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Notes from Charles Stross, “Dude, you broke the future,” talk

Link to talk video and transcript.

Selected excerpts to follow:

the development of Artificial Intelligence, which happened no earlier than 1553 and no later than 1844.

I’m talking about the very old, very slow AIs we call corporations, of course.

Continuing:

In the late 18th century, Stewart Kyd, the author of the first treatise on corporate law in English, defined a corporation as:

a collection of many individuals united into one body, under a special denomination, having perpetual succession under an artificial form, and vested, by policy of the law, with the capacity of acting, in several respects, as an individual, particularly of taking and granting property, of contracting obligations, and of suing and being sued, of enjoying privileges and immunities in common, and of exercising a variety of political rights, more or less extensive, according to the design of its institution, or the powers conferred upon it, either at the time of its creation, or at any subsequent period of its existence.
—A Treatise on the Law of Corporations, Stewart Kyd (1793-1794)

And:

Here’s the thing about corporations: they’re clearly artificial, but legally they’re people. They have goals, and operate in pursuit of these goals. And they have a natural life cycle. In the 1950s, a typical US corporation on the S&P 500 index had a lifespan of 60 years, but today it’s down to less than 20 years. […]

Each human is only retained so long as they can perform their assigned tasks, and can be replaced with another human, much as the cells in our own bodies are functionally interchangeable […]

Fun:

We humans are living in a world shaped by the desires and needs of AIs, forced to live on their terms, and we are taught that we are valuable only insofar as we contribute to the rule of the machines.

This will probably come sooner:

The smart money says that by 2027 you won’t be able to believe anything you see in video unless there are cryptographic signatures on it, linking it back to the device that shot the raw feed …

 

Adult Adoption in Japanese Corporation Management

From a Salon October 2014 article on why so many of the world’s oldest corporations are Japanese:

Even though primogeniture faded with the 20th century, owners still often pass their companies on to a single heir—although keeping business in the family is often aided and abetted by adult adoption, in which the company head legally adopts the right person to run his firm and then passes it on. (These adult adoptions are sometimes facilitated by a marriage between the heir presumptive and the owner’s daughter.) In 2011, more than 90 percent of the 81,000 individuals adopted in Japan were adults. Firms run by adopted heirs, research shows, outperform those run by “blood” heirs—and both adopted and blood heirs outperform nonfamily firms.

What is world’s oldest corporation?

According to Wikipedia List of oldest corporations, the world’s oldest corporation is: 578 (year) Kongō Gumi, in Japan, in Construction business.

The Wikipedia page for that business adds:

Kongō Gumi Co., Ltd. (株式会社金剛組 Kabushiki Gaisha Kongō Gumi) is a Japanese construction company which was the world’s oldest continuously ongoing independent company, operating for over 1,400 years until it was absorbed as a subsidiary of Takamatsu in 2006.[1][2]

Related Salon.com link: Why are so many of the world’s oldest companies from Japan?

The Bubble Act

The Bubble Act 1720 (6 Geo I, c 18), which forbade the creation of joint-stock companies without royal charter, was promoted by the South Sea company itself before its collapse.

From South Sea Company Wikipedia article.

An Extant walks into a bar…

A Survivor walks up out of a white desert to a large wall.

There is a kiosk in a nook of the wall that looks like an older monochrome ATM machine.

The battered Survivor walks up and presses a button on the machine.

The machine comes to life, with a whir and a blinking cursor appears onscreen.

Content ranking system broken

Gaming, verification, blockchain. Tech Crunch, May 2017, re: Userfeeds (Warsaw) company:

The system of content ranking and discovery on the web using links, likes, upvotes etc. is broken because algorithms are gamed by third parties (such as bots and false news providers) to change what you see on social media. That has meant platforms like Facebook ranking fake news higher than real news because it is, for instance, more sensational than boring and complex reality. We all know where that led…

Pantarctica, Pre-Empire

Decades after the Time of Great Changes, the World is settling into a new type of dynamic stability after an unprecedented period of chaos and destruction.

A strong southern central Pantarctica is rapidly expanding and consolidating its Empire on both Atlantica and Quatria. New Boston is for the moment powerless to stop them, and Lisbon does not want to get involved.

Gordon-Michael Scallion’s Future Maps

Seeker Application (at a kiosk)

Welcome to Provider Station Alpha Kilo Bravo 7
--
"Your struggles are over."
--
>request help
Request for Providership

You, the Supplicant or Seeker, beseech us as Provider to enter into a service agreement, the terms of which are outlined in the Terms of Service. By completing this application, you agree to the Terms and all other linked policies. 

Any data entered here will be saved and associated with your public Gestalt keys.
Continue? (y/n)
>y
--APPLICATION ACCEPTANCE PROVISIONAL ON SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF BIOGENETIC SCANS AND SAMPLING--
What are you seeking?

[1] Stationing
[2] Provisions
[3] Medical
[4] Comms

>1,2

What do you offer in exchange?

[1] Credits
[2] Goods
[3] Sharing
[4] Other

>4

Please define:

>information

Seconds pass…

An agent will be with you shortly.

Entity: Hi Techwon

An entity.

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