Tag Archives: future

The Future

future

This week, aaron.Jacob and I look to the future of hoverbikes, robots, augmented reality and bio-hacking. Forecasts and predictions exceed our wildest imaginings, but will they prove realistic or surrealistic?

Try not to get too future shocked as we set the dial on our experimental time machine and hope for the best… tomorrow!

PLAYLIST
In The Hall Of The Mountain King (Terramix) – terraon
Future Shock – Curtis Mayfield
“The Daleks” (Serial B): TARDIS Computer – Brian Hodgson
Past Present and Future – Demon Fuzz
Tank! (TV Edit) – Seatbelts
Robot Parade – They Might Be Giants
2014 – The Unicorns
Idioteque – Radiohead
Violent – The Faint
Remember The Future (part 1-2) – Nektar
Buffalo Stance – Need New Body
In The Bio Burbs – PASSAGE
Energy Traffic – The Mole
We Are the Future – Non Phixion
Virus – Deltron
Seventeen Years – RATATAT
Friends 4 Ever – Girl Talk
IBM MT/ST The Paperwork Explosion (instr.) – Scott, Raymond
Uske Orchestra – Pel-Pun
Polka Electronic Death Country (Otto Von Schirrach remix) – Mochipet
Laser Eyes Clip – Sifl & Olly
Cyborg Control – Man Or Astroman
Look Back And Laugh – Minor Threat
Jetson’s Theme – Man… or Astroman?
The Future – Leonard Cohen

Stranger in a Strange Land 2013-02-23: The Future by The Stranger on Mixcloud

In the not-too distant future, political scientists have reason to suspect what the major issues of the next few years will be. Climate, Drones and Terrorists, Pentagon Spending, Agriculture/Energy, and Campaign Finance Reform.

This all seems a little optimistic to me. But as we’ll soon see, these wonks aren’t the only big dreamers.

The World Futurist Society has released their forecasts, and they are impressively grand. Some seem inevitable, others outlandish, but all of them progressively more challenging, and some beneficial, to mankind.

  1. Electric cars powered by fuel cells earn extra cash for their owners
  2. Open-source robot blueprints cut the cost of robots by 90%
  3. Smart phones help spur political reform in Africa
  4. The world’s oceans may face “mass extinction event” by 2050
  5. The “cloud” will become more intelligent, not just a place to store data
  6. 3-D Printing Revolutionizes manufacturing
  7. India may eclipse China in population and innovation by 2028
  8. Robots may become gentler caregivers in the next 10 years
  9. A revolution in smart materials creates a new energy boom

Idealistic indeed, as those of us who see their gadgets more as personal adversaries than helpful widgets.

“Technology that promises to remove small annoyances of one kind introduces small annoyances of another.” ~Pamela Haag

But there is the tendency to hope for the Best of All Possible Worlds,
in science-fiction, in science fact, and in augmenting our very reality. Soon people will be able to purchase Google Glass and make immediate (if superficial) improvements in their worldview. It gives new meaning to the concept of ‘rose-colored glasses’. I personally can’t wait for Super Saiyan mode, They Live mode, and Cyclops mode.

But the fact of the matter is, you can’t predict how new technologies will change the world until they become part of the commoner’s usage.

Tim Maughan argues in a fascinating new interview about augmented reality with the Huffington Post:

Technology becomes the most effective — and thus potentially the most damaging— when it passes that novelty stage and becomes mundane and commonplace. The way smartphones have radically changed the way we lead our daily lives is perhaps the most recent example. It’s been an incredibly short six years from revolutionary product launch to utterly mundane ubiquity.

And few of us have had time to pause and think about the effect it has had on us, either as individuals or society. When it comes to judging how technology effects us there’s an understandable tendency to look at the bleeding edge, at first adopters and hackers, those that take the plunge and dive in. I think it’s a tendency in part by academics and journalists to want to be seen as ‘cool-hunters’, finding the latest trends and speculating about what they could develop into.

The truth is until it becomes commonplace and in the hands of a massive range of people we can’t tell how it will be used. I don’t want to bruise anyone’s geek-pride here (okay, maybe I do a little) but being an early adopter only makes you special for a short while, and on your own you’re not going to make any paradigm shifts. By definition you need everyone else with you to do that.

Many people just don’t know what to do with the future transforming reality around them. It makes them uneasy, even panicked; Future-Shocked. And others worry that the technocratic digerati will forge ahead, leaving other classes behind; an ageless human problem for every era, none better than the rest.


Can Futurists even make a difference? Does science-fiction and those rosy-eyed optimists benefit the scientists in hot pursuit of tomorrow? Do they create a Utopian vision for which we aim? Or can they do more damage than good? Or are we all just way off the mark?

Stranger in a Strange Land 2013-02-23: The Future by The Stranger on Mixcloud

~The Stranger
thestranger@earthling.net

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Social Justice Bots

Robots make up over half of the web today. Crawlers keep a detailed history of our human accomplishments and failures, our deepest truths and most fanciful fictions. They cost only as much as processing and memory storage, worming their way around.

Corporate nonpersons run and own the world as we speak. Algorithms are creating and mediating more of our reality than ever before. Quants make up 70% of the stock trading on Wall Street while a quarter of our tweets, and most wikipedia edits, are created by machines.

“Corporations are not people  They are profit-making robots.” ~Cenk Uygur

While defense and intel will ramp up tax dollar usage in 2013, “nobody is hiring all the A.I. researchers.” Currently, defense agencies and digital dissidents are laughable in their use of A.I. But this is rapidly changing. We are getting better bots and better ideas.

The ethics of robotic entities will very soon be a major sociological question, with unmanned drones destabilizing geopolitical relations, driverless cars (named like horseless carriages) with better success than humans, and robocallers getting fines up to $100,000Automation is destroying the job market far more than any immigration threat.

We are already concerned with the ramifications of privacy, surveillance, corporate crime and digital record-keeping. This is to say nothing of the more fantastic risks of the singularity and possible disasters from grey goo to Skynet. The unpredictability of superintelligence alone should send our biological heads spinning. Even if things go smoothly, our connected future may have troubling repercussions for our human autonomy and identity.

Both to our pleasure and chagrin, even digital data erodes over time.

Chatbots are nearing passing grades on the Turing test, and robots like Deepblue and Cornell’s Watson impress us with their analytical skills, sometimes even superior to humans. We now have A.I.s is already learning how to write poetry, paint, score essays, do photography, journalismfarming, spy surveillance and data analysis, make war and run corrections facilities. Robots compete in their own sports and cyborgs will be olympiads and documentarians. It may not be long before the entertainment out of Hollywood is entirely created by artificial intelligence, which will be cheaper and easier. We already have the uncanny simulacra of deceased politicians, pandering from beyond the grave. Like most every other ‘fringe’ movement before, the distinction between true art and the new aesthetics will be blurred and disappeared.

But anyone attempting to learn the secrets of the cosmos, (or even carry a decent conversation) with a chatbot realizes the limitations of their cognition. How will an A.I. incorporate memories and experiences to reflect not only knowledge and communication, but creativity, problem-solving, and personality? Perhaps only now that we are fully mapping the brain will be able to either interface with the machine, build a theoretical facsimile, or simulate an exact copy.

Our brains and search engines are beginning to look very similar.

We have already seen the popularity of tablets and e-literature, both flash fiction and flash mobs, apps, tweets, meetups, crowdsourcing, more and more affordable technology (and yes, even piracy), allowing for a prosumer market and freelance economy, the rise of DiY culture bringing us hackerspaces, hacktivists, biohacking and 3D printing.

Social justice bots and civilian drones will be automated to fight against authoritarian regimes and peace viruses may infect and deactivate war bots.

Imminently we will be controlling robots by thoughts alone. We may augment our reality so much that it becomes indistinguishable from the computer simulations. We will need them to help us quickly expand, serve ourselves and our environment, explore space, mine asteroids and survive.

Redux!

With the mysterious digital wraith’s de-atomization of last week’s show, The Stranger attempts to quantum entangle and mystically fuse two weeks worth of music and politics into one Strange Land, an experiment that may result in a rerun, a redux, Groundhog’s Day, or an alternate parallel pocket universe.

Hopefully the eerie, lonely, pensive, eclectic and syncopated rhythms will challenge you on a visceral and cerebral level. Failing that, some monkey news!

PLAYLIST
Hall Of The Mountain King/Louie Louie – Half Japanese
Ife (Fast) – Miles Davis (Tribute)
Pink Elephants On Parade – Sun Ra
Troubleman – Nina Miranda – Buddha-Bar
Stem / Long Stem / Transmission 2 – DJ Shadow
Sordid – Amon Tobin
We No Speak Americano (Original mix) – Yolanda Be Cool & Dcup
Homesick (Bonustrack) – Parov Stelar
Kagemusha – Akira Kurosawa
Radar Maker – Mogwai
Tribulations – LCD Soundsystem
Is This The Last Time – Spoon
Cowboy Junkies – Common Disaster
Cherry – RATATAT
Emotion – Daft Punk
Necromancer – Gnarls Barkley
Quest for the 12 Monkeys – Astor Piazzolla
the count dance – (8BitPeoples) – twilight electric
Radio Nufonia – Kid Koala
Not Happy – Pere Ubu

Yet again I am forced to cover ridiculous news such as the sabre-rattling of “not if but when” in Iran, while even the president himself cannot seem to align with either direct talks or “not bluffs” on attack, “thus again routinely violating the U.N. Charter, the foundation of international law” as Noam Chomsky puts it. In fact, he writes that most of the nations in the world agree that Iran is no more or less dangerous and unpredictable than a nuclear-powered Israel.

And while I am NOT a conspiracy theorist adherent to the hoax of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion… there is a minority of powerful political elites (just like in this country) with a classist, racist, neoconservative bent in opposition of their own people and neighbors.

But isn’t it interesting that the same things that we could legitimately criticize Iran for: right-wing theocracy, crushing free speech and dissemination of information, women’s rights… are the same issues that this neoconservative government is corrupting in our democracy…

The federal government has appropriated about $635 billion, accounting for inflation, for homeland security-related activities and equipment since the 9/11 attacks. The Department of Homeland Security alone has doled out somewhere between $30 billion and $40 billion in direct grants to state and local law enforcement, as well as other first responders to build out the police state… The Obama White House itself has directly funded part of the New York Police Department’s anti-Muslim surveillance program. Top officials of New York’s finest have, however, repeatedly refused to disclose just how much anti-terrorism money it has been spending, citing, of course, security.

Drones are already patrolling our skies, the Obama admin. is looking for warrantless access to your cell phone location data, and now, only days after clearing Congress, US President Barack Obama has signed his name to H.R. 347, officially making it a federal offense to cause a disturbance at certain political events — essentially criminalizing protest in the States. Another attempt to strip the power of speech from a disenfranchised majority and limit what little recourse they have against plundering criminals.

This ‘attack the rich’ motif is nothing new. When we talk about revulsion of the extremely super-wealthy, we’re talking about accountability, we’re talking about having clear evidence that there is an entire class of people whose crimes go unpunished. And whenever there is a crime wave on, the American people suddenly get all upset and want the police to do something about it. After a wave of child kidnappings and molestations in the late 70’s and 80’s, it became our paranoid nation’s major fear. When the Saving and Loan scandal rocked the nation, people were writing their representatives. When terrorists actually dared to hit us on our own turf, people finally started to care what radical Islam was, or the names of some of those Middle Eastern countries. Riots, gang violence, murder sprees, rapists, and everything else on the evening news that scared the bejeesus out of us in a news cycle, our very life cycle! The exception here being that there is little to no law enforcement action to stop these multi-million or multi-billion or multi-trillion dollar crimes! And if nothing is being done, then it becomes a more and more legitimate concern.

We finally have the estimated data for 2010 by income percentile, and it turns out that the top 1 percent had a fantastic year. According to the data is in the World Top Income Database, as well as Emmanuel Saez’s updated “Striking it Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States”, “the top 1 percent captured 93 percent of the income gains in the first year of recovery.” Pre-recession, inequality hadn’t been that high since the Great Depression, and we are quickly returning to that state.

We need more transparency, not less! We need open-source software for replicable science. We need criminals brought to justice. We need a government that is for the people, not targeting their own citizenry at the behest of the elites. We need to root out the cheats in our technologically trusting age. We need dogged journalists (which are more and more being represented by hackers and not mainstream media sellouts) to keep corporate kings and “elected” officials on their toes.

But three years into his presidency, critics say Obama’s administration has failed to deliver the refreshing blast of transparency that the president promised. “Obama is the sixth administration that’s been in office since I’ve been doing Freedom of Information Act work. … It’s kind of shocking to me to say this, but of the six, this administration is the worst on FOIA issues. The worst. There’s just no question about it,” said Katherine Meyer, a Washington lawyer who’s been filing FOIA cases since 1978. “This administration is raising one barrier after another. … It’s gotten to the point where I’m stunned — I’m really stunned.”

And last September, the CIA quietly changed its long-standing policy for how it would process certain records requests by implementing a new fee structure that will essentially discourage the public from trying to get the agency to declassify secret government documents with costs up to $72 per hour, “even if no information is found or released,” wrote Nate Jones of George Washington University’s National Security Archive, a historical research group that files numerous Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and publishes declassified documents.

At the same time, the intelligencia beat the drums of cyberwar against activists instead of attempting to fix or even address the problems that are making them activist out in the first place! And though they have recently been able to turn well-connected Anon Sabu against other hacktivists such as Stratfor-infiltrating aficionado Anarchaos, Anonymous itself has no leadership. The juxtaposition of the FBI’s triumphant announcement: “We’re chopping off the head of LulzSec,” and the group’s own mantra “Anonymous is a hydra, cut off one head and we grow two back.” illustrate the disconnect between the power elite and the freedom fighters. Further undermining their goals, the FBI is making their message clear; the FBI indictment says Sabu’s crimes can get him 124 years and 6 months of prison time. Help us by turning on your fellows and go to prison for life.

The information itself, leaked like the dam in the old fable, is showing us once again which side is in the right. How soon some forget that Bradley Manning is facing trial for whistle-blowing on horrific war crimes. As more secrets are being leaked proving these conspiracy theories true (corporate spying, faked science reporting, intimidation, bribery, collusion) the old Mark Twain phrase “two can keep a secret of one of them is dead” rings more true in this digital age than ever before. Whether you’re the U.S. Military trying to cover up war crimes, or a corporation illegally spying on or manipulating the state, the citizens, their customers, and their competition.

In a post-national future, protest movements like Anonymous, Occupy, the Arab Spring, riseup.net, and others with common goals will have to learn how to overcome their oppressors by balancing mass actions with individual traditions and religions to be respected! For there have been many questions these past weeks of ideological difference, mostly from the myopic and bigoted Santorum, conservative preachers and loudmouth radio hosts, and while these GOPers are learning hard lessons about alienating the all-important independent votes, so too should progressives learn what social issues and ideologies they can share, overlook, reach out on, or reject with grass roots activists on the right.

We cannot ignore religion permeating every thing that is done in this country, and while we should keep a strict wall between church and state to restrict any one group from becoming the theocrats, it is wrong to think that religious thinking and morality are not the basis for our very system of law. The problem is, there are those who use and subvert the predominately Christian doctrine to their twisted, evil way of fundamentalist thinking, just like is being done to Islam in the Middle East. Many power-brokers in this country emphasize the angry, jealous God, and promote a dark bastardized version of the religion in which Greed, selfishness, and emphasis on the “me” economy forsake Jesus the philosopher’s greatest wisdom:

“The Jesus of the Gospels, especially of Matthew, Mark and Luke was one of the great progressive thinkers in human history. His great passion was helping the poor, the sick, those most oppressed and reviled by the rest of society. His teachings focused on mercy, kindness, forgiveness, not judging others, and loving one’s neighbors as much as yourself. His “Golden Rule” was that we should treat everyone as we ourselves would want to be treated. He taught that we would ultimately be judged by how we treated the hungry and the ill, by whether we visited those in prison and whether we treated strangers with kindness. He said we should forgive our enemies, “turn the other cheek” when slapped, and that only those who had never sinned (in other words, none of us) should cast the first stone to condemn the sinner.”

NOT the dogmatic, Draconian and Machiavellian form that has routinely taken total control and power in Western Civilization. Because of course, these monied interests don’t represent what most of America believes or thinks or aspires to. Some of them may be taken in by the propaganda machines, but don’t think for a second that this is where our true moralities lie.

It is imperative that regardless of ideology, all of us in the attacked classes remain each other’s keepers against the predators! Don’t let the federal government enslave us! This year, as many as five million eligible voters will lose their right to vote due to already passed measures to make voting MORE difficult, not less. In FLORIDA, ILLINOIS, MAINE, OHIO, TEXAS, ALABAMA, KANSAS, TENNESSEE, GEORGIA, WEST VIRGINIA, IOWA, MISSISSIPPI, SOUTH CAROLINA & RHODE ISLAND New measures include  restrictions on where people can register to vote, less time for *early* voting and stricter laws requiring people to provide government issued photo IDs. “African Amercans, and other racial and ethnic minorities are very heavily targeted,” said Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP Washington Bureau.  “The poor, those who don’t drive cars or have cars are also very heavily targeted.” In Florida, Iowa,  Virginia and Kentucky, anyone convicted of a felony has their right to vote denied permanently.

Don’t let corporations scam you! Don’t refinance you home, sending the debt into a spiral of wholly subsidiary collections and inflations! Take advantage of the desperate universities, don’t let them take advantage of you! Stanford had over 150,000 people sign up for a single course on artificial intelligence Suddenly, prestigious, invite-only events for the intellectual elite like TED are being opened up to licensees all over the world. There are even Floating Universities, offering knowledge and access to Big Thinkers from prestigious universities, all at a fraction of the cost of a liberal arts education. And now more than ever, small claims court is benefitting and helping the lower classes in their local systems to fight back against the corporate giants!

The United States Constitution is, at 225 years, the oldest of its kind, and has been the go-to model for over 160 countries wishing to write their own. By 1987, almost 95% of countries with constitutions had versions based on the American one. The oldest standing constitution had come to be relied upon as a framework to develop newer ones. And though Al Franken lauded our constitution as a ‘living document’ that can change with technology changing our lives, (in reference to consumer privacy bills), the time’s they are a-changing! With widespread realization that our democracy has been thoroughly co-opted and corropted, it might be time to bring a new constitutional document to life. One that will relevantly address the future reality we find ourselves entering.

Social media has upturned the social pecking order, with access to crowdsourcing, individual branding, prosumer equipment, instant access to formerly obscure knowledge, and a freelance economy, all coupled with the increasingly unpopularity of wealth, we are seeing dramatic changes to what status actually defines or means.

We see that protest movements and activist groups are empowered online by community, and hopefully even people with differences fight for common goals and interests, in a digital buffet of similarly-minded humans.

Anti-science quantum mysticism, synchronicity and confirmation bias may be flipped on its head! We have a populace of frail, fragile, scared humans, obsessed with the future (some go so far as to convince themselves they have some kind of psychic relationship with the future). But in the future, as advances in science, agriculture and medicine allow many of our worries to fall away gradually, we will also be so enmeshed with machine-thinking so that we will no longer obsess over such uncertainties. And while we may not be obsessed by the past either, we will have total recall of what is known or theorized at every point in our recorded history, whether the secrets of the time of Jesus, our unusual and forgotten bisected sleep patterns of old, or the obfuscated origins of our economic collapse!

A technology-fueled society is even now coalescing into three distinct tiers: the hyper-connected digital elite, the well-connected middle class and the aspiring majority (who don’t have any real access to technology).

According to Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, a small privileged group within society will become the new Digital Snobs:

“The privileged few, the hyper-connected, are likely to face a future that will only be limited by what technology can do. They will have access to unlimited processing power and high-speed networks in most major cities. In Schmidt’s vision, this group will soon be represented by robots at multiple events at the same time while sitting in your office. For them, technologies that once looked like science fiction, will soon be available. Driverless cars, for example, will soon reduce accidents. At the same time, though, technology will actually become much easier to use and ideally just disappear.”

Imagine if information, knowledge, education, 3-d printed goods and digital services, communications, access to legal medical or civic resources, and even the rights over your own identity were reserved for a new brand of higher ups! The same cycle of oppression and liberation must be fought anew.

So once we get past our current threats and moral imperatives, our species faces a whole set of new ones.

Stranger in a Strange Land 2012-03-10: Redux! by The Stranger on Mixcloud

~The Stranger

thestranger@earthling.net

“Once that coup is reversed, everything else falls into place” – Chris Hedges

TO THE FUTURE!

We’ll glean some idea of what futurists and musicians predict in relation to environmentalism, race, science, the cyber war, protest movements, politicians and even sexy space lounging as we attach either our stylin’ headphones and/or augmented reality time goggles, and dream of tomorrow!

All that and robot dinosaurs, on this week’s Stranger in a Strange Land!

PLAYLIST
In The Hall Of The Mountain King (Terramix) – terraon
I, Robot – Alan Parsons Project
Future M B End-Gem – Shiva Chandra
Future Legend/Space Oddity – David Bowie
Forecast Fascist Future – Of Montreal
Here & Now – RjD2
Future Shock – Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions
I Can See The Future (Ski’s Main Mix) – Incognito
Dark Future – Cyrus (Random Trio)
tomorrow comes today – Gorillaz
The Future, Wouldn’t That Be Nice? – The Books
Tomorrow Never Knows – Daniel Johnston
Strange – Built to Spill
Tomorrow – Thievery Corporation
Riding to Work in the Year 2025 (Your Invisible Now) – The Flaming Lips
In a Future Age – Wilco
Cyborg Control – Man Or Astroman
Someday – The Joe Beats Conspiracy
Bionic Kahaan – DJ Shadow Djmedjyou
We Are the Future – Non Phixion
Voyager – Zombectro
A Better Tomorrow – Automator
Post-Apocalyptic Rap Blues – Busdriver
Future – Sun Ra
In the Year 2525 – Zager & Evans
The Future Belongs To The Children – Gandalf The Grey
Tomorrow’s Gonna Be A Brighter – Jim Croce
In A Spaceage Mood – JG Thirlwell
Tales of the Future – Vangelis

Stranger in a Strange Land 2012-02-24: TO THE FUTURE! by The Stranger on Mixcloud

A bunch of rich white males just decide every day a bunch of things for the rest of us.

These reactionary right-wing corporatist dudes want to fight against the future, but who will save it? Does it even need saving? Already the future is happening all around us! Synthetic organs and bones being printed, and the first robot-human handshake has occurred in space! Futurists have predicted this, technology nuts have written on the subject, dark prophecies have been foretold, time travelers have secretly brought us back information, and social protest movements are coordinating and organizing with the speed of free electrons!

The Old World Order has been consistently on the wrong side of history in regards to immigration and discrimination, the devious threats of economic inequity, rising food costs, basic services, civil liberties, civil rights, constitutionality and privacy. Zealots with myopic bigotry (and a tendency to project) finding any excuse to marginalize or persecute gays, muslims, minorities, the poor, and women, even fighting to ban contraception based on their own ridiculously specific religious viewpoints. Technologically and scientifically, the archaic policy-makers are dead in the water, feeling victimized in the wake of internet protest because they’d rather see things go back to the way they used to, or else use those systems against their “lessers” instead. Shrugging the very real field of climate science with very real conspiracy and very false rhetoric while exhausting our fossil fuels in an intense refusal to change with the times, entitling themselves to their own set of facts on evolution and science, revisioning American history with Orwellian language and Fox News, they want to go back to the days of feudal Lords keeping worker serfs, or perhaps even the days of slavery (with the rise of the private prison system and the return of debtor’s prisons). It is a tiered system protecting those at the top, the politicians, the military, the media, the rich, and mostly the super-rich defining the ‘status quo’.

But things are changing… as the future inevitably holds a collision course with entropy.

Because though there are those who would try to own the present, the future belongs to all of us, this diverse range of genetic variance and political ideology, hurtling through space and time at a rate of sixty seconds per minute.

~The Stranger
thestranger@earthling.net

Thinking about tomorrow, but of course it isn’t tomorrow if you haven’t slept yet…

Only the Beginning

I recently watched ‘Trancendent Man’ a documentary about the futurist thinker and inventor Ray Kurzweil (on Netflix Instant), which talks about the future of technology, integrating with machines, the singularity, and a post-Digital-Revolution society, and ALL THE WHILE transfixed to both the televisor screen and the nearly intravenous flow of twitter on my phone, WHEN IT STRUCK; the hard jolting pause of realization that large majorities of people and societies around the world (and many in this country) do not have the slightest inkling, desire, ability, resources, freedom, or IO port to hang their digital hat on. It took hold of me like the cracking clear bolt of a metaphysical electromagnet coil, like billions of souls crying out for porn and pictures of cats saying stupid things, suddenly silenced.

With the unequivocally ever-rapidly snowball effect of technology (whether you agree with Kurzweil or not about some of the extreme implications this has on the future), society will be bracketed even further than it already has by divisive class policies and repressive economic imbalances. As we fully intersect with technology, many will be left behind. While those pre-borg immigrants will jump through every fiery hoop to lapse into digital escapism, the expendable income necessary is not available to large segments of the human race, still forced to face a harsh physical reality of hunger, war, disease and rape every day.

Three separate, earlier senses of foreboding combined into one bone-chilling premonition; the constantly recurring thoughts of dread for the starving and down-trodden of the world, the nagging wrecking ball of a mysterious and unknown future world, and the obvious historical tendency of those in power to abuse those viewed as below them. We have seen the brutal reality of war and genocide repeatedly played out over limited resources.

There may be a temptation in lazy thinking to assume that it will be primarily voluntary luddites of the future resisting this technology, but this is a reminiscent leftover of dogmatic Christian missionary mentality, and not everyone is able to join the wiry fray, nor does the trepidation of the unwilling-yet-able make them boorish peasantry, but perhaps there are a myriad of unfortunate circumstances or other considerations. As the singularity exponentially widens the chasm between the technocrats and the new order of plebes, does anyone really believe that those humans+ will have found some magical insight in the machine code that makes them suddenly retroact on hundreds of thousands of years (if not millions) of ingrained biological selfishness and power-mad despotism? That they will provide for the unassimilated as anything more than a slave class?

Ray Kurzweil, ever the optimist futurist, seems to hope so. Terence McKenna, too, when he speaks of a similar event in consciousness, Time Wave Zero, occurring at the crux of a historical quickening. A sort of critical mass, which he has proposed could be anything from the invention of time travel, some sort of mass awareness, or a finding and meeting with the ‘other’, deep from our inner shadows, perhaps the collective anima/animus or “soul image” from Jung. This is all well and good, but barring some actual social or political revolution, gas prices will rise, policy-makers will adversely affect markets, and companies will try their damnedest to price-gouge and choke-hold streams of “free” information.

But what of those unpredictable social ramifications? Will there be cyber-wars on a regular basis, will the hackers and terrorists be able to outpace the nth more well-funded forces of organizational infrastructure? (Who, incidentally, are still somewhat behind the game). Will the assimilated be able to or even care to break programming long enough to fight for social justice of others? As the borg grows and leaves humans further in the dust, how long before they are no longer equals, how long before the meatsacks remnants are expendable?

We haven’t left our emotionally-binding forms of flesh just yet, and a sense of freedom and human rights prevails as certain groups have already emerged and entrenched themselves for what will surely be a long and arduous struggle. Wikileaks, Lulsec, Anonymous, and countless other hacker collectives and rebels in areas even as restrictive as North Korea and Iran continue to fight with their particular electrons, 1s and 0s, for a totally free dissemination of information. Other violations of human spirit are coordinated, encouraged, and energized by digital social media as seen this year during the Arab Spring revolutions, UK riots and looting, and here in San Francisco more recently the Anonymous-led BART protests. For better or worse, humans all over the world are making it very clear to the cognoscenti of politics, authority, mainstream media and high finance, that censorship and restrictive policies can and will be met at some point with severe pushback.

These humans, I tell ya, you give them a little total freedom and it’s like they think they’re entitled to it or something.

This was all inevitable, no doubt. Some fires will rage, some systems will either crumble, alter, or steel themselves so furiously that their hollow insides dry-rot out. Our arrogant cliques of domineering world authorities will froth hard enough to lose all control at some point, furious of the hard fact that though the march of time may lead the universe to entropy, it also leads our species to a wider understanding of freedom.

Perhaps we will only settle into our proper and humbly sated nation-state period of equality, mutual understanding and dignity once the generations of globally-connected democratic-thinking individuals fully survive the repression of a resource-hungry egomaniacal post-WWII society.

XBox live digital natives notwithstanding.

In Form

The future will see an even more radical supply and demand of information. As knowledge is power in the olde times, then post-digital revolution wars will be fought over secret information. We are seeing this unprophesized but game-changing revolution in the way that people use information technology. Information specialists will control information repositories, with information terrorists attacking information systems and information czars from the ministry of information making informed decisions about how to police the problem while disseminating disinformation to uninformed populace.

We are all, after all, just information.

Stop the train and let me off!

Every day of my life as long as I can remember, I have pictured myself as a hundred other things besides a man; a superman, a sea turtle, a bird, an ape, a demigod, a snail, a plastic bag, a volcano.

I fantasize that God or some other space alien will lift me up and unify me with the energy of the cosmos, or else smash me into an unrecognizable paste with their giant fist-from-the-sky. Either way, I wouldn’t have to deal with the minutiae.

I wish that I had never learned what wishing was. No I don’t. Yes I do.

But an immortal man would have no more chance of understanding the world or himself than a stillborn baby. So here’s to equality.

I asked an old man once, while helping him fill out an online application, what I should put down for his skills and whatnot. He replied with clear pronunciation, “Well sir, I am what you would call, ‘a lazy man.'” Even though I hated him, I wish everyone would be as honest as him, and by that I mean I wish everyone would say exactly what he did.

People suck. Mostly the white ones. There’s not enough hatred against whites, if you ask me. But its not as if anybody will do anything about it. The winning teams were decided long ago.

The difference between luck and chance is the letters that are used, and thus, their placement in the dictionary.

The difference between success and banality is the same distance between a supermarket and a natural history museum.

You’re born, you live, you die. Like the frothing effervescent sea foam of a pounding rushing wave, which exists but an instant, only to be replaced later by a near facsimile. It’s silly to want to do anything else but that, or even complain about the circumstances in-between. It makes for very predictable literature, or a very boring board game.

There’s a reason there that the heavy waves of the ocean are considered revitalizing and new to the fragile human spirit. Doesn’t anybody else wonder and worry about the fact that a body can trouble themselves over the supernatural (sometimes egregious) effects of a rainstorm one day, and smile at the uplifting stupor of a full rainbow the next?

A lot of people have no regard for ‘tomorrow’. They seem foolish because a storm could wipe out their home the same day they lose their job. Those people who have great consideration for ‘tomorrow’ wisely organize their piles into geometric stacks that will one day be the forgotten detritus of a long-extinct smoking cinder.

Everywhere are roots sticking out of the ground, and throngs of immobile people, and fences, and ‘No Trespassing’ signs, and public transportation, and little spiky balls of vegetable matter stuck in your footwear. But the reality is you can’t escape your own skull, the contents of which conspire against you far more than any other real or imagined forces of the universe.

I used to laugh at people with ridiculous phobias, as I am not afraid of clowns, or needles, or spiders, or dentists, or dogs, or what other relatively harmless things my friends are. That is, until I realized that I am afraid of perhaps that most fantastic and intangible construction of human evolution: falling in love.

I don’t believe I could take the time to get to know somebody as well as I know myself. I don’t know myself all that well.

Some people take drugs to stop them from thinking so much. Others take drugs so that they’ll think even harder. Society is a drug that does both simultaneously.

I can feel my thoughts and opinions and beliefs and wishes and aspirations and dreams sloshing around in my brain. I feel their weight. As though tilting my head back and forth would let them ooze warmly from my inner ear canal with a loud ‘POP’ and puddle into a pillow cover which I would then throw away and forget about.

When I try to force myself to think, I get sleepy. When I try to stop myself thinking, I get a headache. Either way I need to lie down.

If I ever do get depressed, it seems to be during those transcendental moments of beauty that defy all attempts at description. I involuntarily enter a trance-state as if in some drunken mind-frame, but wholly different from any drug. Thoughts overtake me, in what should be a happy or religious experience, but somehow induced from another place, like spoken in tongues, or finding something you thought you threw away long ago, or suddenly realizing you’re at the place you were supposed to be, but you don’t feel at all the way you anticipated. Disoriented, thinking of your position to the world all wrong once confronted by its image, then inexplicably angry at nobody. What an odd coincidence.

I’m grateful for plenty of things, but perpetually devoid of any ideas on how to express it appropriately.

If I ran away from ‘it all’ and changed my name or stole somebody’s, sure, the scenery might be better, but there would still be all the bullshit. It smells the same everywhere.

My most foolish fantasy has never been contemplating suicide. That is, I never think about it seriously enough to be considered ‘contemplation.’ Certainly not more than the average person, I suppose. Just as every heterosexual has the stray homosexual thought, but with such infrequency and frivolity that one can’t seriously self-identify as gay, let alone act upon it. So when somebody steps in front of oncoming traffic to end their life, it astounds me that they would want to reduce all the petty problems in their life into one massive immediate one. Though, to their credit, if they are killed they can’t be said to have any problems at all. But I always think, ‘if they aren’t killed, just seriously injured, they’ve increased their share of problems to work with tenfold.’ No. My most foolish fantasy is that I imagine stepping into oncoming traffic, surviving, and being somebody else’s problem. Maybe somebody attractive.

But I’m not depressed or tortured. That would be just another excuse to disrupt a disturbing train of thought, and I think its best to see the train to its destination, no matter how annoying. The trains are never on time, always end up at the wrong place with the wrong passengers aboard, with squealing wheels sparking against steel at an uncontrollable rate of speed, the driver having jumped off long ago. So far, there’s been no crash, but that’s almost worse.

No artist is tortured any more than any other thinking individual. Torture is what religion and the CIA perpetrate upon dissidents, or what some fetishists do for loads of money. But I repeat myself.

I don’t know what’s more upsetting, that the universe doesn’t care what I do, or that I don’t.

Not that I really have any problems or complaints, mind you. Just the typical ones that we all have, from the starving third-world villager to the multi-billionaire CEO. Wait. Scratch that.

It troubles me very deeply and very often that I am just like everybody else on the planet, and nobody is just like me.