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“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” - Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Existential Crisis

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PRECRIME: PREDICTIVE

POLICING PROGRAM

AIMS TO PINPOINT

THOSE MOST LIKELY

TO COMMIT CRIMES

Published: September 26, 2015
 

SOURCE: NY TIMES

 

...

The strategy, known as predictive policing, combines elements of traditional policing, like increased attention to crime “hot spots” and close monitoring of recent parolees. But it often also uses other data, including information about friendships, social media activity and drug use, to identify “hot people” and aid the authorities in forecasting crime.

The program here has been named the Kansas City No Violence Alliance, or KC NoVA. And the message on that June night to Mr. Brown and the others was simple: The next time they, or anyone in their crews, commit a violent act, the police will come after everyone in the group for whatever offense they can make stick, no matter how petty.

Such was the case for Mario Glenn, a 28-year-old with a criminal history that includes drug trafficking and assault. After he attended a program meeting, called a call-in, last year, he was caught during a police sting to take down a group implicated in several homicides. Mr. Glenn robbed a confidential informer trying to buy a gun from him, the police said. He has been convicted, and prosecutors are now seeking the maximum 30-year prison sentence.

“We have a moral reason to do a better job at addressing violence in this community,” said Jean Peters Baker, the prosecutor for Jackson County, which includes Kansas City. “I don’t know that this will work, but we need to try.”

The use of computer models by local law enforcement agencies to forecast crime is part of a larger trend by governments and corporations that are increasingly turning to predictive analytics and data mining in looking at behaviors. Typically financed by the federal government, the strategy is being used by dozens of police departments — including Los Angeles, Miami and Nashville — and district attorneys’ offices in Manhattan and Philadelphia.{jcomments on}

 

 

There are contless films which touch upon  and  explore existential concepts.  It seems many people are interested in that  paradox  of reason which takes  the individual from their everyday  world  into one  which they are  uncertain  of  or  is simply  absurd.  The resulting human  reaction to such circumstances  is often  what facinates  the most.  Below are  lists of some of the more prominent  films. 

 

 

20 EXISTENTIAL FILMS FROM TASTE OF CINEMA

 

 LIST OF 10 EXISTENTIAL FILMS FROM EXISTENTIALISM INFO

 

Irrational Man review: Woody

 

Allen's philosophy lesson is no head

 

trip

 

 

2/5stars

    

Joaquin Phoenix plays a jaded professor, Emma Stone his young flirting buddy in another of the director’s underpowered satires about the fallacy of intellect

By  Peter Bradshaw  - The  Guardian

Woody Allen’sIrrational Manis another of the amiable but forgettable and underpowered jeux d’espritthat he produces with an almost somnambulist consistency and persistence. It’s a tongue-in-cheek mystery which is neither quite scary and serious enough to be suspenseful, nor witty or ironic enough to count as a comedy.

The idea is inspired by Dostoyevsky and Patricia Highsmith.Joaquin Phoenixplays Abe Lucas, a sketchily imagined philosophy professor with a reputation as a devilishly handsome wild man. He is a charismatic lecturer and a great seducer of women, both faculty members and students (the movie is notionally set in the present, but seems to come from a pre-90s age in which this latter campus activity was not rigorously policed and frowned upon). He is an alcoholic and depressive, deeply disenchanted with the meaning and usefulness of philosophy and indeed all cerebral activity and greatly disconcerts his starstruck colleagues with his cynicism. (The movie incidentally rather resembles Marc Lawrence’s comedy The Rewrite, with Hugh Grant as the former hotshot screenwriter forced to earn money by teaching in a provincial college.)

Soon, Abe begins an affair with science lecturer Rita (Parker Posey) and begins to flirt with a brilliant student Jill (Emma Stone) — who, with rather un-ironic absurdity, is also a brilliant pianist. The older woman’s relationship is clearly unimportant compared to the younger. But nothing raises Abe’s saturnine spirits until he just happens to overhear a woman tearfully complaining that a corrupt and vengeful judge intends to find against her in a custody case and ruin her life. It is a eureka moment for Abe: he could murder this judge, no-one could possibly suspect him and this bold act would be doing more real good than a thousand flatulent and meaningless philosophy papers on Kierkegaard. Murder is the answer.

There are one or two nice moments, and some clunkingly improbable and lazily written plot twists, for which the narrative path has been notionally cleared with stitchback references early in the script. They really should either have had more basic plausibility, more genuine hair-raising excitement, or been cleared for us as overtly comic and absurd. Emma Stone, Joaquin Phoenix and Parker Posey, mosey unconcernedly through a story that never quite grabs you. Abe is supposed to have an edge of melancholy because of a friend of his who died in Iraq — but this side to his personality is never satisfactorily illustrated or confirmed in the drama. There is much talk of leaving the US and going to “Spain” or, with another character, going to “London” and then studying at “Oxford”, places that seem as blandly unreal by repute as the small American town in which the action is unfolding. There is a nice finale, which raises a little laugh, or a smile at any rate, at something that isn’t quite ingenuity, more a sort of effrontery.Woody Allen has touched upon the notion of guilt before, in his heavy-going London drama Match Point, but most importantly in his wonderful Crimes And Misdemeanors, in which the crime is genuinely shocking. Irrational Man is a good idea, a sketch for a movie, but the movie itself is unrealised.{jcomments on}

Islamic State conflict: Two Britons killed in RAF Syria strike

From BBC  News 7/9/15

Two British Islamic State jihadists who died in Syria were killed by an RAF drone strike, David Cameron has said.

Cardiff-born Reyaad Khan, 21, and Ruhul Amin, from Aberdeen, died last month in Raqqa, alongside another fighter, in the first targeted UK drone attack on a British citizen, Mr Cameron told MPs.

Khan - the target - had been plotting "barbaric" attacks on UK soil, he said.

The "act of self defence" was lawful, despite MPs previously ruling out UK military action in Syria, the PM said.

Khan was killed in a precision strike on 21 August by a remotely piloted aircraft, "after meticulous planning", while he was travelling in a vehicle.

Another British national, Junaid Hussain, 21 and from Birmingham, was killed in a separate air strike by US forces in Raqqa on 24 August.

Both Khan and Hussain had been involved in actively recruiting IS "sympathisers" and plotting to attack "high-profile public commemorations" taking place in the UK this summer, the prime minister said.

The attorney general had been consulted and agreed there was a "clear legal basis" for the strike on Khan, Mr Cameron added.

Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman urged the government to publish the legal advice.

Downing Street said it was a "long-standing convention that we do not publish advice of the law officers".

'Directing murder'

Two years ago MPs rejected possible UK military action in Syria, but last September approved British participation in air strikes against IS targets in Iraq only.

However, officials said the UK would "act immediately [in Syria] and explain to Parliament afterwards" if there was "a critical British national interest at stake".

The strike on Khan was "the first time in modern times that a British asset has been used to conduct a strike in a country where we're not involved in a war", the PM confirmed.

"Of course Britain has used remotely piloted aircraft in Iraq and Afghanistan but this is a new departure and that's why I thought it important to come to the House and explain why I think it is necessary and justified."

Mr Cameron told MPs: "My first duty as prime minister is to keep the British people safe."

In reference to Khan, he added: "There was a terrorist directing murder on our streets and no other means to stop him.

"This government does not for one moment take these decisions lightly.

"But I am not prepared to stand here in the aftermath of a terrorist attack on our streets and have to explain to the House why I did not take the chance to prevent it when I could have done."

                                                                                                           

                   

David Cameron faces legal challenge over drone attack that killed two British Isis fighters in Syria

From The Independent

Green party politicians join forces with human rights charity Reprieve to start judicial review process against decision to kill targets in Syria

 

David Cameron is facing a legal challenge over his decision to authorise drone attacks that killed two British Isis fighters in Syria last month.

The Prime Minister defended the attack – the first time an RAF strike has targeted a British citizen in a foreign country – insisting it was “entirely lawful” and said the Government was “exercising Britain’s inherent right in self-defence”.

But the Green party’s MP Caroline Lucas and peer Baroness Jones have joined with human rights charity Reprieve and law firm Leigh Day to start the process of a judicial review over the Government’s “targeted killing” of people in countries where Britain is not at war.

In a Letter Before Action (LBA) they have claimed they argue that the Prime Minister either failed to formulate a “targeted killing policy” or failed to publish it , which they claim are both positions that are illegal under domestic and international law.

The Green party claims that a “combination of faulty intelligence and a lack of safeguards has seen hundreds of civilians killed” by US drone attacks in Pakistan and Yemen and fear the RAF attack in Raqqa last month will create a precedent for future secret killings without seeking parliamentary approval.

The Coalition failed to win parliamentary backing for airstrikes against President Assad’s regime in 2013 and since then the situation has complicated further, with Isis taking control of large swathes of northern Syria.

It has led to what ministers have described as the “absurd” situation where Britain is carrying out airstrikes on the jihadi terrorist organisation in Iraq but not Syria. Mr Cameron has signalled his intention to seek another parliamentary vote to approve strikes in Syria, but the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader could thwart the move.

He wants to see a diplomatic drive instead of airstrikes, bringing together a coalition of neighbouring countries, Russia, the US and the EU to look for a political solution to the conflict.

Mr Corbyn has also questioned the legal basis for the RAF strikes, which killed Cardiff-born Reyaad Khan and Ruhul Amin, from Aberdeen, on August 21.

Mr Cameron announced the attack in a statement to MPs in the House of Commons earlier this month, but has refused to disclose what evidence led him to give the go-ahead.

It has since emerged that he has approved a secret hit-list of around 10 Isis fighters who the RAF can take out at a moment’s notice if the opportunity arises.

 

{jcomments on}

The  Robot  Revolution  

 

Tom Cheshire

Technology Correspndent

 

Article published  on  3/9/15

This article by Sky News discusses  the Robot Revolution and how robots will transform our economy, society and personal lives.

For some it’s unsettling: robots will take our jobs, lead to greater inequality and perhaps, if they become smarter than humans (what scientists call super-intelligent) displacing us as the dominant force on the planet.

According to a Sky News survey,more than half of us think the Government should protect jobs from being taken by robots, and most of us fear robots could eventually wipe out humanity. Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking have warned of these dangers.

Grim, but the other future is a lot more optimistic: one where robots relieve us of drudgery, take care of us at home and make us much more productive as a society: a new industrial revolution and a second machine age.

In this version, machines becoming super-intelligent is the best thing to happen to humanity. Exponentially smarter than us, they will come up with innovations we cannot dream of - whether that’s nano-robots that can repair individual cells in our body, allowing us to live forever, or eventually uploading our minds to the internet, and existing as purely digital beings.

Both these futures are rather old, in fact.

In 1965, John Good, a pioneering computer scientist, wrote that a super-intelligent machines would be humanity’s "last invention". Two years later, the hippie poet Richard Brautigan dreamed of "a cybernetic ecology where we are free from our labours … and all watched over by machines of loving grace".

What’s new is the huge advances made in robotics and artificial intelligence, especially over the last 15 years. Driverless cars, unmanned aerial vehicles, humanoid bipedal robots, speech recognition - even your Amazon recommendations - are all powered by AI and are only just the beginning. 

Robot Revolution is our attempt to make sense of it - where we are now, and where we are going. We’ve been around the world to see the most interesting robots and speak to the most interesting researchers. 

Our specialist correspondents are looking at the huge changes being wrought in their fields: Afua Hirsch on economy, Thomas Moore on the impact of robots on health, Lucy Cotter on the future of entertainment and Ed Conway on the data behind the revolution.

Online and on mobile we’re offering closer takes on the robots themselves, as well as an interactive look at how you might be improved (or not) if you were a robot.

Another reason Robot Future didn’t work as a title is because the future is actually happening right now.

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