AI & robots: Virtue for humankind or useful capitalist tool?

Unless the politics of the governments around the world change, robots and AI will become the next blow to the living standards of ordinary people.
There are an increasing number of stories in the media about robots becoming a big part of our future and the need to have democratic openness overseeing the rise of internet companies. But I was stunned to read an article by Rohan Silva in the Evening Standard about the breathtaking advances in the use of robots around the world.
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Brazil’s shift from progressive socialism to the far-right: Why did this happen?

For Brazil, the world’s fourth largest democracy, to have elected the extreme right-wing Jair Bolsonaro is stunning.

Just a decade ago Brazil’s president Lula da Silva was one of the most progressive and strongly socialist leaders in the recent history of Latin America.

Clearly a lot has gone wrong in Brazil and people feel angry but it is still amazing that people are prepared to elect someone who says that refugees are “the scum of the earth” and is prepared to say “if I see two men kissing each other in the street I’ll whack them.” Even more bizarre was his statement in May 1999 that “I’m in favour of torture.” He also talked about his five kids, saying “four of them are men but on the fifth I had a moment of weakness and it came out a woman” further claiming “I would be incapable of loving a homosexual son… I’d rather my son died in an accident than showed up with some bloke with a moustache.”

As a member of Congress and a long-standing defender of the military dictatorship he said in 1993, “Yes, I’m in favour of a dictatorship.
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Most electrifying and poisonous midterms may put Trump’s career on the line

We are just a week away from what may be the most significant US mid-term election in living memory. Normally, America’s midterms attract little attention, with voter turnout significantly less than during presidential elections.

The pattern since the end of the Second World War has been that the president’s party invariably loses some seats in Congress at every midterm election and sometimes sees his opponents winning a majority.

Both the Republicans and Democrats are putting more energy into these midterm elections than any I have ever seen before.
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Stop double standards, sanction Saudis for Yemen war, kidnappings and killings

When we remember how rapidly the US imposed sanctions on Russia over Crimea and the Skripal poisonings, it’s bizarre to watch US President Trump’s reaction to the killing of journalist Khashoggi by the Saudis.
After more than two weeks of lies and deception, Saudi Arabia has finally admitted journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed, but it is clearly another lie when they claim that this 59-year old man died because he got involved in a fist fight with 15 Saudi security staff and officials.
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Belligerence in all directions: Trump seeks to reassert control of Latin America

Trump is escalating attempts to push through regime change in Latin American countries that are not US puppets, while maintaining a hypocritical silence when it comes to the human rights abuses of US allies like Saudi Arabia.

Recent years have seen a resurgence of the right wing in Latin America. The first stage in the election of the next president of Brazil showed the right wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro winning 46 percent of the vote.
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Austerity isn’t over – but it needs to be

Labour is right to say that Theresa May’s claim that austerity is over is a con, writes KEN LIVINGSTONE.

THIS week’s figures from the International Monetary Fund were further damning evidence that the Tories’ eight years of austerity have failed and that Britain needs a fundamental change in our entire economic model.

Specifically, the IMF’s latest Fiscal Monitor report has shown that the UK’s public finances are close to the worst of major developed countries, showing that even on its own terms — even before taking into account the human misery it has caused for millions and the continuing spending cuts that are pushing our public services more and more into crisis — that austerity has been an abject failure.
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Is Boris Johnson the UK’s next prime minister?

The last week’s news in Britain was dominated by the Conservative Party annual conference. Theresa May, the weakest PM in my memory, managed to stumble through the conference and, if anything, slightly strengthened her position.

There is constant speculation that she may be forced to resign in a few weeks or months and no-one expects her to lead the Tories into the next general election. Her insecure position has been caused by the long, dragged out agonising over what terms will be required for us to leave the European Union.
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Climate change threatens extinction but politicians only care about next election

Our top-level politicians should make tackling climate change their utmost priority before it’s too late. But they’re distantly removed from the lives of citizens, and care only about winning the next election.

UN chief Antonio Guterres recently warned that we face “a direct existential threat” if we do not rapidly switch from fossil fuels by 2020. The failure to do so will mean “runaway climate change,” and he has deplored the lack of global leadership by politicians to address the issue.
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Jeremy and John’s Labour can deliver the radical economic change we need

Ten years on from the financial crash, Labour showed at its conference this week that it understands the scale of change needed, writes KEN LIVINGSTONE.

We recently marked the 10th anniversary of the financial crash and as Labour conference met this week, keynote speeches from leader Jeremy Corbyn, shadow chancellor John McDonnell and shadow secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy Rebecca Long-Bailey MP showed that – unlike the Tories – Labour understands both the reasons for this crisis plus the radical approach and policies needed to improve people’s life and stop this happening again.
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US has to come to terms with its place in the world, just as Britain did when its empire collapsed

Trump’s threats of war, sanctions and promises to make America great again could be dismissed as the ranting of an eccentric politician. But this isn’t all about Trump. What he advocates is representative of much of the US elite.

The president and his generation of Americans grew up in a world where the USA was the greatest superpower in human history. It was not just their vast arsenal of nuclear weapons and their war machine but, in 1945, around 50 percent of the entire world’s economy was in the United States of America, with Britain and the USSR hobbling along with around 10 percent each.
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