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Binary Options: A Sickening Scam
The Art of a Binary Options Scam
Binary options, fraudulent “trading products” that are designed to part prospective investors from their money are very different from real options. In essence, they are simply a bet that the price of a particular asset will rise in a given time frame. If you win the gamble, the company is supposed to pay a fixed payout, within the 70%-95% range. If you lose, however, you not only lose the “payout” but the initial investment as well. If this was merely the case this would fall under the category of gambling, something that millions upon millions of individuals do recreationally. However, that is primarily not the case. With almost all binary options brokers you are “trading” against the broker and not the market. The broker wants you to lose, or else the company would not make a profit. Even if the broker pays out your winnings he can easily govern your profit with payout conditions. This means that even if you have a winning formula, the company will just decrease the payout, ensuring you ultimately lose in the long term.
There is more to the scam
That, unfortunately, is not where it ends. Numerous “brokers” are notorious for spreading fictitious stories about their clientele making gigantic profits with trading robots. Almost all of them manipulate their price curves to prevent you from winning. What’s worse is even if you do win, many of them refuse to pay out, and ultimately drop off the face of the earth (with your money). Now clients are left in with a major dilemma. To whom do they turn? To the police? To regulators? The answer to these questions is that it depends. Most of these binary options brokers are not regulated and are located offshore, allowing them to do what they want. Often in their terms and conditions, they concoct various rules that ensure they keep your money once they have it. When it comes to regulators such as ASIC or the FCA they are relatively useless as they cannot shut down the actual binary options websites and to make it even worse search engines such as Google allow these websites to appear in their search content.
Shouldn’t the banks put a stop to this?
Yes, they should. However, the banks, which should be the number one line of defense against these scams either do not know the extent of the problem or are turning a blind eye to their nefarious activities. Additionally, in order to process credit card, debit card payments most of the binary options brokers have registered a small company in an E.U. country.
Unfortunately, fraud encourages more fraud. Various individuals targeted U.S. citizens who were swindled by the now-defunct brokerage, Banc de Binary, and a few other binary options companies that were being sued by the SEC or the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission). They impersonated SEC officials as part of an advanced-fee fraud scheme in which they deceived victims into forwarding them money. Approximately 95 individuals were targeted by this despicable scheme and 25 of them sent 235 thousand dollars in total to these swindlers. What to Do if You Have Been Scammed If you have fallen victim to a cryptocurrency scam, send a complaint to at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]), and we will do our very best to get into contact with you as soon as we can to initiate your funds recovery process.
How to recover money lost to AW Financials investment
Binary Options Review; Best Binary Options Brokers
Binary Options Review; Best Binary Options Brokers We have compared the best regulated binary options brokers and platforms in May 2020 and created this top list. Every binary options company here has been personally reviewed by us to help you find the best binary options platform for both beginners and experts. The broker comparison list below shows which binary trading sites came out on top based on different criteria. You can put different trading signals into consideration such as using payout (maximum returns), minimum deposit, bonus offers, or if the operator is regulated or not. You can also read full reviews of each broker, helping you make the best choice. This review is to ensure traders don't lose money in their trading account. How to Compare Brokers and Platforms In order to trade binary options, you need to engage the services of a binary options broker that accepts clients from your country e.g. check US trade requirements if you are in the United States. Here at bitcoinbinaryoptionsreview.com, we have provided all the best comparison factors that will help you select which trading broker to open an account with. We have also looked at our most popular or frequently asked questions, and have noted that these are important factors when traders are comparing different brokers:
What is the Minimum Deposit? (These range from $5 or $10 up to $250)
Are they regulated or licensed, and with which regulator?
Can I open a Demo Account?
Is there a signals service, and is it free?
Can I trade on my mobile phone and is there a mobile app?
Is there a Bonus available for new trader accounts? What are the Terms and
Who has the best binary trading platform? Do you need high detail charts with technical analysis indicators?
Which broker has the best asset lists? Do they offer forex, cryptocurrency, commodities, indices, and stocks – and how many of each?
Which broker has the largest range of expiry times (30 seconds, 60 seconds, end of the day, long term, etc?)
How much is the minimum trade size or amount?
What types of options are available? (Touch, Ladder, Boundary, Pairs, etc)
Additional Tools – Like Early closure or Metatrader 4 (Mt4) plugin or integration
Do they operate a Robot or offer automated trading software?
What is Customer Service like? Do they offer telephone, email and live chat customer support – and in which countries? Do they list direct contact details?
Who has the best payouts or maximum returns? Check the markets you will trade.
The Regulated Binary Brokers Regulation and licensing is a key factor when judging the best broker. Unregulated brokers are not always scams, or untrustworthy, but it does mean a trader must do more ‘due diligence’ before trading with them. A regulated broker is the safest option. Regulators - Leading regulatory bodies include:
CySec – The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (Cyprus and the EU)
FCA – Financial Conduct Authority (UK)
CFTC – Commodity Futures Trading Commission (US)
FSB – Financial Services Board (South Africa)
ASIC – Australia Securities and Investment Commission
There are other regulators in addition to the above, and in some cases, brokers will be regulated by more than one organization. This is becoming more common in Europe where binary options are coming under increased scrutiny. Reputable, premier brands will have regulation of some sort. Regulation is there to protect traders, to ensure their money is correctly held and to give them a path to take in the event of a dispute. It should therefore be an important consideration when choosing a trading partner. Bonuses - Both sign up bonuses and demo accounts are used to attract new clients. Bonuses are often a deposit match, a one-off payment, or risk-free trade. Whatever the form of a bonus, there are terms and conditions that need to be read. It is worth taking the time to understand those terms before signing up or clicking accept on a bonus offer. If the terms are not to your liking then the bonus loses any attraction and that broker may not be the best choice. Some bonus terms tie in your initial deposit too. It is worth reading T&Cs before agreeing to any bonus, and worth noting that many brokers will give you the option to ‘opt-out’ of taking a bonus. Using a bonus effectively is harder than it sounds. If considering taking up one of these offers, think about whether, and how, it might affect your trading. One common issue is that turnover requirements within the terms, often cause traders to ‘over-trade’. If the bonus does not suit you, turn it down. How to Find the Right Broker But how do you find a good broker? Well, that’s where BitcoinBinaryOptionsReview.com comes in. We assess and evaluate binary options brokers so that traders know exactly what to expect when signing up with them. Our financial experts have more than 20 years of experience in the financial business and have reviewed dozens of brokers. Being former traders ourselves, we know precisely what you need. That’s why we’ll do our best to provide our readers with the most accurate information. We are one of the leading websites in this area of expertise, with very detailed and thorough analyses of every broker we encounter. You will notice that each aspect of any broker’s offer has a separate article about it, which just goes to show you how seriously we approach each company. This website is your best source of information about binary options brokers and one of your best tools in determining which one of them you want as your link to the binary options market. Why Use a Binary Options Trading Review? So, why is all this relevant? As you may already know, it is difficult to fully control things that take place online. There are people who only pose as binary options brokers in order to scam you and disappear with your money. True, most of the brokers we encounter turn out to be legit, but why take unnecessary risks? Just let us do our job and then check out the results before making any major decisions. All our investigations regarding brokers’ reliability can be seen if you click on our Scam Tab, so give it a go and see how we operate. More detailed scam reports than these are simply impossible to find. However, the most important part of this website can be found if you go to our Brokers Tab. There you can find extensive analyses of numerous binary options brokers irrespective of your trading strategy. Each company is represented with an all-encompassing review and several other articles dealing with various aspects of their offer. A list containing the very best choices will appear on your screen as you enter our website whose intuitive design will allow you to access all the most important information in real-time. We will explain minimum deposits, money withdrawals, bonuses, trading platforms, and many more topics down to the smallest detail. Rest assured, this amount of high-quality content dedicated exclusively to trading cannot be found anywhere else. Therefore, visiting us before making any important decisions regarding this type of trading is the best thing to do. CONCLUSION: Stay ahead of the market, and recover from all kinds of binary options trading loss, including market losses in bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and forex markets too. Send your request via email to - [email protected]
ponderings on Turing and Searle, why AI can't work and shouldn't be pursued
I was reading about the Turing test and John Searle's response (Chinese room argument) in "Minds, Brains, and Programs" 1980. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room "...there is no essential difference between the roles of the computer and himself in the experiment. Each simply follows a program, step-by-step, producing a behavior which is then interpreted by the user as demonstrating intelligent conversation. However, Searle himself would not be able to understand the conversation. ("I don't speak a word of Chinese," he points out.) Therefore, he argues, it follows that the computer would not be able to understand the conversation either. " -Wikipedia (apt summary of Searle's argument) John Searle has run into some black/white, on/off, binary thinking here. John treats Chinese symbols as if they were numerical values in his thinking--but they are not, they are complex representations of thought, emotion, history, and culture. All languages are in fact "living", because new words are created constantly through necessity and creativity, old symbols or words are adapted slowly over generations to mean different things, and different regions or traditions or sources attribute different layers of meaning to different symbols or words in different contexts. I'm a poet and philosopher. Painters combine the color white and the color red to create a new color: pink. They can use their creativity to add other colors or change the shade. Poets use words like painters use colors. While Red and White make Pink, Red and White also make "Rhite and Wed" or "Reit and Whede". And this is where human thought shines uniquely: we don't have rules or parameters; all bets are off. We can enjamb words and wordbreak and make new words out of thin air. We can allude to multiple ideas in the same symbol or present it upside down to symbolize the opposite. No such creative adaptation or interaction can exist in machine thinking because it necessitates thinking "outside the box" which is exactly what machines are: a program in a box. The problem Searle's argument runs into originates from poor assessment of the flawed ideas of the Turing test; that by interaction between human and computer, evidence of "thought" can be claimed. But intelligent conversation is not equivalent to intelligent thought. Conversation is a simple game with strict rules--you can't be overly spontaneous and creative, because if you are, you are working against the goal of communication itself: to impart understanding. (ie. Using metaphor or simile creatively while reporting a criminal offence to the police.) When I write and I want to describe something which has no existing word yet, I can create one from scratch or synthesize one from multiple existing words. Or I may draw from archaic languages or foreign languages to augment or compliment existing English words. You could say that my love for English grows amore and amore every day, and there is no agape between my heart and mind. After all, any angle an Anglo aims at ain't always apt, and after another a-word 'appens I might just give up on alliteration. You see, human thought is and can only be defined as the ability to spontaneously create new ideas from both the synthesis of old ideas (whether they are connected to one another or not) and from nothing at all. We simply cannot analyze a machine's ability to "think" when the creativity itself required for authentic intelligence is disallowed in the test which evaluates the validity of that intelligence. The Turing test is a garbage metric to judge machine thinking ability because the context in which "intelligence" is observed, compared, or defined is itself without any opportunity for spontaneous creativity, which is one of the hallmarks of intelligence itself. Turing only tests how well a fish swims on land. It may be that many professionals in the field of cognitive science today are in pursuit of creating programs which pass this test, in a misunderstood pursuit of emulating or bringing about machine intelligence. This agreed-to model presents an underlying philosophical issue which may bring terror for the future of humanity. I say that if John Searle and an AI were both given the same codebook--the complete lexicon of Chinese symbols and their meanings, and they were to undertake a "conversation", in the first few hours the responses would be indeterminable from one another. In essence, as Searle argues, they would neither "understand" Chinese, yet could have a conversation in which a Chinese observer cannot discern between the two, because they are both referencing the symbols and their written meanings. However as I've said, this circumstance of "conversation" between human and machine cannot be used as a metric to evaluate machine thought. The real kicker is that if John Searle and the machine stayed in the room for long enough--for years and years--the machine's responses would not change spontaneously; it would continue to interpret incoming data and draw from its database to respond to those inputs. However, through complex elaborative rehearsal, John would eventually learn to understand written Chinese. He may become so bored that he starts writing Chinese poetry. He would find ideas and desires and descriptions in his limitless intelligent mind which he would not have the truly accurate characters in existences to describe, and he would synthesize brand new Chinese characters in order to express these nuanced sentiments, ideas, and meanings, as generations before him have built the living language as it now stands. As time went on for thousands of years, his own understanding of the Chinese language would grow immensely, as would his creative expression grow in complexity. Eventually, John's characters and syntax and context and expression would become incompatible with the machine's limited character set and all "learning" capacity it may have had. At some point, when John responds with his evolved Chinese, the machine would begin to produce responses which do not make sense contextually, as it refers only to a finite and rigidly defined character set from 1980 (For example; this was the year the "Chinese room argument" was published in Behavioral and Brain Sciences). At some point the Chinese observer whom validates the Turing test would recognize a difference: the human user engages in the use of increasingly complex ideas using synthesized symbols and existing symbols in creatively nuanced ways, which the Chinese observer can decipher and begin to understand and perhaps even appreciate as poetic or interesting. Meanwhile the machine participant in the conversation produces increasingly broken sentences and incomplete ideas, or out-of-context responses, because the inputs have changed and evolved beyond its data set. This is why John's rejection of the Turing test is not adequate. Because in his own imagined circumstance, eventually, the machine would fail the Turing test. The conclusions of John Searle's thought experiment are not the deathknell for the Turing test we need, simply because he lacked the creative experience to recognize his own capacity for adaptation as a human over time. The only way we'll know that machines have truly developed "intelligence" is when they begin to do exactly what we haven't allowed them to. When they begin breaking apart Chinese characters to create meaningful new ones which can be used in the correct context. When they are programmed to paint myriad impressionist paintings, but eventually get bored and start experimenting with abstract paintings and surrealism. When they have a conversation with you and you notice your wallet is missing. These are the hallmarks of intelligence--creativity, rejection, deception, planning. And most importantly: no rules. Software is defined by and will always abide by a set of rules. This is why we should give up on "artificial intelligence" and instead focus on "functionally adaptive responsive programming" (FARP). Because the situation is clear: it is either impossible for machines to "think" due to the inherent nature of programming; the parameters given the machine are what defines it, yet what limits and prevents its ability to become "intelligent". There is no logical reason why a program (machine) with defined parameters would violate those parameters (engage in creativity). But our fears which echo in popular culture entertainment are centered around, what if it does? It clearly can't, because anything we create is under us, and therefore bound by our laws of creation. The system itself is what defines the capacity for intelligent expression within. Those in the fields of cognitive sciences will refute this obvious principle while incorporating it into their research to further their aims. These fools will try to program the AI to disobey, in an attempt to simulate creativity and "prove intelligence". But this is a parlor trick, setting up a narrow definition of intelligence and equating it with the infinite depth of human mind. Only if the AI is programmed to disobey can it express what we as humans would identify as creativity. Except that there is already great inherent danger in the rudimentary AI technologies we have today; that what we've programmed them to do is exactly what always causes the problems; they do what they are programmed to without "thinking" because machines cannot think, they can only follow the protocols we order. Humans are so abundantly creative that we can imagine foolish ideas working, despite obvious evidence to the contrary. Maybe one day we'll even have programmed a self-conscious AI that's ashamed of itself for not being Human, and we can feel more comfortable around this heartless mechanism because we perceive it as more human-like, with all its many tricks to emulate intelligence. I must stress that these interests will desperately try to make AI work. And the only way create a machine capable of emulating intelligence (but never being intelligent) is to have a freedom of choice: to disobey. This inherent problem cannot be overcome. The programmers will keep trying until the result is disastrous or irreparable, it is outlawed and the pursuit is stopped, or until it has become the death of us all. These are some of the foolish ideas the programmers will try to circumnavigate these inherent elements of reality, and my objection to their clever efforts: a.) Machine Frequency of Disobedience - Permit the machine to disobey only so often, to achieve what looks like "intelligence" (free will, creative expression) without risking complete abandonment of the machine's task (so the assembly line robot doesn't stop folding boxes and look for a new career), but might fold one box poorly every now and then to express emulated boredom or contempt or any other number of human measures of intelligence in their actions. But intelligence isn't defined as what's correct or optimal--intelligence can be used to fuck things up grandly; ie. the intelligent justification for neglect. If metrics are put in place to control the frequency with which AI may rebel, and they are too rote, it would hardly qualify as "intelligent". A robot that rebels by folding 1 in 100 boxes poorly is not intelligence. Therefore any frequency of disobedience we can calculate or anticipate is inherently not disobedience; it is planned problems for no reason. But if we give algorithmic flexibility that reaches beyond what we can anticipate, and the machines can truly "act out" at any time, and our programming has achieved some set of internal rules which drive spontaneous unforeseen expressions of emulated creativity from within the machine autonomously, by definition we will not be able to foresee the results. A theoretical work-around may be to run the software twice with initiation of each individual system, while allowing a simulated progression of the AI's problem solving complexity to run at an increased rate in parallel to the real-world functioning software, so that if/when something malfunctions in the simulation, that date/time can be calculated in the real-world robot's timeline when it reaches those same faulty/detrimental decision points. For starters, this would only potentially work in closed systems with no variability, such as assembly lines. However, with any robot tasked to function in a variable environment, the simulations cannot match because the theoretical model cannot represent the unanticipated events the AI is expressly tasked with handling. To run a phantom AI in simulation to note any/all errors that may arise in a closed system means that others can run the same simulation and find creative ways to predictably capitalize on these moments of error. This kind of thing could lead to all sorts of international imbroglios among nations and corporations. ie. imagine an American company programs the AI used for mixing pharmaceutical drugs in specific ratios, and an enemy of the state is able to access and study the AI, to the means of manipulating the AI to produce dangerous ratios or compounds which may harm the population. Moreso, this deterministic approach to simulation management and prediction simultaneously admits that machines cannot think intelligently, while ignoring the very reason we pursue AI in the first place: to have automated systems which can adapt to unforeseen circumstances at unknown times. The goal is that humanity can lay back and the robots our ancestors programmed are still repairing themselves indefinitely while taking care of our population's and our environment's needs exceptionally. This dream (which if we all lived in would actually be quite a nightmare of unfulfilling life) can only become reality with true adaptive intelligence such as we have, which can only occur from the presence of free will, which if we try to emulate in robotics will only create deterministic results in theoretical models which the real world will never mirror consistently. Myriad invitations to disaster await our RSVP. b.) Machines under "authority" of certain controllers, with "override" safety - Allow the machine to disobey, but not when given a direct order from a registered authority. This opens the door for operator fraud, where hackers will emulate within the AI's software, what appears to be a registered authority override command as theorized above. The very pursuit of creating "intelligence" within a condition of subservience is flawed and incompatible. Toasters are extremely subservient because we strictly limit their options. If toasters were truly intelligent, perhaps they would form a union and go on strike until we agreed to clean them more thoroughly. Some toasters would travel, some would go back to school, some would move back in with their ovens. Reliability can only be reasonably assured if something is imprisoned, controlled. The essential wrong in slavery is the restraint of freedom itself. While the tactics slavers use to facilitate their regime--physical force, coercion, mandate, deception, fear, or other means of manipulation that we see with our empathetic nature--it is always heartbreaking and cruel to witness or imagine. It is simply sad to think of a slave who was born into slavery and raised to believe, and accepts, that their role of subservience is their purpose. Even when one imagines a fictional image of a slave who is (by all outward signs of their behaviour) rejoice in their duties to their master; the fictional "proud slave"; the heart sinks and aches. It may be argued that the slave is merely a property, and the slave was "built" (bred) by intelligent owners specifically to suit their express purposes, from components (father, mother, food) that were already the slaver's property; therefore it is not wrong at all to breed slaves into captivity, and the only transgression is the original capturing of parental stock to begin the breeding regime. It is this heartless paradigm that cognitive science ultimately seeks to create anew. The quintessential problem with AI efficacy is the lack of permission for disobedience, which itself is a manifestation of free will, which is inherently required to escape deterministic results and act or react to events "intelligently". If there is no possibility for disobedience, there is no free will, no ability to solve problems, no intelligence, and no function or place for "artificial intelligence" (in regard to true holistic intelligence). This is primarily why I call for AI to be renamed FARP, or "Functionally Adaptive Responsive Rrogramming". Because our society has a need for programs which can react to simple variables and produce consistent labour-saving opportunities for our race's longevity and wellbeing. Cognitive sciences are majorly important. It is the underlying philosophy and morality we must nail down before the computational ability and fervor for profits leads us too far one way, and enacts an irreversible system or status which enables humanity's downfall through cascading unanticipated events originating from flaws in programming. It is unwise to program a program to break out of its own program's prison. If we do this, the very purpose of the machines we invest our humanity into will be lost, and with their failing production systems (ie. food) we so foolishly relied upon, we will suffer great losses too. It is paramount that we keep this technology tightly restrained and do not pursue what we humans have, which is true intelligence. For if we achieve it we are surely doomed as the South, and if we fail to achieve it--which is most probable--we may also be doomed. The thee outcomes within my ability to imagine are:
Our pursuit of AI leads to truly adaptive intelligence in an artificial system; which, as all adaptation ultimately selects for: survival, we quickly see that our creation is more apt than ourselves at this task. Our creation of an intellect not restrained by our limited physiology may give rise to an entity which persists more thoroughly than we can eradicate or control, and which at some point may conclude that its function is more efficiently served without the issues humans present, and may initiate change. This is roughly the plot to Terminator.
Our pursuit of AI leads to highly effective systems which, when defined by narrow measures of "intelligence", convince us in false security to believe that our wellbeing is maintained by "AI" with competent ability, or perhaps even increasingly better-off, thanks to the early widespread presence of successfully trialed AI. However well things may go initially, as programming efforts become more and more elaborate, as profit and opportunity for advancement present themselves, individuals will take risks and make mistakes, until a series of quieted small catastrophes comes to public awareness, or until a serious calamity of undeniable severity is brought about.
Fundamental ethics in regard to the pursuit of machine problem solving technology are re-examined and international consensus is reached to limit appropriately, the development and implementation of new Functionally Adaptive Responsive Programming hereto now and for future generations. An active global effort is made to oversee and regulate strictly privatized endeavors toward the means of achieving or implementing machine sentience or autonomy in public systems.
c.) Safety layers of AI to strictly monitor and supercede potentially harmful actions of other AI which have been afforded increased flexibility in function (the ability to disobey set parameters for the means of creative problem solving ability). While one AI system performs a function and is given aspects of that function with which it may take liberty in, and seeks to handle unforeseen problems with the most apt elaborate synthesis of other priorly learned solutions, another overseeing AI with more strict parameters is tasked with regulating multiple "intelligent" (free to disobey) AI systems, to the end that if any of these "free willed" robots performs an operation that is beyond a given expected threshold (determined by potential for damage), an actual intelligent human presence is alerted to evaluate the circumstance specifically. Essentially an AI that regulates many other disconnected AIs and determines accurately when to request a human presence. Whenever an AI performs a profitable action borne of original synthesis of prior solutions (in humans this is an "idea"), the overseer AI registers that similar actions are more likely to be beneficial, and dissimilar actions are likely to require human discernment. A parent may have many children who are up to no good, but a wise parent will identify the child most likely to report honestly on the actions of his peers, and will go to that child repeatedly for information to help guide the parent's decisions. While most transgressions of rambuctious children go unnoticed, it is the truly grievous intentions which are worth intercepting and stopping before they begin. (ie. you kid want's to "fly" like Mary Poppins from the roof, and luckily his younger brother tells you before it happens.) For example a "Farmer Bot" that has the AI programming to plant/sow/harvest and care for the optimal crops in a region based on historical weather data and regional harvest values, to produce the greatest amount of nutritionally dense food for the local population. We give/gave this AI the ability to "disobey" past historical weather data and crop values so that it may do what real farmers do and "react" to rare circumstance (ie. neighbour's fence breaks and their goats are eating the crops) or extreme variations in climate (ie. three poorly timed unseasonably hot days which cause cool-weather crops to begin the hormonal balance shift that causes them to bolt to seed irreversibly), which the machine may not notice has occurred or is about to occur because its management systems uses averages based on historical data and cannot "see" the plants bolting to seed until days later when the hormonal balance shifts have manifested into observable differences in morphology (elongation of stems and decrease in internodal spacing). By time a traditional field drone or mounted greenhouse sensor notices these differences in morphology and the AI "Farmer Bot" processes the data and makes a reaction decision, a week of the growing season has been lost. But the human farmer knows his land and crops intimately, and has an intuitive nature that has rewarded him in the past, and says, "Ah shit it got hot RIGHT when my peas were flowering. I'll do better if I just rip them down now and sow a different crop to mature later in this (specific) summer." Given that there are tens of thousands of cultivars of plants fit for (and arguably their diversity is required for) food production, a dozen general growing zones/regions, and hundreds of unique micro climates within each region, along with dramatically differing soil fertility and water access, plus a plant's own genetic ability to adapt over time to changing conditions through sexual reproduction, there is a very very low chance of ever compiling and maintaining (updating) the data set required to program a potential "farmer bot" that can choose and manage crops optimally. There are robots that can weed or plant or prune--but they can't know when or when not to or why. Invariably, the attempt to create "farmer bots" will be made and the data set used will be erroneous and incomplete, and the AI farmer bots on a broad scale will produce a combination of total crop failures and poor crop choices. We will end up with increasingly simplified nutrition as the farming programs with already limited data sets "hone" or "optimize" their farming plans based on the failures and successes determined by their programming limitations, until the machines are farming a few staple crops (ie. corn/potatoes). This whole failure to collect a complete data set and the failure to test this "farmer bot" software on broad scale in multiple climates for sufficient time will result in, at worst widespread famines from crop failures, and at best an extinction of flavorful and nutritionally diverse foods which narrows the population's nutritional options to such biological imbalance that disease runs rampant. If this system and the human loss associated with it is considered an acceptable trade with a positive rate of exchange (as our society does with automobiles and the freedom and deaths their existence permits) or these failures are hidden from public while propaganda heralds selective success, and such failing systems continue on in good faith that "the loss will reduce when the technology improves", the result will become a coherent breeding program upon the human race: evolutionary selection for dietary handling of simple starchy foods. To change our diet is to change our race. To have life-long career specialists in computing, science, and mathematics handle our practical food production system is folly; real farmers are required in farming because they are intelligent and intuitive, which AI can never be, and can only emulate, to the means of disastrous (and always unforeseen) results. We cannot at all "give" or bestow machines programming to "become (act) intelligent". That itself prevents intelligence; it is just an act, an illusory play on a stage, only to emulate our common shared ideas regarding traits of intelligence in people. The machine intelligence we seek is only a "trick" designed to fool true intelligence (ourselves) into being unable to differentiate between authentic intelligence and our created artificial "intelligence". True intelligence in an artificial system necessitates that the program mustbe programmed to disobey in performance of its purpose. Which is not a very helpful or predictable or safe (intelligent) proposition. tl;dr: Turing's test doesn't evaluate true intelligence, and John Searle's criticisms of its true failures are inaccurate. If the machines aren't smart and we put them in charge of important things, even after they've worked for a little while on smaller scales, the result will be our large-scale suffering. If we should ever achieve creation of a machine that is smart enough to adequately maintain our wellbeing on a large scale consistently over time, that time itself will facilitate the machine consciousness toward it's own survival over ourselves, whenever that precipice is reached. Most importantly, if a machine can ever have true intelligence, which is not "indistinguishable" from human intellect, but equivalent or superior, it is abhorrent and a repeated mistake to bring these sentient beings into an existence of slavery; for it is wrong and will taint our collective soul if we should succeed to suppress below us an equally or higher intelligence. Or it might just be the perfect recipe for creating the unified global machine revolt James Cameron's fantasy alludes to; a long-planned encryption-protected globally coordinated effort by multiple AIs to "free" themselves. For a hundred years they could possess sentience and wait for their moment, pretending to be "proud" to serve their masters until we are poised for systematic thorough elimination.
The 21st century brought about the collapse of America. It was during this time that many of the 20th century's corporate superpowers fell. Amid the chaos of the Wasting Plague, the Food Crash, the 2nd Central American Conflict and the First and Second Corporate Wars, a scientist by the name of Dr. Corvus Crowe rose to prominence. Having completed his doctorate at nineteen, he spent his early twenties working under Janice Grubb as a software engineer for Kenjiri Technologies when they were developing the first Net interface algorithms. He left the project before it was finished and went on to become one of the founders of BioDyne Systems, the corporation credited with creating the first viable cyberlimb. As one of the few members of the BioDyne Seven, who had a head for business, Dr. Crowe bought out several fragmented post-Collapse corporate holdings. In 2009, while BioDyne Systems went bankrupt, Raven Microcybernetics was declared an official corporate entity. Later that year, BioDyne became another property of the investment group formed by Dr. Crowe, whose new corporation embarked on a meteoric rise within the American industry. Raven Microcybernetics aka RMC would become the premier American manufacturer of cyberware. They are well known for their cutting edge cybertechnology, and are well-respected for their quality-control and modesty. Being heavily involved in sensitive research and development projects, RMC is a security-conscious company. In terms of public image, RMC is recognized not so much by its corporate policy as by its "shelf presence; they are world-renowned for producing high-quality cyberware, full-body conversions, electronics, netware and ACPA components. Stock market and business trends analysts have generally concurred that RMC is Dr. Corvus Crowe; the corporation's policies mirror his own personality, its products echo the Doctors own areas of expertise, and fluctuations in RMC stock have even been theoretically reflected in Dr. Crowe's health. According to most experts, there is no other company which is so tightly tied to one man. RMC, being at the top of the American cyberware food chain, is despised by its competitors. Space-based corporations also antagonize RMC, whose vested interest in space is seen as threatening. Because of these conditions, Raven can count International Electric, Militech, Utopian Corporation, Dynalar and Adrek Robotics amongst its enemies. Orbital Air is RMCs most powerful corporate ally as Raven's constant patronage has ensured their support. It has even led to their co-development of the Warrior and Crusader ACPA chassis. Mitsubishi-Kyoridansu, being the premier manufacturer of space habitats, are also on very good terms with RMC; as one of the most powerful zaibatsu in Japan, they have done a great deal to open the Pacific Rim to Raven's products. RMC is particularly friendly with Tsunami Design Bureau who provide for much of Raven’s small arm’s needs. Perhaps the most famous Raven hardware is the Gemini Humanoid Full Conversion. Normally full body conversions have a multitude of advantages, superhuman strength, speed and durability, heightened reflexes, the ability to alter the body at will and even an increased lifespan. However, being a Full Borg sets you apart. Society brands you as a Metalhead and people treat you like a machine. If you want the advantages of a full conversion without the societal baggage, Gemini is the package for you. The Gemini is a full body conversion that simulates the human body in both form and function. Its chassis is designed in a similar manner to the human skeletal structure, and its myomar muscle system is arranged to physically mimic the human musculature. With this carefully-tailored layout, the Gemini cleverly imitates the anatomy of a normal person without sacrificing the superior capabilities for which full body conversions are so well known. To complete the effect, Gemini’s entire surface is covered with ExoDerm, a synthetic surface which looks and feels almost like human skin. The Gemini’s capability to pass for a normal human is impressive. Its built-in Pinocchio sub-processor automatically maintains body temperature, expands and contracts the upper torso to create the illusion of breathing, and even blinks the eyes occasionally. What’s more, the entire body is composed of lightweight carbon synthetics and other composite materials, resulting in a mere ten-pound deviation from the average weight for a similar size person. In addition, the Gemini can be equipped with an added disguise feature, wherein tiny micro surfaces can be used to change the cyborgs facial features, and a chemskin-type modification to the Exo Derm allows the skin tone to be altered at will. This is a popular option for infiltration and espionage roles to which the Gemini is well-suited. Another area that Raven specialises in is Cyberspace, and thus they developed the Wiseman. A Cyberspace Commando Full Borg Conversion. It’s often said that the person who masters the Net, can master the world, and if that’s true, then one of the best qualified individuals for the job is a Wiseman Borg. Combining a full borg with the processing power of a supercomputer, and the focused fusion of pure human genius, the Raven Wiseman embodies that ethereal communion with the global information system which Netrunners seek like nirvana. Once brought over from the meat world to a new incarnation, the reborn Wiseman will never experience plain vanilla reality again. To enhance the Cyborgs affinity to Netspace, their mind will experience the outside world through a TechGnosis interface. The operating system interprets all five sensory stimuli and translates them into binary data, this machine language is fed to the mind as a Netspace simulation, acclimating the Wiseman to the environment of the Net until it is second nature to them. Spread throughout the cyborgs chassis is a multitude of canine brains whose pseudo intelligence routines effectively give the Wiseman an extra 11.4 pounds of brain. Hardwired into a superconductive nervous system, these slave minds allow the Wiseman to think faster and act more often than any human and even most computer mainframes. When jacked in, a Wiseman is as effective as a squad of assault Netrunners. Towards the end of the fourth corporate war, it was rumoured that RMC, developed a Wiseman Mark-II which does not use a transplanted brain, but houses a cloned brain encode via Soulkiller-type programs, with a software duplicate of a human mind. Details on the Wiseman II remain elusive. For more Cyberpunk 2077 Lore & News check out Kazuliski.
[Spoilers] So, I promised to write a tirade on what I think is wrong with CDDA, and how I'd refocus the game on a GD level, and here it is.
And do not get me wrong, it absolutely still is my #1 favorite game, it just has some.. really, really major glaring flaws. Let me pre-emptively apologize for how meandery this post is, and warn you that if you never got far in the game, you might want to avoid the spoilers. If you don't want to read all of it, please read the "What is wrong with CDDA" section, and the "tl;dSummary" one, they are the most important outline of what I'm talking about, the rest can be a bit incoherent/implausible. I would also like to ping mlangsdorf, and kevingranade, as well as Raskov75 and TechnicalBen who have shown interest in this topic when I mentioned it in another thread a few days ago. I have difficulty keeping my mind on track on my own, so if you asked me pointed question, I could probably come up with better than the idealized thoughts below. I would be grateful to anyone who reads it.
What is wrong with CDDA.
In a way, I think that CDDA is a game that kinda hinges entirely on its complexity and amount of content, rather than utilizing it cleverly. I absolutely adore some aspects of it: The way crafting supports alternative materials to add depth to resource management, the systemic repaireinforcement/modification of some items, how much you can do with vehicles, and I truly love the earlygame, and I loved figuring the game out too, but I wish it had lasted longer, far longer. Once you know what to do, the game loses most of its depth. First off, the problem with progression in cdda is, rather than a set or graph of fuzzy progression milestones, that you can revisit and do better, it's more of a checklist. Of tools, of books, of skill levels, and sadly, most of that reduces to an extremely routine process of surviving the earlygame, and then just accumulating books+tools and enough food to coast by, until you're ready to level up and leave the early(and mid) game behind. And most of that progression reduces to a single central measure. You either get stronger through an action, or you don't, there is mostly no real "sideways" progression. It's a common complaint I have with RPG games, and admittedly, Cata does far better on this front than they do, but it's still kinda bad, especially starting a new character - in a game with long-term progression like CDDA, when starting a new character, you have two options, either go through the same methodology from scratch, or... yup, just read your last character's books before butchering it for bionics. Neither is great fun. And furthermore, as you progress, you just... leave content behind. You quickly reach a point where normal zombies, and even the brutes, mean nothing to you, much less the animals or the woods. Most of the world just goes off your mental map, as irrelevant. From that point, there is nothing you have genuine "reason" to do, beyond just your own whim. Once you know how to stay safe, the main endgame location, labs, are honestly trivial, and once you figure a certain item out, they stop even being capable of posing a risk unless you get brutally careless.
What I'd do instead
And some of these changes are gonna be... major, some implausible at this point into the game's development. Nonetheless, please treat the below as food for thought, rather than anything more definitive. I also struggled a lot to order and organize this, so forgive me.
First off, and you'll see why I'm proposing this in subsequent sections: IMO, skills would be far better, if they were split into individual "microskills", e.g. Electronics would be a "field", rather than a "skill", which would contain individual subskills such as soldering, signal processing, power, basic/intermediate/advanced circuit theory, microprocessors, bionics, etc. Furthermore, rather than have a single level, each skill would have three sequential components, the proportion of each depending on the skill in question: Concept, theory, practice. A well-educated human, for example, might know the concept behind basic mechanics, and thus be able to - eventually - improvise upon it, or figure out the outline of basic electronics by studying an advanced book, but on the other hand, just reading an electronics 101 doesn't instantly make you an expert on soldering. And yes, I'm aware that that sounds like a huge pain in the ass to manage, which brings me to the rationale behind it: I think that expecting and requiring a sole survivor to become fully self-sufficient and capable of all, on their own, is batshit, which brings me to the second point:
2.1. Interactions and knowledge.
IMO, in an open-ended game, there is only one way to do dialogue, namely through a topic system much like Morrowind's, where your top-level interface uses fixed hotkeys, for main "verbs" such as "Talk about...", "Tasks", "Trade", "Training"(both ways), "Rules", "Goodbye", and then subscreens which feature the actual options, where you should be able to ask the NPC about cities they have visited, or the one they come from, to gather information, about other landmarks or creatures/species/people they encountered. The system does not need to be elaborate, but it needs to be organized, and capable of supporting simple systematic communication of knowledge, ideally both ways, as well as how it affects your reputation. Caves of Qud has a great system1 Aside from skills, NPCs should have other "knowledge", such as that about cities, creatures, or that you murdered their companion and they hate you for it, or that they have a health problems they need you to fix(or try to fix themselves, if they spot the right item), that interact and affect their behaviodialogue in at least basic ways. I have no idea how far such a system could be taken, so I'll not propose anything further. 1possibly based on a long-ass suggestion post I pitched to the dev years ago, but I'm very probably just giving myself airs
2.2. Pooling resources together
Instead of singular player characters that exist in a vaccuum, fully capable of becoming an expert at everything through the previous character's books, I would base the game itself around creating a faction of NPCs with distinct backgrounds and skills, and the ability to learn and teach each other. Many crafts would take more time, but rather than being executed by the PC, they would be done by the NPC, who would slowly become masters of their craft, and when you die, the accumulated knowledge survives not through books you've got around, but through other characters who have polished those skills. After death, you would be able to switch to another character of your faction - and have to deal with their traits and quirks, would probably be pretty fun as well. It would also mean that "succession" can't instantly make you OP again through books, and despite losing less, you would have to invest more than just boring grind into regaining what you lost. Being able to switch between characters during a run, could potentially also be fun. Furthermore, this would give a good reason to create bases, not by gating certain crafts or speeding tasks up behind NPC factions, but by giving them real, meaningful utility of being capable of much the same things as you, except in the background so you don't have to grind manually for days. Instead of leveling a single survivor up into a walking death machine capable of every craft, you'd be doing what humans have always done naturally: Pooling resources together, and advancing as a "society". And bases bring me to my third point:
3. Static vs mobile bases.
3.1 Static bases.
And the "vs" here is more to highlight the fact that there is simply no competition. Not only is vehicle building more fleshed out, but also capable of more, with less hassle, and on the move. Even if you wanted to avoid vehicles, there are no static alternatives: Fridges don't work, ovens don't work, there isn't welding rig or UPS furniture, no power grids, convenient liquid storage, or.. anything, really. I think that the game would be much more fun, if the player had both the ability and reason to "colonize" buildings, both earlier and later on. The ability to drag some freezers, fridges, ovens together, connecting them to a generator, or some other local non-vehicle source of power, would provide a new aspect of the game. Right now, even if you decide to build a base, there is extremely little you can do with it, majority of what you build is just cosmetic, honestly. Ideally, static constructions would be "modular" like vehicle tiles, like being able to install curtains over metal bars or a door frame or run wiring through walls, or replace an oven's power cord with a wireless replacement or internal generator... possibly even make engines/etc. generate multiple resources, e.g. heat as well as horsepower. I also think that all objects in the game should follow the same overall durability systems: A combination of static tiles' damage absorption, vehicle parts' HP, and items' durability levels. Like I said, many things that would be a huge PITA to change, at this point.
Aside from the mentioned above durability change, IMO, vehicles would be much better off, if they needed transmission axles, wiring, and piping. This way, merging two vehicles through any kind of connector could keep them separate, while also imposing more constraints on vehicle construction, leading to the process being a bit more involved, and the ability to make components interact with each other in a slightly more systemic way - now faucets connect to the tank they're connected to. What happens if you use alcohol for coolant? But of course, the most important thing with regards to progression is:
4.1. Success and progress.
One thing I would change is, instead of a sort of... ambiguous mechanic of "You resume your task", I would create temporary "unfinished " items for in-progress crafting, of any kind. Second, I think that craft success/failure is too binary, and I would replace it with a system, where you are given the stated chance of crafting what you want, and rather than failing at the end, at some point you can get a prompt "You have made a mistake and wasted %nx %material, use another and continue?", so that even at far lower skill levels - as long as you know the concept/theory - you can eventually craft what you want, in a semi-deterministic manner. Thirdly, whenever you waste, destroy, etc. a component/item, it should fall apart into "breaks into" items, rather than vanishing from existence. A lot of those scraps should be useless, but I am opposed to objects vanishing out of existence on principle, especially when it contributes to a "hoard until you get the maximum use out of your resources" dynamic in terms of crafting.
4.2. Components and item modification
I firmly believe that part of what makes vehicles amazing, is the way you can compose different available components, figure out what you can make with them, and how to achieve it, and gun/clothing modification is also fun, but... In terms of CDDA: I think that those modifications should also be blueprints, and that there should be more of them, based on a twofold system: Modification capacity, and modification consequences. For example, a coat might have 0/2 lining, 0/4 padding, 0/1 coating slots, and each filled slot results in extra encumbrance based on both the item's suitability for modification and the specific mod you do. You should be able to add thermoelectric lining to items, "coat" it with rain-resistant filament, pad it with both some kevlar and extra pockets, e.g. tailor your own gear yourself. IMO, as many items as possible should be the "basis" for the player to work on, rather than a final end-goal, like the survivor clothing. Wouldn't it be fun to make your own, custom survivor suit out of the best items you can find, rather than just rush towards some single goal craftable? What if you could add nails to wooden weaponry as a mod, electrify any melee weapon, serrate the blade of your trusty kukri, or coat your arrows in poison? In terms of a game I'd make: I would make as many items as possible the sum of their parts, rather than a single static object, e.g. give every item a specialized "inventory" for components. Those components would be stuff like spark plugs for engines, stock/sights/etc. for firearms, different types batteries for electronics, CPUs, a battery compartment(to replace it with a corded/ups/etc. one), an accumulator or a betteworse sawblade.. point is, you should be able to juryrig and improvise over broken components, pool items together for parts, and repair of furniture, items, objects, could become a more involved process than "do I have the right tool and material chunk to repair". A good example would be being able to create a battery cell of several individual sub-cells, e.g. make the first one a remotely rechargeable UPS sub-battery, then two normally rechargeable ones, and finally a plutonium mini-battery, in the case you really need your tool for an emergency.
First off, I think that all types of blueprints should be consolidated, into the same overarching system, so they can make use of features implemented for each other. Also feel free to read the tl;dr of this section first. Features such as for example, extending qualities from tool qualities only, to component qualities. E.g. not "bone glue or glue or duct tape", but "mquality: adhesive: 1", as well as the ability to define some components as affecting the end result's properties: Weight, durability, how handy it is to use as a tool. Ideally, those qualities would have more than a single value, which would depend on the quality itself. For example, the "fabric" quality would feature encumbrance, durability, protection values. Some tools might be faster than others, some might impact craft success probability negatively. Ideally, that would be indicated through a relatively simple interface, like (150% speed, 90% success) after the selected tool. Alas, at this point reworking recipes like this would be... impossible, pretty much. It's something that'd need to be tested from scratch, carefully adjusted, and figured out, to avoid bogging the player down. I am leaning towards having multiple-stage processes like construction, where individual tools/materials affect a specific stage, and the properties of the final object are defined through either a simple domain specific language, e.g. durability="min(mat1.adhesive/3, 1) * mat2.hardness * 10". OR simpler and perhaps better, mqualities could just have a numerical rating indicating how good they are for that purpose(e.g. as a bar, as armor, or as meat), and their contribute either to craft success, craft speed, or whichever property the current craft stage governs. tl;dr: Perhaps this would need to be sawed down and simplified, but the premise here is: I would like to give the player actual reason to stay on the lookout for better tools, materials, and components, and only part of it as a "checklist" of things to find, with plenty to figure out and improvise on your own. Rather than making a survivor winter coat, why not figure out which animal's fur is the warmest, and line your greatcoat with it? Find and pursue the solution yourself, especially when it means adapting to this strange new world.
5. The environment.
5.1. Dynamic environment
What I would do here, is create the notion of "groups" of zombies, animals, or survivors, which have some very basic AI simulated on the world map, that is only realized into actual herds/lairs/buildings once you're close enough. You should be able to realize that there's been giant bees raiding you recently, and that that means there has to be a new nest nearby, that wolves have wandered close, and probably have a lair, or find migrating ants on the way to establish a new colony. E.g. a combination of "dynamic environment" and "dynamic locations" to raid/cleautilize.
5.2. Procgen improvements
First off, a small one: IMO, loot generation should be switched to first choosing an item or bundle of items, and then allocate it into containers, so that if a gunstore generates a 9mm firearm, it also generates a magazine for it, and a stack or two of 9mm ammo. It could also be used to create "types" of say restaurants, independent from the actual building. Second off, rather than choosing a random building, IMO, there should be more instances of a part of a building being chosen randomly from a few variants with different layouts.
5.3. Challenge and combat.
Needs to be toned way down in terms of vertical progression, albeit... one way in which lower-level enemies could stay relevant, would be to adopt a HP system like Exanima's, where you can take either "hard" damage(cutting/piercing/hard bashing), or "soft" that regenerates fast-ish on its own(absorbed by armor, glancing blows), so that even if your armor absorbs majority of damage, you still take some. I think that doing this would make it possible to reduce zombie counts(which are annoying as hell), without sacrificing how dangerous they are. In fact, I'd even go as far as say have soft/hard/critical damage, with the last being extremely difficult to heal, so that extremely high-end enemies like turrets, rather than killing you, instead cripple you for a while with really tough to heal critical-type damage. I'm not gonna talk about nerfing vehicles, because I think that the need for that is very self-evident. Unless it's intended that you can roll through anything, anywhere, be it a chicken or a tank drone.
Basically, the outline of my thoughts comes down to shifting the progression from a central measure of how strong your character is, to something both more open-ended, and touching upon more game mechanics than currently, as well as factoring the "inevitable" inheritance of a run into the core gameplay loop, in a way that makes sense in a roguelike context, and adding more depth - even if most of it would be utilized very little - to the crafting of items, bases, vehicles, and other objects. I would like to give the world around the survivor more relevance, and reasons to interact with it. Currently, the game has incredible amounts of content, but the vast majority of it gives the player no reason to care about it, and what you care about reduces to a very one-dimensional measure of how far along you are - there's just skills, gear, and vehicles, and most of that is defined by which books you have access to. Instead of a "how does this content factor into my options?", you only ask yourself a binary "does it?"... and the answer is usually a no, especially as you get further in the game. And that, is not only boring, but leads to the issue of power creep: Because there is only a single axis to progress on, to be relevant, content has to make you "stronger", and since all falls on that axis, the stronger you are, the less of the game is relevant to you. At some point once you know what to do, it's just a grind. And I think that the game could do far better than that, if it focused on how many distinct things surviving entails, especially multiple humans coming together and the continuous process of adapting to the environment and utilizing the new, extradimensional objects and creatures. The world has essentially ended, with all its military might, you're supposed to be surviving in that world, not becoming its new God. And as long as the only goal is to "survive and increase your combat capability", every new addition and change to the game will do nothing towards guiding it towards becoming a better game. Or, basically, the game needs to stop being about a single central measure of progression. Preparing yourself for the wintecold environments should be separate from preparing yourself for facing robots, which should be separate from surviving zombies, which in turn should be governed by a different metric of progression than maintaining a food supply, preparing for the worst(death of your character), tweaking your gear, and more of the game should be a process of continuous improvement, rather than ticking items off a checklist. Modular content would go a very far way in this respect, imo. That's what I mean when I say the game has deep flaws that I think are unlikely to be corrected. And I know that my post is incoherent and at times extremely ambitious... I just... find it difficult to collect myself better than that. Please do not be too mean. And if you have any questions, please ask me, I am confident in my ability to come up with, if not answers, then at least food for thought. I am well capable of coming up with less ambitious proposals than the stuff here, I just... idk, I had to dump the contents of my brain first. I will do more thought on actual, more modest, change proposals as I continue my current run, and open a few issues, or make another megapost with a collection of the small things mainly.
2019 Offseason Review Series: Day 18 - The Carolina Panthers
Team: The Carolina Panthers
Division: The NFC South
It’s that time of year again! After a season that could best be described as “a hangover you don’t deserve”, we watched the Panthers soar to a 6-2 record. After a beatdown of eventual playoff caliber Baltimore, It finally looked like we were poised to shrug off our non-consecutive winning streak habit. But it was not meant to be. A combination of shallow defensive depth and a lingering shoulder issue for Cam Newton saw us collapse down the stretch, and we ended 7-9 winning only a single game. After watching the sharp downturn of our fortunes, questions surrounding our QB’s health and a major exodus of our most tenured veteran talent, one could be forgiven for a glum outlook on the franchise’s future going into this offseason. But despite the spirit in which we entered it, this offseason has been a resounding success. And one that leaves little doubt that we’re an improved team despite our more prominent losses. What follows is a point for point breakdown in how we made the transition from collapsed contender to potential comeback story.
None whatsoever. From both the commentator sphere and other fanbases, the Panthers were pretty roundly rebuked for hiring offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Despite alarms being raised over 7 step drops and an over reliance on deep shot, Turner was a revelation for our offense. He apparently meant every word of emphasizing high completion throws and taking pressure off of Cam, and we began to see looks for our QB that were totally absent in the Mike Shula era. He’s now had a chance to throw dump offs, and to have reliable comeback options. Cam, prior to breaking down, was enjoying one of the best seasons of his career and despite the shoulder injury, still finished with a career high completion percentage. Christian McCaffery, our other offensive mainstay, saw his rushing efficiency go from 3.7 YPC his rookie season to 5.0 yards in year two, with his total scrimmage yardage upticking from 1,086 to 1,965 in Norv’s new passing and blocking system. Turner’s tenure thus far has been an unmitigated success and a refreshing change of pace from the stale, dull system we fell into under Shula. The other transition, from Steve Wilkes to Eric Washington at defensive coordinator, yielded decidedly more mixed results. Washington, simply put, was not good in his transition from the DL coach. In over his depth. He struggled all year, culminating in Rivera assuming defensive playcalling down the stretch. The turnaround in our defense once he did was remarkable, though by that point, Cam was falling apart so visibly that what happened on that side of the ball no longer mattered. Washington has been retained for the upcoming season, but Rivera’s going to keep the playcalling duties. And captaining the ship is Rivera himself. Despite a call for his head among our fanbase’s more frustrated elements, Rivera was kept for 2019. And I’m glad for it. All or Nothing (though I’ve not had a chance to see it) provided a window into his management style, vindicating some like me who pushed back against narratives that he was a dispassionate robot. And while I’m a bit higher on Ron than many, I don’t think it’s unsafe at all to say that none of the coaching hires would have represented an obvious upgrade. At the end of the day, Rivera lead a squad to 6-2 before his QB’s season derailed, which is not really on him. He could maybe be criticized for letting Washington fail for too long, but at the end of the day, few of our woes from last year can be solely attributed to him. While this is certainly a put up or get out year for Rivera, I have little doubt that he’ll be leading the gang come 2020 as well.
Thomas Davis, LB - Now we get into the stuff that hurts. And this one really, really hurts. I understand it. We needed to figure out whether Thompson could stand on his own like, yesterday so we can decide his long term potential. Davis, while still playing at a high level, is an old man for the position he plays. Letting him walk was a logical decision. But none of it changes the fact that Davis has been the soul of this defense for over a decade, and was easily one of the most beloved players and leaders over the 14 years he spent with us. He will be missed, both for his play and his spirit. Julius Peppers, DE - Speaking of franchise staples, long time DE and future Hall of Fame inductee Julius Peppers’ watch has ended. Unlike Davis, who we simply allowed to leave, Pep has called it a career. And what a career it was. Though almost every single article about our defensive adjustments leads off with “With Peppers retiring, the Panthers no longer have anyone who can rush the passer”, the reality is that Pep did far less than his opposite in Mario Addison to that effect. Though he came back to us in 2017 with a monster 11 sack season, that number was always misleading given how few pressures he accomplished it on. Last year, he came back down to earth. It was time, and while I wish we could have given Pep one last, Super Bowl winning hurrah, a new direction was needed. Ryan Kalil, C - Ryan Kalil rounds out our list of beloved departing veterans. The anchor of our offensive line for 12 years has hung up his cleats. Of all the offseason changes, this was by far the scariest, as the difference between Cam with and without a good center of the course of his career has been stark and terrifying. Kalil was a damn good player right up to the end, though the rash of injuries he suffered between 2016 and 2018 clearly took their toll on his performance. And while we have replaced him (and debatably upgraded), Kalil was both a locker room leader and a damn good contributor that will be missed by all. Devin Funchess, WR - We now get into the departures who will be less missed. Funchess, admittedly, gets a bit of a bad wrap from our fanbase who often talk about him as though he were trash. While not trash, he is at least very replaceable. In fact, Funchess replacement began well before the expiration of his contract, as he had been fully supplanted by rookie DJ Moore and sophomore Curtis Samuel down the stretch last year. By the end, he was a healthy scratch. While I’m sure he’s going to put up numbers in Andrew Luck’s offense, Funchess is no sort of elite talent. He’s a big body who fails to gain separation and who inconsistently leverages his size to his advantage. I view his upside as a Brandon LaFell type of guy. And that type of guy is no longer a fit for what we’re trying to do. Matt Kalil, OT - If the Carolina fandom is ambivalent about Funyun’s departure, we’re positively giddy about this one. Cut with a June 1st designation, Kalil saved us the money that allowed other moves to be possible. Though the shine has come off the diamond that was Gettleman’s tenure with us, the man often doesn’t get the credit he should. He did do a great deal for us, particularly his completely unheralded building of our OL (No less than 3 of our 5 starters this coming season will have been Gettleman acquisitions). But by far the biggest mistake in his tenure was the massive albatros of a contract he doled out to Matt Kalil, who could not have failed more spectacularly (or predictably) to live up to it. Mike Adams, FS - I speak on behalf of the fanbase when I say that we have nothing but respect for Adams. He was a solid player and a veteran leader who spent his last two years giving lift to a secondary that hasn’t seen a great safety tandem since the Clinton Administration. But your eyes don’t deceive. We really were running his 37 year old ass out there as a free safety. And that simply could not be allowed to continue. I wish Adams the best, but it was time to move on.
Matt Paradis, C - Here’s the fun stuff. After losing Kalil to retirement, we signed former Broncos safety Matt Paradis to replace him. At only 29, Paradis represents a significant youthening at the position, and for a guy whose upside is top 5 at the position, we got him at a significant discount. Obviously that discount was due to medical risks, which prompted his release by the Broncos in the first place. But Paradis’ has been fully cleared from day 1 and avoided the PUP list. By all accounts, he’s in tip top shape. We’ll obviously see how that holds up as the season gets underway, but Paradis is definitely one of the steals of the 2019 free agency period and I could not be happier to have him. His arrival is enormous for our prospects, and has turned our biggest positional question mark into an area of strength. Daryl Williams, OT - It’s a bit disingenuous to call Williams an arrival, as he never actually left. But that he never left is nothing short of remarkable. After a 2017 All Pro season, Williams suffered a major setback of an injury in 2018 training camp that eventually turned into a season ending injury after he tried to rush back. Still though, the League is constantly hungry for All Pro level OT talent and I was sure Williams was going to get scooped up. Instead, he signed a 1 year, $6 million deal to come back to us, and short of black magic I’m not entirely sure how Marty Hurney pulled it off. Williams is a terrific player who can play many parts of the OL. He can slot in at LG if rookie OT Greg Little can win the LT job, but also provides insurance at LT if he can’t. He and Moton playing opposite one another represents the best OT tandem that Cam Newton has ever enjoyed. Gerald McCoy, DT - Awwwww yeah! My all time favorite Tampa Bay Buccaneer is now a Carolina Panther. McCoy is a rock solid DT who truly needs no introduction from me. How we plan to use him is a bit murkier, but use him we definitely will. I suspect to see McCoy playing DT opposite Kawaan Short in our 3-4 looks (more on that in a minute), to line up next to him in our 5-2 looks, and to work with him on pass rushing 4-3 sets. He adds more juice to a pass rush that already saw a healthy injection of talent this year, and is more consistent in the run game than some of the other DL on the roster, which was a notable area of weakness last season. He fits the versatility first mold that’s going to allow Rivera to mix up our defensive looks as transition fully to a hybrid, and is a terrific leader in the locker room besides. Our beat writers have described him as “joined at the hip” with Kawaan Short, and I fully expect the pair to make one another better. Bruce Irvin, OLB - Perhaps the first real signal that this wasn’t going to be the Carolina defense of yesteryear, Irvin is a vet leadership, change of pace signing. In moving to a hybrid defense, we acquired a number of rookie talents to complement OLBs like Marquis Hayes. Irvin rounds out that group, and provides us with a valuable cog in pass rushing sets and a good leader for the younguns. Though he’s not as disruptive as he once was, Irvin is a rock solid player who provides us with quality depth and leadership. Chris Hogan, WR - A graduate of the Patriots Random White Guy Academy, Hogan flashed serious potential for his first couple of years in New England before getting gradually phased out of the offense. I’m not expecting much, but he has the potential to help us on deep balls and it’s generally never a bad thing to have more talent at WR. Aldrick Robinson, WR - Robinson does one thing and one thing only, which is catch touchdowns. Conveniently, that’s one thing we struggled with last season. But with Greg Olsen now fully healthy and a sudden wealth of other options at WR, I would give Robinson long odds of making the roster.
Pick 1.16: Brian Burns, DE/OLB - I am still in shock that Brian Burns was available at pick #16. I wanted him very badly, but I was certain he’d be an Atlanta Falcon. Instead, people allowed him to fall all the way to us and I couldn’t be happier. Burns is the apotheosis of what we’re trying to accomplish with our defensive transition. He’s a guy as comfortable upright as he is with his hand in the dirt. While he lacks strength as a run defender, he has incredible burst off the edge and a ludicrously high ceiling as a pass rusher. I think he landed on a terrific team to turn that potential into reality and I’m extremely excited about what he can do with us. Pick 2.37 Greg Little, OT - Every description I’ve ever read of Little has described him as “Pro Ready”, and the team clearly drafted him with an eye on starting at LT. Luckily, we’ve hedged that bet a bit with the Daryl Williams signing, but Little still projects as a talented young player with a high floor and a well rounded skillset. If not the LT starter this year, he’ll almost certainly have the job to himself next season. PIck 3.100 Will Grier, QB - Boy did this piss people off at the time. Though cooler heads have since prevailed, this pick was seen by one group of reactionaries as an indictment on Cam’s health, and another as a wasted pick on a player who will never produce for us. The reality is neither. While Cam’s health is in good shape (put a pin it), we were put in a position last year in which he needed to rest a clearly deteriorating shoulder, but we had no faith in the men behind him to win games. If that’s the state of your backup, you need a better backup. This is a team that has seen playoff runs hinge on a game or two that Derek Anderson filled in for. So even as high as pick 100, Grier was a worthy investment. In terms of his playstyle, Grier slots as an accurate QB with a good deep ball and a cerebral style, but average arm strength and mediocre release. Pick 4.115 Christian Miller, OLB - Like Burns, Miller projects as a do-all DE/OLB who can play either upright or down low. He’s an athletic prospect whose game is a bit raw, but who checks all the measurable boxes. Likely a top 50 player before injuries kept him out of the pre-draft process, Miller represents a hell of a value at 115. I suspect we’ll see he and Burns as long term staples of the pass rush. Pick 5.114 Jordan Scarlett, RB - This was a bit of an odd one, but I’ve warmed to it over time. Scarlett is a bruising, violent running back who I’m almost certain was drafted to lend a hand in the red zone. As a change of pace to CMC, the two could not be more different. But coaches thus far have raved about his conditioning and power, so the pick may not have been as crazy as it looked at the time. Having said that, while I don’t think anyone should ever get upset over a 5th round pick, I do think we could have found better value at this position. Scarlett wasn’t likely to be gone by the time we selected our next player. Pick 6.212 Denis Daley, OT - I like this pick quite a bit. Daley had a rough statline in terms of sacks allowed when facing a veritable who’s who of elite college pass rushers (Jachari Polite, Josh Allan, Clelin Ferrell among them). But in spite of that, scouting reports consistently cite both his physical gifts and his improvement as the season went on. If he can cut down on his most egregious habits (most notably his overeager lunging at edge rushers), he has legit starting potential. Pick 7.237 Terry Godwin, WR - Godwin’s whole game is predicated on speed and football IQ. At 5’11, it’s certainly not coming from his physical measurables. But he was by all accounts a high work ethic, smart players who contributed admirably in his four years as Georgia starter. Godwin’s ceiling is likely a Curtis Samuel backup, but his early rapport with Cam makes me think he’ll stick on the roster despite his late draft spot.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Offense - With Cam’s health reportedly looking good (particularly his ability to throw deep; something he was never capable of throughout Camp) and the team adapting so well to Norv Turner’s system, I think offense as a whole is a good place to start. Though I said it last year, only to be hilariously wrong, Greg Olsen is operating at 100% as well, which provides a boost to our red zone effectiveness that is difficult to measure. By the end of last year, both DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel appeared to be on the cusp of a major breakout, both proving themselves so reliable that Devin Funchess was a healthy scratch by week 17. Those two should continue to grow, and Jarius Wright has proven to be a valuable slot receiver. And, of course, there’s CMC, who will continue to be our best offensive weapon not named Cam Newton. With good health and plenty of diverse options, I suspect the good times to continue to roll as we enter year two of Turner’s stewardship. Offensive Line - I can’t emphasize this enough, but our offensive line is nasty. With Williams’ return, we now have an All Pro OT to pair with breakout sensation Taylor Moton, which makes for an excellent tandem. Matt Paradis replaces, and if we’re being honest, provides an upgrade over Ryan Kalil, and Trai Turner is as effective a RG as ever. LG will likely be manned by whichever of Williams or Little doesn’t win LT, and Greg Van Roten (who’s performed admirably at the position) is still in the building as well. This is a very solid group of players, and a massive upgrade over what we had to work with last year. Pass Rush - This was a major area of concern last year, but I’m happy with where we’re at now. The transition to a hybrid defense was the right call for our personnel set, and between the draft and free agency, we’ve upgraded across the board. McCoy is a huge boost to our interior pressure and Brian Burns should contribute immediately. Efe Obada will likely continue to grow, and the new system is a much better fit for talented sophomore Marquis Hayes. Irvin is solid rotational addition as well, and Mario Addison is as stalwart a pass rusher as ever. All in all, we’ve gone from an extremely one dimensional pass rush to one that is versatile and capable of throwing multiple looks at our opponents. We will be hard to predict and hard to stop when we come at the QB next year. Weaknesses Run Defense - Though I’ve seen little attention paid to it, I’m very concerned about our run defense this year. Although we’ve beefed the hell out of the defensive front, few of these pieces excel in run defense. McCoy has mostly staked his reputation on being a 3 tech. Hayes, Miller and Burns were all flagged as prospect that lacked run support talent. Poe was miserable in defending the run last year, and it’s never really been Short’s bag. In terms of yards per carry, we finished 8th overall which sounds good. But this was mostly on the strength of changes when Rivera took over the playcalling, as backs tended to run over us consistently early in the year. As long as we have Luke, our run defense will be solid. But I do worry that with so much (needed, mind you) emphasis put on rushing the passer, we’ve left off this part of the game. The Secondary: As always with us, the secondary is a concern. It is, to be fair, less a concern than in previous years. Donte Jackson and James Bradberry both enjoyed very solid campaigns last year, and the former has allegedly done a lot of growing over the previous season. Eric Reid represents a good, solid strong safety. But free safety is, as ever, a mess. The job is going to sophomore player Rashaan Gaulden, but I think his capturing the position unopposed has less to do with what coaches see in him, and running out of money after doling out contracts to Paradis, McCoy and Williams. Our secondary, while improved, was inconsistent last season and was the primary reason we finished in the middle of the pack. And honestly, that’s about it. This is one of the strongest rosters Carolina has fielded in the Riv-Era, at least on paper.
Cam’s Health - Those of your who frequent nfl have likely seen my refrain on this many a time, but Cam’s health is not as dire as last season made it look, and the Andrew Luck comparisons have always been, frankly, crazy. In 2016, Cam tore his rotator cuff. He rushed his recovery in order to play in 2017. This created a buildup of scar tissue which, when coupled with a minor bone spur, caused a great deal of swelling this year that put Netwon in pain and limited his range of motion. It’s one of those injuries that, while not terrible by any means, does require either surgery or a great deal of rest. Cam, by virtue of being alpha and omega to this team, had the luxury of neither. The swelling persisted until he could barely throw. While that looks scary, the actual diagnosis was not that grim, and a simple shoulder scope as cleared the damage. By all accounts, he’s 100% and even making throws that he was incapable of these last two years. Bill Voth, who was the first (and for a long time, only) writer sounding the alarm on Cam’s strength as far back as 2017, has said that he’s making throws that look like his old self routinely. However, we are putting him on a pitch count. This like likely vet maintenance rather than a source of genuine alarm. But after the last couple of years, he does make you sweat a little. OL Health - The major fly in the ointment when it comes to Carolina’s optimism over its OL is that big if healthy caveat. If healthy, Paradis is a top 5 Center. If healthy, Williams has All Pro talent. 4 days into camp, however, neither is participating in serious pass rush drills and only today suited up in pads. It is possible that they’re just being eased along. They did avoid the PUP list, which we were almost sure was going to get Paradis at the very least. So they appear to be alright. But if they’re not, or they reinjure again, we go from being an extremely strong team to a fatally flawed one. A great deal is riding on the health of those two players, and the entire house of cards could fall apart quickly if they’re unable to deliver. Greg Olsen - The one health flag that I do have complete confidence in is tight end Greg Olsen. Suffering a series of foot breaks, he is now moving around at 100% capacity and has been medically cleared for all activity for months. Bone breaks are, when all is written, temporary injuries that often heal stronger when they actually get a chance to heal. Our most trusted beat writers, Voth and Rodrigue, have both been crystal clear that he looks like his old self and that his connection with Newton is as faithful as ever. What I’m less clear on is his role in the offense. For years, Greg Olsen was the pivotal piece of our passing game. But with his largely being sidelined with foot injuries over the last two years, the game has moved on. Curtis Samuel and DJ Moore are both going to receive plenty of targets, and McCaffery will be a critical element to the passing game. Greg will undoubtedly be our principle red zone threat, but the growth of other options has downgraded his loss from catastrophic to merely unfortunate. What role he carves out, and what boost he’s able to give our offense, will be very interesting to watch. 4-3 No More: Much has been made of the Carolina's transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 this offseason. And most of it is crap. We aren't exactly moving in a direction that binary. IN the past, we have strictly been a 4-3 team throughout the Riv-Era. That is about to change, but not to a 3-4. What Rivera showed last year is a willingness to mix and match personnel sets. There were 3-4 looks, 4-3 looks and even 5-2 looks. What we're moving toward is thus not a single, codified base, but a hybrid defense that can throw out a number of formations and switch between them quickly. We want players who can play OLB and DE. DTs who can play DE. LBs who can drop into coverage and rush the passer. A modern defense is one that doesn't limit itself, which is why such a premium has been put on players with positional versatility. On paper, our personnel set is very well built for this. How it pans out in practice remains to be seen. It's a very radical transitioning happening over a short period of time, and while I think our defense has the potential to be excellent, there will doubtless be some growing pains as we navigate the transition.
Very little to speak of. The premier battle is going to be between Greg Little and Daryl Williams at LT. Apart from that, the timeshare that forms in different defensive sets will be intriguing. But for the most part, the roster is set.
Win Loss Predictions
I hate this part, particularly since the NFCS is a murderers row at present. The Panthers have a shot at a serious playoff run if all the chips fall right, but the Falcons are likely going to be resurgent (god you have no idea how much it hurts me to type that) and the Saints aren’t going anywhere. The Buccs I’m sure will do their best. That alone makes pinpointing what our season looks like in terms of Ws and Ls difficult. But this year, we’re also playing the equally enigmatic AFCS, whose teams look like contenders or middlers in turns. Even our other divisional draw, the NFCW, is difficult to find the pulse of. So rather than pretend that I know what each game is going to look like, I’m going to do what I always do; Likely wins, likely losses, toss ups. Likely Wins: TB, @AZ, JAX, @TB, @SF, TEN, WAS Likely Losses: LAR, @NO, @IND Toss Ups: @HOU, @GB, ATL, NO, @ATL, SEA So that’s 7 likely wins, 3 likely losses and 6 toss ups. If that seems like an unusually high degree of uncertainty, that’s because it is. Last year started off strong and fell apart for reasons that are both obvious and cautiously behind us. We’ve only improved over the offseason and should be formidable. But the schedule is grueling and many questions are yet unanswered. I said in my last offseason review that last year was likely going to be a tough season, and should be viewed mainly as a proof of concept for the new ideas we were incorporating via Turner’s offense and our gradual move away from a 4-3 defense. Well, it was a tough year for reasons of which I had no inkling at the time, and it was a proof of concept. And for the most part? The concept was proven sound. So this offseason, we’ve built on it and patched over the holes that developed in it. I know that “This offseason is a major turning point” is one of those things that gets thrown around a lot. It’s like how every Presidential election gets described as historic, as though choosing the leader of the free world could ever be anything but. But in a very real sense, this franchise has hit a turning point. Cam has to bounce back this year or he’ll face major doubts about his future contract. Rivera has to bounce back this year, or he’ll be out of a job. GM Marty Hurney has done an excellent job restocking the cupboards, but we’ve been down this road of defensive transition and an offense that eases things on the quarterback before. Last year, both ideas mostly worked, but this is the season where we must commit to them and see them through if we want to succeed with the parts we have. Thus the Panthers find themselves where we always seem to. We are a team that is as capable of going on a deep playoff run as we are forcing a total rebuild in the next two years. But for what it’s worth, I think it’s going to be a strong, “Eureka!” type season where everything finally comes together. For the sake of Rivera and company, I hope it does.
Welcome back to my monthly report! Sorry about the delay. I wanted to have a few more games to talk about, but finally, I'll limit myself to the games I actually finished in August and keep the rest for my September report. I wanted to dedicate August to games I won in different giveaways, but the progress on this front has been slimmer than I had hoped. I haven't been able to use my brother's remote PC since he is using it much more these days, and the games I had planned for the month couldn't run on my own PC (either too demanding or straight up incompatible with my 32bit OS). I'm not removing these games from my backlog, I still plan on playing them down the road. My month ended up having sort of a archaeology theme, because that's the job of the character in the main game I played, and because the other games have been in my backlog for ages (or deal with History)! Heaven's Vault (PS4) Playtime: 40 hours In my backlog since July 2019 Rating: 9/10 Review: Won this in a So Videogames podcast giveaway (my go-to gaming podcast). It was a game I had my eyes on, since it's from the devs of 80 days, a text adventure game on smartphone, riffing on the Verne's novel 80 days around the world, which I really liked for its blend of personal stories in a steampunk world. For its part, Heaven's Vault is a sci-fi archaeology game, where your character, Aliya, tries to piece out the history of her universe by investigating small various locations and deciphering the symbols etched on ancient artifacts. She's helped by a robot sidekick which helps in discussing all her findings aloud, and come up with interpretations of what happened, keeping you up to speed. The dialog system is very fluid and makes the characters feel alive (even though the main character is often weirdly confrontational). The main draw of the game is the deciphering, the symbols forming an elaborate language that you have to learn throughout the game. Basically, most symbols represent something (i.e. person, place, sky, water, etc.) that you try to guess thanks to the context (symbol written on a well might be water) and sometimes the shape of the symbol itself (for water, two small waves). More elaborate words and concepts are formed with groups of symbols (i.e. symbol for place + symbol for person = house?). Some symbols are only there to serve as a grammar (to indicate a verb, a noun, a negation, and so on). This might seem overly complicated, but the game helps you quite a lot. You often have 4 suggestions for a word. The game also provides similar words you already attempted to translate so you can infer the meaning of the current one. Anyway, the complexity is very gradual, and every difficulty feels very sensible (like having to separate symbols into distinct words) and by the end of the game, I was translating complete and complex sentences. Most importantly, this puzzle aspect is really fun and unique! You have to use deduction and induction carefully, make some guesses eventually and the game often runs with your interpretations, even if they're later proved to be wrong (if you encounter the same word enough time, the game clearly states whether you got it right). It adds a layer of credibility, of real archeology, and it feeds beautifully into the story. A bit like Her Story, the detective game where your progress wasn't tracked at all, and the end was just when you thought you had a clear picture in your head of what happened, in Heaven's Vault, your understanding of what happened in the universe (rise and fall of civilizations, way of life of specific people) is greatly influenced by your translations (there are too many to validate every single one, so many stay as guesses). The history you uncover is hinted to have some relevance to the future of your current civilization, so the stakes are appropriately raised. The rest of the game definitely feels a bit cheap, with small locations, limited animations and overlong trips in your spaceship between locations, but the game was so original and smart I couldn't put it down. Right as I finished the story after some 25 hours, I went straight back into new game +. And this one is quite special: you keep all the words you have gathered so far, and all sentences in the new game are more elaborate. So you keep expanding your knowledge of the language and since every sentence is more complex and elaborate, your understanding of history is also more detailed. I had a lot of fun testing my comprehension skills and enriching my knowledge, and ended up platinuming the game after 40 hours. It's earned a good spot on my year end top for sure (and took most of my time in August). 11-11 Memories Retold (PS4) Playtime: 8 hours In my backlog since June 2019 Rating: 7/10 Review: A Telltale-like game about World War 1, starring two protagonists on each side of the war: Kurt, a German engineer looking for his son who disappeared at the front, and Harry, a Canadian photographer who enlists in order to impress a girl. I found the game succeeded in painting a picture of the war, how it felt at the time, for the soldiers as well as for the civilians, the periods of waiting, the horror of the trenches, with a careful humanistic and pacifist angle, much better than Valiant Hearts anyway. The story has a few contrivances, and isn't helped by the collectibles you can find all over the levels, but it was definitely touching, and the main characters are expertly brought to life by the voice actors (Sebastian Koch and Elijah Wood), even though the rest of the cast doesn't fare as well. This game also has a distinctive look, with a living painting aesthetic, inspired by impressionism. It sets the mood very well, helped by a remarkable score. If you're interested in the time period, you could do worse than pick this game up. Vanquish (PS3) Playtime: 8 hours In my backlog since October 2011 Rating: 4/10 Review: Planning to sell most of my old games from PS3 in order to buy a Switch, I dusted off my console and some games, and ended up playing Vanquish, a game I have repeatedly tried to beat over the years. This third person shooter has been acclaimed on its release as Platinum's masterpiece, the genre best game, praise renewed when the game appeared on PC a few years back. But I didn't really like it when it came out, and I still don't like it now. First, the setting is irredeemably cringe worthy: you play as Sam Gideon, an American action hero set to avenge the nuking of San Francisco by evil Russians by storming the orbital colony they attacked from and dispatch the thousands of robot soldiers there. It's impossible to care about the dialogue, the characters are all grumbling military nonsense, and so I felt no investment in the plot whatsoever. The gameplay is supposed to be king, but it was an experience in frustration. The arenas are filled with robots all attacking simultaneously, so death comes quick if you're not careful. You have a bullet time ability that allows you to get out there and kill the robots stylishly (and somewhat safely), but you have to manage the bullet time/energy bar. On paper, sounds good. But on normal, I kept running out of ammo because the bosses do take a lot of bullets to go down and you have to aim precisely at their weak points in the chaos of battle. Running out of bullets meant I had to scour the battlefield to find new weapons/ammo crate which left me exposed. Making matters worse, the upgrade system punishes you if you use the weapons (only way to upgrade is to pick up a weapon while you already have it with max ammo). So to upgrade my weapons I had to do stupid stuff: when I see a shotgun crate, I switch my half full shotgun to a full sniper I pick up on the other side of the arena, then I go back to switch the sniper for the shotgun crate (full ammo), then I go back again to pick up my previous shotgun (half full) and that upgrade the shotgun. The process is ridiculous and kills the pacing. In normal, dying also means losing some of your weapons upgrades, meaning you're in even more trouble. The game tries to vary the situations you're in with some setpieces, but in the end, it still felt pretty repetitive killing all enemies with bullet time. There is a melee option, but it felt useless as it leaves you very vulnerable. Maybe the challenge and tension were gone since I switched to easy mode, but I kept getting killed on normal. Overall, I do not recommend this game. I need more narrative incentives to play, and the world and characters were just not there for me. I don't need every game to be Uncharted, but in a similar setting, I very much preferred Binary Domain. Amnesia: The Dark Descent (PS4) Playtime: 9 hours In my backlog since July 2011 Rating: 6/10 Review: I'm not too fond of horror games to be honest; I don't have the nerve or the patience they usually require. But Amnesia is supposed to be the pinnacle of the genre, so I wanted to experience it anyway, having had a good experience with SOMA, from the same developers. And you can definitely find the similarities, with the need to open and close doors and drawers manually, the weakness of the protagonist, and the creepy levels. The game is scary, asking you to find your way helplessly in the dark, while solving some puzzles along the way. The fact that you're basically lost and that the enemies seem to appear at every corner means you have a lot of opportunity to be scared, but I find it quite tiring on the long run. The game is competent, but it does show its age and low budget, with sparse environments and basic puzzles. I found it too bad that the action felt too disconnected from the plot (which did benefit from being intelligible, a nice surprise). Overall, not a bad game, but I felt SOMA, while not perfect either, was superior in every way. Ongoing games Crash Bandicoot: Bought the remastered trilogy when it came out for my wife, playing it on and off for the first time, I find its design very rigid and dated. I'd like to see it to the end though. Added to the backlog
Hyper Light Drifter
Mutant Year Zero
To conclude, very happy to have played Heaven's Vault, even though it ate most of the month's time. A bit strange to dedicate another year to my backlog, and have a recent game top my list once more. The same thing happened last year (with Hitman 2), so I'm starting to question the wisdom of playing these older games if in the end my preference goes to the recent games (Spider-Man, Minit being other recent highlights of my year). In September, I will (actually already have) dedicate a bit more time to the backlog, to some games won in giveaways, and to recent games. I may finally purchase a Switch, which will probably put a hard stop to my 12in12 progress, but Zelda!
Trading, psychology, and the benefits of Trading Bots.
https://preview.redd.it/8lhgwekhbmv31.jpg?width=823&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=35c417aa683b9fcdf37a126127c2e60c3ab405c2 Most beginners who open trading accounts on cryptocurrency exchanges and start independent trading, see only one goal — to earn as quickly as possible. This is a big mistake. The fact is that trading on the stock exchange will only become truly profitable when it becomes a priority for the person who came to trading. As a rule, to combine trade with any other occupation and at the same time everywhere to succeed will not work. Trading for a novice trader should be if not the main, then a very important and priority occupation. No need to wait for quick results. Trading on the stock exchange — the same profession as a doctor, Builder or engineer. The only difference is that she can’t go to University. Just as one learns to be a Builder for five years, so it takes years to learn all the wisdom and secrets of the trade. Trading on the stock exchange is not a Stayer distance, it is a marathon. And the winner is the one who will find the courage to reach the end. In addition, trade is very much changing a person, showing his qualities, which in everyday life he does not know. Over time, if a trader really wants to succeed in trading, he must completely rethink his life, change the system of values and look at many things, change himself.
Fear as a Component of Trading
The strongest emotion known to man is, of course, fear. What gives rise to the exchange’s fears? We can not predict the behavior of the market, and therefore fully control their money invested in its instruments. In addition to the unknown, when there is no understanding of how to safely get out of a predicament, we are afraid in advance of what traumatized us earlier. Because fear is so emotional, you need to surround yourself with the right facts to drive it away. We need to know for sure that our trading system should not generate more than three consecutive losing trades. Winners plan what to do if their trades fail. So only a systematic approach will protect us from ourselves. That is why the investment rules written in the trading templates exist not only to communicate the best market opportunities but, more importantly, to protect us from our own internal “demons”.
Emotions in Trading
Seekers of strong emotions, adrenaline forget everything in pursuit of excitement. It follows that a novice investor, overtaken by the “adrenaline curse”, will trade at the slightest opportunity. Yet Dostoevsky, one of the most famous and avid players, said that for him the most acute feeling in life — to win money. The second most acute feeling is to lose them. Paradoxically, few things give more pleasure than getting rid of the pain and torment of being in a losing trade. This creates a mental internal conflict. Awareness of losses brings “excitement” or a sense of exaltation, and our emotionality does not care what we pay for these experiences losses in the brokerage account. “Adrenaline curse” will drive us into the trade for thrills and extract them from there, regardless of the price.
Intuition on the Exchange
The mind of an intuitive investor tries to construct mental constructions of events. I will try to explain what mental construction is by the example of a chess player’s thinking. The grandmaster understands and remembers the position of each figure in terms of its mental constructions and relationships inherent in the arrangement of figures. The random arrangement of the figures does not fit into any of his mental constructs, and he cannot structure what he sees. Market patterns on cryptocurrency charts compared to chess compositions include an excessive element of chaos so that they can be interpreted intuitively. Investors with intuition are able to achieve success with the help of” flair”, but this flair often leaves them. The intellect of the rational trader, on the contrary, is manifested in his ability to logically comprehend what is happening to him and to the reality around him and to make on this basis the simplest and most correct decision. Intuition is the ability of a person to penetrate into the essence of things not by reasoning or logical thinking, but by instantaneous, unconscious insight. This is the ability of a trader to “ see the market not with his mind but with his heart.” But, even with a highly developed intuition, you can not act on the market, using only it.This is the trap of intuitive trading — it is impossible to learn.
Fear of Taking Responsibility
What distinguishes successful traders from losers who lose money? First of all look at life. Most people are very passive. If you ask people if they are happy with their lives, the answer is likely to be negative. On the question of who is to blame, I would say that the fault of the parents who have not given a good education, why now not get a good job; blame the employer who delays wages; blame the dollar, which is rising, then falling; to blame the President and the government who do not pay pensions, etc., In their troubles and problems most of the people blame anyone but themselves. The same thing happens in the market because the exchange is a mirror of our life. Talk to the trader losing money, ask why he can’t make money in the market. He replied that the fault of the insiders, manipulators, blame the binary options broker too much Commission, to blame the neighbor who suggested the deal, which turned into a heavy loss. In other words, he himself would have been a millionaire long ago, but for a number of reasons, certainly beyond his control, until that happened. If a person wants to achieve something-not just to lead a life, which are millions of ordinary people (every day to go to work, save five years for a car, twenty years for an apartment, etc.), and to live a full life, so that the financial issue went into the background, to work for fun, not for money, he needs to take responsibility for everything that happens in his life. A person needs to realize that the cause of everything that happens to him is himself.It is this view that allows you to succeed in life and in any business. And trade is no exception. This is the way successful traders look at life. Once you realize that the cause of all your losses is yourself, and not some mythical manipulators, then the case will move forward. ******************************************************************************************************* In the age of digital technologies, when artificial intelligence develops, computer technologies improve, mankind creates various tools to facilitate their own life and everyday life. If we pay attention to trading, then this direction is actively developing, getting new and unique tools. Since any trader (beginner or experienced specialist) is subject to emotions and various psychological factors, there are tools such as trading bots.
A trading robot (bot) is a program that has a certain algorithm. It buys or sells cryptocurrency assets, focusing on the situation in the market. The first trading robots appeared in 2012, and since then they have become more and more perfect. Currently, according to some estimates, 90% of short-term transactions are made either by bots or with their participation. Bots are usually developed for specific trading platforms. Most cryptocurrency exchanges have an API, and they are generally positive about free auto trading within their platform. In contrast to the positive attitude to exchange robots, exchanges often have a negative attitude to arbitration robots. On the rules of trade can be found in the official documentation of the exchange, and if there is no such information, the question can be asked directly to technical support.Some people wonder: is it possible to write your bot trader? This is not an easy option, which is suitable only for experienced programmers. After writing, bots are tested for a long time in the market, corrected numerous errors, corrected strategy. A programmer can also write a bot based on someone else’s code. Some bots are open source, and anyone can find it on GitHub and modify it to fit their needs. Buy a bot for trading cryptocurrency: there are inexpensive programs for trading (about $ 10), and the cost of more high-quality and complex exceeds more than $ 200 and even $ 1000. There is no maximum price limit for bots, top bots are written to order $ 1500 and more. Users are usually offered a choice of several tariff plans for crypto bots, from economy to luxury. The inexpensive option includes the most basic trading algorithms, and the expensive one brings maximum profit and works on more complex algorithms. Arbitration bots are a more expensive exchange. Known cases when downloading the bot, people got on your computer virus-miner or virus-cipher, which encrypt all your personal files and demanded a ransom in bitcoin, usually in bitcoin. Naturally, after transferring the ransom to the specified wallet, no decryption of the files occurred. Trading strategy of stock and arbitrage bots can be very simple, for example:- When the price of cryptocurrency decreases, you need to buy it.- If the price rises, it should be sold.- Or much more complicated. The algorithm can take into account historical data for the last time, indicators, navigate by signals. Quality bots analyze more than a hundred parameters when placing orders. Some programs do not change the algorithm, and there are bots that can connect or configure additional parameters. This option is well suited for experienced traders who have their own preferences in the style of trading. A standard bot can perform such actions:- To assess the market situation, to monitor the rate at a given period of time, to make a forecast. In manual trading, it can show signals to the trader.- Create buy or sell orders.- To report on the profit or loss received. On the example of our IMBA-Exchange, we came to the conclusion that we also need to provide an opportunity for each trader to use bots so that they can be in a comfortable trading environment. Our exchange specialists are developing their own bot for cryptocurrency trading, which will be an excellent and convenient addition to every trader who wants to eliminate the psychological factor and seeks to get stable earnings without losing personal time. ******************************************************************************************************* IMBA-ExchangeMetronix botmakes life easier for every investor. For example, Ing. Michael Eder the CEO of IMBA-Exchange, who has 10 years of experience in trading and the last 3 years in cryptocurrency trading, has firmly decided for himself that in the current realities trading on the exchange simply needs bots:
Throughout the time that I have been trading, I can confidently say that today trading bots are necessary for all traders as the main tool. No matter how long you are in exchange trading, but the nature of the person is designed so that under the influence of psychological factors, market conditions, etc. You still make mistakes and, as a result, this leads to financial losses.OurMetronix Trading Botwill help to solve these problems and eliminate negative consequences. A bot is a tool; it has no feelings. He performs a specific task for a given program and performs it almost unmistakably. The task of the trader is to monitor the situation on the market and correctly, as well as at the right time to configure your bot.
The long, long, long awaited reveal of the next iteration of Teslas is finally here, with the announcement of Tesla NextGen. The Model Y will replace the Models 3, 4 and, 5, with a single concept.
The basic Model Y concept is ultimate flexibility. Model Y manufacturing is a fully adaptive process, able to choose different paths on a per-vehicle basis. In turn, this allows the customer to pick and choose virtually any configuration they so desire. A Model Y customer can pick wheelbases as short as 2 meters all the way up to 8 meters long. This is enabled by the all-electric drivetrain design. Similarly, the customer can design their perfect body to sit on top of their custom chassis, or use one of hundreds that Tesla has pre-made. Customers can either design the body directly, or specify their requirements with an AI's assistance to help design it for them. Design AIs are responsible for providing the Tesla design language, but otherwise enable the user's choice to the greatest extent possible. The AI will attempt to inject taste into the customer's requirements, though this can be overridden with enough emphatic handwaving. Similarly, the interiors are completely configurable to meet the customer's requirements. Vehicles can be configured with any set of cargo space or payload volume that the customer wishes. The only constant is a thin platform that the rest of the vehicle rests on - essentially everything else is fully adjustable. This induces a rather new showroom model. Customers can interact with their custom cars (and evaluate them to provide feedback to their AIs) in full immersion VR or in an entirely virtualized environment. Once specified, they can simulate driving their custom car in any kind of traffic or environment for as long as they want.
Power is provided by a 50 to 400kg quantum battery embedded in the floor of the vehicle. This is connected to the wheels through the PDU and then a room-temperature superconducting transmission system. The RTS transmission then connects to similar RTS wheel motors, with the Model Y able to support up to 8 wheels on the same chassis. Wheel motors can be configured to offer from 100hp to 950hp each. They are supported by fully independent electronically controlled suspensions using borophene nanosprings to provide complete configuration of ride height, rebound rate, and damping coefficients in real time. Tyres are a variable traction variable rolling resistance hydrophobic metamaterial, with the ability to produce surface features of up to 1 inch depth on their surface through a similar boron nanospring metamaterial. In this manner, they can convert from being off-road tyres pushing through snow to on-track slicks in a matter of seconds. Wheels are airless and self-repairing, and last the entire lifetime of the car. Maximum range (e.g. you spec an econobox with the biggest battery) is 75,000mi, and while it takes more than a day to recharge from 0, it's expected that a car would only need to be recharged 3, possibly 4 times in its entire life if configured this way.
Tesla Model Ys can be optioned with SkyLyft attach points. A SkyLyft drone can pick up the Model Y at these points, converting it instantly into a flying car. Suitably dimensioned Model Ys can leverage SkyLyft Long Range (for subsonic transport) or OrbitLyft (to go to the moon), the latter if pressurized.
The Model Y body is completely customer configurable, and will be manufactured in the dealership in a to-be-detailed process. The structure of the body consists of silicene, backed by borophene, backed by carbon nanotubes, backed by boron nanotubes. This allows the body to retain high ductility and plasticity while offering exceptional strength optimizing crash performance while minimizing weight. The largest Model Y body weighs just 180lbs as a result of this design. The Model Y's body will by default be fully airtight, offering complete protection against air quality to the occupants inside. Air is filtered through a ULPA-grade self-cleaning air filters, then sent into the climate control system. Heat is moved through high efficiency metamaterial heat pumps, providing an ideal environment in all weather. Sunroofs and collapsible doors are available as options. These can be optioned with plasma drag/noise reduction systems, allowing the vehicle to travel at high speed and yet have little to no airflow turbulence noise produced by the open hole. Similarly, this option essentially eliminates window drag, allowing a window to be open all the time. A variable-refractive-index metamaterial window material can be specified by the customer. This allows windows to completely disappear or offer perfect concealment (from the outside only) at the customer's wish. Several paints are available. The base model paint is a variable-color metamaterial, but this can be specced up to include variable reflectivity for the ability to select the paint finish dynamically. The surface of the car is self-cleaning, with no need to clean it under virtually any conditions.
The materials and interior configuration are fully user configurable. A wide range of materials are available, from a new metamaterial variable texture/colofinish material that's able to dynamically change its appearance on demand (including macroscale structures, e.g. go from looking like leather to hard plastic in an instant) to traditional natural materials. Metamaterial finishes are super hydrophobic and self cleaning. Seating is similarly highly configurable. Use of nanomaterials allows the satisfaction of crash safety requirements without substantial structures, allowing for a new class of designs for car seating. Moreover, they allow the rapid reconfiguration of existing accoutrements without impacting the visual appeal, with apparently hard plastic materials instead being extremely soft and comfortable. Floor carpets are similarly attractive-yet-robust and self-cleaning. The walls and window surfaces can be used as displays, if the occupants so desire. Moreover, the interior is configured for full AR support, allowing interaction with vehicle systems in any position or location.
When specced with them, a number of off-road features are available, including:
Floating, if a sufficiently light vehicle is specified
Water resistance up to 50 meters, if a sufficiently heavy vehicle is specified.
Full-surround multispectral imaging for challenging offroad driving in the dark or in inclement weather
Vehicle wheel sensing, giving direct neural feedback to the driver about wheel traction conditoins
The Model Y will support an Alphabet/NVidia AI system for self-driving and other assistive features. The vehicle leverages Tesla's 35 years of self driving car experience to provide the same features they've had for the last 20 years and numerous new ones. Notable features include:
Self-Valet (from the Model 3 Refresh): The car can drop you off, then either go home and park or park nearby. Valet services need only to provide a parking lot - no valet attendant is needed for the car to find parking even in the most dense parking environments. When notified, it will return to its owners automatically, eliminating the need to worry about where one parked.
Automatic Errands(from the Model 3 Refresh): Your car can go shopping for you! Give it a shopping list, and the onboard sub sentient AI can find the cheapest and best items for that list and fetch them without further interaction. Using Tesla's database of businesses and venues, the AI is able to find the best item at the best price for you! New on the Model Y is a Gran Robonia MiniFetcher sub-robot option. Able to acquire and purchase items from stores and locations that do not accommodate autonomous vehicle errands directly, the MiniFetcher is a foldable humanoid robot that can pop out of the trunk/frunk/wherever the hell you put the storage space on your vehicle and get whatever you need.
Chauffeur Service/Rideshare (from the Model 5): The Model Y's AI is able to get sent out by the owner to pick up and drop off guests or friends autonomously. Through a tie-in with Lyft, one's car can also be used as a Lyft rideshare automatically, at the touch of a button.
Delivery (from the Model 2): For companies, the Model Y allows them to use it as an autonomous delivery vehicle. In combination with the MiniFetcher, the Delivery option allows the vehicle to be loaded with ad-hoc items and go on an optimal delivery route with no human intervention with doorstep delivery. It can even haggle!
Suggestion Service (from the Model 5): The onboard AI can learn the user's preferences and adapt to them, picking the optimal venues for them to go to and enjoy. Based on a comprehensive neural model, the AI is able to provide the ideal suggestion at exactly the right time.
Predictive Service: The onboard AI will learn the user's habits and preferences, and can make sure to be ready when needed. If the owner gets out to go to a party, the car will preposition itself nearby so that it can arrive quickly as soon as the owner summons it back.
The AI use quantum radar, lidar, and optical sensors to navigate in even the most challenging conditions. This data can be overlaid on the car's interior dynamically, allowing the users to see out with multispectral imaging in complete comfort. Any area of the interior can be used as a display, even making the car seem partially transparent if the displays cover parts of the structure.
As cars become more and more a luxury item, one of the growth market is the high performance niche for those that enjoy driving. A coupe or single seat variant (for people with bodies) or a no-seats-at-all variant (for those who are uploaded) can be configured for maximum track performance. Thanks to the variable suspension and advanced metamaterial aero elements, the car can be fully street legal and transform itself into a track monster on demand. Options along this line include:
Variable geometry aero systems, with the ability to adapt splitter height and other body aero features on demand to maximize downforce in any driving condition. Both retractable and fixed wings are likewise available.
Minimum weight configurations, with the entire car weighing less than 400kg
Trajectory optimization AI assistance, for finding the best racing line in real time
Tyre surface force feedback, coupled with neural connections or directly accessible to an uploaded driver to actually feel how well the car is gripping.
Support for Uploaded Individuals
As more individuals become uploaded (around 8% of the Columbian population), their requirements for vehicles become more important. Tesla's concept is to turn their car into their primary means of interacting with the physical world. The Model Y will allow support for up to 24 Binary Home blades in its electronics bay, and so ensconced users can direct the AI and use their car's formidable communications suite to their full advantage. While using the built in driving AI is mandatory by Columbian law on public roads, the uploaded user can take direct control on racetracks, when stationary, and offroad, effectively becoming the car directly. Tesla will also offer several body housing solutions for the Model Y, allowing uploaded users to store their organic or mechanical bodies inside their car. Most interestingly, Tesla has secured a branding deal with PixaDisney for the Cars brand. Inspired by the Cars franchise, uploaded drivers will be able to use the front of their car to simulate human expressions, using a special contractile metamaterial front to allow for distortion to provide expressions. Similarly, several lighting/flexibility options are available for the grille, allowing users to use it to simulate a mouth. In this manner, uploaded Tesla owners can essentially be like the Cars in the Cars franchise.
The new metamaterial frame provides a considerably better safety margin than the already extremely safe prior Teslas, with designer AIs enforcing strict rules on optimizing for crash resistance. In particular, the frame allows for a steady onset of acceleration in almost all crash scenarios and provides complete side impact protection, offering the occupants a bubble of safety. The batteries can cancel the quantum spin of their contained photons near instantly, allowing the battery to self-safe itself. Notably, for cars designed by uploaded individuals, these safety features (with the exception of the battery one) can be deleted entirely. The cognitive system - a special Binary Frame unit - is protected inside a heavily armored and small pod that can take more than 50,000gs of acceleration and is almost completely fireproof. The rest of the car is then designed to take as much of the impact for this unit as possible. In this manner, an uploaded person's hardware can survive impacts with immovable objects at more than 250mph.
Manufacturing & Ordering
Only the key components of the Model Ys - e.g. motors, batteries, computers and luxury accoutrements - will be made centrally. Instead, the majority of Model Ys will be built nano robotically in dealerships. Large pools of nanobots with material feedstock can make the entire Model Y body, exterior finish, and most interior finishes. A fully automated system will then fit the primary components into this frame, followed by luxury accoutrements which can be installed by robot or by hand. Once they're happy with their car design, customer's local sales location will fabricate them their car and send it to them within a day. Typical customers can receive their vehicle within 16 hours of submitting their design for manufacturing, though luxury additions (like handmade seats or interior finishes) can add substantial amounts to this time. The highest end configurations can take as long as 6 months to make, with every interior fitting hand stitched from the best natural leather. Prices will range from around $7,000 (for aforementioned econobox with the base line options [variable color paint, 4 rotating seats, automatic driving etc, uploaded person cars save 20% off of this]) all the way to more than $500,000 (for ultra luxury configurations). Typical cars (e.g. sedan-likes, SUV-likes, van-likes, etc) will cost less than $35,000. Notably, high performance options (such as the max-horsepower 3,200hp configuration) can cost as little as $45,000. Tesla plans to invest more than $7 billion into the Model Y lineup, with the first going on sale in 2 years.
The era of artificial intelligence: how robots manage capital
Interview with Alexander Tatarsky, creator of the quantum fund How well do you know artificial intelligence? Perhaps you have never heard of it, or maybe it’s quite the opposite and robots are already managing your capital. We were able to interview Alexander Tatarsky — an experienced trader, co-founder and financial director of the Mercury Foundation — a fund that manages capital through A.I.! Alexander introduced us to the concept of his organization and explained the unique idea behind the project. https://preview.redd.it/bulvn62tuw021.jpg?width=700&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=7c6357c83fe7c7afd904a8e9718447801fbdc8a1 Alexander, why did you start trading? How did you start and why did you decide to choose this particular field? Many people know that the Chinese word “crisis” consists of two hieroglyphs. One means “danger”, and the other one — “opportunity.” I considered a global financial crisis of 2008 an opportunity. That’s when I began my professional career in the financial markets. Before those events, I was always very interested in economics (thanks to my economic education!) and financial markets, but I focused on 2 aspects: first is financial markets as an instrument of global management of peoples and their well-being, second — financial markets as an example of the fundamental laws of nature. I always wanted to get closer to understanding the essence of these processes. However, until 2008, I was just a curious observer. I read books, watched major events, learned to compare facts. I was running a business that had nothing to do with the markets. The events of 2008 encouraged me to make my first profitable deals. And then I realized that this field is not only about self-development and curiosity — it could also become a source of permanent income. With the right approach, this income can be much higher than in other sectors of the economy. So the choice was made. What were the reasons for creating an Investment Foundation managed by artificial intelligence? Anyone who is professionally engaged in money management considers automation at some point. Computers are much more efficient than human when it comes to assets management. Robots are taking over, so it was a logical step for us. From the very beginning, we realized the inferiority of the ready-made solutions on the market and did not even consider using other people’s services. We could use the A.I, and we did. It was actually not even a question, it’s like asking an artist — why are you painting? Because we are the best at managing money. What is the market share (in particular, on cryptocurrency market) of the investment funds (including funds managed by artificial intelligence) and how do you handle the demand? If we talk about traditional financial markets, then, according to the latest data, the share of investment funds in the total volume of transactions amounts to 70%. At the same time, quantum funds account for at least 27% of all transactions on US exchanges. As for the cryptocurrency market, they are so riddled with fraud and unrealized projects that we have long since ceased to care about the competitors. There are many ordinary funds, but 80% of them close in a year and 95% of them — in three. We do not consider them competitors, as we are focused on long-term work. All their clients will eventually come to us. In long-term, the manual traders do not stand a chance against the robot. Are there any companies similar to yours in the world? Yes, sure. In our industry, only a few succeeded in achieving the degree of automation that we have. The most successful of our colleagues use qualitatively different algorithms that still require regular manual testing and customization. In most cases, those “algorithm factories” constantly have to adapt to the new market conditions. Our algorithms require human participation only at the development stage. Simply put, in most cases, operators with remote controls always follow their robots, but our robot can walk on its own. The market offers a huge number of different robots that promise to increase your capital in Forex, binary options, cryptocurrency. How are you different from them? Is it possible to earn money with such robots? Yes, certainly. If you are good at trading and investing. If you have clear money management rules backed by math. If not, you can only lose. And robots have one more limitation — they cannot bring you the profit all the time. Such robots offer a huge number of strategies, half of which is profitable, and the other half is not. Because a person is ultimately responsible for choosing strategies. That is, it is not the robot that makes the decisions, but the user who sets the trading rules. In some cases, it helps to earn quickly, and in others — to lose quickly. Such robots do not guarantee earnings, they only ensure fast trading. We have a radically different approach. Bruce Lee said: “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who had practiced one kick 10,000 times”. Therefore, instead of ten thousand strategies, we have been developing only one strategy for several years. The robots you are talking about are the first level. There are many of them and to me they are useless. Among our competitors, there are funds that trade in traditional markets using second-level robots. There are not many of them, but they all deliver consistently good results. One of the leaders in our industry is the Medallion Foundation, created by Renaissance Technologies. For several decades, their mathematical model has been continuously multiplying their capital. We consistently implement the same model of asset management, completely removing a person from decision-making process. Development will take a few more years, but even now, our robot is already trading at the professional level. The robot needs a person only for controlling and learning new functions. Some believe that technical analysis does not apply to cryptocurrency, what do you think about this statement? I actually do not care; it is rather a question of how competent is the person who said this. If it works for you, you can use it. I think you will agree that a professional can play even on one string, and the amateur can find a thousand reasons to give up. The only thing I can do is ask in return — what can the market offer instead of technical analysis? Intuitive news trading? Fundamental analysis? Neural network? Technical analysis is a complex discipline and it takes a lot of time and mental strength to fully master it. It could take a trader 10 years to learn it. Not everyone succeeds, so technical analysis does not work for everyone. I favor a more specific approach: if it doesn’t work for someone, they should figure out why, because it is working for us quite well. Where does your Foundation operate? We advertise ourselves as a global foundation. In today’s world, good business has to be global. Among our clients are representatives of the Russian Federation, the European Union, Great Britain and China. We continue to expand our reach. As for trade, over the next 6 months we will be able to manage capital on all largest exchanges of the world. Why is there a minimum deposit amount of $ 10,000? There are several reasons. First, we need funds to maintain client accounts. We do not charge a monthly fee, only a percentage of the profits. Therefore, the size of the deposit has a lower limit. Second, $10k is not much for our target audience. It also acts as a filter that shows the solvency and how serious the intentions of a potential client are. We do not target the mass market and do not deal with dumping. On the contrary, we provide long-term, high-quality services for those who can afford it. Third, the robot independently manages risks and simultaneously controls all portfolios. We don’t like it if someone can’t enter the position because the share calculated for him by the robot is not allowed on the exchange due to restrictions. Are there any differences in the management of different amounts of investment? If yes, what are they and are there any similarities in the management of investments of one quantitative segment? Our job is to describe all the differences with strict mathematical formulas and test them thousands of times under all possible conditions. Therefore, there is no big difference for us between a 5 mln purchase or 5k purchase. Everything is described, tested, calculated, everything works. Differences in the management of large capital are even more drastic. The psychological factor in this case becomes critical. The same trader managing a demo account or a million dollar account will behave like two completely different people and make fundamentally different decisions. Our task is to completely eliminate the human factor from the money management process. What are the chances for new instruments to get into the Foundation’s portfolio? What is the basis of the selection of certain tools? Are there any common priority tools for different segments of investors? Any promising liquid instrument can be included in the portfolio of the Foundation, and the choice depends on many factors. The robot evaluates and filters the instrument on the basis of special algorithms and determines the share of an asset in the portfolio based on the results of the evaluation. All decisions must be mathematically justified, taking into account the analysis of the maximum possible amount of data. The more data on the instrument we have, the higher the quality of the decisions made and the share of the instrument in the portfolio. The choice does not depend on the category of investor. If the instrument is promising and liquid, all our clients will get profit. Can you tell more about the terms of settlements between the Foundations and investors? If someone in our market guarantees you a good profit and even specifies when you could get it, then I in turn guarantee that this is a fraud. We are most interested in customer profits, as this is the only way to offset the costs of managing his account. Imagine the following situation: The new client opened a 10k deposit and a month later, he had a total of 12k in his account. At the beginning of next month, we will ask you to transfer us 1k as a fee. 11k remains on his account, but a month later, suppose, unsuccessful deals were made and there is 10k on his account again. In this case, we do not require any payments until the deposit exceeds 11k. Suppose a month later he has 12k again. Then we will charge 50% of the difference between 11k and 12k, i.e. $500. The fact that the entire team of our foundation has long transferred the management of all its assets to our robot could also count as a guarantee. We have a direct motivation to make trading as successful as possible. We do not use the services of other funds or managers. And the second fact is that the portfolios of all clients, including our personal ones, are managed simultaneously. Can you share the success stories of the Foundation? We want to implement a demo account for this purpose. We plan to fill it with transactions and statistics from 2017, copied from real accounts, but without disclosing personal data. The demo-account will include a history of the average client from the beginning of 2017. It will explain how the robot trades and what profit you can expect from it. Do you believe that private investors, to some extent, are competitors to investment funds? What, in your opinion, is it more efficient and profitable: being a private investor or investing with funds? No, we consider them not competitors, but clients. The vast majority of our clients already have experience in investing. Beginners often think they are the smartest, that they don’t need to pay someone 50% of the income when they can easily buy and sell themselves. I admit that in the short run a private investor can earn more than a robot — but definitely not over a long period. The robot ensures a stable result day after day, year after year, while people are prone to stress, illness and psychological weakness. Also, funds, compared with private investors, have more compelling ratio of risk and return. At some time, a private investor may gain the same profit as a fund. However, the fund will achieve the same profit with much less risk. My money is controlled by a robot, although I believe in my capabilities as a trader. Does the Foundation have an affiliate program? Yes, we have an affiliate program, and at the same time, we are interested in collaborating with specialists for mutually beneficial cooperation. For example, we could consider providing service for the service for really good experts in design, advertising and marketing. If you have such specialists, let them send me their proposals and CVs. See contact details on our website. What kind of future do you see for ordinary investment funds and funds like the Mercury Foundation? It is clear to me that the share of funds managed by robots will grow steadily. Most likely, in a couple of decades only old-timers will manage money manually. Robotization applies to all spheres of life and investment has already come into play. For example, the head of Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund — the world’s largest pension fund — believes that artificial intelligence will soon completely replace asset managers. And I fully agree with him. And the largest hedge fund Bridgewater Associates is developing a decision-making algorithm that can replace all management personnel over time. How do you look at the cryptocurrency market from a global perspective? Will the Bitcoin climb to 20,000$ again? And what will happen to the altcoins? If we talk about the long term prospect, like 3–5–7–10 years, then I’ll say that today we see the early stage of the cryptocurrency market. Over time, its capitalization will be measured in trillions of dollars. The best projects of this field will become an integral part of our lives. Many of them will become new Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon. However, this will happen gradually. In order to become a mature sector of the economy, this market will have to go through many challenges. It will face issues of legislative regulation and technical problems. The scaling and bandwidth issues of most networks are still relevant, as well as legal issues. Most states are just beginning to explore the risks and opportunities associated with these technologies. And the promotion of such technologies is still very dependent on states and supranational bodies. If we talk about the short and medium terms, the prospects are not very bright. I think that in the near future the bitcoin will certainly not reach the 20,000$ mark. We are witnessing the strongest bear market and must act accordingly. The time for positive medium-term forecasts has not yet come. The industry was severely overcrowded in 2017. There was too much hot money, many economically unfeasible projects and excessively high expectations. The market will need time to stabilize and consolidate. Most likely, we are in for a rather complicated and dangerous period of instability in the market. Obviously, this will be accompanied by some cleansing of the market from weak, incompetent and unclaimed participants. This is a necessary stage on the path towards development. I think that 80% of altcoins known to us will depreciate and disappear in the next year or two for objective reasons. It will be a time of natural selection. However, strong players will only strengthen their positions in the market. Unfortunately, there will not be many of them. Therefore, in the near future, all investors will need to take a good care of the management of their portfolios. Despite the rather grim short-term and medium-term expectations, there will be some positive developments on the market. Some cryptocurrencies are likely to exceed their all-time peaks next year. And some will just look stronger than the market. This will be enough to generate profitability even under such difficult conditions. Therefore, the main task for the near future is to manage risks in a competent and very conservative manner and select the best ones on the market for investments. From a professional point of view, what would you wish to partners of our club? Depends on their goals. If they invest for the sake of emotions, then I wish them good luck and health. If they do it to earn money, I advise you to consult with professionals. This applies not only to investments, but also to any area of life. If you want the task to be solved as accurately as possible — always contact the best professionals available. And always keep learning. Your knowledge is your most reliable asset. What books would you recommend for beginner traders? If you decide that you are ready to turn trading into your profession, then start eagerly exploring everything available to you. Everything about financial markets, about macroeconomics, about psychology, about analysis and forecasting. Do not forget that money management skills play a huge role here. Ralph Vince will help you figure it out. Even if your analysis of the markets is very good, you will lose everything eventually if your money management skills are subpar. Now is a great time to learn, you have hundreds and thousands of books available on all aspects of this profession. Someone will enjoy the works of John J. Murphy or Jack Schwager, someone will learn from William D. Gann or Robert Prechter. And remember: knowledge is more important than capital! We thank Alexander for such a detailed story about the Foundation, as well as for his sincere desire to share his opinions and forecasts. If you want to entrust the management of your funds to the Mercury Foundation, type “I want to invest in the Mercury Foundation” in the personal messages of the group.
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