By Angry Old American
Copyright Angry Old American, January 31st, 2022. All Rights Reserved.
We exist in an era of magic; that is what our ancestors would have called it. Perhaps sorcery or wizardry would be a better description. Given the financial resources and proper circumstances, we must no longer be shackled to the harsh dictates of Nature; but free to pursue the farthest fickle boundaries of our own desires. We have become a culture of haughty little god-people, addicted to convenience, and our seeming control over everything around us.
Behold, we can make light with the flip of a switch; and that light neither burns, flickers nor smokes. If our homes are too hot or cold, we simply turn a dial to reach a perfect state of comfort. Water too is piped directly into our homes, at convenient locations, and often comes hot, cold or even frozen.
If we are hungry, we neither hunt the woods nor toil in the field, and no laborious sweat-drenched hours invested in harvesting and winnowing, slaughtering and butchering, or preserving and packaging; all we need do is open our refrigerator and grab some food, or open a can or break the seal of a plastic package in the cupboard. Those charred choice chicken parts sizzling on the bar-bee require no brutality of slaughter; we hire chicken hit-men to do our dirty-work. We can heat our meal in minutes by putting it into a microwave oven, with no collection of firewood or kindling required; no striking of flint and steel, nor careful nursing and propagation of precious flame.
No food in the fridge? No problem; simply go to the supermarket where food is magically delivered daily, in great variety and abundance, arriving from warehouses where all food miraculously originates.
Open the curtains to look outside, and if reality offends our sensitive expectations, then we close them. No need to be concerned for the starving dog, or the homeless guy pissing on our hydrangeas. Out of sight; out of mind.
A neighbor gets sick or injured, and they are taken away by the 911-people; sometimes they come back, and sometimes they don’t. If we get stopped by a traffic accident on the highway, the 911-people dressed in blue wave us around the accident while others in yellow or orange haul the meat off to a hospital or the morgue. Robbers, burglars, vandals, arsonists, abusers and murderers are likewise removed to be jailed, tried, judged, convicted, fined, imprisoned; or not. It is not our responsibility. Out of sight, out of mind.
If we get sick, we take a pill. There are pills for nearly everything, from bellyaches to headaches, constipation to stuffy sinuses. If, for any reason, our insulated and artificially stimulated world should cause us distress, we ingest poisons by swallowing even more pills, imbibing potions, inhaling smoke, or injecting chemicals.
We take a dump in the toilet, pull the lever, and shazaam, it all goes away. Offensive odors are sucked away by fans, or masked with aerosol foo-foo sprays. All of our trash and garbage need only be placed by the street on a certain day of the week, and the trash disappears too. Should insects or rodents intrude upon our electric-repellant protected sanctuaries, they merit poison treats or the sudden pop from the bug-zapper. Bacteria, fungus, algae, and protozoa are forbidden, and strong chemical toxins abound in stores to facilitate their total extermination. Laundry that once took an entire day of hard labor to wash and dry are done by machine in a jiffy. If sweeping and vacuuming are too laborious and time-consuming, new autonomous robotic devices do the job.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven Robotics, from the workplace to the battlefield, have become the order of the day. Walking or pedaling is too much of a chore? We have electric powered escalators and elevators in buildings, and e-skateboards, e-bikes and e-scooters for outside. Want to go faster? There are e-cars that even drive themselves. Autonomous self-driving E-Tractor-Trailer rigs have been approved to haul our goods. Electric autonomous aerial drones are already delivering packages to doorsteps.
Factory-Robots move, mold, machine, and assemble many goods from start to finish. 3D Printers make a variety of plastic items in the comfort of our own homes. Architectural construction robots lay bricks, pour concrete foundations and even digitally “3D Print” entire dwellings.
Robotic Artificial Intelligence aerial drones survey crops, and automated irrigation systems monitor and apply water, while AI tractors digitally till, plant, fertilize and apply pesticides as flawlessly as your printer produces a document. Is it any wonder that Bill Gates owns most of our farmland? Harvesting of everything from grain to grapes is increasingly being done by autonomous robotic Artificial Intelligence driven machinery. Feed lots likewise are now run robotically from birth to slaughter, de-feathering, skinning and evisceration. Processing of foods, be it irradiation, fermenting, dehydration, cooking, canning, bottling, or vacuum packing is increasingly handled by AI Robotic systems. Warehouses too are increasingly augmented, or entirely run by AI Robotics.
Artificial Intelligence driven voice systems, once relegated to pesky robo-calls to solicit sales, are now working as operators for corporate phone systems, and are intruding on banking, insurance, legal advice, and even medical diagnosis and pharmaceutical prescriptions. Robotic surgical devices are used in delicate laser procedures, and control sophisticated prosthetic arms and hands for amputees.
Even the “World’s Oldest Profession” has been intruded upon by AI Robotics. Inflatable love-dolls have evolved into realistic silicon mannequins molded from human models. Now, silicon mannequins are enhanced with AI driven voices, facial expressions, eyes and lips, and enough reptilian body movement to provide the modern frisky electro-monkey with their periodic whoopees. Higher-end units are being developed in Japan to walk and replicate human behaviors in order to serve Wall Street tycoons and Oil-Rich Middle Eastern potentates.
Human labor, as a means of production is becoming obsolete.
In Combat, we are seeing Robotic “exoskeletons” to assist soldiers in carrying heavy loads. On battlefields testing is conducted with “Soldier of the Future” helmets with heads-up displays, night-vision, FLIR heat vision, enhanced earphone and microphone sets, and weapons fitted with cameras and AI enhanced targeting systems; all linked to central computer terminals manned by junior-flip officers who orchestrate their show. AI autonomous “Mules” carry huge loads over rugged terrain where there are no roads, and AI Robots have been developed to dismantle or detonate mines, or carry casualties off dangerous battlefields.
We first saw AI augmented autonomous aerial drones “Intended for non-combat surveillance purposes only.” It only took a couple of years before the first killer drones equipped with Sidewinder Missiles were conducting attacks on convoys and high-level assassinations. Now we have AI Robotic autonomous armament targeting systems for cruise missiles, fighters, bombers, armored vehicles, ships and submarines “Intended only to be remote-controlled by humans who make the decision to kill.” We will see how long that lasts. China has already deployed the first Autonomous Robotic Soldiers into its Himalayan battlefield with India. How many years before “The Terminator” becomes a reality?
Having insulated our increasingly pathetic useless lives from the harsh circumstances, consequences and inconveniences of nature, our species more-than-ever craves stimulation and “Fun.” If we get bored, we press a button for sounds and images to appear; and if those sounds and images displease us, then we change them to something that meets our ever-diverse and demanding expectations. If stories in the form of movies are too boring, we have games to play. The ultimate game of survival, and the challenges presented by nature have been abandoned for safe and controlled pursuits.
Social Isolation has been a side-effect of TV video games and home computers. Forget competition with other people, our computers provide the challenge of competition, and we even get to select the level of challenge that we will face. No need to exercise, or to learn and practice sports or martial skills; every child or adult is a novice superhero from the very start; with the physique of a young Arnold Schwarzenegger and the moves of Bruce Lee. We can fly airplanes, helicopters, fighter jets, or soar the virtual skies on our own, without wings. We can bike, skate, snowboard, ski, dance, fight, or play any professional sport, and be rewarded at the end with cheers and applause from an ever-admiring crowd. The only consequence of failure in our virtual game world is to start the game over. No aches or pains, sweat or blood; much less maiming or death. Survival of the fittest, and the rule of the jungle no longer applies to us. We are gods, after all!
Soon we will all have our much anticipated 5G Virtual Reality (VR) augmented personal universe to enhance our already inflated sense of godhood. Ordinary appearing glasses will provide heads-up displays with internet interface and information on-the-fly. Everything from calculators to universal language translators will be conveniently accessible. Voice recognition allows instant access to any information desired, on-the-fly. Kids need not learn reading, writing or math in schools because the trans-human life of a cyborg is in their future. Lucky them.
No need to travel; simply put on the goggles and headphones and we are transported to a new-improved 360 degree universe. As more sensory interfaces are developed, the experience of imitation sight and sound will expand to touch, smell and taste. The porn industry, always on the forefront of experimental technologies, has created a variety of made-to-order interchangeable “Virtual Mates” complete with coordinated sensory willy-wackers and dildos.
These new virtual worlds include imaginary possessions and characters purchased with the same medium of exchange as today. Yet, even money and wealth have gone virtual and intangible with crypto-currencies.
We, as a species, have already become so removed from reality that we have “evolved” into something entirely different, Futurists point to the a fast-approaching era of “Trans-humanism,” the merging of computer, machine and human-biology to create “Singularity;” the ultimate “oneness” of all things. Each and every one of us will be inventoried, marked with our own serial number and owned; totally controlled and flawlessly directed by an all-seeing, all-knowing Artificial Intelligence. Who needs the old invisible God, when humankind can create their own tangible god? Each and every one of us will be demigods; legends in our own minds. In many ways, this bit of megalomaniacal madness has already taken place.
We have been programming Artificial Intelligence for decades. Do you really think online video games are not learning from us? Flight and driving simulators record successful responses and outcomes for autonomous self-directed autonomous transportation. Our very best responses in combat games have been recorded and sold to the military industrial complex to be programmed into commercial weapon systems! Not only are computer games learning from us, but we too are being programmed by them. Our minds, and that of the computer are merging.
What is the price that we will pay for our emerging computer enhanced all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful, omnipresent, and seemingly invincible godhood?
We have already sacrificed many of the social interactions. The traditional family, challenged for many decades by the “sexual revolution” and “alternative lifestyles,” has further been displaced by “gender diversity.” The nail-in-the-coffin for the traditional family has been the isolation caused by personal computers and mobile phones. “Mates” are no longer socially vetted to fill an established role as parent. Once upon a time, the Workplace, Churches, Clubs and Associations; or even the skating rink, bowling alley, or diverse lands of the Lounge-Lizards provided a foundation for selecting friends, business associates and mates. These social venues provided tangible social challenges where characters were tested and reputations forged. We now have chat rooms, social media and online dating-sites. For the frisky electro-monkey, “hook-up” swipe-sites provide a variety of partners, in every age, race, color or ever-expanding “gender.”
We also sacrifice our independence in order to be inextricably shackled to machine dependence. To gain the benefits of a mobile phone, we must carry it. To benefit from the new Virtual Reality 5G augmentation, we must be tethered by goggles and headphones. These devices and services are not provided free; we pay handsomely for the hardware, and the privilege of connecting to the internet with even more bandwidth. Increasingly, we pay for access to each and every virtual service that we access. Our reliance on calculators weaken our intellectual capacity to compute. Reliance on text to voice, and voice to text technology result in diminished reading and writing capabilities. Will there come a day when our species loses the skills of literacy and mathematics entirely? Can an illiterate and mathematically challenged and logic impaired culture be capable of independent critical thinking?
We also sacrifice our privacy, with our most intimate activities and self-directed thoughts revealed to all who have the money to pay for it in this new universal consciousness. Our nifty Star-Trek “Communicators” record and transmit our exact location constantly, whether we turn off the Global Positioning System location function or not. Our mobile phones have become spying devices, capable of being hacked by either our government or criminals 24/7! Our voice transmissions can be converted to text, and our text transmissions recorded, logged and stored. Facial Recognition Software can access our phone cameras. Our organizers, credit card numbers and financial records can be hacked. Contacts can be accessed and surveilled too. Our home computers, and a wide array of “Smart Devices” are equipped with built-in microphones and video cameras that can be activated by government even when turned off. Our “Smart Meters” are capable of identifying most all home appliances, monitoring their use, and even shutting them down remotely without our will or knowledge. Home video surveillance cameras powered by wifi are already accessible on the internet by ANYBODY!
Our livelihoods and personal wealth are sacrificed, as one-by-one we are displaced by Artificial Intelligence Robotic automation. Industry after industry are being phased-out, and the workers and their families are losing possessions, homes, and even their “sanity.” Soon, we will all learn the lessons of those already displaced, as every form of human production is eliminated. “There but for the Grace of God go I.”
Our liberty to direct the course of our own life will be abandoned for a “Universal Good,” yet to be determined by our new AI directed universal consciousness. Both intrinsic physical and intellectual abilities of the trans-human cyborg will suffer in direct relation to growing dependence on machine.
We are increasingly being conditioned by a Chinese Communist Party style “Social Credit System,” which either rewards us for compliance, or punishes us for non-compliance. How does the “Social Credit System” punish? We need only look to Communist China. All of the following punishments existed BEFORE the Covid Pandemic appeared, and are compounded by contact-tracing and draconian lock-downs. Both Artificial Intelligence algorithms and human monitors scan electronic records to identify offenders. Renegades who do not think or act “Good,” can be denied internet access, or their Smart Meters can deny them of heat or air conditioning, shut down their refrigerators or televisions. Offenders can be denied access to public transportation and events. Their access to bank accounts and credit transactions can be frozen. They can be publicly shamed on smart phones with their photo along with “anti-social crimes” transmitted to phone-screens of those around them. They can be quarantined to their homes. They can be forcibly removed from their homes and judicially tried, with their “private” communications, surveillance video, and associations with other “criminals” used as evidence against them. In the People’s Republic of China (PRC), 90%+ of those who are arrested and tried are subsequently convicted. They can be imprisoned in slave labor camps. They can be executed and their organs forcibly harvested. Just recently, the PRC has adopted Artificial Intelligence Judges, along with mobile court and execution vans.
Will this be the future for us?
We actually do have a choice to participate or not; Convenience or Liberty?
4 thoughts on “Land of the Electro-Monkeys Part One”
It’s all hideous ! It’s enough to want to join the Amish.
Thank you J for your book recommendations. This was part one of a series. The next installment will review recent technological history, and subsequent impacts on the human-race. There will be exposure of early 20th Century futurists; but mostly those who were involved in practical application of psychological theory, such as Lippmann’s 1922 “Manufacturing Consent” and Bernays’ 1928 “Propaganda.” After reading your comment, I may add a paragraph dedicated to the fictional works of Orwell, Huxley and Kafka. I will not address Rifkin’s propagandist theories because I consider him to be a salesman for the power elites. Rifkin is fast to give a tantalizing image of “The Carrot;” while totally disregarding any mention of “The Stick.” Like most “Progressive” dreamers, his “Third Industrial Revolution,” postulates a future of “Universal Basic Income” that is grossly naive. In actual practice, Rifkin’s economic and social theories would result in a human version of Calhoun’s “Rat Utopia” experiments.
I appreciate your comments on Rifkin of which I was unaware. Another book comes to mind: “In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations” by Jerry Mander. This book was published in 1988 and followed up on his first book “Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television”, both worthy reads.
Very profound essay. Four books come to mind that are germane to this argument:
“The End of Work” by Jeremy Rifkin
“Bowling Alone” by Robert Putnam
“Amusing Ourselves To Death” by Neil Postman
and Aldous Huxley’s prophetic work “Brave New World” along with his follow-up “Brave New World Revisited”