Posit: weaponized AIs that can identify, with a very high rate of success, gifted children who will (in 5, 10, 20 years) be wildly successful in their endeavors, be that basketball, mathematics, rocketry, logistics, piano.
The nation-state controls these AIs.
The nation-state then takes that child’s parents and siblings and imprisons them. It can be a nice prison, of course.
The gifted child, once successful, understands he must never leave, else his family’s prison turn harsh.
Fantastical? Only just.
I like to envision the fantastical. I like also to posit alternate histories, imagine alighting between just-touching universes, or crossing the sims, whichever is easiest for you to envision.
In what sim is the brilliant, hard-charging, visionary Elon Musk operating a giant Ponzi scheme, taking in billions and billions of dollars from taxpayers to fund a variety of (green!) (sustainable!) (tech!) (good jobs!) enterprises that will never succeed because they can never reach net profit?
Another one: In what sim is Elon Musk the Propaganda Minister of The Government?
Preparing us all for the inevitable?
Know this: not all will survive World War 3.
Most will die.
You, your spouse, your children, your friends, colleagues, nearly everyone you know wiped out in the massively scalable partially nuclear conflagration that leaves just over 6 billion humans dead in under 3 years.
But for those of us that survive?
There is hope.
We will need solar power infrastructure — the traditional power grid is long since wiped out.
We will need clean water and shelter, shelter maintained via the power collected, stored, and generated from solar panels, panels which power the many “powerwalls” inside our shelters, and inside our meeting places and the reconstructed offices where we begin anew the efforts to establish a government, a economy, a society.
Can’t distribute oil, obviously, so the few cars that remain don’t operate. But the Teslas do.
Oh, and how did I survive?
Like the Londoners who took to the subway tunnels in World War 2, I was inside the tunnels that Musk’s company bored throughout the country. These saved millions of us.
We still have some far-reaching and highly reliable communications links thanks to the satellites Musk put into orbit.
We make regular use of the wise, humanized AI which Musk supported. It’s knowledge and care now help guide us out of these new dark ages quickly.
And our leaders? The billionaires?
They are safe, on Mars.
On the colony Musk established.
They will return once we’ve re-established order.
Musk couldn’t save everyone, of course, that’s just not realistic.
Confession: I intend to help alter the economy and markets, commerce and capitalism, profoundly and forever.
Soon, millions, maybe billions, will join me.
Soon, we will get anything from anyone, from anywhere at anytime. Prices will plummet, profits will evaporate, businesses will respond to this by differentiating themselves with the only thing they possess which sets them apart from the entirety of always-on global competition — their values. Their opposition to gay marriage, their embrace of sustainable food practices, their refusal to outsource to anti-democratic nations, their intolerance of robot labor, their deep, abiding faith in Jesus Christ. Values will determine their customer base, their margins, their market, their future. The purely profit-based corporation will soon become a relic of the past. In the next stage of commerce, values will always be on display and used for exchange.
Understand, this is not a commerce-led revolution but a personal, collective and technological one.
Global commerce is no longer about competing (or cooperating) nations but individuals, groups, and the new tools which are enabling anyone to make, distribute, sell, collect, and connect with everyone instantly, literally. And when everyone is engaged in commerce — capitalism, bartering and exchange — values will drive what they make, where they sell, to who, and why.
When convenience is omnipresent, and margins are ground to zero, values will drive the market.
You can’t hide.
From your tweets, your Facebook, from your supply chain, from the statements of your owner, where you sell, where you build, how much you pay, what political issues you embrace and which you ignore, that information will be instantly available with the swipe of our finger. Next, the AI will be set to inform us exactly who aligns with our own values, who does not, and we will purchase accordingly.
This is liberation, yes. This is also opportunity.
The very tools which are eradicating all barriers to entry, allowing anyone to make or have made, to sell anywhere, collect instantly, distribute globally, ensure you can operate your business in a manner entirely aligned with your values.
When everyone is engaged in commerce, capitalism, bartering, crowdsourcing, exchange, when all data is known — about people and products, place and politics — values will drive what they make, where they sell, and why. And when convenience is omnipresent and margins ground to zero, values will drive profits.
Our technologies are not merely enabling values-led commerce, but demanding it.
And jazz and calypso did have relations with the American R&B, while gospel watched from the edge, and this did make ska and ska begat rocksteady and rocksteady begat reggae and reggae did menage a trois with punk and with rock and roll and this consort did begat The Police.
And though they did sound very much of their time and yeah did their considerable musical talent did cloak the lyrical sweep of one Sting, the group’s lead singer, guiding force, and prime commercial draw.
“There is no political solution to our troubled evolution.”
The best trio in all of rock music.
Bass, guitar, drums.
Yet one of their most enduring songs is synthesizer-based.
Talent will out.
Daring is rewarded.
But I wonder: is this still true?
Never before have we possessed so much, lived so long, and dared so little.
Has our spirit been buried beneath this material world?
Do our own creations keep us locked in?
We are connected, that’s not the same as free.
We have access, that’s not the same as talent.
The world is at our fingertips yet we risk nothing.
Even the music’s gone safe.
This self-inflicted and fully consensual reduction in human grandness leading us not into ascension but deeper into hibernation.
How can this be?
We should be the most capable, most fit, most aware, most alive, most ready — the apex of human evolution and technological advancement.
Sense greatness permeating the world?
Where did it go?
The body electric, static.
Ghosts in the machine.
See me, hear me, touch me.
I am your screen.
A false light.
We need to set our spirit free.
But I am not sure we know how.
Move our eyes from the screen, probably?
Prioritize the physical over the digital, perhaps?
“Boomers” had a considerable impact upon the culture to this point but the culture from this point seems determined to burnish the past, all of it, if possible.
Boomers out on the pavement thinkin bout the government but soon no one will ever know, just as no one now really cares.
“We are stardust. We are golden. We are caught in the devils bargain. And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.”
We are the net result of our tools and our tools are remaking life, living, working, learning, playing, and dramatically impacting our physical and mental parts, making it so there’s no way for anyone to go back, to live as before, to be like those before, and so — in defiance and in rage and in glory and in fear — those who are next will seek to destroy, literally, all the signs, symbols, relics and leavings of those from before.
All the great artists of the Baby Boomer age, even The Beatles, who are peerless, will soon be publicly scorned, the controllers of the levers of popular culture deriding anything that smacks of the past attempting to seep into the now.
All the grand symbols of Baby Boomer culture will be torn down.
The Vietnam Memorial does not celebrate America, American greatness, nor heroism. It is a dark reminder of a stark time, a time that influenced Baby Boomers probably more than any other. By, say, 2029, the Vietnam Memorial will be toppled. Likewise, the arenas which the boomers took over and made their own, universities and media, in particular, will be fully de-constructed.
This is messy stuff.
But what of when everything’s all digital, virtual, erasable?
When destruction is clean.
Should we place any restrictions on what and who may be erased, and why?
Feasible: In 2022, your watch informs you that you are allotted an additional 32g of protein. You walk into the market and your earbuds list all your available rewards and coupons. Your smartphone automatically shares your location with your spouse and children, whose reminder bots also speak in your ear, urging you to buy them some chips. Your purchases are logged, the money instantly debited from your preferred account, as your steps are recorded, along with your caloric consumption, which is instantly sent to your primary care physician, whose algorithms alter — just slightly — their recommendations for you, which then reduces the cost of your medical insurance, all while this flow of data is beamed to a university, one whose research study you approved of, which is examining your longevity and all of those with similar DNA.
Potential: None of this happens, not one bit, because you — in a fleeting fit of foolishness — mocked a recent government decision. Or went online and derided a beloved cultural icon, or made a joke which all the right people found to be sufficiently repellant. Or are a Canadian country artist, like Shania Twain, and dared suggest that America’s president, presently Donald Trump, isn’t so bad.
Thought crimes are the new accounting.
We are already actively engaged in the digital disappearing of those guilty of offenses to the senses.
On social media:
NBC was quick to remove all photos of Matt Lauer off the “Today” show’s social channels following news that the longtime co-host has been fired amid a sexual harassment allegation.
As of Wednesday morning, “Today’s” website, Facebook page, and Twitter account have been scrubbed of Lauer’s name and picture.
Ridley Scott said he quickly decided to replace Kevin Spacey from “All the Money in the World” after hearing the news of his sexual harassment allegations.
Very quietly, Scott said he quickly put into motion a plan to cut out Spacey and shoot his scenes with another actor.
No doubt, you’ve already been made aware of individuals being removed from Twitter, Facebook, and other virtual arenas. Or that, if you don’t speak the acceptable speak, you’re banished from YouTube, meaning you are effectively banished from speaking non-acceptable speak.
No doubt, you are aware that the original Star Wars films have been altered, multiple times. Soon, those originals will never be accessible.
Just like your (neighbor’s) daughter won’t be able to enter the popular metaverse playground with her schoolmates — because of what the wife said, on Facebook, which everyone saw.
In nearly all recent cases, the banning mob is led by self-labelled “progressives” who insist they stand on the right side of the future.
Let’s hope not.
While it’s still in our power, and since it won’t be for long, let’s do our best to embed right rules into our erasable knowledge.
We should each have the right to control all our own data.
We should each have the right to be forgotten, should we choose.
We acknowledge the means to digitally erase a person or group, the past, an idea, or an other, but we will use this power only after much consideration and due hesitancy, making the act as rare as a unicorn.
You know who was at Woodstock? Everyone who said they were.
Except for the writer of Woodstock, Joni Mitchell, she was not there.
“There is something changing in the climate of consciousness on this planet today.”
Everywhere you look, turn, tell, touch, hear, you know. In bits and gushes, a higher calling beckons. Everything’s woke, even the machines. An insanely great awakening is emerging, and as we outsource the rational to our machines we are–at last– free to embrace our faith, our spirituality, God.
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, sees this coming.
In his recent letter to shareholders, which he no doubt re-wrote, edited, wrote again, had help writing, had one or more lawyers review, Bezos still reached through:
“One thing I love about customers is that they are divinely discontent. Their expectations are never static – they go up. It’s human nature. We didn’t ascend from our hunter-gatherer days by being satisfied. People have a voracious appetite for a better way, and yesterday’s ‘wow’ quickly becomes today’s ‘ordinary’.”
Technology is not moving us further away from the divine, but closer.