cyborgBarbara H. Peterson

Farm Wars

Humans are so inconvenient. They need wages, breaks, food, shelter, room to move, air to breathe, and time off. How much easier to just eliminate all of those pesky time-wasting things and replace humans with machines? Or, how about merging humans with machines so that we can create what we want? But when we remove our humanity from the equation, is what remains truly human?

We can replace this part and that part, and still maintain our humanity, but when we start tinkering with DNA, attempting to download our brain processes onto a chip and rearrange what is there to create a “better human,” we create something that no longer bears the essence of humanity.

Human + Human = Human

Machine + Machine = Machine

Human + Machine = Mechanized Hybrid

It’s simple genetics, really. The less humanity that is present, the less human traits the entity possesses. And at what point does humanity become so negligible that the machine takes over completely?

In the classic scifi series Star Trek, Mr. Spock, half human half Vulcan, was trying to become more human. He was trying to overcome his Vulcan tendencies towards robotic actions with no feelings, no empathy, and total machine-like logic. Today, we are encouraged to become more like Mr. Spock’s Vulcan ancestors – without feeling, emotion, or any trace of humanity. And all for the sake of convenience.

We see this all around us as we toil day in and day out in order to make a buck and live the non-existent American Dream. A fantasy conjured up by the corporate kings that would control our every thought, act, and movement. They want machines. We want machines. We strive to be machines, and feel that we cannot live without them. We have grown to be completely dependent on the tools developed to make us more ‘independent.’

We develop machines to make our lives easier. They are tools to be used by those who made them. But as we look around, we can clearly see that machines are rapidly taking over our everyday lives and making our decisions for us. Clerks at the local store  used to dispense change by going into the register and counting it out to us. Now, the machines to the counting. The clerk touches a computer-based machine and the machine tells him/her what change to give. When asked to do this manually, most are unable. You will get a blank stare because the thought never crossed his/her mind to actually count. That is not a requirement. We are quickly descending into a society in which humanity is becoming irrelevant and machines dominant. We are becoming so dependent on them that even simple mathematics escapes us.

We walk around glued to our cellphones playing insidious games such as Pokemon, and don’t even realize the addiction. I walked past someone the other day who was doing just that, and said: “You know that’s addicting, don’t you?” He said: “Yes, but so is breathing and eating.” How degenerate have we become that we equate the necessary acts of breathing and eating with playing a game on a cellphone and never once looking up to see the sky, the birds, or the clouds? Delving deeper and deeper into a virtual reality. And we do this willingly.

Instead of strengthening us, our addiction to machines is draining us. The life force is literally being sucked out of us leaving an empty shell to dry up and blow away in the wind. We run to and fro in a daily grind, never getting anywhere because we are trapped in a reality that does not truly exist. A manufactured reality designed to eat us up and spit us out for the profit of a few. Another cog in the machine. CAFO people, if you will.

No feelings, no empathy, no remorse; machines are natural psychopaths. As we become more machine oriented, is psychopathy destined to be the norm? Do we place so little value on humanity that we are willing to sacrifice it for convenience? Will we eventually become irrelevant and relegated to the archives of history with machines taking over and replacing us? Are we mechanizing ourselves to extinction? Machines don’t have a spirit. A soul. They cannot be human no matter how advanced they get. They simply do not have that capacity. They are not capable of discretionary decision making. While they can be useful, the essence of humanity lies in its imperfections and the ability to change at will.

So the question is:

Will our quest for a more machine-like human eventually erase all that is human leaving only the machines to stand as a rusting testimony to our desire to be more ‘perfect’ and machine-like in our actions? When will we come to understand that perfection does not lie in the ability to do the same thing time after time, never changing, without flaw like a machine, but in the very things that we think of as imperfections? Might our imperfections actually be our strengths? Uniformity is only perfection in a machine, not a human. Our differences make us unique. When we attempt to erase that uniqueness we lose our humanity. We lose our strength as a species.  We lose the ability to adapt, change and grow.

To maintain our humanity we must break free from the mechanized mold that we are being squeezed into and instead of allowing machines to rule us and striving to be more like them, relegate them to what they were meant to be – tools. Nothing more. And learn to celebrate our uniqueness, not try to eradicate it.

©2016 Barbara H. Peterson

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11 Responses to “When Machines Make Our Decisions”

  1. tony assassin says:

    Creating a beer human society would bring down cases of heart disease not a robot.. It looks like you have no compassion already so it may be that you are unable to put it all together coherently. Are you so unhappy at being a free-willed human that you would help push humanity to extinction? I am sorry but your comments sadden every true human that wants life and love and the experience of existence as a biological entity. And let’s get this straight why do you think that you or your children will be invited into the elites ‘Brave New World? The reason that the human race has been manipulated along this path is simply to make a situation that does not need you or me, wake up please! The ‘Transhumanist’ lie is that there vision of a technocratic world will free all of us but that is just not true, ask the people who already have no jobs because a robot took it and think of the millions that will also have no jobs. The Transhuman Agenda is to eventually free an elite from their bodies giving them immortality but once again why do you think that you will be invited to the party? You won’t! Oh! And by the way ask Ray Kurzweil if I’m right, yours Tony

  2. Not fear mongering. Just not accepting the takeover of humanity by machines. They are tools, nothing more and the extent to which they are becoming an unhealthy obsession is truly appalling. Brain on a chip? No thank you. Discretionary decision making? Seriously? Capable of independent thought? Surely you jest. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/discretionary

  3. Jim says:

    “They are not capable of discretionary decision making.”

    This is just not true. Machines can sometimes make crucial decisions with much better accuracy than humans. Just because they are not conscious does not mean that they are incapable of making discretionary decisions. The fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence are becoming more and more in-depth and complex, and it’s a GOOD thing! Just as an example, using very large data sets, there are algorithms that can “learn” how to recognize heart disease in humans. This is such a benefit for humans. A.I. and machine learning have so much potential.

    And what exactly is wrong with cashiers no longer having to count change? Not to be offensive, but being a cashier is not really a career. It’s more of a part-time job that people get to gain experience and earn a little cash. But let’s face it, cashiers can easily be replaced by machines and are becoming so more and more often. This is also a GOOD thing. Why? Because the more “mindless” jobs that get taken over by machines, the more time humans get to express their creativity in new ways rather than having to do the same task over and over for hours and hours.

    We should be encouraging children AND adults to learn more about technology. It is freeing us, not enslaving us. It’s opening up new types of communication. It’s freeing up more time for creativity. It’s helping us recognize hard to detect diseases. It’s helping us predict weather patterns. It’s helping us make the most efficient logistic plans we can make.

    This fear mongering of technology does not help us progress. It slows us down. Kids should want to learn how to program and how to build machines. Not be scared of it. We’re not going to upload our brains onto a chip and cease to exist as humans. We’re going to expand our consciousness by building new and exciting machines. Machines and that free us and allow us to live in peace.

  4. tony assassin says:

    Over the last twenty years or more I have researched deeply into the human situation and I discovered a millennia old hidden agenda to evolve the human race into something that is not human (I have a book being published in the near future!) and Barbara’s article is on point. The occultists say that humanity has seven evolutionary steps to be taken and that we are the fifth of those steps. The sixth step is to be ‘androgynous and have no free will’ and if we open our eyes we will see that step in the making. In the ‘new world’ pseudo-humans are to be allowed to live only if they are needed as everything else will be automated (including us it appears). The questions that we should be asking is how many pseudo-humans will be needed? Certainly not seven billion that’s for sure! Pokemon and other digital trinkets are to program our acceptance of a future non would vote for if they knew the truth. I’m glad Barbara has her eyes open and hopefully her writings will open many more peoples eyes, yours Tony!!!

  5. Good one, George! Love it!

  6. George H says:

    As a spiritual (rather than actual) Luddite, I remember the iceman, with large tongs, bringing a 25 lb block of ice up to our 2nd floor flat in San Francisco in 1950, for our “icebox,” not refrigerator, as they’re called today, and my mother had a washing machine with (omg) a hand wringer attached on top. These were the precursurs of the modern machines that we find so useful today, so of course I don’t eschew the conveniences of these modern day machines, but I don’t embrace the notion of becoming one either. Nor do I share the enthusiasm of certain markedly demented futurist who desire to “upload” their “consciousness” into supercomputers to become “all knowing” immortal robotic machines. Why is human existence so anathema to these zealots? Is it because they reject the creator and the creation, or do they, in their supreme hubris, wish to become the creator, and “improve” upon the creation, with their modern day Erector sets. There seems to be a loathing of humanity in certain circles today, that embraces the notion of killing off 5 or 6 billion of us human beings. So is this transhumanist movement just a trial balloon sent up to test the waters for the Great Culling, or are we witnessing a genuine mental disorder from these newly minted robotophiles. So, in order to better understand and analyse this new affliction, I think the DSM should add a new entry into their widely used manual of mental disorders, to better understand (and hopefully aleviate) this recently emerging type of delusion, that might aptly be termed MISANTHROPIC ROBOTOPHILIA.

  7. Abe says:

    You ROCK Barb!!! Good move! I still think it’s funny as hell. Sad, but it does say it all!

  8. I just grabbed the cafopeople.com domain ;)

  9. Abe says:

    CAFO People! I love that line Barb!! You ought to patent that as a web site. I googooed it, and nothing came up.

    I’ve heard of Nano Smart Dust. Leave it DARPA and MK-Ultra. This dust gets into your brain, and make you (dare I say) programmable!

    When we were kids we could do fairly complexed math in our heads. Now they use calculators in school.

    Even in my job, instead of giving lengths, we give a length of how much to take off on a sheet of sheetrock. Us pros would cut it with a tape measure and a knife, in stead of mark it, get a T square and cut it.I could do 64 inches accurately. That was one trick that made it possible for my partners and I to consistently do over a 100 sheets a day.

    The store is always a hoot. When I worked a register they didn’t have amount tendered to do change. But that was in the olden days. If your total came to $16.27, and you give the cashier $21.27, in my days you knew they wanted a $5.00 for change. Today you get a stupid look.

    Then you have every one gazed at there phone walking around totally unaware of there surroundings. The video below wasn’t the one I was looking for, but it was the exact scenario, other than a street instead of a parking lot. This girl in China was crossing the street with her cell phone, walks into a moving truck, and is knocked under another truck coming the other way. It is graphic, so be warned. Just google stupid person on a phone on screwtube and you get pages and pages. I’m sure with Peek-a-boo Go, that list will get longer faster.

    Many of us have seen the dumbing down of the human specie for a long time now. Like flashing lights and funny noises make people go stupid. I wonder if that’s why the got rid of the old pinball machines. They actually taught you to concentrate past all the flashing lights and noises.

    Woman killed by truck while crossing street, using mobile phone

  10. jhpace1 says:

    Barbara,

    People are turning to machines because of the inadequacy of real life, because we have been dumbed down since the Industrial Age. We have become mindless workers in machine-run societies because that is what our rulers want – not growing competitors to their own lifestyles. Rampant divorce, no time to rear children so they become hedonists, selfish parents, greedy siblings and neighbors: who wants the life that must be lived by the 99%?

    I use the “bag and check out yourself” machines at Wal-Mart because I got tired of being overcharged by the living cashiers who think ten items make a dozen, or double-swipe items “by accident”. I welcome robot-made fast-food burgers so I don’t have to worry about the cooks spitting in my food or making it the wrong way because they’re not getting $15/hour. I don’t have the time to make it myself at home, taking over an hour just to get a hamburger. But neither can I depend upon the integrity and honesty of my fellow man.

    Try being an American in any other country in the world on vacation (or the Army, as I was) and you’ll either get a thick skin against the hawkers, scammers, and demanding poor or you’ll be taken as a simpleton.

    I don’t agree with Internet addiction to games like Pokemon Go or games done in such 3D and vivid colors that they are better than reality, but this is just escapism. We were supposed to be living on the Moon and Mars by 2010. Not squabbling over trivialities while the ultra-rich prepare to fleece the sheep one more time.

    Much like using all kinds of substances in athletics to get a ten-second advantage over the competition, robots will make our lives easier – and harder. But we choose, even if insurance companies and advertisers and red-light cameras and oppressive governments do their best to automate us.