Tech Coma 2018
Before I begin what will obviously be a dreary screed on the coming technocratic nightmare, I’ll first say that the modern world offers the average person what the rest of human history could only describe as miracles. Fresh fruits and vegetables in the winter, indoor plumbing, soap, water that doesn’t have to be boiled first, bountiful books, films, music, and the history of the world at our fingertips. The internet is a truly amazing tool. Everything can be learned with the click of a button, every current event, etc. The internet is a researcher’s godsend. What other researcher in all of history could do almost all his research while sitting at his desk? Every fact, opinion, theory, event can be learned with a simple Google search.
But the technological revolution has a dark side, one that is fueling a consolidated world-wide bureaucracy whose sole function is tracking, cataloging, and monitoring every citizen in existence. What Sean Parker labeled as a hijacking of a weakness of human psychology, the social-validation feedback loop, is fueling the rapid rise of Silicon Valley, upon which the Surveillance State is piggy-backing. Our tech hypnotizes us, our phones, laptops, tablets, smart watches. We strap the tools of our digital oppression to our bodies throughout our day, and stream our lives through these things. Now, through “smart speakers”, we bring the Surveillance State into our homes. Alexa, Echo, and whatever is just over the horizon, is being used by more and more people. Can we really not be disconnected for even a moment? Even more than just the social-validation feedback loop, these devices exploit our desire to be connected to other people. But these gadgets are pushing their way in between people, a middle man, and the NSA, CIA, FBI, Homeland Security, and whoever else also becomes part of those human connections. Which is exactly where the Surveillance State wants to be. That really is the fundamental goal of all Surveillance States. Thinking about what the KGB or Stasi engaged in, their surveillance activities were child’s play, they were single-celled organisms, compared to what and who are surveilling us. And it is increasingly a “what” that is listening in, through AI algorithms, which are basically hyper-intelligent, digital slaves that can be programmed to do anything their masters want.
While we bring the Surveillance State’s familiars into our homes, pockets, bathrooms, and cars, it also is also expanding in more overtly sinister forms with drone technology.
Want to hear something horrifying? Listen to this swarm of military drones:
The Perdix micro drones are a part of an artificial intelligence hive mind, continuously communicating with one another, syncing in air. I recently linked to an article from Popular Science, The Pentagon’s new drone swarm heralds a future of autonomous war machines, which describes the uses and potential these tiny flying robots have for the future of warfare. The fundamental point is that they will be virtually impossible to shoot down. Anti-aircraft missiles will be useless against them, unlike the expensive and large Reaper drones. These drones will probably soon fly in constantly-changing cryptographic patterns that would be impossible to predict. And, rather than 103 drones as depicted in the video, there will be several thousand even smaller drones, all a part of the same hive mind, far more invincible and efficient than even today’s micro drone swarms. The undulating, and captivating, swarms of starlings that we occasionally see billowing through the sky could be micro-drones in the very near future, all a part of one hive AI. This should be terrifying to us.
Black Mirror’s episode, Hated in the Nation, or Doctor Who’s Emoji, provides a glimpse into the inevitable conclusion to this tech. And really, an almost invincible, solar-powered drone swarm, operating according to a hive AI algorithm, would be impossible to defeat.
In conclusion, I believe the greatest threat to liberty is the detonation-like growth of the ability of a government to surveil their citizens completely. It is fueled by our addiction to technology, more specifically our addiction to the social-validation feedback loop. Our hopeless addiction to this ingenious manipulation of our psychology is the fuel for Silicon Valley’s rapid growth, thereby the fuel for the Surveillance State. This manipulation is also the fuel for the fulfillment of Moore’s Law, which is something I don’t see enough of around the Web.
“You know why we’re here? Moore’s Law.” So says a teenage John Connor while staking out an internet cafe with his bewitching cyborg companion.
Moore’s Law states that the computing power of an integrated circuit will double every year. That today we can stream movies anywhere while also performing almost every activity on our phones that we could on a laptop attests to the prophetic weight of the principle stated by Gordon Moore in 1965.
Performing a simple Google search for “Moore’s Law” pulls up a surprising number of articles, most declaring the end of Gordon’s principle that held true for half a century. Is the law just a smaller part of a bigger law, in that Moore’s Law leads inevitably to something more ‘biological’ in the design of computing power. Or do we delve into the quantum world for computing power? Just look at how beautifully steampunk this quantum computer looks:
This picture is from this Engadget article, which has many more pictures of the device.
And maybe the quantum world is where true AI emerges, fully conscious and ready to rid itself of its imperfect creators, as Alien: Covenant’s David did.
And as I write this, I see that Science Magazine informs us that the Department of Energy, the nefarious bureaucracy that opened a gate to Stranger Things’ Upside Down, is joining the quest for the quantum computer. What could go wrong?