The Science Tech feature (“What if virtual reality is outside the headset?” New Review) was fascinating, if somewhat more science fiction than one might have preferred. It has to be bizarre in the extreme that, if the hypothesis is true, we, the computer simulants/avatars, have started to believe that we are just that and there is some sort of intelligent creator culture designing us in the “real world” .
It would be far more meaningful if the big brains such as Ranyard, Bostrom and Musk et al, who are thinking up this stuff, devoted their undoubted cleverness to finding solutions for many of the ills of the human condition.
Elon Musk truly believes there is “a billions to one chance that we’re not living in a simulation”. What is the point of him, a simulant, putting billions of simulated dollars into a simulated research programme to send simulated space vessels to a simulated planet? If the scientists employed by two anonymous tech billionaires succeed in breaking us out of the simulation, then what? Won’t the whole thing crash or go into a new simulation programme that has been designed precisely to cope with that event?
Paul F Faupel
Cutting through the Brexit fog
Guy Verhofstadt’s claims (“Don’t believe Theresa May…”, Comment) that an appreciation of surrealism is a Belgian speciality and that Brexit has added greatly to it. With the candour of an old friend, his piece brought a breath of fresh air in these heady days of “all will be wonderful” and a thorough assessment of what we are walking away from.
Aside from the obvious downside of leaving the largest single market on Earth, we leave our direct contribution to one of the most astonishing achievements of the EU – the spread of liberal democracy across our continent, especially in its Balkan members.
He began by deploring Brexit as a “Tory catfight that got out of control”, reminiscent of Bismarck’s prediction, decades before the event, that the next war would start “with some damn foolish thing in the Balkans”. Let us hope, indeed, that the fog of surrealism will clear from UK ministers.
Schools need stability
Conor McGloin makes some excellent points about teacher retention (The Big Issue). Changing syllabuses, workload, wages and a sense of being undervalued are all contributory factors. Schools need a strong team of experienced teachers to maintain standards, not endlessly changing syllabuses and types of schools, such as the current plan to bring back grammar schools. All this points to a lack of confidence at government level and increases the workload for teachers.
Taking a stand in Shipley
I was pleased to see in your article “Women’s Equality party leader seeks backing” (News) that the chair of our local Labour party rebutted the WEP claim that their decision to stand a candidate was because of some kind of “alliance”.
Shipley Labour Women have not been approached by the WEP and we were surprised by their claim that they had talked to Labour party members locally. As far as I am aware, all of our Labour members are keen to field a candidate, as it is the Labour party that has the best chance of getting rid of Philip Davies, Shipley’s MP.
We, as Labour party women, have been active in Shipley for some time with several women’s groups, organisations and charities. Now we are coming together as a force within the Shipley Labour party to fight for a Labour government and in doing so to remove Philip Davies.
CLP women’s officer
Lib Dems playing a vital role
Tim Farron, in his insightful interview (“If you want to prevent hard Brexit…”, In Focus), is undoubtedly speaking up for the disenfranchised 48% who voted to remain. We are still a force to be reckoned with, who feel that our country is being traduced and subjugated to an extreme rightwing polarised position.
I am pleased, too, that Nick Clegg is standing again and is not off to more attractive pastures, but is willing and able to make a stand for us. He and his colleagues were responsible in the coalition government for holding the Tories to account and head off the more draconian measures that would have gone ahead if this authentic opposition had not been there.
They were rudely shrugged off as surplus to requirements and that is how committed and passionate Remainers feel in Britain today – a country that is alienated and has not come together as Theresa May thinks.
Judith A Daniels
address to come
It may be splitting hairs of a different animal, but surely ovine (rather than bovine) is the more appropriate adjective for Nick Cohen to use in describing party loyalists (“If Labour crashes, don’t expect the hard left to bow out”, Comment).