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When The Well Runs Dry: The Water Scarcity Issue & How We Can All Help

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“We cannot command nature except by obeying her.” – Francis Bacon

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With the fracking boom that has swept many parts of the world using vast quantities of water, it is worth considering the importance water plays within both society and the agricultural system. 97% of the water on the Earth is salt water and only 3% is fresh water; with slightly over two thirds of this being frozen in glaciers and polar ice caps. The remaining unfrozen freshwater is found mainly as groundwater, with only a small fraction present above ground or in the air.

Groundwater Is Decreasing

Fresh water is a renewable resource, yet the world’s supply of groundwater is steadily decreasing. With depletion occurring most prominently in Asia and North America, it is still unclear how much natural renewal balances this usage, and whether or not ecosystems are threatened. (1)(2)(3)

Scores of countries are over pumping aquifers as they struggle to satisfy their growing water needs. Most aquifers are replenishable but some are not. For example, when aquifers in India and the shallow aquifer under the North China Plain are depleted, the maximum rate of pumping will be automatically reduced to the rate of recharge. But for fossil aquifers, like the Saudi aquifer, the vast Ogallala aquifer under the U.S. Great Plains, or the deep aquifer under the North China Plain, depletion brings pumping to an end.

Farmers who lose their irrigation water have the option of returning to lower-yield dry land farming if rainfall permits. But in more arid regions, such as in the southwestern United States and parts of the Middle East, the loss of irrigation water means the end of agriculture.

Falling water tables are already adversely affecting harvests in some larger countries, including China, which rivals the United States as the world’s largest grain producer. A groundwater survey released in Beijing in August 2001 revealed that the water table under the North China Plain, an area that produces over half of the country’s wheat and a third of its corn, was falling fast. Over pumping has largely depleted the shallow aquifer, forcing well drillers to  turn to the region’s deep aquifer, which is not replenishable.

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Shortages Around The World

As serious as water shortages are in China, they are even more serious in India, where the margin between food consumption and survival is so precarious. To date, India’s 100 million farmers have drilled more than 21 million wells, investing some $12 billion in wells and pumps. In August 2004 Fred Pearce reported in New Scientist that “half of India’s traditional hand dug wells and millions of shallower tube wells have already dried up, bringing a spate of suicides among those who rely on them. Electricity blackouts are reaching epidemic proportions in states where half of the electricity is used to pump water from depths of up to a kilometer.” As water tables fall, well drillers are using modified oil-drilling technology to reach water, going down a half mile or more in some locations. In communities where underground water sources have dried up entirely, all agriculture is now rain-fed and drinking water must be trucked in. Tushaar Shah, who heads the International Water Management Institute’s groundwater station in Gujarat, says of India’s water situation, “When the balloon bursts, untold anarchy will be the lot of rural India.”(4)

Large scale agriculture and the irrigation of land, crops and the grazing of livestock is by far the biggest user of water. In developed countries such as North America and Europe, the average per capita domestic usage of water ranges from around 350 to 550 litres per day. In less developed countries per capita usage ranges from around 10 to 75 litres per day, significantly less than its richer counterparts. Not only are we ‘consuming’ large quantities of water on a daily basis, we also consume vast quantities of water in the associated foods we eat and products we use. We can clearly see different types of food require different amounts of water to produce. It is vital that we understand the processes that go towards producing foods and the externalities that exist in doing so.

Embedded Water in Foods and Clothing

“Water is the driving force of all nature.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Waterwise an independent not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation promoting water efficiency and conservation based in London, has calculated the amount of water embedded in a number of everyday beverages and foods we take for granted in the West. Embedded water is the amount of water used in the process of producing and distribution of any agricultural products. Here are some of the more common products you might encounter each day. A pint of beer (575ml) – water embedded 170 Litres, Cup of coffeewater embedded 140 litres, glass of orange juice (200ml)  – water embedded 170 litres, glass of milk (200ml) – 200 litres embedded, slice of bread 30grams – 130 litres embedded, hamburger (150grams) – 2400 litres embedded, cotton tee shirt – 500grams – 4100 litres embedded, packet of potato chips (200grams) – 185 litres embedded.

Making A Shift In The Way We Live

Moving forward it is obvious that livestock as well as cotton are clearly not efficient uses of water. Researchers, scientists and environmentalists have been advocating that if humanity is to survive in its current form, with significant populations, we must see a shift towards a vegetarian diet. It is not difficult to understand how a vegetarian diet makes sense when we look at the inputs that go towards producing various foods. At the very least we should be factoring in the opportunity cost and externalities involved in the food we produce in an effort to conserve water. While domestic water consumption is only 8%, the amount of water used to produce various foods should be taken into account and factored into any water based calculations for richer nations. The embedding of water in the foods we eat significantly increases the average household usage of water.

Apart from making conscious decisions about how we live, the way we grow food, what we eat, wear and consume, water conservation is the most cost-effective and environmentally sound way to protect our waterways and reduce demand for this valuable natural resource. Using less water reduces stress on the environment, infrastructure and uses significantly less energy. Our diligence and awareness is crucial in conserving water and making a difference. By initiating personal change we can reduce our impact on the environment and conserve this vital natural resource. There are a multitude of water saving devices that can positively impact the way water is used. The most effective way to save water is by eliminating unnecessary practices. Here are a few practical ideas to get started.

Natural Landscaping

“The human brain now holds the key to our future. We have to recall the image of the planet from outer space: a single entity in which air, water, and continents are interconnected. That is our home.”  – David Suzuki

Each plant has naturally adapted to a particular landscape and specific climatic conditions. Planting species not suited to an environment results in significantly increased water usage. Native plants, that is, those plants that occur naturally in an environment, are low maintenance and far more resilient than plant species that have been introduced. Native plants are able to thrive in specific climatic conditions, have the ability to resist pests and use minimal water when compared to introduced non-native species. Native plants require minimal or no additional watering apart from what nature offers. They are programmed to deal with the naturally occurring rainfall. The average ½ inch garden hose pumps about 9 gallons, or 34 litres per minute. So you can do the math as to how much water you will save by reducing the time spent watering plants that don’t actually need much water.

When you need to water plants here are a few tips that will make a difference in reducing your water consumption. To reduce evaporation rates, make sure you water plants when it is cooler, usually in the morning or late afternoon. Learn as much about plants and their water requirements as possible, so that you don’t unnecessarily over water them. Many plants and trees have deep roots that enable the plant to sustain themselves for several weeks without being watered. Another great way to reduce evaporation rates is to place a layer of mulch around trees, plants and vegetable gardens as this significantly reduces watering and evaporation rates.

Watering Lawns!

“When the well runs dry, we shall know the value of water.” – Benjamin Franklin

Much of suburbia takes great pride in growing and cultivating the perfect lawn. It is interesting to note that the lawn originated from Europe around the 1600’s. The cool mild, climate of Europe was conducive to grasses and various ground covers. The earliest lawns and grasses had practical applications and were used in and around medieval castles in Britain and France. The low ground cover provided guards and watchmen an unobstructed view of any approaching danger. The practical application of being able to ward off hostile enemies does not practically translate into the current western culture.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), reports that landscaping and the maintenance of lawn, account for approximately 30% of all water use in the United States. Considering that lawns serve no practical purpose and are purely aesthetic in nature, it seems extravagant that such a precious resource is wasted on a hangover from the 16th century. With the increasing cost of transport and rising food prices it seems like a perfect time to reduce our lawns and start investing and or propagating native plants, fruit and nut trees, vegetables and other edible plants. Trees have much deeper root systems so don’t need as much watering, plus have the advantage of providing nutrient dense foods. If you do need to have lawn then here are some handy tips for minimising the use of water.

  • Water your lawn only when needed, most lawns only need watering every 5 to 7 days.
  • Let the lawn grow. Having longer grass gives the lawn a chance to seed and protects the roots from drying out. A healthy lawn should be at least two to three inches in length.
  • Choose shrubs and ground covers instead of turf for hard-to-water areas such as steep slopes and isolated strips. Don’t water your lawn on windy days as most of the water blows away or evaporates.
  • To determine whether your lawn needs watering or not use this simple method as a test. Walk on the grass. If the lawn springs back up when you move, then it doesn’t need watering. If it flattens out and doesn’t rebound then the lawn needs some water.
  • Grasses, lawn and other organic materials are great for building soil composition and provide nutrients and fertiliser for gardens.

Some Practical Tips for Conserving Water Around the Home

There are hundreds if not thousands of different ways to save water, from efficient capture of rainwater in tanks, water saving devices, drip irrigation, through to simply being conscious about water usage. Here are a few basic tips to help save water around the home which may stimulate some ideas and help further your research on the subject.

Check for leaky faucets around home.    Use half flush system on toilets.    Take shorter showers.     Add less water to the bathtub.    If you have a pool put a cover on it when not in use.   Turn off water when brushing your teeth.     Water plants in the morning or evening.     Install a water tank.    Use a broom as opposed to a hose for cleaning outside surfaces.   Wash your car with a bucket.   Install faucet aerators.   Don’t defrost food using running water.  Wash up the old fashioned way by hand.   If using a dishwasher only use when it is completely fullInstall low flow shower heads.   Only wash clothes when the washing machine is full.   Reduce the amount of lawn in your backyard  Plant native plant species.    Spread a layer of organic mulch around plants. Grow your own food.   Eat less Meat.   Only purchase sustainably locally sourced products……

Remember every time you use water to be aware of how precious and scarce it actually is. In some countries people get by with as little as ten litres a day! So think about how you use water and the impacts of what you eat do and consumer have on this precious resource.

Article by Andrew Martin editor of onenesspublishing  and author of  One ~ A Survival Guide for the Future…

CoverONENOVSources

Excerpts from One ~ A Survival Guide for the Future…

(1) Earth’s water distribution”. United States Geological Survey.

(2) Scientific Facts on Water: State of the Resource”. GreenFacts Website.

(3) Gleeson, Tom; Wada, Yoshihide; Bierkens, Marc F. P.; van Beek, Ludovicus P. H. (9 August 2012). “Water balance of global aquifers revealed by groundwater footprint”. Nature (488): 197–200.

(4) http://www.earth-policy.org/images/uploads/book_files/pb4book.pdf

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Ex Air Force Officer Describes Four Types of Extraterrestrial Beings The Government Knows About

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A former member of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Richard Doty, tells all to researcher Dr. Steven Greer in a long interview.

  • Reflect On:

    With the reality of this phenomenon coming to light, how much disinformation has been spread by the 'powers that be' in order to twist the truth? Why?

Richard Doty is a retired Air Force Special investigations officer (AFSIO), and his job was to spread disinformation about the UFO subject during his time with the Air Force. Spreading disinformation about the reality of UFOs is no secret, and in Doty’s case, he admitted to infiltrating UFO circles along with his colleagues to feed ufologists and journalists lies and half truths so that they would never understand any real truth. This is something I believe is still occurring within the UFO community–multiple disinformation campaigns that are now perhaps more sophisticated as well as a number of frauds who are sharing their ‘experiences’ when they’ve really had done. In fact, it was decades ago when the very first Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Roscoe  Hillenkoetter, stated to The New York Times:

It is time for the truth to be brought out in open Congressional hearings. Behind the scenes, high ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense. To hide the facts, the Air Force has silenced its personnel.

 Several astronauts have been quite outspoken about UFOs, like Apollo 14 astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell and high ranking military/government personnel from around the world as well. On top of all of this, the simple fact that many people have had their own experiences has also sparked interest in the subject. There are also multiple videos that’ve been released by governments around the world, as a couple came from the Pentagon over the past few years via the To The Stars Academy. Here’s a picture that the Canadian Air Force released in the 60s. It’s no secret that UFOs have been a topic of concern, as academic publications, radar trackings, and millions of pages of documents have been released from multiple governments detailing numerous interesting encounters with these objects.

So where does the extraterrestrial question come into play? It comes from hundreds, if not thousands, of people like the ones mentioned above. Credible sources with verified backgrounds have alluded to the fact that these objects are indeed extraterrestrial, and that this can be verified.

Yes there have been crashed craft, and bodies recovered. – Dr. Edgar Mitchell (source)

Not long ago, a leaked document exposed notes taken by legendary scientist Dr. Eric Davis during a meeting he had with Admiral Thomas Ray Wilson, the former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, regarding extraterrestrial space crafts. You can read more about that document and access it here.

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This is why it’s always interesting to hear such people talk about actual extraterrestrial entities rather than ‘UFOs.’ UFOs are no longer taboo within the mainstream, but the idea that some of them are extraterrestrial still seems to be a touchy subject.

According to Richard Doty, in the interview below with Dr. Steven Greer, maker of the hit documentary that’s currently on Netflix called “Unacknowledged,” the US government is aware of at least four different extraterrestrial species that’ve visited this planet.

Dr. Greer is well-known for interviewing multiple people with interesting, verified backgrounds, especially from the military and intelligence agencies. He’s a major reason as to why the topic of UFOs has garnered so much attention.

According to Doty:

There were four types of crafts that they showed us, four types of extraterrestrials, and they never explained to us where they got the pictures of these extraterrestrials but there were actually pictures of these weird looking creatures that showed on the film that were extraterrestrials from some other location different from where the EBENs came from.

One was looking like an insect, had huge eyes, very large head, a small body. They had two different appendages on their arms, they had basically two hands on each arm. They had several joints in their legs, and they had a bubble type appendage in the front and a lump or something in the back, that was one of them. They were about the size of an average human.

The second one was a very tall thing, very very thin humanoid that had long arms. Arms reached down probably to its knees, they had regular hands. Their faces were very very thin. They were almost human looking, unless you really really study them and got real close to them. They didn’t have any hair, they had cat like eyes.

And then there was a third creature… It looked something like the EBEN but it was bigger, it had a bigger body. I found out later in a briefing that I had, in 1995, that that was a genetically engineered creature that the EBENs made… They knew it was genetically engineered, and I don’t know how, they didn’t ever tell us how.

The “EBENs,” which stands for extraterrestrial biological entities, Doty describes as “about four feet tall” and that they “didn’t appear to have any ears, they had an indentation for the nose. They had very big eyes. They had a very tight fitting suit, almost looked like they were nude, but they actually had a very thin but tight fitting suit on. No thumbs just four fingers, suction devices on their tips of their fingers. One of them had a head apparatus on it, maybe a helmet or some kind of an ear phone, or some type of device that they were communicating with the craft or with something else, and they found a number of different objects in the craft. They had a piece of what they thought was plexiglass that they kept for years before they figured out it was an energy device for the craft.”

Doty goes on to explain that multiple crafts have been shown to use zero-point energy–meaning they’ve found a way to extract energy from the vacuum of space.

Jack Kasher, Ph.D, a professor emeritus of physics at the University of Nebraska, once expressed there is another way, whether it’s wormholes or warping space, there’s got to be a way to generate energy so that you can pull it out of the vacuum, and the fact that they’re here shows us that they found a way.” (source)

You can watch the full interview below.

Doty is not the only one to claim that the global elite is aware of extraterrestrial beings. Paul Hellyer, who was the Canadian Minister of National Defense in the 1960s during the Cold War, claimed that “At least four known alien species have been visiting Earth for thousands of years.”

“They have different agendas… Nearly all are benign and benevolent, they want to help us, [but] there may be one or two species which do not… They come from various places. For a long while, I only knew about ones that came from different star systems… There are some in our star system, there are actually extraterrestrials who live on a planet called Andromedia, which is one of the moons of Saturn, and that there are others on Venus, and some on Mars, and that they may be interacting between themselves… because there is what is called a federation of these people, and they have rules.” – Paul Hellyer (source)

These people have nothing to gain but ridicule for speaking up about these things. And it’s not just witness testimony, it’s testimony that corroborates with many others in similar positions.

Lyn Buchanan, one of the STARGATE army remote viewers, claims, as multiple others within the program have, that he was tasked to find out information on extraterrestrial groups that were/are visiting the planet.

There are multiple other examples!

Confirming Doty’s Identity

As far as Doty’s identity, UFO researcher Alejandro Rojas wrote a piece for Huffington Post in 2014 linking some very interesting documents regarding one of Doty’s misinformation missions, one of which he also speaks about in the interview below. The Guardian has confirmed his identity, as do these videos. But what really did it for me was Hal Puthoff’s response to this well-known UFO researcher.

Hal Puthoff is an American physicist who earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University. He is the Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin. His research includes theoretical and experimental projects in electrodynamics, quantum physics, gravitation, cosmology, energy research and more. His professional background includes engineering work at General Electric and Sperry as well as three and a half years spent at the U.S. Department of Defence. He served various government agencies, the Executive Branch, and Congress as a consultant on leading-edge technologies and future technology trends. He has been awarded the DoD Certificate of Commendation for Outstanding Performance, post-doc appointments at Stanford University as Research Associate, and more.

He is currently part of the team at the To The Stars Academy and was also the co-founder of the US Government’s STARGATE program, which examined parapsychology.

You can view a number of his publications here.

Doty claimed that he worked with Puthoff on multiple occasions and also mentioned him in the interview below. I came across a tweet from well-known UFO researcher Grant Cameron who tweeted that Hal Puthoff confirmed Doty’s identity. Furthermore, another popular and well-known UFO researcher, James Iandoli, also asked Puthoff to comment on Doty’s claims, and he did.

Dr. Steven Greer does not interview anybody whose credentials he cannot verify, which is also a noteworthy point. Doty’s identify has been confirmed by many, something which is hard to do when you’ve held these types of positions within intelligence agencies.

It’s safe to say that Doty is who he claims to be. Whether or not he is telling the truth is up to you to decide.

The Takeaway

Again, the reality of UFOs performing maneuverers that defy our known laws of aerodynamics and travelling at speeds no known aircraft made by humans can travel at is firmly established thanks to whistleblower testimony, radar tracking data, videos, and photographs. The evidence is overwhelming. The extraterrestrial hypothesis as an explanation behind the UFO phenomenon seems to be the most plausible explanation, and in my opinion the most obvious. There are many questions to still be asked and answered, and many things still remain uncovered. This is a topic that leaves no aspect of humanity untouched.

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Julian Assange Tortured with Psychotropic Drug According To EX USAF Lieutenant Colonel

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Retired USAF lieutenant colonel Karen Kwiatkowski writes in an article posted at Lew Rockwell’s website that Julian Assange is receiving the same treatment as suspected terrorists while in captivity at “Her Majesty’s Prison Service” at Belmarsh. 

  • Reflect On:

    Why has the mainstream media been silent regarding the treatment of Julian Assange? Why do they just slander him and not tell the truth about what's really happening, and why he was taken?

JFK warned the citizenry about “an announced need for increased security” that would be “seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment.” Today, this is known as “national security,” and it’s a term used to justify unethical and enormous amounts of secrecy that do not protect the public, but protect those in power and their corporate, financial and political interests. Theodor Roosevelt said that, “JFK warned the citizenry about “an announced need for increased security” that would be “seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment.” Today, this is known as “national security,” and it’s a term used to justify unethical and enormous amounts of secrecy that do not protect the public, but protect those in power and their corporate, financial and political interests.”

This is exactly what Julian Assange did, and many others have and are doing, like independent alternative media outlets.

Transparency is what Julian Assange was all about, and the American empire, or more so the global empire, has been desperate to keep its secrets and prosecute anyone or anything that threatens their secrecy. That’s what this is all about. And they proved that with Chelsea Manning.

It’s not just people like Assange who are being demonized and hunted, it’s alternative media as well. The war on ‘fake news’ that’s been happening for the last little while has forced alternative media outlets that are presenting credible information to be deemed as ‘fake.’ Any media outlet who even questions a controversial issue has been made out to be ‘wrong’ or ‘fake.’ Who has been hired to do this work? One example is news browser extension NewsGuard, which promises to help readers pick out fake news. However, NewsGuard is funded and run by individuals tied to the CFR, Atlantic Council, and other prominent elite figures.

Below is a tweet from Australian journalist and BAFTA award-winning documentary filmmaker John Pilger, who made comments last month that shed some light on how Assange is being treated.

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Assange Tortured with Psychotropic Drug?

I recently came across a post written a few months ago by Karen Kwiatkowski.

The FBI, Pentagon, and CIA are “interviewing” Assange. Kwiatkowski writes:

Interviewing is the wrong word.  I’d like to say doctoring him, because it would be more accurate, except that word implies some care for a positive outcome.  Chemical Gina has her hands in this one, and we are being told that Assange is being “treated” with 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate, known as BZ. 

BZ is a powerful drug that produces hallucinations.

“Soldiers on BZ could remember only fragments of the experience afterward. As the drug wore off, and the subjects had trouble discerning what was real, many experienced anxiety, aggression, even terror,” the New Yorker reported. “…The drug’s effect lasted for days. At its peak, volunteers were totally cut off in their own minds, jolting from one fragmented existence to the next. They saw visions: Lilliputian baseball players competing on a tabletop diamond; animals or people or objects that materialized and vanished.”

She goes on:

It is difficult to know if the state is more sociopathic or more psychopathic.  What US government employees and/or contractors are currently doing to Julian Assange, and those who may have used Wikileaks as a journalistic avenue, may indicate it is the latter.  Torture, isolation, brutality, and the use of psychotropic drugs during interrogations and hiding this from the defendant’s own lawyers by denying them access — this is Lubyanka in the 1950s, not London and DC in 2019.

Allow me to get to the point.  The latest word I have received from England is as follows:

“[Julian Assange] is presently under close observation in prison hospital because he has suffered ‘severe transient psychotic episodes.’ My source(s) indicate these episodes occurred after two sessions of coercive interrogation at the hands of UK and US officials. The source(s) stated the HUMINT interrogators used psychotropic drugs in the course of the sessions.”

There are no words.  Nothing can be said.  2 plus 2 does equal 5.  The FBI is our own special Cheka.  The CIA Director’s hands are wet and her organization does not serve American values.  Rather than choosing to stay secretive for national security, the modern CIA must stay secretive in order to survive, because it has become functionally illegal.  Our president, who puts America first, is putting American values last, even as he tweets his concern for freedom of speech.

The agenda is to destroy Assange as a human being, and they may well succeed.  In doing this evil deed, in all of our names, America herself – whether we put her first, last, or somewhere in the middle – will have dug her own grave.

I came across an interesting post by activist Greg Bean. In it, he brings up Johannes Gutenberg, the man who first introduced the printing press to the world.

He writes about how that single act created a free press, which gave birth to the concept of freedom of speech, and how the two are “inextricably linked; printing is a form of speech.”

The broad circulation of information, including revolutionary ideas, in many languages, undermined Latin’s dominant status and the authority previously held by those trained in Latin, it transcended borders, threatened the power of political and religious authorities, increased literacy breaking the monopoly of the literate elite on education and learning, and bolstered the emerging middle class. It increased cultural self-awareness and cultural cohesion and undermined the authority of distant rulers and high priests.

WikiLeaks’ threat to the powerful was recognised and every effort was, and is, being made to criminalise anonymous leaking, which would be akin to criminalizing Gutenberg’s printing press, but there is not much chance this criminalisation will succeed.

I suggest you read the full piece as it makes some very interesting points.

The Takeaway

What you read here is no surprise, for a long time Julian Assange was allowed no visitors, and now, it’s quite clear why. Those who have had access to visits have made it quite clear that he is in very poor health. It’s unbelievable how the powers that be can simply do as they please, illegally, with no consequence, and their power lies within the human population and in those who have been subjected to perception manipulation, believing that Julian Assange should actually be locked up and done away with.

A great quote by Edward Bernays, who was known as the father of public relations, comes to mind here:

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. (source)

The ability for this powerful group to manipulate our minds is clearly fading, but we still have a lot of work to do.

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Ex-Google Engineer Fears AI ‘Killer Robots’ Could Perpetrate Unintended Mass Atrocities

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    An ex-Google software engineer warns of the industrial development of AI in terms of the creation of 'killer robots,' which would have autonomy in deciding who to kill without the safeguard of human intervention.

  • Reflect On:

    Can we see that events such as the potential creation of 'killer robots' ultimately stem from the projection of our collective consciousness, in a way that we as awakened individuals are empowered to change course?

We have entered a time in our history in which advanced technologies based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) may become increasingly prone to unintended actions that threaten the safety and autonomy of human beings. And those of us who believe in the safety and autonomy of human beings–trust me, most at the top of the current power pyramid don’t need to become increasingly aware and vigilant of this growing threat.

The arguments for and against the unfettered development of AI and its integration into military capabilities are as follows: those in favor of the development of AI simply point to the increased efficiency and accuracy bestowed by AI applications. However, their unrestrained zeal tends to be based on a rather naive (or feigned) trust in government, corporations and military intelligence to police themselves to ensure that AI is not unleashed into the world in any way that is harmful to human individuals. The other side of the argument grounds its fundamental mistrust in current AI development on the well-documented notion that in fact our current corporate, governmental and military leaders each operate based on their own narrow agenda that give little regard for the safety and autonomy of human beings.

Nobody is arguing against the development of Artificial Intelligence as such, for application in ways that will clearly and incontestably benefit humanity. However, as always, the big money seems to be made available in support of WAR, of one group of humans having dominance and supremacy over another, rather than for applications that will benefit all of humanity and actually help to foster peace on the planet.

Ex-Google Engineer Speaks Out

Perhaps there is no way to fully prevent militaries from doing research into AI enhancements to their applications. However there seems to be one clear line of demarcation that many feel should not be crossed: giving AI programs sole authority to determine if a given individual or group of human beings should be killed.

Software engineer Laura Nolan resigned from Google last year in protest after being sent to work in 2017 on Project Maven, a project used to dramatically enhance US military drone technology, and put much more of the onus on AI to determine who and what should be bombed or shot at. She felt that her work would push forward a dangerous capability. She could see that the ability to convert military drones, for instance into autonomous non-human guided weapons, “is just a software problem these days and one that can be relatively easily solved.”

Through the protestations and resignations of brave people like Laura Nolan, Google allowed the Project Maven contract to lapse in March this year after more than 3,000 of its employees signed a petition in protest against the company’s involvement. It should be indicative to all of us that these big corporate giants do not make ethical decisions on their own, since they are fundamentally amoral, and continue to require concerned human beings to speak up and take actions in order for humanity’s interests to be considered.

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Killer Robots

Since resigning, Nolan has continued her activism amidst news about the development of “killer robots,” AI machines designed to operate autonomously on the battlefield with the capacity to kill large swaths of enemy combatants. She has called for all AI killing machines not operated by humans to be banned. She joined the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots and has briefed UN diplomats in New York and Geneva over the dangers posed by autonomous weapons.

Unlike drones, which are controlled by military teams often thousands of miles away from where the flying weapon is being deployed, Nolan said killer robots have the potential to do “calamitous things that they were not originally programmed for”:

The likelihood of a disaster is in proportion to how many of these machines will be in a particular area at once. What you are looking at are possible atrocities and unlawful killings even under laws of warfare, especially if hundreds or thousands of these machines are deployed.

There could be large-scale accidents because these things will start to behave in unexpected ways. Which is why any advanced weapons systems should be subject to meaningful human control, otherwise they have to be banned because they are far too unpredictable and dangerous. (source)

Pledge From AI Researchers?

Certainly we see mainstream headlines like ‘Top AI researchers say they won’t make killer robots‘ where pledges have reportedly been made:

More than 2,600 AI researchers and engineers have signed a pledge to never create autonomous killer robots, published today by the Future of Life Institute. Signees include Elon Musk, Alphabet’s DeepMind co-founders Mustafa Suleyman, Demis Hassabis, and Shane Legg, as well as Google’s Jeff Dean, and the University of Montreal’s Yoshua Bengio.

However this does not mean that we can desert our posts and trust that corporations that could make billions of dollars from contracts to advance such automated applications will decline to pursue them if they thought they could get away with it. Indeed, it is the watchful eyes and powerful words of conscious people that has so far prevented this from occurring.

The Takeaway

Events in our world such as the emergence of autonomous ‘killer robots’ are ominous and foreboding, but we need not shrink away from this kind of news in a state of fear and resignation. If we can see, in the bigger picture, that it is ultimately a projection of our collective consciousness that brings these events into being, then we can take these events to be a trigger for each of us to determine exactly what kind of world we want to live in going forward, and have that determination clearly reflected in our thoughts, words, and actions. In this way, we participate in the larger awakening process and help to move humanity forward in the transition to a world of greater peace and harmony.

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