Remember when you first saw videos of the humanoid robot, Asimo, walking on two legs, climbing stairs, hopping on one foot? Wasn’t it amazing? Asimo made “his” debut in the year 2000. That was 15 years and 7 cycles of Moore’s Law ago. If Singularitarian reasoning held together and advances in AI tracked Moore’s law, today’s robots would be 128 times more sophisticated than robots from the year 2000. We should see humanoid robots walking around today that make Asimo look quaint by comparison. Where are they? KMO talks with Eric Boyd about failed technoutopian visions in this episode of the C-Realm Podcast.
Music by Inspired Flight.
KMO welcomes Tom O’Brien, host of the From Alpha to Omega Podcast, to the C-Realm to talk about The Walking Dead, the unlikely visions of the techno-utopians, and how surprised he is to find that after three years of doing a podcast about economics he now describes himself as a Marxist. KMO concludes with a few remarks about why technology may still have an important role to play in the long descent, even if the Singularitarians are mostly engaged in wishful thinking and self-justification.
Music by Handmade Moments.
If you're human, you've probably had your heart broken. If you live in a post-industrial society, the loss of a long-term relationship may have been the most intense emotional trauma you've ever experienced. It sucks, but there is an upside. This week's guest, Emily Hursh, has some advice for getting through the acute heartache and turning a broken heart into a vehicle for transformational healing. Later, the discussion turns to the topic of NYC's continuous process of gentrification and it's supposedly environmentalist mayor.
Music by Jonathan Santos.
Recently, Brian Kaller posted a reflection to his blog, Restoring Mayberry, on the fact that ten years after the peak of conventional petroleum production, the world isn't nearly as broken as the most alarmist Peak Oil personalities warned us that it would be. Brian praises the Peak Oil community for not adopting a host of "deal breaker" positions that would alienate the mainstream the way counter-cultural movements did in the 1960s and 70s. Still, it has attracted more than a few people whose dissatisfaction with life in a consumerist culture prompts them to yearn for the apocalypse. Has frakking pushed the big crash a few years into the future, or do those who have learned to stop worrying and love the collapse need to make peace with the idea that it's not coming? Music by Handmade Moments.
KMO and Olga visited House of Collection to speak with Ahnika Delirium about intentional communities, gender identities & presentation, privilege, and whether a conservative Christian cakemaker should be required by law to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Links and discussion on these topics can be found in the Friends of the C-Realm community on Facebook.
KMO talks with Dr. Bayo Akomolafe about cultural hegemony and getting out from under imposed colonial value systems. Bayo, who flauted the expectations of training as clinical psychologist, embarked on a shamanic quest to re-connect with his own heritage. He say that he was lead by questions on that quest rather than by any formal guide. Later, the topic turns to the futile ambition of permanently dissolving the ego. For Bayo, the human ego is every bit as wonderful and deserving of admiration as every other element of creation. Music by Handmade Moments.
Techgnosis, by Erik Davis, was first published back in 1998, before the dot com crash, the presidential election fiasco of the year 2000, 9/11, the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, the financial crisis of 2008 and the protracted recession and jobless recovery. Erik joins KMO for a conversation about the continuity and evolution of their worldviews from 1998 to the present. In 1997, Wired magazine published their now famous headline story, The Long Boom, which argued that good times were here to stay, and not just for the elites. KMO reads from it and makes some 20/20 hindsight observations about the insular, self-serving, techno-utopian mindset that produced it.
Music by Brodie Kinder.
KMO welcomes Lex Pelger back to the C-Realm, and Lex brought along his friend, Dimitri Mobengo Mugianis. Dimitiri, who is the subject of the film I Am Dangerous With Love, is a former heroin addict who beat his addiction with the aid of Tabernanthe Iboga and who has since dedicated himself to sharing this opportunity with other addicts. The challenge: Iboga is a schedule 1 drug according to the US Federal Government. Dimitri likens the junkie to the leper, an untouchable who is undeserving of compassion and who even the most pious members of society are free to scorn.
KMO welcomes futurist, Eric Garland, to the C-Realm to explain why it’s still important to look to the future. Eric is well aware of the bad rap that “futurism” has gotten in recent years, but he wears the futurist mantle with pride. Even flawed thinking about the future is better, in his opinion, than just assuming that the present moment will continue indefinitely forward. Toward the end of the program, Eric paints a picture of a future in which there is no single, systemic collapse but the present governing structures and institutions lose their perceived legitimacy and carry on in the buffoonish mode that is the bread and butter of satirical programs like The Daily Show. KMO closes with warnings from WB Yeats and Tyler Cowen about framing everything according to stories of good and evil.
KMO talks with Marshall Brain of HowStuffWorks about the path that the United States is on with regard to jobs, automation, profitability and social cohesion. Marshall is the author of a novel called Manna that describes the dark road we're on and one possible alternative. Is automation finally bringing the so-called "contradictions of capitalism" to a head? Perhaps we're just going through a rough patch. Maybe the technological trends that are destroying middle class livelihoods and replacing them with McJobs will deliver us to the capitalist nirvana that the lords of Silicone Valley promise is just over the horizon. Maybe we need to revist some of the assumptions enshrined in the current economic orthodoxy. Music by Brodie Kinder.