Dumb is the New Smart
Dumb is the New Smart

(Rant Alert!)

As I sometimes opine about the world these days, it's either there's a whole lot of manipulative control going on to shape public opinion and action. (By action, let's be frank: consumption.) That's the cynical view. The extreme of which is the conspiracy theorist. Or, it just could be that everyone is just trying their damnedest to do the right thing. That's the kinder view. The downside of that is, if you read the news, then we're all just a bunch of idiotic fools. You can't write that stuff, as they say, folks. Slapstick comedy, 24/7/52/365.

But, let's be clear. It's all an illusion. All of it. All of the phenomenal phantasmagoria of it. As interesting and fascinated as it may be. False. To the core. Mr. Krishnamurti said, "Do you want to know what my secret is? You see, I don't mind what happens." Don't dismiss that too fast. He is on to something. For Real.

All of us, too. Illusory. Important point to not miss. We, this you and me, are all part of that illusion. You may ask, if that is true, then who am I? Good question. I refer to Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj for more on that. His I AM THAT is a clear and direct pointer for seekers of the Real and True. If you don't ask that question, then I must ask you, why not?

In any event . . . As Mr. Buddha said, it does have that "such-ness". That's for sure. Knock on wood. It sure enough looks real.

In the current historical such-ness the myth I see operating — and going unquestioned, seemingly — has to do with information. By the way, there's this fellow who is making some hay pitching an idea called Singularity. Apparently we're not too far off from a time when computers will be smarter than people. Post-human utopia.

It's arguable but not far from true that an underpinning of this notion is the myth based on the idea all's we need is more information, better information, faster information. When we have all the information of course, it has to be the right information — then everything will be perfect. Of course, just whose idea of what the right information may be, and what would constitute perfection . . . that's the sticky point, isn't it. I'm betting that it'll wind up being in the hands of a cadre of kids from Silicon Valley who are right now staying up late figuring out what you and I will want and need to such a granular level that they can tell us even how many swipes to clean up after going to the loo. 

If you don't know from algorithm, it's like this: For that exact swipe count, you have to factor age, weight, physical activity, lifestyle preferences, eating habits, meal times, paper type, time of day of the pooping, time on the commode, how big your butt is. Like that. Only many more factors. Combine all those data points, weighted by some pertinent averages based on accumulated data cross-referenced to validated observations (yes, they can see in the bowl, maybe even bowel) and combined through some black box technology, you get a formula called an algorithm. Just plug in your very own particulars and then follow the instructions from the voice on the screen. Or, the voice in your head. Read on, on that latter point. The one(s) who can come up with that stuff will rule the Brave New World. And, get the big bucks. 

Just recently those smart folks at Apple have introduced their Apple Watch. It's mid-September, and we can't get our hands on one until early 2015. Get in line. 

Time Magazine's current issue features commentary on the Apple Watch as its cover story. Like Marshall McLuhan said in his definitive Understanding Media, for every new technological extension of human ability something is added, and something is taken away. + Covenience. —  Control. Are you ready for Post-Human living? It's like, stop thinking, we'll do it for you. And, you'll pay us because you know we know best. 

My rant here is about how as our devices become ever more smarter and indispensable, our need for critical thinking is usurped. And, judgement. Yes, you read it right, more smarter. Dumb is the new Smart. Why think when that gizmo in your pocket, and now the one on your wrist will do it for you. The new Apple Watch can monitor your physical activity and suggest areas for added focus and improvement. It'll also suggest possible responses to messages. Hey, I'm too busy for even that. Why not an app to just do it all for me. 

This all happens, of course, in a culture which favors so called multi-tasking. I'll just go to it right out. If you are proud to be a multi-tasker, you're an asshole. Or, you will be soon. That is, someone who is unwilling, and perhaps unable, to give anything or anyone 100% of your attention. Remember: divided we fall. You are on notice. Don't be an asshole. Or, a schmuck.

The Time article closes with a suggestion that the next logical step from devices known as wearables would be implants. Yes, right up there nice and tight. Got that, asshole. And, by the time the marketplace gets conditioned to that possibility, we'll all be standing in line to be the first to take it right up the wazoo. Wazoo, or whatever other orifice is most convenient and cost effective.

Meantime . . . Hey, I need to make a buck too. 

Here's an App you can download for your device that comes as close to an electronic implant as I can conjure. Notice the "Cloud Now" function. That's for when the options escape you and you need support from a Higher Authority. If you are wondering where that Higher Authority is . . . Hint: Silicon Valley.


No comments: