Roland Dürre
Wednesday May 29th, 2019

Quo vadis – Germania?

Roland Roland as the acting cook (@RolandDuerre):

Practicing freedom in Greece in our tent.

In his youtube video, Rezo (Twitter account @rezomusik) describes and clearly shows how the CDU has failed – but basically, he says that all the parties that determined politics in the FRG during the last decades have failed and how the political elite is obviously incompetent.

The person who calls himself Rezo is an entrepreneur and 27 years old – which is no longer all that young. He has a master’s degree in computer science (from the University of Dortmund) and earns his money with the production of videos. Well, youtube is one of the channels to publish videos. Which makes him a youtuber.

I, too, am offering 103 videos on my channel rolandduerre and I believe that there are some quite interesting videos among them. Just think of the videos with Rupert Lay. But that does not make me a youtuber, just as I am not Roland Dürre the blogger just because I write down some of my ideas in the IF blog. No. First and foremost, I am a human being who used to earn his living as an entrepreneur and who now enjoys the good life as a man of independent means.

So now, the CDU got upset about the famous Rezo video and they are asking if the internet should be controlled even stricter than it already is controlled. Mind you, what Rezo says is more than true. The only problem is that he does not say all. But then: how could anybody say all when you look at how endless the list of failure is?

There is not a single day when I am not confronted by the effects of what CDU & Co have done. And I am truly surprised (and find it a pity) to see how many people still voted in favour of CDU in the European elections.

The latest example is of earlier today. At 7 a.m., I listened to the News on the Second Bavarian Radio Station. And they say that currently the countries where most of the young high-potentials want to work are Australia, Sweden and Switzerland. Our SCHLAND ranks on number 12.

Here is the originalnews text:


Berlin: For highly qualified experts from abroad, Germany is not the first address (it ranges in the two-digit area). This can be seen from an OECD study that will be presented today (May, 29th) in Berlin. The authors find out that Germany is on the 12th position on a list of the most attractive places to work for experts with a master or PhD degree. The top rank is held by Australia, followed by Sweden and Switzerland. Criteria were, among others, the quality of job advancement chances, along with income and taxes.


I know other studies that show that Germany also becomes less and less attractive for craftsmen and qualified workers. As I see it, craftsmen and qualified workers are just as important as people with an academic degree, perhaps they are even more important.

Well, this is what I call a failure of the German politics. And it is a failure with dire consequences. After all, it seems a valid conclusion that the best people no longer want to come to Germany and consequently Germany will not have a very bright future.

It comes as a particular surprise to see what countries are at the top of the list.

Australia?


When I think of Australia, I think it is down under. The only thing you will find close by is New Zealand and a few South-Sea Islands. Other than that, persons who live there are totally cut off from the world. In my book that is not attractive. Whenever you want to see something new, you have to fly more than ten hours. Which is absolutely a no-go in these modern times.

Economically speaking, Australia lives almost exclusively from coal exports. Their coal is probably the highest quality coal world-wide. If this source of income were to disappear, the country would be bankrupt.

Just imagine: the world’s best coal is mined without any environmental consideration and than driven to the harbours, from where it is transported around the globe with huge ships. Then, it is re-loaded to smaller ships or long freight trains. The only purpose of this procedure is to have enough coal for burning it and producing enough electricity for the production of tin boxes. Said tin boxes will then be filled with local beer and shipped back to Australia. What nonsense …

Currently, what is needed is that we immediately stop electricity production based on coal. Naturally, they cannot do this in Australia. Because if Australia terminated the export of coal, it would immediately suffer from the worst possible economic crisis. …

So I understand that they need the best people. Just in case…

Sweden?

Many good things are said about Sweden. Some people really make a huge effort, for example with the project Vison Zero. It is about the desire to limit the number of people killed in fatal traffic accidents to ZERO.

However, I know a number of authors who describe Sweden as a corrupt country that is close to collapse. That is certainly not good advertising for the Scandinavian model country.

For me, Sweden would not even be attractive if wild horses dragged me there . Not just because of the depressing criminal stories, but more because of all those long and dark winters. What a placement disadvantage.

Switzerland?


I know Switzerland quite well, also its bourgeois side. Regardless of the fact that I do not always like this side, I still find that Switzerland is attractive. That is also because of their democratic structure.

The main disadvantage of Switzerland is that it seems to be even more expensive than my hometown Munich. I can understand that people like living and working there. Because if you work there, you can better afford to live there. It is not so easy for a gentleman of independent means. So: if I were young again, I would probably think about emigrating.

Common characteristics

Now let us look at what these three countries have in common. As I see it, they are all autonomous and, perhaps most importantly, they are small economies. And you all know that it has always been my belief that small systems are easier to control than big ones. Maybe there is some truth in this?

As far as the gross national product is concerned, they are probably all in the range of Bavaria. Perhaps this is another reason why Bavaria should at long last leave the FRG. All three countries have a strong culture of their own and an identity. For Australia, this is because they are so remote, in Sweden, it is because they are still an EU partner who keeps its distance and Switzerland has its neutrality. And all of them have their own currency. It sees that this is not so bad, after all.

One might actually come to the conclusion that it is easier for small and self-determined countries to create quality of life. To me, this, too, sounds plausible.

The negative trend that is being supported in many dimensions in Germany has not come out of the blue. It is, of course, due to political failure. Neither self-praise nor political manoeuvres in the form of offending those who criticize you will make it any better. It is about time that the ladies and gentlemen of the CDU start to accept this.

Here is an anecdote:

At one time, the InterFace AG and one of its partners had an IT daughter in India. Which meant that I occasionally flew to India. Whenever entering India, I was usually greeted by nice young gentlemen at the immigration desks of the airports in Mumbai or New-Dehli. These gentlemen were always willing to talk to me. They also asked me about my job. When I answered that my field was computer science or IT, they were quite surprised. They asked things like:

Do you really have such a thing as a computer in Germany?

Later, that was exactly our problem. The best Indians wanted to go to the USA or Canada. Or perhaps they wanted to work in those countries that were then called Asian Tigers. If you had to go to Europe, then the only halfway decent choice for an Indian was going to Britain. Germany was a very poor excuse for a destination. Only the second class experts who were not taken by anyone elsewhere went to Germany. They usually hoped to use Germany as a stepping stone towards another country.

These experiences lie a few years back. Today, the situation is even worse. Except that in the Ministry of Economy in Bavaria, they tell a totally different story. They talk AI and postulate Bavaria First. Basically, this is just ridiculous. But it is so sad.

Today, China is the leader. And Mr Trump, with his stupid activities – like now around Huawei – sees to it that the Chinese will now (because they have no other choice) get really under way. Consequently, life will become really hard for the rest of the world, at least as far as digitalization is concerned. Even for the USA. And especially for the European Nations who hinder each other with minor problems in their over-regulated EU…

After all, everything is about digitalization – at least according to Bavarian politics.

That is what I call political failure.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Today, we have European Elections. As I see it, this is a sad day. It is about time to think about how colossally we failed.

KYou played extremely poorly, and yet you won – even in chess, this rarely happens. In reality, it almost never happens.

In our times, we seem to suffer from a collective illness: we are permanently under stress and consequently, we cannot give even those things we consider important the time we would like to give them.

That is why my project PEACE failed and also why I do not really seem to make any headway with my soft and active mobility AKTMOBCMP.

As I perceive it, I and many of my friends are actually better off in this respect than many other people. More often than not, only scheduling problems are in our way. At least, we often manage to actually consciously give the right things priority.

As far as my projects are concerned, I am no longer the force I probably used to be. I call this old-age wisdom.

On May, 31st, I will disappear for more than three weeks because I am travelling to Russia and China. Consequently, you will not read a lot from me in the IF blog in June.

After my return, late in June/early in July, I will try and put a lot of energy into AktMobCmp. I would really like to see more people get enthusiastic about the topic.

On the other hand, I often believe that the project PEACE is probably more important than active mobility in everyday life. Incidentally, the latter is a sub-topic of the former, anyway. After all, soft mobility is also part of PEACE if you think in terms of war on the streets and war against nature. And when no cars are left, then it will be about pacifying those who ride their bikes 🙂 (and then those who walk ).

Apart from this, I am mainly sad about what currently happens in this world. Especially because it is a consequence of how my generation failed. When I was a high-school student more than fifty years ago, we already knew about it. We discussed exactly what we are discussing today and what we see happening today. We knew what the consequence would be. Regardless of several nice approaches, we followed the human virtues (?) “protection of acquired possessions” and “becoming rich without having to work hard” as a matter of course. And this is how we generated the catastrophe we are facing today.
Especially in Germany, we had the chance to create a better world after WW-II. What I mean is the creation of a social construct for a sustainable society without armament and military forces and in shared responsibility for life as such. Based on a reasonable education for all.

We probably had the chance to build a beautiful Europe of regions in courage and joy and thus replace the nations.

We did the opposite. Germany in particular divided Europe and thus destroyed it. Brown coal mining is a good metaphor. The European capitalism – pushed by the Euro – destroyed the country in the same way as the huge caterpillars destroyed the soil.

The internet was our second huge chance. Now we destroy it as well.
Naturally, the responsibility for this downwards spiral was our social and political system and mainly the oligarchy of our bourgeois parties. They will now get what they had coming. But even their downfall is far from guaranteed.

However, the destruction of the world is something we all managed together. Greed brought us here and we followed the liars and hypocrites all too happily.

Perfect manipulation for each and every car: 
Title pages Hobby 1957 – 1965 (the magazine for German young engineers).

Another metaphor for what went completely wrong during the last fifty years is the car. It became a symbol for “movement without effort” and for a totally misinterpreted freedom. For most of us, the car was the golden lamb we danced around.

This is how we implemented a “church of reason” the basic principle of which was consumerism as a religion and growth as its mantra. We replaced old superstition by new superstition. Only the feudalism remains the same. And the destruction of the world is maintained and justified by some kind of feudalism for all.

We now slowly realize that we are paying the price. Some ignore it, others flee into the land of dreams and get over-enthusiastic about #newwork“, #agile and democratic enterprises. Yet, all of us are just standing there as the rabbit before the snake when we see the multi-dimensional destruction of the planet.

The extreme increase in carbon dioxide and the destruction of the climate caused by it destroy everything – which would already be more than enough. We know what should be done, yet we do not do it. We do not have the courage to initiate the “huge transformation”.

But I do not wish to spoil your Sunday with my miserable contemplations. I wish you all that is nice and good and beautiful. Lots of sun, courage and joy! Hope is the last thing that dies.

Thank you for your friendship!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

On May, 16th, 2019, I was invited to give a presentation on “post-digital” at the Hotel Eden-Wolff near Munich Central Station, which was organized by the regional GChACM group and the GI. It was about the question if and how the end of the digital world might be possible.

I try not to give any sales presentations with which someone tries to convince someone else to buy or do something. Consequently, I no longer use any manipulative transparencies that only restrict both the audience and the speaker.

Let the art of painting serve to illustrate how I speak: it used to be painting as true to nature as possible. Then, new forms of expression came along. They were called impressionism and expressionism and led to abstract art. My presentations are similar. I try to serve individual spots of colour dynamically and they are supposed to inspire and make the audience thoughtful. However, not everybody in the audience always understands this.

The question: “Who owns the internet” is such a spot of colour. Because for me, the internet is and always has been something special. The internet, too, has an infra-structure. It is similar to that of the railway or of streets for the motorised individual traffic and trucks.

Today, we have to accept that the internet as we loved and appreciated it no longer exists. And that we have only just started the phase where the network is controlled and used for influencing people. There is no end to gangsters who want to shanghai the internet.

Florian Sesser and yours truly spontaneously decided to give the presentation together. And we said: Hey, let us do a Chautauqua :-). Here is how you pronounce  the word.

The Chautauqua combines entertaining and educational elements as a form of educational oratory. It also has aesthetic standards and wants to motivate the listener towards active participation.

Opening:

I see myself also as a “digital evangelist”, just like the “technology evangelists of Sun”. This year, I will celebrate my fifty years of digitalization. There is definitely some pride about being able to present myself as a pioneer of the third IT generation.

Here are the presentations I gave at the same place: 
Entrepreneur sketches (roughly twenty years ago with Norbert Weinberger and Alois Wolferstetter) and
Ethics and Computer Science (eleven years ago). 
Today, this was exactly what the focal topic of the current Informatik-Spektrum (membership magazine of Gesellschaft für Informatik) was about. I read it – and I really feel quite motivated to critically discuss what has been written.

Incidentally, I once was a member of the GChACM board of directors – together with Wolf-Rüdiger Gawron. He cannot come today because he is vacationing in Spain. The highlight of my time on the board was the local jubilee event that celebrated the 50-ieth birthday of the huge ACM (1998). Charles “Chuck” House had come to Munich and told us about the huge event in the USA (1998). Many thanks to the then GChACM president Wolf-Rüdiger Gawron who organized the event with the support of BMW AG (Siemens had opted out) and given everything an outstanding setting.

I never managed to visit the ACM jubilee event in the USA in 1997. When Chuck came to BMW Munich, he signed the book with all the presentations of “beyond computing” and gave it to me. So now I was able to read everything I needed to know about it.

How shall we live in 1975 – Hobby title page in November 1955

I was going to show you my “beyond computing“ book during my presentation, but, unfortunately, I could not find it. The important thing about it was that (at least) three famous science fictions authors (on top of many software development experts) were also present at the jubilee event. They also talked about the future of IT and software.

If you translate “Beyond computing” into German, you want to be careful. I just learned from Professor Oliver Kretzschmar (Uni Stuttgart) that the German “künstliche Intelligenz” is not really the same as “artificial intelligence”, simply because intelligence means something in English that it does not mean in German. And this is the reason for quite a few misunderstandings.

I brought the following books/brochures for you to browse:

  • Lexikon der Datenverarbeitung by Siemens, seventh (and last) edition of 1978. Incidentally, the first edition was of 1969. It was sold out so fast that they printed a second improved edition in the same year.
  • 30 Hobby magazines of 1955 – 1967 (randomly selected). 
It is absolutely fascinating how technology, engineering concepts and knowledge are explained in such a way that everybody can understand it. All of them are great magazines, let me pick out two that seem to be particularly fitting today:
  • November 1955. In this edition, they predict exactly how we are going to live in 1975.
  • “Here a car comes flying“ … which sounds extremely modern today (I wonder why I am thinking in terms of flight taxis today??? 😉
  • And a few Science Fiction books (Issac Asimov in the Heyne-Verlag), for example „ich der Robot“ (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ich,_der_Robot – the English version of which was published when I was born!)
    Predictions are difficult to make, especially if they are about the future. (Karl Valentin).

Here comes a car flying … Hobby August 1956

Please note that even the great Hobby magazines are mainly about cars. This also goes to show what a formative effect the focus on mobilized individual traffic has had on us during the last hundred years. There are few digital issues – if at all, it is only Morse codes and similar things. I also seem to remember reading a short article about decoding.

What did I read in those days? After I started grammar school (1960), Karl May was a thing of the past. And Bravo was something I did not find really exciting. Consequently, science-fiction (along with existentialists like Alber Camus) became my favourite literature. At the time, the Heyne pocketbook edition was excellent.

Science fiction probably triggered my interest in IT. Mind you, Asimov had written “Ich der Robot …” twenty years earlier – and he had described laws of robotics that might now slowly become reality.

Florian Sesser – a young entrepreneur who fights for a better world.

And I also brought along Florian Sesser. He gave me the book where I found Chautauqua. Robert Pirsig – Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance (Nachruf NPR). Thanks  to Flo!

Then Florian introduced himself in his modest but very forward way. Let me tell you about him:

Florian Sesser, born in 1983, is a creative person. He loves it if he finds simple and elegant solutions to difficult problems in informatics. He started programming when he was eight years old. In 2014, he was one of the founders of accu:rate. The companie makes huge events and public buildings safer places by using computer simulation.

🙂 We want to jam the Chautauqua together. I am (mostly) the vocalist and Florian will play the instruments. We will divide our teaching speech into two sections with thirty minutes each. And with a biological break. Because otherwise things might get too hard.

BLOCK # 1„Postdigital“
BLOCK # 2 “Digital and Society ”
If the circumstances change – for instance because the audience is more active – then we change our agenda. We might, for example, remove the second block and, if that is what you wish (and Wolfgang finds it is doable), re-schedule it for another presentation.
Here is what the presentation will be about. I will not fill in all the comments. Instead, I will just give you the structure of the presentation in catchwords. This is like a collection of material in two blocks. You can let your imagination run free!
Syllabus BLOCK 1:

•    Post-digital
•    Definition (what comes to mind)
•    Post-factual  🙂
•    Era of irresponsible babble (R. Lay)
•    Digitalization: buzzword, also “post-digital”. Look it up in the internet and you will get the following hits.
•    Definition of “Digitalization ” (as I see it, it all began when the written language was invented). Today, it means something like automatization based on algorithms. A buzzword.
•    In Wikipedia (fairly new article)
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postdigital
•    Accenture (consultant: Bullshit)
https://www.accenture.com/us-en/blogs/blogs-paul-daugherty-digital-transformation
•    Digital is not reversible? Irreversible?

•    What might destroy digitalization? Question – trying to find answers.
•    Wikipedia
•    Wikipedia is great (open source, totally based on honorary work, independent, no adverts,…)
•    Question to the audience: Who of you uses, pays for, administration, …
•    Infra-structure of knowledge (founded in 2001)
•    Age and gender???
•    A world of old white men (women are the exception).
•    What will happen if Wikipedia breaks down?
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedistik/Soziologie
•    Wikipedia is the best example for creative destruction.
•    Wikipedia destroyed thesauri and encyclopedia.
•    What will be the future of the infra-structure of knowledge when those who work it on an honorary basis no longer feel like doing it?
•    Who will then own Wikipedia?
(BRD, UNO or a private agent …)
•    For the editors, it was really bad news
•    Lucrative business models and enterprises were lost.
•    Concerns, as opposed to the internet, will forget.
•    Revenge (copyright legislation)
(free from, because common-good oriented).
•    Politics and lobbies currently practice how to deprive NGO-s of the common good status.

•    Other threatening examples
•    Over-regulation and influencing
•    Facebook/Google example: vaccination enemies are ostracized
•    Upload filters
•    Commercial change (news that you pay for getting priority)
•    Mooresch’s Law (1965)
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mooresches_Gesetz  We are close to the end. But perhaps the future will continue to need exponential growth  (AI, BIG Data, Blockchain …)
•    IT has the power of the potency 
(seed on the chess field)
•    Trinity of computer science has its limits. No more exponential growth.
•    Data storage – we are now in the nano sphere.
•    Communication – we send at the speed of light on glass fibre.
•    Computers – are quantum computers really the solution?
•    Engineers have become priests
•    Asimov (Trantor-Trilogie)
•    Some programmers today actually remind me of it. Once in a while, I get the impression that they “have no idea what they are doing“.
•    Digitalism – a religion. Should we smile at it or take it seriously? Way Of The Future Church ?

•    The infra structure corrodes. Then, there might soon be an end to world-wide communication.
•    Speaking about which, it might be interesting to ask a few questions. Two of them are:
•    Who owns the intenet – in the physical sense?
•    How does it work?
I asked the questions. The result is a good example for the current state of the world – incompetence all over the place. Even the digital top Government cannot answer these basic questions.

It is easier for other (old) kinds of infra structure. Take for instance street infra structure. You always know who a street belongs to. And who usually should feel responsible for it.

  •  BLOCK #2:
    • If you use the culture onion as a model, you can describe society and culture. See also http://if-blog.de/rd/die-kulturzwiebel-oder-auf-heldensuche/). Parts of the onion are also products, proverbs, jokes, appearance, and much more. All these things are part of our culture.
    • What role do humans play in social systems?
    • What do the extreme borders of social systems look like (family, enterprises, countries ,…)? Let me define two poles::
      • HORG (short for @Büronyms in hierarchical systems) versus AUTOnomous
      • Hierarchy (Organigram tree from top to bottom) versus Network (linked teams that co-operate)
      • Group –based (model armed forces – Siemens) versus Team-based (micro organisation with self-organisation)
      • Secrets  versus Transparency
      • Bureaucracy  versus Subsidiarity
      • Taylorism (detailed pre-defined work methods, one best way, exact fixation of the location and time of delivery, extremely detailed and minute tasks, one-way communication with fixed and strict content, detailed goal description for every individual worker without obvious connection to the general goal of the enterprise, also: quality control) versus Involvedness (as the sum of being part of an entity, task integration, corporate identity …).
      • Processes (Henry Ford – the caste of engineers as a predecessor of the management cast) versus Self- organisation
        and as an extension:
      • Feudalism versus Self-determination
      • Serfdom  (slavery) versus Freedom
        perhaps also
      • Ratio versus Emotions
        and
      • Violence versus Non-violence
  • Evaluation
    • It is part of the operating system that organizes social systems.
    • There are no purely BLUE or RED enterprises. Personally, I do not really know which is the better alternative and I assume that it is a matter if the best mixture. But my sympathies lie more on the BLUE side.
      • Mafia and war economy in the Third Reich and WW-2 were BLUE
      • Buurtzorg is an example for RED, perhaps the best example.
        (https://www.buurtzorg.com/)
      • Slavery and fiefdom were only abandoned because they were not economically successful and because they were inefficient.
      • In the end, we will get the more efficient system.
    • Digitalisation can support both the BLUE and the RED system (processes such as knowledge exchange / violence-free and open communication)
      • Examples for BLUE:
        • The straitjacket MS/SAP with enterprises or
        • DB: the implementation of the price system (makes no sense, but is hard to change).
      • Examples for RED:
        • Shared applications based on knowledge.
        • „Open Source“ …
  • Those who are agile give VUCA (acronym for volatility – uncertainty –complexity – ambiguity) as a reason why RED is necessary, because, as they see it, BLUE cannot meet the expectations and complexity of our modern world. Because we need to generate new qualities:
    • Resilience
    • Anti-fragility
    • I think that black-and-white concepts will always be sub-optimal and that the future will be hybrid in this regard, too.
    • Here is what I fear: Perhaps the problems of humanity can only be solved if you apply BLUE ?
  • Now let us assume the following for a mental experiment:
    The social systems have been ruled by digital organization. What will happen if we add Artificial Intelligence?

    • What is Artificial Intelligence?
      • Self-learning system.
      • AI is “the world beyond algorithms“?
      • Let us look at games like chess and Go!?
      • Does AI consist of banal applications such as ALEXA? Perhaps not.
      • Some of the top consultants in politics I mentioned earlier believed that the English-speaking Chinese news speaker robot is an android system!?

Interesting things to notice  about AI!

Just think of TAY, which created so much misfortune for Microsoft (and which the top counsellors often do not even know about!):

    • Tay as an example for AI experiments: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tay_(Bot)
      • What will it mean if AI becomes part of digital social systems?
      • Has Microsoft already given up on AI (at an aside)?
        • Termination of Cortana
        • How do they expect Bavaria or Germany to become strong players in AI if even Microsoft no longer has the courage to play?
        • We talk about Bavaria FIRST.
        • My personal experience from my own presentations is not very encouraging:
          I know people who talked AI (people who actually are counsellors of politicians) and knew neither TAY nor the Chinese news reporter ROBOT.
        • China will become a player. With the day when the self-learning systems beat the Chinese Go master, the Chinese appeared on the horizon in the AI sector. They have enormous power and they invest unbelievable sums in terms of money and research.
    • What is the ethical consequence of AI becoming a part of the dominating digital control systems (TAY showed us how badly this can end)?
      • Note for the audience about literature (Prof Bayer): Leben 3.0 – Menschsein im Zeitalter Künstlicher Intelligenz
      • Asimov (Gesetze der Robotik 1950)
      • German Ethics Conference on Artificial Intelligence (Dobrindt 2018), which was part of the electoral campaign that was supposed to show how future-oriented and responsible the Federal Government works for the citizens.
        But

        • It was only about autonomous driving (cars are in the centre of everybody’s attention).
        • Mental experiments in ethics become game theory. It has been a science that supported ethics since 1945. It is best described here: #filosofix https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhOJp1DcabM by SRF.
          (They, too, have copyright problems: on the original SRF (Schweizer Rundfunk), some videos were blocked for Germany, yet I could see them on Youtube. This is just as annoying as the GEZ problem (many contents in the stream of ARD etc,  cannot be viewed outside Germany, not even in Europe, but you can easily view them if you use a proxy. What nonsense).
        • As I see it, #filosofix is not doing any good. You can talk and talk, but you get no results.
        • That was the standard of Mister Dobrindt’s ethics conference. It was not about AI in general, but only about autonomous cars in conflict situations. Instead  of promoting or thinking about an ethics architecture in AI systems, there were many examples. For instance the two-bikers problem:
          one is riding his bike and wearing a helmet, the other is not wearing a helmet. The situation suggests that one of them will be overrun by the car. Which one will the autonomous car overrun?
          The solution was the one who wears a helmet, because he has a higher chance of survival. What a nice idea – but totally impractical.
        • Let us finish our chautauqua by taking a look at the social credits system in China.
          •  See also Justice Theories  or poetic justice . At least, the Chinese believe that this is how they can generate justice. Good social behaviour will be rewarded, bad social behaviour will be punished. Just as fair justice demands it. It can only be done through total digital monitoring.
          • Mobility
            If you cross a street on a red light, you get minus points, even if you are a pedestrian. If you use public transport without paying or park where you are not allowed to park, you also get minus points.
          • Statements  in Multimedia
          • All sorts of violations of rules and opinions.
          • …?
        • Is it possible? YES!
          • Necessary requirements:
            It can only be done with IT (social media, video screening, big data) that creates a total transparency of the citizens and thus makes it possible to measure and write down the social behaviour of all the citizens.
          • But: who decides what is fair? Who will program or customize the system? Who makes the rules? How to get a consensus about it?
          • What I fear is: China will find its way to us.
            The IT products come from China. They will influence how we think. The tendency to limit freedom and introduce monitoring in Germany and Europe has already started.
          • Consequently, there is only one option left for us if we want to see the post-digital era.
            The people assault and destroy everything that is digital. A digital storm sweeps everything clean from digital influences!
          • Here is an additional idea on AI:
            Currently, sensors are the technological topic.

            • Example from China: baby screening (a small box will notify you if and how full the diapers are).
            • If you are fishing, you get a bite alarm as soon as the fish has bitten into the fly. It will also inform you about the characteristics of the fish you caught.
            • Autonomous driving.
              Under discussion all the time. But don’t we have other problems?
            • “Digital firm“
              Producing more and more, and more diverse and cheaper all the time. …

Florian in a totally different environment.

A new definition of AI might be that AI is no longer about human-machine communication, but about world-machine communication.

My life as a computer scientist was basically about working at the human-machine interface (user interfaces).

Today, they work on the world-machine interface.

Perhaps this, too, might serve as a reasonable definition of AI:

“AI is if the software or the system directly co-operates with the world”.

.. instead of with the people.

Or:

„AI is if the system no longer works determinedly (as you already see today with neural networks)?“

And we no longer know what it will do next.

Two words of warning:

Perfect manipulation per car:
Hobby 1957 – 1965

» Jene, die grundlegende Freiheit aufgeben würden, um eine geringe vorübergehende Sicherheit zu erwerben, verdienen weder Freiheit noch Sicherheit. «

» Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. «

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

» Jeder Zuwachs an Technik bedingt, wenn damit ein Zuwachs und nicht eine Schmälerung des menschlichen Glücks verbunden sein soll, einen entsprechenden Zuwachs an Weisheit. «

Bertrand Russell

Well, that was it.

RMD

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Friday May 17th, 2019

Owehoweh Huawei!?

Again, the Americans are putting pressure on us. They want to punish all the countries that build up communication networks with Huawei technology.

It is basically about the backdoors the Chinese enterprise Huawei allegedly included in its technologies. These technologies are supposed to be espionage tools. This is a presumption that might be close to the truth, but it is far from proven.

Huawei currently has 180,000 employees and they really own them. Since it is a Chinese world concern, this came as a surprise to me.

Huawei offers a multitude of products in the end device sector, but also industrial products in the 5G-network technology field. They are important for our mobile communication network. It seems that several German telecommunications concerns are already business partners of Huawei.

That is exactly what annoys the USA. Now, the USA threaten their “allies” with sanctions if they use Huawei technology.

But who is the competition of Huawei, where we can buy the 5G technology that is so important for us? I am no longer quite as up-to-date as I used to be because I no longer find technology so interesting.

In Europe, we might be talking enterprises such as Ericsson and Nokia. I am not sure that you can still take them seriously when it comes to technology. Our Korean friends also have Samsung.

Besides other Chinese enterprises, Cisco is probably the most important competition for Huawei. Cisco Systems is an enterprise the software and devices of which have been criticized for their many backdoors during the past decades. But then, they are American and consequently good backdoors.

If you wish to make yourself knowledgeable about backdoors, I would recommend the FEFEBlog for information and links to articles on the topic. Or you might just want to google.

Our world has changed. Siemens used to be the global market leader in communication. Now, our American friends tell us what technology we should use. We in Germany no longer master the technology.

I am sure that Siemens, too, had backdoors in its software. Simply because you need it for maintenance work. However, I find it hard to see the then Siemens company as a data provider for secret services.
Perhaps the reason why Siemens lost the market completely is because they did not help anybody in their espionage work? Perhaps it was not the incompetence of the management? Who knows?

Well, we are monitored all the time anyway. The question is only how and by whom.

Brave new world.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
I
wrote this article several days ago and published it today because of current events.

Roland Dürre
Thursday May 16th, 2019

Afraid of the Silk Road?

There is a general moaning heard all over Europe:
Help! The Chinese are coming!
And especially our bourgeois parties are making themselves understood extremely well in the chorus of warnings!

The network of ancient silk roads and connecting business routes.(from: Wikipedia)

What is the reason? The Chinese invest in infra structure on a world-wide scale. They buy and maintain infra structure for transport and logistics all over the world. Basically, that is all very useful for business.

So what is so bad about this?

Basically, Europe – and especially Germany – is the big winner of global business. And is there anything that is more useful for business than stable and secure transport routes?

After all, the new silk road is not a one-way road!

And I know no commander who likes to sail home with an empty freighter. The shipping companies do not like it either. Basically, we Germans would have to be more than happy about the Chinese creating all that is necessary for more export of products. One of the reasons is that the once-upon-a-time world police USA has become more and more unpredictable.

I presume we are afraid of the soon to be competition. Well, that fear is justified. Because we have the wrong products and, on average, we decrease more and more. Because we are satiated and do not understand change. And where we do understand it, we refuse to accept it. And we continue with regulations that will kill us, both in the short and long run.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Wednesday May 15th, 2019

The Real Problems of this World?!

Between ruins. In South Georgia.

I often read that we need to become agile and digital, because everything is so “vuca“. But is that not a luxury problem?

Don’t we have real worries? As a consequence of developments that might even threaten our lives?

Currently, the climate catastrophe is the centre of our “media-driven” worries. It is about the fact that the warming of our planet is caused and exacerbated by the excessive and still growing emission of carbon dioxide caused by humans and their machines.

In a dialogue with a knowledgeable person, it dawned on me that there are many more critical points than just the change of the world climate caused by the burning of fossil raw materials.

As I see it, the origin for the foreseeable problems are on an intellectual and on a material level. Let me give you a list of factors that tell you which mental concept lies behind it and what consequences they have on our planet. And I will also write down how my own personal behaviour relates to it.

I found two (main) reasons as “systemic” causes of the problem.

  • Consumerism and capitalism
    Human greed, our preference of convenience and our hunt for special adventures seem to be the main reason for the sad development of our planet.
    If I look at my own life, I see a problem. I practiced consumerism for many decades and still continue to do so. I bought far too many things for far too many years. I benefited from the capitalist system, my life was good. I cannot complain, except about how the world now is rather damaged.
  • Fixation on growth
    Even when I was at school, I did not understand why everyone preached growth. I was always the sceptical outsider. As I see it, the concept of continued growth is absolutely short-sighted and stupid, especially on a global scale. The idea that growth might solve problems is the reason why humanity destroys itself.

So here are the actual consequences and the physical state of affairs:

  • Armament industry and war
    The combination of these two seems to be the greatest of all evils when it comes to damaging our world. What I mean is that we make a maximum effort to destroy ourselves, and the tendency is still growing. Here in Germany, the  armed forces (Bundeswehr) even destroy our environment in times of peace. 
Why do humans not understand that armament and wars are not only cruel and irrational, but also just stupid 
I am convinced that a civilization only deserves the name if the individual and collective abstinence from violence has become a behaviourist value as a matter of course and I also believe that this utopia can be realized. And that the majority of humans also want this and that it is possible. In order to avoid wars, the armament industry must be abolished. Because an analysis of all wars shows that they were always artificially constructed and that the armament industry always played an important role in the process.
    It really annoys me that Bavaria is the state of Germany that has by far the highest weapons exports. 
This is an aspect where I personally failed. As early as when we founded the InterFace Connection and later, along with our employees, we decided that we do not want to do business with the armament industry. Later, when, forced by the market situation, we had to change from being a product manufacturer to becoming a service provider, the transition became much easier by doing business with weapon producing enterprises. The good intensions failed and we supported the building of tanks. 
So I believe that the planet cannot be saved unless we abolish the weapons industry and stop waging wars. In other words: the introduction of global peace must be top priority.
  • Waste pollution of the planet
    I am not sure what is more detrimental for the planet. Is it the radio-active waste we produce, the plastic material we distribute all over the world or the general distribution of the periodic table of elements  into the environment?
My personal contribution to this problem has been made. I started many years ago with mostly buying and eating only food – for instance yoghurt and other dairy products – that does not come in plastic containers or a Tetrapak . Drinks (beer, water, coffee cream) or food that comes in pet bottles or tins are shunned by me as much as the devil shuns holy water. Some of the people around me actually find this quite extravagant in me. 
In my personal experience, it is quite possible to do without most of the plastic wrappings and tins. I still see enough wastefulness as it is. I have always enjoyed eating pickled cucumbers, and whenever I empty a glass with its lid, I find this destruction totally irrational. Even if the glass will be recycled. When I was a child, the preserving jar was a precious resource. And my mother preserved cucumbers every year.
  • So here is the carbon dioxide topic
    By now, everybody agrees that there is a correlation between the warming of the atmosphere and the level of carbon dioxide. There are still some who doubt that we humans have caused the free carbon dioxide. 
My personal contribution is still sub-optimal. The most positive aspect is that I avoid cars at least insofar as I have not driven in a car for many years where I was the only occupant of the car or taxi. This showed me that you can at least avoid cars if you are a single voyager. It means that, as an individual, I only go by bike or use public transportation. And I do not at all feel that this is a disadvantage. On the contrary: I feel well. You can also go shopping quite well with the bike. And my general condition has improved considerably with the removal of a car as my mobility tool, both psychologically and physically. 
I still have other worries. For instance when it comes to flying. In the last few years, I had quite a few long-distance flights. The destinations were always unique and gave me a lot. This is an area where I feel it extremely hard to abstain – as opposed to the car.
  • An end to the richness of species
    For me, the end of the richness of species means something like the beginning of the end of life. Why should humans alone survive if the biology in its diversity can no longer function? That sounds rather illogical.
    My personal contribution is limited by what someone who lives in his small house and has his small garden can do. No poison for the perfect lawn and the right plants for life.
  • Food
    Today, many people cannot imagine any meal without meat. Germany has become one of the biggest meat exporting countries of the world. As I see it, that makes no sense. We produce animal plants in an unappetizing and cruel way as industrial mass ware. With calories from the entire world 
When I was young, in the 1950s, we ate the Sunday Roast on Sundays. On weekdays, we usually had meat-free meals. Then prosperity came along in small steps. On Tuesdays, the Wiener sausages became part of the menu and on Fridays we had herring. Those were still special occasions. Then the mania started. …
  • Soil consumption
    If you look at traffic, housing, firms and energy, you can find that we destroy soil all the time. Some of us have two flats, most of them with an extra office. The flats become bigger all the time. A single person needs at least a two-room flat, a couple needs a four-room flat. Elderly people remain in the big house. The per capita need of living room becomes more each year. 
I am glad that we managed to sell our big huge house and move to a smaller one after most of our children had moved out.
  • Regulation of rivers
    I just read about how the regulation of rivers has a devastating influence on our world. That alone was already a story that gave me pause. 
I used to drive along the river Main many times. Including the part where you have ships. And I have been asking myself why, as I am sitting on the patio of the “Gaststätte Anker” in Sommerhausen, why I see so few ships. Whenever I see one, it is most often a cruise ship. Mind you, we are talking about the Rhein-Main-Donau-Channel that was built as the main ship freight route for all the traffic. Even the Danube was enlarged for the purpose. Similar ideas come when I think of the  Niederfinow ship hoist for the traffic on the rivers Neiße and Oder.
In this respect, my own potential for a personal contribution is probably limited to trying and voicing my opposition against the continued extension of the river Danube.
  • Water
    Water is the basis of all life. Regardless, we destroy and damage our drinking water in huge dimensions. 
I try to save water. Even my grandfather taught me to be careful in this respect. So I try to counteract waste. Whenever I go swimming, I do not take an extra shower at home. I also believe that it is quite enough to clean your body once a day. We have three huge water containers that are filled from collectors on our roof and we use the water from there for watering our garden. Unfortunately, I have not yet managed to change the toilet water system from drinking water to rainwater.

There are many actual threats.

In my personal book, the carbon dioxide is only number three on my list of priorities. But basically, it does not really matter, because unless we change our mind sets in the sense of leaving consumerism, capitalism and the belief in growth behind, there will never be a change. The mental change alone is probable a Herculean task that is next to impossible.

All actual threats (armament, waste pollution, carbon dioxide, richness of species, food, soil consumption,…) are inter-related. I probably even forgot some areas. We have to work on all of them, instead of focussing only on one topic – such as carbon dioxide. Part of the transformation will be that we change our living styles. It is all about a holistic change of attitude in our lives. The question might be: is it still worth fighting – or is it better to just continue dancing on the volcano?

My brain tells me that it is already too late to save the planet.

In the  Anthropocene, we started developments that have now gained their own momentum and that will have consequences which will cause the real catastrophe. They will probably speed up the process of destruction.

My heart tell me that resignation is the wrong way.

That is why there cannot be a “LET US CONTINUE AS BEFORE” and we should at least try the great transformation. If we want this transformation to be a success, then we will have to change EVERYTHING. It can only work globally and will have to start locally.

And I believe we should try it together. And I wonder why politics, business and many socially relevant institutions do not get active at all.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Monday May 13th, 2019

Wikipedia and the Copyright.

The Logo of the encyclopedia

“It is difficult to predict things! Especially if they are in the future “.
Even our Munich hero Karl Valentin knew that.

Consequently, I am thinking about a method that starts with the past and then ends in the future. It is not a prediction, but more an extrapolation.

Let us look at the past and at the history of the media. This business sector found out quite early that intellectual property (as created in the copyright legislation) is far easier to scale than material products or even services. Consequently, this field has been doing business with particular success ever since the printing press was invented.

Trading with intellectual property makes enormous margins possible.

The media moguls knew that you can do business quite well with knowledge and information, provided the property you create and trade falls under the term “property”. They started very early with the creation and installation of laws that made it possible to buy intellectual property from authors and other generators of said material and then earn a lot of money with it.

Copyright legislation is the “licence to print money”.

And they also saw to it that the deadlines for intellectual property were always duly extended. That is why, in the USA, these laws are called Mickey-Mouse-legislation (Mickey-Mouse-Gesetze). Walt Disney succeeded several times when it came to extending the copyright deadline for Mickey Mouse.
.
What is the state of affairs with knowledge and information?

Following the reasoning that the generation of knowledge needs an effort, it was declared capable of being owned. Consequently, the generator is given the right to the intellectual property, which is supposed to give him the material advantage generated by the intellectual property. Well, I, too, think that scientists should be amply paid. But that does not mean that things an intellectual worker creates are actually their property and belong to them. If you accepted that, you would have to call these people “owners of intellectual property”. However, I do not think that knowledge is a property that should be traded.

“Knowledge is the only thing that grows as you share it“.

Which means you should probably share it, doesn’t it? Yet, if knowledge becomes personal property and belongs to someone, then its volume is artificially reduced. That is beneficial for few but detrimental for many.

So I am opposed to including knowledge, information, rights, natural structures, laws, regulations and similar things in the concept of property legislation. Incidentally, this is also true for data – which becomes more and more fashionable.

The motto seems to be: my data belong to me!

Newspapers and books are goods that have been existing for hundreds of years. The editing is an old business sector that grew exponentially with the printing press. And it gave itself ever more optimal rules.

As in all sectors, following the basic concept of capitalism and logics, competition and mergers caused the rise of huge enterprises.
“Intellectual property“ is easier to scale.

This made publishing companies more powerful and richer. Equalled only by the realty concerns thanks to the special trilogy – ownership of the soil and buildings, cheap money and quick price increase – and by other gamblers who bet on raw materials, bonds or currencies – they managed to get rich and powerful in an extremely short time.

Encyclopedia were particularly good business.

For all publishing companies, the encyclopedias were especially important. It was good business, because encyclopedia were mostly high-price products that also needed updating relatively soon. The leading publishing companies always had at least one enterprise in their empire that produced encyclopedias. And the profit they made over the decades was reliable.

Eventually, these encyclopedia were also electronic books. They were distributed on cheap data carriers for high prices. It was truly a licence for printing money. However, it did not take long before someone put an end to it. The internet appeared. And a group of crazy volunteers founded a free encyclopedia, in 2001. They called it Wikipedia.

”Innovation is creative destruction“.

For many, this was a painful experience. It also hit the publishing companies who had been benefiting from the innovations in printing machines and communication for many years. It meant that there was an end to all the great commercial profit they had made in the encyclopedia business. The publishing houses probably suffered enormous losses. They became victims of the internet or of Wikipedia and had to close enterprises or find a new business purpose. It was probably quite painful for the German media concerns.

They say that the internet never forgets anything. That is not true. I have been looking for many things, for instance the first web-pages of InterFace Connection GmbH – and I never found them. It is not the internet, but the concerns that have the excellent memories. They actually never forget anything. And for them, the sentence “revenge is sweet” is quite true!

Now they are a huge step closer. After many years of patient and diligent lobby work, they now managed to get the copyright reform  bill through the European parliament. Immediately afterwards, the VG-Media sent their first bill to google. I am sure the publishing companies will soon follow suit. They say the German way is going to be to pay instead of using upload filters. Let us wait and see.

So how is Wikipedia doing?

Let us postpone an analysis of the media concern and instead take a look at Wikipedia. At first sight, it is a really beautiful story – a free and independent society of people working on an honorary basis writes down what they know. They finance the entire project totally advert and sponsoring free – exclusively by donations from people who use the system.

This is how Wikipedia, a few years after it was initiated in 2001, destroyed all its competition. Wikipedia has a monopoly and is now the only remaining encyclopedia. That is what makes it so important – but it also makes it extremely fragile. Its only competition is probably the internet itself, which is also threatened.

Shadows loom over the internet and Wikipedia.

As before, knowledge grows exponentially. But the work force at Wikipedia does not. On the contrary: as I see it, Wikipedia has become the club of old white men. Here, too, we pay the price as time goes by.

Young and female people are few and far between at Wikipedia. We are talking the typical next-generation problems we also see for chess clubs, the voluntary fire-fighters and now even the powerful DFG. This is how I and my friends at Wikipedia see it. All statistical data I found are usually ten years old and totally untrustworthy. Mind you, Wikipedia was founded in 2001, which, as of now, was only 18 years ago!

Who among the young generation likes to do the dry work of an encyclopedist, who has to play by strict rules? Especially if the way the old white men treat the next generation is rather unfriendly?

Wikipedia is an infra structure of knowledge.

The knowledge grows, the technology ages. And there are fewer and fewer people who do the maintenance work on the infra structure.

In the extreme model, the work force at Wikipedia will die out.

What will happen then? A knowledge infra structure without maintenance? Even as it is, the quality of the articles gets worse. And there are other problems, such as technological ageing, poor coordination, too little clarity in content and structure, organizational problems. There is a lot that needs to be done at Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is probably the largest user of foreign copyright world-wide.
They felt that they needed to be careful about copyright legislation and demonstrated their concern by turning off their servers.

Those who are in favour of the copyright reform try a placatory approach:
Wikipedia is, after all, for the common good and consequently not part of the reform!

But is Wikipedia really for the common good? As you see above, I wrote: Wikipedia lives from the donations of its users. I, too, only give money to Wikipedia because I want to keep using the service. Wikipedia is more or less blackmailing me:

Pay something and make sure that you will still get your service!

Perhaps the enterprise Wikipedia is not really a common-good-oriented one in the sense of tax-relevant definitions? All those who donate money expect (and get) something in return for the money they pay. Their payment only seems to be voluntary. They depend on Wikipedia and give money because they fear that otherwise there might be an end to what they get in return.

Huge concerns are very patient and think in long-term concepts.

Now the media groups have taken up the scent. The copyright reform showed them that it pays to do lobbyist work. They certainly know that Wikipedia would be an exciting object.

After all, the lobbyists are currently practicing how you can deprive NGOs of their title “common-good”. With such a measure, you could further weaken Wikipedia, or even take away the basis of its existence. And later, you could re-introduce it to the Reich as a common enterprise that belongs to several enterprises. In the sense of a re-unification. I already hear the message:

Lobbyists, let us go and visit the ministry of finance. We will get Wikipedia.

Here are the good news 
At least Wikipedia would survive – even if full of adverts and interest-motivated articles. But on the whole, this would be a good fit for our modern internet world.

Brave new world!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Hans Bonfigt
Thursday May 9th, 2019

Ultra posse nemo obligatur ?

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.