It’s not just about strength and stamina, though they are very important characteristics. Instead, mental fitness comes first. It’s what allows a person to become stronger – start with strength of mind and the body will react positively. A strong SAS or SBS soldier is someone who doesn’t allow obstacles to stand in their way. They’re mentally tough enough to focus on the mission, while not getting bogged down with the smaller details of an operation, such as an unplanned encounter with the enemy, or the inconvenience of some misleading intelligence that’s taken them into a field of IEDs. They see the bigger picture.
Focus, drive and a sense of humour are vital. Being able to laugh in the face of humility often helps in an otherwise awful situation. If someone loses a leg during a raid it won’t be long before people are making jokes. Thinking outside the box during missions is important too, as is humility, which can be the difference between a dispute being resolved in an occupied town and a gunfight.
Ego is a hindrance. People with too much of it tend to be a liability in war zones. They react badly under pressure. They might run into a hail of bullets in frustration when things aren’t going their way; they lash out when captured, which is the shortest route to a bullet when executions start getting dished out. A Special Forces operative understands their ego. They know it’s the mind trying to get them out of a situation quickly, when what’s actually needed is calm thinking. Instead they acknowledge their ego and focus on their objective. It’s the best technique when executing a mission.
The question as you pose it is actually quite worrying. You could have asked: could there be any circumstances under which it would be morally okay to kill a sentient machine? If you were talking about humans, people would be shocked if you asked if there was any reason why it would be morally wrong to kill a human.
The mere fact of artificial origin doesn’t seem to have any relevance one way or the other. But I guess in self-defence, and so on, and I wouldn’t want to draw a line through every case of killing in war.
In general, though – yes, the threshold should be the same for whether it’s every okay to kill a human. We are sentient machines, though our mechanical makeup is certainly very different from that of current robots - though it may be not that different from the sentient robots we’re imagining, because in order to be fully sentient, they’d have to have bodily constitutions which are much closer to ours than those of current robots.
The other problem here is that there’s a spectrum of possible robots, from the very, very crude ones we have today, to the synthetic biological creatures which may in future be created in the lab, and gestated very much in the way that human babies are, maybe in some kind of artificial womb, or even implanted in human wombs, and raised from infancy upwards through the stages that humans do as they mature. So as you think through these scenarios, you realise that the difference between them and us gets vanishingly small.
"There’s a spectrum of possible robots, from the very, very crude ones we have today, to the synthetic biological creatures which may in future be created in the lab"
I don’t think there’s any hard and fast threshold. I think there’s a whole set of issues which will have to be decided, to do with rights, and status in society. Even in the case of robots which aren’t configured to be sentient, there might be situations where we might want to give them certain sorts of rights, for example property rights.
I thought the film ‘Bicentennial Man’ was a really good forum for this sort of discussion – it was based on a short story by Isaac Asimov, and there’s a point at which the central character, a robot played by Robin Williams, is granted the right to own property, and the reason for that is that the robot is able to make exquisite objets d’art which his owner sells for a lot of money – and his owner doesn’t think he has the right to keep the money, so he sets up a fund for the robot, who then uses the money to buy a house. It’s not very clear whether the robot is sentient, but it is highly intelligent – the question being whether rights to property may be independent of sentience. There may be points at which rights are given to robots even if they don’t have sentient feelings.
"I thought the film ‘Bicentennial Man’ was a really good forum for this sort of discussion"
There is a spectrum, and if we think about the two ends of it, that’s relatively easy. At one end, they’re very much unlike us, and at the other they’re very, very much like us. And then there’s this massive area in the middle, where there are lots of different cases, and where it’s very difficult to know what to say about each of them. It’s a highly contested discussion which is going to be with us for decades to come.”
Great Prime Ministers are winners. Attlee won Labour its first-ever majority with the landslide in 1945 and his government delivered an enormously transformative manifesto, practically in its entirety. The NHS, co-founding NATO, the end of empire, rebuilding the economy after the War, and the nationalisation of industry – these things were to shape Britain for decades ahead. The Attlee government set the framework of postwar politics.
Attlee practised a collective model of leadership that was extremely effective after the convulsions of the War and Churchill’s idiosyncratic and charismatic rule. In person he was not overbearing by any means but he was skilled at manufacturing and managing consensus, at keeping discord at bay in a Cabinet full of strong personalities like Ernest Bevin, Herbert Morrison, Aneurin Bevan, Stafford Cripps and so on. After the larger-than-life, autocratic Churchill, Attlee was a reassuring figure on the national scene – a kind of understanding, trustworthy and reassuring Captain Mainwaring, the sort of man you want around in a time of national difficulty.
Attlee’s opponents tended to underestimate him, often fatally so. The Tories attacked him mercilessly as a non-entity when he was in office. Churchill is reputed to have said that an empty taxi turned up and Mr Attlee got out. His own party firebrands often felt frustrated at his measured approach, feeling that he followed rather than led. And yet whenever the dust settled, somehow Attlee would still be standing and would be seen to have made the sensible decision.
When Attlee’s government was finally beaten in 1951 by Churchill, it was largely because Labour had run out of steam. The party was faced with the choice of further nationalisation or consolidation. There was a lot of infighting instead of new ideas, and the Conservatives finally got their act together. And it has to be said that one of Attlee’s weaknesses was that he was bad at timing general elections.
Calling elections in 1950 and then 1951 were both terrible moves. There had been a huge reorganisation of seats that favoured the Conservatives, plus Labour was campaigning in conditions of austerity – not unlike now. Because Attlee had rebuilt the economy with an emphasis on exports and industry rather than domestic living standards, Churchill was able to exploit the fact that Britain was still under rationing. Labour went out of power for 13 years.
Politicians’ reputations do change over the years and it’s fair to say that Attlee’s declined quite drastically afterwards. By the time of his death in 1967 he was written-off by some writers as a sort of second-rate mediocrity. By the 1970s some historians were actually rating Macmillan above Attlee.
But the more we look in depth at his record, the more it grows in stature. It was only in the 1980s, when Thatcher began to sweep away much that Attlee had stood for, that we started to see the first proper biographical and historically informed appreciations of what he achieved. Since then his reputation has only grown. Attlee has topped my poll of postwar Prime Ministers among politics academics for the third time running; there’s growing consensus around the argument that he was not merely a effective Prime Minister but a great one.
The birth of campaigning organisations and the push for decriminalisation were both a result of an emerging LGBTQ community and a factor in further consolidating that community, but a backlash soon followed. The Nazi regime deliberately attempted to exterminate the queer population alongside Jewish people and other groups they deemed contrary to the supposed health of the nation. We must remember, however, that for queer people at the time, the Nazi regime’s attempt at extermination was not an isolated moment of homophobia: it was simply the apogee of a wave of anti-queer persecution by the state which was spreading across the Western world from the 1920s through the 1960s.
In many ways, the movement didn’t progress smoothly: the 20s were rather safer than the 50s for LGBTQ people, but in the 60s, the renewed post-war movement gathers speed.
Across the 1960s, tactics shifted. Large-scale protests strode out on to the streets. Riots against police brutality broke out at Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco in 1966, and most famously at the Stonewall Inn in New York in 1969. In 1970, the first Pride marches started, and queers in a handful of U.S. cities paraded through the streets, refusing to be silent and demanding basic human rights. In the following 25 years, the tactic of Pride celebrations would spread to many cities around the world.
In 1981, AIDS hit, and killed hundreds of thousands of queers in the West and over 35 million people worldwide. Homophobes has previously regarded homosexuality itself as a disease; in the homophobic imaginary, AIDS again linked queerness to a fear of a disease. At the same time, the epidemic forced the queer issue into the public eye. That was the point where you had to get off the fence: you either had to respect us, or you had to reject us. Seeing the depth of love, solidarity and care in the face of apocalypse brought many people off the fence in our favour.
Those struggles over the course of the 20th century mobilised a movement that successfully fought for decriminalisation, then legislative protection, then marriage equality in a number of Western countries.
Today Skinsmarket is considered to be the most reliable and profitable platform for selling skins from games like CS:GO, Dota 2, H1Z1 and PUBG.
Official support from the notable Trustpilot and cooperation with a number of leading payment systems, like Webmoney, MasterCard, and some others, serve excellent guarantor that the company is a professional and deserves trust. In addition, all transactions on skinsmarket.com pass through the user’s account on Steam, which requires necessary confirmation of authorization through the smartphone application Steam Guard.
The user can use a variety of payment systems, and transfer of funds occurs immediately after the transaction. The service buys skins starting from 0.03 EUR, so you can sell even trash in large amounts. Each transaction brings user closer to getting the maximum bonus of 10% for skin sales. The bonus system works in a cumulative mode, starting from 4%, and increase after every successful transaction.
All questions can always be directed to support service, which is online around the clock.
I assume you’re asking for a friend? Well, it very much depends on the type of crime. If you wanted to kill someone, for example, then you’d probably be best with a Health and Safety way of doing it.
Look at the number of people who die in the workplace every year. People often fall off a crane, electrocute themselves at work or are poisoned in a restaurant due to unhygienic practices, but there are very few prosecutions. It’s likely to be seen as an accident. And who’s ultimately responsible? Do you prosecute the line manager, senior management for the decisions that they’ve made, or the CEO of the company?
Most motoring offences also attract lesser sentences. Even if someone is killed, it’s usually not even deemed to be manslaughter.
“Committing a crime that’s unlikely to be reported would greatly increase your chance of getting away with it.”
Choosing a victim would also be a key consideration. There are so many sad cases where people go missing and they don’t get reported because they’re an itinerant, or don’t have anyone looking out for them. Fred and Rose West targeted many of their victims for this very reason.
Committing a crime that’s unlikely to be reported would greatly increase your chance of getting away with it. For instance, lots of burglaries don’t get reported because the victim doesn’t have home insurance, so what’s the point?
There’s also the issue of the likelihood of being caught, and the general risks involved. Remember the guy who pretended he drowned in his canoe to claim on the life insurance, and went to South America? He was eventually tracked down, as it’s quite hard to disappear these days. More traditional crimes, like bank robbery, are also on the wane, as they have very high risk for a not particularly high reward.
Ultimately, the best way to commit the ‘perfect’ crime today is probably on the internet. With online crime, we really have no idea what’s going on at the moment. The police have limited resources, which they tend to focus on drug trafficking through the dark net or child pornography. But they’re not all experts in coding, and it requires specialist knowledge that a general police officer won’t have.
The police are having to play catch-up all the time with internet crime. So if you had no criminal record, and you sat in your bedroom writing an amazing code to empty bank accounts – and then never committed another crime – that might be a good way of doing it.