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Blinded by the Next Great Thing

I must be missing a chip in my brain or something.

Blinded by the Next Great Thing

Why have I never been blown away by the advances in technology that attempt to replace humans? I mean, I am fascinated by the next great robot vacuum cleaner, or a car that will pick you up after you’ve had your fine cricket dinner at the Four Seasons, but my fascination dissipates quickly.

Cell phones, computers, and crap like that are interesting….but when I hear about AI art, robots, or synthesized orchestras, my blood runs cold.

This seems to have always been true for me, even back in 1961 when the IBM 7094 sang “Daisy” in its eerie electronic voice, I wasn’t too pleased—and I was six years old! (Although I didn’t read about it until I was about 11.)

I felt this sort of sting personally when I witnessed the takeover of robot-music-making-machines in the ‘80s and ‘90s in Hollywood. This appropriation caused a lot of lost jobs, but more importantly (to me) it was the beginning of the loss of soul in film music (my then profession). Sure, there are times where an electronic score is appropriate, but what I am talking about is replacing a symphonic score with an artificially produced sampled score. (Ironically, the desire for full orchestral scores played by living human musicians is still quite strong in Hollywood big budget A list movies, but much of television and cable has gone the cyborg route.)

Going back to a more practical perspective, people have this strange love affair for technology and will literally embrace the very thing that eventually takes away their livelihood, or ultimately turns them into cyborgs. (Read Kurt Vonnegut’s wonderful book Player Piano for a fun romp in dystopia.) We, as a culture, also seem to believe that technology will eventually save us from all suffering, hard work, and even death.

Hey folks, I’ve got news for you, if technology hasn’t relieved us from the suffering of cancer, there is something whacked going on here as the mechanism of cancer doesn’t seem as complicated as the mechanism of an mRNA vaccine. At worse, there is something sinister about what technology is “allowed” to do for us, and what is strictly verboten.

Why do we keep doing this? Why are humans so enamored with all this highfalutin gadgetry and gimmicks? I think it is in our nature. We are compelled to make things happen in the most efficient and effective manner. Call it lazy, as humans do not want to expend one speck more energy than they have to. They would succumb to a life of laying in bed all day while all the robots and machines did everything for them if given the option. It is only in play that humans want to exert effort. And work isn’t play. Still, even in play we tend to look toward technology to relieve us from too much physical effort and inconvenience. Look at video gaming and virtual reality technology. Even art is something we would rather have a machine do (unless you are an artist.)

And I know we have gotten to a point where we expect medicine to eventually spare us of all pain and suffering, and even death. No one seems to want to live life as God intended—to eventually succumb to the nature of our physical bodies, which does have a certain predetermined shelf life.

Ironically, living as a human as “God intended” when we were first put on this planet was of a rather short duration but probably not as difficult as it is now. Most diseases we acquired through animals due to our rather “unnatural” way of cultivating them as food sources. We may have had a higher likelihood of being brutally devoured by wild beasts, but that was probably not only quick and relatively painless, but somewhat infrequent. In the ensuing years we humans made this world insanely toxic and put ourselves in serious harm’s way.

But forget God, as most people seem to be doing. At the very least, forget God’s intentions. We want to “be God” ourselves, and harness all the power that we once were fine to allow God to have for Himself. Sure, even with God at the helm we will suffer, we will grieve over our parent’s death, our friends and partner’s deaths, suffer strange natural ailments like poison ivy and army ant ravages. Natural disasters would still break our idyllic existence. And when our time comes, we will die.

Screw that. We want to live forever…or at least our masters do. We want poison ivy eliminated, and we want to conquer those army ants.

I guess if things go as planned, most of us will not be able to afford the magic techno-chip or nano particle that will keep us alive forever. And we can’t rent the thing, unless of course we are slaves and pay our monthly rental charge with our sweat, blood, and tears.

So, the more excited we get about technology, the more likely we are ushering in our own demise. Really? Isn’t that what the movie Terminator is all about? We have seen this for years with regard to electronics replacing jobs. Now we will see it in other ways that are more foreboding.

As fun as advances in technology are to most people, the less excited we get about it the better off we probably will be. Advanced technology with many things really isn’t that threatening, but it is difficult to find anything these days where such a progression is entirely benign. Maybe a fancy TV or fancy refrigerator has no evil attribute to it, but an advancement in, say, phone technology just makes it that much easier to get obsessed with the phone. The easiest solution to all of this is to be conscious, and regulate, and engage ourselves in the things that technology has lured us away from, like communing with nature, family, and friends.

As far as medicine is concerned, just be aware of what you might be “selling out” to. Be aware of the dangers of things like digital ID implants and what their downside might be, of vaccines and what their downside might be, etc. Be aware of medical advancement’s side effects, if any, and whether a procedure is really worth doing. It is unfortunate that the most invasive results of technological advancements really are not something that the average person will wish to resolve. The only resolution is just to not engage in it at all.

Most people don’t want to return to the Stone Age with regard to medicine, and I certainly would be one of them. So regarding medical technology, we are pretty stuck. I know there are some people who have already given up on modern medicine, so it certainly is possible.

So good luck out there, and in the words of Scarlett O’Hara of Gone With the Wind, “After all, tomorrow is another day.” Maybe then we’ll figure something out.


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