Writing a monthly newsletter is always an adventure, involving research that inevitably causes reflection on humans as a species, and how we act and react in recurring situations.
The result can be the disequilibrium of the labyrinth, or the Minotaur challenging what I think I know. At other times, I am blessed when enlightenment shines brightly, albeit briefly, making the search for truth, knowledge, and opportunity worthwhile.
This month’s newsletter is a convergence of technical and metaphysical research applied to our world today, and the potential effects on the world tomorrow.
While not a Buddhist, this ancient philosophy helps bridge my research, linking the hard science of technology to mental clarity and wisdom. I charted the chain for both knowledge and ignorance, based on Buddhism.
I think they are universal truths phrased in beautiful, very human terms. They have great application in these times of conflicted social issues and the technological disruption.
Currently, half the country is resisting change, but it will happen anyway. The disruption will leave the unprepared behind, with no one else to blame but themselves.
The issue is the massive societal split between knowledge and ignorance, and the latent effect of the digital disruption on both.
Mental Delusion & Denial
Awareness & Positive Action
I wrote Decision-making in a Disruptive Reordering to supplement the Affinity Systems LLC team-training program. It starts with personal methods and ends with a ten-step team based process.
I largely dismissed spending marketing time on the book, partially because of the accurate but techie title. A friend brought a moment of enlightenment into my labyrinth.
He pointed out that in the new technological age, decision-making is the most crucial skill set in our personal toolbox. Good judgment is the product of knowledge and reasoning ability.
Knowledge leads to good decisions, and ignorance leads to poor ones.
Breaking from research and looking at social situations provides a dichotomy of images, public, personal, and global.
The constant barrage of hate against the President regardless of truth is one example.
The legitimate issues of needed social programs, such as health care, tax reform, and infrastructure are lost in the storm. Colleges are preventing speakers with diverse messages. College administrators and law enforcement give passive permission to riots on campuses, while student’s burn and destroy public and personal properties. Special arrangements are made to accommodate snowflakes seeking safe places.
Social programming has made a university education the standard for success in a future world. However, many graduates find it difficult to find jobs in their majors.
Meanwhile, millions of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) jobs are available. They pay well, and often require a two-year technical school degree. I know machine shop owners that work with tech schools, hire computer majors, and teach them robotics. Even agriculture has embraced advanced technology, and forward-looking family farms employ robotics.
In 2007, a friend Edward E. Gordon, published The 2010 Meltdown-Solving the Impending Job Crisis, followed by Future Jobs: Solving the Employment & Skills Crisis. Ten years later, society and the education systems have still failed to take action and provide opportunities to students.
Worse is the insidious, built-in prejudice within the STEM education system against girls and persons of color. Although 47% of the work forces are women, just 6.7% graduate with STEM degrees per this super video by Microsoft, Changing the Odds.
One of the solutions for women and minorities struggling in resource-poor situations is STEM training or on-line education. Tech schools do an excellent job. (Note: there are numerous low-cost programs available. “Google” STEM education for women and/or minorities and follow the links. Manufacturing Day is an industry initiative to help people discover what opportunities and resources are available, and how to get and use these resources.)
Every research discovery about the disruption deepened my digitally induced dichotomy regarding the direction and consequences of technology.
The facts raise the ancient metaphysical issue of good and evil in equilibrium or discord. Technology provides exciting benefits for humankind, and it is environmentally friendly when properly used. The opposite also applies.
Some technological giants predict a period of supercharged automation resulting in massive unemployment. The inverse scenario is the creation of different types of jobs. The invention of the 8086 computer chip was the DNA for the information age, and coupled with applied research on the space program, generated thousands of new businesses and related jobs.
In either case, the paradigm shift will necessitate the rethinking, transformation, and reordering of societies and government at all levels, both local and international.
Knowledge about the Internet of things, data acquisition, automation, artificial intelligence, and decision-making recognizes the cold reality of the clear and present danger to society and individuals.
Data, fungible and extremely valuable, inundate our society, and its proliferation creates massive opportunities for misuse.
A large percentage of data processed on the Internet has an Internet Protocol Address (IP) attached. That means data is addressable and usable by ANYONE having access to those IPs.
Government, businesses, cyber criminals, and individuals collect and re-translate data into some form. All engage in behavioral programming. ALL internet activity is FOREVER.
The May Focused Fire Newsletter, Rethinking Global Warming Solutions, discussed two topics.
The first message deals with global warming. It states that science is never settled, and gaining knowledge is a continuum, a perpetual search for the truth. The second was evolution, where I referenced the predator/prey relationship and survival of the fittest.
Like it or not, without the technological tools of fire and weapons, humans would not be the prime predator. Numerous other species would happily dine on our soft bodies.
In our urban societies, however, our enemies are not other species, but predatory humans.
How are people going to find and deal with the harsh realities of a future world while hiding in safe rooms or restricting college lectors to one viewpoint?
Survival is contingent upon diversity, agility, and the ability to recognize and deal with danger. Snowflakes and perpetrators of hysteria will disintegrate as the relentless gristmill of evolution eventually forces them to face reality or remain perpetual victims.
Cyber criminals feast on our carelessness, and quickly adopt every technology benefiting their insatiable avarice. Contrary to logic, the Internet has enabled and not replaced the old methods of blackmail and fraud.
“Technological ingenuity is allowing experts to create amusement parks for hackers. This will not end well.”
— John Hrusovszky, Chief Operations Officer, Gold Rush Hosting, jayjay @ gr-hs.com
I teach classes about online and offline frauds to seniors and business groups, and must work hard at staying current. Security PowerPoint’s are posted on my website CompetitiveAmerica.us. Security as a System II informs business audiences, and Internet Security and Identify Theft is for a general audience but slants towards Senior Citizens. Our book, They Will Do Anything: Identity Theft & Internet Fraud, supplements the classes.
Modern cyber criminals have the ruthless mentality of the jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and their ideological brethren, and there are no limits to their evil.
Given the proliferation of information, our data clone, and opportunity, they will steal everything you have or ruin your life using blackmail.
- Societal response to political issues is emotional and not intellectual.
- Automation will not replace jobs, but will replace repetitive activities reducible to computer code. Experts estimate that 40-60% of all business activities fall into this category.
- There is a growing inability to recognize the dangers of self-imposed ignorance.
- We all have problems separating lies from the truth.
- Political sensitivity and bias, compounded by a constant stream of unproven opinion reinforces both our knowledge and our ignorance.
Knowledge is the core element for our protection and successful growth. It is very personal. No one can get an education for us or learn how to analyze information.
In many critical cases, each of us must face danger alone, and/or encounter forces that will do us harm. We need the correct knowledge and tool sets to make the right decisions. Knowledge is the sword, shield, and armor against the monsters of broken dreams, failure, and victimization.
My mother, bless her heart, frequently used the Edgar Allan Poe quote, “Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear.” She was very astute, and today she would say “Believe nothing that you see (television, media), and nothing that you hear, unless facts support the information.”
Her other saying, “You will fool yourself before others have a chance.”
How do we separate the truth from the deceptions?
The answer is, “get the facts”.
Get the Facts
This is of course easily stated but tremendously difficult to do.
How do we know the “facts” we obtain are not from an information echo chamber? How do we find out if they are half or parsed truths?
The answer is complicated because our vision is selective and based on emotional preference. We consume data in 140 character blocks – hardly more than headlines. The media are masters at streaming information reinforcing our bias.
My method is to consume volumes of information from multiple sources, searching for the root. If the issue is scientific or technical, it is normally, but not always, an easy task.
If the issue is political, I measure results against expectations, while distrusting every word from the media and politicians regardless of the party.
As a proponent and practitioner of Lean Six/Sigma, my argument against bureaucracies of any type – government, education, or industry – is that they functions to perpetuate the bureaucracy, or create constraints, instead of getting the job done.
I will leave you with these thoughts:
“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” — Issac Asimov
Everyone must pass the survival of the fittest test, for jobs, propagation, and success in society.
Ignorance and lack of responsibility are pathways to failure. It is a cold and unforgiving world, and in this digital age, all decisions made today will affect the rest of your life.
Learning how to acquire knowledge and to make good decisions is the most critical challenge for your future. Putting this knowledge into action takes purpose and courage.
Life is serious business, and success is a lot more fun than failure.
Wayne's consulting company Affinity Systems LLC has managed numerous business strategy, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and process improvement projects (VMP) in manufacturing, government, distribution, and convention management.
He has developed training materials for ERP, Supply-Chain Management, Strategy, and Process Improvement. His specialties include systems assessment, software selection and installation, and process improvement. Through his website CompetitiveAmerica.us, Wayne continues to advocate for American industry.
To contact Wayne, click here.