Saturday, July 27, 2013

The geek shall inherit the earth

Each expansion of knowledge in science and mathematics triggers a large number of discrete new technologies. The relentless drive of a portion of humanity to derive competitive advantage from these discrete technologies results in multiple combinations of these technologies (called products/services) aiming to meet the needs and wants of humans. Since humans are limited and their basic needs are limited, till now the belief has been that triggering higher needs and fickle wants will drive the demand for new products/services. But the relationship between the supply and demand of products/services has changed radically. Humanity is now able to meet most of the demand with far too little technology than is available. Capitalism has reached an singularity.

Given that some technologies are privately owned and some are in the public domain, humanity as a whole does not have adequate control over many individual technologies, much less over their combinations. The  relationship of humanity to technology is similar to that between humanity and nature itself. Day-to-day experience of control over nature tends to generate the belief that man is in control over nature, but random natural events and their combinations bring humanity to its knees periodically. Similarly the day-to-day experience with technology based products/services tends to create and sustain the belief that technology is safe and humanity is in control of technology. But random unanticipated events associated with products/services deployed by humans and their combinations can generate unanticipated disasters. Combined with natural phenomena, this can result in even more severe disasters. Humanity is no longer in control of the technology tiger it rides. As reported by MIT Technology Review July/August 2013 Vol. 116 No. 4 ("How Technology is Destroying Jobs"), the ability of ever-cheaper technology to eliminate a large number of jobs in law, financial services , education and medicine with combinations of hardware and software is here and now. It is no longer far away. The mega disaster that will inevitably happen due to this is nearby.

No blue/white collar job is safe. The greed of few to build empires is driving choices at a humanity level which will eliminate the jobs of a large segment of humanity involving producing products/services while continuing to try and sell us more and more products/services at increasing prices. This greed will make the said segment poorer and poorer as its ability to pay for products/services dwindles with the vanishing jobs. The inability of our social sciences to reliably predict the kind of state and society we are headed towards shows our lop-sided priorities and is ominous, since it could be intentional.

In my view, we are headed for a unequal police state controlled by the genetically in-bred Ph.D. folk, where the rights of all citizens may not be equal and the concept of equal human rights may come under threat. In my view, caste-like social systems will result.

There was a typo in understanding and communicating Gods message. The geek shall inherit the earth.

Take good care of yourselves and your loved ones particularly children.


Pratap Tambay
27th July 2013

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