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Scuffle under investigation

From Enterprise Staff An investigation by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division continues regarding an incident that occurred recently in the Polk County Jail in which an assault occurred between several inmates. “Jail staff quickly…

Tribe makes important gains in legislative session

By Enterprise Staff The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas made important gains during this year’s session of the Texas Legislature, with more than two-thirds of the members of the Texas House of Representatives voting to express support for the tribe. During an early May vote on House Bill 2843, legislation to establish a regulatory structure…
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AG secures 18-year sentence for repeat sex offender

AUSTIN – The efforts of Attorney General Paxton’s Criminal Prosecution Division have led to repeat sex offender Daniel Barbosa, 37, being sentenced to 18 years in prison by Judge Jennifer Pena from the 290th District Court of Bexar County, Texas. In April of 2019, the Defendant was released from prison after serving a sentence for Indecency with a…
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TCSO makes arrest of wanted Harris County man

From Staff Reports WHITETAIL RIDGE – The Tyler County Sheriff’s Office recently made an arrest of a Harris County man who had several active warrants out for his arrest, according to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford. Weatherford said that on the morning of Friday, May 12, at approximately 1:30 a.m., deputies patrolling in the Whitetail Ridge…
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Memorial Day weekend will bring increased traffic on Texas roads

Special to the News-Standard AUSTIN — Motorists traveling during the Memorial Day weekend are reminded that state law requires drivers to slow down or move over for emergency vehicles — including tow trucks, police cars and fire trucks — stopped on the side of the road with their emergency lights activated. Large numbers of travelers are expected…
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Trinity County suspects arrested

TCNS staff HUNTSVILLE — Two suspects from Trinity County wanted for mail theft were arrested by members of the Walker County Sheriff’s Department on May 15. According to reports from law enforcement, 24-year-old Chastity Stanley and 25-year-old Haley Johnson were both placed in custody and transported to the Walker County Jail after Walker County…
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Inmate killed at Gib Lewis

STOCK PHOTO By Chris Edwardsnews@tylercountybooster.com WOODVILLE – An inmate at the Gib Lewis Unit was killed on Saturday by his cellmate, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The deceased was identified as Jimmy Lynn White, a 61-year-old Red River County resident who was serving a six-year sentence on a possession of controlled…

Tribe to host 53rd annual powwow

File Photo From Enterprise Staff The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas is preparing to host its 53rd annual Powwow and the public is invited to attend. The Powwow is slated for June 2-3 at the Alabama-Coushatta Veteran’s Pavilion 16 miles east of Livingston on U.S. Hwy. 190. Admission is $7 per day with children six and under entering for free.…
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Building destroyed by fire

Firefighters battle a blaze in an abandoned building in Trinity that broke out Monday afternoon. COURTESY PHOTO TCNS staff TRINITY — Fire consumed an abandoned building Monday afternoon. At about 6:20 p.m., Trinity Fire & Rescue were called to 1920 S. Robb St., the site of the old Golf Country Store, and responded with two engines, two tankers, a…
Firefighters battle a blaze in an abandoned building in Trinity that broke out Monday afternoon. COURTESY PHOTO

Deputy injured in accident

From Enterprise Staff An investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety continues regarding an automobile accident that occurred late May 12 on Hwy. 190 West in Livingston involving a Polk County Sheriff’s deputy. Deputy Caleb Boyer was airlifted to a Kingwood hospital following the accident where he remains in serious condition. Boyer…


Polk County Memorial Museum has a new hands-on activity just for fun to celebrate National Paper Airplane Day which is May 26. Go by the museum and make a paper airplane (or several) and run a test flight. See if you can fly your plane through the ring targets. But be careful you don’t enter the danger zone or visit Wilson’s Island on the way to…


Colmesneil’s legendary swimmin’ hole Lake Tejas is being prepped for the coming summer season. New amenities include a brand-new diving tower with spring boards on both the high and low dive tiers. The lake will be open beginning Memorial Day weekend to those who want to come out for a swim, or to lay out in the sun. It is also available for…
Lake Tejas Platform

More than 39K Texas student loan borrowers approved for forgiveness

On Monday, to mark Public Service Recognition Week, the U.S. Department of Education Department announced it has approved nearly 616,000 borrowers nationwide for approximately $42 billion in Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) since October 2021. PSLF covers public employees—such as teachers, firefighters, and members of law enforcement, as…
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Plane crash leaves 2 with minor injuries

A Piper aircraft crashed in a field in San Jacinto County on Wednesday, leaving two people injured. Courtesy photo SJNT staff SAN JACINTO COUNTY — Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers are investigating an airplane crash that occurred Wednesday north of Evergreen. Reports indicate the troopers were called to the scene of the crash, an open…

Fire destroys home

Firefighters battle a blaze that erupted in an abandoned house. COURTESY PHOTO By Tony Farkaseditor@trinityconews.com GROVETON — An early morning fire destroyed an abandoned home on Front Street on Thursday. Fire Chief Glenn Hammond said there was no saving the abandoned house, which was fully engulfed in flame when the Fire Department arrived at…
Firefighters battle a blaze that erupted in an abandoned house. COURTESY PHOTO

Suspect in multiple murders arrested

By Tony Farkaseditor@trinityconews.com CONROE — Francisco Oropeza, wanted for the slaying of five Cleveland residents, was taken into custody May 2 at a residence in Montgomery County. In addition to Oropeza, his domestic partner, Divimara Nava, 52, also was arrested on a charge of harboring a felon, a third-degree felony, and is being held at the…

Law enforcement take down pot house

K-9 officer Duna and handler Sgt. M. Gustafson of the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office were instrumental in locating a marijuana grow center in the Trails End subdivision in Cleveland. Courtesy photos SJNT staff CLEVELAND — Strong odors of pot led to the arrest of two people and the seizure of a house used to grow marijuana. San Jacinto County…
K-9 officer Duna and handler Sgt. M. Gustafson of the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office were instrumental in locating a marijuana grow center in the Trails End subdivision in Cleveland. Courtesy photos

Capitalism in the age of AI

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Jim Opionin By Jim Powers
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you’ve followed my columns for any time, my position on the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) should be clear to you. I believe strong AI, or general AI if you prefer, is an existential threat to humanity. One often mentioned threat is that AI becomes much more intelligent than we are, but its goals are not aligned with those of humanity.

I often hear the argument that my view of the future is inherently jaundiced, that every time I look at a flower, I don’t see its present beauty, but its inevitable wilting and decay. Instead of looking at the incredible good that AI offers for human kind, I see only the negative. There’s some truth in that accusation, but where AI is concerned, it isn’t completely accurate.

With an intelligence that will someday soon far exceed our own, AI holds the hope of finding cures for diseases that have so far eluded our best efforts to defeat. These super intelligences will also be able to tackle climate change, make distribution chains more efficient, be helpful at resolving conflicts between countries and make our work much more efficient, causing huge increases in efficiency. So, where’s the existential threat come in? Or capitalism, for that matter?

While all these good things should accrue to the good of all of humanity, they will not, because these Ais are being developed by corporations like Microsoft, Google, Meta and Elon Musk, inside of a political and economic system that has already moved almost all of the world’s financial wealth into the hands of a small percentage of the population. These companies have proven that their bottom line is more important than the good of mankind. To trust that they will have a sudden interest in the advancement of humanity is at best naïve.

AI will make possible tremendous gains in productivity, with fewer people needed to do any job. Eventually, AI will replace anyone who sits at a desk. Even the CEO of the company you work for will likely be replaced by an AI (there exist companies now with AI CEOs). Beyond that, even physical labor will be replaced by humanoid robots with AI brains (they are in advanced development now). And then, what of the people?

Capitalism is an economic system. It’s not a system created by God. It’s not foundational. It is, however, one where wealth moves inevitably in one direction.

Over the long term, unless reined in by government regulation and control, it results in exactly the situation we are in now, with most of the wealth of the economy shifted to the top. And those few controls that existed back in the 20th Century have gradually been relaxed through lobbyists for corporations throwing unlimited amounts of money at the government that should be restraining them. In just one example, the top tax rate on the richest in the country has decreased from 90 percent to, effectively for many of the wealthiest and corporations, zero.

Capitalism doesn’t work when the marginal cost of labor for a company approaches zero. And these companies are not spending billions of dollars on AI to benefit mankind, but to benefit their bottom line.

I wish I could turn off my skepticism, but our current economic and political environment doesn’t inspire confidence. If there is a solution, it depends on our recognition that humanity is more important than profit, that technological advances should lift everyone, not just a wealthy few. There are ways to guarantee a future for humans, such as establishing a Universal Basic Income for all, but we need a government interested in doing so, which we don’t currently have.

There really is no option, here. Capitalism will dissapear as an economic system as a direct result of AI. You can't have capital without labor, and AI will ultimately eliminate labor. Rather than an economic system, we will then have a humanitarian disaster. 

We desperately need to stop investing our efforts into making the wrong pronoun illegal, fighting over completely trivial things, when a real existential threat awaits us.

And God only knows
God makes his plan
The information's unavailable
To the mortal man
We're workin' our jobs
Collect our pay
Believe we're gliding down the highway
When in fact we're slip slidin' away       
Paul Simon

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