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Our Flying Cars Are All Empty: Fragments of Dystopia June 4, 2012

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anti-imperialism, Technology, The Singularity, Transhumanism.
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If a Hollywood film featured a villainous King ordering lethal attacks on rescuers, funerals and mourners — those medically attending to or grieving his initial victims — any decent audience member would, by design, seethe with contempt for such an inhumane tyrant. But this is the standard policy and practice under President Obama and it continues through today. – Glenn Greenwald

In this way – if in few others – the twenty-first century delivers on its promises. Remote-controlled but significantly robotic drones annihilate enemies of the state with aptly named Hellfire missiles from thousands of feet away. The president of the United States literally has a kill list that includes the country’s citizens. The story would have made a solid science fiction a few decades ago; now it’s a dreary daily reality.

The advances in artificial intelligence and material science transhumanists and especially Singularitarians pine after portend the refinement and expansion of governmental violence and coercion. Proliferating sensors coupled with AI data processing will make hiding from drones progressively more and more difficult. Miniaturization will lead to tiny hunter-killers like the bionic hornet Israeli military scientists are/were researching. At present, despite the overwhelming destructive power of the U.S. war machine, we in the resistance still have the limitations of bureaucratic systems as well as basic human equality on our side. The gears of government grind forward slowly and laboriously. Surveillance networks stand incomplete, and office denizens with contemporary computers can only interpret so much information. Some are lazy; some screw up. H+ technologies in the hands of the bosses threaten to attenuate these failings and exponentially widen the ability gap between those who have and those who ain’t got.

If we transhumanists want to be a positive force in the world, we must unequivocally oppose the technological enhancement of empire and demand the popular distribution of innovations. Anonymous constitutes the iconic example of digital technology turned against the hegemonic alliance of state and capital that created it. The revolutionary application of the law of accelerating returns indeed involves ceaseless campaigns of disruption against the government and business. We need to claim the cutting edge of technology and wield it for transformation, both to dismantle the existing order and construct communities of mutual aid in the spaces we hollow out. As Donna Haraway writes about cyborgs, even radical transhumanists are the bastard children of militarism and patriarchal capitalism, but we can be unfaithful to our fathers.

I conclude with poem I wrote back in 2007 that seems remarkably pertinent:

Tremble and quake
O humbled world
for the mighty mechanized
Behemoth has been roused
to ire

Orbiting eyes survey endless sands
lidless in their unwavering devotion
The power rest in miser’s hands
cloistered in dusty board rooms
and clandestine meetings
Halls where the ghost of Nixon
still haunts
and Kennedy’s specter wails
Past conquerors look on in
vicarious glee, chuckling to
one another
This was their dream
Perfect panopticon
with soulless sentries
at mouse-click command
Foes and their families
left in fiery ruin

The middle man as been eliminated
the machine meets out murder
directly

Struck down by the system
via a system of wires
taut titanium trumpets
and Mephisto’s fires

Automated assassins
rule the skies
now

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