Category Archives: Natural selection

Brain Benelles’ Future

femalerobotFor humanity, a Chinese factory run by robots may be the biggest news story of 2015 (emphasis mine):

Previously, there were 650 employees at the factory. With the new robots, there’s now only 60

The robots have produced almost three times as many pieces as were produced before. According to the People’s Daily, production per person has increased from 8,000 pieces to 21,000 pieces. That’s a 162.5% increase.

The increased production rate hasn’t come at the cost of quality either. In fact, quality has improved. Before the robots, the product defect rate was 25%, now it is below 5%

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Fast Past Middle Class

fastpastIn America, during the golden years of 1947 to 1974, there was intense demand for human labor—practically a decent paying job for anyone who wanted to work. The universe wanted the American middle class to win.

Since 1974, in America, only corporations and the cognitive elite have done well. Yes, there was a mirage of middle class well-being during the Internet bubble, but it left behind dry sand.

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We Manufacture Disaster

Economics and health are connected in many ways. John Mauldin in his May 16, 2015 letter paraphrases economist Bill White:

Central bank models, he told us, are artificial machines. His best quote was, “The basic problem with central banks: they think they know how the economy works.” Their models are built to be gamed and always assume a return to equilibrium. But there is no equilibrium – you are where you are. The problem with equilibrium models is that they don’t reflect reality.

An economy is like a forest ecosystem, not a machine. We are on a very bad path – debt is unsustainable. Notice the environment since the 2008 crisis: the Eurozone crisis is a limited variant on a global crisis; fiscal and regulatory restraint is not helpful; and monetary policy is the only game in town and is not effective.

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Autism, Technology and Cholesterol

child HeadCholesterol clogs our arteries and kills us. Except when it protects us. Over the last 20 years, high cholesterol has likely become a marker for health.

Autistic boys have abnormally low levels of HDL cholesterol (Eun-Kyung et al 2010). Low cholesterol levels did not cause their autism, but the low cholesterol levels are likely a weakness that natural selection is selecting against.

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Rich Less Rich Than They Think

trumpToday’s rich aren’t as rich as they think. For the poor, debt levels have increased to an unpayable point, making the rich’s gains imaginary.

Remember the toxic mortgage-backed securities behind the 2008 financial crisis? So many thought they were getting wealthy, until everyone realized subprime folks were never going to pay their subprime debts. As the masses lost their investments, TARP swooped in and made the cognitive elite whole anyway.

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CEO Pay as Natural Selection

LloydCEO pay of large companies is about 330 times that of regular employees, and this means a great life for at least 330 American families.

What about the rest of the “top 10%” families? Well, many are successfully centered around a doctor, lawyer, mid-level executive, or financier. But in the anonymous and soul-crunching background, the other 90% of families are starting to look like a ragtag conglomerate of debt-serfs and welfare-survivalists.

Populists like to take pens against pond scum CEOs, but it is unlikely that CEOs, even with their crony compensation committees and captured boards, are what’s driving unbalanced pay.

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The Cellular Savanna

Cellular natural selection works like natural selection on the savanna, but smaller. Harsh habitats weed out weak animals and weak cells; this has implications for cancer and health.

Imagine a savanna with herds of slow-moving antelope, lots of fresh water, and benevolent temperatures. Lions would abound. Weak lions, fat lions, mentally-deficient lions, and three-legged lions would all thrive. A portion of the lion population would remain fit and strong, but most would begin to drift in aberrant directions.

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Robots and Autism

robotsSome experts believe robots will gain a human level of intelligence by 2050. Of course, experts in the 1950s were saying the same thing would happen by the 1980s, and they were wrong.

Regardless, our society is marching toward robotic, wirelessly-networked technology. And this puts old-fashioned wetware under immense new pressures.

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