Some random thoughts…

02020-04-03 | Uncategorized | 4 comments

It seems that the virus hits older folks much harder than young people, and men harder than women:

Case-fatality percentages increased with increasing age, from no deaths reported among persons aged ≤19 years to highest percentages (10%–27%) among adults aged ≥85 years

Who makes most political decisions? Old men. Who is the virus going after? Old men. Kinda poetic. I can say this, being an old man myself… :-)

While most young people shrug off this virus other young ones are at risk, diabetics and asthmatics for example.

The livelihoods ruined by quarantines will mostly belong to younger people, who are losing jobs, and will be unable to pay rent. Then there is mental health. A young person is more likely to live in a tiny apartment, staring at the same four walls for weeks on end. A young person is less likely to be in a stable relationship and generally needs social encounters more than an older person.

I have been giving some thought to having a strategy for the future and wonder whether there should be a council of men and women from different walks of life, and with different cultural backgrounds, whose sole job is to envision the future and to look at long term effects of laws, with a special view towards the environment or education. A Future Think Tank of sorts. They can look at trends without the myopia of politicians, who only look towards re-election, or the myopia of doctors, who only want to create a cure without looking at the bigger picture. I am not sure how this council should be chosen. It should, obviously, not be a political decision. The council could be aided by AI that is trained to look at long-term guidance and solutions and can analyze the effect of anything over time.

Just a few random thoughts. Let me know what you think about this.


  1. JaneParhamKatz

    Quick comment for now. Google “future society” and you will see a couple of organizations of the mind you described. Don’t say you are an old man…maybe 90 is old. Or maybe you are as young and timeless as music itself!

  2. Victor H.

    Ottmar, I think you’re thinking too clearly for this world. ;-)

    Unfortunately I don’t think AI is advanced enough yet to help the think tank. That said, I think more highly of AI than politicians. Politicians should at least be like their constituents in a representative government, no?

    I think our government has excellent plans from brilliant minds for pandemics, climate change, any imaginable disaster. Are those plans being enacted now? This council you imagined should at least be totally transparent with their results and plans. :-)

  3. MTCallahan

    Our history as humans, from our earliest family groups to todays “nations”, seem to have always been marked as people led by a single leader. Tribal chieftains who were strong enough to organize both offensive and defensive efforts in order to keep their clans fed and secure. Noble (perhaps) kings, lording over populations who worked lands and provided goods that supported the royals in exchange for community protections. Elected politicians whose offices are supposed to represent the common good of their constituents. Thousands of years of history following the same theme.

    The main issue with this form of leadership is a requirement of fear as a unifying requirement. As a member of the tribe, you fear outsiders that may encroach on your territory and steal your food, take your livestock, or family members. Foreigners from across the sea might sail to your shores and depose your king and place you under their rule. Other nations live under governments that structure their rules in a different manner than yours and that must make them an enemy. You should distrust them and worry that they may send agents to your own homeland to undermine your way of life.

    If American government actually worked as one “of the people, by the people, for the people..”, groups could indeed work together to determine what policies are best for the whole. Perhaps the best way to achieve that is bringing about the end of the single leader, from city mayors to heads of state. Leadership groups comprised not of politically aligned “tickets” that match party lines but of a cross section of open minded individuals that are ready to openly debate and discuss the issues with others that may not have the same individual view but understand that our world is wide and not every person can live the same way as another. The only true rule has to be one that recognizes that all humans are entitled to the same basic rights. No race, creed, sex, or religious affiliation can alter protection of these rules of humanity.

    The most important part of this new way of leading would be that no money could buy it. No corporate support, no campaign funds, no special interest groups, no lobbies.

    I have great hope for the future of artificial intelligence. After reading Gibson’s Agency, I want a pair of glasses and an ear bud that provide an unobtrusive aid from another “entity” to move me through my day. Maybe my kids will get that but I doubt I will. But today, neutral data can be used by impartial leaders to aid decision making. It won’t be perfect but it would be much better for the masses than the personal money making schemes of unqualified son-in-laws.

    This was too long for a comment and not long enough for a solid answer. My apologies for both.

    • ottmar

      The Swiss have a federal council that consists of seven men and women. The presidency rotates between the seven on a yearly basis. The vice president becomes president the following year and so on.


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