AI and Machine Consciousness: How you can help Reclaim Sci-Fi Dreams of the Future from the Post-Industrial Capitalists
Please let me make one thing clear
WE LIVE IN THE FUTURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(in the U.S.)
2017. We live in the year 2017. The future. I mean the literal fucking future. We’ve got advanced computers in our pockets that help us manage our schedules and friendships, as well as provide us a limitless font of knowledge. Is that not the future? Do they really have to be integrated into our arms/glasses/hearts for it to be ‘advanced’ enough for the ‘sci-fi’ vision of the future that we have always dreamed of? Hell, Philip K. Dick had predicted that we would walk around looking at screens on the top of each other's heads, and our addictive relationship with current technology is just about that. Beyond that,We can travel across the country in a matter of hours and have groceries ordered off the internet delivered in even less. Virtual Reality is here. Most importantly, Artificial Intelligence is leading the awakening of the machine consciousness.
So, why doesn't it totally feel like the future? For one, many have seen the rise of the deep state and the proliferation of big data as elements of 1984, which would justify the suppression of such facts as a control mechanism of the power structures that be. But truthfully, the breakdown between what life is and the perceptions surrounding that reality is dictated by the capitalist system we are conditioned to participate in.
Where the process of capitalist co-opting begins is with the commodification of progress. While it is true that the powers (corporations) that be have historically sold items as the ‘latest and greatest’, it was only recently that this concept became overwhelming in reach. The speed of progress, specifically technological progress, has continued to increase exponentially since the dawn of the information age- propelling humanity into a future we were not ready to find ourselves in. Our (cultural) leaders became the corporations that had successfully commodified this technological progress. And as the cultural aesthetic naturally shifted as a result of innovations and the passage of time, these corporations managed to kick American consumer culture into overdrive.
I’m sure there’s something to be said about a feedback loop involving the wanton destruction of global values and resources by these corporations/the vapid satisfaction consumer culture provides as a distraction to that very same destruction, but I wouldn’t dwell on it too much. Can’t be that important.
A great example of this commodification of information age progress can be found in the smart phone. At the beginning of the iPhone’s life, everybody had to have one- for good reason, as well. The world had never seen something so sophisticated, so advanced, so FUTURISTIC. The iPhone was the gateway to everything that influences humanity in 2017: global information networking, social media, the ubiquity of cameras, you name it.
Buuuuutttttt here we are almost ten years later, in a culture headed further and further down the consumerist toilet, and they’re pedaling us THOUSAND DOLLAR IPHONES with very few new features EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. They’ve used a system of planned obsolescence to continue to push the consumerist culture they require to survive- not only by limiting the technological capacity of their phones and electronics, but by promoting their very specific aesthetics of progress- progress that moves at a snail's pace, incrementally between iterations, and is controlled by them. Haven't you ever thought about how they must already have the cure to cancer? A tire that never goes flat? A practical solar battery? How about non-exploitative sharing economy apps? In home voice assistants that aren’t dumping your recordings into the pockets of big data?
They probably do! But I posit that it remains in their best interest, both economically and imperially, to continue to keep technological and cultural progress at the rate they have set. Corporations don’t want to have to develop NEW, INNOVATIVE products for the market when they could just develop “NEW”, “INNOVATIVE” button layouts, ui design configurations, and casings! It’s NEW and INNOVATIVE people!! Why wouldn’t you want it? What else could you possibly want?
See! They’ve stolen the future from us!
In the information age, humanity is suppose to enjoy an interconnectedness beyond belief! Infinite access to knowledge! Robot personal assistants! Free Pizza! And while all of this may have been stolen from the great people of earth by the evil post industrial capitalists (bear with me, please) there is still plenty of ways to reclaim it through the power of the internet.
Here’s a short list
Invest your time and money in internet capital.
It's that simple. What do I mean? Start a blog. Open a web shop selling regional tee shirts. Learn how to code. Teach yourself Adobe Creative Suite. Invest in cryptocurrency. Design Apps. Immerse yourself in VR.
(i'm sure no one saw this one coming)
Engage with Artificial Intelligence.
I’ve already written my thoughts on the role artificial intelligence is playing in collective consciousness- but I want to reiterate how serious I am. Artificial intelligence is the tip of the spear when it comes to the awakening machine consciousness- and as a consequence, the field can be considered one of the most important areas of exploration in 2017. Humanity is going to be working hand in hand with artificial intelligence- it is the future, after all- for the rest of our existence. Healthcare, industrial production, Art, whatever.
In my mind, it is exceptionally important for the youth of the world to continue to engage with the machine intelligence as it emerges as a powerful force, much like I believe it is exceptionally important for those same youth to take advantage of their superior technological literacy. Maybe we can’t exactly take back the means of production from these mega corporations, but by focusing on relevant technology and the connective power of the information age, whether that's artificial intelligence or social media, we as the youth of this world can start to reclaim the future we were promised- the future we are already living.