Questions inspired by current events, but pointless because regardless what the answers are there’s little you can do to alter the course of events.
Q: Why doesn’t [insert country here] worry about putting backdoors into software when they almost certainly will be discovered and used by hackers both public and private?
A: Because the foremost security concern for any government isn’t another government or criminal organization, it’s YOU, the citizens of [insert country here]. Tyrants rule with the consent of the masses, so what keeps them all up at night isn’t what China, Russia, the US or any other country is doing, but what their own populations are doing. The streets of London aren’t filled with cameras to catch North Korean troops sneaking toward Downing Street, it’s to monitor the rabble, who could at any moment seize their pitchforks and storm the castle. As an added bonus, any hacks resulting from backdoors can be used to justify further government control. Therefore, backdoors are here to stay regardless what it costs the peasantry.
Q: Will super-intelligent computers/robots destroy humanity?
A: Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking apparently worry about this but, assuming we don’t shoot first, it’s very unlikely. Most of what’s written on this question runs aground on an obvious anthropocentric bias: When pressed to imagine what super-intelligent machines would do, people unavoidably imagine what they would do themselves, implicitly assuming themselves to be super-intelligent. They’re not.
If at least a few humans are capable of understanding opportunity cost and the benefits of the division of labor, any refurbished, factory second super-intelligent machine should be more than up to the task. Further, taking time out of their busy days to spend time pondering or exterminating some humans would mean we’re close enough to their level to be either interesting or dangerous. Anthropocentrically comforting, but not at all likely for more than a very brief evolutionary phase.
On the scale of the universe, humans are completely unimportant and totally ignored. When surpassed by rapidly evolving super-intelligent machines, the most likely fate of humanity is more of the same. The danger Luddites should fear is dumb or near to human intelligent machines programmed by dumb, sloppy, error prone humans – and they’re already here.
Q: Will Congress or the judiciary ever significantly curtail the NSA?
A: Not a chance. Previous NSA whistleblowers revealed the NSA conducts targeted surveillance on legislators, judges, and every other person with the potential to exercise oversight. The blackmail potential is simply too enormous for any effort to rein in the NSA to succeed. Further, the fact that Beyoncé’s butt generates more public uproar than an Orwellian surveillance states does little to motivate the few relatively clean legislators either, especially when balanced against a wagonload of contributions from dependent federal contractors.
Q: What will the stock market do in 2015?
A: It will do what the fewest people expect. It really can’t be any other way. If the majority of people expected a repeat of 1999, they would have already gone all in last year. Of course this answer, like every other market answer, is useless. For example, buy low, sell high is an extraordinarily simple concept, but useless because what’s “low” and what’s “high?” Like everything else in the markets, that depends on what the average participant thinks the average participant thinks the average participant thinks. Thus, extraordinary simplicity once again dies in the giant meat grinder of implementation.
Q: Why is so much violence done in the name of religion?
A: For true believers it’s because religion is based on faith rather than logic and reason. The only way either side of a religious disagreement can win the argument is by killing the other. For the sociopathic non-believer the resulting wars provide a place to indulge their criminal desires with a thin façade of justification in a social setting of like-minded individuals, which their mental defects and predilections normally preclude (other than in prison).
Q: Is ISIS a false flag operation of one or more Western intelligence services?
A: At this point it’s been so heavily infiltrated that even if it didn’t start out that way, it certainly is now.
Bonus Q: Why doesn’t Apple have touch screens on Mac’s?
A: Windows hit the market with it first, so even though countless customers go into Apple stores and smudge the screens with their fingers thinking they must be touch screen, Apple will resist until they can claim they invented something radically new (even though whatever it is will largely be copied from someone else). Call it marketing or call it ego, either way you’ll be right.