"All the world's a stage we pass through." - R. Ayana

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Abolishing Heart Disease (and Most Others)


Abolishing Heart Disease (and Most Others)
Senseless Killing Kills the Killers

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by Calwell B. Esselstyn Jr., MD

The truth be told, coronary artery disease, the most common form of heart disease which is responsible for heart attacks need never exist and if it does exist, it need never progress.  How can one make that statement when coronary disease is the leading killer of women and men in western civilization?

Battle casualties from the Korean and Vietnam conflicts yielded an 80% incidence of coronary heart disease at autopsy despite an average age of 20 years.  Hardly a family in this country does not have an immediate or distant relative or friend who has experienced heart disease.  A study of civilian casualties between the ages of 16 and 34 who die from accidents, homicides and suicides reveal coronary heart disease in every person.  Dr. Lewis Kuller, a professor of public health from the University of Pittsburg from his 10 years cardiovascular health study made the following statement in April 2006: "All males who are 65 years of age and older who have been exposed to the traditional western diet have cardiovascular disease and should be treated as such."

Does this mean we are all destined to become ill from coronary heart disease?  Not so fast.  Dr. William Castelli, who directed the world famous NIH Framingham study in the mid 1980's stated of the 5.5 billion people on earth, 4 billion will never have heard of heart disease. He meant at that time it was limited to persons living in western civilization and those populations who could afford to eat milk and dairy products, eggs, meat, chicken, white flour and processed oils on a regular basis.

World War II provided a graphic example of how the ravages of these diseases could be totally halted.  Norway was one of several western European nations occupied by Nazi Germany during the conflict between 1939 through 1945.  The Germans removed all animal livestock from these occupied countries. The native population subsisted on whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit.  Almost immediately death from heart attacks and strokes in Norway plummeted.  With the cessation of hostilities in 1945 animal products became available as well as an immediate return to the prewar levels of deaths from these illnesses.  It is a powerful lesson in public health about the cause and cure of our most common killer-heart disease.  This message was not heeded by the medical profession or the public.  It has been just the reverse. The popularity and success of western culture has adversely influenced Asian and developing cultures, so they seek to emulate our toxic western diet.  As a result coronary artery disease is predicated to become the number one global disease burden by 2020.

Rural China, the Papua Highlanders of New Guinea, central Africans and the Tarahumara Indians of northern Mexico adhere to plant based nutrition and are spared this galloping epidemic which is a disease of affluence.

American leadership in public health has been a total failure in its attempt to curtail this disease.  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) every 5 years refashions American's food pyramid, without ever relinquishing the very foods which cause the epidemic.  The USDA leadership are all former power brokers of the beef, dairy, pork and poultry industries.

The medical profession has an even poorer record.  It has taken the approach that every American must learn all the risk factors for heart disease such as smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and strong family history.  The profession's risk factors emphasis is an unspoken concession that as Americans eat such a toxic diet, they will all develop the disease and knowing your risk factors may somehow alert you and your physician how fast it is catching you.

Modern medicine of the latter half of the 20th century and early 21st, must be condemned for its failure to share with the public the knowledge to eliminate the most common chronic killer disease such as heart disease, type II diabetes, obesity, hypertension, erectile dysfunction, and dementia all of which are a bitter harvest of the toxic western animal based nutrition.

Let us flush out further the problem of dementia.  By age 85, it is recognized that 50% of Americans will have dementia.  Newer research reveals that at age 50 Americans begin sustaining tiny little silent strokes, which as they continue, take a serious irreversible toll on the brain.  Memory may become less astute by one's 60's and if these little strokes continue we now have dementia by the 70's or 80's.  It it is the end product of vascular injury to the brain just as occurs with the heart.

The medical profession never lacking for a new expensive imaging device or procedure, developed coronary artery bypass surgery, angioplasty, and stents for blocked arteries to the heart.  One has to be in awe of the delicacy of these surgical feats.  But are they the answer?  A most emphatic NO!  The epidemic has not been altered since their inception.  To be fair, in emergency situations, such as a heart attack they may be life saving or save heart muscle from damage,

Academic scholars are increasingly critical of the overemphasis of these interventions, which provide enormous financial reward to the physician.

The downside to these procedures is that many experience serious complications and die. Of 1 million stents performed this year 1% or 10,000 will die from the procedure.  If we lost 10,000 G.I.'s this year in Iraq, it would be called carnage.

The expense of these procedures consumes the lion's share of the health budget.  Cardiology spends over 1/4 of a trillion dollars per year.  Even if the procedures are successful, the benefits erode with the passage of time.  Interventional cardiologists themselves concede life is not extended and new heart attacks are not avoided by these procedures. 

How is it possible that the medical profession cannot heed the striking lessons from Norway during WW11, or the non existence of heart disease in the third world and developing countries who by culture, heritage and tradition subsist on plant based nutrition?

Actually there were physicians who did hear these lessons. These pioneers were men like Pritikin, McDougall,  Klaper, Pinckney, Campbell, Ornish, Esselstyn, Fuhrman, Barnard and Diehl to mention a few.   Dr. Dean Ornish in California and Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. in Ohio during the mid l980's unbeknownst to each other but within months of each other separately initiated studies of plant based nutrition as treatment for patients severely ill with coronary artery disease.  The goal was to remove every last morsel of animal food, dairy, processed flour, and oils that were causing the disease and to eat a diet of vegetables, fruit, legumes and whole grains,

In all compliant patients results were prompt and enduring.  Angina heart pain diminished or disappeared as cholesterol levels promptly lowered and both physicians found that x-rays of the hearts' arteries confirmed the disease could be reversed.  Dr. Ornish proved this after one year of treatment.  Dr. Esselstyn showed the same at 5 years and reported his results again at 12, 16, and finally beyond 21 years in his recently release book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. Dr. Esselstyn is particularly pleased with a smaller subset of patients who were told by expert cardiologists in 1986 they had less than a year to live all of whom are alive, 21 years later.


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To be sure it is not a walk in the park for patients to change to plant based nutrition from a life-time of eating rich, tasty animal foods, dairy products and oil. There are also the challenges of what to do in restaurants, traveling, and eating at friends' houses.  Patients need support and guidance as they surmount these hurdles and their prompt improvement is their reward.  While patients rejoice at finally discovering the answer to their disease they are often furious their physicians did not mention it.

For these patients it is empowering that they are the locus of control to destroy the disease that was destroying them. They also recognize as opposed to the interventional approach there is no mortality with the diet and no sickness.  Most importantly the benefits do not erode but continue to improve with the passage of time.  Patients are aware they have become heart attack proof and lose the haunting fear of  heart patients and their families that another heart attack might occur.

Why don't more cardiologists employ this simple and successfully proven method?  The stock answer is "My patients won't follow such a diet."  That is indeed hard to accept when entire cultures without heart disease have preferred this way of eating for centuries and thousands of heart patients have accepted this technique.  A more honest answer would be there is much less financial reward for the caregiver.  The hope is that insurance carriers will appreciate this less expensive and more reliable approach and reward lifestyle counseling which will accelerate momentum and acceptance.  Dr. Esselstyn now treats invasive cardiologists who seek his counsel when they have the disease.  Viewing a broader landscape for the health of America is imperative.

Everyone argues about the health care crisis and how it should be paid for.  Where does one find the money?  This is so serious we see our great corporations such as General Motors and Ford taken to their knees because they cannot pay the health care costs of their employees or retirees.  A far simpler approach is to eliminate all of these common chronic diseases of western civilization, which do not exist in plant-based cultures.

For example, if a 250 pound, obese, mildly diabetic hypertensive, patient has a heart attack and is fully compliant with plant- based nutrition treatment, profound changes occur.  By 8 months he weighs 190 pounds and is no longer obese, his diabetes and hypertension are gone as is any risk for a future heart attack.  He will also protect himself from erectile dysfunction and dementia.  This toxic western diet consumed over decades behaves as a malignant stew daily marinating our cells towards chronic illness.

Perhaps one can best conclude by paraphrasing the words of John F. Kennedy,  "Ask not what your country can do for your health, ask what you can do for your health."

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From the T. Colin Campbell Foundation @ http://www.tcolincampbell.org/courses-resources/article/abolishing-heart-disease/



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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

GE Crops and Unsustainable Agricultural Practices are Destroying our Planet’s Soil and Food Supply


GE Crops and Unsustainable Agricultural Practices are Destroying our Planet’s Soil and Food Supply

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We Are What We Eat

By Dr. Mercola

Genetically engineered crops and food products pose a threat to your health, resistance to disease, soil, and the global food supply. The biotech industry is riddled with corruption as companies clamor to sink their claws into the marketplace first, to get their seeds into farmers' fields ahead of the rest.

This pervasive corporate rush to profit at any cost places all of humanity at risk, as the industry barrels ahead without even questioning the consequences of their technology. Industry leaders have failed to slow down long enough to even ponder the long-term consequences of irreversibly manipulating the DNA of your food. And what independent researchers are finding in this regard is truly disturbing and is probably just the tip of the iceberg in this genetics experiment of unprecedented scale.

When you see the term "biotech industry," you might automatically think of Monsanto, the world's Big Dog when it comes to GE seed. Monsanto has shown it will stop at nothing to bully its way across the globe, leaving a trail of planetary devastation in its wake.

Monsanto's unsavory behavior even resulted in Forbes Magazine's retraction of naming Monsanto "Company of the Year" in 2009, admitting they were "wrong on Monsanto... really wrong," citing not only the problems with resistant superweeds but also investigations of antitrust issues and a potential flop in an expensive new variety of GE corn seed. But these high-tech seed wars have now gone global, extending well beyond our Western borders, and there is no better illustration than the latest scandal in India.


GE Scientists in India Found Guilty of Fraud and Cover Up

 

A group of scientists from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) have been found guilty of infecting and subsequently hiding the fact that indigenously created Bt cotton contained a Monsanto gene1. The variety, called BNBt, was supposed to be a cheaper alternative to the other Indian Bt cotton hybrids. Shortly after its release in 2009, its sales were suspended, and then hearings commenced.

It's now been determined that the Indian scientists intentionally contaminated the GE cotton seed, because "accidental contamination cannot explain what happened." ICAR condemned the scientists' actions as "unethical, unscientific, and irresponsible." It appears these shenanigans occurred in order to somehow speed up the seed's release into India's Bt cotton marketplace.2

The hearing's outcome falls on the heels of a major decision in October 2012 by a committee, appointed by India's Supreme Court, to end all GE field trials until certain conditions have been met. The Committee also recommended a 10-year moratorium on field trials of all Bt food crops and a moratorium on field trials of herbicide-tolerant crops until an independent assessment has performed.

Perhaps India has finally had enough. Over the past 16 years, more than a quarter of a million Indian farmers have committed suicide after being convinced to plant Monsanto's genetically engineered seeds (especially Bt cotton), then having their crops fail, leaving them in financial ruin. Could this be a harbinger of times to come in the United States


Latest Study Shows Roundup Creates Botulism Breeding Ground in Poultry

 

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-o5ukpcUmyMM/UPqGIDF6KHI/AAAAAAAAJk4/iHi0vwyjXd4/s1600/cafo+chickens.jpgA new German study3 by the Institute of Bacteriology and Mycology examined the effects of glyphosate, the active agent in Monsanto's herbicide Roundup, on the gut microbes of poultry. Some birds are heavily exposed to glyphosate when fed genetically engineered feed. The study's findings are quite alarming. Researchers found that highly pathogenic bacteria resisted glyphosate, whereas beneficial bacteria likely succumbed to it.

What does this mean for you and me?

The essential implication is that poultry fed GE corn or soy would fall victim to dysbiosis, meaning unhealthy changes in their gut flora that threaten the health of the birds, as well as anyone consuming them. The good bacteria in the poultry gut, such as Enterococcus, Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, are killed off, allowing the pathogenic or disease causing bacteria to flourish. Varieties such as Salmonella and Clostridium are very dangerous pathogens for humans. Clostridia bacteria are some of the deadliest, with strains including C. tetani (tetanus) and C. botulinum (botulism).

Chickens bred in CAFOs are already routinely fed antibiotics, arsenic, and even antidepressants, all of which have serious adverse health consequences. But this new study suggests CAFO chickens exposed to glyphosate may become breeding grounds for Botulism, Salmonella and other major pathogenic organisms.4

The implications of this become even clearer when you consider the recently released findings of a decade-long feeding study that showed GE feed can cause significant changes in the digestive systems, immune systems, and major organs (including liver, kidneys, pancreas, genitals and others) of rats, mice, pigs and salmon. If it's doing all of that to animals and fish, what's it doing to you? Clearly, the conventional agribusiness food system has emerged as a major threat to your health. But it may also be contributing to an even greater problem: the destruction of the world's topsoil.


The World is Running Out of Topsoil

 

http://www.wakingtimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Flickr-Plow-kevin-dooley-300x225.jpgThe world may be running out of usable topsoil, the layer that allows plants to grow. According to an article in Time World5, soil erosion and degradation rates suggest we have only about 60 remaining years of topsoil. Forty percent of the world's agricultural soil is now classified as either degraded or seriously degraded; the latter means that 70 percent of the topsoil is gone. Our soil is being lost at 10 to 40 times the rate it can be replenished, and our food production systems are to blame, which epitomizes the term "unsustainable." It takes decades or even centuries to regenerate significant levels of soil.

Agriculture accounts for 70 percent of our fresh water use. When the soil is unfit, water is wasted—it washes right through the soil and past the plant's root system. We already have a global water shortage that's projected to worsen over the next 20 to 30 years, so this is the last thing we need to compound it. Soil degradation is projected to cause 30 percent loss in food production over the next 20 to 50 years—while our global food demands are expected to increase by 50 percent over this span of time.

Many don't realize that soil is alive and has an incredible diversity of microorganisms. One handful of soil contains more microbes than the number of people who have ever lived on our planet.

These organisms create a powerful synergy with the plants and recycle organic material, making the soil more resilient and better at holding water and nutrients, and better at nurturing plants. Microbes need carbon for food, and we're depleting our soil of this element by using chemical fertilizers, overgrazing, over-ploughing, and burning stubble in fields to accelerate crop turnover. Add to this genetically engineered crops, and our soil is dealt another deathblow.


GE Crops Help Destroy Soil Fertility — Possibly Irreversibly

 

The latest science seems to suggest genetically engineered plant cultivation may seriously disrupt soil ecology by reducing microbial diversity, which decreases soil fertility over time—possibly irreversibly.6

As GE plants increasingly take over the major food-producing areas of the world, including the U.S., China, India, Argentina and Brazil, reduced soil fertility could lead to famine on a scale never previously seen. The mechanisms for this are just beginning to be understood, and what was recently only theory has inched closer to reality as science shines more light on the consequences of introducing genetically engineered organisms into the soil.

The mechanism goes something like this...

Special genetic elements (vector DNA) are present in all GE plants. This vector DNA enables unrelated microorganism species to mate, but can also be transferred to soil microorganisms. Soil fertility depends on the presence of a diverse blend of microorganisms, all serving different roles in balancing and optimizing the soil. But when unrelated species mate, the soil ecosystem loses diversity, which is proven to damage fertility.

Until recently, the transfer of genes between GE plants and soil bacteria was only theoretical. However, this mechanism has now been demonstrated by science, and it's our soil's worst nightmare. It should be noted that this same process of gene transfer has been shown to occur in your gastrointestinal tract when you eat GE foods—turning your intestines into a virtual pesticide factory.


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Horizontal Gene Transfer Is Now Proven By Science

 

The following complications underscore the seriousness of the dangers introduced by cultivation of GE crops:

  • DNA from GE plants is not readily broken down in the soil and can be taken up by soil particles and microbes. The accumulation of foreign DNA may lead to a cumulative loss of soil diversity over repeated harvests.

  • Unlike the claims of Monsanto when it first approved GM crops, Bt genes (Bacillus thuringiensis) are not broken down, for the reasons already stated, so can accumulate in soil and potentially produce Bt toxins. These toxins may build up in the soil, further damaging the organisms crucial for soil fertility. Research from the New York University7 confirms that Bt toxins are not broken down by soil microbes and do indeed accumulate in soil; the toxins maintain their ability to kill insects, potentially creating superbugs that further endanger the ecosystem.

  • GE DNA is able to merge with the DNA of other organisms to create new varieties of soil microorganisms that disrupt the ecological balance. These new organisms, if virulent enough, could spread widely via wind erosion and ground water to compromise soil fertility on a broader scale.

  • A Swiss study8 showed that adult earthworms feeding on transgenic Bt corn lost 18 percent of their initial weight, suggesting GE DNA may have long-term toxic effects on earthworms. Earthworms are major decomposers of dead and organic matter in the soil and are major contributors to the recycling of nutrients. An earlier study9 showed that both earthworms and collembolans (another small soil-dwelling invertebrate) can be adversely affected by Bt crops.

  • Its also been shown that glyphosate can be toxic to rhizobia, a nitrogen-fixing bacterium10. Nitrogen fixing bacteria are important because nitrogen is the nutrient most commonly deficient in soil.

GE crops are adversely affecting our soil biology in numerous ways. There are differences observed in the bacteria occupying plant roots and changes in nutrient availability. Many studies show glyphosate can have toxic effects on microorganisms and can stimulate them to germinate spores and colonize root systems. Glyphosate has also been shown to immobilize manganese, an essential plant nutrient. Overall, glyphosate diminishes the health and nutritional value of the plants it's sprayed on, as well as the soil.

The two main types of GE foods—herbicide-tolerant crops and pesticide-producing crops—are both imprecise technologies riddled with unintended consequences, including hundreds to thousands of genetic mutations that have unknown effects on human health. Glyphosate and GE crops may be leading the human race over a cliff, as Dr. Don Huber explains in the following interview.


From Dr Mercola: See More with videos @ http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/01/12/ge-crops-affect-soil-fertility.aspx


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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Coming End of Human Slavery: Rise Of The Droids


The Coming End of Human Slavery
Rise Of The Droids: Will Robots Eventually Steal All Of Our Jobs – or Free Wage Slave Humankind?


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By Michael Snyder


Will a robot take your job?  We have entered a period in human history when technology is advancing at an exponential rate.  In some ways, this has been a great blessing for humanity.  For example, I am absolutely blown away by all of the things that my little iPod can do.  But on the other hand, all of this technology is eliminating millions upon millions of high paying jobs.

In the past, I have written extensively about how millions of American jobs have been sent to the other side of the world, but now we may be moving into a time when workers all over the planet will be steadily losing jobs to super-efficient robots.  For employers, robots provide a lot of advantages to human workers.  Robots never complain, they never get tired, they never need vacation, they never show up late, they never waste time of Facebook, they don't need any health benefits and there are a whole lot of rules, regulations and taxes that you must deal with when you hire a human worker.

In the past, robots were exceedingly expensive, and that limited their usefulness in the workplace, but as you will see later in this article that is rapidly changing.  As robots continue to become even more advanced and even less expensive, will there eventually come a point where the "human worker" is virtually obsolete?

Of course I can hear the objections already.  Many of you will insist that even though automation has always eliminated jobs in the past, it has also always created new jobs that were even better.  For instance, once upon a time most of the U.S. population worked on farms, but thanks to automation now hardly any of us do.

But what happens when we get to the point where super-intelligent robots are more efficient at everything?

What will be left for "human workers" to do?
And if human workers are no longer needed for most tasks, what will their role in society be?

Personally, I still complain about self-service check-in kiosks at airports and self-checkout lanes at supermarkets, but most people seem to have accepted them.  There are even many bank branches now that don't have any humans in them at all.  The number of jobs where a human worker is absolutely "required" is dwindling all the time.

And a lot of the jobs that are disappearing thanks to advances in technology are fairly high paying jobs.  In fact, one recent study of employment data from 20 countries discovered that "almost all the jobs disappearing are in industries that pay middle-class wages, ranging from $38,000 to $68,000."
As I mentioned earlier, in the past robots were simply far too expensive to perform most tasks.  So human workers had an advantage.

But that advantage is disappearing right in front of our eyes.  For example, one company has produced a new robot called "Baxter" that only costs $22,000.  The following is from an article about Baxter in the MIT Technology Review...

Baxter was conceived by Rodney Brooks, the Australian roboticist and artificial-intelligence expert who left MIT to build a $22,000 humanoid robot that can easily be programmed to do simple jobs that have never been automated before.
Eventually, the goal is to produce versions of Baxter that will perform tasks even more cheaply than Chinese workers do...

Brooks’s company, Rethink Robotics, says the robot will spark a 'renaissance' in American manufacturing by helping small companies compete against low-wage offshore labor. Baxter will do that by accelerating a trend of factory efficiency that’s eliminated more jobs in the U.S. than overseas competition has. Of the approximately 5.8 million manufacturing jobs the U.S. lost between 2000 and 2010, according to McKinsey Global Institute, two-thirds were lost because of higher productivity and only 20 percent moved to places like China, Mexico, or Thailand.

The ultimate goal is for robots like Baxter to take over more complex tasks, such as fitting together parts on an electronics assembly line. 'A couple more ticks of Moore’s Law and you’ve got automation that works more cheaply than Chinese labor does,' Andrew McAfee, an MIT researcher, predicted last year at a conference in Tucson, Arizona, where Baxter was discussed.

So it won't just be American workers that will be displaced by robots - it will literally be workers all over the planet.

 http://images.dangerousminds.net/uploads/images/metriorirorororororor.jpg


In the future, when you call someone for customer service you probably won't be talking to someone in India.  Instead, you will probably be talking to a robot.  In fact, this transition is already starting to happen...
IPsoft is a young company started by Chetan Dube, a former mathematics professor at New York University. He reckons that artificial intelligence can take over most of the routine information-technology and business-process tasks currently performed by workers in offshore locations. 'The last decade was about replacing labour with cheaper labour,' says Mr Dube. “The coming decade will be about replacing cheaper labour with autonomics.”

IPsoft’s Eliza, a 'virtual service-desk employee' that learns on the job and can reply to e-mail, answer phone calls and hold conversations, is being tested by several multinationals. At one American media giant she is answering 62,000 calls a month from the firm’s information-technology staff. She is able to solve two out of three of the problems without human help. At IPsoft’s media-industry customer Eliza has replaced India’s Tata Consulting Services.

Even some of the largest companies in China are starting to make the transition from human workers to robots.  The following is from a recent TechCrunch article...

Foxconn has been planning to buy 1 million robots to replace human workers and it looks like that change, albeit gradual, is about to start.

The company is allegedly paying $25,000 per robot – about three times a worker’s average salary – and they will replace humans in assembly tasks. The plans have been in place for a while – I spoke to Foxconn reps about this a year ago – and it makes perfect sense. Humans are messy, they want more money, and having a half-a-million of them in one factory is a recipe for unrest. But what happens after the halls are clear of careful young men and women and instead full of whirring robots?

So what will the world look like as robots begin to replace humans in just about every industry that you can imagine?

A recent Wired article described what this transition might look like...

First, machines will consolidate their gains in already-automated industries. After robots finish replacing assembly line workers, they will replace the workers in warehouses. Speedy bots able to lift 150 pounds all day long will retrieve boxes, sort them, and load them onto trucks. Fruit and vegetable picking will continue to be robotized until no humans pick outside of specialty farms. Pharmacies will feature a single pill-dispensing robot in the back while the pharmacists focus on patient consulting. Next, the more dexterous chores of cleaning in offices and schools will be taken over by late-night robots, starting with easy-to-do floors and windows and eventually getting to toilets. The highway legs of long-haul trucking routes will be driven by robots embedded in truck cabs.

All the while, robots will continue their migration into white-collar work. We already have artificial intelligence in many of our machines; we just don’t call it that. Witness one piece of software by Narrative Science (profiled in issue 20.05) that can write newspaper stories about sports games directly from the games’ stats or generate a synopsis of a company’s stock performance each day from bits of text around the web. Any job dealing with reams of paperwork will be taken over by bots, including much of medicine. Even those areas of medicine not defined by paperwork, such as surgery, are becoming increasingly robotic. The rote tasks of any information-intensive job can be automated. It doesn’t matter if you are a doctor, lawyer, architect, reporter, or even programmer: The robot takeover will be epic.

I don't know about you, but the phrase "robot takeover" is not exactly comforting. Perhaps I just watch too many movies.

http://venturebeat.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/personal-robot-02-by-franz-steiner.jpeg?w=558&h=9999&crop=0

In any event, as technology advances there will eventually be very few jobs that robots cannot perform.  In fact, you might be surprised to learn some of the things that robots are already doing.  The following is from a recent Yahoo News article...

Google and Toyota are rolling out cars that can drive themselves. The Pentagon deploys robots to find roadside explosives in Afghanistan and wages war from the air with drone aircraft. North Carolina State University this month introduced a high-tech library where robots — 'bookBots' — retrieve books when students request them, instead of humans. The library's 1.5 million books are no longer displayed on shelves; they're kept in 18,000 metal bins that require one-ninth the space.

So what will the 3.1 million Americans that drive trucks do for a living once robots are driving all of our trucks?

What will the 573,000 Americans that drive buses do for a living once robots are driving all of our buses?

And eventually even our skies may be filled with robotic drones that are busy performing one task or another.

Just check out what a recent Time Magazine article had to say about the emerging drone industry...

But the drone industry is ramping up for a big landgrab the moment the regulatory environment starts to relax. At last year's Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) trade show in Las Vegas, more than 500 companies pitched drones for filming crowds and tornados and surveying agricultural fields, power lines, coalfields, construction sites, gas spills and archaeological digs. A Palo Alto, Calif., start-up called Matternet wants to establish a network of drones that will transport small, urgent packages, like those for medicine.

In other countries civilian drone populations are already booming. Aerial video is a major application. A U.K. company called Skypower makes the eight-rotored Cinipro drone, which can carry a cinema-quality movie camera. In Costa Rica they're used to study volcanoes. In Japan drones dust crops and track schools of tuna; emergency workers used one to survey the damage at Fukushima. A nature preserve in Kenya ran a crowdsourced fundraising drive to buy drones to watch over the last few northern white rhinos. Ironically, while the U.S. has been the leader in sending drones overseas, it's lagging behind when it comes to deploying them on its own turf.

Unfortunately, many people will not understand what I am really trying to get at in this article.
They will just say something like this: "Well, they are going to need someone to build all of those robots."

Even if that is true, they won't need hundreds of millions of us to build them.

No, the truth is that when human workers become "obsolete", those that dominate society with technology will look at the rest of us as "useless eaters" that are not contributing anything to society at all.

Already, there are many economists that are warning that advancements in technology are steadily reducing "the natural employment rate".

And we are already seeing this happen in the United States.  As I wrote about the other day, the percentage of the labor force that is employed has declined every single year since 2006...

2006: 63.1
2007: 63.0
2008: 62.2
2009: 59.3
2010: 58.5
2011: 58.4

In January, only 57.9 percent of the civilian labor force was employed.

Of course there are certainly a lot of factors involved in why those numbers are declining, but without a doubt technology is playing a role.

So what do we do with all of the workers that are being displaced?

Are we just going to put everybody on food stamps?

Will the gap between the rich and the poor grow even larger than it is today?

Will most people eventually become dependent on the government in order to survive?

We are moving into uncharted territory, and nobody is quite sure what comes next.

As time goes by, robots will even start to look more like us.  In fact, this is already starting to happen.  Just check out the following description of a "bionic man" that has been created from a recent article in the Guardian...

He cuts a dashing figure, this gentleman: nearly seven feet tall, and possessed of a pair of striking brown eyes. With a fondness for Ralph Lauren, middle-class rap and sharing a drink with friends, Rex is, in many ways, an unexceptional chap.

Except that he is, in fact, a real-world bionic man. Housed within a frame of state-of-the-art prosthetic limbs is a functional heart-lung system, complete with artificial blood pumping through a network of pulsating modified-polymer arteries. He has a bionic spleen to clean the blood, and an artificial pancreas to keep his blood sugar on the level. Behind the deep brown irises are a pair of retinal implants, giving him a vista of the crowds of curious humans who meet his gaze.

He even has a degree of artificial intelligence: talk to him, and he'll listen (through his cochlear implants), before using a speech generator to respond.

As robots become more like us, will we eventually become more like them?

Will we be told that we must "merge with the machines" in order to keep up and be useful in society?


As we rapidly approach the "technological singularity" that futurist Ray Kurzweil and others have talked about, will humans increasingly seek to "enhance" themselves with technology in an attempt to "get an edge"?

What will happen to those of us that refuse to "merge with the machines" and that refuse to "enhance ourselves" with technology?

Will we be outcasts?

Those are some important questions.  Feel free to share your thoughts on those questions by posting a comment below...


 http://images.wisegeek.com/robots-working-on-a-automobile-assembly-line.jpg

5 Ways Robots Are Outsourcing Humans in the Workforce



By Nicholas West


The outsourcing of human jobs as a side effect of globalization
has arguably contributed to the current unemployment crisis. However, a growing trend sees humans done away with altogether, even in the low-wage countries where many American jobs have landed.

Citing brutal working conditions, inefficiency and corporate bottom lines, human beings are gradually becoming redundant. Moreover, there are indications that even skilled labor will soon be replaced, rendering humans obsolete in a variety of new ways.

At this point it doesn't seem like the outsourcing of human abilities to our robotic counterparts is leading us toward the life of leisure that has been promised, but instead is leading to humans being perceived as nothing more than a troubling quantity within a new economic algorithm.  How can we ensure that we maintain relevance during a time of such rapid change?

Product Fulfillment Process:  We all have become incrementally familiar with the ways that our orders, requests and demands are handled by non-humans.  Fulfillment can range from ATMs, automatic grocery checkout, online order processing, having a movie delivered by mail or Internet, to automated answer systems for nearly all of our products.

Order fulfillment by machines is nearly ubiquitous. A component of this is the warehouse -- finding an item, packaging, and shipping it. The following personal account titled, "We are Obsolete" sums up perfectly the company reasoning behind getting rid of humans in this part of the workplace:

My boss informed me that another employee was replacing me. The new employee was far better then me and would never take a day off. The new employee would never fall sick, never ask for overtime pay, and had nothing to do with the union. The new employee would not waste time near the water cooler socializing with other employees and would never waste time on Facebook. The new employee would never get stressed out, or have a nervous breakdown. The new employee would never get tired and will work tirelessly forever. Most importantly, the new employee will never get injured and sue the company for compensation. 

Meet 1557. The new employee is a robot. This robot just replaced me in the warehouse today. This is the reality. (Source)

The fulfillment process also takes place in the medical field. We are now seeing robotic assistants in surgery and diagnostics, as well as research, manufacturing and dispensing. Artificial neural networks have been implemented to help make diagnoses, thus reducing human error. Some speculate that with the advent of nanotechnology it won't be long before autonomous robotic diagnosis and surgery from the inside out will be possible down to the DNA level.

Manufacturing:  The Taiwanese Company Foxconn, answered criticism of its brutal working conditions by replacing its human force of 1.2 million people with 1 million robots to make laptops, mobile devices and other electronics hardware for Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Sony.  The company previously had made workers sign contracts that they would not commit suicide, and would even install "suicide nets."  But even these measure seem to be too much of a hassle for executives to deal with. (Source)  As computer engineer, and author Martin Ford has stated, it is not merely the repetitive and precise needs of the assembly line that are being met by machines in a variety of industries, but more skilled labor as well.


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ZqLVw_CdEok/TqWMgaXHU-I/AAAAAAAAAMY/i6kxERhDH10/s1600/Robots.jpg

How could management get rid of these skilled workers?


They could simply build a remote controlled robot to perform the task, and then offshore the control function. As we have pointed out, it is the ability to recognize a complex visual image and then manipulate a robot arm based on that image that is a primary challenge preventing full robotic automation. Transmitting a real-time visual image overseas, where a low paid worker can then manipulate the machinery, is certainly already feasible. Remote controlled robots are currently used in military and police applications that would be dangerous for humans. We very likely will see such robots in factories and workplaces in the near future. (Source)

Domestic Service: A host of lifelike, even humanoid robots, have been developed with a range of motion and ability that is leading to a growing possibility of a "bot in every household."  An article written back in 2004 titled, "From Outsourcing to Botsourcing" posited a disturbing near-term future at the time of its writing:

If you're middle-aged now, perhaps your closest companion in your dotage will be a wirelessly connected android that traipses after you, bringing iced tea or martinis, and reminding you to take your medications, send a birthday card to your grandson, and sell your Cisco stock. (Source)

Eight years is an eternity in computing, so where do we stand here in 2012 relative to the above scenario? The following is a short list of commercially available service robots, the prices of which have fallen at warp speed to be within reach of an increasing number of people. When Bill Gates says that this industry can change the world we should probably listen.  So much so that even the world's oldest service profession can be outsourced, which should lead us to wonder just how attached we already have become to the machines in our lives. (Source)




Warfare: In a matter of just a few years, we have gone from the idea of drones in America being a secret, to having the open announcement that there are now 63 drone bases on American soil. Machine warfare very well could be our greatest existential threat, as autonomous intercommunicating systems are being developed with the capability for unilateral threat assessment and war theater decision making. However, there is also the human toll. It is once again cited that robotic warfare lessens the dangers to humans, but at some level it becomes an outright replacement, such as DARPA's amazingly human PETMAN and other warbots at its disposal. Similar to the machines in a factory, robots don't have human frailties such as sickness, tiredness, mental health issues, clouded judgement based on emotions ... or conscience. Where do the human resources of war go when they have been outsourced?

Artificial Intelligence: This is the overlay X-factor for each of the categories above that are already in place and affecting the global economy. Until now, robotic systems have been no better than how they have been programmed to behave. Yes, they are more efficient, durable, and predictable in most cases; however, we are now on the cusp of the next stage of development where full-blown autonomous self-learning systems take us into the realm of science fiction -- delivery systems and self-driving vehicles alone could change day-to-day life as we know it, not to mention the social implications. (Source)

Two future areas which could have the largest transformative effect on what it means to be a human member of society are in the areas of education and governance.

It is a logical extension to presume that the above-listed abilities applied within medicine, healthcare and domestic services could apply quite easily to teaching.  In fact, economist Kim Shin-hwan at South Korea’s Hyundai Research Institute says, “By 2015, robots should be able to assist teachers in the classroom. By 2018, they should be able to teach on their own, and this will cause many teachers to lose their jobs.” (Source)

Likewise, "positive futurist" Dick Pelletier considers the greater impact of the loss of skilled jobs, right up to and including law makers, judges and police officers.  The above-mentioned PETMAN project at DARPA makes it clear that they are actively seeking humanoid replacements in war, so law enforcement can't be far off.  However, an even greater ethical debate is raised when we look at government, which is currently filled stem to stern with all manner of corruption.  Pelletier cites National Science Foundation consultant Pamela McCorduck for this argument:

I’d rather take my chances with an impartial computer,' referring to conditions where she would prefer to have automated law makers, judges, and police that have no personal agenda. (Source)

Beyond ethics, such widespread replacement of humans would remake the economy far beyond what we currently see. Pelletier notes that nearly 50 million jobs are expected to be lost to machines by 2030, and perhaps half of all human jobs by 2040.

Technology always has been a double-edged sword. The possibilities presented by artificial intelligence and robotics hold massive positive potential that actually could challenge elite power structures. In the meantime our economy is transforming away from human inefficiency and variability to a robot economy that could threaten the self-determination of billions of people. Without a massive paradigm shift in the ability for the average person to tap into the growing potential for a massive reduction in cost of goods and services, we will be left with another system of haves and have nots.

Futurist, Peter Diamandis, states with certainty in the video below that the developments over the coming decade or two will lead us to superhuman powers that will render us "Godlike." Notice that he states "all of us." Really? If so, it is an ethical decision we need to commit to before that decision is made for us either by those who aim to control the technology, or the technology itself.




For an excellent compendium on the latest in robotics and artificial intelligence, I highly recommend that you visit ROS Robotics News.

For a positive outlook with some proposed solutions for humanity within the ongoing evolution of robotics and automated systems, visit Dick Pelletier's website Positive Futurist.  In a similar vein, I also would recommend Tony Cartalucci's fantastic article "Elite Power Threatened by Global Technological Progress."

A positive outcome is certainly worth considering, as we have our fair share of dystopian works of science fiction to serve as a collective cautionary tale against permitting intelligent machines.

I would love to hear what you think about the current and future role of robotics -- will this lead to unbridled freedom for humanity or planned obsolescence? You can leave your thoughts in the comments section below.



From Activist Post @ http://www.activistpost.com/2013/02/rise-of-droids-will-robots-eventually.html and http://www.activistpost.com/2012/05/5-ways-robots-are-outsourcing-humans-in.html



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For more information about wage slavery see http://nexusilluminati.blogspot.com/search/label/wage%20slaves  
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