Owen Miller for Aston
Owen Miller is the Fusion Party's candidate for the division of Aston (2023 by-election). Owen is a technologist and engineer who has travelled and worked around the world. Owen's plan is to make Aston astonishing!
We have an educated population with world-class universities, and we are surrounded by a beautiful landscape, yet our economy has been focused on digging things out of the ground, and serving avocado toast to each other.
The squandering of opportunities has coincided with a brain drain from Australia and now, just like so many industries, a shortage of engineering skills is hampering our progress in rescuing the climate.
The innovations in our society are not being applied to actually improving our way of life: they're instead being applied to squeezing us, lying to us, and keeping us distracted from what's really happening.
Sure we might have our ideological differences, but something we can agree on is that the powerful forces guiding our society often seem to have some other interest at heart: hoarding riches; preserving their cushy job; hiding their guilt: something other than ensuring the wellbeing of humanity and our ecology.
Rescuing Our Environment
The Victorian government runs a forestry company that profits from chopping down native forests and turning the wood into woodchips, pulp and pallets.
This insane conflict of interest is undermining the habitat of our beloved native animals, when urban sprawl (the solution to the housing crisis!) was already making things hard enough for them.
The Liberal and Labor governments continue to subsidise fossil fuels and they continue to green-light new projects: just business as usual, despite the repeated claims that the Labor party would be different.
The transition of electricity is only happening at half the rate necessary to reach the promised, underwhelming goal of net zero by 2050.
As people try to hasten their own reduction, they turn to the economy of carbon credits, which is rampant with financial trickery. In California, credits for not cutting down a forest were still traded even after the forest had been burnt down.
When people think of what's ahead, it's not just a climate crisis, but killer AIs who might destroy the planet in order to maximise the production of paperclips:
Suppose we have an AI whose only goal is to make as many paper clips as possible. The AI will realize quickly that it would be much better if there were no humans because humans might decide to switch it off. Because if humans do so, there would be fewer paper clips. Also, human bodies contain a lot of atoms that could be made into paper clips. The future that the AI would be trying to gear towards would be one in which there were a lot of paper clips but no humans.
Rather than looking to the AIs though, consider what we already have: soulless companies and governments whose pursuit of GDP growth is actively killing life on our planet. The solution to this incomplete accounting system is apparently to double down and add another accounting game to the model.
This is to say nothing of how the pursuit of GDP growth is undermining our mental health and the effectiveness of our institutions. Imagine if, instead of just GDP, our government also focused on the Happiness Index, just like New Zealand is already doing.
Creating the Future
Our lives are lived online and we now live at the whim of Google, Facebook and Amazon. We used to have a democratic say in how our society should be run, but now we are being locked into online monopolies as our governments have focused only on maintaining their power over increasingly irrelevant aspects of life.
Police crack down on even the most minimal protests; and our freedom of thought gets undermined, allowing incumbent powers to continue exploiting a shrinking pie, in exactly the process described by Acemoglu & Robinson in Why Nations Fail.
Our ineffective governments and extractive monopolies are causing our cost of living to stay high, despite all the technological advances taking place. Skilled workers are finding themselves in the monotonous and degrading gig economy, delivering paper towel or twerking in front of a webcam. They're lucky if they receive access to a screaming booth.
Why are we moving towards worse jobs? The technological innovations taking place should be lowering the cost of living, enabling us to live happier, more fulfilling lives, where any work we do is optional.
Imagine being free of stress, mental-health demons and domestic violence. Imagine a world where we're free to achieve self-actualisation: discovering; learning; and growing communities.
Universal Basic Income is able to give people a break from economic servitude and grant them the freedom to explore new paths in life; paths that better use their unique passions and better serve our planet. Through such solutions, we will have a virtuous cycle of doing our best work and liberating each other from the mundane. Freeing ourselves from the economic pressure to prop up immoral, destructive companies.
We can make the most of democratic, inclusive developments, like open-source software. We can spur on the proliferation of tools and systems to run our society and even foreign societies in a democratic way, producing a way of life that capitalist monopolists and exploitative dictators have no interest in creating for us. We do not need to be at the whim of American tech companies. We do not need to be victims of emerging AIs.
To avoid our current fate though, it would be great to have governments that actually understand the latest technologies and know how to harness them. Parties who can see a problem before it hits them in the face. Problems like the housing crisis; or the lack of railways in Rowville to connect our communities.
Owen studied robotics and computer science at the University of Sydney, finishing with first-class honours. He has worked on the mind-reading recommender systems at Amazon, as well as 1- and 2-person startups in Sydney and New York. He's recently been working in real-world applications of blockchain technologies, as a Principal Software Engineer. If voters want someone who understands the latest technologies and who is interested in democratising them for the benefit of our planet, then this election in Aston is your chance to make something incredible happen.
Industries for space and jobs of the future. Research fusion and clean energy. Connect Australia with high-speed rail. Search for a cure for ageing. Protect the planet for future generations.
Declare and mobilise against the climate emergency with a 10 year transition to negative emissions. Put a price on carbon and lead internationally to restore a safe climate with 800% renewables.
Civil + Digital Liberties
Restore the public domain, Intellectual property reform, Oppose rent-seeking and parasitic monopolism, Privacy and digital rights.
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