Valuing our time together

by Anthony D. DiBiase on December 12, 2018

Whether or not you believe the idiocracy[1] (sorry state of affairs wherein citizens are mere sheeple) has arrived, we must bolster each other’s strengths for the long run. I’m a humanist among a growing sea of dataists[2] (all decisions data-driven). Allowing billionaire philanthropists to sort the challenges of individual citizens is misguided; we need to evolve our capitalist & democratic infrastructure to be effective & efficient in the 21st century & beyond[3] nadir, Girandadis, To steward our future we must ask & answer tough questions; these are sprinkled throughout this essay as challenges for the reader.Do you value your human agency – one that decides timely & wisely? Have you wondered how to unite people in this country of extremes? How can we unplug our tech AND be farsighted with strong-willed positive mental attitude – aka PMA? The notion of a shared set of values centered on the freedoms our forefathers proposed in the US Constitution starts the conversation. Previous writings on best practices, principles & habits – e.g. the Covey series of “best habits,” also guide our future. In my mind & with an emphasis on community (versus each individual – e.g. authenticity as a value), freedom, integrity, privacy, healthcare, nutrition, spiritual development, and lifelong learning are key values. Our unity depends on such a shared set of core values. Can you list your core values (NOT your corporation’s)?

Freedom – specifically personal, economic, political[4] – inspires any country’s future (and always has for America). Societies that value freedom benefit from empowered citizens who fund & engage in business, nurture & deepen cultures, innovate & scrutinize change, and elect visionary leaders. US-style freedom has demanded we both challenge what’s possible and deliver on high expectations. When we form teams, set high expectations & liberate members to share, we improve the likelihood of superior quality. How will the notion of freedom change [by your actions & choices] in the course of your life? Freedom change you?

Integrity enables trust. Transparency maintains trust. Humane societies rely on trust, first to build resilient infrastructure, then to prosper. Our guardians form our individual understanding of integrity; parent imprints virtues in child. The clarity & fidelity of online media needs metrics & standards analogous to those used by audiophiles – e.g. THD & SNR of sound reproduction. Do we have similar metrics to scrutinize quality & integrity of online media? Where is the true “signal”? Who distorts it & how? Moreover, the integrity of our human relationships deserves much more time & energy. Are we scrutinizing the companies who provide essential products & services [on the internet] thoroughly & often? And when we expose lies & deception, how do we act? Which people in your life have demonstrated the highest integrity? How have you built on their archetype?

Privacy is also essential to maintain trust (and sanity). The sale of your location data (e.g. by wireless carriers) not only exploits your privacy, it couldcjeopardize your safety. The accelerated scale of orchestrated, malicious breaches of networked computer systems (& thus privacy, esp. online) loom like an exploding star – without security, the white heat of organized & other crime melts any illusion of order & law. Security & privacy must be top priorities in the architecture of systems & processes we interact with. Where are the “2 guys in the Palo Alto garage” to disrupt the hyperscalers[5] exploiting our “password-protected” personal data? Mobile devices in the US not only default to “share”, they now attempt to control you based on recording your conversations (without making your voice eavesdropping explicit!)[6]. Our online history persists even after we try to “delete” it & can be a negative bias out of our control[7]. Ad money surreptitiously rules dictator-style across America – not so much these days in China where new models collect revenue in creative ways from mobile apps[8]. We must grow up – again – even if this means hyperscalers must be shamed into finding legitimate business models, i.e. ones providing products & services without violating our right to privacy & freedoms in the US Constitution[9]. This situation [citizens as the hyperscalers’ bitch] must change. Citizens, behead the idiocracy & assert your right to privacy! You can start with a thoughtful letter to your Congress[wo]man.

Healthcare – what most societies consider a basic human right – is largely a capitalist venture in the US & increasingly challenges government at all levels. GDPR takes us back to privacy – baseline tech needs to protect EHR/EMR & other biodata; no existing examples of electronic systems that actually accomplish this over entire lifetimes. Prudent use of tech, can significantly lower healthcare costs. The federal government under the current administration will continue to strip services for at least the next 2 years (yes, giving a huge tax break to corporations raises our deficit, but bald-faced lies telling us we can’t spend on healthcare – destroying trust & the antithesis of “leadership”[10]). The Trump administration’s continued attempts to gut the Affordable Care Act[11] underscores the utter moral & ethical piracy at hand. Thus, the importance of experiments at the state & local government levels cannot be overstated. State governments are forging ahead to improve healthcare services despite federal dysfunction. Though a single-payer system would have many benefits – e.g. sharing far more genomic research data, costs of transitioning from the current multi-payer to a single-payer system are prohibitive, even at the state level[12]. While working for Boston Children’s Hospital during the early oughties, funding [blood] stem cell research under the latter Bush presidency taught us to augment our efforts – both private & federal; the current administration reminds us to think long-term-creative & consider new options. Every citizen deserves affordable healthcare – as a basic right. We already have hybrid healthcare – private & federal, so let’s support efforts to ensure healthcare for all citizens. How well does your current healthcare arrangement work? What are major obstacles? Do you believe in a single-payer system as a way to lower costs?

Improving nutrition is a no-brainer – turn eating healthy foods into a benefit. Insert nutrition into healthcare – e.g. prescribe fresh produce in the medical clinic[13]. Responsible corporations – please replace sugar- & unhealthy fat-laden, low-priced food & drink with healthier products[14]. By “healthier”, I mean low to no processing, fresh produce, whole grains. Buying locally sourced foods also saves energy & resources. Our microbiomes – esp. those in the lower intestines, need fiber to stay balanced & intact. Higher quality on the shelves means healthier citizens, and the possibility of lowering healthcare costs. Citizens – strive to make daily meals from only fresh & unprocessed foods! Would the elimination of low-cost, highly processed foods from your local grocers affect you? How many grams of [sugar, saturated fats] do you consume daily?

Our society needs to nourish & cultivate spirituality (not implying religious beliefs here). Replacing – at least in part – the current focus on money & outcompeting each other with solidarity – e.g. “we’re in this together” attitude, and the goal of sharing resources for all will help scale society as a whole. The trend of sharing IP as open [software] infrastructure has accelerated innovation[15]. An attitude that shares wealth & good fortune fortifies life.  Our mobile devices addict us while baiting with divisive media [often from foreign trolls].  Mixed reality devices with richer user experiences[16] will soon be available will exacerbate this addiction. Break the addiction now: grow a window herb garden in your kitchen, walk your ‘hoods & woods, barter with a friend, share an unused object at your town Recycling center/dump, buy lunch for a personal hero you admire, borrow books from your local library, insist on quality customer service from living humans – and MANY more. What have you done to support some of your community’s daily struggles? Of other life that supports us? As individuals, practicing meditation, reflection/prayer, journaling & honoring [family] traditions deepen & purify our connections. As communities, nurturing & caring for those in need expands compassion & extends patience across all generations.

We learn our entire lives in multiple modes – e.g. curious, playful & purposed; our livelihoods depend on rapid assimilation of new data & ideas. Practicing & continuous improvement of our skillsets strengthens our workforce & broadens our potential productivity. We must each recognize, focus on, and communicate our best strengths, as well as discover bridges to new skills the market requires. Curiosity & human networks play a vital role in our career development. As tech marketers continue to hypecycle[17] tools, our goal should be long-term relationships with people and continuous flows of learning. A 10-plus-year continuous set of projects with little or no breaks spent transitioning between projects or gigs is an example of this flow. Farsighted intent must first be cultivated. In my own case, watching my family members suffer chemo treatments circa 2000 catalyzed my transition into computational biology and created a source of intent. As I delivered projects & products, serving the life sciences community & improving human health has become a lasting purpose. Have you developed your [organization’s] culture & values well enough to last thru constant change at all levels from within & in your market? What are the key challenges you face & what communities can assist? How will you train your team to add more value?

As the human body needs a strong “core” in a musculoskeletal sense, so too a thriving society needs a common set of core values. This essay aims to motivate a stronger sense of unity in our society using a shared set of core values. Clearly, the authors life experiences have biased the core values presented above; please share your wisdom in the comments below. Which of the core values discussed here (freedom, integrity, privacy, healthcare, nutrition, spiritual development, and lifelong learning) resonates most with you? Which of your core values are missing from this list? Let’s focus our PMA on what we CAN control. Do you share a common set of values at work? At home? How do core values change among the communities you’re involved in? What values are most lacking in your life? Embrace change with proactive roles in debates, dialogs, products & services rolling out in the near future; stay focused on scrutinizing “progress” through the lens of human values.

Additional Notes:

Technology amplifies human values. We must first establish the right set of shared values in order to maximize the potential benefits of tech. Artificial intelligence (aka AI; yeah, we’re in it’s third wave & counting) serves as a great example of a recent hypecycle tech from marketers. AI’s latest parade of semantics redresses algorithms & statistical methods centuries old – today’s twist adds serious compute power driving their capability to all our devices. Stay tuned for a future post to review this year’s AI World conference at Boston WTC earlier this month. The next wave of decision automation (wipe that barcode off your forehead!) impacts all[18]. What’s your opinion of how algorithms & automated decision processes will impact your future?

About three weeks ago I viewed a video for George Gilder’s latest book “Life after Google” on the Hoover series “Uncommon Knowledge” hosted by Peter Robinson. For some strange reason (‘cause hurt hyperscaler ad revenues perhaps?), the video is no longer accessible[19]. You can find another sell by Gilder here though I prefer the interview with Robinson.

Though capitalism & democracy have failed to scale for the benefit of all citizens, hybrid systems (augmenting the “creative destruction” espoused by corporations) can help us break complex challenges into more manageable, affordable milestones[20].

NOAA & NASA data strongly suggest the “human ecosystem” is the main driver for climate change; population control & more efficient use of natural resources at the scale of billions of humans is essential to our future[21].

This year’s best science reads – search “2018 best science books” in your fav engine – brim with climate change, deep observations & curious attempts to expose truth at the edges of human understanding. We will continue to rise above misguided federal leadership to discover farsighted localized solutions for our communities[22].

Consider poetry as a source to pray, reflect & learn – search “2018 best poetry books” in your fav engine.

Organized crime sells millions of credit cards back to banks daily as identity theft & malicious, large-scale infotheft accelerates. Your electronic health records are far more valuable & also being sold.

  11. Anyone who labels it “ObamaCare” emphasizes their political bias.