Visionary questions

Visionary questions

Why only populism can save the left

Populism is hated by leftist parties. With the advance of populist parties, the left is collapsing like a house of cards. Do both phenomena have something to do with each other?

What exactly is populism?

A subdivision into political directions popular among political scientists is populism, elitism and other directions (for example liberalism, religious or green politics) that remain outside the populist versus elitist discourse. Populism is a political vision in which an elite is held responsible for exploiting the population, or part of the population. Well-known populist parties in the Netherlands are the PVV and the SP.

A populist song, the Socialist International. Source:

Awake, rejected of the earth

The most populist message ever from the nineteenth century came from the unadulterated left: the writer and philosopher Karl Marx. He developed the Marxist ideology of a class struggle. This discourse is essentially populist. After all, the capitalist class exploits the proletarian class. Marx's call for proletarians worldwide to unite to create a classless society is essentially a populist discourse. Namely: calls for the overthrow of the bourgeois-capitalist elite, which exploits the proletarians. The milder left-wing variant of socialism is also essentially populist.

Unlike modern right-wing populists, classic left-wing populism is internationalist. Marxism sees robbery capitalism as a global problem, exploiting indigenous workers as well as colonized peoples in the rest of the world.

The incoherence of the modern left

The core values of the left are equality, brotherhood and the emancipation of the oppressed. A purely thinking left person will therefore always take sides for the oppressed man, for self-development and for solidarity. And, with this, reject any ideology that divides people.

At the moment, among left-wing parties such as the Green Left and the PvdA, it is bon ton to defend Islam as a victim of oppression by the mainstream culture, while Islam is an extremely patriarchal, homophobic and sexist belief.

Left-wing parties are also in favor of a meat tax, van energy taxes and strict environmental requirements. These mainly affect the poor. Food spending is a big chunk of minimum income budgets. By a meat tax meat is only affordable for the rich. With their energy taxes, the poor pay for subsidized solar parks and wind turbines from major international investors. Foreign giants such as Microsoft and Google are happy to use the subsidized green energy for their data centers and park the millions of profits made in a tax haven. In places where beautiful, environmentally friendly and above all affordable homes for people with a low and middle income could have been built in the green, with solar panels on the roof, ugly large solar parks are being built that will make the rich even richer.

Partly due to environmental activists calling themselves left, social housing has stopped. The scarce social housing is becoming increasingly scarce because of the massive immigration. The achievements for which the labor movement has fought hard, such as the scholarship, have disappeared. Because of the neoliberals, certainly, but also because of the betrayal of the left to the rejected in the Netherlands and the rest of the earth.

How can the left regain its power?

All truly successful left movements were nationalistic to some degree. Think of the Vietcong and other left-wing liberation movements. Difference between fascism and left is that nationalism of left movements is inclusive and does not distinguish between different ethnic groups. The populist left sees the entire population as victims of the exploitation practices of the international colonizer or their successors, the international robber capitalists. Not just the ethnic minorities, such as the identitarian left. Not just the largest ethnic group, such as right-wing populists. Everybody.

Today, the elite is neoliberal and globalist. The European Union and the neoliberal world order are working out well for multinational companies and the highly educated people who work for them. They import products from low-wage countries for little money and sell them to the local population for a lot of money. They channel the profits to a tax haven. They close factories in the Netherlands and reopen them in Eastern Europe or China. Other companies hire underpaid Eastern European workers to do dangerous and unpleasant work. Globalization thus benefits the elite, while the underclass bears the consequences in the form of unaffordable houses, low wages, unemployment and poor working conditions.

Populist left

There is one left party that stands up for the exploited underclass as well as for the exploited Eastern Europeans. That is the Socialist Party. The SP realizes that in its current form the European Union is primarily a neoliberal party, but that it turns out badly for its own employees. The commonly used argument that cheap workers strengthen international competitiveness is incorrect. Time and again it appears that it is mainly high labor productivity that strengthens the local economy. And you achieve this through experienced, well-trained employees who are an inseparable part of the company. Where the company and the employees go through fire for each other and go hard to make the best products in the world. Not by exploited flex workers.

We are not helping the poor in the rest of the world by letting in asylum seekers in bunches at a time. We do help them with visionary development aid and by removing unfair trade barriers and tax treaties.

An entrepreneur who can only survive on low-lithium is not worth a wink and should go bankrupt as soon as possible.

Cybernetic Government: AI as Prime Minister

We humans do not excel in integrity politically. What if we opt for a cybernetic government, i.e. appoint an AI as government?

The first months of 2021 were not a peak of democracy. Once again, parties came to power that excel in short-term politics, cheat voters time and again and act against the interests of the Netherlands. What if we leave politics to computer algorithms? Futurologists seriously consider a future society that is primarily cybernetic in nature.

In fact, more has come from cybernetic government politics than many people realize. Econometrician and feared, because expert and conscientious Member of Parliament Pieter Omtzigt (CDA) stated in his book A new social contract (2021), which for an outsider is nonsensical government policy intended to make purchasing power models correct. A good example of Omtzigt is the new employed person's tax credit in the 2021 Tax Plan. Politics wants to do “something nice” for the middle class. So politicians invents a complicated employed person's tax credit that is maximum for people with a middle income of around 40,000 euros. Not coincidentally the electoral group of the ruling coalition.

Cybernetic government is not as far away as we realize. The reason for the existence of this bizarre scheme is the purchasing power of the middle class, according to the CPB calculation model. That must be correct, the VVD thought. Source: National Government of the Netherlands

The Secrets of the Cybernetic Government

These models are secret according to good Dutch political practice. Just like the epidemiological models of the RIVM, which support the covid-19 decisions and which are scientifically controversial.

If computers already largely dominate the Netherlands anyway, could we not make this process more transparent? Why should we have lying, blundering and spinning politicians as intermediaries between the voter and the calculation model? Why not directly disclose the source code of the algorithms that govern us? And give us a say? It's time for that psychohistory?

Planned Obsolescence: Why There Wasn't a Perpetual Light Bulb

The alu hats are right. It was not without reason that there was no perpetual light bulb for sale. Time and time again, manufacturers make deliberate design decisions in order to sell as much as possible. Design decisions, which mean more pollution and more resource depletion. Meet planned obsolescence.

What is planned obsolescence?

At some point, products have become obsolete. Sometimes this is due to normal wear and tear that cannot be prevented. Sometimes due to technical obsolescence. Or because they are going out of style. And sometimes, because they are meant to break down much faster than normal. Or decline in functions, because the manufacturer, for example Apple, slyly downscales the performance in smartphones. So that consumers have to buy an expensive, new smartphone. The latter concept is “planned obsolescence” (planned redundancy) called.

The “Centennial Light Bulb” has been burning continuously for over a century, but now emits much less light than in the beginning. Planned obsolescence makes incandescent bulbs burn shorter but brighter. Source: Wikimedia Commons / LPS.1

Why does planned obsolescence exist?

This is largely due to manufacturers. But also to us, the consumers. Time and again we choose fashion items instead of quality that will last a lifetime. And especially our economic model. We register change as growth. An economy in which nature is rapidly transformed into a mountain of waste has much higher growth figures than one Eldorica-like economy, where, for example, cars last a hundred years and houses a small eternity.

What are the consequences?

For manufacturers there is of course a huge advantage: more sales. But the extra employment generated by planned obsolescence is also doing well in the unemployment figures. And for tax revenues.

However, the price that the earth, and therefore we, pays for this is very high. Much more waste and air pollution from the manufacturing process. A lower quality of life. Depletion of raw materials that are difficult to replace.

An end to planned obsolescence?

No wonder that governments with sustainable objectives are now increasingly trying to intervene. In the 1910s, for example, the French Assembly imposed a fine of 300,000 euros for companies guilty of planned obsolescence. The European Union is now preparing legislation that makes it mandatory to make appliances repairable. So smartphones whose battery can no longer be replaced will then become a thing of the past.

The question is also whether there are smarter ways to produce public goods such as employment and social security than over-consumption with an endless mountain of waste.

And the perpetual light bulb? We now have something that is better in every way. LED lamps are four times more efficient than incandescent lamps and last around 100,000 hours. That's about a lifetime. A hundred times as long as incandescent lamps in the time of planned obsolescence.

Dream world: speaking with dreaming people now possible

The dream world has been the place where everything is possible for centuries. Now speaking with dreaming people is also possible. Even at a pretty high level.

Dream World: enigmatic, inaccessible and fleeting

Dreams take us to another reality, a world of hallucinations that feels as real as any waking experience. These often bizarre episodes are characteristic of human sleep, but are still an unexplained phenomenon. We are a little further than Plato, who in his famous parable assumed that we are living in a dream, but much is still unexplained. Which makes this “inner voyage” all the more fascinating. For the first time, researchers have entered a previously unknown domain.

Eyewitness account from lucid dream

Until now, dream research relied mainly on witness reports from dreaming people. Dream memories fade quickly, within minutes of waking up. our conscious mind also distorts the dream. In this groundbreaking study, subjects were able to answer questions from the study leaders. The test subjects were present in a lucid dream. Lucid dreams are a special type of dreams in which the dreamer is aware of the fact that she is dreaming during the dream. Fellow writer Niek has studied it and regularly dreams lucidly. Here are tips for learning how to dream lucidly yourself.

In the dream world, our brain often makes fun of reality. Source: Pixabay / Kellepics

Questioning about the dream world during REM sleep

We know from previous research that people dream during so-called REM sleep. Brainwaves show an activity that is very similar to the waking state and the eyes make 'Rapid Eye Movements' (REM). The experiments took place in 36 lucid dreaming subjects who were determined by brainwave measurement that they were in REM sleep. During this sleep, they analyzed new information as an awake person would, they memorized information in their working memory, calculated simple answers, and gave voluntary answers. These findings were made by four independent research groups. In short: for the first time, it is now possible to actually communicate with people who are dreaming, and to hear firsthand from them how they experience their dream world. Can we now start exploring the hidden world in which we each spend hours each night? More details in the resource, which is publicly available.


Karen R. Konkoli et al., Real-time dialogue between experimenters and dreamers during REM sleep, Current Biology, 2021, DOI:

Matryoshka world, if one earth isn't enough

If the Earth isn't enough, don't we just build a second Earth around it? Discover a craft project for megalomaniac souls in the distant future: the matryoshka world.

Almost everyone knows the matryoshkas (Russian for grandmother), the well-known Russian dolls, in which a large doll contains smaller and smaller dolls. But what if you did that with our increasingly overpopulated planet? So, say, packing the earth in hollow shells? The Futurologist Isaac Arthur worked out this concept a video.

This concept only becomes interesting when the human population becomes enormously large. We are talking about flats that span the earth, a metropolis the size of a planet. But even on our huge Earth, there is only limited space. Where do you leave all those people when you have really cultivated every square meter of earth? The answer: the matryoshka world. In this way we can, if necessary, build dozens of “extra earths” around the earth.

A clear advantage is that we would then multiply the surface of the earth, and thus be able to house many more people than on the earth now.

The matryoshka world magnifies the Earth's surface many times over. But how safe is this future superstructure? Source: screenshot from accompanying video / Isaac Arthur / fair use provision

Matryoshka World: Many worlds with one source of gravity

Is it smart? It solves one problem. The earth within the matryoshka shells provides gravity. So much gravity, in fact, that we no longer need to generate artificial gravity. But how do we keep this enormous construction in the air? Two effects help us. First: the net gravity on one hollow shell around the earth is zero. Second, dynamic structures. You can keep an object in the air with a stream of projectiles. Even if the weight is greater than all known materials can support.

In return we get a number of annoying problems. So we have the huge amount waste heat discharge. And if the power, or what kind of power-carrying medium there will be in the future, goes out? Then there is probably little that can be saved. A disaster that overshadows everything that man has experienced so far. Then the matryoshka world turns into a planet-sized cemetery.

Mini houses, a bizarre dozen explore the boundaries

If you can ignore nonsensical rules such as the Building Decree, an explosion of creativity will arise. Get acquainted here with the spirit products of ten inventors, who explore the concept of mini houses to the very extreme.

Not every design will appeal to everyone. But after watching this video, your understanding of what a habitable house means, probably a lot extensively. The emphasis in the video is on round shapes. Because where in nature do you come across boxes of blocks?

Abod Shelter mini houses

The Abod design by Abod Shelters is very suitable for refugees in tropical areas. For an amount under five thousand euros, a family can find shelter in a full-fledged, small house.

The design, from Abod Shelter in South Africa, is versatile and can also be combined with other houses in larger units. Both for shelter, as for clinics and workshops. Because the design consists of light corrugated sheets, it is easy to transport. You can load an entire village on a truck. That also happens regularly. The design is in reasonable demand, even in Tanzania and Ghana.

The nice thing about this design is that it lasts a long time and is maintenance-free. Construction can be carried out by fairly clever unskilled workers. So if you have a ton in the bank and you want to improve your inky karma, this is the solution.

Abod mini houses can be built by a group of volunteers in one day. The corrugated iron construction makes the design less suitable for use outside the tropics. Source / copyright: Abod

The disadvantage of this design is the noise, when a heavy tropical monsoon rain beats the corrugated iron. This may be solved with a thatched roof. Although that is a source of vermin in the tropics.

The thermal insulation is of course also quite sparse, but that is usually less of a problem in the tropical belt in Africa. The white lacquer prevents overheating in the blazing sun. [1]

More information: Abod website

Astrology, Celestial Wisdom or Pseudoscience?

We were created from stardust and one day, hopefully this century, we humans will return to the stars. Some people move on. They think the stars and planets determine their fate. Is Astrology Sense or Nonsense?

What is Astrology?

For those wondering why most names for sciences end in “logy”, except “astronomy”, this is because astrology existed before astronomy. Astronomers who study celestial bodies in a scientific way wanted to distinguish themselves from astrologers.

This is no wonder. Astrology is the belief that the position of the planets and stars at your time of birth determines your fate. Although astrologers use detailed methods to extract predictions about your future life course from the positions of the stars, these methods have no scientific basis. In short, astrologers do just about everything that a true scientist would dislike.

Astrology is still popular. This, even though there is no evidence that it works. Source:

For example, there is no clear working mechanism of astrology. The midwife's gravity on a baby is four times that of the planet Mars's gravity, for example. The only celestial bodies that you really notice as a human being are the sun (day and night) and the moon (ebb and flow, in combination with the sun). Besides the earth itself, of course. And possibly hitting asteroids. In the latter case, an astronomer can of course make an accurate prediction of your date of death. And hers and the rest of humanity, of course.

What shape?

Another problem with believing in astrology is that there are at least three different astrologies. Chinese astrology is based on the year of birth, Indian (Vedic) astrology and related Greek astrology is based on the positions of planets. And also the Mayas (and probably the Incas too) had an elaborate form of astrology. Assuming the same position of the stars, an Indian astrologer therefore makes a different prediction than a Western one. The yugas of Indian astrology are very different from the baktuns of the Maya.

This while, for example, the Chinese, Greek and Mayan versions of the Pythagorean Theorem, yield the same result.

Gauquelin: Proof That Astrology Works?

The French psychologist Pierre Gauquelin discovered, in his own words, a “Mars effect“. The position of the planet Mars during the birth of someone would affect the chance of becoming a successful athlete. This discovery caused quite a stir, and was embraced by astrologers to defend their belief in the stars. It later turned out that he had made the necessary methodological mistakes. For example, the effect appeared to no longer occur with dates of birth after 1950, when doctors communicated the date of birth.

A similar effect, where the month of birth is one statistically significant effect appeared to have on Canadian ice hockey achievements, could be traced back to an apprentice's age. If a student has a birthday just after the selection year starts, he is much bigger and stronger than a student who reaches that age at the end of the year. Simply because he is almost a year older. He is therefore more likely to be seen and scouted as an “ice hockey talent” than the younger student.

In short: stars and planets are very interesting, but do not determine your fate.

Unless you decide to become an astronomer or an astronaut. Or move to Mars. Stars do not determine the future, our future is in the stars.

Is that allowed to lie to save the world?

Is it allowed to lie, if you can save the world with this?

Lying very useful in politics

In a democracy, in theory, the population rules. In practice, this is “delegated” to professional politicians, who are elected every four years. Getting your way through is difficult, when stubborn people are constantly getting in the way who think they know better. And besides, often have a different agenda than you. That explains why lies are so popular in democracy. Like magicians, politicians and politicians disguise their real, unpopular intentions. They mask these with noble lies. Because the stupid people cannot handle the truth. Below are some examples of “white lies”, well known from public sources, that turned out to be disastrous.

Greenhouse effect

A good example is the increasingly worse anthropogenic global warming (AGW), popularly called the 'greenhouse effect'. The amount of CO2 in the air has risen sharply in the last two centuries. Namely, from approximately 270 ppm to around 415 ppm in 2021. That is not going in the right direction. After all, more CO2 in the air means warming and rising sea levels. Parts of the tropics can also become uninhabitable due to the high temperatures.

If the temperature remains structurally above 26 degrees, our body will suffer from too much heat during heavy work. This is already a huge problem in, for example, El Salvador [1]. And certainly, if, as expected, the average temperature in the tropics will rise even more. Then the tropics become unlivable even with sufficient drinking and light work. Reason enough, therefore, to tackle the AGW problem. Most Dutch and Belgians would like that too.

Meat is unhealthy for the planet, not for humans

One of the main contributors to this CO2 is livestock farming. It is estimated that about 14% of all greenhouse gas emissions, plus the necessary deforestation, are caused by livestock [2]. In short: it is very useful for the earth if we stop eating meat.

Now the problem is: The argument to save the Earth convinces only a few people to abandon meat. But when people start to believe that eating meat makes eating sick, the number of vegetarians explodes. And there you see, a significant reduction in CO2. This explains why the opinion that meat is unhealthy, and that meat can be easily missed, is predominant in progressive, hip blogs. Because who wouldn't want to save the world with a white lie?

A lie yes indeed. Children need meat to grow better - vegetable protein is much more difficult to digest [3]. So while eating a little less meat is beneficial for adults who eat a lot of meat, growing children certainly need plenty of meat.

The war on dairy

Dairy also suffers this fate. After all, dairy also comes from livestock farming and is therefore CO2 polluting. One kg of protein from dairy is about the same as one kg of protein from meat. Milk was once recommended to prevent osteoporosis, and school milk was something we were proud of. Now even schoolchildren get fake milk like oat milk from their well-meaning, socially conscious parents. Oat milk is widely hyped in hip circles, but is in fact a kind of expensive meal drink. With many empty calories and many and too few nutrients, such as protein and vitamin D [4]. The result: malnutrition in children. Because these types of families also eat little eggs and meat.

Ban curse on soy

In fact, just one plant-based milk substitute comes pretty close to cow's milk. Soymilk. Although the protein from soy is about twenty percent less rich in essential amino acids than that in cow's milk. So you have to use more soy milk to get enough of those amino acids. Yet they do not often choose soy. The soybean has a bad smell to socially conscious people.

Although soy is fine to grow in the Netherlands. Moreover, a higher yield per hectare gives than in Brazil: 3.5-4 tons per hectare with experienced growers [6]. That equates to 1500 kg of soy protein per hectare. Sufficient for a whopping 500,000 liters of soy milk per hectare per year. In other words: we could grow enough soy for the complete milk consumption of the Netherlands, 975 million liters, on an area of 2000 square kilometers (this is approximately the area of the province of Limburg). But soy is wrong. So you can't.

Lying to start wars

In general, wars are a very bad idea. Wars cause a lot of human suffering. And there are many victims, both dead and disabled. Countries are also turning into wasteland. The disruption is ruining the lives of millions of people. So no sensible person can be for war. Yet wars are still the rule. Also wars started by democratic countries.

This is possible because the people are being lied to. Consider the weapons of mass destruction of the then Iraqi dictator Saddam, which later turned out not to exist. On this basis, Saddam's regime was overthrown, which has now been replaced by a pro-Iranian regime. With hundreds of thousands of deaths as a result. But oil profits and those of companies like Halliburton and Raytheon were assured. Interesting detail: the energy content of the depleted uranium munitions thrown on Iraq was sufficient to supply all households in North America for four years. free of electricity to provide.

The masks lie and corona test lie

An example a little closer to home. The way in which the Dutch government tackled the corona crisis was characterized by lie upon lie. For example, the government claimed that there was insufficient testing capacity. And made little move to increase this capacity. The result was that the Dutch corona figures compared favorably with those abroad, such as Germany and Belgium. And the Netherlands was excluded when, for example, flights to Germany and Belgium were stopped. That yielded quite a bit of economic profit. In reality, the excess mortality in 2020 already shows that the Netherlands is at least as badly affected as the neighboring countries: about the same as Belgium and much more severe than Germany. [3]

Mouth masks were not necessary, the government claimed. In the rest of the world, including at the WHO, it was already known in the spring of 2020 that the wearing of mouth masks the best prevention against covid-19 spread. The reason for this lie was to prevent the Dutch from hoarding medical mouth masks. There was a great lack of this in healthcare. If the government had told the truth, then Dutch factories could have switched en masse to indigenous production of face masks, as happened in China, for example. Or we could have collaborated with our Belgian, French and German neighbors.

May lie? The Pinocchio doll's nose became longer when it was lying. Source: Adrian Michael / Wikimedia Commons

Does lying make sense?

From the previous examples we see that lying to the population always has a negative effect. Even if the liar's intentions are noble. Lies destroy credibility and trust, that is, social capital. Keeping up lies requires secrecy and censorship. Lies also cause wrong policies and steer society in the wrong direction. All of this is a high price for a short term benefit.

False is wrong. Joking is never allowed. No, not even to save the world. There is no such thing as white lying. If we are too stupid and cowardly as a species to grasp and act on the truth, we don't deserve to survive.

1. T. Bodin et al., Intervention to reduce heat stress and improve efficiency among sugarcane workers in El Salvador: Phase 1, Occup Environ Med. 2016 Jun; 73 (6): 409–416.
3. Meat diets boost kids growth, Nature, 2005
4. Euromomo, Excess deaths (interactive charts)
5. Angelica Sousa and Katrin A Kopf-Bolanz, Nutritional implications of an Increasing Consumption of Non-Dairy Plant-Based Beverages Instead of Cow's Milk in Switzerland, Adv Dairy Res 2017, 5: 4DOI: 10.4172 / 2329-888X.1000197
6. Local soy, WUR Depot

Singleton hypothesis: world government inevitable

According to Nick Bostrom's singleton hypothesis, one great power will eventually emerge that swallows or subdues the rest. Is he right?

Singleton hypothesis

The world is increasingly becoming a “village that encompasses the world”. That's no coincidence, according to the singleton hypothesis. This theory comes from the brain of Nick Bostrom. Bostrom is a philosopher from Oxford University, who previously made a name for himself with his theory about super intelligence. According to this theory, the logical outcome of human evolution is that there is one world government will come [1]. At least one entity that will rule all of humanity. That can be a super intelligence are, but also a mega-corporation or a superstate.

Increasing levels of order

As philosophers often do, Bostrom uses induction and makes an abstraction of it. In concrete terms: he established that in history, people started to live together in ever-increasing relationships. From a handful of hunters and gatherers to states with more than a billion inhabitants. Think of India and China. Or quasi-states like the EU. He continues this trend. He thinks that these enormous states will also merge into one earth-spanning realm.

Or in an artificial intelligence, something like Skynet from the Terminator series. Or in a company such as Tencent in China, which is a bank, social credit rater, shop and social network in one. But then much, much bigger.

Temporary trend of nationalism

Bostrom thinks that the prevailing trend in Western countries of anti-globalism today is temporary. Bostrom looks at timescales spanning centuries. Millennia, even. In the longer term, the outcome is clear, he says. We're heading towards a singleton. Whether we like it or not.

The singleton theory predicts that there will eventually be a world government on Earth. For example a United Nations, but with more power. Source: Converted SVG from

World government more effective

Bostrom thinks a singleton could turn out well. After all, now there is the threat of nuclear wars. And an arms race. Plus tackling global issues, such as the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic, is failing. A world government is nipping an epidemic in the bud and introducing a lockdown. And quickly arranges compensation for the affected area, so that no one has to grumble. Thus the epidemic had been contained. Unless the world government is a totalitarian dictatorship afraid of losing face, of course.

Singleton only for open systems?

Bostrom generalizes from a limited dataset. Namely that of open systems. Most people live in an open system, in which there are plenty of contacts with the rest of the world. In closed systems, such as islands, you see that these usually split up into a few parts. Take for example the Guanches of the Canary Islands and the inhabitants of Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island. A lonely island in the Pacific. Rapa Nui was completely isolated. The original inhabitants of the island, about the size of Texel, had cut down all the trees. Other islands are more than a thousand kilometers away. When explorers discovered the island, the population had split into different clans. This effect also occurred in the Guanches.

The soil is such a closed system. That is, as long as humans are the predominant species, the earth will likely remain split into a few large blocks. That is, if historical trends are correct. But that's the question. In modern times many trends have been turned upside down.

That would change if an outside threat were discovered. For example aliens, or colonies elsewhere in the solar system. So, as humanity we will not get much further than the United Nations. Unless humanity spreads beyond the Earth. Then a new field is added for quarreling. We humans are, unfortunately, quite stubborn. Hopefully we have learned that we get along more with peace than with war.

1. Nick Bostrom, What is a singleton? - 2005

Life after death as a chatbot, ethical dilemmas

Will there be life after death after all? Microsoft has applied for a patent on the idea of an afterlife as a chatbot.

The two protagonists. Is a life after death as a chatbot ethically acceptable? Source: (Fair Use)

In the episode Be Right Back from the dystopian Netflix series Black Mirror, exactly this idea emerges. A woman's dead boyfriend is digitally “brought to life” again. By using her memories of him, and the photos and conversations left behind, to fabricate a realistic look-alike robot of her ex. Of course, in Black Mirror style, this also ends badly.

Brought back to life using an algorithm

In its patent [1], Microsoft focuses on an initially, more modest goal. A chatbot, fed with all the knowledge and memories of the deceased. The idea is not new. Two years after the broadcast of the first episode of Black Mirror, a number of Russians worked on the development of a chatbot to bring their friend who was killed in a collision back to life. [2]

Is an afterlife ethical as a chatbot?

As is often the case with artificial intelligence, ethical issues come into play here too. To begin with, is it ethical to use private conversations of a deceased person as a grief counseling? Are you not violating that person? And in the slightly more distant future, as artificial intelligence keeps getting better, is there still a distinction between a chatbot and a real person? Is it murder to delete the chatbot? And how ethical is it to give a survivor false hope? To make her or him like something that is nothing more than a computer program? Or are we no more than a computer program?

And the question that burns us all on the lips: is Microsoft Windows' infamous Blue Screen of Death getting a second meaning? Because Microsoft is known for its abundant production of vaporware. Questions and more questions.

1. Creating a Conversational Chat Bot Of A Specific Person, US Patent Office, 2020
2. Speak, Memory - Casey Newton in The Verge, 2015
3. After You Die, Microsoft Wants to Resurrect You as a Chatbot, Popular Mechanics, 2021