Will Smart Machine Create a World without Work?

Paul Wiseman and Bernard Condon, The Associated Press, Washington | World | Fri, January 25 2013, 12:22 PM

They seem right out of a Hollywood fantasy, and they are: Cars that drive themselves have appeared in movies like “I, Robot” and the television show “Knight Rider.”

Now, three years after Google invented one, automated cars could be on their way to a freeway near you. In the US, California and other states are rewriting the rules of the road to make way for driverless cars. Just one problem: What happens to the millions of people who make a living driving cars and trucks —jobs that always have seemed sheltered from the onslaught of technology?

“All those jobs are going to disappear in the next 25 years,” predicts Moshe Vardi, a computer scientist at Rice University in Houston. “Driving by people will look quaint; it will look like a horse and buggy.”

If automation can unseat bus drivers, urban deliverymen, long-haul truckers, even cabbies, is any job safe?

Vardi poses an equally scary question: “Are we prepared for an economy in which 50 percent of people aren’t working?”
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Pakar : Tomcat tidak berbahaya bagi manusia

Bogor: Pakar entomologi (ilmu tentang serangga) Departemen Proteksi Tanaman, Fakultas Pertanian, Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB) Aunu Rauf, mengatakan serangga tomcat tidak berbahaya bagi manusia. “Serangga tomcat ini lebih banyak manfaatnya dari pada mudarotnya. Karena dia merupakan sahabat manusia dalam mengendalikan hama wereng coklat,” kata Rauf saat ditemui di kediamannya di Bogor Baru Kota Bogor, Selasa (20/3) kemarin. Dia mengatakan, serangga tersebut tidak akan menyerang manusia selama dirinya tidak diganggu. Karena serangga tersebut akan mengeluarkan racunnya bila ia merasa terancam.

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Why is Biodiversity Important?

Biodiversity boosts ecosystem productivity where each species, no matter how small, all have an important role to play.

For example,

And so, while we dominate this planet, we still need to preserve the diversity in wildlife.

A healthy biodiversity offers many natural services

Ecosystems such as the Amazon rainforest are rich in diversity. Deforestation threatens many species such as the giant leaf frog, shown here. (Images source: Wikipedia)

A healthy biodiversity provides a number of natural services for everyone:

  • Ecosystem services, such as
    • Protection of water resources
    • Soils formation and protection
    • Nutrient storage and recycling
    • Pollution breakdown and absorption
    • Contribution to climate stability
    • Maintenance of ecosystems
    • Recovery from unpredictable events
  • Biological resources, such as
    • Food
    • Medicinal resources and pharmaceutical drugs
    • Wood products
    • Ornamental plants
    • Breeding stocks, population reservoirs
    • Future resources
    • Diversity in genes, species and ecosystems
  • Social benefits, such as
    • Research, education and monitoring
    • Recreation and tourism
    • Cultural values

That is quite a lot of services we get for free! Continue reading

Biodiversity Conservation in terrestrial, marine and aquatic environments.

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I have found many organizations in the world including the government and non-government agencies that providing some information about biodiversity conservation in terrestrial, marine and aquatic environments. Some of them have the same needs or the same point of view to conserve what they really love about, such as the aquatic warbler.

The Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola is the rarest and the only globally threatened passerine bird found in mainland Europe. The species is classified as Vulnerable at global level and is listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. At the European level it is classified as Endangered. It is also included into Annex I of the EU Wild Birds Directive, in Appendix II of the Bern Convention and in Appendix I of the Bonn Convention.

The Aquatic Warbler regularly breeds in Belarus, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine (irregularly in Russia and Latvia), with major populations in Belarus, Ukraine, and Poland. The breeding distribution is fragmented because of habitat constraints. The species became extinct in Western Europe during the 20th century and has declined dramatically in central Europe. It formerly bred in France, Belgium, Netherlands, former West Germany, former Czechoslovakia, former Yugoslavia, Austria and Italy. Continue reading