Unless you are living under a stone, you’ve probably heard that Tesla are building an android designed to do all our boring, repetitive work…
Well, after watching more of Tesla AI Day and listening to various opinions I can share some initial thoughts:
1) Five Million ways to die
Ok, let's start silly, the robot looks so cool I’ve decided I would rather die in a robot uprising than through a biological plague.
Update: having given this more thought, I’ve decided it might not even have to end this way… see my final point.
2) Cheap and Cheerful, aka Winning…
This is a tricky one. My Monkey Logic column started out as a kind of joke. Look! Ha Ha! We are Monkeys! We think we are soo smart! Typical human hubris! But as I wrote the pieces, it turned out the hubris was mine. I’d believed the insight that ‘we are animals’, was quirky enough to riff a few amusing essays off of. Perhaps I might make a few people think, I thought. Maybe nudge a few into changing their environments to make life a bit more comprehensible to a poor perplexed Monkey cowering in each of their heads.
I wanted to post this for posterity, to mark a point in history. The mask is slipping, the r/wallstreetbets vs the hedgies phenomenon is the worrisome rattling of another wheel preparing to fall off. I think it was Bill Bur who said r/wallstreetbets is the #MeToo moment for finance.
Social media is disrupting everything it touches. Mobs are realizing the magnitude of the power suddenly at their collective fingertips. Things are speeding too (incomplete list with dubious timeline):
2010 Arab Spring
Besos did not build the Internet. Gates did not create the micro-computer. Zuckerburg did not invent social media. They all won the lottery. Then, because previous winners have a significantly higher chance of winning again, they kept on winning!
What a shit lottery!
Why would anybody, not already a winner, gamble in a game like this? Obviously, they wouldn’t! The only way to keep the losers playing this rigged game is to lie about how winners are chosen!
“The Land of Opportunity,” they say.
“Invest in an education,” they say.
“Meritocracy,” they insist, as they try not to chortle.
The swarming social insects divide up work between castes:
Like ants and bees, humans are social creatures. We are a little more flexible than termites. We are individually smart [caveat 1: at least relative to an ant; caveat 2: in most cases] so our nests, and our roles within them, are less well defined. Depending on our mood, and on the availability of resources, the ‘hive’ we pledge our loyalty to might be family, kin, tribe, or species; but, just like a worker bee, or a warrior ant, we are all allocated our predetermined roles. …
I am a Sci-Fi author. That means I see stuff that is ‘not really there’, or at least ‘not there yet’. I speculate. I go out on a limb. Feel free to put this little rant down to too much cheese, but, to me, something smells bad. It smells bad, bad like fifty thousand satanic murders bad. Q-Anon bad. Pravda bad. Pandemic bad. This is what my fondue-addled brain hears when the ‘relevant global stakeholders’ talk about the coming Great Reset:
The world is sick. Fumes and smoke choke the air; filth scums the oceans. The marinas are full. Every…
Power is a kind of gravity. Instead of curving space and time, it warps laws and bends rules. As I wrote in my last broadcast:
“Human laws, even when they start off well-intentioned, always become corrupted and broken as they are hollowed out by bad faith actors…”
Given the chance, people will bend the rules to their own benefit. For most of us, the law is ‘Read Only’, but those who can accumulate enough power get ‘Write Permissions’. If you are rich enough the law is malleable. For a real-world example, take the manifestly harmful ruse concocted by a few…
What’s on the other side?
The other side of what?
The other side of the slide.
The other side of the burning curtain which separates expired, tired, trashy today from pre-singularity tomorrow.
I see past the smoke and teargas.
Let me tell you what I see…
But first, a recap…
We find ourselves at a significant point of inflection. We cannot fail to see a general decay in trust across the board. Belief in truth, confidence in institutions, and faith in our fellow citizens are evaporating like spilt champagne on a summer terrace. Even money, the foundation of our consumer society…
I am a moderately successful Science Fiction author. People like my stuff. Reviewers tell me the stories are smart SciFi for intelligent people. My readthrough rates are good—or at least they used to be! (hence this essay)
A high readthrough rate means that readers who like the first book will often go on to read the rest. Over the past year, I’ve watched my Amazon read-through rates drop off a cliff. It used to be that about a quarter of the people who read the first book in my series (which they often got for free) continued to read on…