Tag Archives: Rice University

Where the grass is greener

It is a question that comes from an expression, which also has the answer. And we will look into that later. It seems that the US is taking larger steps in ending the friendship with Saudi Arabia. Politico reported yesterday ‘U.S. pulls missile defences in Saudi Arabia amid Yemen attacks’ (at https://www.politico.com/news/2021/09/11/missile-defense-saudi-arabia-511320), now we can understand that some are not willing to sell arms, but a defence system that stops terrorists sending drones and missiles on civilian targets? It seems that the actions are a prelude for the US to get into bed with Iran (highly speculative) and that is a concept worthy of laughter, but I am not laughing. 

The setting that is given is “the perception is very clear that the U.S. is not as committed to the Gulf as it used to be in the views of many people in decision-making authority in the region” we get this from Kristian Ulrichsen, a research fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. I think there is more to that, but it lacks evidence. I for one have believed for years that the US (NATO allies too) were playing a one step destabilisation game in the middle east. A game where destabilisation is a mere one step away and that is no longer the case. Until thee is a direct blow between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the larger stage is not maintained and the US is getting out of there. For China it is good news, now that they are looking at another customer for the HQ-9 and a few other options. Yes, we see the western press all shouting on ending arms deals, but in the end Saudi Arabia should be allowed to defend itself and the need to defend against Houthi terrorist attacks is a prime concern for a lot of people there. So is there an alternative? Well, there is the Russian alternative, but they are shipping that to Iran, so to buy those as well is a bit of an issue on a few levels, but those objections work for China. Consider that China now has a direct setting to sell well over $17,000,000,000 in hardware to Saudi Arabia, the same will now be lost to the US in an age where they are absolutely broke. It never made sense to me, it is all nice to have high morals, but in an age where you cannot afford to buy bread and healthcare high morals just leads to more hunger in a day and age where most cannot afford such luxuries. And let’s be clear, this is not some banana republic, this is a well established monarchy. And whilst we see “From the Saudi point of view, they now see Obama, Trump and Biden — three successive presidents — taking decisions that signify to some extent an abandonment.” We merely see more and more options for China and that is merely the beginning, once the stage is set the US will lose more ground and that also leads to a stage where they are completely dependent on Israel to give them intelligence.  A stage that could have been prevented from the start and no matter how they see it and I am accepting that it is their policy, it also comes with the new policy that the OPEC nations might have a new consideration, oil to China and not to the US or Europe (mostly reduced amounts of oil to Europe) And it will not aid Strasbourg to start crying foul here, it is the consequence of closing settings and in all this I personally prefer China and not Russia to get these options, it is a personal matter (NATO related). The larger stage will also hit Egypt, should Saudi Arabia continue with Huawei to set 5G connections in Egypt, the economic footprint of Saudi Arabia will change, all whilst the US ends up with a reduced footprint and that is a stage that is now escalating over the next 12-18 months. 

Will I be right?
That is open to interpretation and it is open to a few factors that are not given, untested and lacking evidence, but there is a larger stage that this could play out and that is really bad news for anyone not relying on Huawei hardware, with the US pulling out of areas that stage will also lose a few more settings, so as Chinese hardware comes in, US consultants will lose more and more traction in larger areas and that is the stage some players (seemingly) overlooked. So when Analysys Mason and Boston Consulting Group start missing deals and getting less appointments you know it will be too late for a few options. There are a few more players there, but they have a much larger stage with more nations and more options, they might end up with a few projects that are China based. 

So why would Saudi Arabia move to Egypt?

It is a fair question and it sets a much larger stage where Neom city will be all 5G and to stretch out towards Egypt makes perfect sense, one large network that stretches from Cairo to Jeddah, to Mecca and via Riyadh to Dammam, a network that also includes Neom, one of the biggest 5G networks in the world and it would be all Saudi, now consider the lack of credibility that the west has in a place like Egypt and now a fellow Islamic nation offers to include Egypt, what do you think Egypt will do? And lets not forget with all the band and embargo’s and collateral damage the US has in its name, Egypt is ready to seek a telecom alliance with Saudi Arabia and their numbers look really good compared to the US, it is partially speculation yet in this the Huawei announcements in 2019 give validity to my train of thought, Now add to that the media rollover I discussed a week or two ago and you see a much larger stage and the promise that Saudi Arabia made on having more than oil as a form of income is now coming to pass with a rollout that could be ready long before that deadline hits in 2030, there is a stage that should see a larger readiness in 2025, long before the US has anywhere near that level of 5G completion. In May of this year we were given “All of the major U.S. wireless carriers say they have nationwide 5G service, but industry analysts say that service is largely indistinguishable from 4G LTE service.” This implies that the Statista numbers we saw last year remains accurate for at least two more years, implying that the Saudi 5G is well over 700% faster than anything the US has and that is just embarrassing. So when we see Telecom and defence falling away from the west, how much more losses do we need to see before someone realises that we are cutting ourselves. Morality is nice but the hungry need food and they do not care how they get it. A stage where the middle east becomes the tech centre is weird, completely unexpected and whilst we see stories on Silicon Valley, I wonder if they have anything left? When the middle east is driving tech innovation the west becomes a mere iterator trying to keep up. I personally see it as the result of concept selling, it is all good and nice but the customer wants a product, it needs to get working and as we see hype after hype on AI all whilst it is merely machine learning and deeper learning, we need to consider how long this can continue until the stage implodes on itself? 

So where is the grass greener? On the other fellows yard! (Billy Jones, 1924)

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Fear mongers cannot learn, will the reader?

The technology section of the Guardian had an interesting article (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/13/artificial-intelligence-ai-unemployment-jobs-moshe-vardi), ‘Would you bet against sex robots? AI ‘could leave half of world unemployed’‘, is that so? So, is the title a reference that 50% is in prostitution, or is there more?

The article starts straight of the bat without delay it gives the quote: “Machines could put more than half the world’s population out of a job in the next 30 years, according to a computer scientist who said on Saturday that artificial intelligence’s threat to the economy should not be understated“.

I remember a similar discussion now 35 years ago. It was 1981, I was working on the defence mainframe and I got the inside scoop how computers would replace people, how those machines would put hardworking people out of a job and a future. In the first 5 years that followed I saw the opposite, yes some work became easier, but that also meant that more work could be done. The decade that followed gave us an entire new region of technology. A region that would open doors that had never been there in the first place.

This technology is not any different, it will open up different doors.

Now, the people in ‘fear’ of it all are not the most half-baked individuals. They include Physicist Stephen Hawking and the tech billionaires Bill Gates and Elon Musk, in addition there is professor Vardi from Rice University, his statement “AI could drive global unemployment to 50%, wiping out middle-class jobs and exacerbating inequality“, I massively disagree here. The words of Elon Musk calling it “our biggest existential threat” and in addition professor Vardi stated “humanity will face an existential challenge“, those two comments are closer to the reality. Yet here too I believe changes will dominate. Consider a few years back, back to the time when I was younger then young (like 900BC roughly), in an age of Greek wars and utter ‘nationalism’ the Olympic truce was created. “Ekecheiria”, was established in Ancient Greece in the 9th century BC through the signing of a treaty by three kings: Iphitos of Elis, Cleosthenes of Pisa and Lycurgus of Sparta. (Source: olympic.org) There was a lull but in 1896 it started again. An event, which origin was to create an option to not be in a war and to compete. Of all the existential angst we have, robots should not be on the list any time soon.

My reasoning?

As we saw the start of recruitment for Mars, a serious recruitment to start colonising mars, we must admit that there are issues on mars, several could be diminished with the use of intelligent robots. Or perhaps the idea that NASA is looking on how to get resources from asteroids, so how about that Android solution? The BBC gives us the speculation on ocean living (at http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20131101-living-on-the-ocean), again an element where we do not thrive, but a robot could pave the way. In my own view, with the massive energy issues, how long until someone has the idea to place paddled wheels above a hydrothermal vent in the ocean to capture it as an energy source? Not the kind of work a person can do, a machine could, and an AI driven one could excel there. Just three places where we could end up with more and not less. Yet Vardi does give an interesting side, if robots replace people to some extent, that value of physicality might be lost. Now ask the bricklayer if he could do something else, would he? There is indeed the danger that physical labour becomes less and less appealing, yet that does not mean it will be gone. It would take at least half a century for things to be completed, whilst in that mean time new evolutions start, new challenges start.

More important, much more important is the one fact people tend to avoid out of fear. But you the reader, if you are over 45, consider that in the near future you will be dead! So will 3 out of 7 of your friends. Yes, the population is growing, yet the age groups are shifting, this implies that robots could be a solution for some of the work areas that do not require academic thinking. All these opportunities, not threats!

So as we see a new iteration of fear, is this version more valid than then the previous one? With that I mean the implementation of the PC. Perhaps having another set of less fear mongering eyes would help. The second part people forget is that fear mongering is also a drain on productivity here. Even as we speak Japan has a lead in this market, as does America. So how about we start getting ahead of the rest, so that is wrong with the commonwealth picking up a robotic skill or two, because one truth remains, once the other player get too much of a lead, the consequence will be that the followers are not considered for the creational jobs here and that is where the real mulah is, the IT explosion taught us that and that field grew a multitude of billionaires, the next technological iteration will do no less.

I am not alone in my way of thinking, the writer Nicholas Carr gives us: “human creativity and intuition in the face of complex problems is essentially irreplaceable, and an advantage over computers and their overly accurate reputation“, which is where the new future will head. Not to create robots, but the creativity to make then excel in extreme places where we could not comprehend until out boundaries are clearly mapped. So how is this news such an eyeopener? Well, when we get back to the beginning we saw “artificial intelligence’s threat to the economy“, as stated, much like the Personal Computer, it will not be a threat, but a solution, an opening into a new arm of the technology sector, even more important, this is not just a IT only field. It will require quality engineers and depending on the application of the scene. This means that we get new challenges, different ones mind you, but not lesser ones?

In that regard, depending on the implementation, it will require analysts, engineers, programmers and a few others on the list of adepts.

all these options and we did not even need to get close to the technological design of the new age cybernetic machines for the purpose of erotic exploration (level 1 at http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/04/sexbots-realdoll-sex-toys), which is nowhere near an AI experience, time will tell how real that field becomes. Consider the age of STD’s we see nowadays. Mycoplasma Genitalium might be the new ‘trend’, as it can be cured with a mere one week setting of anti-biotics. So how long until it evolves into something that does not cure? Yet we do not even have to go that far, consider all the areas where man (or woman) cannot function, the risk too high and the rewards become too low. Here comes the clockwork system (aka the AI robot) and we are back on track.

So I see the robot as a positive wave. For careers, for jobs, for business evolution and for evolving technology. We only need to see the light of creation and we will end up with a lot more options than we bargained for.

 

 

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