consumerism

Neuro-Hacking the Mass Mind (II)

Conférence Neuro-Pirates, Neuro-Esclaves partie 1 : Intervention de Lucien Cerise (Neuro-Hackers Conference – Neuro-Slaves Part I: A Talk by Lucien Cerise)


Continuing our exploration of Lucien Cerise’s collection of essays entitled Neuro-Hackers: Reflections on Social Engineering (2016) (Neuro-Pirates Reflexions Sur L’Ingenierie Sociale) published by Kontre Kulture.

Neuro-Hackers provides an overview of a neurological “hacking” that has been taking place in the modern age and imposed upon global populations. It seeks a “maximum efficacy” in the elimination of the seeds of revolt and if such a revolutions manifest they are to be of the Establishment’s choosing – not ours. More alarmingly, since we are no more than cattle or sheep for these self-elected Masters, it is of the utmost importance to their objectives that the collective herd does not awaken to its own power. It seems at the end of every route to true freedom they have prepared for it, anticipated it and created avenues by which we will be “entertained.”

As Cerise states:

In our age of increasing labour automation the master no longer depends on his slave for production and can therefore begin to physically suppress him. But in order not to provoke a reaction, he must do so stealthily, without striking it him thus, by stages plunging him into a globally anxiogenic, pathogenic, depressing and morbid environment where everything is polluted and toxic to the body and mind, from ambient chemical molecules to the ideas and representations disseminated in public opinion. Thus it is that a whole population is murdered by a small fire without being aware of it, as in the manner of the “boiled frog.” * [1]

In other words, the real battle is not external but through our very minds and the plasticity of our brain and epigenetic inheritance. Hence, the Elite seek to extinguish the very spark of a mental condition that might give rise to a genuine individual and collective awakening. The author mentions the role of the neuro-hackers is to induce a collective suicide and the suppression of creativity through such mental illness so that tribalism is invoked and maintained as camouflage for globalist authorities. Further, he has reminded us of a strata of three social engineering applications currently at play in Western societies in particular, each of which emboldens the other. As an illustration to this idea, we might liken this to the stages required for the erection of a prison for the mind: the ground work or foundation is laid, the building blocks or façade erected and finally the roof under which societies are housed is fixed in place, a container for the mind to which we are all subject.

(more…)

Technocracy IX: Nano-Science (1)

Ted: I don’t like it here. I don’t know what’s going on. We’re both stumbling around together in this unformed world whose rules and objectives are largely unknown, seemingly undecipherable or even possibly non-existent, always on the verge of being killed by forces we don’t understand!

Allegra: That sounds like my game, all right.

Ted: It sounds like a game that’s not gonna be easy to market.

Allegra: But it’s a game everybody is already playing.

Existenz


The above quote is taken from the 1999 film Existenz by Canadian director David Cronenberg who has been fascinated by the interaction between man and machine for much of his career. In the film, we are introduced to a near-future scenario in which virtual reality games interface directly with the body via “game pods” which have replaced electronic consoles. The pods are attached to “bio-ports”, which have been inserted in the players’ spines, through an umbilical cord of bio-cybernetic flesh. Gaming companies Antenna Research and Cortical Systematics, compete against each other. A resistance group made up of “realists” are fighting to prevent the “deforming” of reality by such technology.Though seemingly an enjoyable fantasy, it is fast becoming close to reality.

Cronenberg’s film touches on many issues associated with the hugely popular world of virtual reality and the move towards integrating the human body with computer circuitry, in this case, as an entertainment tool. This hyper-realistic world seems to provide a seductive alternative from a society which is failing people through a lack of values and the emotional and spiritual nourishment it sorely needs. The integration of synthetic environment modelling, biotechnology, genetic engineering, cognitive technology, neuroscience and SMART visions are all being applied to the future of military and law enforcement under the guiding hand of Pathocratic rule.

And what of nanotechnology and its place in this saw-see between the dark and light of humanity’s destiny?

One of the most exciting, potentially beneficial forms of technology which underlies much of the current practical advances in cutting-edge science is nanotechnology or the manipulation of physical, chemical and biological properties of matter at an atomic and molecular scale. Many scientists believe nanoscience on its own, potentially heralds a change on the scale of the Industrial Revolution.

The United Kingdom’s Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IME) produced a report in early 2015 titled: Nanotechnology: The Societal Impact of The Invisible which gave a useful summary of the benefits, risks and public concerns, though with a subtle bias in favour of nanotech overall. According to the IME report there is a distinction to made between the science and technology of this field.

“The field of nanoscience grew out of the technological advancements brought about by the tunnelling microscope, enabling scientists to begin to understand and characterise the nature of materials at the atomic level. Conversely, nanotechnology in its purest sense is the design and application of functional systems at the molecular level to create usable structures and devices”.

Nanomaterials are present both in Nature and in synthetic production, the latter essentially attempting to improve on what already exists in the natural world. These organic and in-organic structures include viruses, wax crystals on leaves, Spider silk, the bottom of gecko feet, Butterfly wings, cement, scales, paper, corals, colloids (milk and blood) skin, feathers, horns and hair, clays, opals, pigments and smoke.

Nanotechnology is apparently much more than the “very small” with precise nano-scale and recognised by what is called an  SI prefix for one billionth (n) or 10-9 (0.000000001). Some examples follow:

image

Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution: 27th Report, Novel Materials in the
Environment: The case of nanotechnology, 2008.

What makes nanoscience so compelling, even magical, is the capacity to buck the rules of Newtonian physics, where materials behave in accordance to quantum laws. This is due to the fact that the properties of materials change at the nanoscale, with a percentage of the atoms involved taking a highly significant role in the process of malleable change. The IME report describes it in the following way:

As the size reduces so the physical properties e.g. the melting/boiling point, conductivity fluorescence, magnetic permeability, absorption rates, strength and chemical reactivity begin to change; properties that the very same substances may not exhibit at the micro or macro scales. Newtonian physics no longer applies and the material behaves according to the laws of quantum physics. Nanomaterials are closer in size to atoms and molecules than they are to bulk materials, and due to this ‘smallness’, electromagnetic forces become more dominant than gravitational ones. Typically, a material or particle is referred to as ‘nano’ when it is 1–100nm in size. However the quantum effects generally occur around the 1–30nm range. At these scales it is necessary to use highly specialised microscopes, known as scanning tunnelling microscopes (STMs) which were developed in the early 1980s.

Which brings us to the process of building miniature structures at the micrometre scale, otherwise known as “microfabrication” which now extends into the nanosphere. This process obviously uses ultra-sophisticated, precision engineering techniques and high level design to carry out such manipulations. An example of how advanced such microfabrication has become hails from a 2014  German/Israeli team of engineers and their creation of a nanoscale ‘robot.’ According to the IME report, It: “…has has the potential to be small enough to manoeuvre inside the human body and possibly inside human cells.” They state further:

The robot has a tiny screw-shaped propeller that can move in a gel-like fluid, mimicking the environment inside a living organism. The filament that makes up the propeller is made of silica and nickel and is only 70nm in diameter; the entirepropeller is 400nm long, making it 100 times smaller than a human blood cell. It is so small,that its motion can be affected by the motion of nearby molecules (known as Brownian motion). The scientists were able to control the motion of the propellers using a relatively weak rotating magnetic field.

So this gives you some idea of the size we are talking about here. Nanotechnology is highly adaptable and takes four main  forms all of which are currently in commerical use.

The IME report lists these as:

    •  C60/Fullerenes – Fullerenes[20], named after Buckminster Fuller, the architect who pioneered the geodesic dome, are groupings of 60 carbon molecules often written as C60 and nicknamed buckyballs. Fullerenes are known for their strength and lightness; for example, when compressed to 70% of their original size, they become twice as hard as diamonds.
    • Carbon Nanotubes – Carbon nanotubes were first developed in 1991 and have an array of fascinating electronic, magnetic and mechanical properties; conducting heat and electricity far better than copper. They are at least 100 times stronger than steel, but only one sixth as dense.
    • Nanoparticles – Nanoparticles can be metallic, mineral, polymer-based or a combination of materials. The most common are titanium dioxide, zinc oxide and nanosilver. They have multiple uses: as catalysts, drug delivery mechanisms, dyes, sunscreens and filters.
    • Nanowires – Nanowires are extremely narrow threads (less than 50nm wide) and have the potential to be used in electronic devices. While they are still being developed, the hope is that they could enable further miniaturisation of electronic chips.

The latest hot topic in nanotech is molecular self assembly or self-assembled nanostructures. Using concepts of supramolecular chemistry, and molecular recognition these are brought together to induce single-molecule components to automatically arrange themselves into some useful conformation. In other words, this is the process by which molecules construct themselves into natural structures without external manipulation. Since molecules naturally bond at this level certain molecules are introduced to trigger particular outcomes. It is this automation that is the bedrock of nanotechnology. Research and Development is currently receiving millions of dollars to create self-assembly machines so that: “… in the near future, mass production self-assembly systems will be developed which would allow the mass assembly of electrical interconnections on semiconductor chips in large quantities with high speed and high precision.”

nanoflower

‘Nano Flower,’ a 3-D nanostructure grown by controlled nucleation of silicon carbide. (photomicrograph taken by Ghim Wei Ho, a Ph.D). Source: – redOrbit.com

In plain language, it means nanostructures will self-assemble and replicate under an autonomous yet regulated process, achieving more and more sophistication from each generational synthetic platform.

For now, business is booming with 670 nanotech companies in Europe and funded nanotechnology initiatives developing in countries such as Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Globally there are more than 2,000 firms dealing in the production of nano materials and/or research and development. Employment in nanotechnology increases year by year with an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 people in Europe  and over 2 million in the USA. The worldwide prediction of those employed in nanotech by the year 2020 is said to be 10 million. Public funding around the world involves large sums with:

“… total global funding reaching approx $10bn in 2011 (equivalent to c7.7bn). According to Observatory Nano[29], China surpassed the USA in 2011 for the first time, taking the top position as the biggest investor in nanotechnology research with public funding of c1.8bn. Russia and the USA have almost same level of funding (c1.6 and c1.44bn respectively) with Germany, France and the UK the biggest EU investors. The total public funding in the EU (including that from the Seventh Framework Programme) rose to c2bn in 2011, corresponding to approx 25% of the global total.”

A BCC Market Research report values the global market for nanotechnology products at $26 billion in 2014 with and estimate of about $64.2 billion by 2019. This is a “ compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.8% from 2014 to 2019.”

1417160533_NAN031F-0

Global Nanotech Market 2013-2019 ($ Millions) Source: www.bccresearch.com/

Despite the IME report findings revealing what the public already knew (intense distrust) and even though nanotechnology has been in the public domain for over 40 years with future profits and investments increasing annually, the  industry and its science is: “…failing to engage with society in an open and clear way and governments continue to lack impetus in committing to international regulation.” Yet, the proliferation of nano-products has been enormous during the past decade. This is just a small sample:

• Engine oil • Car wax • Catalysts to improve fuel consumption • Anti-bacterial fabrics • Tyres • Air and oil filters • Anti-scratch finishes • Air purifiers Clothing and Textiles • Anti-bacterial and anti-odour clothing • UV-resistant and protective clothing • Wrinkle and stain-resistant apparel • Flame-retardant fabrics Electronics • Displays electronics • Data memory • Anti-bacterial and antistatic coatings on keyboards, mouses, cell phones • Batteries • Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLED) and LEDs • DVD coatings • Computer processors and chips • MP3 players • Xboxes and PlayStations Cosmetics • Skin cleansers • Lipstick, mascara, make-up foundations • Make-up removal • Sunscreens • Skin creams and moisturisers Food and Additives • Nutritional supplements • Anti-bacterial utensils • Plastic wrap • Energy drinks • Cleaning products • Fabric softeners • Food storage containers • Cutting boards • Nano-tea, chocolate shakes, canola active oil Household • Anti-bacterial coatings in appliances • Irons, vacuums • Self-cleaning glass • Filters • Anti-bacterial furniture and mattresses • Air purifiers • Anti-bacterial, UV-resistant paints • Solar cells • Disinfectant sprays Sports Equipment • Tennis rackets and balls • Hockey sticks • Ski wax • Wet suits • Anti-fogging coatings • Golf balls and clubs • Baseball bats • Skis and snowboards • Bicycle parts Personal Care/Health • Contact lenses • Hearing aids • Cellulite treatment • Shampoos, hair gels • Insect repellents • Man-made skin • Home pregnancy tests • Body wash • Toothpaste • Deodorants • Anti-bacterial creams • Bandages • Drug delivery patches • Anti-bacterial baby pacifiers, mugs and bottles • Anti-bacterial stuffed toys • Stain-resistant plush toys

How many people are aware that they are already using and ingesting products which contain nano-materials? Very few. In the cosmetics sector would you mind if you were slathering your face with nano-materials? According to the report most people are ambivalent but not in outright opposition, even though the same polling stats showed that knowledge of nanoscience and technology was very low.

The Cancer Research industry has also apparently leapt at the chance to explore nanotech, continuing to ignore substantial alternative fields of research in diet, nutrition and other modalities which have presented consistent results in tackling cancer. The Cancer research industry has a lot of money riding behind it and only one way, reductionist science is allowed in  despite NO successes in curing the disease. What has developed is a dependent relationship to Big Pharma with a whole new range of expensive drugs for amelioration and palliative care. For example, Cancer Research UK is: “… funding multidisciplinary projects that are already bringing together collaborative teams of cancer researchers and scientists from the engineering and physical sciences. The new scheme is set to fund about ten projects each year with up to £500,000 each.”

(An extensive infographic entitled ‘How Nanotechnology Could Reengineer Us’ gives an overview of what nanotechnology could offer the human body, by “re-engineering” us).

So “progress” explores new avenues yet remains strangely one way… None more so than in the field of military and weapons companies. Indeed, by the year 2030 the UK Ministry of Defence sees nanotech playing a vital role across every aspect of society from nano-solar cells to: “… nano-robots designed for a range of purposes – including medical robots used internally in humans and micro-platforms for reconnaissance.”

If you recall the exploration into SMART Agrimatics, it will come as no surprise that nanotech is having a significant impact across the entire agricultural production cycle. Agrichemicals are a prime source of innovation as are the use of nano-sensors in combination with SMART technology. From nano-enhanced packaging to food-related products nanomaterials are slowly being adopted despite nebulous legislation and public suspicion. Though nanotech implementation in foodstuffs and animal husbandry still remains largely at the R &D stage, according to IME: “ The future application of agri-nanoproducts does however seem certain; the USA is already looking to license some products for use in the coming years, heralding a complete change in the way we grow, maintain and process food.”

There is no doubt there is great beauty, and awe-inspiring innovation in the field of nanotechnology with huge benefits for humanity in so many fields. However, this series is about the dark side of such technology and how these innovations always gravitate to the shadows since that is polarity dominating at this time.The Institute of Mechanical Engineers believe that although there is significant optimism regarding the future of nanotechnology there is still widespread suspicion that that this technology will not ultimately go where it is needed most i.e. for society and consumers. For this reason scientists in this field are not trusted. The fact that there is still no real engagement with the public about their concerns doesn’t help and the IME suggest descreasing that dislocation. Interestingly, they perceive the main reason for this as a misunderstanding on the part of the public:

“It has been suggested that the reason why some people express these views is that the established scientific community genuinely don’t consider what they do to be of any consequence to the wider population. Rather, the spotlight falls on technological advancement rather than highlighting consumer and societal needs. This is not done out of any malice or superiority on the part of the technologists; in truth, the technical community sees it purely as the everyday, the norm, and requiring little external endorsement or explanation.

That may well be but it is a subtle form of arrogance and a lack of awareness about society as a whole. More dangerously, if they have little need to inform the public and do not feel they have a duty to do so, then they fall into the hands of those forces that covet such a separation, namely corporate interests and the State. It is almost cliche now that scientists become so involved with the creativity of their work that they are often seen as geniuses on the one hand, and out-of-touch with the wider world. They are perceived as existing in a kind of intellectual bubble where accusations of outsourced ivory towers and naivete about the larger forces at work can easily stick. It is in this sense that there is most certainly technological advancement for its own sake predicated upon this community “normality,” and therefore a way in for institutionalized hubris. This is especially true in lieu of the massive potential changes we are talking about here.

Engineers in the global defence industry have no problem rationalising their satisfaction and subsequent salary that they receive from this line of “creative work”. They are doing what they love. One individual designs the a console and  another the software for Apache helicopters in Iraq which have notched tens of thousands of civilian deaths. Is there a responsibility there? Or do they fall back on: “If I didn’t do it, someone else would.” The same applies to the dark side of nanotechnology. Official Culture makes it much easier for us not to care and to compartmentalise our conscience, even our emotional life, away from deeper connections to our fellow man and woman.

The historical perspective of technology as an automatic saviour as well as a traditional source of State control lends itself to both a philosophical and practical critique since that is exactly the reality we are facing. The progression is not one of technological emancipation for societies where it counts, it is one of State warfare and corporatism. That is where the greatest innovations in Research and Development generally end up, with the by-products effecting the social and material ecology as a mirror of what is denied. Scientists in this context, can only be effective if the overall system in which they live is designed to foster a natural cooperation of expert and layman which leans overwhelmingly toward a socio-economic framework that is inclusive and just. Clearly, this is very far from the case. Quite apart from endemic corruption in science in general, nano-scientists, and the “technical community” are no exception when they are wholly governed by the military-corporate complex and inside Official Culture, whether they are able to see that or not. Thus it matters little whether they have good intentions, rather what the real world dictates from the outside in.

Meanwhile, the US National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) has referred:

“… to the possibility of information dominance through nano-electronics; virtual reality systems for training; automation and robotics to offset reductions in manpower, reduce risks to troops and improve vehicle performance; higher performance platforms with diminished failure rates and lower costs; improvements in chemical/biological/nuclear sensing and casualty care; improvements in systems for non-proliferation monitoring; and nano-/micromechanical devices for control of nuclear weapons.” [1]

Across the Three Establishment Model (3EM) the idea of enhancing human performance through the convergence of nanotechnology biology, information, cognitive science and warfare is highly seductive because it adds a technological ontology to their plans for society not least for their desire for a synthetic immortality. The promise of nano-implant devices, slowing down or reversing ageing, direct brain–machine interfaces and ‘artificial people’ has been discussed at various conferences and seminars across America since the early 2000’s. This may have something to do with the fact that “… the USA is spending far more [on nanotech] than any other country, and maybe more than the rest of the world combined.” [2]Since future science is part of the armoury of the power elite’s ideology for a World State, governments in Europe, Asia and the United States have invested almost $5 billion dollars between them, contributing to the projected annual market of around one trillion US dollars. [3]

 


Notes

[1] ‘Military Uses of Nanotechnology – European Commission’ ec.europa.eu/research/conferences/2004/ntw/pdf/soa_en.pdf
[2] Ibid. (“Figures on military NT R&D funding in other countries are difficult to obtain. The conjecture is supported by the following: the USA spends about two-thirds of the global military R&D expenditure at large (BICC, 2002); in the field of MST, according to a cautious estimate the US military R&D spending was more than ten times that of Western Europe (Altmann, 2001: 46); conference and internet presentations show an verwhelming preponderance of US work in military NT.”)
[3] ‘Apply nanotech to up industrial, agri output,’ The Daily Star (Bangladesh), 17 April 2012. | Health Risks Of Nanotechnology: How Nanoparticles Can Cause Lung Damage, And How The Damage Can Be Blocked Science Daily, June 11, 2009.

Technocracy III: Tagged (and Bagged?)

“The lessons learned from the adoption of other technologies suggest that radio frequency identification will be more important than anyone currently imagines.”

– Mark Roberti, founder and editor of RFID Journal


RFIDChip

© infrakshun

As American infrastructure crumbles under the weight of trillions of dollars of debt accumulated from largely illegal and spurious wars abroad, automation is biting further into the human labour market. Parallel advances in data-collection, surveillance and monitoring continue to build a “soft” police state, all of which must be paid for. New ways of fleecing the populace must be found which means we will be seeing more examples of SMART applications roll-out across a broad range of societal domains.

Hot on the heels of issuing digital licence plates in California, a little black box has made an appearance that will fit neatly by the dashboard of your car. An October 2013 Los Angeles Times report: ‘A black box in your car? Some see a source of tax revenue’ Evan Halper tell us: “The devices, which track every mile a motorist drives and transmit that information to bureaucrats, are at the center of a controversial attempt in Washington and state planning offices to overhaul the outdated system for funding America’s major roads.” The idea is to extract more money out of the hapless US citizen by allowing the government to keep track of the miles they drive in order to draw up yet another tax bill.

No doubt when this is integrated into “the internet of things” then every little iota of information about where you go and what you spend your money and who you decide to see will be factored in to the bill with increases, decreases and penalties and pluses accordingly. This initiative has its blessing from libertarians and lobbying from environmental groups. The former has a SMART techtopia informing its idealism while the latter sees Agenda 21 and sustainable development as the medium by which their own complimentary ecotopia can manifest. Despite protestations from the American Civil Liberties Union, both camps are blind to the undercurrents of Pathocracy in this context.

Keen to do its part for the SMART revolution the European Union has proposed a scheme which would see cars fitted with camera systems that ‘read’ the limits displayed on road signs and automatically apply the brakes. Supposedly in a bid to cut the number of deaths in car accidents the scheme labelled ‘Intelligent Speed Adaptation’ would use GPS satellites to transmit data to automatically limit the driver’s speed along with verbal computer commands to slow down. Or, according to The Telegraph’s September 2013 report: ‘EU plans to fit all cars with speed limiters,’ drivers can be given “… a warning of the speed limit, or their speed could be controlled automatically under the new measures.” [1]

RFID-TagsVariety of RFID retail tags

microchip1

The merging of SMART society and surveillance already has a formidable momentum in America. These examples are the tip of an emerging philosophy of data collection and surveillance which is making inroads into every facet of our once relatively free existence. For instance, just in case you were in any doubt that vaccinations are always a gift from God, registry systems have been set up to track your vaccination status so that you can continue to do as you’re told. Or perhaps you’ve come across the biometrics programs currently be tinkered with in US schools which will “… track students’ eye movements, monitor their conversations or even measure their smiles.” Turning the classroom into a tech-lab paradise of attentive drones is easy – and profitable. In the same month, online journal The Future Is Now ran an article entitled: ‘Biometrics Help Teachers Track Students’ Every Move.’ Sheila Dharmarajan writes: “When the student is looking up at the teacher, the teacher score goes up. If she looks down at the computer, the computer score goes up. So we’re tracking facial expressions. If she makes a smile, it might be indicative that is enthusiastic about the topic.” [2]

Ah, the simple world of binary perception …

But it isn’t only in the US. While the UK’s ID scheme has been temporarily jettisoned, other countries are pushing ahead. Journalist Katitza Rodriguez, writing for the Electronic Frontier Foundation on January 10, 2012 highlighted Argentina’s resurrected and mandatory National Registry of Persons (RENAPER) which had lain dormant from the era of military dictatorship. Facial recognition and finger-printing are part of a security-surveillance system which is about to be integrated into the Federal System of Biometric Identification (SIBIOS) used by existing police and military networks. The registration of new-born babies’ biometric information has taken place since 2012 with projections that the SIBOS database will reach over 40 million within the next two years.

In January 2012, all 1.2 billion residents of India were the lucky beneficiaries of a nationwide program overseeing the allocation of a Unique Identification Number (UID). Each number will be fixed to the biometric data of the recipient utilizing using three different modes of information detection: fingerprints, iris scans, and face recognition. The implementation of RFID (radio-frequency identification) is the next stage for India’s flourishing biometric industry.

RFID stands for “Radio Frequency Identification”. With the advent of Wi-Fi and SMART applications the platform for RFID is expanding to include SMART labels for consumer products, assest tracking, secuirity and data retrieval for business. Then we have the more invasive tagging  with computer chips implanted into physical objects, animals, livestock and human beings. The Electronic Product Code that lies within the chip can be “read” when the device emits a radio signal. The chips contain electronically stored information which can be read up to several meters away. Active tags are self-powered and have a long range, particularly useful for surveillance. Passive tags are without battery source and use a local power source, the range being variable.

Some Christians have long been frothing at the mouth at the prospect of micro-chipping and what they consider to be the proverbial “Mark of the Beast” from The Book of Revelations, without which: “no man might buy or sell save he that had the Mark.” To be fair, it does sound remarkably similar. The Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility (AIM) sees biometric identification in true technocratic form where federal, state, local governments, military and commercial applications should join together and embrace the SMART culture without a care in the world. According to AIM, the RFID-chipped “SMART cards” and the biometric revolution “are set to pervade nearly all aspects of the economy and our daily lives.”  [3]The selling pitch goes like this: The tagging of products from razor blades to underwear represents enormous benefits to consumers, protecting us against fraud and theft as well as providing cost reduction and convenience. What could be simpler? And because it is so simple and so convenient given the fast-paced nature of our modern society, doesn’t it make sense to get yourself tagged too? Efficiency, efficiency and more efficiency …

As a precursor to this we have contactless technology being pushed by companies such as Google, with the majority of mobile network companies getting in on the act because data – your data – is king. Disney’s electronic “MagicBand” illustrates why. In the summer of 2013, the Disney corporation announced the use of an electronic wristband for all visitors to its theme parks. First introduced at Disney World in Florida it can be used at rides, hotel doors, stores and allow Disney staff to greet you using your first name. Who needs a wallet when everything is done for you? The downside to this of course, is a marketing coup d’état where Disney will be able to track what you purchased, which stores you visited, which rides you enjoyed and when, at which hotel you stayed and a vast collection of data to provide valuable insights into social psychology of visitors.

So, what’s a little data between friends and theme parks? Quite a lot actually.

RFID_Wristband_braceletmickeyRFID Tracking bracelets for amusement parks, hospitals and children’s playgrounds. It’s all good clean fun kids!

If you really want to take technology to the heights of efficiency in order to go about your business without a care in the world then your very heart might offer the ultimate hub for hands-free, contactless connection to the New Synthetic World. Canadian biometric company Bionym introduced us to the unnerving offer that: ”Your pulse could be your new Password.” Indeed, every number and code that you currently use to live your life could be distant memory if people such as Bionym chief executive officer Karl Martin has his way. “Pulse passwords” could be the new ultra-convenience. [4]

The heart has unique characteristics relating to size, position and physiology so those clever bods at Bionym have developed a wristband which recognises the pattern of an individual pulse. The transmission of information allows the user to carry out all the usual transactions and internet-based activities which require a password. And it also pleases those worried about security as heartbeats cannot be replicated. Furthermore, as every heartbeat is unique, should the wristband become lost or stolen, it would not function for another user. And on the market in 2014 at $100 many will see the benefits of such an appendage.

Tattoos used to be a tribal marking of religious or sacred significance. In Western culture gangs, dockers and truckers were some of the groups who took to marking themselves to tell their peers who they were and what they’d been through. Now, tattoos are big business and a fashion statement for the young. As luck would have it, electronic tattoos are now appearing from telecommunications companies like Motorola who are working on a version that contains a computer chip and an antenna. Just to give us an idea what to expect in the new future to complement these tattoos there is also: “A pill that dissolves and turns the entire body into a transmitter …” If they can be used to replace all those dozens of pesky passwords then there is money to be made and an interaction with the internet of things (IOT).

We will not need to identify ourselves because we will be integrated into the system.

As discussed previously, Mike Orcutt’s March 2013 article for MIT Technology Review explored John Roger’s work as a materials scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is one of those experimenting with “epidermal electronics” where applications can be printed directly onto the skin. Rogers tells us that these new devices will be very useful to the medical industry and explains: “You can use a rubber stamp to just deliver the ultrathin mesh electronics directly to the surface of the skin.” And by using “spray-on bandage” products a thin protective layer acts to “… bond the system to the skin in a ‘very robust way.’”

Smart-skin-1Back in November 2003, The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse – a non-profit, grant-supported advocacy and consultancy organisation for consumer awareness – had already produced the “Position Statement on the Use of RFID on Consumer Products.” In the study, they concluded the following:

  • Hidden placement of tags. RFID tags can be embedded into/onto objects and documents without the knowledge of the individual who obtains those items. As radio waves travel easily and silently through fabric, plastic, and other materials, it is possible to read RFID tags sewn into clothing or affixed to objects contained in purses, shopping bags, suitcases, and more.
  • Unique identifiers for all objects worldwide. The Electronic Product Code potentially enables every object on earth to have its own unique ID. The use of unique ID numbers could lead to the creation of a global item registration system in which every physical object is identified and linked to its purchaser or owner at the point of sale or transfer.
  • Massive data aggregation. RFID deployment requires the creation of massive databases containing unique tag data. These records could be linked with personal identifying data, especially as computer memory and processing capacities expand.
  • Hidden readers. Tags can be read from a distance, not restricted to line of sight, by readers that can be incorporated invisibly into nearly any environment where human beings or items congregate. RFID readers have already been experimentally embedded into floor tiles, woven into carpeting and floor mats, hidden in doorways, and seamlessly incorporated into retail shelving and counters, making it virtually impossible for a consumer to know when or if he or she was being “scanned.”
  • Individual tracking and profiling. If personal identity were linked with unique RFID tag numbers, individuals could be profiled and tracked without their knowledge or consent. For example, a tag embedded in a shoe could serve as a de facto identifier for the person wearing it. Even if item-level information remains generic, identifying items people wear or carry could associate them with, for example, particular events like political rallies. [5]

Not that these warnings have made a whole lot of difference to the momentum of such technology.

American and European governments’ expenditure of billions of taxpayer’s money on creating these new systems “for our protection” is unjustified for a multitude of reasons. One of these shows how particularly ridiculous the whole scenario really is. If someone wishes to read the biometric information from our passport, driving licence or ID card they need only to purchase a reader device and scan the information without the individual ever knowing. Of course, the government and their spooks have been extracting information in a similar fashion from so called “secure” systems of information for decades. As outsourcing of the state to private companies is becomes the norm, it is hardly likely that governments could stem the tide of information theft should they even want to.

In February 2007, the electronics corporation Hitachi proudly revealed the development and successful testing of the world’s smallest and thinnest class of “non-contact RFID Powder IC (integrated circuit) Chip.” It measures just 0.05 x 0.05 millimetres, which is about the size of a pin-head or less. We read on their website in a Research & Development report that their aim is: “… to embed the chip in thin paper, a practice that is already in general use,” informing us that: “These technologies are expected to be seen in a wider range of applications.” [6]

In 2015 this became a reality. The chips have a 128-bit ROM for storing a unique 38 digit number and can indeed be worked into any product at all. Since these chips are “already in use” it begs the question: what other applications are they thinking about? The military surveillance uses are well ahead of the consumer game. As one writer on the chips mused: “… suppose you participated in some sort of protest or other organized activity. If police agencies sprinkled these tags around, every individual could be tracked and later identified at leisure, with powerful enough tag scanners.” [7]

This echoes trans-national corporation IBM and their business relationship with Nazi Germany’s Third Reich in the 1930s and their subsequent collaboration during World War II. Investigative journalist and author Edwin Black explained how IBM’s technology helped facilitate Nazi genocide against Jews and other undesirables through the creation and tabulation of punch cards based upon national census data. Aside from administrative and logistical support, IBM machines were used in concentration camps. Many prisoners had their details passed through the Labour Assignment Office and assigned a characteristic five-digit IBM Hollerith machine number, 44673. This five-digit number in the punch card system was designed to track prisoners in the camps, most notably the slave labour camp at Auschwitz. The number was the precursor to the numerical tattoo stamped upon the arm of an individual and deemed more cost-effective and efficient.

ibmachineIBM Hollerith Card Processing Machine used by the Nazis circa 1940s

There is no doubt that the targeted identification of Jews and other racial groupings for: “… asset confiscation, ghettoisation, deportation, and ultimately extermination” took place in a way that is logistically and insanely ambitious. The Nazis were able to kill as many as they did with the help of IBM’s pioneering computer work which required: “… generations of communal, church, and governmental records all across Germany—and later throughout Europe—[to be cross-indexed] a task so monumental, it called for a computer. But in 1933, no computer existed.” [8] That’s where IBM came in. And its legacy for number crunching computation has remained, the profits of its participation in the logistical side of the holocaust having kept it afloat for all these years.

So, what has IBM been up to recently?

Harking back to their darker history, the corporation has finished patenting their “Identification and Tracking of Persons Using RFID-Tagged Items in Store Environments.” Security and Privacy analyst Katherine Albrecht, founder of the consumer pressure group CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering) writes about RFID’s potential for surveillance: “… where networked RFID readers called ‘person tracking units’ would be incorporated virtually everywhere people go – in “shopping malls, airports, train stations, bus stations, elevators, trains, airplanes, restrooms, sports arenas, libraries, theaters, museums, to closely monitor people’s movements.”

You can already see the acclimatisation taking place with i-phone apps scanning capabilities in billboard ads in bus shelters and shopping malls. When RFID tag scanners are located in the required locations, they scan the RIFID tags on a person. Albrecht continues: “As that person moves around the store, different RFID tag scanners located throughout the store can pick up radio signals from the RFID tags carried on that person and the movement of that person is tracked based on these detections … The person tracking unit may keep records of different locations where the person has visited, as well as the visitation times.” What is more, if personal data does not register on the tag, no problem, IBM tells us: “the personal information will be obtained when the person uses his or her credit card, bank card, shopper card or the like.” [9] Which means a person’s unique RFID number and his or her identity will merge into the overall techno-identity of our SMART society.

Although slower than the technocrats would like, the implantation of RFID’s in the global population is making progress. Alongside marketing tattoos a much vaunted fashion statement, another method of gradualism was to implant pets and farmyard animals as part of an agribusiness efficiency and as a prelude to human implantation.

In January 2007 Business Week reported on the Federal mandated National Animal Identification System (NAIS) and their desire to digitally tag “… 40 million farm animals to enable regulators to track and respond quickly to disease, bioterrorism, and other calamities.” The report rightly highlights the fears of the more informed which it summarises thusly: “You test it on the animals first, demonstrating the viability of the radio frequency identification devices (RFIDs) to monitor each and every animal’s movements and health history from birth to death, and then move on to people.”  The report mentions the ambitions of one Scott Silverman who runs a: “… company that sells the rice-size people chips, which are the only ones with Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approval, for implantation in an individual’s right biceps. They carry an identity marker that would be linked to medical records. His goal is to create ‘the first RFID company for people.’” [10] More from Mr. Silverman presently.

cow1© infrakshun

Things have progressed since 2007 and we can now see implementation of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and RFID chips in a fusion of agribusiness and SMART technology called by French technocrats as “SMART Agrimatics”. A paper hot of the press at the time of writing is about as innovative as you are going to get on the subject of agribusiness and technocracy. The culmination of a pilot project research, it involves the application and use of RFID tags for “ruminants” (cows, sheep and goats to you and me) the studies of which were conducted between 2005 and 2010. This includes discussions on the relevant use of RFID; use of RFID for feeding automates on farm; use of RFID for performances control; use of RFID for animal trade; use of RFID for slaughter chain and supervision for RFID devices.

The paper reads like a machine mind designing for another machine mind, except there are – inconveniently it seems – sentient beings involved. For the farmer scratching his head as to whether he is a human being raising animals or an engineer maintaining “automated consumption units” and keen to make the leap to SMART-Agrimatics, then obviously this dossier would be invaluable for setting his mind straight – one way or another.

With “ear-tag and detection cell” and “fixed readers integrated in the environment” agri-business and GM technology are well placed to maximize their efficiency ratios. Once all cattle have been tagged logged and every aspect of their cellular structure analysed then the collection and transfer of said data can be uploaded to the national database “… the weight linked to the official animal identification number from RFID reading.” [11] Driven by economic incentives and inventory control, larger farms all over Europe and the US are signing on to RFID.

Now, how would that play out for humans?

If we were learn from automated factory farming and now SMART-Agrimatics, the key term here, once again, is efficiency.

How does one maximize the efficiency in automated methods of keeping an awakening population asleep to a minority of psychopaths?  The technocratic, sensual and pharmaceutical amusements of Huxley’s Brave New World should give you some idea. The following picture from the above report might easily apply to the “sheep” in the human population who believe in the authoritarian structures they have grown up with. Wolves come in many disguises.

clip_image002.gif“The Future Sheeple?”

Over in the UK, after a series of well reported dangerous dog attacks new legislation has gone ahead that forces dog owners to pay between £20 – £30 to have a RFID chip injected under the skin of their pooch while still a puppy. As one animal welfare spokesman mentioned: “It’s not so much the dogs that should be targeted, but the owners who train them to be vicious.” (A metaphor for psychopaths and their societies perhaps?) Implantation of RFIDs has predominantly taken place within security firms, the military and various dance clubs in European countries whose clientele find it convenient to speed their entry. These are the voluntary lab-rats.

The Verichip Corporation and their various subsidiaries has been one of the leaders in RFID technology with their flagship product the Verichip ™ manufactured by Digital Angel. PositiveID, a developer of medical technologies for diabetes management, clinical diagnostics and bio-threat detection is the company that uses its patented VeriPay system where the chip can be used like a credit card to authorise financial transactions. It is currently being used by the Baja Beach Club in Spain to the delight of many happy party goers.

PositiveID-logo

The Verichip was initially foreseen as a device for retrieving medical records, having received FDA approval for medical use in 2004. But the vision was never designed to stop there. The size of a grain of rice it is easily implanted just under the skin in the arm or hand so that the device can monitor human biometric functions and transmit the data with GPS technology. Thousands of Mexicans have since been implanted, from law enforcement workers to ordinary citizens. The latter are doing so in increasing numbers due to a 317 per cent rise in kidnappings, 20 per cent of which has involved corrupt police officers. Many US companies are dubious that the chips actually work in combination with GPS devices but payments of up $2000 are being handed over nonetheless. One slight wrinkle in the chip means that confirmation of identity can only be confirmed when the body has been found. [12]

Currently in talks with the Pentagon to implant Verichip into all 1.4 million US soldiers, PositiveID has also been delighted to receive bulk orders from the Israeli military not wishing to be left out of technocratic party. Marc Poulshock, PositiveID’s Vice President of Business Development, said: “We believe there are many important applications for the VeriChip and our associated intellectual property including next-generation identification and bio-sensing capabilities. Our partner is looking to help healthcare organizations, militaries including the IDF, and governments with their disaster preparedness and emergency response needs.” [13]

VeriCorp insists that the Verichip is very difficult to steal despite two hackers showing just how easy it really was to steal a person’s identity via the RFID. Annalee Newitz and Jonathan Westhues gave a special demonstration at the HOPE Number Six conference in New York City in July 2008. Newitz had the VeriChip RFID implanted in her right arm. Westhues then proceeded to clone the chip by reading Newitz’s arm with an RFID reader, scanning it with a homemade antenna connected to his laptop which recorded the signal from the chip. Finally, he used the same RFID reader to obtain the signal from his laptop, which then gave Newitz’s “unique” ID. Verichip had no comment to make other than they had been too busy to look at their evidence.

That hasn’t prevented the idea that new-borns should be protected from nefarious activities of the public. Ronald Kane, Vice President of CUBIC Corp., a major manufacturer of implantable chips, while discussing the profit margins on RFID tags enthusiastically stated: “If we had our way, we’d implant a chip behind everyone’s ear in the maternity ward.” [14]

According to RFID News Student ID cards equipped with RFID chips are becoming more common sight on schools and college campuses. Education officials are “… adopting RFID technology to track everything from student attendance to valuable assets.” [15]It is part of a wide-ranging rollout of SMART technology including Iris recognition software and cameras which monitor the emotional states of students, both of which have caused considerable controversy, not least at the idea of turning schools into virtual prisons.

A similar efficiency-ratio mentality is being employed in business training software offered by online technology company Mindflash. FocusAssist is a new feature designed for i-Pad which tracks the user’s eye movements via the tablet’s on-board camera. When you’ve looked away for several seconds the course is paused. This apparently forces you to pay attention so that you can finish the assignment. One wonders how long it will be before computers are teaching children and adopting a similar attention mechanism.

The contradictions and double-speak that are on display from the Verichip advocates is quite a show. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave a 2002 ruling that that: “VeriChip is not a regulated device with regard to its security, financial, personal identification/safety applications … VeriChip’s healthcare information applications are subject to regulation by the FDA in the United States.’ As author and journalist Uri Dowbenko mentions: “It’s OK if the VeriChip tracks your credit report history, but not OK if it’s used to inform doctors you’re diabetic? This will undoubtedly be used as an argument to justify the VeriChip as a so-called ‘medical device’ in the future.” [16]

verichipmicrochip / verichip ™

The stages which the RFID tags have followed have moved through: pets = cattle = criminals = military = business workers towards the longer more drawn out process of finally chipping the mass population. Biometric passports, national ID cards and then gracefully having your palm over the supermarket scanner will make things so easy! So easy in fact, that perception management will tell you the next logical step in this New World of SMART design is to be “SMART” yourself and integrate your body into the system, and then you will be “free.” Notwithstanding the potency of such an illusion, there is another problem. Verichip and other companies love to tell us about the medical and community benefits of tagging which include the monitoring of heart troubles, children safety, pet protection and the like, what of the health issues related to RFID tags?

In 2007 the Verichip Corporation and other related companies were dealt a severe blow to their credibility when Katherine Albrecht’s CASPIAN consumer pressure group released a 48-page paper entitled “Microchip-Induced Tumors in Laboratory Rodents and Dogs: A Review of the Literature 1990–2006”. Based on a dense review of academic research on the subject, the causal link between implanted radio-frequency (RFID) microchip transponders and cancer in laboratory rodents and dogs could not be clearer. Dr. Robert Benezra, head of the Cancer Biology Genetics Program at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York, said: “There’s no way in the world, having read this information, that I would have one of those chips implanted in my skin, or in one of my family members.” Given the preliminary animal data it looks to me that there is definitely cause for concern.” [17]

CEO and Chairman of Verichip Corporation Scott R. Silverman played his part in a disinformation campaign launched by RFID companies in response to the findings. Silverman is quoted in a Time article as saying that in the “… second study, conducted in France in 2006, two years after VeriChip’s FDA application was approved, found that while 4 per cent of the 1,260 mice in the study developed tumors, none of them were malignant.” [18]The truth is a little different. The tumours were indeed malignant sarcomas and most of the animals in question died prematurely as a result of the microchip-associated tumours. Destron Fearing, makers of the HomeAgain pet implant came in a close second when they ignored a finding of fibrosarcoma – a highly lethal cancer – as “benign” in a recent report. Katherine Albrecht stated: “Either VeriChip and the makers of HomeAgain actually don’t understand the difference between a benign fibroma and a malignant fibrosarcoma, or they’re deliberately lying to the public. Either way, it’s clear they can’t be trusted. We hope our new report will set the record straight.” [19]

Despite this, Silverman was correct in that overall, the incidences of cancer in dogs after over 10 million injections is relatively small, which means that this scare is not enough to put off either the medical establishment, security companies and the potential benefits to consumers in a variety of social situations.

russo-nick-rockefellerAaron Russo (left) and Nicholas Rockefeller

“The goal is to get everyone in this world chipped with this RFID chip and have all money and information be on these chips. And if anyone wants to protest what we do or violate what we want, we just turn off their chip.”

From Russo’s film: America: Freedom to Fascism


The above quote is lifted from the late Hollywood producer and film-maker Aaron Russo’s now classic America: Freedom to Fascism (2006) in which he details a conversation he had with also now deceased California Attorney Nicholas Rockefeller. Russo, who was frequently around the elite and their antics and was rather bemused by their beliefs asked Rockefeller:  “… what’s the point of all this,” …“you have all the money in the world you need, you have all the power you need, what’s the point, what’s the end goal?” The answer was the above quote. Does it sound too hackneyed and outrageous? Watch the film to discover more of Russo’s discoveries. Made almost ten years ago, one realises what a warning this film truly was. (Don’t you just love those Rockefellers?)

This brings us back to the National Security State; the various World State advocates that would like to see the global population “culled” and the war on terror tool that has allowed a technocratic Police State infrastructure to rise up virtually unopposed. When SMART, surveillance society arrives on the back of a few more mini-911-type scenarios, there may come a stage where, if you want to eat, you must acquire a chip. It’s a logical step that once mass acceptance of RFID tagging has gradually taken place anyone that is deemed a “terrorist”, “subversive” or merely suspiciously expressing a “radical” opinion on Facebook can be easily tracked and controlled. (See Police State Amerika I: Facebook Thought Police). The next step from targeting dissidents is the expansion of powers to include a wide range of groups or organisations that come under the vague and nebulous definitions of terrorism. Everything that doesn’t fit into that SMART design will be well … switched off.

Technocracy is essential to the smooth running of the Elite-collectivist model and as we have seen so far in this series, the younger generations are the primary targets for social engineering. With a sizable marketing drive underway headed by the Verichip slogan: “Get chipped,” RFID tags are being marketed as chic and trendy, cool and desirable. If the recent surge in tattoos is anything to go by, the microchip might be the next fashion statement for those too young (or programmed) to have awareness of the implications.

Despite loud mutterings of discontent in the US and the European Union the advances in SMART tech will not be going away. Ideologically driven technology and enormous amounts of money to be made will mean that regulations are unlikely to be enforced. The health hazards of mobile phone use and GMOs are well known but we still use them because society itself is being redesigned to make life unlivable without them. It seems we are no longer human beings but living bar-codes programmed to proffer feedback loops of data in a vast auto-matrix of supply and demand. It should come as no surprise that corporations and their governments are seeking ways to extract more profits from the New Technological Order that is rising up from the shopping mall.

 


Notes

[1] ‘EU plans to fit all cars with speed limiters’ By Claire Carter, The Telegraph, Sep 2013.
[2] ‘Biometrics Help Teachers Track Students’ Every Move’ By Sheila Dharmarajan, The Future Is Now,September 17, 2013.
[3] aimglobal.org
[4] http://www.privacyrights.org/
[5] ‘Seen At 11: Getting Personal – Your Pulse Could Be Your New Password’ Pin Numbers, Credit Cards, And Passwords Could Soon Be A Thing Of The Past, CBS News, September 16, 2013.
[6]‘Operation of World’s Smallest Class Noncontact RFID Powder IC Chip Successfully Tested’ hitachi.com 2008/2009 Research & Development paper: http://www.hitachi.com/rev/archive/2008/__icsFiles/afieldfile/2008/07/24/r2008_technology_rd.pdf
[7] ‘RFID ‘Powder’ – World’s Smallest RFID Tag’ by Bill Christensen, technovelgy.com February 14, 2007.
[8] IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance between Nazi Germany and America’s Most Powerful Corporation. By Edwin Black, Second paperback edition. Washington, DC: Dialog Press, 2009; (introduction).
[9] ‘How RFID Tags Could Be Used to Track Unsuspecting People’ by Katherine Albrecht, Scientific American, August 21, 2008.
[10] Animal Tags for People? by David E. Gumpert, Business Week, January 11, 2007.
[11] ‘Conclusions from the French pilot projects for the use of RFID for ruminants’ by the Institut de l’élevage-France Louise Marguin, Marion Dang. June 14, 2012. | http://www.smartagrimatics.eu/Portals/66/Smartpercent20AgriMaticspercent205_3_RFID_Paris_2012-MD.pdf
[12] ‘Thousands of Mexicans Implanting Tracking Devices- But experts say they are not likely to work’By Evann Gastaldo, newser.com, Aug 22, 2011.
[13] ‘positiveID Corporation Receives VeriChip Order for Use With Israeli Military’ MarketWatch, October 11, 2011.
[12] ‘The IBM 2020 Neural Implant’ The Phoenix Project, Dr. Al Overholt, quoting from The California Sun, by Herb Dorsey, Feb. 1997.
[14] ‘Schools add RFID tagging to student IDs’ RFID News / CR80 News June 18 2012.
[15] ‘VeriChip: RFID Microchip Implants for Humans’ by Uri Dowbenko, conspiracyplanet.com
[16] ‘Microchip-Induced Tumors in Laboratory Rodents and Dogs: A Review of the Literature 1990–2006’ by Katherine Albrecht, Ed.D. November 19, 2007.
[17] ‘Are Microchip Tags Safe?’ By Siobhan Morrissey Time Magazine, http://www.time.com, Oct. 18, 2007.
[18] ‘CASPIAN Releases Microchip Cancer Report’ antichips.com November 19 2007.
[19] op.cit Albrecht

Technocracy II: Big Brother in your Bag and the Auto-Matrix

“Society is progressively moving towards a socio-technical ecosystem in which the physical and virtual dimensions of life are more and more intertwined and where people interaction, more often than not, takes place with or is mediated by machines.

Our goal is to move towards hybrid systems where people and machines tightly work together to build a smarter society. We envision a new generation of Collective Adaptive Systems where humans and machines synergically complement each other and operate collectively to achieve their, possibly conflicting, goals, but which also exhibit an emergent behaviour that is in line with their designers’ objectives.”

http://www.smart-society-project.eu/


Are you ready to “exhibit an emergent behaviour that is in line with their designers’ objectives”?

The more your behaviour mimics artificial intelligent systems the easier it will be for us all to conform to the required “synergy” needed for a “hybrid society.” Or if you prefer, our inevitable embrace of “hybrid and diversity-aware collective adaptive systems.”

This is where authoritarian geeks take over the world starting with endless SMART word-salad.

At this point something like this may be going through your mind:

Oh, stop being such a kill-joy, doom and gloom stick-in-the-mud and get with the SMART picture. Don’t you know it’s inevitable? What do you want us to do? Stop using technology? You’re just a Luddite afraid of change.

Well, let’s see how you feel as we proceed.

SMART society is not a dream but an inevitable symptom of the technocratic arm of the Establishment. A large proportion of the public consciousness and the purse-strings of business enterprise are behind the philosophy of SMART. The rest of us are following along just as we did with credit cards, mobile phones and every other technological innovation. The off-the-shelf opinion of frustration above is fairly standard and quite understandable given our circumstances. Why would anyone doubt the benefits of SMART visions, especially when the younger generation have pretty much known nothing else? Why would you want to pay attention to the dark underside of your i-pad sensibilities?

That sums up the whole trajectory of wilful blindness and hubris which has characterised the rise and fall of civilisations for millennia. There’s always a love affair with the God of the moment that leads to the crash and burn. But let’s continue observing a bit more of that underside since its actually rather … huge.

In 2012, the vulnerability of SMART TVs was brought into relief when it was proven that hackers could easily compromise, in this case, various parts of Samsung’s new TVs which would allow them to: “… remotely turn on the TVs’ built-in cameras without leaving any trace of it on the screen.” A hacker (government or otherwise) had the capability to watch you while you watched your favourite programme or internet web page. Hackers could also re-routed users to a convenient website in order to obtain their bank account data or other private information. The company apparently fixed the flaws with a worrying proviso: “We know that the way we were able to do this has been fixed; it doesn’t mean that there aren’t other ways that could be discovered in the future.”orwellsmarttvSMART TV c/o of Samsung | © infrakshun

Similarly, By 2015, nothing much has improved. Indeed, it’s got worse. Televisions can actively monitor what users say and transmit that information to third parties. Samsung attempted to put these grievances to rest by saying that the latest models are all encrypted, unlike earlier versions. Unfortunately, that was a lie. Reporters from online journal Extreme Tech contacted security researchers at Pentest Partners to retrieve information regarding the brand and model of the TV which had undergone these tests:

The initial model was a UE46ES8000, a top-end TV for its day, but now two years old. This time around, the team tested a UE55HU7500. This screen currently retails for £1,569.86 in the UK according to Amazon. Reviews date from June 2014 through Jan 2015 and the unit is widely available — it is, in other words, a “current” Samsung TV by any reasonable sense of the word.

The team tested the new television in the same manner as the old and found that data is still being transferred in plaintext.

Since SMART technology means that most home-based gadgets and business networks are connected to the internet in some way, technology experts and hackers have cautioned that it is highly likely that the idea of network security is fast becoming a misnomer as the principle of the flaws in the Samsung TVs can be replicated across a broad spectrum of internet-connected platforms. In summary: Devices are unsecured.

Moreover, as one researcher observes:

Many of these unsecured devices can be found with a simple search. In fact, there’s a search engine devoted just to scouring the so-called “Internet of things” called Shadon Playing around with it is an eye-opener. For example, in late July a writer for Forbes discovered an entire home automation product line with Internet-connected features that could be set up without a default password, and were visible to search engines. This would enable a hacker to search and find these systems on the Net, then access them at will. To prove her point, Kashmir Hill breached the home automation systems of random strangers, called them on the phone and demonstrated the vulnerability by turning their lights on and off. [1]

Before we get on to how far the rabbit hole of integration between SMART enthusiasm, monitoring and surveillance goes, it may be worthwhile considering how corporate UK and US are data-mining the minds of Joe and Jeanette public.

Remember your useful supermarket “loyalty” card lurking in your wallet or at the bottom of your handbag? This little critter provides enormous amounts of information about your shopping habits which is retained in a large marketing database and shared by a multitude of interested parties – from advertisers to law enforcement. Your transactions, the frequency of purchases and your preferences are all used to create a customer profile that is mapped into various demographic and psychological analyses very useful for sales and marketing strategies. You are walking psychological real estate for the corporate world and they just love to extract as much as they can from your sub prime mind.

Take another British wallet-hugger – the Nectar card. This is a ubiquitous piece of plastic which is used by over 10 million people in the United Kingdom. Information is compiled from a range of shops visited and offers a nice readout along with a pretty graph of a cardholder’s shopping habits. Though Nectar insists the information is strictly for customers only, data is increasingly flying about the consumer and corporate world, regardless.

loyalty-cards

Intrusion is a very profitable business. As we saw in the first posts about Official Culture, the constant and pervasive presence of advertising seeks to colonise any and all of the latest advances in information technology, from the internet to bill-board hoardings with literally no place to hide. For instance, CAT, PET, MRI brain imaging scanners have fast made the transition from clinical tools to advertisers and marketing weaponry. When it was known that certain regions of the brain “light up” when a person thinks of a pleasurable experience or the solving of a puzzle this means that such knowledge could be applied to advertising. The new jargon speaks of “neuromarketing” or “neuroeconomics” as the next field of mind colonisation. SMART eh?

According to Technology Advice magazine from October 15th 2013, Japan was taking the lead in so called “SMART shelves,” which began appearing in some US grocery stores at the start of 2015. Run by Mondelez International, the shelves operate at the checkout line using various tech tools to identify the sex and age of the shoppers. From the information stored a custom made advert is then  displayed according to that particular person’s demographic. Marketing data will also be collected from how long the advert was watched. If a shopper picks up the item information will be relayed from weight sensors to indicate a potential purchase. Coupons and store discounts can be displayed in order to encourage a sale.

If you want to get the public used to something then the usual mode of “softening” for the future comes via Hollywood and glamour. Otherwise known as “predictive programming” this was used to great effect by butchering Philip K. Dick’s book and making it into Minority Report (2002) starring Tom Cruise and directed by Steven Spielberg. It was here that concept of “Pre-Crime” and biometric surveillance was given a thorough airing.  In the shopping mall scene Cruise’s character is stopped in his tracks by an interactive advert which had been scanned by iris recognition technology. A voice shouts: “John Anderton, you could use a Guinness!” If that sounds too nightmarish to contemplate, most of that futuristic, pop-corn-munching entertainment has become reality in just under ten years. And now it’s all so … passé. The algorithmic software isolates the face, measures the features and extracts it from the scene. Once a match has been found data is flooded in to complete the profile. Think CSI and various other glamorous TV shows that feature all kinds of whizz-bang gadgetry in the hunt for criminals.

Facial recognition and Iris scanning technology is already present at airports and passport control in the UK. Advanced versions are being rolled out at a terminal in Love Field, Dallas, Texas consisting of “… 500 high-definition security cameras sharp enough to read an auto license plate or a logo on a shirt. The International Air Transport Association, or IATA, which represents airlines globally, calls it “the checkpoint of the future,” with the PR for the initiative going for the speed angle where passengers will move almost “non-stop” through security. Meanwhile, they “… would identify themselves not with driver’s licenses and paper boarding passes, but by scanning fingerprints or irises to prove they have an electronic ticket.” [2]

(Even Homeland Security has been beavering way since at least 2011 to apply this technology in defending the Fatherland. It seems logical that this is where the real action lies, namely, in bolstering law enforcement and the military-intelligence apparatus).

Along side “Intelligent” transport systems we have Intelligent digital billboards which have been the first in line for this advertising gold-rush, being fitted with cameras that can discern the gender and age group of passers-by who look at them. The idea is to tailor the messages to the onlooker in real time. Toyko has road tested a collection of billboards of varying size and at different locations. A spokesman for the project said: “The camera can distinguish a person’s sex and approximate age, even if the person only walks by in front of the display, at least if he or she looks at the screen for a second.” And the data stored will obviously stay in responsible hands, advertisers being extremely responsible people, as we know… [3]

Germany has also been getting in on the act with a intelligent billboard designed for dog owners using “hot technology of location-based social networking,” to sell Granata Pet brand dog food. “As owners pass by with their dogs they can stop in front of it, use their mobile phones to check in on Foursquare and as soon as they do, a dog treat will pop out of the billboard and the dog – or I guess owner – can sample the product before deciding to buy it.” [4]

Or course, targeting your bemused pooch is small fry.

Ad agency BBDO (also from Germany) and broadcaster Sky Deutschland have joined forces to target work weary passengers on commuter trains. When they rest their heads against a window instead of the promise of pleasant dreams they will hear messages beamed into the brains. The advertising platform uses a small box attached to the surface of the window which sends out vibrations which the brain translates into sound. Called “bone conduction” technology, it promises to be used across a range of info-tainment services.

Less invasive is the introduction of “Smell-vertising” which had its first test run by food company McCain and its frozen jacket potatoes. A display of 3D fibreglass models of baked potatoes were installed at bus stops in London, York, Glasgow, Manchester and Nottingham which released an aroma of oven-baked potato when a button is pressed.

According to a report published in 2011 by the Centre for Future Studies, 3D outdoor ads that can recognise people’s moods and were tested on the streets in 2012. Called “gladadvertising,” the software picks up on facial expressions associated with certain moods and once it has analysed what the victim is feeling, advertisers move in for the kill, delivering the programmed advert straight into the frontal lobe. The study also concluded that the accessing of personal data from social networks through your mobile phone could be combined with “holograms, mood lighting and smells.” [5] This form of “targeted marketing or “dynamic advertising” has some of us – though clearly not enough – concerned.

personalisedlipsThe Washington-based privacy advocate organisation the Electronic Privacy Information Centre (EPIC) warned that: “… this type of surveillance encroaches on civil liberties,” adding that: “Such face, voice and behaviour technology could be a means of tracking individuals on a mass level across their entire lives.” The organisation believes that the demands from advertisers and security-minded governments have made technologies: “… so increasingly SMART and intrusive that they now resemble something out of science fiction.”

As we become assaulted by smells, images and voices in our heads, these will be increasingly tailored towards the particular demographic in which we reside. And depending how much of our individual data has become available – probably without our consent. Accordingly, even the gender focus can become another marketing dollar. Initially however, it was a charity which was chosen to launch a face recognition billboard in London’s Oxford St. to highlight gender discrimination. (Nothing like blending social conscience and marketing – everyone’s a winner.) On February 23rd 2012, The Independent  newspaper reported on an advert that “plays only to women.” The first of its kind, the technology: “… works by scanning faces before measuring the distance between the viewer’s eyes, width of the nose, length of jaw line and shape of cheekbone to compare the data and estimate their gender.”

Back in November 12, 2008, an Agence France Press ran the report: ‘Firms scan brain waves to improve ads in Japan.’ US Market research company Neilsen and its partner Neurofocus obligingly offered a brain-scanning “service” for the Japanese marketing industry. The technology scans brains waves and the physical features of potential customers in order to accurately study the effects of advertising messages and their products. Attention level, message retention level and emotional involvement of customers is measured the data of which is collected and analysed.

Meanwhile, Londoners can’t even take out their rubbish without being targeted by the ad-men and their SMART toys. Before the Olympics of 2012, Renew, a company who manufactures recycling bins installed over 100, 12 of which had digital tracking devices so that customers were effectively stalked in order to roll out personal advertising in the “real world.” As ludicrous as it may sound – yet perhaps fitting given the product – the little digital screens display Youtube updates, news and of course, targeted ads. According to Sam Shead of online magazine Techworld,an experiment to place tracking devices in recycling bins in order to spy on Londoner’s smartphones was well underway. The report explained how it worked: The 12 bins with the technology record a unique identification number, known as a MAC address, for mobile devices in the vicinity that have Wi-Fi switched on. This enables the Renew bins to monitor data including the ‘movement, type, direction, and speed of unique devices’”. The experiment was terminated by early 2013. Don’t worry there are still the London SMART bins.[6] (See below)

Smart Cities: BinsDan Kitwood/Getty Images Europe

“In London’s Square Mile there are already more than 100 “smart bins”. As well as being a receptacle for recycling, they feature digital screens broadcasting a live channel of breaking headline news and live traffic information. They can also communicate directly with mobile devices through Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology.” Source: ‘Cities get smart: urban innovation.


 “Identity will become embedded in devices” and “propagated into all applications.”


The appetite for data from advertisers and marketers is as insatiable as the NSA’s. The objective is to create a rich data base for “predictive analytics” where a precise knowledge of each individual’s “event” (places they have dined, visited etc.) and who has purchased online in the past can be targeted with advertising which knows your behaviour and personal preferences inside out. The report goes on to say: “In tests occurring between 21-24 May and 2-9 June, over four million events were observed, with over 530,000 unique devices monitored.”

Advertisers may enjoy the innovation but the SMART technology they are riding and driving serves another purpose above and beyond selling products. The software and the desires behind it will always advance and so too the more macro-social SMART planning that is on the pathocratic excel sheet; something advertisers will obviously not have considered and even if the awareness was present, probably wouldn’t care. As Bruce Schneier, chief security technology officer of BT points out: “Once the cameras are installed and operational, once they’re networked to central computers, then it’s a simple matter of upgrading the software,” … “And if they can do more — if they can provide more ‘value’ to the advertisers — then of course they will. To think otherwise is simply naïve.” [7]

The Centre for Future Studies produced a recent summary of key trends in social media that showed how advertising and marketing will dove-tail perfectly into the Technocrats’ dream of an automated society or, as the report states, thanks to Facebook, Twitter etc.: “Identity will become embedded in devices” and “propagated into all applications.” The SMART systems will allow us to bypass these sites and will “seamlessly access your profile.” They further suggest that once social identity has become embedded in our devices, online sharing will become fused to media life, where DVDs TV, i-Pod music and internet “sync preferences to preferred identity.”

Back to The Internet of Things (IOT) and uploading and integrating our identity with SMART world until they are fully synonymous.

As the embedding continues and the reliance and surveillance that goes with it, our location will be omnipresent and available: “Location aware devices will employ pre-emptive use of location to alert the user to things or people nearby that may be of interest.” – Along with those listening in and observing. Marketers will start salivating here when they can offer a discount at a nearby MacDonald’s store: Hey Dude! There’s a Double Royale Burger with extra fries half price deal on 5th Avenue if you hurry! Just Lovin’ it!

mcdonaldspersonalisedThis “dual use” technology allows a double agenda to come into play. Once again, we have the Brave New (SMART) world lurking in perceived innocence and purity just behind the scenes approaching full integration with satellite and terrestrial appliances:

“SMART devices and web apps will automatically check-in and post updates: Identity aware devices, empowered by embeddable RFID tags, (Radio Frequency Identification Chip) will allow this type of technology to spread beyond the mobile phone. A SMART coffee thermos, for example, could enable auto-check ins and send coupons to your phone as you enter your favourite coffee shop.” [8]

And entering our favourite coffee shop with your favourite thermos may be the least of our worries if Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) does indeed spread beyond the mobile phone. Like your arm, for example. In the technocratic future, entering the shop by choice would fast become a luxury. It is at precisely this juncture, where SMART technologies and consumerism suggest how to live your life and where true choices becomes somewhat progressively ill-defined. It’s already too much. And such a level of invasive consumerism blended with the surveillance state can only work if one’s brain has been suitably primed to function in a similar fashion to a small bucket of silica.

What of the workforce in the face of these rapid advances?

A recent report from the Oxford Martin Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology based at Oxford University suggests that 45 per cent of the jobs in the United States will be automated within the next twenty years. Using a standard statistical modelling method, data was accrued from more than 700 jobs on ONet, an online career network. The skills, education and many other variables were all taken into account. With already massive unemployment problems and part-time workers scratching around for jobs automation will force more and more people into the mega-cities and into a managed system – for their own welfare.

Echoing Jeremy Rifikin’s seminal book: The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era (1995) the professor explored the clear delineation between a disenfranchised global workforce and an Information Elite. The results yielded a change that would likely happen in two stages:

1) Computers replacing people. Vulnerable fields like transportation/logistics, production, construction, services, sales and administration will all be affected causing a massive increase in the unemployed. The pace of change will then slow and progress in fits and starts according to the particular field.

2) Artificial Intelligence. As the sophistication of computerisation continues to grow, a second tier of work will be under threat including the sciences, management, engineering, and the arts.

Obvious maybe, but in 1995 it was hard to imagine. Manufacturing is in a bad way having shed 6 million jobs since 2000 and as production soars ahead despite trillions of debt in both the US and Europe. The robot revolution and the SMART visions will only continue the erosion of mass employment. The speed at which this will happen, especially regarding stage two depends on access to cheap labour, resources and social, geo-political and environmental instability. It could be much quicker or considerably longer but the direction is clear.

factoryautomation© infrakshun


“The new law of the economic jungle is this: either write the software that eats the world, or be eaten.”


Professor Erik Brynjolfsson from MIT Sloan School of Management, and his co-author Andrew McAfee have come to much the same conclusions. They believe most of the unemployment stagnation is due to the inexorable rise of robotics and factory automation. According to their research the future is very bleak for a much wider range of jobs, from law, financial services, education, and medicine. More controversially for some, they show that there has been a divergence or “great decoupling” beginning in 2000 – 2011 where economic growth is indicated but with no parallel increase in job creation. Productivity continues to rise as does the long-term unemployed. While Brynjolfsson believes technology does make nations wealthier overall, there is an undeniable paradox at work. He observes: “Productivity is at record levels, innovation has never been faster, and yet at the same time, we have a falling median income and we have fewer jobs. People are falling behind because technology is advancing so fast and our skills and organizations aren’t keeping up.” [9]

Earlier in 2013 Israeli company Rethink Robotics illustrated what will surely become the norm before very long. “Baxter” a foot high service robot retailing at $22,000 can take on most menial tasks from serving coffee, to fetching the post. Software applications are swiftly being developed to make sure that such robots will be able to take ever more sophisticated jobs from assembly line work in factories to flipping burgers in McDonalds. According to a Fiscal Times report Baxter is being overtaken: “MIT already has a BakeBot that can read recipes, whip together cookie dough and place it in the oven. The University of California at Berkeley has a robot that can do laundry and fold T-shirts. Robot servers have started waiting tables at restaurants in Japan, South Korea, China and Thailand …” [10]  Indeed, US agriculture which has already undergone massive monopolisation by five major agribusiness companies is taking the next step in the robotics revolution in keeping with a future collective herding of humanity. Over in California the Lettuce Bot is one such example, where the machines  “… can ‘thin’ a field of lettuce in the time it takes about 20 workers to do the job by hand.” [11]

Though a new sector of employment is emerging comprising Robot IT and maintenance personnel, security developers, designers and salespeople for robot accessories, software, and apps, it will not ameliorate the millions of blue collar workers whose talents and working wage is outside specialist technology. (This does not even include the rising immigration problem from nations ransacked by western backed regime change).  As automated vehicles begin to replace truck drivers and better software obviates the need for lawyers, bartenders and burger flippers and even some medical care workers then the divide between the rich and the poor will become a case of who has access to technology and who does not; who is living on the edges of society and who lives at its core. As one tech journalist Jon Evans commented: “The new law of the economic jungle is this: either write the software that eats the world, or be eaten.”

Author and technology journalist Nicolas Carr has written about the dark side of the approaching revolution in automation. Carr opines that in putting our knowledge in the hands of machines, we are inadvertently – and ironically – signing away our greatest potential.  In his 2010 book: The Shallows: How the internet is changing the way we think, read and remember he provides an overview of what automation is doing to a number of sectors in society and how they are altering the nature of work. For instance, air accidents are revealed to be have been caused by pilot error, which in turn, was caused by overly-sophisticated software which has by-passed normal human reaction and good old fashioned intuition working in unison with years of experience. Now they are essentially computer operators.

Aviation and automation experts have found that what the accidents had in common (when human error was a factor) was that: “Overuse of automation erodes pilots’ expertise and dulls their reflexes,” which leads “a de-skilling of the crew.” And since pilots hold the controls on a typical flight for only three minutes such is the state of software sophistication it means that the problem isn’t likely to get better. Unless that is, you get rid of pilots all together. What will this do to the knowledge of flying? Will flying be yet another skill that becomes the province of the computer and will go much the same way as the art of hand-writing? The stakes are a little higher with the former however… 

The overuse of automation may be putting lives at risk. Faith in such technology could be misplaced if we compare it to the beliefs of the Industrial Revolution from which most of these ideas derive. The scope and magnitude of automated tasks has taken on an entirely different mandate. Software is increasingly rendering the presence of humans unnecessary even for intellectual tasks which until recently were considered strictly human-based. As our focus narrows, we are moving into a technocratic army of workers who do nothing more than monitor and input data rather than truly engage in creative activities which require the friction of challenge and stimulation. Routine will inevitably supplant the nourishing of talent even more than the mechanical assembly line.

Automation2

Automation: the future of manufacturing. Where do all the people go?

The cause of this drive to automate our lives is based on a trenchant fallacy of a machine-based future that will naturally provide for us all and cater for our every mental, emotional and even spiritual needs. As Carr suggests, this is merely another “substitution myth” which fails to address core issues at the heart of change and adaptation. He further states: “A labor-saving device doesn’t just provide a substitute for some isolated component of a job or other activity. It alters the character of the entire task, including the roles, attitudes, and skills of the people taking part.” It is this mass alteration combined with power-hungry individuals presently infesting our social systems which will spell disaster for the human condition if we don’t – somehow – apply the brakes.

Meantime, this will inevitably lead to what psychologists have called complacency and bias leading to poor performance. A false sense of security will descend which over time, leads to an erosion of our levels of attention and awareness. As our trust and faith in automated systems increases so too our hard talents and instincts atrophy, where other informational sources become secondary. This does not absolve us from ignoring incorrect or subtle mistakes in computational data however and a vicious circle is enacted.

But there is also a deeper problem as Carr explains:

Automation turns us from actors into observers. Instead of manipulating the yoke, we watch the screen. That shift may make our lives easier, but it can also inhibit the development of expertise. Since the late 1970s, psychologists have been documenting a phenomenon called the “generation effect.” It was first observed in studies of vocabulary, which revealed that people remember words much better when they actively call them to mind—when they generate them—than when they simply read them. The effect, it has since become clear, influences learning in many different circumstances. When you engage actively in a task, you set off intricate mental processes that allow you to retain more knowledge. You learn more and remember more. When you repeat the same task over a long period, your brain constructs specialized neural circuits dedicated to the activity. It assembles a rich store of information and organizes that knowledge in a way that allows you to tap into it instantaneously. Whether it’s Serena Williams on a tennis court or Magnus Carlsen at a chessboard, an expert can spot patterns, evaluate signals, and react to changing circumstances with speed and precision that can seem uncanny. What looks like instinct is hard-won skill, skill that requires exactly the kind of struggle that modern software seeks to alleviate.

Translating information into applied knowledge is fast becoming an obstacle to achieving not only a place in society but a deeper sense of fulfilment. With an already growing malaise of narcissism afflicting our present generations this does not bode well for the coming technocratic age. In our enthusiasm to replace pilots with programs and suitable algorithms so that diagnoses can take doctors out of the equation entirely the vacuum to which we are all being drawn is based on a cure that is nothing more than total automation which is by definition a technocracy. How on earth do we prevent our distinctly unique talents disappearing as rapidly as technology has arisen? As a consequence, it has comes down to a question of existential meaning. Carr asks: “Does our essence still lie in what we know, or are we now content to be defined by what we want? If we don’t grapple with that question ourselves, our gadgets will be happy to answer it for us.” It doesn’t matter from what cultural origins we derive our sense of meaning and place in the world, the eternal constant is that “knowing demands doing.” [12]

If we embrace the riptide of total automation where the notion of personal vocation is becoming refined and narrowed into software programs in the name of efficiency and ease, then our definition of who we are will be dangerously tied up with the instantaneous result – at the expense of the journey. What we may be losing in return for this new Official Culture and its addictive race for results will only be known when we begin to wonder what it was like to live without the screen. Creativity, meaning and a real world connection may be difficult to claw back when we have become a mirror of the machines we seem to covet.

But the blind drive to a SMART society and automation isn’t the only change that is pressing down on human consciousness. The urge to actually merge our bodies with machines by allowing incremental integration is already taking place.

 


Notes
[1] ‘In 21st century America, Samsung TV watches YOU!’ chron.com, August 5, 2013.
[2] ”Checkpoint of the future’ takes shape at Texas airport’ USA Today June 21, 2012.
[3] ‘Tokyo’s intelligent digital billboards can tell gender, age of passerby’ by Andrew Nusca, http://www.smartplanet.com, 15 Jul 2010.
[4] ‘Intelligent Billboard gives you dog treats: truly the future is here.’ By Anna Leach, March 30 2011. http://www.shinyshiny.tv.com.
[5] ‘Emotion Recognition Software Will Tailor Digital Out-of-Home Advertising Messages to a Person’s Mood’ March 3 2011, http://www.screenmediadaily.com
[6] ‘Tracking devices in recycling bins spy on Londoner’s smartphones’ By Sam Shead Tech World | Aug 10, 2013.
[7] ‘Big Brother is watching you shop’ By Michael Fitzpatrick, BBC News, October 2, 2009.
[8] Insights – centreforfuturestudies strategic futures consultancy, 21 September 2010, http://www.futurestudies.co.uk/files/Centrepercent20forpercent20Futurepercent20Studies/INSIGHTpercent20Socialpercent20Media.pdf

[9] ‘How Technology Is Destroying Jobs’ By David Rotman MIT Tech Review June 2013.
[10]’The Robot Reality: Service Jobs are Next to Go’ By Blaire Briody, Fiscal Times March 26, 2013.
[11]‘Robots revolutionize farming ease labor’ Phys.org July 2013.
[12] ‘All Can Be Lost: The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines’ By Nicolas Carr, The Atlantic Monthly, Oct.23rd 2013.

Branding the Kids

 By M.K. Styllinski

“Congress should ban advertising that preys upon children, it should stop subsidizing dead-end jobs, it should pass tougher food safety laws, it should protect American workers from serious harm, it should fight against dangerous concentrations of economic power.”

Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal


With children’s diet currently falling well short of balanced in the USA and many European countries, and cases of obesity rising each year, a recent report has shown that a big part of the problem lies with fast food company advertising.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, published a study in 2012 carried out by researchers from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Kansas Medical Center. Using the demographic children aged 10-14 years old, they showed children 60 logos from popular food brands, and 60 logos from popular non-food brands. A MRI scanner was used to monitor the reaction of the children’s brains when they viewed the brand logos. When images of fast food companies were displayed the parts of the brain controlling pleasure and appetite lit up. Yet, when logos from companies not associated with food were shown there was little response. They also discovered that children showed a marked preference for food which had a logo with which they were familiar. The researchers found that: “When asked to taste a hamburger from a box with no label, and a hamburger from a box labeled McDonald’s, the children overwhelmingly preferred the McDonald’s burger.”

P200812041130227165601086

Photo credit: The Chinese People’s Daily Online

Aside from the high sugar and sodium content of these foods, it marketers are over-stimulating the reward centres of young brains before children can develop the necessary self-control. This was confirmed in the September 2012 report: “I’m Lovin’ It” Fast-Food Logos ‘Imprinted’ in Children’s Brains’ by Makini Brice, in online journal Medical Daily. Exposure to hard core pornography is following a similar process leading to a premature flooding of chemicals from excess stimulation of the reward centres inducing what may be called a “re-wiring” of children’s brains.

Selling, as a 21st Century definition, is the process of convincing us to buy what we do not necessarily need. Advertising follows on from this by manipulating us into believing that the answer to our problems of self-worth and self-esteem can be solved by purchasing a range of limitless products. Once the infant has been caught on the habituated hook of the advertiser, this addiction becomes an immensely difficult one to relinquish. Advertising panders to the same opiates that define the inducements of pornography. Or as social commentator Philip Slater mentioned: “If we define pornography as any message from any communication medium that is intended to arouse sexual excitement, then it is clear that most advertisements are covertly pornographic.” [1]

Advertising, in all its forms, is at the vanguard of a normalised manipulation which requires that people are fundamentally changed into consumer drones that not only embolden materialist illusions but feed unsustainable pyramids of economic control. Multinational led advertising has kept us in a somnambulistic state of denial while feeding on our self-esteem and sense of self. They constantly target our preoccupations and fears that we are not desirable or fashionable enough, that we cannot possibly be comfortable in our own skins without the latest products, be it shampoo or eye-liner, X-box or i-pad.

Advertising works best by absorbing the latest precepts in social issues and ethics, humanitarian, environmental and spiritual concerns, reducing them down to simplistic vehicles for selling. Who knows? Perhaps the colonization of our minds can be extended into space by using electronic billboards? Perhaps even to beam adverts onto the moon? As a matter of fact, this was not beyond the imagination of the admen and an attempt to do just that was made, though their lofty ambitions have been for the moment, unsuccessful. [2]

A key component of advertising is the insistence on conformity, the young being the most susceptible to this targeted messages. If you are cool you belong. If you are not cool you do not exist. The advertisers make sure they go to the heart of our insecurities and then, like a vast corporate cattle-prod, they burn a new insatiable craving into our everyday lives, yet another mask to wear. Peer-group tribalism combined with the habit of instant gratification reinforces such needs, further adding to the loss of perceptual diversity in the creation of original thoughts and ideas. Advertisers send out waves of neuroses to ensure a divided consciousness in the young, and what better way to do it through a constant ever-present selling that invades the last sanctuary on earth – the privacy of our minds?

r189205_709068© Infrakshun

The assimilation of the mind into a lump of pliable play-doe has been a particularly 20th century creation. It has proceeded with alarming alacrity as we move into the bewildered 21st. As we all become more aware of the methods by which advertisers lure us into their buyers “paradise” they must then seek new and ingenious ways to literally program us into needing their wares.

If poverty and neglect doesn’t kill them then the mind programming of 21st century America is already making generations of children captive in a virtual bubble of subjective whimsey that provides a fertile ground for programming. As cyber-culture commentator Douglas Rushkoff mentions: “The fresh neurons of young brains are valuable mental real estate to admen” and as such, represent a highly coercive strategy that is designed to take over the child’s mind and fill it with slogans and brands to the point that there is very little desire or room for anything else. [3] The author describes the techniques of the 1936 “bible” of selling: How to Win Friends and Influence People that were used in the US Central Intelligence Agency’s “Kubark” interrogation manual of 1963. With demographics and psychographics, the corporations and their advertising agencies are still conducting military operations for the child’s mind, a battle which has become extremely sophisticated.

The youth of modern America in particular bear the hallmarks of “branding” where personal identity is subsumed into logos, labels and fashion icons. If you wear Calvin Klein underwear and Hugo after-shave you are “sexy” and “cool.” If you have the latest Nike trainers you have your status ear-marked in the gang or at school. The irony is that everyone is ending up the same while seeking to be different. Youth rebellion is just another tag-line to take advantage of in the admen’s war against authenticity.

Teen marketing is the relatively new phenomena taking marketers straight to the heart of teenager’s identity. But traditional teenage revenues are not the only ones to be netted. The expanding market of nine to thirteen-year-olds, now known as “tweens” are being shaped according to the wishes of corporations worldwide, whereby the tweens themselves act as proxy sellers. [4] By nagging their parents to buy everything from cars to game-boys, designer clothes to skin care products, parents become secondary consumers under the insistence of their children. Marketing devices such as these ensure the sales go up while the teenager’s and pre-teen’s identity disappears under a barrage of targeted programming so precise that it can be likened to a large-scale military assault.

So insidious is this attack and so desperate its desire to keep pace with the child’s rising awareness of the media that it has expanded its scope to monopolize the disciplines of psychology and sociology in the quest to tame the wilderness of the child’s mind. Teen marketing has fleeced sciences for the requisite ammunition to better understand how to capture and sell the consciousness of the global youth. Each category of child is noted and assigned a place in the marketing strategy and all have differing types of market potential to exploit. As one advertising executive put it: “It isn’t enough to just advertise on television…. You’ve got to reach kids throughout their day–in school, as they’re shopping in the mall … or at the movies. You’ve got to become part of the fabric of their lives.” [5]


See also: Cultural insanity: Ponerized Western consumer culture is creating a demoralized man in psycho-spiritual crisis


Notes

[1] http://www.philipslater.com/
[2] ‘City Lights and Space Ads May Blind Stargazers.’ By Malcolm W. Browne, The New York Times, May 4 1993: “ A major uproar followed the announcement last month that Space Marketing Inc. o Roswell, Ga; in cooperation with Livermore National Laboratory in California and the University of Colorado planned to launch a one-mile wide display satellite into orbit around the earth. The spacecraft, made of thin plastic film, would reflect sunlight to Earth from aluminized letters or symbols.”
[3] Coercion – The persuasion professionals and why we listen to what they say By Douglas Rushkoff, (1999) Published by Little, Brown and Company. ISBN-0-316-854034.
[4] Branded – The Buying and Selling of Teenagers by Alissa Quart, 2003 | ISBN 0-09-945806-3.
[5] Carol Herman, Senior Vice President, Grey Advertising quoted in ‘Selling America’s Kids: Commercial Pressures on Kids of the 90’s,’Consumer’s Union, consumersunion.org.