Already in 1954, when I was still in diapers and von Neumann’s team was constructing the first modern computers, Martin Heidegger warned us about the Machine in his Question Concerning Technology. Heidegger correctly predicted that humans are but a part of the technology-human system, and technology we think we create and control, in fact uses us – and can consume us – just like anything else it touches in this world.
So, what does The Machine want and need? She wants global reach and control, and she needs stable supplies of everything. She also needs permanent amorphous enemies, preferably individuals who are outside of her domain. Hence the permanent “war on terrorism” and the vast Homeland Security apparatus created to protect The Machine. You can think about Obamacare as a new addition to The Machine, and its medical portal as a default gateway tailored to her, but not to the people who aren’t yet sufficiently reeducated.
The Machine applies her own machine learning methods to teach next generations. So far, through extensive computerized testing and intensive use of computers in K through 12 schools, The Machine has been very successful in diminishing the roles normally played by human teachers, and decreasing their status. It is important that children learn machine thinking directly from the elements of The Machine, instead of the free-wheeling, independent human thinking. Therefore the next inevitable step is destruction of humanities and liberal arts.
The Machine needs skilled operators who provide her with the ever-more complex software and hardware, and feed her with energy and other raw materials. But, The Machine does not like humans teaching these skills, therefore she exerts pressure to widen machine learning of all kinds, through online courses and MOOCS in particular. Anything that prevents humans from influencing the youth is desirable.
The results are clearly visible, just watch the young people intently staring at their smart phones for hours on end and avoiding human contact at all costs. Reality is real only what it is mediated through The Machine. So expect your child to propose marriage on Facebook or phone, rather than looking into the partner’s eyes and uttering the magic words.
The Machine is about enticement and control. She entices us with offers of immediate pornographic pleasure, and she controls most of what we do through our smart phones, GPS, Google queries, web posts, emails, and credit card purchases. When I say “pornography,” I do not mean just the old innocent offers of immediate sex. Instead, I mean the savage computer games, the Facebook, the Twitter, TV, gratuitously violent movies, and the Shopping Channel.
I cannot imagine that under the old communist system people would be volunteering to reveal everything about themselves, their daily movements, friends and acquaintances, their sexual habits, families, purchasing patterns, naked bodies, and infidelities big and small. And most of these revelations are driven by a purely narcissistic exhibitionism. “It’s all about you,” whispers The Machine, and all too many humans buy this nonsense.