- 2011 was a damned weird year. At least it was around here. Coldest winter ever, the deepest snow ever, the hottest summer ever, and my first earthquake. Was that just a prelude to 2012 or will the coming year be mercifully quieter? (not including politics) -Anon
m1k3y: Unquestionably the weather is only get to be more extreme, with peak heavyweather lying somewhere far over the horizon of 2012.What genuinely frightens me is the interaction with man-made/created disasters. What happens if Japan gets another tsnuami, because that whole reactor zone is t.ro.u.b.l.i.n.g. Or a Cat-6 hurricane tears up the containment cap on the Mexican Gulf oil spill? Or, more likey, some horrible new disaster we never thought could happen occurs, some corner case not in the manual: say, North Korea mistaking the radar signature of the forced migration of birds (due to flooding of their usual seasonal habitat) for a stealth attack from South Korea/US/Japan. A young, paranoid ruler at the helm? (Hell, they were worried enough about the immediate succession, remember.) And something the whole globe is mostly unprepared for still, massive solar storms. Go read about the last one, then imagine it happeneing tomorrow with all our unshielded infrastructure.Nature’s back, and she’s pissed.
- While something of an unanswerable: do you see any potentially disruptive technologies on the horizon? will 2012 be the year of drone deployments or ramped up ubicomp? Further breakthroughs in citizen science equipment or personal manufacturing? -amkelly0
m1k3y: open source artificial general intelligence – mixed into EVERYTHING. specifically the Open Cog project. I saw Ben Goertzel speak at the local Singularity Summit, and I was very impressed.
Kevin: Again, I think it’s a toss up between 3d printing/rapid fabrication and drones. And you can obviously see the point where those circles overlap to make a sexy self-replicating Venn diagram. This will be the year a horrible act of police/state brutality is captured by citizen-operated drones, as well as the year that the idea of downloading and fabricating items sneaks in the mainstream. And if you think “piracy” gets people pissed off now, you haven’t seen anything yet. It’s not post-scarcity by any means, but it’s going to be disruptive nonetheless.
- What are the team’s top three most-anticipated Grinder Films of 2012? -Wolven
m1k3y: Nothing leaps out as a fave, so I’d have go with the blockbusters: Bane in the new Batman, and the GI Joe sequel (the first one is pure mech&HUD pr0n, and I only expect the sequel to have *moar*. And third… um? GOOD QUESTION WOLVEN! Instead, let me list the the great transhuman films of 2011: Hanna, Limitless, Captain America, In Time and you could say Thor too.
Kevin: My vote is for the above-mentioned drone atrocity video because fuck Hollywood. I love movies, truly I do, and I really want to see Dark Knight and Avengers and Ghost Rider and Prometheus and… *sigh* But the tug-of-war between my desire to see the latest adventures of whatever franchise and my knowledge that every red cent spent on these films goes directly to facefucking the future of media, free speech and humanity is really getting to me.
Whew. Okay. Back to playing The Old Republic while loading my Fire with the latest Hickman comics.
- What can those of us fortunate enough to have jobs and are time-poor but not money-poor (but certainly not rich enough to buy-up aquifers, or even arable farm land), do to improve our personal resilience? Particularly WRT shocks that aren’t total collapse. – Klint Finley
m1k3y: Keep a month’s worth of food on hand. Get a good first-aid kit, and learn how to use it. Being physically fit won’t hurt either, and also some self-defense skills won’t..Become a node, not the end of a tree. We’re talking solar panels and rain water tanks. We’re talking having bikes, and a hybrid car. In short, we’re talking a gradual detachment from the status-quo, as it existed prior to the GFC. If you’re really brave run simulations. Take a weekend and pretend the Grid is dead. Test, learn, adapt.Last, and most of all… know your neighbourhood, meet your neighbours. Learn where the nearest fresh water supply is, that sort of thing. Generators, appropriate clothing for all weather conditions, optimal thermal effeciency for your dwelling (which will save your money and have the added bonus of surviving a heat wave or cold snap sans grid power).
Neil Strauss’s book Emergency is a nice, general introduction to this sort of thinking.
Kevin: I’ll definitely second the nod to Strauss’s Emergency as a good guide to this sort of thing. It’s the book that led me to getting a mess of Red Cross certifications. All of which ended being ridiculously useful skills out on the road or in Occupied Oakland.
I agree that knowing your neighbor is key. Free-floating nodes that can become a network on the most practical scale are key. Me? I find that thinking post-disaster is a useful train of thought. What would you need if the Collapse happened last week?
Become a street medic. Learn to grow something. Learn 1st aide. Learn to collect moisture. Teach others. And I’ll say it again because that’s how important it is: Become a street medic or get the training. The black and scarlet clad, masked medics of Anon Medics are the point where “real life superheroes” really emerge into the world of the practical or the “real”. (Also, throwing out a nod to the New York Initiative who seem more focused on forming resilient communities than the “one man vs. crime” antics of Phoenix Jones and company.)
- How has your view of the future shifted during the last 4 years on grinding.be? -Anon
m1k3y: I’d say I’m much more optimistic, and that was before the Occupy movement (following on from Tahir Sq and the Indignado movement and so on) sprang up. Part of that is through maturing my worldview, to step back from the purely technological and look at the political, economic, cultural, legal and moral aspects. These changes are happening in part because people are more educated, and connected to each other. Propaganda is just another meme. History is interchangeable with conspiracy theory once you realise that there is no objective position. More and more people are “waking up”, then turning around and illumating their friends. I don’t think anybody expected Enlightment to go viral.
I really don’t think the so-called ‘global over-population problem’ is a bad thing. It means this is the greatest sum of human mind that has ever existed. That a connected humanity is the greatest supercomputer we’ve never dreamed off. And now we’re adding an increasingly autonomous robot ecology as part of Next Nature.
Likewise, the majority of people are in urban environments now. Which is the native habitat of the civilized human. With everyone in cities, and more people interconnected globally the ability to adapt and upgrade infracture and tools only increases.. which, grey goo disasters aside, can let the land and sea outside the cities’ domain revert (back to Next Nature). And slowly the climate can stablize again.
I don’t see challenges anymore, I see opportunities. Humanity’s gonna make it through this dark period and what comes out the other side might way be a whole new species (or two).
None of which I’d ever have said four years ago.
Kevin: We never did get as much sex on here as I’d have liked.
Beyond that, when I started writing here, I was a lot more concerned with theoretical approaches to practical transhumanisim. Talking about how we’re all already cyborgs, how pre-existing technologies can be applied towards life extension, how the world is a lot more science-fictional than most people give it credit for already. Now I’m a lot more concerned with practical approaches to theory. How do Debord and Deluze and Guattari look when applied to resistance or a running fight with riot police? (And that’s not an idle speculation, either. Just as the IDF has taken to using tactics from a re-conceptualization of urban space against Palestinians; the Occupiers pulled techniques almost right out of the Situationist playbook — for example the “Portland Snake”.)
Honestly, I’m just a lot more interested in nitty-gritty practicalities. I think in part because I now believe the Collapse is unavoidable — but I’m pretty okay with that. Just like Utopia is a moving target, Collapse is a process and one state does not cancel out the possibility of the other. In other words: Shit is going to get really bad before it gets better — and you could argue that it has to get really bad in order for it to get better. I’m not interested in taking up fiddling lessons while Rome burns, though, I want to make sure that the damage can be minimized and that the cost in real, living breathing human lives is as minimal as it possible. The system is going to collapse, and I don’t want any of us to be underneath it when it does.
- Who would you suggest as people to consider as life coaches (such as sex advice, health & fitness, tech predictors worth paying attention to)? Lets affix a number to that and say 5 people. – Atomdari
m1k3y: … Tim Ferris maybe? I don’t really dig on the whole life-coach deal. What I would recommend instead is the book Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert.
Kevin: If we could crossbreed Tim Ferris with Magpie and feed the resulting uberchild the secret drug stash of Terence McKenna, I think we’d be getting somewhere. Ferris is a Grinder-par-excellence, powers of self-promotion aside. The man has a runaway best-selling book that discusses extreme body hacks, black market biological experimentation and off-label installation of medical diagnostic electronics. And a lot of the things in his book work and work well.
That said, the best “Life Coaches” are the people whose names you usually don’t know. Don’t look for a compass rose burred in a TED talk — look for people around you who are good at something or who have a knack for enacting their dreams and schemes. I’d suggest less tech predictors and more tech producing. Less sex advice, and more shagging that good looking person’s brains out. I can almost guarantee you that every life skill you desperately want to posses or master can be cracked or taught by someone you know.
PPS – I’m hoping ours has a lot more sweary bits.