Robots, AI, and Totalitarian Superfluousness

Many people are perplexed by the drive towards firing workers and replacing them with machines. They ask "who will buy the products?". But, when looked at from a neoliberal/ totalitarian ideological viewpoint, robots are the "final solution" to the ruling class's problem: "who will be our servants after we kill all the grasping, uppity peasants"? Using robots to do that would be even more efficient than what Jay Gould, the crooked Robber Baron, proposed:

I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.

Has no one noticed the warnings of scientists and ethicists against creating machines that can autonomously kill humans? Has everyone lost the memory of Skynet in the Terminator movies? Does the human race have a death wish? Just asking.

Americans used to pride themselves on their critical thinking and debating skills, on the right of genuine free speech. But that all has been undermined by electronic media, by the hypnosis of screen watching, the cocooning effect of one's social media bubble, the privatization of the public spaces necessary for community and society to prosper. Nobody has heard of Jurgen Habermas, but everyone knows about the Nike swoosh (while not caring about its sweatshopping business model).

How can one expect children to learn about democracy or to become socialized when civics classes have been eliminated in favor of teach-to-the-test? Meanwhile, the average kid spends hours playing violent videogames and watching violent TV shot through with neoliberal propaganda, i.e. advertising. Advertising, no matter how anti-social, is rarely criticized, so long as it is service of making a profit.

The strong emphasis of totalitarian propaganda on the "scientific" nature of its assertions has been compared to certain advertising techniques which also address themselves to the masses...But there is nothing more to the frequently overrated similarities...Businessmen usually do not pose as prophets and they do not constantly demonstrate the correctness of thier predictions.

- Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (OOT), p 345

They do pose as prophets these days. Prophets of the coming wonders of robots and AI.

Look at the shiny robot. Don't pay any attention to the most corrupt health care system on the planet, third world mortality rates, massive out-of-wedlock births to teenagers, a rotting infrastructure, crumblng schools, and on and on. Somehow robots and AI will fix all of this. Ignore identity theft and invasive profiling. Also, don't pay attention to how completely isolated individuals have become, dependent upon FAANG for their news, their shopping, their mail, their business. Don't notice how, even in groups, people just stare at their smartphones. Above all, don't listen to those worthless social scientists and other non-STEM bleeding heart liberals - we made sure they totally discredited themselves with the working class by their decades of support for divisive Identity Politics (IP).

Too bad we have thrown the baby of society out with the bathwater of IP. We do not recognize that we have dismantled civil society and replaced it by a toll-boothed, censored, surveiled similacrum run for profit by a handful of megacorps. A digital Pottersville. We have lost our common sense, or rather handed it over to easily manipulated social media platforms. In reality, being on the internet is not "social"; it is a solitary, lonely business. People have likened it to being in a jail cell with the screen as a window.

The internet kills socialization. It is full of lonely people with hundreds of Facebook "friends", most of whom are just playing networking games or self-promoting. The internet offers a phony replacement for the social structures that rampant corporatism and globalization have destroyed. To use Sheldon Wolin's term, neoliberalism is friendly Fascism. It treats people as objects, valued only for their economic worth. (They sell your clicks.) Hannah Arendt said all of this long ago:

Loneliness...is closely connected with uprootedness and superfluousness which have been the curse of the modern masses since the beginning of the industrial revolution...To be uproooted means to have no place in the world, recognized and guaranteed by others; to be superfluousness means not to belong to the world at all. Uprootedness can be the preliminary condition for superfluousness, just as isolation can be the preliminary condition for loneliness...

The experience of the materially and sensually given world depends upon my being in contact with other men, upon our common sense which regulates and controls all other senses and without which each of us would be enclosed in his own particularity of sense data which in themselves are unreliable and treacherous. Only because we have common sense, that is only because not one man, but men in plural inhabit the earth can we trust our immediate sensual experience.

HA, OOT, pp. 475-6

Today, with populations and homelessness everywhere on the increase, masses of people are continuously rendered superfluous if we continue to think of our world in utilitarian terms. Political, social, and economic events everywhere are in a silent conspiracy with totalitarian instruments devised for making men superfluous.

HA, OOT, p 459

I am always amazed that I can easily find OOT quotes that are still fresh and relevant today, seventy years after OOT was written. What immediately follows amazement is sadness, because we are repeating all the mistakes that led to the great crisis of the 1930s-40s, and doing it with much more powerful technical means of surveillance and propaganda. We truly have lost our common sense, which is why most of the frogs are cluelessly staying in the now-boiling pot.

The dots the frogs do not connect is that totalitarian governments always have enemies lists, and once complete power is achieved, those enemies are also found internally. The frogs are distracted because each potful is told that the frogs in the other pots are enemies; and isn't it great that TPTB are boiling your enemies?

The world faces problems of overpopulation and ever escalating plunder of non-renewable resources and ecosystems. Both of these problems are inherent in the neoliberal ideology of infinite growth on a finite planet. Neoliberalism blocks democratic solutions to those problems by destroying governments, societies, and communities who resist the suicidal commodification of all aspects of life. Poor people are thrown overboard if they get in the way of the next quarter's profits.

Instead of recognizing the impossibility of permanent growth (of the 0.1%'s bank accounts) the neoliberal ideology has decreed that austerity (for everyone but themselves) is needed. The MIC has decreed that we will blow up half the planet to enforce our neoliberal ideology on foreign societies, which we deem heretical if they will not follow our economic pracitices or accept being garrioned by our troops and being surveilled by outposts of the FBI, CIA, and NSA.

In Greece, neoliberalism entered the "final solution" stage. It decreed that an entire country would be looted and sold off. Its entire social structure would be vaporized; pensions denied, healthcare and education available only to those who could pay for such luxuries. The beauty of neoliberalism is that it creates an open air panopticon. It controls all monetary transactions; it monitors all computer and telephone communications. It proactively subverts political movements. It aims to kill its enemy: countries and societies. People who care and societies who care are nothing but parasites, moochers to them - gee, where have we seen that before?

The totalitarian attempt to make men superfluous reflects the experience of modern mases of their superfluity on an overcrowded earth...Within the framework of totalitarian ideology...if the inmates are vermin, it is logical that they should be killed by poison gas; if they are degenerate, they should not be allowed to contaminate the population; if they have "slave-like souls", no one should waste his time trying to reeducate them. Seen through the eyes of ideology, the trouble with the camps is that they make too much sense, that the execution of the doctrine is too consistent.

HA, OOT, p 457

Can anyone say "raghead"?

Only where great masses (of people) are superfluous or can be spared without disastrous results of depopulation is totalitarian rule...at all possible.

HA, OOT, p 311

These days, we have literally billions of superfluous people. Mostly in the Third World, but increasingly in the First World. The whole concept of "superfluousness" as a failure of society has been erased from our culture. Instead, America has been killing superfluous people for decades. Blowing up the Middle East because they are sitting on "our oil". In the ME, we have perfected the techniques of militarized policing, torture chamber jails, indiscriminate bombing and drone warfare. Just as the Nazis got some value out of their slave labor, the Empire of Chaos uses refugees from our wars to destabalize our next victim. We can also recruit some of them as terrorists - sort of like the capos and sondercommandos the Nazis recruited to do the dirty work in the KZs.

America is already a full blown totalitarian society in its overseas military bases that have metastacized to almost every country on the planet. It is already a full blown totalitarian society in our domestic ghettos, where policemen shoot people of color as casually and as consequence-free as a concentration camp guard would shoot an inmate.

The American public has been politically lobotomized (by social media, smartphones, reality TV, and massively available pornography) in preparation for the mass looting of what is left of the middle and working classes. The rollout of robotic vehicles, stores without clerks, and warehouses without workers will produce massive unemployment. In the absence of the already shredded social safety net, that unemployment will produce violence. That violence will justify the use of drones, robocops, and whatever other hitech slaughter has been produced in the MIC's laboratories and factories.

The robotic future is obvious to anyone paying attention. Most people are not paying attention.

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Comments

ggersh's picture

https://www.sciencealert.com/chilling-drone-video-shows-a-disturbing-vis...

In the Slaughterbots short, which we've embedded below, swarms of AI-controlled drones carry out strikes on thousands of unprepared victims with targeted precision. What makes the clip so scary is that the scenario is entirely plausible.

The video starts with a spectacular press event where the technology is unveiled for the first time. The miniature drones are able to take out "the bad guys" – whoever they happen to be – without any collateral damage, nuclear weapons, or troops on the ground.

All the drone bots need is a profile: age, sex, fitness, uniform, and ethnicity.

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“Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. Yet those who DO study history are doomed to stand by helplessly while everyone else repeats it.” Unknown.

@ggersh out here. Scary shit, and it does seem very plausible. That "presentation" seemed very real to me.

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ggersh's picture

@lizzyh7 is the lead on a bunch of this killer shit.
What one has to more than assume, if we are so
are China, Russia, Israel, etc.etc.etc.

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8 users have voted.

“Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. Yet those who DO study history are doomed to stand by helplessly while everyone else repeats it.” Unknown.

@ggersh

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eyo's picture

@arendt the complete URL: https://sciencealert.com/chilling-drone-video-shows-a-disturbing-vision-of-an-ai-controlled-future

This Horrifying 'Slaughterbot' Video Is The Best Warning Against Autonomous Weapons

We feel sick after watching that.

I didn't watch it, too busy looking up my old bookmark to the New Hampshire BioFab Lab. mmmf
DoD Opens Biofabrication Hub in New Hampshire

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon has announced plans to open a manufacturing institute focused on the creation of human tissue biofabrication, which will be the seventh defense-related manufacturing center under the Obama administration's Manufacturing USA program.

The Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI) will be based in Manchester, New Hampshire, with the mission to "organize the current fragmented domestic capabilities in tissue biofabrication technology and better position the U.S. relative to global competition," according to an announcement from the Pentagon.

Frank Kendall, the Pentagon's top acquisition official who was on hand at a White House event to announce the decision to award ARMI with government funding, called keeping America's manufacturing edge ""fundamentally important to our national security."

thanks again bloody obama

Human Tissue 2020
MAGA

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On a blog.

@eyo

What with SFX, its getting harder to tell scifi from reality - and that's a real problem. If people can't appreciate the reality of how dangerous this stuff is, we are on the way to extinction.

Every war in the modern era got the green light because the agressor was convinced he had a technical advantage. In the Franco Prussian War, the French were excited about a jumped-up Gatling gun called a Mitrailleuse. They were slaughtered by Prussian Krupp artillery. And so on, down to today with our smart bombs and drones.

Everyone is working on robots and AI. Its a zero sum game. These toys are like chemical weapons - they should be outlawed by treaty.

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15 users have voted.

@arendt Unfortunately the USA no longer recognizes Treaties, or Conventions.
The use of DU/ Depleted Uranium as shells in the Iraq occupation has left "low level" radiation sweeping across the desert, causing massive birth defects regionwide. It goes directly against Geneva Convention, to leave the detritus of warfare on the battlefield.

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@BORG_US_BORG

This country is truly an outlaw. We didn't sign the land mine treaty. We refused to participate in the International Criminal Court. I'm not sure if we signed the cluster bomb treaty. And, as you say, even if we signed a treaty, we don't obey.

Yet 90% of the population doesn't get how evil the people running this shitshow are. They don't get what a lying bastard Obama was. They can't even connect the dots about Hillary, the Cackler, even after seeing that clip twenty times. If the earlier, un-soldout version of Howard Dean got disgraced by the Dean Scream, Hillary should have been demolished by "we came...he died (cackle). The fact that Hillbots still don't get it tells you just how brainwashed the population is.

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ggersh's picture

@arendt @arendt Some scary shit
From:Between the Lines: Separate but Equal ggersh Mon, 11/27/2017 - 11:58am 8 2 Mon, 11/27/2017 - 03:40pm

BTW:Excellent essay!

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“Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. Yet those who DO study history are doomed to stand by helplessly while everyone else repeats it.” Unknown.

terrifying. I want to send this on to friends but sometimes I do try to spare the ones who have kids. At least a little. I've warned both of them about Chris Hedges, while I love his writing he gets fully down and dirty, I'm always more anxious after reading him.

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Big Al's picture

@lizzyh7 "Better to be anxious than to starve to death".

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@Big Al I've already copied it into an email. They are seeing it now big time with this latest tax scam, at least one is, and it is scary as hell for them and me. But I do usually err on the side of sending, they don't read all the shit I send, I know that, but some of it gets through.

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@lizzyh7

Send too much and they shut you down.
Send too little and they stay in their corporate bubble.

As you say, maybe this naked thievery presented as Tax "reform" will wake them up.

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@arendt are single parents. Neither have money and one of them is disabled from a stroke at 40, a hemangioblastoma, rare and congenital. The other has a son whose basically been diagnosed as a psychopath. He's 9 now, but soon she will not be able to control him. I worry for both of them. I of course spout off fully when talking but that doesn't always hit as hard. And it's hard to take away ALL illusions with them, you know?

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@lizzyh7

Got a health problem? Medicate it, or put em in a wheelchair, an oxygen tent. Warehouse them until they die, or until the money runs out.

Got a mental health problem. Medicate it, or let them become a street person or the next CEO of Goldman Sachs. We don't do that touchy-feely mental health stuff. If pills can't fix it, we don't care. There's no profit in it.

The society has lost any guidelines for how to appropriately and compassionately deal with severe and chronic health conditions. Not surprising when all that matters is next quarter's financial numbers. Now that the money is being stolen from Medicare, you will see more and more medical problems sucking the life out of this country's professional and private/personal caregivers.

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Alligator Ed's picture

Thank you for this eloquently stated essay. Since Thomas Malthus, at least, the concept of overpopulation has been a feature in intellectual thought. The issue of robotization (i.e. replacement of fallible, disposable humans in place of infallible but also replaceable machines) intrinsically demands the concept of eugenics. It also calls into question the "greater good". The greater for whom? The so-called 2030 population trimming (death by "benign" neglect) is well apace. As mentioned, it will have the kinks and glitches worked out in Africa, then parts of Asia, followed by the ME. By that time, we shall be ready for our own spot in the crematorium--or Soylent Green anyone? How many people are necessary? Necessary for what? Necessary to whom? Necessary for what purpose?

I despair when I see peoples' faces stuck into some communication device while at public or family functions, thereby voluntarily escaping true socializing influences, e.g., meaningful interpersonal relations with other living people. It is somewhat amusing that social Darwinism is now so prevalent with, for example, the numbers of pedestrians killed while crossing a street, with their eyes on a screen, failing to observe imminent danger (traffic).

Taking this to the logical (even if seldom recognized) extreme, one has to ask "when does one's utility to society cease? And are they then expendable?" What is the determinant of worth? Who decides? God? (which one?) Social engineering? The needs of the rich? Does society exist because man is putatively social? Or does society exist to sate the wealthy? Will the millionaires be safe once the billionaires have killed off everyone below their status?

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Big Al's picture

is completely lacking in addressing them. The best our politicians can do is fight amongst themselves over what part of the ruling class gets their way.
Remember it was just yesterday when Syriza was going to save the world? Until the superfluous people stand up to govern themselves instead of being ruled by the rich, we're all going downhill fast.

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@Big Al

The best our politicians can do is fight amongst themselves over what part of the ruling class gets their way.

To TPTB, that's a feature not a bug. They don't fight when its time to rip off the 99%. They just add everyone's ornament to the Xmas tree and send the bill to us.

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Pariah Dog's picture

@Big Al

From the first time a European set foot on this continent. It wasn't the quest for religious freedom that brought the "Pilgrims" here. It was merchant investors looking for people to exploit the resources they felt the continent had - or die trying.

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Meddle not in the affairs of Dragons - For thou art crunchy and good with ketchup

TheOtherMaven's picture

@Pariah Dog
and exactly what Jamestown was intended to achieve: to wring profit out of this new land for the enrichment of themselves and their sponsors back home.

It took them a while to figure out how to do it, and the suffering in the meantime was incalculable. But they had it worked out by the time the Mayflower set sail.

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There is no justice. There can be no peace.

Pariah Dog's picture

@TheOtherMaven

about half an hour after posting that I'd kind of got ahead of myself between Jamestown and the mention of Plymouth. But they were both for the same purpose.

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7 users have voted.

Meddle not in the affairs of Dragons - For thou art crunchy and good with ketchup

@AlligatorEd

allow a tiny minority to rule over (or simply murder) the vast majority. We already have more surveilance CPUs than there are humans on the planet. We are building drones at an increasing rate. The Israelis have deployed drone tanks.

"when does one's utility to society cease? And are they then expendable?" What is the determinant of worth? Who decides? God? (which one?) Social engineering? The needs of the rich? Does society exist because man is putatively social? Or does society exist to sate the wealthy? Will the millionaires be safe once the billionaires have killed off everyone below their status?

Its the Koch Brothers' world. You only get to die in it. Social Darwinism is back with a vengeance. This tech has resurrected all the hideous totalitarian, master race (deserving rich, undeserving poor) ideology that almost destroyed civilization seventy years ago. They are now ready for another go around. They don't need race or religion (although they may use it). All they have to do is put a mark on your electronic records and bad shit will start to happen to you. All completely deniable. All mediated by the electronic panopticon. Maybe a police drone will kill you for resisting arrest.

Sociopathic ideologues like the Koch Brothers have joined forces with murderous private armies. (Eric Prince is a member of both groups.) The Silicon Valley techno-libertarians are completely on-board, providing the tech heavy lifting.

Nowhere inside the US is there anything resembling organized resistance to what is coming. If we are spared the cull, it will be the doing of other countries: China, Russia, some sane part of the EU. India is already lost to the neoliberals. They are happily driving millions of farmers to suicide.

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The Aspie Corner's picture

@arendt Smedley Butler referred to war as a racket for a reason. It's just too bad he wasn't able to send the porkies who tried to assassinate FDR to the firing squad.

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detroitmechworks's picture

as is socially expected.
Months later, and I still have ONE game on it, one dating app I rarely use, a tuning application for my daughter's cello. aaaaaand apart from the one NSFW app, that's about it.

I think I took a picture with it once.

I just know that there's a tracking device in it, and if the Government ever decided to kill me they could use my phone to zero in a bomb.

That's not paranoia, that's knowing what they are capable of.

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12 users have voted.

You can't expect to wield Supreme Military power, just cause some corporate tosser lobbed a contract at you!

Pariah Dog's picture

@detroitmechworks

I don't even OWN a cell phone. I'm thought of as a real troglodyte by everyone I know.

Say it loud, I'm Trog and I'm proud! (holding up fist)

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15 users have voted.

Meddle not in the affairs of Dragons - For thou art crunchy and good with ketchup

@Pariah Dog video game and smart phone addict when younger, remarked about going to a party with friends when he was maybe 20 or so. It was so boring, he said, everyone literally sat around not talking and looking at their phones. I use my phone to text mostly, I'm not a big user of it and I work for tech. I'm a Luddite as far as that's concerned, I know how to use mine and that's as far as it goes. My only pix on it are cat pix, never have been a big picture taker.

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gulfgal98's picture

@lizzyh7 I was forced to get a smart phone. I hate phones of all kinds to begin with and half the time I forget to either carry it or charge it. My other half gets mad at me for not being a "responsible phone user." I am not irresponsible, but the phone is simply not an important part of my life. I hate having my life run by an inanimate object.

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West "...isn't the problem here that the government takes on, arbitrarily and without justification, an adversarial attitude towards its citizenry?" ~CantStoptheMacedonianSignal

Pariah Dog's picture

@lizzyh7
Didn't mean to comment and disappear. I've been without Internet since 9 o'clock Tuesday morning! Didn't even have phone until yesterday when I jury rigged something together.

Tomorrow morning, Windstream is going to get a YUGE piece of my mind.

Long story, but, after waiting all day for the service guys, I didn't find out until 5:30 tonight that they had been here yesterday (the ONE DAY I told them I wouldn't be home), and determined it was not the outside line. Once I had that little tidbit of info I had the damned thing up and running in ten minutes.

Let's just say that, for a communications company, they showed a distinct lack of communication skills. I intend to advise them of same in graphic detail come morning.

Aaaanyway, back on topic. My favorite cell phone story is a commercial for a local college. It shows two kids, a boy and a girl, walking hand by hand across the campus. Upon closer inspection you notice that they each have a phone stuck to their ear. I've always hoped they weren't talking to each other.

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Meddle not in the affairs of Dragons - For thou art crunchy and good with ketchup

@detroitmechworks

But all I use it for is calendar, camera, email and reading the news. Its just to cumbersome to do any serious writing or editing - screen too small, touch sensor too touchy, typing with thumbs is a pain.

I do know techies who have serious graphics apps ported to their phone. I personally think that is a waste of time. If you are in an office setting, use your laptop.

I have no apps at all, except the unremovable bloatware that came from the factory.

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was to take it from another noble. There was no way to "take" anything more from the peasants -- they were needed to produce the maximum that could be produced from the noble's estates, and they subsisted on the minimum that permitted that production. The gradual emergence of a 1 or 2% middle class (merchants, guildsmen) created some consternation; as the nobility attempted to keep these upstarts down and redirect towards themselves the wealth being apparently created, strife broke out, finally exploding into the American and French Revolutions.

For the last 200 years, the ideological solution of the wealthy elite (no longer comprising only hereditary land-holding nobility) to the problem of more,more,more has been "economic growth", though the practical solution has often devolved into the same tactic as that of the feudal noble: Make war to seize control of "the other guy's" resources.

We are approaching the limits of meaningful economic growth. For the next 30 or 40 years, we will continue to experience a voracious gobbling up of whatever it is that is not the official property of the elite -- basically, repeats of the 2008 collapse in which peoples' homes were seized and transformed into investment vehicles for the wealthy, now to be rented by their occupants. There will plenty of wars along the way, as competing corporatists deploy the authority of the state as an agent of their not-very-patriotic objectives. At some point, via their corporate proxies, they will come to own effectively everything, just as did their predecessors, the feudal nobles.

At this point, they will be reduced once more to making endless war upon each other, just as in feudal Europe, with one big difference: The mass of humanity will indeed have been rendered "superfluous", just as they were in 19th-century Scotland and Ireland. We will not be needed to staff the armies, nor mine the minerals, nor grow such food as the remaining population requires. The solution in Scotland and Ireland was simply to ship the dispossessed folks off to Australia or Canada or America, fueling further growth -- but in this new circumstance there simply won't be anywhere off to which we might be shipped. Whether any substantial number of us will be kept around for entertainment value is anybody's guess, but most of us will be promptly slaughtered. The primary activity of the elites, at this point, will be plotting and scheduling the destruction of each other's playthings -- including whatever peasants happen to be left scrabbling in the muck. It will be one big pointless video game for TPTB.

Oh, well.

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Sigh

@UntimelyRippd

When it comes to superfluous people, they've run out of out. So it is on to Soylent Green or KZs or the "To Serve Man" gambit.

Remember a while back when Larry Summers, that smug neoliberal asshole, declared that economic analysis showed that Africa was "under-polluted" and that we could solve our pollution problem by shipping waste there? This is what passes as a good neoliberal idea.

It is astonishing to me that, with all the really smart people in the world, the best social organization they can come up with is internecine, zero-sum warfare.

We have the technical means to control the population, provide food and shelter for all of them, and live decent lives. Humanity is going to die because it lost control of its sociopaths - who used to be kept in check by (drum roll) community and society. Communities recognized assholes and kept them out of power or in jail. When corporations started shuffling the deck every five minutes, sociopaths grabbed power. And they haven't stopped. Wall St. is run by sociopaths. The military is run by sociopaths. Most of the GOP politicians are sociopaths.

And the only thing sociopaths know how to do is play "Game of Thrones". With nukes, AIs, and bioweapons, GoT is a mutual suicide pact.

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@UntimelyRippd Not if we take class warfare to their doorstep in a serious way. I ain't talking about sitins either...

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Bollox Ref's picture

there won't be much need for politicians either, so the likes of Senator Grassley (see post below) might want to ponder their future and voting patterns.

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8 users have voted.

Gëzuar!!

ggersh's picture

@Bollox Ref they don't believe they're expendable

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“Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. Yet those who DO study history are doomed to stand by helplessly while everyone else repeats it.” Unknown.

Bollox Ref's picture

@ggersh

that make up The Most Exclusive Club in the World™, will be nothing to the transglobal elite.

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7 users have voted.

Gëzuar!!

@ggersh They really, really are in that scenario. They are just too far gone in arrogance and stupidity to see it yet. Talk about being propagandized? Jeez, the irony, but they are swallowing their own Kool-Aid. They are just as dispensable as we are.

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@lizzyh7

"Totalitarianism in power invariably replaces all first-rate talents, regardless of their sympathies, with those crackpots and fools whose lack of intelligence and creativity is still the best guarantee of their loyalty."

- Hannah Arendt, OOT

The US government is now completely subsurvient to corporatism. Corporations have made sure that nothing but blackmailable hacks and looney-tune ideologues get into Congress or onto the Federal bench. The last crew of honest politicians resigned in disgust in 1992, when the Clinton gang showed up to hijack the Democratic Party.

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@Bollox Ref

bagmen and fixers.

Game of Thrones thrives on conniving, corruption, and flattery.

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divineorder's picture

Efforts are being made to modify Corporations..... too late?

HT to. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/12/03/ai-has-already-taken-over-...
....

Published on
Sunday, December 03, 2017
by Common Dreams
AI Has Already Taken Over. It’s Called the Corporation.
Futurists warning about the threats of AI are looking in the wrong place. Humanity is already facing an existential threat from an artificial intelligence we created hundreds of years ago. It’s called the Corporation.
byJeremy Lent

The corporate takeover of humanity is so all-encompassing that it’s difficult to visualize any other possible global system. Alternatives do, however, exist. Around the world, worker-owned cooperatives have demonstrated that they can be as effective as corporations—or more so—without pursuing shareholder wealth as their primary consideration. The Mondragon cooperative in Spain, with revenues exceeding €12 billion, shows how this form of organization can efficiently scale.

There are also structural changes that can be made to corporations to realign their values system with human welfare. Corporate charters can be amended to optimize for a triple bottom line of social, environmental, and financial outcomes (the so-called “triple Ps” of people, planet, and profit.) A “beneficial” or B-Corp certification, which holds companies to social and environmental performance standards, is becoming more widely adopted and is now held by over 2,000 corporations in over fifty countries around the world.

Ultimately, if we are stop this force from completely taking over humanity, these alternative approaches need to be codified into our national and international governance. Imagine a world where corporate charters were only granted if they adopted a triple bottom line, and where shareholder lawsuits threatened every time a company broke one of its own social and environmental standards. Until that happens, it may be that the “worst event in the history of our civilization” is not the future development of modern AI, but the decision by a group of 17th century politicians to unleash the power of the Corporation on an unsuspecting humanity.

The original version of this article included a quote from Abraham Lincoln that has since been demonstrated by some readers not to have been authentic.

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12 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

@divineorder

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@divineorder I do believe I sent that one on. We'll see if they read it!

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Raggedy Ann's picture

we won't be able to run OR hide. This essay is spot on. I've brought all this up to numerous people. We've got to pay attention, folks. Our lives depend on it.

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10 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

Hundreds or thousands of light years away, I'm sure there is other intelligent life, but we are so god damn insignificant that the self-importance of people like Trump and the Oligarchs and so many other manipulators who are destroying the planet is just incredibly silly. If there is a God why would he/she/it care about our speck and yet the rich and powerful use religion to manipulate in their march towards self-destruction. It's so absurd.

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13 users have voted.
ggersh's picture

@Timmethy2.0 @Timmethy2.0

I'm sure there is other intelligent life

Out of the 7 billion of that species on this planet, it's difficult
if not a mathematical insignificant deviation that appear to be
intelligent, at least from where I sit.

EDIT: a bit of snark in there.

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8 users have voted.

“Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. Yet those who DO study history are doomed to stand by helplessly while everyone else repeats it.” Unknown.

@ggersh

We're just the species that knows how to start fires and kill off or destroy any other species that gets ideas. I think I might be happier as a whale, provided that I'm not hunted.

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4 users have voted.
TheOtherMaven's picture

essentially, if not precisely, as predicted by C.S. Lewis: https://archive.org/details/TheAbolitionOfMan_229

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9 users have voted.

There is no justice. There can be no peace.

snoopydawg's picture

We know what's happening and what's coming, so do we just let them kill us, or do we find a way to stop them?

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10 users have voted.

a longtime oligarch eugenics plan is already well underway

earth is the insane asylum for the universe

divineorder's picture

@snoopydawg . '$64,000 question.

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10 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

Daenerys's picture

@snoopydawg if they actually have the cajones to use them for their intended purpose. I sure don't know how to convince them.

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6 users have voted.

Well-behaved women rarely make history.

@Daenerys

a massive response and martial law.

Gun nuts are a menace to everyone else's Constitutional rights because they are the perfect excuse for a crackdown.

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9 users have voted.

@snoopydawg

At least the real Resistance, against the Nazis (not the bogus McResistance) had some support from the Brits and Americans, even if a lot of that support was compromised.

We Americans would be completely on our own. I mean the Russians wouldn't touch us with a ten foot pole - to do so would be to validate all the propaganda about influencing and sedition. The Chinese don't give a shit.

No. We lefties are on our own. We've got about as much chance as Ghandi would have if the Nazis ruled India.

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6 users have voted.
Daenerys's picture

@arendt I just keep trying to think of something, anything that would get us out of this mess. As someone mentioned in another essay, it would take several countries combined to do anything against our military. Sad

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4 users have voted.

Well-behaved women rarely make history.

mhagle's picture

@snoopydawg

But I believe nowthepathforward.us is the plan.

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1 user has voted.

Marilyn

Let's save the planet for our kids. Tree Hugger to the end.

Daenerys's picture

To keep having more babies? This is beyond insanity.

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10 users have voted.

Well-behaved women rarely make history.

snoopydawg's picture

@Daenerys @divineorder

and I think we need to come up with something soon. I'm sure that you have read about the states that are making rules that bring penalties for protesting. The Trump protesters on Inauguration Day are facing up to 70 years in prison because a few windows were broken. Even people who weren't involved in them are being charged. This is so not right.

@Daenerys

I've seen others say this, but guns are not going to do much damage to tanks. And what if they modify drones to shoot pepper spray or tear gas or non lethal bullets?
It might start out with guns, but whooboy.....

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8 users have voted.

a longtime oligarch eugenics plan is already well underway

earth is the insane asylum for the universe

@snoopydawg

punitive sentencing and guilt by association for exercising one's supposed right to peaceably assemble.

Just have one agent provocateur within five miles of what's going on and presto, you have no constitutional rights at all. The SCOTUS has been wiping out the Bill of Rights one ideologically-driven decision at a time for decades.

This country is so clearly not a democracy anymore. It clearly has no Bill of Rights anymore. So, why not bring in the drones? They've spent a lot of time clearing a legal path for administrative murder.

And you know what? All the bullshit about murderous officers "fearing for their safety" would be completely negated if said officer was remotely piloting a drone.

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6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@arendt

this corporate coup has been planned since the real coup attempt against FDR failed. If the PTB couldn't revoke the new deal by force, they would do it by putting their puppets into office all across the government and courts. Obama and the democrats deliberately placed themselves in a position to not be able to block the republicans from passing any of their legislation.

This kabuki shit has been obvious to anyone who was paying attention.
When the republicans were the majority party, democrats just couldn't filibuster or place holds against the legislation, but when democrats were the majority party, the republicans could do those things.

Look at how many people are saying that after the democrats take back congress, they're going to roll back what the republicans did. Don't count on this, there are enough democrats who would have voted for the tax bill if republicans had not used reconciliation. One democrat told the media that the republicans could have passed it with 70 votes.

Yep. This was well played by both parties and the courts.

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6 users have voted.

a longtime oligarch eugenics plan is already well underway

earth is the insane asylum for the universe

@Daenerys

formula. They don't care if the children get educated or grow up at all. If the final solution is that all those children are abandoned or become refugees or just starve to death, they do not care.

To TPTB, infancy and early childhood is just another profit center. And its a good one because no one wants their young child to suffer; so they find ways to pay for childhood needs.

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9 users have voted.
mimi's picture

It's so depressing and scary that I suggest to shut off the computer and the cell phone and throw both into the pacific. Just have the courage to ignore what every one knows and tries hard to not know.

I think basically I adumbrated this since 1997 ( am in hindsight grateful I got the clues early on). I became sure of the situation since 2012.

Corporate AI is like being kissed by a robot, who bites you in the lips and doesn't let you go and you wonder why in the hell you thought kissing a robot would be smart. So you just don't move, because anything else will hurt.

I refuse to get depressed, damn it. And we are not superfluous, the AI and robots have imo two weaknesses, they can't make babies and they can't die. So, who the fuck the robots think they are?

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8 users have voted.

"“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?” - Ghandi

gulfgal98's picture

Sadly the majority of Americans are clueless about what is happening. Maybe it is ignorance or may it is also by design because we are so powerless to fight against it now that our government has bee completely captured by the sociopaths.

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6 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West "...isn't the problem here that the government takes on, arbitrarily and without justification, an adversarial attitude towards its citizenry?" ~CantStoptheMacedonianSignal

Hawkfish's picture

Thanks for this. I haven’t read Arendt in many years but her description of how individuals need to be isolated from each other before they can be controlled made a strong impression at the time. Thanks for connecting the dots to social media. I knew there was a reason I didn’t use it...

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2 users have voted.

It's like two plus two equals fish! -- The Big Short

@Hawkfish

To me, it is the best political book of the 20th century.

I know that some lefties think that HA is merely part of the anti-Communist chorus. But OOT is a historical work, not a polemical screed. As those with memories of WW2 die, the population increasingly is ignorant about how totalitarians take power. Clueless about "secret societies in plain sight". Clueless about "hierarchies of contempt".

I have used quotes from OOT in my writing for over 20 years. Her words are timeless. Her ideas guide my political thinking.

Please do read OOT again. Even the part about imperialism/colonialism is relevant again thanks to our execrable behavior in the Third World.

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