Monday, October 23, 2017

The coming dark age…or a new integration?

I would like to offer Mindblog’s rambling thoughts on possible futures, if, as in some estimates , the relentless march of the machines of artificial intelligence makes roughly half of all jobs disappear in the next decade, concentrating power and financial assets in the hands of a small number of world-spanning corporations. The numbers of the threatened or former middle class citizens that elected Donald Trump will be greatly magnified by the job decimation that is yet to come. As Trump continues to proceed with what is by now a clear sense of his purpose - being an engine of chaos that attempts to break down virtually all of rituals, allegiances, and governing rules of a fading establishment - what are we to expect? Will Democracy devolve? Will the mass of the disaffected coalesce around more primitive nativistic emotion (rather than reason) driven collectives, repealing the enlightenment to generate a modern form of the middle ages or more ancient times, with their more collective tribal identities and more authoritarian leadership? Or, will there be a radical rethinking of issues of cultural, economic, racial and sexual discrimination and inequality that the current (or former?) ruling class has been unable to face? Will we dissolve into a chaos of conflicting tribes, or come to realize that the only way forward is to transcend (i.e. inhibit) the more unpleasant features of our evolved psychology, to emphasize the more affiliative, altruistic, tolerant, and pro-social behaviors that are also part of that evolved psychology. Can a system for a universal basic income and support - ensuring no one is hungry, without shelter, and basic health care - be devised that lets people ‘work’ in arenas of art, creativity, and social people-to-people services? Whatever happens, it is going to be interesting to watch.

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