The Future of Work and Death

In this provocative documentary, worldwide experts in the fields of futurology, anthropology, neuroscience and philosophy consider the impact of technological advances on the two certainties of human life: work and death. Charting human developments from early man, past the Industrial Revolution, to the digital age and beyond, ‘The Future of Work & Death’ looks at the astonishing exponential rate at which mankind creates technologies to ease the process of living. As we embark on the next phase of our ‘advancement’ with automation and artificial intelligence driving the transformation from man to machine, the film gives a shockingly realistic look into the future of human life.

Work

Excluding those who are born into affluence or go through the welfare system, most of us have had to work to survive… but that’s about to change. Artificial intelligence is already encroaching on many aspects of the working world. There have been some major advancements in robotics, with General Motors and Uber ready to introduce a fleet of driverless cars by 2019 and AI that can diagnose heart disease by using an image of your retina. Job obsolescence is coming whether we like it or not. How will we adapt to the changes? The average person spends 65% of their waking life at work. Does working a paid job absorb and degrade the mind? Will technological unemployment be a positive thing?

Death

In recent years, there have been a number of scientific breakthroughs in our understanding of ageing. Technologically, it is possible that we could replicate consciousness in the future, effectively living forever. The documentary addresses our relationship with death and whether it is possible to have control over our lives and essentially elect our time of death, as opposed to wait for it to come to us.

The documentary features Dr Ian Pearson, Futurologist, Prof Murray Shanahan, Cognitive Roboticist, Dr Peter Cochrane, Futurist & Entrepreneur, David Pearce, Philosopher, as well as other prominent researchers.

Watch the trailer below:

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How To Train Your Monkey Mind

monkey mind

Our inner voice can sometimes be our worst enemy. We are always thinking about something or other… the errands we need to run, the painful aspects of our past, the belief that we are not good enough, as well as feeling fearful about what the future holds. With our minds in constant motion it can be pretty difficult to slow down, concentrate and just be. Furthermore, such negative thoughts can also affect our mood, stifling creativity and preventing us from moving forward with our passions.

Mingyur Rinpoche is a Tibetan buddhist master who teaches throughout the world. In this short video he provides tips and tricks to help train the monkey mind.

“What I call monkey mind… mind is chattering yada yada. The monkey mind is giving you opinion. So whether you listen to opinion or not is up to you, right?” Mingyur says. “Through meditation what we do is… we have to make friends with the monkey mind.”

Mingyur suggests that we should be aware of our breathing. Being present in the here and now is a simple habit that will allow you to meditate anywhere and at anytime. Yes, that even means while you are walking, while you are having coffee or even when you are in a meeting.

Training your monkey mind will:

  • Give you clarity of mind.
  • Allow you to focus on the present and on the task at hand.
  • Improve the quality of your sleep.
  • Increase your sense of calm and of well-being.
  • Make you happier.

Remember, you are in control of how you think and feel so don’t let your monkey mind run wild. Listen to the mental chatter and try and understand why it is upset, fearful or anxious. Is it trying to remind you of something that needs to be done? Is it fearful about the future? Is it upset about the past? Once you know what is causing your monkey mind to be so erratic, you can take the necessary steps to calm it down.

 

Chinese Scientists Successfully Clone Monkeys. Are We Next?

Using a method known as somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience in Shanghai have successfully cloned monkeys.

Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua are a pair of identical long-tailed macaques that were recently born in China. However, they are not your average set of twins, instead they are the product of a groundbreaking experiment. They were born two weeks apart and are both clones of the same donor culture of fetal monkey cells.

It is important to note that (technically) this is not the first time that monkeys have been cloned. In 1999, researchers ‘cloned’ a rhesus macaque by splitting a macaque embryo into multiple parts. However, this is the first time that the SCNT method has been used to clone primates.

“We tried several different methods but only one worked,” Qiang Sun, senior author of the study and Director of the Nonhuman Primate Research Facility at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience, says. “There was much failure before we found a way to successfully clone a monkey.” He added: “You can produce cloned monkeys with the same genetic background except the gene you manipulated. This will generate real models not just for genetically based brain diseases, but also cancer, immune or metabolic disorders, and allow us to test the efficacy of the drugs for these conditions before clinical use.”

This is certainly a controversial milestone, as the SCNT method, in theory, could also be used to clone humans. So, are we next? “There is now no barrier for cloning primate species, thus cloning humans is closer to reality,” Mu-ming Poo, co-author of the research and director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Neuroscience, explains. “However, our research purpose is entirely for producing non-human primate models for human diseases; we absolutely have no intention, and society will not permit, this work to be extended to humans.”

Credit: Truth Theory

Stop Going Broke Trying To Impress People

going broke“Broke has nothing to do with how much you make. It has to do with how much you keep.” – Malcolm “MJ” Harris

Do you have a relatively good income but still end up with little to no money at the end of the month? Well, in order to build wealth, it is vital that you learn to minimise your expenses. Why? Because the wealthiest people tend to be the ones that spend the least. Here are five ways you can make smarter money choices and increase your long-term financial security:

Pay Yourself First

A lot of people don’t make savings a priority. If you want to maximise your wealth, you will need to get into the habit of paying yourself first. This means that you put a portion of each paycheck into a savings account before you divvy up the rest to cover expenses. If you are able to do this month after month, you will get ahead financially and your future self with thank you for it.

Distinguish Wants From Needs

“People, generally speaking, have a hard time differentiating wants and needs,” explains Grayson Bell, a personal financial blogger at Debt Roundup. If you want to stop going broke, it is important that you learn to distinguish wants from needs. For example, you might need new shoes, but you want a designer brand. This mentality is what leads to a depletion of finances. If you want to create more wealth, you have to develop self-control and really hone in on what you need versus what you want. A luxury pair of shoes may look good, but it won’t help you retain wealth.

Stick To A Budget

However, having a budget is vital for your personal finances. You may not think that you need a budget, but you do. It doesn’t matter how rich or poor you are, having a budget can help you figure out how you spend your money and ways you can improve your financial situation.

“If you don’t know where your money is currently going, you can’t turn it in the direction you’d prefer it would do the most good.” – Donna Freedman, personal finance expert.

Build An Emergency Fund

Having an emergency fund can really help you manage your money. If you are able to save money for a rainy day, you will put yourself in a better position to deal with financial setbacks.

Stop Trying To Impress People

The financial decisions you make should be aligned with your future financial needs. Trying to impress other people can really impact your finances. When we buy the latest luxury car model, splash out on deluxe branded items and the like, we are often looking for validation from others. We want them to know that we have the money to dress a certain way, so we buy things that convey wealth. This is a surefire way to go broke. You should pay more attention to your own future. Stop spending money on things and invest that money into assets that your future self will thank you for.

Why Do We Shop Like Crazy On Black Friday?

Black_FridayIn the run up to Black Friday, stores have been “leaking” deals since October and teasing you with special online discounts and flash sales. We all know that there is no escaping Black Friday madness, but, why do we buy into the Black Friday hype? Why do we camp out ahead of a doorbuster run or elbow people out of the way so that we can get our hands on the ‘latest’ flat screen TV? According to two consumer scientists, there are some key reasons why we shop like crazy.

Deals Feel Good

James Mourey, assistant professor at the Driehaus College of Business at DePaul University, says that seeing something you like activates the nucleus accumbens – this is central to the brain’s reward centre and makes us feel good. “Any time people shop and they find a great deal, there’s that psychological joy of pleasure,” he said.

Limited Sales Create A Sense Of Urgency

“A major focus of Black Friday is having shoppers focus on a particular, very limited sale opportunity,” says Laura Brannon, a social psychologist who researches consumer psychology. “Opportunities are more desirable the more restricted they are,” and the language used in marketing promotions such as “ supplies are limited” and “get it before it’s gone” emphasise this. The idea that the item is scarce gets shoppers thinking in an irrational way. “Even though people might be somewhat annoyed by feeling manipulated, they still think it’s a good deal,” Brannon says. “They can’t stand the idea of maybe missing out on a bargain.”

Making A Purchase Justifies The Time Commitment

If you have slept outside a store, woken up early, waited in line for hours on end and then rushed in when the doors open, you have to feel that your efforts were worth it. Brannon refers to the “consistency and commitment” principle” and says that “once retailers get shoppers to get up early and wait in long lines, they feel somewhat obligated to buy something to justify all of that effort.”

Deal Teasers Build Up Anticipation

Retailers send previews of deals from as early as October, and Brannon says that this “creates a sense of anticipation” which leads to wanting something even more. In addition, emails and promotions from retailers often require you to click through for more information and this is an interactive game-based approach to marketing. Mourey says “We’ll give you a sneak peek of what’s going to happen and to whet your appetite, as opposed to just telling you,” he says. “If we just told you, it’s going to get lost in all the announcements that are out there.”

Credit: Truth Theory