Really, it's all downhill from here. America is a fascist nation that actually has its politicians stand up in Congress and claim that the nation is a terrorist warzone and that they need to be able to lock citizens up without any due process - and the President may veto it, because it doesn't give him enough powers to lock people up...
This patent hysteria and doing these things that are so wildly against any kind of common sense isn't going to stop until we make it stop, and it's going to take the total redesign of society into one that uses the scientific method to address social concerns - not the say-so of bought and paid for crooks in Congress and the Supreme Court.
You can't really spin this particular case in any way to make it good for anybody in the real world, and it's not the first case or even necessarily the most egregious - the entire way of thinking that this exposes is a sign of a sick, sick society.
There is no theoretical reason why we won't eventually automate everything that doesn't explicitly require human ingenuity and creativity. There simply aren't enough of those jobs to go around, or rather there aren't enough employers to hire the entire world population to be creative.
This, of course, is only a problem for as long as we cling to the outmoded idea that you need a "job" to get "money" so you can get everything else. If we can the idea of money and start running the world on sensible real-world premises and just provide people with what they need, then automation isn't a threat to us - it's the single greatest thing that has ever happened to humanity. 100% unemployment for all - and all the housing, clothing, food etc everyone could possibly need in spite of or even because of that.
Society is broken right now. It's not the fault of the one thing that has ever been necessary to and instrumental in raising human standards of living - technological progress.
Without the artificial "we must make money!" boundaries, those people could be working cooperatively towards creating great new tech, and instead we now have corporations suing other corporations because they can't hoard their data and employees sufficiently jealously. Stupidity made manifest, much like the patent system, copyright and other advancement- and culture-retarding mechanisms...
Certainly sounds hopeful, but while this is true as far as it goes, it doesn't delve nearly deeply enough into the underlying problem, specifically that we're using a system that is inherently non-functional. It is only through massive corrective input in the form of laws, bans, patents and copyrights we can make the money-based society we run limp along in pathetic fashion, and even then we have a billion people starving. To be sure some of that is also because we are nuts - we spend the equivalent money required to feed the world on the militaries of the world every 8 days, but it all goes back to the money approach coupled with national boundaries, which leads to a need to literally kill each other over resources.
This shit's got to go, in the words of Jacque Fresco.
Re: Reinventing the glory days of past resale profits ...
There's no thinking involved about it, I would say. There have been admissions made that DRM is all about controlling distribution, not about deterring piracy.
They want people to pay again and again for the same material. This is blatantly obvious with things like movie formats - they release them over and over in various versions and then a new format is made and they do it all over again.
Now of course it's moving to online streaming... where you'll be made to pay for every view eventually if it's not there yet, which is a wet dream come true for the content owners. And it's all going to have DRM to make sure you don't store a copy and rewatch it without paying. Unless, of course, we decide to get off the nasty merry-go-round and demand some real change.
This! This, right here, is a great indictment of our entire way of life. We're literally wasting time arguing about the name of some lunch snack from a legal point of view, as if that had any kind of real world significance. Make the fricking food and give it to people who are hungry, that's as hard as it has to be.
Then your fellow citizens who make clothes or shoes turn around and give you enough of those for your needs. Well, until such a time as food, clothes and shoes can be fully automated, which we could do now if we really tried to.
Are people really THAT brainwashed that this doesn't strike you as a ludicrous waste of time and effort?
95% of our laws are a pointless waste of life and only exist because of us using a money-based approach and clinging to the idea of ownership of anything. Even most crime that occurs occurs because of monetary gain.
Frankly, the whole discussion about what to call a burrito is making me sick. It's no wonder we're destroying the planet - a billion people are starving yet in the industrialized world we have hordes of people spending their days bickering about bullshit like this. It's utterly sickening and not a little depressing.
It's not just young girls, either, it's young men too. The youngest generation(s) actually believe that it is possible for human beings, specifically female beings, to be impossibly perfect and they judge real-world people according to those standards.
Young girls as well have begun judging each other based on how well they can match not the models, but the highly cleaned up and idealized versions they see in pictures over and over and over again.
Personally I'd like to see a total ban on distorting photographs with Photoshop, because it doesn't matter if people are informed about the pictures being fake - they still have the negative effects. I doubt if such a ban would have a chance in hell, though, so a better plan would be to just change society into one that isn't money based. That would make all advertising moot overnight, which would be much more sane, and would also save mankind. Literally. The profit motive and fiat money-based conspicuous consumption society we've built is herding us straight towards destruction and if we don't start using real-world values to use our resources wisely, we're doomed as a species anyway.
Advertising is just one really ugly and nasty side effect that we're suffering under because of the need to make a profit rather than the need to create things people need sustainably.
Well, the fifth amendment was already gone, so why not?
The President already got a two-fer when he assassinated and American citizen and the fifth amendment in one fell swoop, so it's hardly surprising the others are now up for grabs too.
They do, after all, inconvenience the ruling class with minor things like protection from unwarranted searches and having to use pesky things like "due process". The President authorized the premeditated murder of an innocent man and bragged about it afterwards, in other words.
It doesn't matter how much proof (not that we've seen much if any) is offered that Al-Awlaki was guilty until such a time as that has been proven in a court of law and he has been found guilty. Until such a time, he was innocent in the eyes of the law. At least if we're going to keep using pesky things like due process and, in this case, the rights guaranteed by the fourth amendment.
Progressives (and anyone else law-abiding who likes the constitution) had better step up now or else forever hold their peace, because rights once taken away are one hell of a lot harder to claw back later.
Protesting the financial system makes solid sense.
The financial system and the fact that we use money is directly to blame for almost all the worlds ills. No, it's not "human nature" or anything nebulous like that - it is a system that's basically still feudalism with rulers and peons, a system that's basically predicated on having some people who live well - at the expense of others who live poorly or not at all. It's one thing if that sort of thing is necessary due to severe resource shortages or needing to force a major segment of the population into servitude just to keep the wheels of progress turning, but we've long since passed any such need. If we abandoned this nasty trap we call a "financial system" we could automate, use science and reason and thus provide every human being with all their needs and a lot of their wants - without any sort of need to slave away or "earn it".
That said, the protests aren't (unfortunately) so clear sighted, they are merely protesting the vast systematic abuses of the current system that has speeded up the coming of the second great depression. It was inevitable eventually, but it's here early due to the incredible bullshit that Goldman Sachs and their ilk have pulled the past couple of years, and all the "financial innovation" (which really should be written "criminal gambling with people's lives by creating byzantine and incredibly complex ways of making money out of thin air by betting on more money") is an atrocity against mankind. The people protesting on Wall Street are heroes - not sufficiently well focused heroes, but at least they have the right idea. They just haven't seen far enough - to the fact that we do, in fact, have to protest the financial system, since that is the single most evil thing in the universe. Up until recently, we had to accept the vast and pitch black dark sides to using money and the profit motive, but with technology and information technology, we can now transcend that particular hell and move on to some actual civilization.
Tracking services will inevitably lead to abuses like this as long as it makes sense to abuse it. And it will make sense to abuse things this way as long as society clings to the profit motive and money - the abuse of tracking tech in this case can be easily converted to profit and be used by the government to track people.
This is problematic because said government is wholly controlled by the wealthy segment of society and they have a vested interest in containing any dissenters, peace activists and others who threaten their profit margins and work for more equitable resource allocation.
Of course, the same is true for crime and pollution and conspicuous consumption and any number of nasty behavior that all comes down to money in the end; as long as we cling to this failed societal design we will continue to be victimized by its functionality.
If it's something unknowable like religion then I personally have to go with trying to view things based on what we already know and/or have theorized as well as the observable real-world consequences of religion, and once I do that, religion seems to be a vastly evil force that we need to get rid of. I'm not so interested in discussing various flavors of insanity and which is the least nuts - that seems pointless and a waste of time.
Same is true for politics and finances and such - right, left, capitalist, communist, that's all just slightly different flavors of money-based-society thinking, and the solution isn't in that minor bickering about the internal details of the system - it is in deep-sixing the system in favor for something that has a hope in hell of actually working, without destroying the planet like now.
Now, if we're talking aesthetic choices, things get a bit more murky and considerably less important, but any technological process has very few cases where there truly is more than one optimal approach, in my view. I think it more comes down to it being more difficult to enumerate the optimal choice as well as people wanting some specific thing to be true due to ingrained ideology so they reject reality and try to substitute their own.
I like to think that if someone can prove me wrong in any given area, I will change my mind. Areas where nobody can prove anyone wrong, however, do exist - philosophical or aesthetic choices and the like, and there you have to just go with what you believe and enjoy.
Any time somebody wants to pass some liberty-crushing legislation, they push the buttons. You know, the kiddie porn button. And the terrorism button. As a result, they can pass any abomination of a law just by passionately declaming "but think of the children!".
I wonder if this isn't more of the same, sort of - a corporate-powered witchhunt for "pirates" in the name of Holy Profit, pushing the "terrorist" as well as the "think of the children" button because that does demonstrably work (apparently people are consistently morons unable to see they're being manipulated to a fare-thee-well while their liberties get snatched out from under them.)
I think we have to get people to stop trying to think about everything in monetary terms. Nothing is expensive or cheap in the real world - it just uses resources, energy and work, and the two areas aren't more than slightly related these days. Healthcare as well isn't expensive or affordable - it just uses resources, energy and work.
When it becomes "expensive" is when it is handled via a money-based system and then abused by every step in the current chain to suck so-called "profit" out of it, as well as overcompensating some people and organizations with obscene resource overabundances. It is also the most "expensive" in the US which has for-profit care, and the least "expensive" in nations where it is paid for via taxation... where the focus is on "good service for minimum cost" rather than "maximum profit for minimum service".
But yeah - the money indoctrination runs so deep it's hard to even argue about things without bringing up words like "affordable" that really have very little meaning.
We're literally using science and employing very capable people to figure out how to brainwash people into buying more crap they don't need, in a world where we're already conspicuously consuming our species to death (literally), filling landfills with cheap garbage that people are then brainwashed into buying again as cheap crap that breaks within months in many cases, is put into the next landfill and bought yet again? This should not be a focus for us, for crying out loud; the focus should be on how do we reshape society so that this organized brainwashing becomes nonsensical and people get the stuff they need instead of the stuff the manufacturers want to sell just so they can turn a bigger profit.
Ever hear of product placement? Ads are already in the content.
Any show you watch today is jam packed with ads! They just hide them a tad and incorporate them into the action. You have a series star driving a Well Known Hybrid going into town for some manufactured reason and then they use The Awesome Auto Parking Feature of the Well Known Hybrid showcasing the driver keeping her hand off the wheel while the logo on the wheel glitters alluringly at the viewer...
Advertising in the actual content is already there! The rest of the advertising is to maximize ad revenue and profits beyond the stealth near-subliminal program-the-viewers type advertising woven into the story itself.
That nasty spyware is actually embedded in the BIOS on a ton of machines, including a ton of HP's.
They claim it can't be activated except by paying for it but security researchers already activated it completely without any intervention from LoJack / Computrace - which makes it a superlative (if somewhat limited in spread) spy. You can format your computer and that thing will infect it again like a disease.
Frankly, benign stated purpose or no, it kind of sucks that HP pre-infects people's machines with that nasty crap, I don't like knowing at least one of my machines comes with a ticking time bomb planted in its "head".
I would argue that the best art and the best inventions aren't made by people who are out to make a buck primarily. The best art is made by real artists, who do it because they're compelled to and riveted by their work, and those artists (regardless of medium) would do their thing without copyright too.
We don't have any need for copyright, patents or any of the myriad BS inventions that have been put into place to service the money side of society - if we just change society into a sane version that doesn't use money at all but instead provides people with their needs out of our shared communal resources in this solar system. Money and the notion of rulers and the ruled (which, let's face it, is exactly what is going on still, to this day, in society) is a long since obsolete concept that the rulers of course do everything in their power to perpetuate. 99% of us are the losers of that particular game, yet not only do the top 1% defend it... most of the foolish wage slave peons defend the system too. Incomprehensible.
The planet has a given quantity of water. Very little of it actually goes anywhere. Every drop of it that we use and consume eventually gets cycled back into the ecosystem. Which is why the notion of "conserving water" is total BS - there is no more or less water than there ever was.
The problem is a lack of energy and the money system hampering our efficient use of resources - if we just scrapped the money system first, we could use the resources of the planet to build literally as many desalinization plants we needed. We could turn the Sahara into a garden, if we so wanted - sure, it would be quite the project, but nothing that is beyond us as a race. But obviously, as long as we do bone-headed things like calculating it on the basis of money, profit and the like it's not going to happen.
That said of course, water pollution isn't something we should accept; if we mix in crap into it, it should get taken right back out before we let it back out into the world.
We don't fix patents - we fix society, by abolishing money completely and shifting to a cooperation basis instead of a competition one.
Patents, while a major problem in their own right, are just a minor symptom of the money-based society and what's wrong with it. We have far bigger issues that also get solved if we abandon the medieval concepts of "money" and "trade" and retire this modern-day feudalism we're suffering under now.
There is nothing but energy out there for us to use. Solar, wind, wave, tidal, geothermal... there is a massive swath of technologies we know how to build, and all that would take is materials and laborers (mechanical mostly, human somewhat). The entire notion of "conserving water" is nonsensical too - when water is used for some purpose, it doesn't just vanish later, it remains in the planetary ecosystem. Every drop of water you use in the shower goes right back out into the world and eventually lands right back in the oceans where it started.
The entire population of the planet, with a few exeptions, is so incredibly hung up on the money system that people don't even question it anymore - this in spite of the absolutely staggering waste of other resources it causes and the vast social problems we have because of it. It's quite a trick - keep people arguing about irrelevant garbage and they won't drill down until they find the one common denominator when it comes to what is killing us all - money, trade and the profit motive, the root cause of virtually all suffering and difficulties we have today.