Tipping Point

Inspired by recent developments . . . 

If you get the news you must have some idea of what's going on. Of course, in this post-modern, relativistic culture which currently seems to have us all in its spell, there's no two folks that can agree on what's going on. And, each feels content, if not righteously secure, with the thought that they are the ones that have it right. We all shrug and say "[Let's leave it at] . . .Whatever."

As a wise man once said, "There's nothing you can say that someone can't prove you wrong." Duelling with Dualism.

A recent newspaper article just reported on how at some airports interactive devices with a holographic female human image have been installed to give directionsAVA, Airport Virtual Assistant. Technologically, this is a great idea. Humanistically, I'm not at all comfortable. Angry, is more like it. Are we slowly but surely being trained (herded?) into a mode of total and constant interactivity with machines? And, in the process, being winnowed from the work force, a life of activity, contribution, and shared experience? Maybe. But, to what? And, for What?

Just call a customer service center. After jumping through hoops to get to a real service representative, the idiot in who-knows-what- country is talking to you from a script. And, most exasperating of all, can only think within the confines of the content on the page. Who needs you, buddy, when a machine could probably follow a script even better. Think about that all you outsourced telephone answering robots. Your time will be brief.
We can imagine, thanks be to Jobsoh yes, let us not fail to acknowledge Spawn of Steve, Marky Z)a future not too distant where everyone will be content to stay home, really in an air conditioned container, connected to the hilt electronically and in every other way living a virtual life of each one's choosing. No waiting folks! Bandwidth will not be a problem in this Joberbergian future; so, everybody can go for whatever they virtually desire and no waiting due to so many others being online grabbing for the same ring. Everything for everybody all the time. Buffering, that's so early 21st Century.

This may seem a little cynical, you say. It does presuppose the human spirit can be suppressed so thoroughly that the mass of humanity will submit to such a life. "1984" and "Brave New World" are great fiction. If at least for being cautionary. But, do you think the actual will be delivered in the same fashion and therefore you rest content and snug/smug for not seeing it coming in a guise Orwell and Huxley had not envisioned? If you doubt all this, then just look at the recent historical record of the speedy adoption of interactive hand held devices. Convenient, of course. But, mainly amusements and distractions. There's an app that duplicates fart sounds, praise Job! In Steve we trust. Uncritically and enthusiastically. "Poof!" But, without any offending odors. So nice.

So there they will be, the mass of humanity, sealed comfortably and happily in their connected virtual reality chambers. Endlessly searching and engaging the MindScape. Life without end, amen.

Of course there will have to be a cadre of enablers, genetically engineered humanoids who tend those chambers while their occupants are alive. Clean up after the decease.

Also, a highly genetically refined class of actors and experts and performers to provide the imagery that is the nutriment of this virtual heaven on earth.

Humans will probably not in our lifetime be able to convert purely electronic stimuli into metabolites. Food as we know it in the early part of the 21st Centuryindeed, as we have known it since the time of recorded historywill still be necessary. For a short while anyway. Technology will be there also to save us, rest assured. Two words . . . Soylent Green. But, you should know we won't call it that and any thought that it might be that will be expunged for our browsing enjoyment.

Why would anyone want to set such a thing up? Well, let's call them the ruling elite. Sort of like what we have now in the government; that's both branches, the public and the private sectors. All those sequestered interactive folks will be mind-mined to provide the mental technological and creative output to enable the ruling class to enjoy actual living on Terra Firma. Oh, they will be benevolent, let us be assured. Anything, virtually that is, your heart desires. And when you become a situation where the cost benefit ratio is in decline, well then they will arrange for your departure; but, rest assured, in the nicest possible way. Virtually. And, as alluded to previously, you won't go to waste even after your productivity rating indicates terminal retirement. 

The rulers of this utopia of the alive and the virtually subsumed will be what we now call the statisticians, actuaries. They will possess the expertise to mine our interactive histories and create algorithms that keep the whole thing going. Of course, this "going" is not a static thing, but a growing wonderment of Jobian fantasies. Every goddamn iota of human potential and possibility will be explored and displayed. The show's the thing, yes?

At the end, on the Day of Days, these words will be written: We did it all. We did it all. We made it all happen. And, that. And, that. And, that And . . .

If you are as enthralled as we all should be of the current explosion of technology, then you must be wondering excitedly when will all this happen. I can't hardly wait! What for the love of Steve and/or Mark makes you think it hasn't already happened? The new world will look just like it does now. Only better, howsoever you envision better.

Tipping point? Who has ever seen a tipping point. It happens, then you deal with it. Just now we are scrambling to get into position to be on the side that's dealing.

The perennial wisdoms all point to phenomenal existence already being a kind of virtual reality. If you're thinking the Matrix movies, perhaps there's a little truth to that. Now the virtual reality, this dream of Maya is conjuring a dream within a dream.

Waking. It's the only thing to do. We should have faith that the human spirit is indomitable. Just look at the moral and ethical evolution of the human race after such exemplars as Buddha and Jesus and Mohammad. We've come such a long way. Let's leave it for you to weigh on that.

Enjoy this quaint piece of entertainment:

No comments: