Gerald (Jerry) Zezas
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The Unintended Consequences of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

When machines begin to do more of our jobs, the production centers of the world will move to whichever country has the most of those machines. This could mean that the United States, a global leader in robotics and AI technology, could, once again, become a manufacturing center.

The irony is that we will become a manufacturing center again, but that manufacturing will require fewer jobs than ever before. So “jobs” will no longer be going to China and India. They will be coming back to the US.

But the jobs will be for robots, not people.


Men and Women on Not the Same

I have been a business student for my entire life. I have studied companies, CEOs, industries and markets for as long as I can remember, yet never have I heard as good an idea as I just heard during an interview with Pepsico CEO, Indra Nooyi on Bloomberg.
This woman realized that, as a grown woman, she still reveres her parents and wants them to feel proud of her. So she started writing to the parents of her managers. We’re talking about executives, some of whom are in their 40s, 50s, or 60s, some of them making 7 figure salaries. She makes it a habit to write to each of them, over 400 parents, every year, to tell them what their children are doing in the company, and how proud they should be of them. (she never writes anything bad).

The reaction from these high-powered executives, some of whom have thousands of people working for them, has been displays of emotion that she says she has never seen before. Grown men and woman come to her office in tears, thanking her for helping to make their parents proud.
I have always believed in equality between the sexes but never in some politically correct expression of similarity. It took a woman to have sufficient compassion and understanding of families to come up with an idea like that. I’ve never heard of any business idea which was more brilliant while being so compassionate.

The thought of it made me cry. This is what women bring to the executive table. Women and men are not the same. They should be equal, but never assumed to be similar. Those of us who do not recognize what women can bring to traditionally male roles do so to our own detriment.

The next time I’m in a position to do so, I will steal her idea. When I get my Doctorate (hopefully this year!) and start teaching college, I will use this episode as a case study.

Don’t be silent, Mr. President

George W Bush was famously silent about the Obama administration, and many on the right claim that it was professional courtesy. I disagree. I think it was because Bush was the most hated president in my lifetime, and he knew that Obama was having success undoing his mistakes.

In this case, we have Obama leaving office with an extremely high approval rating, and a new president coming in with one of the lowest of any transitioning president since they started measuring those things.

I don’t think that Obama should remain silent about the presidency of a man who spent the last 8 years attempting, unsuccessfully, to de-legitimize Obama’s presidency.

Speak up, Barry. We still want to hear what you think.

My personal Hillary post-mortem

Many men, including me, were admonished for complaining about Hillary’s rhetorical style. Some said it was shrill and some said it was condescending. Personally, I hated it, and when I said so, it was strongly suggested that I was being sexist. I was told that when men speak that way, we call them strong and forceful, but when Hillary does, we call it “bitchy”.

Nah, that had nothing to do with it.

Many will question Trump’s rise to the Whitehouse, wondering how anyone so obviously unqualified can attain such a lofty position. I submit that it was not what he said, but how he said it. He dismissed convention and rejected the notion that moderation was an important component of a presidential candidacy. When he spoke, he started his sentences loudly, abruptly, and at times, disdainfully, and kept at it. Even when he lied, he was believable to those who were taken by his style.

Hillary, on the other hand, used a rhetorical style that should have been called out years ago. She started softly, moderately, reasonably, and then, invariably, would utter an applause line, and as the applause started, her speech pattern would change from conversational to a much deeper, basso profundo voice, which always sounded contrived and designed to convey historical truths, even when it didn’t. I noticed this in 2008 and wondered if I was the only one doing so.

I know that the nuances of rhetorical delivery should probably not be the deciding factor in a presidential race. But we know that it certainly helped Reagan, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. I also reject out-of-hand claims of a sexism. Barbara Jordan, Eleanor Roosevelt, Michelle Obama, Shirley Chislom and Coretta Scott King would each give one hell of a speech, without any contrived vocal fry or ersatz rhetorical affectations,

Hillary just didn’t have the personal chops to be president. She may have had the skill, drive and moral courage to do the right thing for the country, but you have to be elected first. She blew it, and she has no one but herself to blame. Among Al Gore, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, Democrats have shown a tendency to put forth people who might have been excellent leaders, but were, in fact, horrible candidates.

Today’s philosophical take on aging:

Aging is like pulling on a roll of toilet paper. When its brand new, it spins slowly, but it seems to go much faster as it nears the end.

Jerry Zezas

The saddest part of this election is…

The more I think about this election, the more I can’t think about it. I have been an activist for my entire life. I protested the Vietnam War. I protested against the Nixon presidency. I argued for funding for AIDS when there was none. I fought Ronald Reagan’s war mongering policies and military buildup. I screamed when George HW Bush said he was “out of the loop” on Iran Contra, and complained incessantly about his idiot son and how he ruined this country for generations to come.

But this guy…this bloviating, self-referential, low standards con artist who has persuaded just enough of us that he belongs in the Whitehouse…I just don’t have the words. He truly is a leader of deplorables. The skinniest kid in fat camp. The smartest kid in idiot school. The most believable liar. The healthiest gluton. The most altruistic billionaire slumlord. The most pious whorehound. The most loving father who makes sexual references to his daughter. The most hard-working and studious trust-fund baby. The most understated resident of a gold-plated penthouse. The most humble braggart. The most down-to-earth man whose name is emblazoned on his personal jet.

Our standards of intelligence, patriotism, leadership and our benchmarks for personal integrity and political openness have descended to depths beneath what I’ve ever seen or expected to see in my lifetime.

The problem for me is that it is now beneath my ability to rail against. I just don’t know how to explain that the earth is round to someone whose absolutely incontrovertible proof that it is flat is a picture of the horizon from his front porch.

The reason that Atheists don’t criticize Islam

I’ve often seen the question asked why Atheists are “afraid” to criticize Islam. This question appears, on its face, to be justified, since I often find my fellow Atheists fully engaged in criticizing Christianity but throttling back when it comes to Islam. Why is that?

I’m a balls-to-the-wall Atheist and condemn all the hatred that comes from all religion. On the other hand, if religion is going to exist (and it will), then hating a religion for doing the exact things that your “home” religion did hundreds of years ago is hypocrisy.

It isn’t so much that we’re afraid to condemn Islam. We just don’t want it to appear that we’re juxtaposing it with Christianity, with Christianity coming out on top, because we believe Christianity to be at least as bad as Islam. For that reason, we refrain from criticizing Islam as long as our own country espouses so-called “Christian” values.

It’s as if your father beats his wife, yet so does mine. If I were to publicly condemn your father, your quite reasonable response might be, “How can you criticize my father when your’s does the same thing?” I guess it comes under the heading of “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.”

Islam is no better or worse than Christianity, Buddism (did you know that there are Buddist terrorists in Myanmar?) or any other religion. For those of us who live in what some believe to be a Christian nation, it’s hard to cast the first stone.

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