Manage User Accounts Transportation In Ancient Rome

The first and most simple vehicle found in Rome, was the plaustrum. It was little more than a flat board carried by four wheels. The wheels were fixed to the axle in a stiff manner and the axle itself was also fabricated tightly to the cart. This made steering of the wagon a cumbersome business and meant a very low efficiency. These problems and the fact that no supple wagon had been invented to bind the animals in the front-only the Celts had invented a balanced harness to pull with-made freight over land costly and time-consuming.The most impressive skill in Roman transportation was the so-called cursus publicus (something like ‘public race course’). This postal service was started by state couriers bringing information and diplomatic instructions into the far reaches of the empire. This developed relatively quickly into the organization of postal diligences that connected the various provinces with each other. These were not really public postal services as they were meant for people employed by the emperor and for the rich and powerful.

The cursus publicus was strictly regulated as far as size and capacity of its vehicles was concerned. Also it was precisely specified who was allowed to drive them, for what purpose and who was responsible for their maintenance. Because of the high cost of constructing and maintaining roads, transportation was managed in accordance with tight stipulations and great care was taken that a relative light maximum weight was allowed for the different modes of transport.When the Roman empire lost its vitality, the cursus publicus became victim of nepotism and misuse. With the demise of Roman central power the excellent qualities of the system disappeared. Only in modern times the cursus publicus would be matched.In general transportation was carried out by ancient customs. Sail boats were given a smooth skin, instead of riveting, and a fully developed keel with front and stern. The ancient Greeks used a square or oblong sail to catch the wind and in case of headwind they employed one or two rows of oarsmen to make headway. The Greeks were the first, as far as we know, to construct a special kind of battle ship with a ram at the front. Also they had freight ships without rowers and these, of course, were totally dependent on the wind. These developments were completed in the time of classical Greece. The Romans adopted both these forms without making any changes.The Romans devoted much more attention to their roads than to transportation by sea. They worked out a remarkable network with carefully planned roads, both as far as the position as the construction were concerned. The road network was stretched out far and wide throughout all the provinces of the empire. Over these roads the legions marched to wherever there was a crisis. The roads also served for the development of trade, but their primary function always remained the maintenance of the imperial dominion.

At the zenith of Roman power trade was connected over land to the cultures of Europe, North Africa, Asia Minor and even China and India. But the system of transportation depended on the Roman, Chinese and Mauritanian empires. When these great powers collapsed, the trade routes became ways of invasion for foreign hostile armies. Almost everywhere the road networks became dilapidated for centuries. Freight transport was substituted by troupes of beasts of burden that were able to travel those ancient roads and that were sufficient to carry the lesser stream of goods. It would last till the twelfth century before the situation was improved.

Artificial Intelligence and Our Humanity

We hear and read about it everywhere these days.

You hear people saying, “The future is now.”

“We have to give way to technology.”

“We’ll be better off and live better lives (maybe not even work) if we let AI do it.”

Yes, technology is here, and we are living at the dawn of the age of AI, and it’s a topic that we’ve seen and heard a lot more about this year.

I wonder what the opportunities will be for the average person. You know, the person who is not the founder of Facebook, Google or Amazon, which have placed such high barriers to entry that it will be rare for companies to break into that stratospheric league.

What’s Going to Happen with Humans?

Do you wonder what’s going to happen to the average person? AI are taking over customer service, writing, design, sales, law, and medicine. As a businessman and social entrepreneur, the reality is that if you’re looking at things in a purely bottom-line manner, using AI could make a whole lot of sense. They never get sick. They work 27/7/365. They never stop and can indeed produce more than any human can–in a lifetime. From a pure dollars and cents perspective, AI can make a lot of sense.

But then you have to wonder about the broader implications of AI, and I sense that society has not even started to get its head around the implications. If you pay even a little attention to the news, then you know that a few months ago Facebook engineers shut down and pulled the plug on AI that decided on its own to go ahead and develop a new language. It was more efficient for them to get the work done, but humans did not understand. It seems that the language was basic, but what happens if the AI had not been shut down? Would they have developed a highly sophisticated way to communicate and operate that completely excised human?

I agree that technology can be beneficial to society. I think most people would agree that we’d prefer to send a bot into a dangerous situation, say war, rather than ask our men and women to put their lives on the line. I think there’s something to be said for the rapidly expanding role of robotics in medicine. For example, the fact that we’ve started to print human organs with 3D is a significant advancement, and we have to hope that many lives will be saved.

The Deeper Issues Related to AI

My concern as I dig deeper into the issue of AI is what the implications are for the human race, and yes, that even includes how we in the philanthropic sector connect with each other and with the world we serve. As I noted in the previous article I wrote, the Partnership on AI, which is a collaborative effort between mega-companies such as Facebook, Apple, Google and leading non-profits such as UNICEF and Human Rights are trying to lead the conversation about the implications of AI in all of our lives.

If you tune in even a little bit into the conversation about AI, you know that we have to deal with many issues, including some of the following:

Safety: We don’t want to be in a situation where AI is created, and it is not obligated to protect human life.
Transparency: We had the recent situation with Facebook where they shut down AI, but who rules (government or business) when someone says “Houston, we have a problem”?
Labor and the Economy: Whose responsibility is it to train people as AI develops and what will their work functions be in light of a much more powerful AI partner? Will people even have jobs?
Society: For communities around the world, which certainly includes nonprofit and philanthropic work, what will be the impact of AI on philanthropy, education, charitable work, science, private/public partnerships, etc.

The reality seems to be apparently developing that there are few areas–if any–that AI will not touch.

Humanity’s Competitive Advantage

When I read about issues related to AI, I think of one thing–humanity. I believe we all have to get into the conversation now about the implications of AI. I’m someone who likes and values people precisely because we are imperfect. There is a lot of prose and poetry in the human condition. AI cannot love, demonstrate courage, hope, dream, feel fear, etc.

In my mind, those qualities are what makes humans so much better than AI. Our values are our competitive advantage in comparison to AI. There is something intrinsic within people (some call it a soul or spirit, others connect the scientific dots of all the elements that make up our brains, hearts, and bodies) that makes us unique, and yes, even exceptional.

We have a serious conversation that has to take place about AI, but it involves all humans, and we have to pay attention before we have a situation we did not bargain for in the age of technology.

The Path for Humanity as it Greets AI

In many ways, I hope that AI begins to break down the things that divide us and that we discover that as humans, we are all the same. We are. Take away the issues of money, race, religion, gender and everything else; we all bleed red.

We all hurt.

We all hope.

We all dream.

The way I see it, the time is now for humanity. It can be our finest hours at the dawn of a new age–provided we all get out of our own way and engage in a global dialogue about humanity in the age of AI.