Wretched violence has once again intruded in a big way into all the world’s efforts to improve economies and the lives of people. It’s horrible, disgusting, and will ultimately achieve the direct opposite of what it’s backers seek. Instead of resolving difficult situations, or “teaching lessons,” it only makes existing quagmires deeper and teaches only that violence is wrong.
I’m disturbed as I see the US on an apparently inevitable march to war in Syria, the latest of my country’s efforts to resolve problems in the Middle East. Over the past few days I’ve heard that moderates form the bulk of Syrian opposition, that President Obama did not set a red line, and most ludicrously, from Secretary of State John Kerry, that a cruise-missile attack will not be an act of war.
My concerns don’t address the issue of innocent civilians being gassed. But I know that slamming a bunch of places with 1,000-pound warheads will bring no one back from the dead and will only increase the existing misery on the ground.
And as I said, the US’s contemplated action utterly disrupts the efforts of anyone and everyone to do their part to improve the state of the world and the people on it. We’ve been working to integrate new measures in the algorithms we create at the Tau Institute, in order to bring about more nuanced and effective ratings, and we’ve been analyzing specific regions in addition to specific nations in our research.
We’ve aimed since our inception to create a unique way to look at the role of technology and economic development in the nations of the world. We integrate a number of technology and social factors, then adjust things for local cost-of-living, to ascertain the true relative commitment of a nation to information technology and its benefits. The higher the relative use — and growth — of information technology, the more vibrant a country will become, in our view. We’ve also found that the idea of disruptive change is valid, as many of the recently turbulent Middle Eastern countries have scored well in our rankings.
With our small team based in Northern Illinois and Manila, Philippines we’ve consulted with companies and organizations on every inhabited continent now. We’ve been endorsed by economists, business leaders, and government officials. We are in the midst of seeking new alliances and resources so that we can expand our work.
I’ve been writing about technology since God was a boy and Bill Gates was a non-billionaire, and continue to be fascinated by the real change it brings. Real and significant increases in productivity have led to improved economies and lives in places ranging from wealthy Finland to bright-burning South Korea to emerging success stories in Eastern Europe, Eastern Africa, and Southeast Asia.
The past few years have been full of talk about cloud computing and related topics. It’s fun to have discussions at some points, and hold armchair seats at other points, as different stacks are debated, the virtualization era continues to develop, and co-opetition ebbs and flows. The end of all this will be, as it always has been, real progress.
But all that we do is obliterated when violence rears its ugly head. Bad enough that casual violence takes 15,000 lives per year in the US, and at rates far higher than that in many parts of the world. Worse when state actors get involved to repress and kill their people. Worse yet, in my opinion, when massive technologies of violence can be brought to bear so easily and antiseptically by a very small number of people in Washington, DC.