they totally neglect the people working in the enterprise and the customers.

The Business Theatre is usually staged by the (top) management. It is a kind of self-portrayal practiced in enterprises and civil offices without any semblance of truth. As a consequence, you often get totally surreal decisions.

For our topic, this means: if agile is fashionable, then they decree the institution of agility. They pretend it is as easy as if you decree that the company cafeteria should get a new layer of paint.

Then they employ a few agile prophets in HR (Human Ressources) who are supposed to not only make the enterprise and its employees innovative, but also agile. And since the agilization of the enterprise must be just as measurable as its innovative potential (and everything else), a stupid counsellor gets the task of developing an agile KPI (Key Performance Indicator. Again and again, it is an exciting but mostly hilarious performance on the stage of the Business Theatre.

  • Well, so be it. With his article, Aebby says what I feel about more than the following three topics:

  • Agile has nothing to do with methods and/or technology.
  • Successful projects have always been agile in the past.
  • Self-organization is only one facet of agile work.

Well, I would like to put three exclamation marks behind every one of these sentences. Let me continue citing Aebby – on sprints:


Here is my favourite citing:
Sprints – that sounds nice and fast.
Sprint after sprint without guaranteed pauses will kill any human body.


All of this is beautifully and correctly expressed. I strongly recommend that you all read the article. In my own words and understanding, agility is something like the art and culture of life. Here are a few additions to Aebby’s article:

Fast sounds nice. But then, today, you have to be fast anyway. And fast has nothing in common with the term Sprint. After all, the agile manifesto was written by software developers, just like SCRUM was invented in software development. And they wanted to develop a better software.

What they meant in SCRUM when they said Sprint was the distance between two integrations. Initially, the developers programmed their modules separately. As soon as the modules had reached a certain level, everything was integrated and a new build was created.

If you had huge projects, the distances between two integration dates was sometimes half a year – often more. If the new build did not work properly, the error had to be found by means of regression if you wanted a running system. That meant you had to reset the entire development step-by-step as far back as the last step. This was an immense effort in work and time. I remember a project where, for more than half a year, we had no running system. Naturally that is fatal.

Consequently, a main reason for introducing short integration times was that you wanted a running system with the current development standard at all times. You never wanted to lose your feet. Consequently, you had to shorten the time between two builds considerably. That is what SPRINT means. It is misleading, because it is not about speed, but about stability. It is not about being fast. More often than not, you reach a goal more efficiently by taking small steps than with big ones.

Agile working certainly does not tolerate working without plan or concept. Mind you, instead of using the word ”planning“, I would prefer to call it a well-thought-through and diligent procedure. Agile is the ability to observe and learn. You absolutely need to be able to always follow what is going on and react to undesired developments with a level-headed reaction.

Sometimes, you do not really know the actual details of innovative projects with totally new functions at the outset. That is especially true if you want to utilize new technologies that might have disruptive effects and thus bring a high degree of research to the project. Then the only way to deal with the development is agile. This was often so in IT. In this case, it would be better to call it an iterative culture of trial and error, instead of agile. It means that you build roust prototypes, then test them, learn from it and improve them.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Aebby’s article was also part of the Blogparade by the Projekt Magazins.

Roland Dürre
Saturday March 2nd, 2019

Turn of an Era: The End of the Digital World ?

What will happen when the digital era comes to an end?

Im Jahre 2019 habe ich nach einem Jahr Pause wieder am Biike-Camp in Sylt teilgenommen.

After one year of abstinence, I again took part in the Sylt Biike-Camp in 2019. The Biike Camp takes place on Sylt annually, along with the traditional Biike-Brennen. It is a huge meeting of entrepreneurs, counsellors and leaders. It is organized by Tedic, the brothers Krickel first founded it around the turn of the millennium.

This time around, the motto was The Turn of an Era. Again, it was more than worth the effort to go there. I was invited to give a presentation on the second day of the event. They had suggested the topic:

”Entrepreneurial Leadership in the Post-Digital World”

I will write down my presentation in the following paragraphs. I started by introducing myself, then I tried to analyse the title in two columns.


 

Personal introduction
Since, on the first day of our meeting, it became clear to me how very much most of us (including myself) are formed by the car, I started by introducing all the cars that I ever drove in my life. In other words: I related my former car and current bike culture. 
? And in the process, I also discovered a few things about myself.
Then I mentioned the computers I use (Mac and Chrome, no Windows).
So I have double mobility – MIV (motorized individualized traffic and on the network). Both tells a lot about the life of a white old man.
And, of course, I also had to speak of my personal history. I told the audience about duerre.de and if-blog.de and mentioned that I consider myself a late founder (I was 34).
With respect to my InterFace history, I referred the listeners to the Wikipedia entry on InterFace AG.


In order to be able to react to the content of the other presentations with the highest possible degree of flexibility, I abstained from using slides with content. Instead, I mostly worked with Wikipedia.

It was my plan to tackle the topic “entrepreneurial leadership in the post-digital world” in a dialectic way. In other words, I wanted to analyse the individual terms post, digital and world (column 1) and entrepreneurial leadership (column 2).


 

I. The post-digital world

(Column 1 – what is the meaning of post, digital, world?)
Before today, I only knew the term post factual. Post digital was news to me. For me, post factual means that we live in the era of totally irresponsible babble, which is part of the new dishonesty (Rupert Lay).

You can even see it if you look at legislation. China is not the only country where legislation is introduced in such a way that it can be interpreted at random. Perhaps this happens on purpose?

Digitalisation has become a matter of course. Everybody talks about it. A short time ago, I read: digitalization is a technology that cannot be turned back. In other words, without digitalization and soon also AI, nothing can be done in the near future.

It seems that we are totally dependent on digitalization, as we depend on electricity and electronics. In the same way, a life as most of us want it would not be possible without digitalization. Every piece of technology contains a huge part of software, there is no technology without any software inside.

If I have discussions with the bee savers in Bavaria about the provocative thesis that “it might already be too late“ to save the planet, then they tell me that, thanks to digitalization, we might actually be able to save the planet. 
? So we have really great expectations when it comes to “digital“.

I like to refer the audience to Wikipedia when it comes to explaining digitalization. You will find an article by Thomas Kofer – at the time he wrote it he was a employee of ZD.B – where he tries to explain the term. He invested many man-years to write the article.

Then I look for the term post digital online. In Wikipedia, you will not find this kind of nonsense. To make up for it, you find something in Accenture. Here is what they say about  post digital:

”The advent of technology identities is leading to a new generation of business offerings.“

Are they really serious? If you click on their link, you find more such BBB (Berater-Bullshit-Bingo). For my presentation, Accenture is definitely not helpful.

Digital and digitalisation are currently buzzwords. They are very famous – and there are no two identical definitions on the market.

So let me investigate the word post. I find that it is “if a composite of adjectives – sometimes also with nouns and verbs – specifies that something happens/ed at a later time“.
That is correct – post is a preposition that specifies adjectives. Well, I understand that much.

Digitalization is said to be irreversible. Because if there is no digitalization, there will also no longer be any technological industry. After all, in all technological products today, you have software, i.e. digitalization – and soon also AI.

Consequently, there can be no post-digital era, because it would mean the end of our technological world. Especially not if the digital world has made itself autonomous as AI. Which is what many expect.


 

On AI

Artificial Intelligence, Deep learning, Big Data are at the top of the current buzz-words list. The world, or at least all those who want to be heard, talks about robots and bots.

So here is my question:
Who of you knows the three letters T, A and Y? 
If you connect them, you get the word and name Tay.

Many in Germany talk about AI, but most of them do not know what it is. Consequently, nobody knows the Tay. As I see it, that is symptomatic for the entire current discussion.
Tay is – or better: was – the twitter bot of Microsoft. Microsoft developed it – and then it was quickly de-activated because of misbehaviour. Both the first and the second version. It was a few years ago.

Today, it looks like Microsoft does not want to be part of AI. They capitulate before Amazon and Google and terminate their system/project Cortana. Because to the great and mighty IT concern Microsoft, AI looks just too big.

Simultaneously, the Free State of Bavaria declares that they want to start an AI offensive. Microsoft gives up because Google and Amazon are too far ahead. And Bavaria wants to make up for it. Just like China. Except – China, unlike Bavaria, will actually succeed.

To illustrate it with an example I tell my audience about the Chinese News Anchor Bot.
Nobody in the audience of AI experts knows it. Well, that comes as a surprise to me.

So much on AI


 

What exactly could the end of digitalization and AI look like?

Here are a few mental experiments:

The first step towards digitalization was when language was first written down. 
Consequently, “post digital” might mean that, in the future, the majority of the people cannot read or write fluently, but only rudimentarily? As I see it, that is distinctly a possibility. Would that be good or bad? Can there be a good or bad – or are we just full of traditional prejudices?

Because:
Why would anybody want to learn something nobody will need any longer? So: why would we want to learn how to read (and practice it all the time, because otherwise it gets harder and harder) if most of what you want to know is available as an ebook or podcast and the remainder is read to you by a speaking computer? A computer that simultaneously translates everything. The asynchronous and synchronous communication is done via spoken language, anyway (oral messages). That is nice, because spoken language transports more than written language. And then, naturally, language will no longer play a role at all?

If that were to happen, then a modern society can easily forego reading and writing, but it certainly could not forego digitalization.

Then I think about “post digital”. On the level:

What or who could destroy the internet?
(besides the EU regulation mania that is pushed by the FRG)

Two things come to mind

 – Engineers become priests.

Isaac Asimov already introduced the concept in his futuristic novels (for example in the series on Trantor):
The people who maintain the systems no longer understand the machines. They only perform memorized (maintenance) rituals.

I can easily imagine such a concept, because even today, in computer science, that is what programmers do. They do a lot of clicking – and they have no idea what exactly they are doing. The complexity overwhelms us, it is easily possible that the world will lose its know-how.

– The end of Moore’s law.

It is very simple:

IT consists of the three components: computer, connection and storage.

Those are the three relevant IT components. With respect to storage, we have arrived in the nano dimensions, you cannot become any smaller because of the dimension of the atoms. With respect to connections, we now work with the speed of light. You cannot go any faster. I deliberately chose the term computer. Because a modern processor (for instance by Intel) contains so much that I like to use the metaphor of the mega city of New York.

We want to make the computers faster by using the quantum computer. Except that, so far, it does not really work. And it will probably never be able to do much more than decode. But that is good enough for the countries of this world, because basically they only want one thing: monitor us.

That is how the end of Moore’s laws could put a stop to our AI dreams. In the past, the multiplication of resources in small time periods spoiled us. The time has definitely come for this indulgence to be over.

So what is important in the digital world?

As I see it, the first thing that comes to mind is Wikipedia – and there are several reasons for this:

– Wikipedia – the thesaurus of world knowledge.

Wikipedia is great. It is currently free of advertising (with the exception of a few articles they smuggled in about Bayern players’ wives), it is administered on a completely honorary basis and financed by donations, independent of concerns, etc.

That makes it one of the last bastions. We need it every day, because there are no thesauri left. Regardless of some weaknesses, for instance when it comes to the topic of digitalization/IT, Wikipedia is still great.

However, now comes the

BUT:

It is written mostly by old white men, in other words: there are few young persons and only very few women. Wikipedia is like a knowledge infra-structure. As with many infrastructures in our world (streets, bridges, railway tracks), the need for maintenance and renovation increases, but the resources decline.

Wikipedia is threatened by ageing and additionally by the copyright (update filter) and lobbyist pressure.

What will happen if Wikipedia breaks down? Who will then take over Wikipedia?
One of the three dominant German media concerns? The Federal Government? EU and UNO might also be candidates. Or the internet giants Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft …

Just imagine advertisements being permitted in Wikipedia. If I were the owner of Wikipedia, I could well imagine other great business models.

– Services such as Youtube, Vimeo, Facebook++, wechat …? 
(I deliberately left out email as a service, because in my opinion nobody needs them any more)
So: What will happen if all these things no longer exist? A short time ago, I read about a murder threat against the youtube boss because of her statement that, as a consequence of copyright legislation (update filter), she may have to terminate the service in the countries concerned!

You should remember:
regulation mania is detrimental.
For all of us!

Instead you should:
Correct the underlying deficits. That is: you should look for the errors, and then initiate reform. For instance when it comes to copyright legislation.

And let us have less DGSVO …

À propos world:
I am sure you remember: only about half of the world’s population have internet access. We still have two worlds: one with the internet and one without. They are approximately the same size.

But in the internet, there are also two internets (more like a vertical separation). The Chinese one and ours.

Many tourists first notice this as they arrive at Peking airport and want to use gmail for sending greetings home or if they want to chat. It does not work.

Then you will try VPN. But VPN service providers are delivering poor quality or else they are very expensive. Mostly both. So unless you have a VPN of a concern that still works in China, you are not very lucky. Googlemaps does not work at all. It can get difficult. Lost in China. But fear the not: the practical Chinese AI will help.

À propos China:
They are now doing a lot with AI. Among other things, they are now inserting humans into a Social Media – System that is omnipotent (wechat). And then they award credits for social behaviour, both positive and negative. Will this lead towards a digitalised dictatorship– or will the human dream of adequate justice come true? As we all know, it became clear as early as with Aristotle that an arithmetic justice  does not make sense in social life.

Well, I believe that, along with Chinese technology, Chinese culture will reach us. And I wonder if what I related above is not too far-fetched for us, either.

Besides:
The use of the internet is collectively and individually totally diverse. As I see it, we still have horizontal divisions.

In a developed, prosperous and intellectual world, the internet is used totally different from how it is used in a poor and educationally remote world. That is how the internet is extremely divided. We have home office users, pornography watchers and internet gamers. Maniacs and fanatics, etc. It is all just as it is in real life. Mind you, that does not mean that intellectuals never watch pornography.

And also, there must and will be an unbelievable number of smart devices on the internet (everything that can activate WLAN is smart and will need a network: cars, lightbulbs, refrigerators, scales). It all happens on a system of antiquated protocols that were initially planned for totally different purposes. And nobody knows who is actually responsible for the change of interfaces.

How is that supposed to work?
I am sure this is a good question.

 


But let this be it about digital and post-digital. So now I will move to entrepreneurial management, i.e. leadership and social co-existence.


 

II Entrepreneurial leadership

(column 2 – what exactly are: enterprise and leadership?)

Enterprises

A young person once said to me that, for him, an enterprise is an organized mass of people who have a goal or purpose.

That is not a bad definition. We call enterprises or public offices social systems with an economic or administrative purpose.

With enterprises, their size is an important criterion. We have concerns and small enterprises. Their nature and functionality differ hugely.

In our concept, we assume that, as a matter of course, an enterprise has several employees. Not only a constitution and capital. And that the employees, like the customers, are human beings. In other words, that an enterprise has people working for it. For the customers, this is no longer true. Mostly, small enterprises do business with other enterprises. It is called B2B.

Enterprises without people – is such a concept realistic? Only with robots and bots? Everything that humans need will be outsourced, i.e. bought from the providers. And the customers are also no longer humans, but instead, for example, autonomous cars and their managers. Is that imaginable? You would no longer need participation and the work regulations (maximum hours, enterprise constitution, labour contracts, …) would be obsolete.

I know founders (teams) who want to build up an enterprise where everything is automated. Basically, the entire enterprise will only be some software!

No employees, only robots (and providers and partners). Everything else is outsourced – the programming of the product and the marketing/sales. What remains is a small back office with one assistant – the leadership is limited to this one person.

Then you will need no leadership in the sense of human resource. A mere jamming session with the founder team is all you need. Just like jazz. The founding process and the enterprise will become a game with providers, customers and money providers.

I know these kinds of business plans from BayStartUp. I would say they are fashionable. Just like the design of portals or apps used to be fashionable. Or the use of 3-D printers…

In all the business plans I know, the necessary and to-be-written software had enormous importance – I cannot remember a single business plan where it was not a fundamental reason for the USP.

Leadership is, per se, only possible if you have people (employees). But perhaps we will not need them in the future.

For this presentation, I would like to assume that the majority of enterprises will still have employees in the future. Then it makes sense to talk leadership.

The broad range of leadership.

Hierarchy versus Network.
(teams working in a network)

Secrets versus Transparency

Group based (model German Reichswehr – Siemens) versus Team based (micro organization with self-organization)

Taylorismus
(detailed pre-definition of working methods ”one best way“, exact fixation of the place and time of delivery, extremely detailed and divided tasks, one-way communication with determined and strict content, details requirements with respect to final goals for every individual without obvious connection between these details and the general goal of the enterprise – along with quality control) 
versus
Involvement 
(as the sum of being made part of the whole, being included and the integration of task… ).

Processes versus self-organization 
(Henry Ford – the caste of engineers as the predecessors of management caste)

Feudalism versus self-determination.

Being someone’s property versus belonging to yourself. 
That is the theory of power. There are two classes: the wise ones and the stupid ones. With Henry Ford, the farmers were the stupid ones. Powerful machines made them jobless in farming and thus they had to work for him. Not even clocks were something they were familiar with. The engineers had to teach them everything, from being on time to how the tools needed to be handled. Every single procedure at the conveyor belt had to be shown to them. And the caste of engineers are the forefathers of the manager caste.

Evaluation:

As you all know, I always preferred the red option.  Yet in practice, nothing is just black and white (in this case redblue), which means we mostly need to answer the question if an organization is more red or more blue.  I also do not believe that red is only for the “creative“ processes and  blue only for “simple” processes. I know enough examples that prove the opposite, for example Buurtzorg for nursing services. More than 10,000 employees in the Netherlands do the work that is allegedly simple.

Digitalization supports both red and blue !!! It supports communication at eye-level and can also take the role of the boss in a hierarchy. That is also why there is a fear that adssRobots might rule over humanity.

I am convinced that all efficient structures, both blue and red need a powerful digital infra structure.

The blue world needs it for realizing processes and command structures, the red needs it for realizing an infra structure that enables a management of experience and enlightenment for all. I do not use the term knowledge management, because this is about enlightenment and experience.

And I see a huge potential for AI in both worlds.

Outlook for and review of history 
Because especially with social topics, you have to consider yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Yesterday:
(before 1900) 
In the European countries, there was fiefdom, in the new world, there was slavery (also in God’s own country).

During a trip through the Caribbean, I saw Curaçao. I visited the Kura Hulanda Museum and learned a lot about slavery. It officially existed until the early 20th century. In many countries, they still have it.

But also in Europe and Germany , we had many centuries of serfdom . Basically, it is the same as slavery. Only few people were free, most belonged to someone else. The majority of the population lived in the country and produced food (90%). Not in the city – “city air makes you free” (10%).

In the cities, progress had its origins. Because this is where the free craftsmen – wood and iron, levers and wheels (wheelbarrow) had their networks and cooperated with each other. In the country, most people were owned by someone else. Mostly, they were farmers and worked on the land. Which is why they were owned by the land. It was actually quite simple – the people belonged to the person who owned the land.

Both the land and the people were of the feudal class – the nobility and the church. It lasted until the end of the 19th century. This, too, is part of our glorious Christian tradition. Sadly, this is often forgotten.

But here is what beats everything:
Slavery and fiefdom were not abolished for humanitarian reasons. Instead, they found that it became too expensive, inconvenient and costly. This also explains why they fought the American Civil War. Naturally, the end of slavery was promoted by the resistance of the parties concerned. It was both individual and collective resistance.

Well, that was the moment when my idealistic concept of the world was destroyed for good.

Today:

Consumism  is the world’s most powerful religion. Without work, a person is worthless and beyond society. There will be less work in the future. I think especially of well paid administrative workers in offices and the financial industry and similar tasks. Even today, RPA (Robotic process automation) is extremely relevant.
In the developed societies, the people who have a job (or/and capital) are still really well off. But the rich who are well off become fewer and fewer and the poor become more and more.

Tomorrow:

It will depend on what works better whether enterprises will have leaders who are blue or red.  It is not about ethics, morals or #newwork.
And, of course, the development will also depend on the economic and social situation. On the other hand, it might also be simply about survival!

The future

I will not try to predict the future. 
I am sure others are better qualified. My favourite is and has always been the Brave new World by Aldous Huxley.
If you do not know the book – here are three options you have.

  • You can read the book (or listen to the audio-version), 
that is the classic approach and will take some time.
  • You can visit the theatre (there is an excellent performance at the Volkstheater München) 
which would mean you need a ticket – the work is rarely performed
  • Or you can read about it in Wikipedia  ? 
 which is the easy, quick and free way What could come next?

In the dwindling upper classes:

  • Money becomes an electronic number (a digit on your smartphone).
  • Power and feudalism will remain.
  • The upper class will work with courage and joy in a developed society.
  • Work will be part of self-fulfillment. “newwork” might happen?
  • All efforts are taken to multiply your property and to fight impoverishment.

Time becomes a personal value.

For the masses, it will be different!

  • No work or precarious work.
  • Work on call. Whenever the robot is out of order. Or if there is extra need. For instance at the harbour in Mombasa or in the calium mine in Tunesia, where masses of people stand in the queue offering their service for minimal wages. Or:
  • Thanks to BGE (unconditional income) you kill time by playing games. Or by just chilling.

The polarisation between the poor and the rich will increase – the world-wide tendency is clear. The rich become richer and fewer and there will be more and more poor. That is quite drastic.

Turn of an era :


Money feudalism, robots and poor people will probably be the drivers of a future turn of an era. There will be a BGE and it will not be enough, which means that the people will have to improve their income by doing precarious jobs.

New combination of feudalism and slavery?

Those who have money can find self-fulfillment with courage and joy, probably on an honorary basis. Other than that, all they will need to do is increase their prosperity. They simply have to see to it that they avoid impoverishment.

The others either have a BGE or not and earn extra or struggle for existence?
Topics
(that move me)

  • Education
Should children use a smartphone as early as possible?
  • Schooling
Schools have become worthless. What will have to happen?
  • Science and higher education 
The structures of and life in academia are still feudalistic. Will that be good enough for the future? My answer is: no!
  • Societ:
#Newwork is far away because our genes are still in a feudalist pattern.
  • Men still dominate and have all the power.

In front of Westerland (Sylt) taking a walk on the beach.
But where are we headed?

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
I dedicate this article to the Biike-Team around Kai Krickel.

P.S.1
At the end of the two days, the speakers were asked to formulate a concise message for the audience. The thing that came immediately to mind was:

”Love it, change it or leave it“!