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How low can we go?

Iqbal Ebrahim
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

This question comes to mind because today when we look at the world around us we begin to question the direction humanity is taking/ going. To many the events of this world are just a ‘happening’ but to some of us especially of the generation of yesteryear we look upon with disbelief, fear, trepidation and a deep sense of bewilderment at those events.


‘We have created man in the best of moulds, then, reduced him to be lowest of the low. Except for those who believe and do righteous deeds; for they shall have a reward unfailing’ (Quran 95: 4-6)

 
As a result of having been created from the ‘best of moulds’ means that we humans have that natural inbuilt potential for goodness. From all of God’s Creation of all living things, mankind is the one only one endowed with the power of thought and conscience. We were created in the ‘best of moulds’ thus we were not born sinners or evil by nature yet we see such terrible sin and evil being perpetrated and played out that we wonder what has happened to us.


 But look around you and witness the behaviour of mankind, you will find that it has sunk to the lowest depths of wickedness, depravity, callousness and evil. Just as we say ‘beauty, good and evil are in the eye of the beholder’, some of us see the ‘evil’ but on the other hand some see nothing wrong, to them it’s the new world and it’s ‘freedoms’.


This new found freedom leads to social deterioration and that further leads to the collapse of moral values in society. We see in society the degradation of those moral values that have maintained a healthy society being swept away – end result? All sorts of serious crimes, corruption, drugs, alcohol, pornography, rape, prostitution, premarital and extra marital sex, nudity, gays and lesbians, same sex marriages, sexual harassment, adultery, and crime increasingly committed by and also against youth and children.


When we watch the overseas TV news channels we increasingly get reports of famous figures who are now being accused of the abuse of many underage children in their past. The reports include sexual child molestation, paedophilia and a whole host of perversions and abuse of underage children. However this is not limited to other countries, increasingly there are reports that this type of abuse taking place in Botswana too.     


This world is fast becoming a generation in which the Laws of God, our Lord and Creator, are becoming subservient to the laws of man. Unfortunately some of us have a tendency to ape these types of developments that we glean from overseas, and we like to transpose and even impose them onto our life long religious, cultural and traditional values. Just because people especially in the so called developed world, shout out loud under the cloak of ‘individual rights’ and ‘human rights’ we fall for their arguments. Fair enough, human rights, but what about the rights of our Lord and Creator who has forbidden such acts?


‘Not equal are the blind and those who clearly see; nor are equal those who believe and work deeds of righteousness and those who do evil….’ Quran 40:58 and; ‘…nor can goodness and evil be equal…..’ (Quran 41:34)  


‘…..thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes and his judgements, and his commandments, always’. (Bible – Duet 11: 1)


Are we willing to succumb to their arguments that are cleverly based on denigrating us to make us to somehow feel as backward, old fashioned, under developed and  anyone who objects to those so-called freedoms and individual rights becomes ‘politically incorrect’.


Are we so naïve and fickle minded that we are willing to impose the ‘rights’ of man over and above the rights of God thereby subjugating the commands of God to the commands of man just because we want to please some people many of whom openly proclaim they are atheists?


Every individual has to make the judgement of what is good and what is evil, whether this perception is based upon religion, law, culture, or individual mind set. But remember that whatever we do in this life we will be called to account for it; ‘That day you shall be brought to Judgement; not an act of yours that you hide will be hidden’ (Quran 69:18).


And the Bible says: “God is going to judge everything we do, whether good or bad, even things done in secret” (Ecclesiastes 12:14)   


With those cleverly constructed arguments of individual / human rights and the rights of choice we fall into a quandary. We know our religious beliefs and teachings are straight forward and are contained in our sacred texts. But what happens is that we tend to take our beliefs in on a pick and choose basis. We follow what we want to and the other injunctions we choose to ignore.


For example adultery is prohibited but some ignore this religious injunction and say that it is perfectly acceptable to commit adultery while others think it to be wrong. With the arguments of individual choice, does this mean that someone can say that it is permissible for them to indulge in narcotics and drugs since it is their own body, and yet others might believe it to be a crime? For example, sixteen is considered as the legal age of consent to sex in some countries yet it is punishable elsewhere as it is considered sex with a minor in other countries of the world.  While abortion may be legal in one country, it is a crime in another. 


Where does this freedom stop? In other words everyone has the right to decide to say or do anything that is right or wrong, and all people should be left to their own discretion to believe and practice what they perceive as “correct.” But in our traditional and cultural upbringing the rights of the society as a whole far outweigh the rights of an individual. What is worrying is that we see those who shout the loudest about ‘rights’ tend to introduce many WRONGS in the name of those rights.

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020
Samson

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site www.willrobotstakemyjob.com    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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