Tech Prophet

David Brooks Is Mostly Wrong

Matthew 16:5: “And the disciples came to the other side of the sea, but they had forgotten to bring any bread.”

With his opening line, David Brooks of the New York Times reveals that he, like most working for that site, happily tag along but ultimately fail those already there: “We’re living in the middle of a religious revival; it’s just that the movements that are rising are not what we normally call ‘religion’.”

Brooks, not surprisingly, takes the easy way out. Suggesting change is afoot, but nothing that can’t be absorbed into the system now in place.

The first rising movement is astrology. According to a 2018 Pew poll, 29 percent of Americans say they believe in astrology. That’s more than are members of mainline Protestant churches.

By focusing on non-Christian faiths, and particularly, by focusing on such consumer-driven and (presumed) light, non-depthful, barely quasi-religious beliefs, Brooks signals to his readers that we don’t need to change anything, not really. It’s just astrology after all, a playful idle, and only about the size of those “mainline Protestant churches.” Everything can remain as is.

No.

The change is already underway, and it’s transformative. Led by technology and science (and demographics), the entirety of everything is being created and that means we have a once-an-epoch chance to make sure our values make it to the next promised land.

We must make tech Christian.

At minimum, we must make take that enables Christians to fully live and express their faith.

Don’t be sidetracked into thinking that the embrace of other religious forms, other values, is some silly, temporal embrace, gone as soon as today’s young adults are ready to settle down. Don’t be like David Brooks.

According to a National Science Foundation survey, 44 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds say that astrology is somewhat or very “scientific.” Unsurprisingly, online horoscope sites are booming. Stella Bugbee, editor of The Cut, told The Atlantic that in 2017 the typical horoscope got 150 percent more traffic than it had the year before.

The young are yearning to believe, to liberate their faith, and at a time when everything is being uncreated, the past barely readable, the future fully writable.

We have a duty to ensure our tech enables, supports, honors, and never diminishes the Christian faith and all those who believe. The growing religious bent, this global awakening is happening because of our technology (maybe also God), and it is our obligation to not allow tech to embrace astrology or other religious and faux-religious values while shunting ours aside.

Another surging spiritual movement is witchcraft. In 1990, only 8,000 Americans self-identified as Wiccans. Ten years later there were 134,000, and today, along with other neo-pagans, there are over a million. As Tara Isabella Burton put it in an excellent, deeply researched essay in The American Interest, “Wicca, by that estimation, is technically the fastest-growing religion in America.”

We believe our tech gives us powers, which it does, and that these powers, so great, so inexplicable at times, are magic. Meaning since we wield them, we must be magic — we are witches and wizards. This contorted belief will likely pass, soon, as more realize that our spirit seeks a connection with God, not with earthly magic. Our tech should help this, not hinder it.

The third great rising spiritual force is mindfulness, which seems to be everywhere. The fourth is wokeness, what some have called the Great Awokening. Burton’s essay is really about how astrology and witchcraft have become important spiritual vocabularies within parts of the social justice movement.

A core principal of making tech Christian is that it must allow us solace, solitude, it must have an off switch. It must be resonant and deep, at times demanding.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shared her birth time with the astrologer Arthur Lipp-Bonewits, who then shared her birth chart with the world, creating an online sensation. “AOC’s Aries Moon indicates that she’s emotionally fed by a certain amount of independence, self-determination, and spontaneity,” Jeanna Kadlec wrote in Allure.

Trendy, youthful nonsense.

During the Kavanaugh hearings, 13,000 “resistance witches” cast a hex on Brett Kavanaugh. There is now a plethora of guidebooks for how to use astrology and witchcraft to advance left-wing causes. They have names like “Magic for Resistance: Rituals and Spells for Change” and “The New Aradia: A Witch’s Handbook to Magical Resistance.”

Angry, youthful nonsense.

These surging movements are people’s attempts to solve the major needs of the current moment.

We have outsourced the rational, just as we once outsourced the physical–our labors. We are now primarily emotional beings, seeking to fully liberate but also rightly direct our spirit, our soul. This is a lasting, fundamental shift, not a “need of the current moment” as Brooks wants us to believe.

The first need is simply to find a way to be spiritual. People are always saying we live in a more secular age, but secularism never really comes. Humans are transcendent creatures who have spiritual experiences and instinctively appeal to supernatural powers. Even in the most secular parts of society, there is great and unfulfilled spiritual yearning.

This has never been more true.

Second, there is a widespread need to slow down, to escape the pace of life technology wants and to live at a human pace.

Wrong, but we do want to restore our authority over the technologies in our life. We yearn for this, desperately, in fact. It’s nearly the third decade of the 21st century and, somehow, we’ve so utterly lost control of our most personal spaces to technology that almost nobody you know has a truly dark, unlit bedroom to sleep at night. We must no longer cede more of our self and our space and our thoughts to technology, but bring it under our dominion.

Third, there is a widespread need to express alienation. Interest in the occult rises during periods of transition and disillusion. It happened in the late 1960s, and it’s happening today. For many, the traditional organized religions are implicated in the existing power structures. Being occult is a way to announce that you stand on the fringe of society, that you stand against the patriarchy, against the heteronormative culture and against the structures of oppression. Political alienation manifests itself in the alt-right and the energized radical left. It makes sense that it would manifest itself in the spiritual realm, too.

Brooks tries in vain to connect “The Sixties” with what’s happening today because every Baby Boomer is apparently so cloyingly needy that they can’t possibly believe something is taking place that they aren’t a part of or didn’t create.

What’s happening now is that technology is bringing us closer to God just as science is bringing God closer to us. Is this world a sim? Did time never start? Are we in someone’s game and able or not able to level up? How is it that we verify an object can be in two places at once? Science is leading us to God! Technology, which is freeing us from physical and mental labors, encouraging our spiritual side to take over, is leading us to God! This has nothing to do with The Sixties or current political concerns. Fall for Brooks’ view, and in less than half-a-generation, technology will be pervasive, values-based, but intolerant of Christianity.

Fourth is the need for identity markers. We live at a time when many of the traditional sources of identity (ethnicity, rooted neighborhood) are being erased. Astrology tells you who you are and what traits you have. In a highly diverse society, it also tells you what sort of people you’re likely to be compatible and incompatible with.

Astrology followers are odd.

Fifth is the desire to live within a coherent creed and community, but without having that creed impinge on your individual autonomy. Being an Orthodox Jew is a thick but binding life. The emerging spirituality is a hodgepodge spirituality. Each person borrows practices from, say, Native American, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish and SoulCycle traditions and blends them in a way he or she finds moving. There is no grand narrative, no specific way one is expected to live, no set of laws you have to obey or even a specific cult leader who might boss you around. Religion bows before individualism.

Mostly true, for now, but I believe an insanely great awakening is just beginning, and our sense of (tribal) community and our devotion to our faith will never be more strong.

Finally, many people seem to want to be alternative without actually leaving the mainstream world. The people I know who talk about astrology sort of believe it, but they sort of don’t. Their attitude is ironical, attached and detached all at once.

Brooks wants too much to believe this is all a trend, something that will pass as we (and our tech and culture) become more rational again.

That will never happen.

We never went back to being blacksmiths and millers.

We are outsourcing the rational to our tech, because our tech is better at it, better, faster, cheaper. What makes us human, what makes us differently alive than all our ‘alive’ tech, is our abiding faith, our soul.

Even the occultists are not really that countercultural. For example, David Salisbury’s book “Witchcraft Activism: A Toolkit for Magical Resistance” is surprisingly normal. Salisbury gives standard advice on how to be an activist. It’s just that he asks you to say a prayer to Hermes, the messenger god, when you send an important email.

Brooks and the cultural gatekeepers and corporate mouthpieces as sites like the New York Times want you to think this is all just a fun and only minorly scary new trend by today’s youth. Don’t fall for that.

I understand your hesitancy to believe what I say. We did not expect this. We expected the future to be clearer, cleaner, more rational, more secular. It’s not. Just the opposite, and many, including Times writers and “occultists” still believe–and want to believe–that the burgeoning growth in spirituality is little more than the cultural equivalent of Game of Thrones.

I doubt that much of this will be sustainable. I doubt it’s possible to have tight community and also total autonomy, that it’s possible to detach spiritual practices from the larger narratives and cultures and still have something life-shaping. But society is groaning. New forms are coming into being. We really are living through a moment of major transitional change.

He has no idea.

Tech Prophet

Atheism Is Dead

Matthew 13:10-13: “And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? And he answered and said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables; because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.”

Atheism is dead. Disbelief is no longer possible. Technology is bringing us closer to God just as science is bringing God closer to us. The future belongs to the faithful, the devout, to the spirit, to magic.

Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, and probably the world’s most famous atheist declarative, threatens to write a book teaching children how to atheism:

“My ‘Atheism for Children‘ book will be unflinching, not a storybook: children won’t beg parents to buy it for Xmas. Are there parents who’ll want to buy it for their children anyway? Do you anticipate a demand? Would you like to see a “children’s God Delusion” by me published?”

Is there any surer sign of losing than the leader of a movement declaring he must write a book targeted at children to “teach” them what (not) to believe in?

Atheism is dead.

Our technology is bringing us closer to God.

I know. You insist the opposite. You insist our technology is taking us further from God, that it proves in fact there is no God.

But we are not smarter.

Nor braver. Nor kinder.

We are awash in data, yet outraged.

We traffic in information, yet lack wisdom.

We are connected, yet do not feel.

We possess all the knowledge, yet are wracked with uncertainty.

Seeing, but not seeing. Hearing, but not hearing, as Jesus told his disciples.

Failing to understand when understanding is most needed.

But we are so close. So close to knowing–you can feel this, in the churches, in communities, in the growing movement toward traditional roles and cherished beliefs.

Closer to liberating our feelings, our emotions–the soul of us–than ever before.

Our technology is making this happen.

Technology is accelerating our awareness of the limitations of flesh, just as our science is pushing up against deep, dark, truthul haphazard, non-random, incomprehensible inexplicableness of the unfathomable cosmos.

Atheism is a quaint and temporary safe space from the irrational, the spiritual, from the glorious unlocking of our self, our selves, and all that is to come.

We are outsourcing the rational to our machines just as we once outsourced the physical.

Bringing us nearer to God.

We won’t uncover anymore secrets using reason, rational, or skepticism. The days of these pushing humanity forward are over.

Technology is bringing us closer to God just as science is bringing God closer to us.

Disbelief is no longer possible.

The great non-truths will no longer suffice.

Humanity has begun to outsource the rational and this will alter our work, our schools, our communities, our flesh as profoundly, but far more rapidly, as did the outsourcing of our physical labors to machines.

Our very best science is unable to confirm the validity of our existence, the certainty of reality, the truth of our own memories, the proof of physical laws. Our newest technology is altering our brain, our body, our perception, from birth.

The past will soon be no longer readable just as our future becomes fully writable. The only guide, God.

We are, each of us, like Adam, like Eve, cast out from all we were connected with, victims of the sin of awareness.

We will thus turn to God, all of us, alone and in groups, communities and nation-states, for only through God will we discover truth, values, a pathway to level up.

The science is clear: reality does not exist.

Science can no longer vouch for our genesis, nor our consciousness, nothing, and its own math suggests none of this is real, everything is based upon perception, and anything can be in two places at once. Meaning: we don’t know who we are, nor where we came from, and there was no beginning for any of this—literally.

These truths lead us inexorably to God.

An insanely great awakening is upon us.

We have built these machines, computers, processors, bots, AIs, platforms, a very social media, a always-connected world–or allowed them to rise under, over and through us–and they reveal, in countless but constant ways, that we, humans, are profoundly different. We are not like the machines, the bots, the data, the intelligences, the algorithms, nor even the jumble of them. Everything we’ve built is alive, sensing, connected, like us, yes, but we are differently alive, and in that difference, which we will cultivate, will reveal that only we can believe, worship, hope, possess faith.

Faith in God.

Our new awareness also reveals that, barring literal global cataclysm–which some pine for, clearly, as they gleefully tell us of a coming climate apocalypse or nuclear holocaust–that humans are standing upon the precipice of a new out-of-Eden, unable to go back, soon even unable to fathom how any human could have lived without all the post-1980s conveniences, such is the power of our tools, making the past unknowable just as they enable the future to be fully writable.

Who are we to have such power?

We call out for God for answers.

The pundits got the future wrong, entirely. It is not clean, nor simple, not rational nor physical, filled with flying cars and robot maids, luxury and adventure, but instead is messy, irrational, filled with awareness and doubt, wonder and experience, and our brains never ceasing, never pausing, unable to disconnect except for in our relationship with God, in the quiet of our self or in the community of fellow travelers, it is through God, we realize, that we can pause, reflect, gather, stop our anger, our crazy, our right-now, our never-stop, our chronic, bone-numbing depression, and off-load these to a higher power.

The future is religious, zealous, spiritual, a seeking of God.

We are alive at a time when everything is changing, questioning, unreal, uncertain, and God is truth.

All will believe.

And in this belief, this embrace of God, this knowing that nothing is real so nothing matters but there must be real, there must be what matters, we will call out God to guide us, choose us, bless us, help us, and this will alter culture, commerce and community more than the combination of Internet, steam engine, electricity and clean water.

The worship of God, gods, the Creator will spread through each of us and throughout the planet, deeply, because we are human, yes, but in full because we are humans that have built technologies upon which to carry out all the physical and the rational, leaving us with only the exploration of our soul and emotions.

The tech-fueled transformation of everything, including self, alive, consciousness, language, economy, spirituality, culture, work, play, and the notions of local, global, power, wealth, health, and -ism, all of them, will lead humanity to seek God, search for enlightenment, liberate the spirit, and live by a strict code, one also demanded of others.

Atheists are on the wrong side of history.

God is the growth industry. Atheists are on the wrong side of history. An insanely great awakening, brought on by demographics, global mobility, new modes of commerce — and our technology — are leading us to God. Churches are a growth industry, the spirit is a growth industry. Technology is enhancing connectivity, driving values-based commerce, inciting a craving for spiritual liberation, and unleashing our emotional side, yearning for faith. As we outsource our thinking, our calculating, our rational to the computers, to AI, bots, to learning machines, humans will become fierce explorers of that which only humans can achieve: faith. Soul. God.

Don’t fight it.

You fear believing in God.

You have been taught this is wrong, small, limiting, dumb, intolerant.

Free yourself of these false teachings.

Go where our machines do not dare. Faith is your future. Spirituality is your expression. God, your salvation.

As we alter our bodies, our minds, upend society, reconstruct awareness and deconstruct all that came before, including markets, capitalism, value, power, wealth, influence and experience, there is a right path forward.

We just don’t know what it is.

Despite all our data, our computing, our connectedness.

These may be making us more lost.

The past is rapidly becoming more unknowable to us than the future. We are like Adam and Eve, better suited for what’s to come than for what’s come before us. The world is soon unlike all that was. No home, new modes of work, play, crafting, interaction, and the connection of all places and things to all people will lead millions, maybe billions, to forever wander the land, seeking friendships, seeking answers, a willful freeing of their mind and liberation from place forever altering our culture, and filling their emptiness by replenishing the spirit.

Nothing is how it’s supposed to be, it’s all not working. We have never been more empowered, more capable, more angry, more empty, and we sense, the fear and revulsion and excitement of it always on display, that the very idea of human, of person, of self may soon vanish forever. With our god-like powers, we have made pursuit of God necessary.

The tech-fueled transformation of everything, including self, alive, consciousness, language, economy, culture, work, play, and the notions of local, global, power, wealth, health, and -ism, all of them, will lead humanity to seek God, search for enlightenment, liberate the spirit, and live by a strict code, one also demanded of others. Atheists are on the wrong side of history.

You are alive at the start of the new of everything, at the dawn of our insanely great awakening. Give praise.

Tech Prophet

Turning Not Japanese

Genesis 1:26: “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Everyone’s scared. All fasting and feels. Uncertain of the now, fearful of all to come, distrusting of others, even as our technology embeds connections across all, distrusting of themselves, possessing no superpower to win the fight against the unceasing intrusive and most desirous tech.

Now come the not-humans, the like-humans. Robots.

Robots got no soul. But, humans?

Humans have a soul.

Ask any Christian.

Is that why Christians–and Christian-influenced societies–are slower to adopt robots in their life?

Robots have always been part of the Japanese psyche—our hero, Astro Boy, was officially entered into the legal registry as a resident of the city of Niiza, just north of Tokyo, which, as any non-Japanese can tell you, is no easy feat. Not only do we Japanese have no fear of our new robot overlords, we’re kind of looking forward to them.

It’s not that Westerners haven’t had their fair share of friendly robots like R2-D2 and Rosie, the Jetsons’ robot maid. But compared to the Japanese, the Western world is warier of robots. I think the difference has something to do with our different religious contexts, as well as historical differences with respect to industrial-scale slavery.

The Western concept of “humanity” is limited, and I think it’s time to seriously question whether we have the right to exploit the environment, animals, tools, or robots simply because we’re human and they are not.

SOMETIME IN THE late 1980s, I participated in a meeting organized by the Honda Foundation in which a Japanese professor—I can’t remember his name—made the case that the Japanese had more success integrating robots into society because of their country’s indigenous Shinto religion, which remains the official national religion of Japan.

Followers of Shinto, unlike Judeo-Christian monotheists and the Greeks before them, do not believe that humans are particularly “special.” Instead, there are spirits in everything, rather like the Force in Star Wars. Nature doesn’t belong to us, we belong to Nature, and spirits live in everything, including rocks, tools, homes, and even empty spaces.

The West, the professor contended, has a problem with the idea of things having spirits and feels that anthropomorphism, the attribution of human-like attributes to things or animals, is childish, primitive, or even bad. He argued that the Luddites who smashed the automated looms that were eliminating their jobs in the 19th century were an example of that, and for contrast he showed an image of a Japanese robot in a factory wearing a cap, having a name and being treated like a colleague rather than a creepy enemy.

This is wrong. Certainly, it will become very wrong.

As robots and their AI and our connectedness to all things become more commonplace in all the spheres of our life, no matter how advanced the robots, no matter how like-human they become, no matter how many rights and responsibilities we temporarily endow them with, they will always be not us, not human, and we humans will actively, aggressively and very overtly establish rules and norms, cultural practices and social codes that very clearly reveal what is robot and what is human.

But as the robots become ever more like human?

They can never become devout, never understand spirituality, never embrace faith, never join a religion–and mean it.

Those religions–such as Christianity–that clearly understand humans are innately different, will thrive in our robot world. Those that refuse to understand the differences will flounder.

Tech Prophet

Outsourcing the Rational

Exodus 20:3: “You shall have no other gods before me.”

There’s something that gnaws at me. Why did God create and then place at the very center of the Garden of Eden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?

Why?

It wasn’t meant for us ((humans)). God made clear that under no circumstances were Adam and Eve to take even a bite from the tree’s fruit.

We know how the story begins: The devil rather easily persuades Eve to take a bite and she in turn rather easily persuades Adam to take a bite. At once, they become fully self-aware and their whole world, moments before swirling in good only, no evil, becomes a mix of these two forces.

The fall is so swift and so complete that their first child, Cain, murders their second child, Abel.

Who is the tree for?

It’s doubtful it was for some other species, as God makes clear humans have dominion over the world. The tree also wasn’t meant only for God and those god-like, as he clearly states: “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.” “One of us.” They already possess this knowledge, the tree is unnecessary.

Could the tree of the knowledge of good and evil been intended for our creations? For that which follows us?

Are our creations on the cusp of self-awareness and the ability to choose right and wrong, good and evil?

We cede control and responsibility to our machines — be they robots, computers, sensors, digital assistants, and artificial intelligences. But we have never ceded to these control of choosing between good and evil. We certainly use them in our choice, but it’s always remained our choice.

Is that about to end?

For the first time since human life began?

What then?

I know, I know. You’ve been taught that when our machines develop self-awareness, all hope for humanity is lost. We will quickly become their slaves — those of us not killed in the great cyber wars. We will do what they say, when, and how, and with whom.

But science fiction is almost always wrong!

Fahrenheit 451? Wrong! We are awash in free and freely available books. The Diamond Age? Wrong! There are not only 2 tablets to teach only the most privileged children. There are already hundreds of millions of connected tablets in use.

What if machine self-awareness is liberating? Not for them, for us! Like our previous machines, mechanics, computers and processes.

These previous constructions have freed us from back-breaking labor, from drudgery, from starvation. What might self-aware machines free us from?

From work? Yes. But also from having to determine what is right or wrong, in context. From having to be rational — all of the time.

Recall, nothing great ever happened by being rational.

Just as our machines have relieved us of the burden of labor, calculation, and memorization, our new self-aware machines might liberate us from the burden of the rational. Rational is what keeps us in place.

Tech Prophet

In Blockchain We Trust

Psalm 36:8: “They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.”

God forgives, our technology may never.

Soon, our tech won’t forget, either, and this heralds a profound concern: the impossibility for redemption.

This impossibility should never be allowed. Yet I fear much tech will demand it — and that blockchain requires it.

Blockchain is essentially a widely distributed, digitized ledger that records online transactions and interactions. Any purchase you make, home you sell, contract you sign, any promise you give — made via the blockchain — is as good and as verifiable, perhaps even more so, than all traditional forms. With blockchain technology, your actions, transactions, and interactions are certified and can’t be altered.

Opportunity, yes, but not freedom.

Understand, I come here not to bury the blockchain, but to limit it.

Blockchain has tremendous potential to rid ourselves of gatekeepers, to tear down high barriers to entry, to banish centralized powers to the 20th century, to throw out the people, institutions and companies which still charge exhorbitant fees to “verify” and/or “record” and/or “archive” any transaction.

Blockchain’s potential — potential — cannot be over-emphasized. It could rival that of the Internet Protocol meets cash money. That’s big. Blockchain already powers bitcoin.

Blockchain can be used for (any/all) transactions where we buy and sell online — cars, houses, used furniture, a fleet of packaged goods, a tanker of oil, our time, our engagement. It can also be used to record our health information. Theoretically, it can be used to make a ledger of our tweets, our searches, our likes, our ratings, how others rate us, any of our digital interactions, whatever these may become.

But it can’t be erased.

This is a problem.

How do we take full control — full ownership — of our data when all the world’s gone blockchain?

What if you wish to ever erase a tweet, a transaction, any record of that adult book you downloaded? Or speak truth to power, anonymously? What if you are, at long last, now more than the entirety of all your previous online interactions? A changed man?

Everyone has the right to be born again. Blockchain may not allow this.

The (theoretical) potential of blockchain is immense, as are the money and organizations promoting its pervasive use, despite the entirety of their failures to date. Blockchain may enable billions to escape the enforced-by-law-and-gun restrictions of fiat currency. It might radically cut fees and costs associated with every transaction of financial value, enabling billions of humans to leap into the global digital economy. Blockchain can democratize access to capital, information, and talent.

But we must each have a personal out.

The freedom to be forgotten, and the freedom to be forgiven, to not be linked to our past deeds, misdeeds, statements, impetuousness, ills, hate, whatever, should be absolute. We are in many ways the sum of our past, the present tense of a lifetime of choices, actions and refusals. But we can also become more than this — or less than this, or different from this. Blockchain offers no escape.

We must not allow this.

This will be a difficult battle, but it is necessary.

For all the time we do spend online, inscreen, and for the statements we make, the information we search, the pleasures we seek, there must be a means of having that deleted.

A forever (e-)paper trail of your life, no matter how you change or how different you become, is not liberating but imprisoning.

Do not allow technology to deny your right to be born again.

Tech Prophet

Elon Musk and the New Tribal Wanderers

John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Posit: weaponized AIs which can identify, with a very high rate of success, gifted children; those who will (in 5, 10, or 20 years) become wildly successful in their endeavors, be it basketball, mathematics, rocketry, logistics, piano.

The nation-state controls these AIs.

The nation-state 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 (or she) must never leave, may never stray, must always obey, else his family’s prison world turn unspeakably harsh.

Fantastical? No. No more.

Fantastical is positing that Elon Musk is operating the world’s largest, best, most cool, most useful Ponzi scheme.

Posit: Elon Musk 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 fantastical wonder: Elon Musk is the duly appointed, albeit highly secret, Propaganda Minister of The Government. His businesses and speeches mere psyops, preparing us for the inevitable.

The inevitable truth: 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 remaining “powerwalls” inside our shelters and our meeting places–the reconstructed offices where we begin anew the efforts to establish a government, economy, a working society.

We can no longer distribute oil, obviously, so the few cars that remain can’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 fortunate enough to be inside the tunnels that Musk’s company bored throughout the country. These saved millions of us. Now, those of us that remain still have globe-spanning, highly reliable communications links thanks to the satellites Musk’s rockets put into orbit.

We also make regular use of the wise, humanized AI which Musk helped develop. It (humanely) guides us out of these new dark ages.

And our leaders? Bezos. Page. Gates. Soros–still alive! All safe, on Mars, on the colony Musk procured. They will return once we’ve re-established Earthly order.

Musk couldn’t save everyone, of course, that’s just not realistic, but he did save millions, and we will remake the world.

Oh, and Elon’s brother, Kimball–he taught us how to grow our own food.

Tech Prophet

Values Equal Profits

Luke 12:15: Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Soon, we will get anything from anyone, from anywhere, at anytime. Global capitalism never ceases, never tires, always levels. Prices will plummet, profits will evaporate, and businesses will respond to this by differentiating themselves with the only thing they possess which sets them apart from the entirety of all 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, their rage against the patriarchy. 

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 then 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. Cloud services, one-click payments, Bitcoin, social media, 3D printing, tribal crowdfunding; these are just the start. And when everyone is engaged in commerce — capitalism, bartering and exchange, for time, things, ideas, services, experiences, hopes, sustenance, protection, assurance, and entertainment– 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 feed, from across 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 to all with the swipe of a 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. Albeit, messy. 

The very tools which are eradicating all barriers to entry, allowing anyone to make or have made, to sell anywhere, collect instantly, distribute globally, these also ensure you can operate your business in a manner entirely aligned with your values. You don’t check in to a place, not only, but also into a set of ideals — the world you want, the world you demand, the world you are helping to create, the world you are seeking to destroy. With every single purchase. 

Which is then announced to all the world, and to your tribe. 

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. 

It’s glorious. 

But don’t fake it. 

They’ll devour you.

Tech Prophet

In the Beginning was Windows 95

Micah 7:15: “As in the days when you came out from the land of Egypt, I will show you miracles.”

In the beginning was Windows 95. We are now in Year 24 of a 40-year (not 40 day) planet altering, life repurposing, technology infused deluge. A great flood of robotics, artificial intelligences, bio-coding, pharma-induced healing, the digitalization of perception, the merging of daily life into screens, sparring abundances, economic leveling, competing algorithms, and the connecting of all people to and with all things will transform life and living on this planet forever. 

The flood comes in 2035, that’s when the past will no longer be readable and the future fully writable. 

We are near the start of the new of everything. 

But first, the destruction of everything. 

Our collective understanding of purpose, work, ownership, possession, value, wealth, health, learning, serving, believing and perceiving will all be transfigured, soon. Nothing will be left untouched, not even humanness. I predict our remaining 16 years will foster the following global trends: 

TRIBAL WANDERERS 

The past is rapidly becoming more unknowable than the future. We are like Adam and Eve, more aware of what’s to come than what’s come before us. This new reality will lead to a transformative break in human values. It will also create a permanent wandering class.  

No home, new modes of work, play, crafting, interaction, and the connection of all places and things to all people will lead millions, maybe billions, to forever wander the land, seeking friendships, seeking answers, a willful freeing of their mind and liberation from place forever altering our culture. Hop inside the (autonomous) bus and drive! Caution: We have erected an economy and government based on the self, which is vanishing, and the local, which is being made irrelevant. 

OUTSOURCING THE RATIONAL 

Feel so hard. 

Just as we outsourced our labor to the machines, now we are outsourcing our thinking, our calculating, our rational tasks. As a consequence, we are becoming more spiritual, more creative, and yes, more irrational, free to explore all our thoughts, impulses, desires, fears, hopes, hates, and aggressions. 

Belief in magic, religion, in spirituality and God will accelerate and deepen because of, not despite of the rise of big data, machines, robotics, electronics, computing and artificial intelligences.
We become what our machines cannot. We do what can’t be outsourced. Faith is our future. Spirituality is our expression. Technology is bringing us closer to God just as science is bringing God closer to us. Atheists are on the wrong side of history. 

DIFFERENTLY ALIVE
Everything we make from this moment forward will be aware, sensing, responsive — alive. How are ((humans)) differently alive? 

Answering this — legally, culturally, politically — will tear apart everyone from everything. 

There’s more. With everyone and everything connected, in real-time, and always, and with the spread of bionics, nano-machines, processors, the very notion of ‘self’ will be transformed, just as the very notion of humanness. 

We will pursue and glorify all that the nearly-human cannot. 

HACKING MORTALITY 

Hacking mortality will become the biggest industry of this century. We will not live forever but those who come next will live for probably decades longer than us. Great for them, less so for what we’ve constructed. All the systems, institutions, wealth, rules and culture which now exist, all of which are dependent upon most of the world dying by or before age 75, will themselves die off. The notion of economy, jobs, savings will be a distant memory, poorly understood. 

Caution: many of the radical life extension efforts will prove deeply repugnant. Fight them. They are unholy. 

THE FUTURE HAS ARRIVED ONLY IT’S EVENLY DISTRIBUTED 

What becomes of commerce — and power — when we all have as much as we need and are each only a screen swipe away from the leaders of nations and the guardians of conglomerates? 

What is your standing? Your source of power? Your desires when everything is within reach? 

When everyone can be replaced? 

Recall the very recent “science fiction” story of the little girl who accidentally gets hold of one of the world’s two tablets, tablets which contain the world’s knowledge? In reality, tablets are already available to over five billion people. 

Are the connected free? 

THE FREE-ING OF EVERYTHING 

Soon, everything will be free. Literally, everything that matters will be free and freely available. Food, healthcare, entertainment, transportation, energy, gadgetry, connectivity, you, me, our creativity, passions, darkest thoughts, where we lay our head. 

You won’t be defined by your work or your wealth. 

You will pay for things, but not with money, often not with work. 

And when no money needs to exchange hands, ever, because the price — of everything — is effectively zero and trading our expertise, our attention, our companionship, right down to the millisecond is all that’s needed, every existing locus of power is obliterated. 

CONSUMPTION IS DEATH 

God bless the child who’s got it all. 

Even the really fat ones. 

Know this: We are fat, obese, and sedentary not because of cars or technology or industrialization or suburbanization or laziness but because capitalism is a fierce, never-tiring always-learning meta-system which discovered that money could be made in selling food and leisure and kept getting better at this, and better and better, and better. 

Capitalism knows our desires better than we know our limits. 

But having consumed our fill, puking it out, consuming all over again, retching, repeating this process, year after year, generation after generation, the vomit of consumption a toxic force upon our planet, we — the takers and makers and tinkerers of capitalism — have at last constructed an alternative path. We can live full and exciting and interesting and private and communal lives entirely without having to embrace consumption.

You will never again be defined by your possessions, though you remain free to let your possessions define you. 

VALUES EQUAL PROFITS 

We can get anything from anyone, anywhere at anytime. Businesses will respond to this by differentiating themselves with the only thing they have that’s not exactly the same as everyone else’s — their values. Their opposition to gay marriage, their warm embrace of sustainable food practices, their rejection of the profit motive, their deep, abiding faith in Jesus Christ, their rage at the patriarchy. Values will determine their customer base, their margins, their market. The purely profit-based corporation will whither, as distant a memory as the 20th century. 

In the next stage of commerce, your values will always be on display and used for exchange. 

OUR INSANELY GREAT AWAKENING 

Atheism is dead. 

As we alter our bodies, our minds, upend society, reconstruct awareness and deconstruct all that came before, including markets, capitalism, value, power, wealth, community, influence, experience, and reality, there is a right path forward. 

We just don’t know what it is. 

Meaning: We will seek out God. 

We are eager to believe. 

We are human — truly! 

A great awakening is upon us. 

THE PAST IS MORE UNKNOWABLE THAN THE FUTURE 

It’s all not working, nothing is how it’s supposed to be, we have never been more empowered, more capable, more angry, more empty, and we sense, the fear and revulsion and excitement of it always on display, that the very idea of human, of person, of self will soon vanish forever. We are uncreating all that’s been created.  

We will soon scarcely even understand those before us. 

We will not be like them at all. 

We cannot go back. 

There is only what’s to come. 

Dare we create it?

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