Botworld: The citizen is no longer an asset

In the months I’ve been contributing posts at Blazing Cat Fur, I’ve been trying to wrap my head around some paradoxes. For example, why would Western governments welcome a large influx of low-skills migrants on the very eve of such jobs being automated?

For example,

Massive robot keeps dock shipshape

Domino’s testing automated pizza delivery

This robot is a better gardener than you

Cavuto warns minimum wage activist that her job could be replaced by robots (Hello? You don’t say! )

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The most reasonable conclusion, for now, is to assume that hundreds of millions of people are groping toward facts that we apprehend correctly but lack the words to explain.

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Now, of course, there will be funny stories about the robot that rammed the pizza into the watchdog’s jaws (Gone viral!!!).

Sure. They used to say that about computers and the internet. They used to say it about Gutenberg’s first printing press and before that the wheel… Probably, before that, the javelin…

No, machines won’t think. (More on that later.) But most people don’t need to think most of the time to do most jobs. And that is what counts.

Another possibly related puzzle is, why do the German and Scandinavian governments cover up the crimes against citizens committed by migrants whom they took in out of compassion?

Please, it’s not that these governments are populated by lofty-minded people. They are populated by people who lack a normal sense of responsibility for the citizens who gave them the benefits they enjoy, to whom they owe a duty.

It’s as if a violent sex abuser on parole beat up our neighbour’s daughter—and her father astonished us by being principally concerned for the welfare of the thug.

In the past, few human beings would have considered that even normal, let alone admirable.

So, I figure, some key change in Western societies must be at work. Here is my first stab at it:

There are thousands of individual instances of this same basic story: Western governments act as though their own citizens don’t matter. Media help them. The public, slightly dazed, goes along.

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But what if most Westerners are, on the whole, long-lived dependents? That would at least explain the absence of official concern about migrancy on the eve of automation. It would also explain absence of official outrage against migrants who abuse hospitality by attacking citizens.

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The most reasonable conclusion, for now, is to assume that hundreds of millions of people are groping toward facts that we apprehend correctly but lack the words to explain.

What if underpaid third world or migrant labour and ‘bots can do most jobs that used to be done by our neighbours and ourselves? How will that change the political and social scene?

We have some answers coming in. One of them is a reduced concern for citizens as opposed to just anyone who is an approved source of “virtue points” among a global elite.

Consider history: If Hatshepsut or Good Queen Bess or Brian Boru heard that migrants were raping and murdering subjects, what would they think? They would think they better put a stop to that, if only because their subjects—the people who loyally farmed, mined, cooked, cleaned, fought wars, and such—were their source of wealth and power.

But what if most Westerners are, on the whole, long-lived dependents?

That would at least explain the absence of official concern about migrancy on the eve of automation. It would also explain absence of official outrage against migrants who abuse hospitality by attacking citizens.

It’s not that people sit around discussing this. It’s more like they begin to act as if it were true.

There may be some other explanation. I’d be happy to hear it. I want to flesh this idea out a little more later, and would welcome feedback.

The Animal (who will soon be back in the non-digital universe) tells me that former mainstream media won’t discuss these topics honestly because it simply is not in their interests to do so. Their interests lie in becoming the official media of new permanent progressive governments.  Close to the Inner Party, I expect.

See also: Trying to understand the Trump candidacy Part 4: Globalization means, among other things, a levelling of the expectations for government.

and

Brave New World vs. 1984: Godzilla vs. King Kong

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  • “There are thousands of individual instances of this same basic story: Western governments act as though their own citizens don’t matter. Media help them. The public, slightly dazed, goes along.”

    We see the same pattern in Canada. Pitchfork time will come I suspect.

    • Maggat

      And, the sooner the better. I want to be in on it.

  • Exile1981

    The wife and me were discussing this yesterday.

  • john s

    Western governments havent changed all the much I think. We have fought wars, or refused to fight them, made economic and foreign policies, and established and maintained a society where those in power reap the benefits and create dynasties. All this stuff has worked as far as creating nations and empires in the past.
    The problem I think is that the propaganda is wearing thin. We are waking up and seeing our betters for what they are. Certainly this isn’t a historic first, but it is a first for us. I was raised believing that our government was of us and for us. I learned a long time ago that this was not so (a trudeau will do that to you when your dad isn’t afraid of talking politics). Politicians are what they are. What they were. All the way back to the days of kings and queens and probably back to the pharoahs and beyond. They rule for themselves, they manage the rest of us with the goal of enriching themselves and staying in power.
    There have been exceptions, sure buy we have made the mistake of buying into the propaganda that these decent men are the norm.

  • dance…dancetotheradio

    It’s absolutely confounding.
    The elites think they are insulated from the consequences of their actions.
    They aren’t.

    • Clausewitz

      I only used to wear my “Eat the Rich” T-shirt for Punk gigs with the band, but lately I’ve been wearing it more and more just tooling around the neighbourhood.

      • dance…dancetotheradio

        I want to buy a don’t blame me I voted Conservative t-shirt.
        And a White Riot one, too.

  • H

    I agree that governments and the small group of empowered individuals in our societies don’t see the common people (defining this precisely might be a tad sticky, I suppose) as important. They don’t need us, per se, so they don’t care about us (and, of course, they don’t perceive themselves to be a part of the people – though they probably wouldn’t put it precisely that way!).

    Anyway, that said, two points (I’ll try to be brief): If they did find that they needed us as (say) an army – perhaps to protect themselves against those very immigrants that they have so vigorously imported – and no robot army was yet available to them, they would probably (temporarily) be willing to negotiate with the citizenry. But at present, we don’t really have any leverage with them (short of using brute force against them, I suppose).

    The other thing is, I fail to see why they are championing mass immigration: they don’t have any more use for these immigrants (do they?) than they have for the native population, so why bring them in? It’s destabilizes society, so perhaps that is a possible explanation, and it weakens indigenous groups by diluting them, groups which could, in theory, oppose the elite, so I suppose that’s a possibility. But personally, I don’t find these answers satisfactory. Why mass muslim immigration?

    • V10_Rob

      “I fail to see why they are championing mass immigration…”

      Cheap nannies and gardeners.

      “Why mass muslim immigration?”

      They’ve seriously miscalculated the threat, and their ability to remain isolated from that threat.

  • Dana Garcia

    The automation industry has numerous writers cranking out the message that new jobs are being created (true), but they never compare the numbers of older-style jobs lost to new tech jobs created.

    It’s a huge societal change that will affect everyone, but the media doesn’t cover it adequately. They should — computer programs are writing basic news stories, so journalists will get the same pink slips as everyone else.

    • The basic reason computer program are writing those stories is that most of it is not in any meaningful sense news. Today’s former mainstream media cannot afford to discuss real news.

  • Waffle

    Why import low-skilled migrants — legal or otherwise — when we are well on our way to the almost total robotization of our “advanced’ societies? Simple answer: so that the powers-that-be/the elites can maintain themselves in power and reap its material benefits.

    We are way past the tipping point to do anything constructive about it. To try to turn the tables, to put a stopper in the dyke — fuggedaboutit. Way too late. The whole insane scenario will just have to take its course.

    I guess this is what Herman Khan had in mind when he wrote his little book, “Thinking about the Unthinkable” when the world faced a nuclear holocaust. It may well come to that, but the chaos that will be and is being wreaked on society is just as horrific. Yesterday is gone. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? I know this sounds selfish, but all one can do is protect oneself and one’s family as best you can. If that means one less Timmy’s, so be it.