How interesting, but what’s the “right” answer?

Article here.

New Gallup research has found that 55% of Americans now say that if they had a new position, and it was up to them to pick a manager, they would have “no preference” in terms of their boss’s gender.

This is a far cry from the first time Gallup posed this question to respondents in 1953. Back then, 66% of Americans wanted to report to a male boss, a tiny 5% favored a female boss, and 25% didn’t mind, either way.

We are not our grandparents and therefore do not have the same socially-nurtured attitudes of our grandparents.

Perhaps this is neither good nor bad, perhaps it just “is”?

The more intriguing question is what do we think the answer will be when we’ve reached the perfect society?

That’s a leading question, of course, it infers that we have all agreed that a perfect society is a possibility and we are moving towards one.

Some might suggest theoretical perfection will have been achieved when 100% of potential employees express no preference as to the gender of their next manager.

But is that desirable or even possible? If not, why not?

Bill’s Opinion

The theoretical point of perfection in this survey is not possible while the human species is dimorphic. The physical differences between men and women are partially-responsible for personality differences.

Males and female differ both physically and psychologically. Sure, there will be outliers, an exceedingly muscular woman or a highly-empathetic man, but on a statistical basis the differences are self-evident. If this statement is incorrect and there is no difference between the sexes, why did we need a woman President of the USA and why do so many corporates operate public 50:50 Women in Leadership policies?

The survey seems pointless. Why not check to see how many people would want a Scottish boss or an alcoholic boss (but I repeat myself) as well?

What if the results never get above, say, 65% of people being happy with female bosses? Would that suggest a fault with “people” or female bosses? Would we be able to have an objective discussion around that, if so?

Pink “speaks” out

It is possible that Pink is simultaneously the least articulate and least self-aware mother alive today.

She also commended a school she had seen for having gender-neutral toilets.

“The bathroom outside the kindergarten said, ‘Gender Neutral – anybody’, and it was a drawing of many different shapes,” she said. “I took a picture of it and wrote, ‘Progress’. I thought that was awesome. I love that kids are having this conversation.”

“And I said to her, ‘Do you see me growing my hair?’ She said, ‘No, Mama.’ I said, ‘Do you see me changing my body?’ ‘No, Mama.’ ‘Do you see me changing the way I present myself to the world?’ ‘No, Mama.’ ‘Do you see me selling out arenas all over the world?’ ‘Yes, Mama.’ ‘Okay! So, baby girl. We don’t change. We take the gravel and the shell and we make a pearl. And we help other people to change so they can see more kinds of beauty.'”

Bill’s Opinion

Kids of five years old aren’t having this conversation, Cultural Marxist adults are and are projecting on to kids.

Why does Pink’s daughter get to be gender neutral while Pink is still “Mama” rather than a gender neutral noun?

Speaking of gender neutral nouns for parents, perhaps we could combine the two traditional names? Here’s some options;

Dummy – “Dad” added to “Mummy”

Mad – “Mum” combined with “Dad”

What if the Bitcoin boom was a conspiracy?

Conspiracy theories are for the birds, never ascribe to mendacity that which can be explained by incompetence, but they can be fun nonetheless.

Bitcoin is currently going through the mania phase of the classic chart of the bubble.

Articles about the cryptocurrency are everywhere on social media and, regardless of whichever Legacy Media ™ newspaper website you view, there will be a daily quotient of about three articles posted.

It’s the new big thing. If you bought some 5 years ago you’re minted, if you didn’t, there’s a thousand opinions on whether there’s still time.

This one, for example, written by the suspiciously 1930’s Film Noir named Spencer Bogart, in which he gives 3 reasons why the Bitcoin valuation is about right.

Strangely, none of his three reasons are “because people are hoping to sell it later for more than they bought it”.

As Warren Buffet may or may not have said, there are only two types of assets, those with an income stream and those that you hope like hell someone will buy off you later for more money.

Of course Bitcoin is a bubble.

The interesting question is not whether it’s a bubble but whether there was any intent or design behind the instigation of the bubble?

Is there a puppeteer pulling the strings or did this come about by the magic of human interaction at a speed never seen before.

Please note, the use of the word “magic” is not meant sarcastically there; humans trading in markets are responsible for wonderful things (you and I being alive and with a better chance of living longer than any of our ancestors, for example). This is a kind of magic.

But is Bitcoin multiplying by 25 times (or whatever it is currently) its value in a year a result of some effort to by an unknown party? If so, who, why, how?

In our investigation of this possible global conspiracy, let’s examine motive; who would most benefit from a bubble in the cryptocurrency?

Anyone holding it, obviously, but also anyone who wished to see it discredited. There are are only two things we know about bubbles; they crash and you can’t predict when. If you wished to discredit Bitcoin, instigating a bubble and the subsequent wringing of hands after the crash might work.

So who doesn’t want this cryptocurrency to work? Well, people invested in other cryptocurrencies and traditional currencies.

Ah, you’ve worked out where this conspiracy theory is going….

What if Central Banks such as the Federal Reserve instigated this bubble to prevent an alternate currency from destroying its stakeholders’ grip on the world’s economy? Would anyone doubt that they would if they could?

How then might this be achieved? Simply by buying the damn thing and watching the price increase!

Bill’s Opinion

The concept and the underpinning technology of Bitcoin seem sound, it’s just that there’s a wave of very basic human emotion riding it currently.

Whether or not there’s a Central Banker’s hand giving the surfboard a helpful shove or not we may never know. It’s not completely beyond the realms of possibility though.

In 2014 the World Bank produces a report with the conclusion that Bitcoin was not a deliberate Ponzi scheme. To misquote the words of the recently deceased Christine Keeler, “well they would say that, wouldn’t they?“.

Mining the deep seams of offence

Being offended is the new sport for all to play so our outrage du jour involves a group of rugby players at university throwing a themed party.

What was the theme of said party?

The Holocaust, with attendees dressing up as camp guards and victims?

Nope.

A slavery party, with some plantation owners and the rest dressed as chained slaves?

Nada.

Perhaps the theme was Hollywood sex scandals with the fat front row forwards dressing up as Harvey Weinstein and the thin backs as nubile actresses about to be violated for the sake of their career?

Try again.

The theme of the massively offensive party was going to be (it was cancelled, obviously) the Miners’ Strike of 1984.

Outrageous, as I’m sure you’ll agree.

Bill’s Opinion

Offence is something we choose to take. Similarly, if the theme of a party you aren’t even invited to upsets you, why not simply ignore it and certainly don’t bother gatecrashing it.

Of course, if you really must find offence in things that are none of your business, perhaps a party to celebrate the death of Lady Thatcher thrown by a mining community might be of interest to you.

Is there a flaw in our hopes for Artificial Intelligence?

We’re only scratching the surface of discovering what the art of the possible is with automation and robotics but the hype bandwagon is already far ahead of us and is making huge promises about the capability of “machine learning” and artificial intelligence.

As exciting as this might be, I wonder if we’re missing an important flaw in our thinking?

To explain why artificial intelligence might not be quite the panacea that technology commentators would have us believe, perhaps it’s useful to look at the development of human intelligence?

Humans demonstrate behaviour which suggests that we have the largest quotient of intelligence of any other species. Pinning down exactly what constitutes “intelligence” is not easy but, for the sake of this argument, let’s use the IQ tests which have been in the public domain for about a century, based on pattern recognition and prediction.

The average scores for IQ have been steadily increasing across most populations with few exceptions (hello North Korea!) for years. How much more intelligent is the 2017 AD model human compared with the 2017 BCE version and how much of the difference can be explained by nutrition and environment? Impossible to say but, based on our modern measurements of IQ, there would be difference.

Why did humans develop and are continuing to increase intelligence, what’s the evolutionary advantage? Put simply, the ability to observe and problem solve quite often trumps brute strength, speed, agility or other physical attributes. The knowledge of how to craft and throw a spear beats the deer’s ability to run faster than the spear-chucker.

Intelligence has increased in increments under the critical eye of evolution. Where an improvement in cognitive ability has resulted in an advantage to the genes of the owner, the improvement has been passed on to the next generation.

What does the development of human intelligence tell us about the prospects for artificial intelligence?

Intelligence has increased as a result of rewarding success and punishing failure across billions of individuals and millions of generations. How is that model recreated and fast-tracked for computer-based intelligence?

Sure, we can code certain obvious “guide rails” within which the programme can operate and learn, but how and where to define those parameters is still a human decision. There will be limits to how the artificial intelligence can develop and grow.

Natural intelligence, on the other hand, has developed within a massive laboratory over millions of generations. Unless we can set off similar numbers of individual software programmes over an equivalent number of procreating generations, the outcome will be severely limited by human imagination.

It is plausible that we might initiate a vast number of self-learning programmes in a vast array of computers but the guiding principles will still be set, and therefore limited, by humans. Meanwhile, human intelligence had only one guiding principle; to give the host organism enough of an advantage to reproduce.

Bill’s Opinion

Artificial intelligence is, by design, is never going to be equivalent to human intelligence unless it is given the same goal and operating parameters and there seems to be no real point to doing that other than intellectual curiosity.

The pleasure, the privilege is mine

A video appeared on my Creepbook for Business feed today.

The first few seconds should be a good predictor of what’s to come, if your time is precious and you don’t want to completely ruin your blood pressure;

Put simply, if you had a sub-optimal start in life, you’re going to find yourself further away from the finish line and the lesson we should take from this is that this situation is unfair. The inference being that those of us who didn’t have such a sub-optimal start to life should accept that we have “privilege” and, presumably, hamstring ourselves to give others a fairer chance at the race of life.

Yes folks, this is what the CEO of BNP Paribas Sercurity Services India truly thinks. Now might be a good moment to check your pension funds to ensure no exposure to BNP’s stock.

As a very simple analogy, this video seems to illustrate a point we can all resonate with, as long as we don’t think too deeply about the subject. A little further contemplation brings up some uncomfortable questions though, such as;

  • Given we all have a different stating point, what would be the fairest mechanism to compensate for the differences and using what scientific or mathematical method?
  • Does this method factor in local differences? For example, the child of a displaced white farmer in Zimbabwe will presumably have to have some compensating actions to equalise their outcomes in relation to a relative of Robert Mugabe.
  • What’s the hierarchy of privilege, which restrictive component of our past and present trumps all others? Is one ethnicity more restrictive than another, if someone had diabetes plus an under-privileged ethnic background are they more or less privileged than a transgender person? Is there a handy matrix of relative victimhood we can refer to?
  • What role do genes play in the statistical probability of our relative success in life and, as a consequence, how do our informed choices affect us when we know the importance of certain genes? For example, if I know I have a family history of diabetes, how much can I mitigate the potential impact of the disease by making sensible dietary choices?

Bill’s Opinion

If there isn’t an objective mechanism for calculating the relevant impact of victimhood, we’ve just replaced one set of bias with another.

Depending on which twins study you reference, genetic differences can account for at least 50% of the differences in success across individuals.

Even if we could calculate the relative impacts of nurture, ethnicity, genes or a thousand other factors involved in our lives, it is surely counter-productive to society and humankind as a whole to use this knowledge to hamstring those not similarly impacted.

The modern game of trying to compete for “biggest victim” status (sometimes referred to as “intersectionality”) is massively-damaging to those in its targets.

Rather than encouraging a sense of victimhood, we should be showing examples of how people overcame disadvantage to thrive. It is highly unlikely that any of those examples will involve constant resentment of those better off.

It’s the illogical conclusion

No, it’s not the first day of April; a white person claims to be “transracial.

Not content with being transgender, Adam Wheeler explains that, despite being born into a body that wouldn’t look out of place on a rugby pitch, he believes that he’s actually a Filipino woman.

Here’s Adam;

And here’s a Filipino woman;

The resemblance is uncanny, as I’m sure you’ll agree.

In Adam’s own words;

“I think things that made no sense to most people make sense to us on an individual level in almost every person, like a swelling feeling you feel when you listen to dramatic music.” 

Bill’s Opinion

It’s worth considering that everybody’s world view is incorrect, none of us have a clear epistemological understanding of how the universe works. For most of the time, this doesn’t matter, we seem to bumble along quite well with the strange worlds inside our heads coming into conflict with each other surprisingly rarely.

It’s probably also true that most people are irrational and use retrospective reasoning to make sense of their decisions and views.

In a world where there is a growing consensus among some of those irrational world views that gender is fluid and humans are not actually dimorphic, it was perhaps only inevitable that someone would eventually consider themselves of a different ethnicity. Presumably, different species and inanimate objects will be next on the shopping list.

Back on Planet Reality, it’s obvious to most humans that Adam has either an irrational craving for attention regardless of the negative consequences or he’s nuttier than squirrel shit.

Who regulates the regulator?

More calls for the State to protect us from the consequences of our choices courtesy of the Legacy Media ™ Guardian;

Facebook and Google give us services and experiences we like, therefore the Government should intervene.

The main thrust of the argument is that, because the interface is addictive, it’s bad for us. A conclusion is then leapt to that the only way to moderate any negative impacts is State intervention.

Let’s go back a few steps before we decide to open the Ministry of Responsible Social Media.

What harm is being incurred and by whom?

Addictive screen layouts and content?

Would we prefer the screen design to be clunky and unusable?

Would we prefer content to be curated for us by a government regulator? Good grief, no!

But the author doesn’t take long to get to the real point of the article;

Ah, the worn out “Russians hacked the election” line. It’s not the addictive nature of the free services these companies provide, it’s the inability of people like us to curate the content.

Scratch the surface of most Guardian readers and every Guardian contributor and an authoritarian will soon be revealed.

Bill’s Opinion

Freedom of speech is the foundational right upon which all others stand or fall.

With the freedom of speech comes the freedom to be wrong and the freedom to follow false information. If you doubt that statement, ask a Guardian reader whether they think a Ministry of Truth to moderate fake news would be a good idea. I bet, with a little encouragement, they will agree.

Over at Tim Newman’s place, there’s a conversation ongoing about anti-Semites. Anti-Semites are offering an idea to the market place of ideas. The best way to deal with them is to give them the publicity they crave and let the paucity of their arguments be exposed for what they are. Shutting them down as “fake news” simply breeds conspiracy theories.

The bet that dare not speak its name

We would have used the Voltaire quote, “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise” as today’s title, except a cursory search suggests he never said it.

Nonetheless, this is quite an interesting discovery;

Apparently, Sportsbet and Crownbet have previously accepted bets on the result of the same sex marriage plebiscite but have bowed to pressure and removed their offerings.

In fact, we have been able to find only one Australian (well, British but their Australian subsidiary) betting agency willing to take bets on the Same Sex Marriage plebiscite.

For those not aware of the Australian betting formats, they use the decimal method. Under this method and using the odds expressed by William Hill, a $10 bet would pay a $60 return if it wins.

Bill’s Opinion

Brexit and Trump surprised the pundits possibly due to voters understanding and being embarrassed by the stigma of having to admit to the people undertaking the surveys and exits polls that they were a xenophobic, sexist homophobe.

William Hill’s offer seems fair value, therefore, if you feel that the result will be close*.

But more importantly, when did every other bookmaker grow scruples and a social conscience?

Ah, when Twitter outrage mobs get to decide what is offensive or not. This is not necessarily a good development.

 

*this does not constitute financial advice, in fact, if you were to take any kind of financial advice from this website you are tacitly admitting that you are financially illiterate and should immediately provide your email address in the comments so that we may send you fantastic investment opportunities in new and wonderful crypto-currencies.

It’s a Kon job

Australia has been housing people seeking refugee status on the PNG island of Manus for several years. The people arrived by boat at or near Christmas Island, an Australian territory 3,400km from the mainland and, to remove the incentive for future boat arrivals by bringing them to the mainland, Australia made a deal with PNG to house them on Manus.

PNG has since reneged on the deal and the detention centre has been forced to close. Alternate accomodation is on offer, either on the island of Nauru, where Australia has a 2nd detention centre, or within the township on Manus.

If they choose to relocate to Nauru, their asylum application to Australia can continue.

However;

That headline is two weeks old now and the centre is being dismantled. Running water and electricity have therefore been disconnected.

Understandably, those whose have chosen to remain in situ are starting to run out of the basics.

A refugee advocate, Kon Karapanagiotidis, is highlighting their privations and seeking donations and assistance from the public.

He is also very critical of the Australian government’s actions and inactions.

His Twitter account is busy with similar messages, which you can read for yourself.

Kon has a suggested solution for these problems, which he hashtags regularly – #bringthemhere. This campaign has consistently failed to make any ground with Australian governments of both political flavours. Perhaps it might help to examine why?

There’s a useful timeline here. As you’d expect from the BBC, what’s left unsaid is most important. The reason Manus was opened and then re-opened was in response to a large volume of arrivals, resulting in an unknown number, possibly in the thousands, drowning en route.

Put simply, rewarding a dangerous ocean crossing with permanent residence in Australia acts as a “pull” factor which people were prepared to put their lives at extreme risk to achieve. Politicians twice acted to remove this “pull”.

Those people who subsequently crossed multiple international borders and then boarded unsafe boats from Indonesia bound for Australia were relocated to Manus.

The #bringthemhere option has been tried twice and was deemed unpalatable from a human safety point of view.

So what options does Australia have left open?

Bill’s Opinion

Even the most desperate can make choices.

The people currently on Manus Island have made a series of choices;

  1. They chose not to claim asylum in the first country they arrived in after leaving their country of origin.
  2. They chose not to claim asylum in the subsequent countries they arrived in after leaving their country of origin.
  3. They chose to pay people traffickers for a place on a dangerous ocean crossing to Christmas Island.
  4. They chose to decline the option to be resettled in PNG.
  5. They chose not to move to the Nauru centre once Manus was closed.
  6. They chose not to move to the alternate accomodation on Manus.
  7. They chose to remain in situ at the closed centre on Manus.

In the absence of agreeing to #bringthemhere, with its twice-proven consequences, one struggles to understand what other solutions the people of Australia could offer.

Rather than hectoring and making accusations of racism, perhaps Kon could concentrate on seeking compromise solutions. If not, then one can only conclude that the welfare of the refugees is secondary to his desire to see an open borders policy despite a consistent rejection of this by the Australian electorate.

 

EDIT: Corrected Manus is part of PNG, not Indonesia.