Your Daily Planet

Warning: this blog will not make you a better or happier person.

The environmental impact of today’s proliferation of impulsive, improvident musings on the political, social and economic front by everyone and their dog is hard to overstate. Thriving on Angst, it has globally led to a poisoned and unfulfilled society, expressing its protest and aggression on social media, in national elections or provocative referenda and ever more politically inspired strikes.

This digital pollution in which every factless opinion is voiced is but a sign of a deeper disconnect. Innovation has never been as pervasive, yet progress for all is hard to demonstrate. The way we work has never been as varied and diverse, still unions stubbornly hold on to dogmas from a lost era. Employers scream for well-educated talent, yet gladly robotize their workforce. Governments understand very well that companies do not pay their fair share of tax, yet persevere in slashing corporate tax in a global race to the bottom. In short, our economic model has created over the last 30 years few but formidable winners enjoying unseen wealth while armies of people have been downgraded to a form of dependency on the nation-state.

When humans are lost, they retrench in an ideology or belief in one form or another. As history reminds us, none of them proves to be the answer. While religion cunningly outsources the solution to the after-life, ideologies continue to profess immediate remedies to the woes of the world, trumping Hegel’s ‘Umso schlimmer für die Wirklichkeit’. Humans willfully negate facts to create memes, stories, movements and short-lived dreams that fit their preconceived mindset. Humans believe what they want to believe, not what is true.

Critical thinking and years of experience do not guarantee that out of the many theories currently circling the internet, you will find a fitting solution for your challenge, whether it is personal or work-related.  Am I adding to this digital pollution? Most probably. Is silence the answer? Likely not. Do my words carry meaning in a world where fiction is mistaken for reality? Not really. How then can I help overcome some of humanity’s natural stupidity?

Today I can’t. Even if I were Clark Kent. Tomorrow, who knows?

At first, I did have high hopes for the artificially intelligent robot. Thriving on unlimited data, able to learn from all sources of knowledge, understanding what is true or false, surpassing human’s cognitive capacity and critical thinking by the millions, outperforming humans on all fronts, I had thought I could trust its scientific insight and judgment, sifting through the garbage and mayhem we mortals produce. A better, braver world awaited us.

But then in a split-second doubt overcame me when I considered the intelligent robot one day would read the following: the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe, is that none of it has tried to contact humans. I would have liked to trust the artificially intelligent life-form would have seen the humor of this thought and would have discarded it as irrelevant, as scientifically, our presence on earth is just a blip on the cosmic scale and neighboring galaxies are countless lightyears away, hence making contact impossible. Then it dawned on me that the robot would come to understand that humans are indeed just a blip and that its own life, albeit virtual, in passing data from one robot generation to the next, is potentially endless. Is contacting other intelligent life for AI then just a matter of time? Is the truth out there?

There are things we cannot know. Lies the only real progress in learning to be wrong all alone, as Camus said? Across the universe?

 

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