Tim Ball: Technocrats On The World Stage With Your Money

Foreign aid has always been questionable, but with the advance of technology, Technocrats are manipulating the system for their own ends of scientific social engineering.

There is a debate about who said foreign aid is when you take money from the poor people of the rich country and give it to the rich people of the poor country.  Regardless, it is an astute and accurate observation. However, let’s take it one step further and examine what is actually happening. In fact, it is technocrats taking other people’s money to buy influence and power while appearing to take the moral high ground for which they take the glory. Now the real reason is exposed, it is important to discover what happens with this money and its real effect.

Why would any country give foreign aid to a country that is buying millions of dollars of weaponry and maintaining large standing armies? Why do citizens give donations to countries that claim their children are starving when that country is buying weapons? Isn’t there an obligation to look after the children first? Of course, but the children are just the pawns in power struggles, and the technocrats use your money to control those struggles without resolving them.

I had a friend who seemed to be out of control all the time. Everybody around him was constantly captivated by what he was going to do next. His actions were always gaining attention, yet that attention never resolved anything. What I finally realized was that by appearing out of control he was controlling everybody else, but they were unaware and thereby not angry.

Think of the insanity of giving foreign aid to a country that can't or won’t feed or protect its children. Here is a promotion from one such organization.

Help the Children (“HTC”) is a nonprofit humanitarian relief organization founded in 1998. In just 20 years – the organization has grown to one of the most efficient charities and has become a respected child hunger solution dedicated to provide food, supplies, clothing and hope!

The first question you should ask, but they know you won’t, is “where the hell are the parents or citizens or leaders of the country in which these children reside?” Why do those who provide government foreign aid spend so much time and money telling you that it is a small amount and provides great dividends? It may be a small percentage of the US budget, but it is a large amount of money and larger than the total GDP of 100 countries in the world. This is the clever way the technocrats downplay the significance of the spending. Figure 1 shows a diagram produced by the Obama administration to downplay the amount.

Figure 1

You can pick any agency operating to save the children you want. Not one of them talks about what they are doing to make the leaders and parents in any country to do their job.  For example, “Save the Children” explains their goal.

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. Around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm.

This means they decide which nation is not trying to achieve those goals for their children. Just this one agency had a budget of $2.2 billion to buy off the leaders of these poor countries. What they are doing is either working through the bureaucrats in the Federal government who want to impose themselves and control the people and their children. If that is limited, then they work through these private agencies which, under the guise of saving the children, are dictating to the parents and creating citizens who will operate in their socialist image.

The UN climate controls parallels this. They created the world plan, Agenda 21, but knew it was cheaper and easier to introduce it at the smallest political level possible. They created the Climate Action Plan and worked to implement it at the municipal level, so far, with frightening success.

The same thing is true of foreign aid. As a nation accepts more and more foreign aid, it surrenders larger and larger pieces of fundamental parts of what makes them a nation. What appears like access to freedom and development always becomes a dependency. More frightening is the loss of the ability to become independent and maintain it. It is not frightening for the technocrat. It is precisely what they want, total control with very little commitment and paid for by the taxpayer. It is a technocrat’s dream.

Non-Parking Driverless Cars Will Clog City Streets

Autonomous vehicles will turn city streets into slow moving parking lots. Passengers are dropped off and the car simply drives around until it is needed again. Don’t bother a Technocrat with pesky details. ⁃ TN Editor

It’s a nightmarish vision of San Francisco’s future, like something out of science fiction: streets full of driverless cars, crawling along implacably but at a snail’s pace, snarling traffic and bringing the city to a standstill from the iconic Ferry Building to Union Square.

But according to Adam Millard-Ball, associate professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, this scenario could come to pass simply as a result of rational behavior on the part of autonomous vehicle owners. Congestion pricing that imposes a fee or tax for driving in the downtown core could help prevent this future, but cities need to act fast, before self-driving cars are common, he argues.

Those conclusions emerge from an analysis published in the journal Transport Policy, in which Millard-Ball used game theory and a computer model of San Francisco traffic patterns to explore the effects of autonomous vehicles on parking. He found that the gridlock happens because self-driving cars don’t need to park near a rider’s destination – in fact, they don’t need to park at all.

Many studies have tried to predict the impacts of an autonomous vehicle future on travel habits and traffic patterns. But relatively few have looked specifically at parking behavior.

Millard-Ball analyzed three strategies autonomous vehicle owners could instruct their cars to adopt in order to avoid paying for parking on trips to the downtown core: drive to a different part of the city with free on-street parking, drive home where a designated parking space is presumably available, or simply cruise around the streets. He assumed that owners will, sensibly enough, choose whichever option is cheapest for each trip.

Driving to a location with free on-street parking is the cheapest option about 13 percent of the time, mostly for longer stays downtown, Millard-Ball found. Returning home is the top choice 8 percent of the time, mostly for people who live close to downtown and plan only a short stay. For 40 percent of trips, cruising is the cheapest strategy.

(The remaining roughly 40percent of trips to downtown already involve free parking, such as an employer-provided spot; the analysis assumes these trips wouldn’t change.)

Currently, many cities charge high prices for parking in the downtown core. This has been an effective strategy to discourage people from driving in to the center city and keep traffic congestion in check.

But self-driving cars could totally upend this system. Millard-Ball calculated that the ability to avoid paying for parking would encourage people to make more trips downtown using private cars. This, combined with the increased miles traveled due to cruising, returning home, or driving to free parking, would more than double vehicle travel to, from, and within downtown San Francisco.

“Parking policies that have allowed dense, urban centers to flourish will no longer be a major curb on vehicle travel in an autonomous vehicle world,” Millard-Ball writes.

What’s more, the cruising strategy has the potential to cause awful traffic jams. That’s because the cost of cruising depends on a vehicle’s speed. The slower a vehicle goes, the lower the cruising cost per hour.

This means that autonomous vehicles could reduce costs for their owners by seeking out the most congested streets to cruise on – thereby turning certain streets into giant, slow-moving parking lots.

“They will have every incentive to create havoc,” Millard-Ball, who apparently does not welcome our new robot overlords, said in a press release.

The traffic model suggests that with fewer than 4,000 autonomous vehicles cruising to avoid parking fees – a fraction of peak parking demand in San Francisco – traffic could slow to less than two kilometers an hour. At that speed, the hourly cost of cruising is a measly $0.48. But the city as a whole pays the price. (Those figures assume the autonomous vehicles are electric, but Millard-Ball found similar results for gasoline cars.)

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Robocall Debt Collectors Are Already Demonizing Debtors

During the next wave of loan defaults, debtors will be in for a rude surprise: endless, harassing robot phone calls demanding payment or else! Look for a mass rejection of companies who implement this kind of technology. ⁃ TN Editor

In the car where Paula Hanson lives, often parked outside a local sheriff’s station in Lancaster, California, her phone wouldn’t stop ringing.

Hanson tried to explain to the employees at Discover Bank all that had happened to her. First, she had been laid off from her job, and then her father fell ill and she moved into his house to take care of him. Shortly after he died, last year, Hanson, 62, became homeless. She simply didn’t have the money to tackle the $17,000 in credit card debt she owed Discover.

Still, the calls continued: “At first, it was once a day,” Hanson said, “but then they began to become, like, three times a day.” Eventually, her lawyer said, the bank was ringing her five times a day.

In an effort to end the calls, Hanson agreed at one point to make a onetime payment of $50 to Discover, though she had less than $200 in her bank account.

“I have to make sure I have money to eat,” she said, “but the way they pressure you — they make you feel like you have to do this.”

MORE THAN A QUARTER of consumers currently receive automated calls about past-due bills, according to data provided to CNBC by YouMail, a robocall-blocking service. For many, the calls are relentless. “Some people get hundreds of calls in a single month about a late payment or debt,” said Alex Quilici, chief executive of YouMail.

People often associate the flood of robocalls with scammers. Yet on one ranking this year of robocallers by volume, 8 out of the top 10 were seeking a late payment (although that list doesn’t account for when companies deploy many different phone numbers to reach people).

COMPANIES USE autodialers to collect their debts because they’re cheap and easy to use, said Jeff Hansen, an information technology expert. When he worked at a calling center, Hansen said, they were dialing more than 1 million people an hour for less than a penny per call.

But the way technology works makes it difficult for consumers to stop the calls, he said.

“You get 10 calls in one day, and on the first call you say, ‘I don’t have the money. Stop calling,’ but these automated procedures keep people out of the loop,” he said. “The dialer has been loaded for the whole day, and so it’s going to keep calling you.”

Employees at Discover come up with the right strategy for each individual who is struggling to make their payments, said Derek Cuculich, senior manager of public relations at the company. “We determine their situation and work with them to find a solution to help them through tough times,” Cuculich said.

TONYA STEVENS BOUGHT a few items, including a washer and dryer, back in 2014 from Conn’s HomePlus, a furniture store chain headquartered in Texas.

She said she made many of her monthly payments, but sent them in later than the store wanted. Employees of Conn’s called her morning, noon and night, Stevens, 49, said. “I was getting anywhere from five to 11 calls a day,” she said.

Stevens was pushed over the edge, she said, when she was tending to her dying grandmother. “I called them screaming, bawling, ‘Let me bury my grandmother,'” she said.

All together, Conn’s called her more than 1,800 times, according to her lawyer.

“As standard operating procedure, our team follows all applicable statutes and regulations, only calling customers that have an outstanding debt,” said Ivette Faulkner, a spokeswoman for Conn’s. “Once a payment is arranged, we discontinue customer calls.”

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Over-Achieving Robots Demoralize Human Workers

Technocrats invent and build because they can, not because there is any defined need to do so. As real humans are displaced, angst will grow against robots and AI, and the Technocrats who shoved it down their throat. ⁃ TN Editor

Robots are jerks.

That’s according to the demoralized humans who played against the machines for money in a recent Cornell University-led experiment shedding light on what can happen to worker’s drive in an increasingly automated workplace.

When humans unsuccessfully vied against a robot arm for cash prizes, participants ended up viewing themselves as less competent, didn’t try as hard, and tended to dislike the automated appendage that bested them, the researchers found.

“I felt very stressed competing with the robot,” one participant admitted. “In some rounds, I kept seeing the robot’s score increasing out of the corner of my eye, which was extremely nerve-racking [sic].”

Another said in “some rounds the robot would go slower and that’s when I started going faster.”

“It was obvious when the robot was ’going easy’ on me,” according to another person.

The task was counting how often the letter G showed in a list of characters, and then putting the corresponding number of blocks in a bin. Awards were given through a lottery system tied to the human and robot scores, so that the player with better scores had better odds at winning.

On the whole, Cornell University and Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers determined the 61 people involved “liked a low-performing competitor robot more than a high-performing one, even though they considered the latter to be more competent.”

The study was the first to bring experts in both behavioral economics and robotics to see how a machine’s performance influences the reactions of the humans competing alongside the robot. The study noted it used an off-the-shelf WidowX Mark II as the mechanized competitor. They said the results supported behavioral economic theories of “loss aversion,” where people slacken their efforts in the face of defeat.

While participants might have been just counting letters and putting blocks in bins — a task researchers acknowledged was “tedious” — they said the findings have serious implications.

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Cattle And Sheep Now Herded By ‘Barking’ Drones

The idea of automated agriculture is gaining ground with various types of drone devices. The only element left to replace is the actual farmer/rancher, but that day drawing closer. ⁃ TN Editor

Robots aren’t just stealing human jobs, they’re after man’s best friend too – now there’s a drone that can bark like a sheep dog.

The latest drone developments come as more farmers have started using the technology for work on the farm in recent years.

Drone specialist from Christchurch-based DJI Ferntech, Adam Kerr, said the uptake in drones for agricultural uses had now made the National Agricultural Fieldays in Hamilton one of the biggest events in the company’s calendar.

“The past two years have seen farmers embrace drone technology to help with those jobs that are dirty, dangerous or just plain dull,” he said.

Corey Lambeth, a shepherd on a North Canterbury sheep and beef farm near Rotherham, said his drone had made work such as moving stock and checking water and feed levels more efficient.

“Winter time it’s ideal for flying it sitting at home on a cold day I don’t want to go outside, so I fly my drone round, have a look make sure all my stock are behind the wire.

“Also when we’re lambing we can fly it round, it’s ideal with the [camera] zoom, going right in, looking at it [the drone monitor], not even disturbing the ewes,” Mr Lambeth said.

The latest drone model, the $3500 DJI Mavic Enterprise, can record sounds and play them over a speaker – allowing a dog’s bark, or other noises, to be loudly projected across a paddock.

Mr Lambeth said this feature helped move stock along faster during mustering while stressing the animals less than a dog could.

Cows could sometimes become protective of their calves and try to lunge at farm dogs when they got too close, he said.

“That’s the one thing I’ve noticed when you’re moving cows and calves that the old cows stand-up to the dogs, but with the drones, they’ve never done that,” he said.

Mr Lambeth said while some farmers might consider it lazy, a drone could save them time and money.

His employer, fourth generation farmer Ben Crossley, bought a drone after seeing how Mr Lambeth was using his for day-to-day work on the farm.

Mr Crossley said while some farmers struggled with the new technology, it was important to keep up.

“Just trying to get efficiencies too, to just save time, it can sometimes take half a day to find a water leak, whereas with a drone you can zip around and have it done in an hour at the longest,” he said.

“I used to go an see my grandfather every night, he lived on the farm, and he used to even struggle with cellphones, so yeah, a drone would be a shock for him,” Mr Crossley said.

While drones were a new part of the farming tool-kit, Mr Lambeth said technology could sometimes let you down, especially in trying weather conditions.

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Robot Deliveries Grew By 40% In 2018

With robot delivery growth rates of 40-50% per year, the displacement of human workers will soar during the next 10 years. As a result, the robotics industry will be one of the hottest investment areas, further exacerbating the displacements. ⁃ TN Editor

Robots took on a record number of jobs in North American firms last year, the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) said Thursday.

According to the RIA’s data, 35,880 robots were shipped in 2018 to the U.S., Canada and Mexico, up 7 percent from the previous year. Of those shipments, 16,702 were to non-automotive companies — a year-on-year increase of 41 percent.

The consumer goods sector purchased almost 50 percent more robots in 2018 than in 2017, while life sciences saw an increase of a third.

However, shipments to the automotive industry slowed by 12 percent. The industry accounted for 53 percent of total robot shipments to North American companies — its lowest share since 2010.

“These sales and shipments aren’t just to large, multinational companies anymore. Small and medium-sized companies are using robots to solve real-world challenges, which is helping them be more competitive on a global scale,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of the Association for Advancing Automation — the RIA’s parent company.

U.S. record

In the U.S. alone, robot shipments across all sectors increased by more than 15 percent, marking a record number of shipments to American companies.

Every sector included in the RIA’s analysis saw an increase, with the exception of the automotive industry, where robot shipments to American vehicle makers fell by 30 percent.

Despite an increasing uptake of automation in the workplace, some have argued that companies should be doing more to preserve human jobs.

Last month, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told a press conference that policymakers needed to “deliver a human-centered agenda.”

In its 2018 “Future of Work” report, the World Economic Forum noted that businesses “will need to recognize human capital investment as an asset rather than a liability.”

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AI Targets Takeover Of Fast Food Drive Thru Windows

If AI has its way, the drive-through job is headed for mass extinction. Technocrats see no problem in displacing workers and potentially pushing them into a new class of unemployables. ⁃ TN Editor

The drive through window is often considered the most harrowing assignment inside a fast-food restaurant.

A nonstop whirlwind of multitasking, the gig involves organizing multiple orders, communicating with the kitchen, counting money and negotiating with an endless stream of customers who range from polite and coherent to angry and inebriated — all for a minimum wage reward.

If that juggling act wasn’t hard enough, a giant timer hangs in many drive through kitchens, adding urgency to each task, former workers say.

Though the drive through gantlet has broken many a fast food worker, the newest employee at Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard in Denver will not be feeling the heat anytime soon. That’s because she’s an artificially intelligent voice assistant — emotion-free and immune to stress — with the ability to operate a drive through window without fatigue, bathroom breaks or compensation.

She fills a classically American job nearly a century in the making, a rite of passage for generations of teenagers that could be in the very early stages of a mass extinction. But first Rob Carpenter, the CEO and founder of Valyant AI, an artificial intelligence company that designed the customer service platform, will have to prove that his model works as well as he says it does.

The AI assistant has endured months of testing, but officially began handling the restaurant’s breakfast orders at last week. If the fledgling assistant runs into any technical issues, the transaction is handed off to a human employee inside the restaurant.

“The system takes a lot of friction out of interactions between customers and employees,” Carpenter said, noting that the AI was designed to sound like an amiable woman’s voice. “The AI never gets offended and it will just keep talking to you in a very calm and friendly voice.”

There’s an immediate benefit for employees as well, Carpenter maintains.

“Over the course of an eight-hour shift, they don’t have to repeat the same welcome language hundreds of times,” he said.

Intelligent, interactive machines, once the stuff of sci-fi movies and futuristic fantasy, are quickly becoming a reality, especially in the fast food dining world, where repetition rules and improvisation is limited. In restaurants around the globe, machines are already taking orders, flipping burgers, preparing pizzas, pouring stiff drinks and cooking entire meals in full view of hungry customers.

Fast food restaurants like Starbucks, Wendy’s, Panera and McDonald’s encourage customers to order using self-service kiosks or a mobile app. But Valyant AI appears to be one of the first companies to create a platform for taking orders via an interactive AI voice assistant – one who also happens to be the first company representative many customers will encounter.

Carpenter said the assistant’s conversational cadence — which sounds like a more fluid version of Amazon’s Alexa — was designed to replicate human interactions, with limited pauses and a menu-based script that varies depending on the exchange.

In a video demonstrating the AI assistant, a woman’s voice can be heard saying:

“Hi, I’m your automated order taker. Take your time, order when you’re ready.”

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PepsiCo Plans Massive Layoffs Sparked By ‘Relentlessly Automating’ Its Factories

Executives with Technocrat minds at PepsiCo are dumping employees whose job can be automated in 2019 and beyond, under the guise of increased efficiency, ‘new thinking and technologies’ and decreasing labor expenses. ⁃ TN Editor

PepsiCo has kicked off a round of layoffs as it begins a four-year restructuring plan that is expected to cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars in severance pay.

This week, PepsiCo employees in offices including Plano, Texas, and the company’s headquarters in Purchase, New York, were alerted that they are being laid off, according to two people who were directly impacted by the layoffs. These two workers were granted anonymity in order to speak frankly without risking professional ramifications.

At least some of the workers who were alerted about layoffs will continue to work at PepsiCo until late April as they train their replacements in the coming weeks, the two workers told Business Insider.

Because of the secrecy surrounding the layoffs, these workers said it was unclear how many teams or individuals had been impacted. PepsiCo declined to comment on the layoffs.

By PepsiCo’s own estimates, the company’s layoffs are expected to be a multimillion-dollar project in 2019.

Last Friday, PepsiCo announced in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it is expected to incur $2.5 billion in pretax restructuring costs through 2023, with 70% of charges linked to severance and other employee costs. The company is also planning to close factories, with an additional 15% tied to plant closures and “related actions.”

Roughly $800 million of the $2.5 billion is expected to impact 2019 results, in addition to the $138 million that was included in 2018 results, the company said in the SEC filing. In February 2018, PepsiCo announced plans to lay off less than 1% of its more than 110,000 corporate employees, including 200 employees at its Purchase, New York, headquarters.

PepsiCo also announced a commitment to save $1 billion annually through 2023. Efficiency and restructuring were major themes in PepsiCo’s quarterly earnings call with investors on Friday.

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Orlando To Introduce Driverless Busses

Busses like these are being released around the world, including Australia, Japan, Sweden, Finland, Paris, China and others. Like it or not, self-driving technology is here to stay and will help drive the 4th Industrial Revolution.  ⁃ TN Editor

Officials Tuesday revealed a glimpse of what could one day be the future of transit in Orlando by unveiling a small driverless bus that soon will maneuver around Lake Nona.

The battery-powered vehicle, run by Beep software, is one of two that are expected to begin operating in southeast Orlando this spring. The shuttles are said to be quiet and smooth riding and can carry a maximum of 15 passengers, reaching speeds of 16 mph.

For several years, city officials have studied autonomous vehicles — including embarking on a $300,000 study of the technology — in hopes of launching it one day within the city.

UK Parliament calls Facebook digital gangsters

UK Parliament Calls Mark Zukerberg and Facebook ‘Digital Gangsters’

The corporate culture at Facebook created by its founder Mark Zuckerberg, is likened to ‘digital gangsters’ who see themselves as above the law. Regulation will follow. ⁃ TN Editor

Facebook deliberately broke privacy and competition law and should urgently be subject to statutory regulation, according to a devastating parliamentary report denouncing the company and its executives as “digital gangsters”.

The final report of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee’s 18-month investigation into disinformation and fake news accused Facebook of purposefully obstructing its inquiry and failing to tackle attempts by Russia to manipulate elections.

“Democracy is at risk from the malicious and relentless targeting of citizens with disinformation and personalised ‘dark adverts’ from unidentifiable sources, delivered through the major social media platforms we use every day,” warned the committee’s chairman, Damian Collins.

The report:

  • Accuses Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder and chief executive, of contempt for parliament in refusing three separate demands for him to give evidence, instead sending junior employees unable to answer the committee’s questions.
  • Warns British electoral law is unfit for purpose and vulnerable to interference by hostile foreign actors, including agents of the Russian government attempting to discredit democracy.
  • Calls on the British government to establish an independent investigation into “foreign influence, disinformation, funding, voter manipulation and the sharing of data” in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, the 2016 EU referendum and the 2017 general election.

Labour moved quickly to endorse the committee’s findings, with the party’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, announcing: “Labour agrees with the committee’s ultimate conclusio

n – the era of self-regulation for tech companies must end immediately.

“We need new independent regulation with a tough powers and sanctions regime to curb the worst excesses of surveillance capitalism and the forces trying to use technology to subvert our democracy.”

The culture secretary, Jeremy Wright, who is to meet Zuckerberg this week to discuss harms resulting from social media, will likely come under pressure to raise the committee’s concerns with the Facebook chief executive directly.

Launched in 2017 as concern grew about the influence of false information and its ability to spread unscrutinised on social media, the inquiry was turbocharged in March the following year, with the Cambridge Analytica data-harvesting scandal.

The Observer revealed the company had secretly acquired data harvested from millions of Facebook users’ profiles and was selling its insights to political clients to allow them to more effectively manipulate potential voters. The company has since collapsed into administration.

The committee argues that, had Facebook abided by the terms of an agreement struck with US regulators in 2011 to limit developers’ access to user data, the scandal would not have occurred. “The Cambridge Analytica scandal was facilitated by Facebook’s policies,” it concludes.

The 108-page report makes excoriating reading for the social media giant, which is accused of continuing to prioritise shareholders’ profits over users’ privacy rights.

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