Saturday, May 15, 2021
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Americans Minds Are Artificially Intelligent


I advocate the thesis which holds that the tendency
towards totalitarianism is part of the essence of the
machine, and originally proceeded from the realm of
technology; that the tendency, inherent to every machine as
such, to subjugate the world, to parasitically seize upon
the fragments that have not yet been subjugated, to merge
with other machines and to operate with them as pieces of a
single, total machine: I maintain that this tendency
represents the fundamental fact and that political
totalitarianism, as horrible as it is, only represents an
effect and variant of this fundamental technological fact.
While the spokesmen of the technologically advanced world
powers have been claiming for decades that they are engaged
in resistance against the principle of totalitarianism (in
the interest of the “free world”), their claims are
fraudulent or, in the best cases, are the effect of a lack
of intelligence, for the principle of totalitarianism is a
technical principle and, as such, is not fought—nor will
it ever be fought—by the “anti-totalitarians” From the
times of the dictatorship we know that, from the moment when
one considers that it is possible that one is under
surveillance, one feels and behaves differently than one did
before, that is, in a more conformist way, when not in an
absolutely conformist way. The unverifiable possibility of
being under surveillance has a decisive capacity for
molding: it molds the entire population.

Gunther Anders, The
Obsolescence of Man
, Volume
II.

The acceleration of innovation,
made possible by an exponential increase in calculating
power, led straight to a hyper-technological Ancien Regime
where the positions to be occupied in the hierarchy of jobs,
incomes, assets, education, living spaces, etc., depend on
birth exactly as they did before the French Revolution.
Thus, from the transhumanism of Silicon Valley there emerges
not a post-human self but a very familiar figure, the
aristocrat, having become cyber and with a head, cut off in
1789, that has grown back. Confidence in technology as a
means of creating more liberty, more democracy, and less
enslavement is belied once more by the truly deplorable
actual results of this reproduction of power
relations
.” Maurizio Lazzarato, Capital
Hates Everyone

Artificial
Intelligence: Adults

It is tempting to
think that free-will exists. Unfortunately, it does not,
particularly in America (tip of the hat to Baruch Spinoza
writing in his Ethics). Taste in music (rap, rock, pop,
etc.), fashion and food; political orientation whether left,
right or center; what sports team to support, or vehicle to
drive, or television series to watch is all supplied by
media/corporations to American brains that are as malleable
as silly putty. The mind easily succumbs to the totalitarian
machinations of the American domestic/global capitalist
network as its marketers, advertisers, and
politicians/ideologues pound content into the brain via
television news, hand-held computers/telephones, the world
wide web, social media, and legacy media. Alberto J. L. Carrillo
Canan
believes that “the dominant technological
forms determine the way we conceive reality, human life and
mind
.”

How does one account for a meaningful
life in American society? What would be contained in a
meaningful life’s ledger? How do you determine if you are
free and not programmed? Two days of administered freedom at
the end of the workweek? A new car? A two-week vacation at
the beach? A mammoth flat screen television? A new iPhone? A
new season of a television series on Netflix? A college
degree? A mortgage on the house? A yearly bonus for
productivity? The ability to vote for only two candidates
for the President of the United States? An opinion you
really believe is yours?

All these “things” are
supplied to you and all courtesy of the bio-capitalist,
totalitarian machine. No one can escape it. Young or old,
the American mind is captive to the totalitarian
technological order. Ideas, products, news, and opinions are
supplied, recycled/rehashed and delivered. But what about
the spontaneous protests and demands of, say, Black Lives
Matter (BLM), you ask? Notice how quickly BLM’s agenda was
absorbed by the entire totalitarian capitalist enterprise
who made easy money available via donations to BLM
activists, advertised their cause, and promised to hire more
Blacks. BLM is now a fading blip on the American capitalist
radar shot down by the capitalist totalitarian system.
Indeed, BLM
has cashed in
. The same story/process is repeated over
and over again no matter the issue or the protest or the
time.

Not Your Opinion, Your Meaningless
Life

It does not matter whether
someone who is expressing himself thinks that his expression
is his own bona fide expression, or even if he asks himself
‘is this my opinion or not?’, or even if he does not
even understand the question; in any case, what is not
permitted is that what he expresses should be his own
opinion; it must always be a supplied opinion. Even when it
seems to be advisable to allow variations, they must be
predictable variations on the pre-established theme…Most
of those who lead meaningless lives are not even conscious
of their misfortune. By way of the life that is imposed upon
them they are prevented from perceiving its lack of meaning.
That is why they cannot do anything to counteract this lack
of meaning, either. Or, more precisely: even what they do to
counteract it is something that is done to them, that is,
something that is supplied to them,
” claims
Anders.

According to Lazaratto, Google, Amazon,
Facebook, Apple and Microsoft (plus consolidated
media
) are the masters guiding the behaviors of the
governed. “By constantly soliciting one’s
attention—giving rise to an activity as absurd as
compulsively consulting one’s smartphone…they tirelessly
fabricate and information designed to affect subjectivities
circulating through billions of telephones, televisions,
computers, tablets, whose connections envelop the planet in
a thicker and thicker net.”

It is not just the
corporations though. Republicans, Democrats, the US
Military, interest groups, and lobbyists (collectively, the
neoliberal order) all get their products/messages on the
airwaves and into the minds of the American human herd. The
“masters” would likely be happier automating/digitizing
American citizens/slaves.

Glutaraldehyde
Fixation: Duh, What?

The digital
dissection of the human being, individually and
collectively, is proceeding apace. Uploading “the human”
is no longer the stuff of science fiction. In a few
generations, a parent may say to a child, “Hey, let’s
upload great grandpa and see/hear what he has to say.” Why
not pull the brain out of a dead body, preserve it in a
special solution, and then mine it for memories that can be
turned into 0’s and 1’s.

Macabre, you likely say,
but the research is underway and funded. Ah, the beauty of
capitalism. Consider the enterprising company Nectome.
They are in the business of preserving the brains of the
dead in hopes of digitally retrieving long term
memories.

According to MIT Technology Review,
Nectome has received substantial support for its
technology, however. It has raised $1 million in funding so
far, including the $120,000 that Y Combinator provides to
all the companies it accepts. It has also won a $960,000
federal grant from the U.S. National Institute of Mental
Health for “whole-brain nanoscale preservation and
imaging,” the text of which foresees a “commercial
opportunity in offering brain preservation” for purposes
including drug research
.”

Tracking digital
footprints
and then converting them into behavioral
models able to predict the next set of keystrokes, online
and offline habits/geolocations, and spending preferences
are well known practices undertaken by companies like
Alphabet-Google. For example, today’s software programs
learn what words an individual uses to compose letters,
articles, emails and once enough verbiage has been collated
by the machine, a human writer can cut out the thought
process used to seek out an adjective, a noun or verb. Just
one more human function taken away from the brain and
absorbed by the software in the machine.

In some not
to distant future, the human mind/person will be
digitized and exist in a
bio-machine.

Artificial Intelligence:
Youngsters

What kind of adults are being
created by the totalitarian technological education system?
I used to believe that an innovative education based on
critical thinking and systems analysis, beginning from about
4th grade level through high school, might provide a check
on the monstrous technology/system that is dominating every
facet of life.

But having experience education as a
teacher in both public and private settings, I have stopped
believing that youngsters are going to be anything more than
unconscious routers, servers, or surveillance sensors for
the totalitarian machine. They will be more conformist than
their parents or the adults that are nominally in charge of
the United States.

The teachers/system set a pace that
is relentless which means there is no time for a pause or a
gaze into thoughtfulness/thinking. It is not learning but
programming that the students are subjected to.

I
asked an 8th grader recently what he would change about
school if he could. “I would not teach boring,” he
responded. “All the students I know don’t like school
because it is so boring. Teachers need to change. We are not
learning anything,” he said in frustration. Add to this
the crazy reality that the World Wide Web is barely used by
teachers for science, math, politics, history, or geography.
It is largely a cut and paste enterprise with teachers
selecting documents from the Web, printing them out in paper
form, and distributing them to their classes.

The
public and private schools I have been in (K-12) are a
dizzying mish-mash of things and frenetic human activity:
wires, electronic white boards; non-ergonomic 19th Century
desks and chairs (plastic and aluminum); Apple iPads;
robotic parts; Lego’s; classrooms adorned with cardboard
signs with annoying cliches (You’re Special or The Future
Starts Here); laptops; boxes of crayons and pencils; decade
old paper files in equally old file cabinets; hallway
banners proclaiming “Award Winning School, 2020”; half
empty classrooms due to the COVID19 Pandemic; virtual
students on Microsoft Teams at home who log in and leave the
class, never responding to a teacher’s question; layers of
management (assistant principals); constant teacher
meetings/professional development courses; waves of
substitute teachers; and curriculum focused solely on
achieving high scores on a State’s Standards of
Learning.

Many of the software programs used for
learning, particularly in grades K-8, are equivalent to an
arcade game or pinball machine: carnival music accompanies
the student through, say, a science lesson. Answer correctly
and the sound of a bell or whistle can be heard. Answer a
question wrong and later a “power up” function gives you
a chance to correct your mistake and add points. There are
also competitive learning games that students participate
in. Cartoonish software programs like Kahoot, Nearpod,
Gizmo, Quizizz, Brain Pop all amp up the level of excitement
to create an experience similar to a popular video
game.

I was substituting in an 8th grade science class
recently where the subject being taught was weather. I asked
the students if the teacher was using the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA.GOV) website to help
them learn about the subject. They looked at me like I was
an alien creature. “What’s that,” one student
responded. I explained but to no avail as I had to get to
the instructions left by the teacher that I was to
follow.

Red Guards

I was
substitute teaching in a classroom full of 8th graders
(12-13 years old, I am 65) not long ago. I was talking about
something or other and inadvertently pulled my mask down
below my lips for a few moments exposing my face. It was an
error in judgement, a mistake for which I had no excuse (I
am fully vaccinated for COVID19 and was 6 feet away from the
nearest student). When I was finished speaking to the class,
I pulled my mask back up and thought nothing of
it.

Turns out that I was surreptitiously being
recorded by a student who turned the video over to an
assistant principal. I was nearly released for the mistake
but the assistant principal that first received the video
argued on my behalf to the principal and I was kept on
staff. My punishment was to write a memo for record/file
explaining what I had done. The next step was to apologize
to the 8th graders in person.

I thought immediately of
Mao’s
Red Guards
: “The first Red Guards groups were made
up of students, ranging from as young as elementary school
children up to university students…The Red Guards also
publicly humiliated teachers, monks, former landowners or
anyone else suspected of being
“counter-revolutionary
.”

What happened to, “Hey,
Mr. Stanton, you need to put your mask back up.”

Not
long ago, I was in a class with a new substitute teacher,
fresh out of college. He politely asked the class of 6th
graders what time the class ended. What he got was this from
a student, “You are the substitute, you should
know.

John Stanton can be reached at
jstantonarchangel@gmail.com

© Scoop Media

 



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