"…when I’m talking to the police about what a perfect non-lethal weapon would look like, they almost inevitably say the same thing. They say, “Well, it’s got to be something that’s nasty enough that people don’t want to be hit with this weapon. So if you threaten to use it, people are going to comply with it, but it’s also going to be something that doesn’t leave any lasting effects.” In other words, your perfect non-lethal weapon is something that’s perfect for abuse."
However, I would argue for a third option: deescalation devices. Something that by its nature deescalates problems. Two options I know people have worked on would be a fluid that you can shoot on the ground that makes it impossible to walk (to control crowds), and vocal inhibitors that replay your words a few hundred milliseconds later (which make it hard for the brain to think). Also, soothing music?
There are dangers, of course: see the video for an example of using anesthetic gas, which actually killed some of the hostages. And the military could definitely use these as “lethal force multipliers” (ways to make people easier to shoot). But I would still argue that for police, creative non-weapons offer better possibilities.
(Also, one minor quibble with his Australia studies: The deaths did go down after Australia introduced pepper spray, and pepper spray was intended not as an alternative to lethal force, but as an in-between step.)
This is a short post, pertaining the more religious tack my quotes have been taking recently (which some of my readers may not agree with). In summation:
I am a Christian, believing in a risen Jesus Christ.
I believe that the “Jesus Way” is the best way-of-life out there. However…
The Church (at large, in various denominations) has never been a perfect representation of Jesus, or of the Jesus Way.
Many of my posts are aimed at getting closer to the Jesus Way, and…
It would surprise you how often non-Christians who are trying to improve the world (e.g. TED Talks) are working in parallel with the Jesus Way.
There are differences, of course. I believe in a Christian afterlife, and that Jesus was, in fact, God. But even if you disagree on this point—many smart people do—you can still follow the Jesus Way in your lifetime. Healing the sick, treating others the way you want to be treated, becoming less selfish—these are all Jesus Way principles, and they are valuable for moral society.
So: I will be posting more Christian-based quotes. I had always intended this Tumblr to include such material, but had not yet provided much in that direction. My hope is that non-Christians can make use of these messages without being distracted on the discussion of whether Jesus actually existed or not.
Peter Diamandis runs the X Prize Foundation, which (among other pursuits) offered $10 million for the first team to carry 3 people to 62 miles above earth TWICE within 2 weeks. And it worked!
Peter believes the idea of prizes will advance Technology X to the point where it can become attractive to the private sector as a viable technology. Based on his results from this project, it’s not so far-fetched; 26 teams from 7 countries worked on this prize.
We explore for three reasons, the weakest of which is curiosity.
This, then, is the answer to the second assumption to Paul Gilding’s doom-and-gloom. We won’t be stuck on this rock; we can get off-planet resources, or just move the extra people away. And after a few hundred years, Firefly.
For more space dreams, see Burt Rutan on how we can expect the private sector to advance space travel much more quickly than government-funded research…space hotels, anyone?
Paul Gilding with the bad news: our resources cannot keep us going at the current rate, much less at our projected rates in the future.
…we need about 1.5 earths to sustain this [current] economy.
It takes a good crisis to get us going. When we feel fear and we fear loss we are capable of quite extraordinary things.
Ultimately, Gilding is saying we’ll make it through the crucible, so that’s good at least. But he’s predicting some doom-and-gloom first, and he does so gloomily enough that I’m inclined to believe him. (I’d love to see the research, of course.)
However, Gilding makes his claims based on two assumptions:
We won’t change until it’s too late. (Which he hopes to change with talks like these.)
We are going to stay on this planet.
The second assumption is fairly short-sighed, as future (heh) posts will bear out.
When the Web turned 5,000 days old (13.7 years) in 2007, it looked completely different from what people had expected it to become. Kevin Kelly imagines what will happen in the next 5,000 days:
I have a kind of a simple story, and it suggests that…all these computers, all these handhelds, all these cell phones, all these laptops, all these servers —basically what we’re getting out of all these connections is we’re getting one machine. If there is only one machine, and our little handhelds and devices are actually just little windows into…a single, global machine.
And so I began to think about that. And it turned out that this machine happens to be the most reliable machine that we’ve ever made.
The difference between this machine and the traditional machine is its organic nature. The picture reminds me more of the connected-ness of the planet in Avatar.
But to a first approximation, the size of this machine is the size—and its complexity, kind of— to your brain. Because in fact, that’s how your brain works: in kind of the same way that the Web works. However, your brain isn’t doubling every two years…
…by the year 2040, the total processing of this machine will exceed a total processing power of [the brains of] humanity…
That’s pretty scary, but amazing too. (If you’re worried about machines taking over, though, don’t: computers won’t have the desires humans assume would come with AI. Someone has stated this much better, but I forget where.)
And I think total personalization in this new world will require total transparency. That is going to be the price. If you want to have total personalization, you have to be totally transparent…
…And we kind of object at first, saying, “Oh, that’s awful.” But if we think about the dependency that we have on this other technology, called the alphabet, and writing, we’re totally dependent on it, and it’s transformed culture. We cannot imagine ourselves without the alphabet and writing. And so in the same way, we’re going to not imagine ourselves without this other machine being there.
This is one of the ways our culture will completely change—the lack of true privacy. Grandparents will be amazed that their grandchildren simply don’t care about privacy, and grandchildren will be amazed at how their grandparents are losing out on so much by staying offline.
[S]urveys of hundreds of significant new technologies show that almost all of them are invented simultaneously or nearly simultaneously by two or more teams working independently of each other. Invention appears in significant part to be a social, not an individual, phenomenon.
In addition, most employees file their patents into company control. Dying companies, once defined by innovation, can use those patents to stave off death, suing others. Yahoo is one example:
Yahoo tried and failed, over and over again, to build a social network that people would love and use. Unable to innovate, Yahoo is falling back to the last resort of a desperate, dying company: litigation as a business model.
(Andy Baio, via Kottke; see below for more information of the cost of patent litigation)
What can programmers do? If they refuse to patent at all, they risk being sued by someone else.
But there is a solution!
There are some limitations, but overall, this is a great step in the right direction. Defensive litigation protects against patent trolls in the present, and the lack of offensive litigation prevents these patents from falling into the hands of patent trolls in the future.
Bonus: “How I Beat a Patent Troll”
Drew Curtis demonstrates another solution: “Whenever possible, fight the infringement, not the patent.” (via kenhiatt)
An endnote, near the end of Drew’s presentation, on the cost of defending patent troll lawsuits, even if you’re successful in defending yourself: