robotics

Technocracy XV: A Post Human World? (1)

By M.K. Styllinski

 “The Purpose of Biotechnology is the End of Death.”

Martine Rothblatt, CEO Therapeutics Corp.


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© infrakshun

The above quote sums up the whole drive behind transhumanism – fear of death and the (androgynous) bodycentrism as arbiter of consciousness.

It would be churlish in the extreme to say that aspects of new technologies in the realm of medicine do not have enormous potential. Researching cures for diseases and the general enhancement of human life are unquestionably benefits to be welcomed, yet, altruistic advancement is not the perception that dominates in centres of power and influence. The presumption of innocence has been discarded along with any notion of privacy and independence. It is the same persistent beliefs which are being enforced by societies’ self-proclaimed wardens that humanity needs micro-managing because, like an unruly child we will only resort to bad deeds unless we are placed in various forms of shackles – seen and unseen. Monitoring and tagging the population is proceeding in order to banish every trace of uncertainty; to prepare the masses for large-scale social, economic and even environmental upheaval.

To the techno-religious ideology that flows through the currents of a SMART Surveillance Society (SSS) it is transhumanism which is set to be at the forefront of humanity’s technological transformation. A Technocracy is closely embedded in such values despite genuine protestations to the contrary. Those that do reject such a notion are not likely to remain in the vanguard for very long.

everymantranshumanism

© infrakshun

Technology, like any other tool in human hands, can be an extraordinarily powerful and liberating way to actualise our inner realities and manifest our desires. Since this series is about how psychopaths infect creativity and flip it on its head to induce entropy, then we should be monitoring very closely where this particular revolution is heading. From so-called primitive society, to the agricultural, industrial, and now the Eco-Smart-Information Age, there are extraordinary opportunities with their attendant risks. As new “change agents” work to manage and transform the old world into a new technocratic vision for all, the probability of this new transformation evolving into something other than the cherished ideals hold futurists so rapt, is very real indeed.

Awareness of ponerology in this context does not negate SMART society but perhaps considerably modifies its soaring ideals. This doesn’t mean we return to living in mud huts either. It does however demand that we use discernment and discrimination when new paradigms come along offering the kind of ideological Utopias so familiar down through history. This also doesn’t mean that technological change will not offer radical transformation. It just depends exactly what trajectory we are following and whether or not its coordinates have already been mapped in advance.

A revealing talk was given by South Korean Dr. Seang-Tae Kim, President of National Information Society Agency (NIA), South Korea on October 25, 2011 on the emergence of SMART growth. He spoke about the “Mega Trend of Future Society” and its “Paradigm shift” which will lead to SMART technologies redesigning the world. He believes this heralds a more “human-oriented” focus stemming from the rise of an aging population and the awareness of networking and a “knowledge-based economy.” Theories of “High Concept” creativity and empathy he believes, must be integral to SMART emergence to function. “Consumers” will be “Pro-sumers” generating enormous wealth outside of the normal capitalist channels thus stimulating a new innovation philosophy across bi-lateral networks of merging digital and analogue systems. A “Dream Society” characterises the New Revolution and it is brimming with hope and energy.

Seang-Tae Kim believes that a new technological humanism or human-oriented society can turn the highly volatile risks of an aging population, geo-conflict and the threat of Climate Change into a more streamlined and cost effective vision. Indeed, it is inevitable, he opines, due to the global budget deficit that demands change and where traditional government must be transformed into open government by the power of the people. For Seang-Tae Kim and other SMART-transhumanists, he advocates people power which is beyond the Fordism of the factory-line toward a more promising Post-Bureaucratic Age. He believes that local society and feudalism, government power and industrial society must naturally give way to an open-source infrastructure, an “eco-system of new values”, and a “value oriented eco-system.” This will apparently be predicated on a “platform strategy” which naturally encourages group power. (For a fascinating book on open source software and infrastructure see The Open-Source Everything Manifesto: Transparency, Truth, and Trust by Robert David Steele).

Exciting as that sounds, can such system bypass the integration, dependency and invasive nature of the SMART Surveillance State (SSS) away from pathogenic control? Does an “open source everything” mixed with the philosophy of transhumanism represent an inevitable push away from State centralisation and bland techno-homogeneity? Or, is this merely an end-game reinvention of Empire at a higher turn of the spiral? If the latter, how can we avoid SSS ideals being vectored into the same old patterns? Denial of the dark side of human progress has persistently got us into collective pickles. Yet, we remain strangely blind to the fact.

Like the transformation of society, the metamorphosis of the human being is an integral part of transhumanism beliefs. Sandwiched between the SMART Grid implementation, post-modernism, cyber-activism and virtual reality, transhumanism, sees the merging of man and machine as just a cosmic nano-second away. Replacing an arthritic hip or elbow joint with the help of embedded nanotech is something desirable to most people. Yet, this is small fry for those who wish to use nano-devices and neuro-prostheses to change us into something other than human – a post human.

In March 2012, media entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov made the ambitious claim that he planned to ‘transplant’ a human mind into a robot body in 10 years. According to the Russian this would herald the next stage of science and a ‘new human body.’ The promise of an atheistic immortality is the driving force behind the project which Itskov claims has more than 30 scientists working on it. Uploading minds without surgery would be the next challenge where bodies are left behind in favour of cybernetic super-humans merging with a bio-genetic, virtual world of limitless potential. The project is modelled after the James Cameron movie Avatar where human soldiers use sophisticated technology to inhabit the bodies of human-alien hybrids as they embark on an invasion of another world. [1]

Taiwan

Smart Society Building design in Taiwan Source: From Danish http://www.almeresmartsociety.net/Design in a smart society – Dream or Reality?’

This is a fairly accurate description of the dreams of your average transhumanist who believes that the merging of man and machine offer the best of all evolutionary outcomes. While the transhumanism movement has many different permutations of opposing views there are some fundamental themes that remain sacrosanct:

  • The evolution of humanity
  • Biotechnological enhancement that will extend and exceed ordinary human capabilities
  • A focus on longevity, radical life extension and immortality
  • A focus on human happiness that can become a permanent state of mind with the help of technology.

Transhumanists see the rise of the machines as a chance to reach an integration and synthesis of biology, genetics, cybernetics, naotechnology and artificial intelligence. In doing so, they believe we will transcend the limitations of human biology and the fixity of the machine to become a hybrid superman with a vastly more intelligent brain thus leading to a quantum leap in human evolution, otherwise known as the “Singularity.” This is a culmination of human evolution that has reached its sell-by date and must become fused with a SMART world convergence of biotechnology, robotics, and biometrics, inaugurating the next and most decisive step ever in the history of human evolution: The Post-Human Age. The technological component of the singularity posits a robotic “intelligence explosion” based on an exponential curve of “recursive self-improvement.” which will either draw humanity – or those choosing such a fusion – into its slipstream.

Another form of aggregate swarm intelligence; a technocratic version of the Hive Mind rather than true freedom and individuality?

Transhumanists tell us we can alter the nature and meaning of strictly organic evolution. The combination of new cognitive tools interfacing with artificial intelligence, molecular biology and the modification of emotional and mental states means the list of potential “enhancements” is never-ending. Although there is a chic, techno-spirituality, even an obvious alchemical metaphor within transhumanist discourse, the movement has historically remained an atheist/materialist ideology as the name implies. The belief has more potent implications for its direction than the mechanics of the movement itself as we shall see.

Moving back to our old Fabian and Social Darwinist Mr. Julian Huxley, it was he who coined the term ‘transhumanism’ in 1957, fitting technocracy neatly into his well-watered vision of evolutionary humanism, the genetic legacy of which he can thank his grandfather, Darwinist Thomas Henry Huxley. Transcendence, in strictly materialist terms was the goal. Transhumanism provided the imagination, hope and intellectual rigour to seed a new ideology and its conceptual framework. The systems theory of cybernetics would play a large part in its development and the parallel evolution of ecology and new physics which would be taken up with a passion, decades later.

Acting as a bridge to New Age philosophies that would surface in the late 1960s-1970s, a fusion of ecology, transhumanism and the Human Potential Movement can now be seen. (The influential Barbara Marx-Hubbard is one such Elite-lauded advocate of “bad seed” transhumanism). Two of Huxley’s close friends John Burdon, Sanderson Haldane and John Desmond Bernal who were major shapers of transhumanist thought also happened to be members of the communist party. Whereas Huxley was passionate about eugenics and saw it as integral to the development of transhumanism as a whole, Haldane was a population geneticist. Whilst not comfortable with what he saw as the “poor science” of eugenic theory, he nevertheless permitted its inclusion in the transhumanist vision. J.D. Bernal’s expertise lay in crystallography and molecular biology and shared his friend’s desire to see a new social order based around a gradual engineering of the social organism.

Another dear friend of Huxley’s was our equally dedicated Fabian guru of the 1920s and 30s: H.G. Wells. The writer’s extraordinary books did not just offer a way to funnel his eerily accurate predictions into popular literature but also served as microcosms of technocratic ideals. Wells saw Technocracy as the ideal way to manage the masses and he was wholly dedicated to the principle of neo-Feudalism as the way to control the destiny of nations.

NPG x12102; Sir Julian Sorell Huxley by Wolfgang SuschitzkySir Julian Huxley and Barbara Marx-Hubbard

By the 1960s other names were caught up in promoting the philosophy in popular culture and academia such as Ray Kurzweil, Frank P. Tipler, Eric K. Drexler, Hans Moravec and Marvin Minsky, all of whom contributed richer and more diverse versions of transhumanism and the Singularity. According to some, the human species has the potential to flower but not before artificial intelligence (AI) has competed for supremacy with humanity. Once this has been thrashed out in true Terminator-trilogy-fashion then humanity can get on with being the cyber-sapiens or Marx-Hubbard’s New Age version of “Homo-Universalis” and presumably upload themselves into any sector they choose.

Transhumanism reached a watershed in 1998 with the founding of the World Transhumanist Association (WTA) by philosophers Nick Bostrom and David Pearce, closely followed by their “Transhumanism Declaration.” This helped to bring prominence to other organisations and groups such as Extropy Institute and the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence. As the internet took off so did the transhumanist philosophy. Cyberspace was, after all, the natural medium for the propagation of the movement’s ideas.

Ray Kurzweil is perhaps the most well-known author, inventor and futurist introducing an almost evangelist fervour to his eschatological version of transhumanism. Kurzweil published The Age of Spiritual Machines, (1998) about the future of AI and biotechnology; Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever (2004) co-authored with medical doctor Terry Grossman and explored human health and nutrition; The Singularity is Near (2005) Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever (2009) and his latest How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed was published in 2012. All of the concepts contained in these books features in a recent documentary film Transcendent Man (2013)  exploring the life of Kurzweil.

What is more interesting however, February 2009 saw Kurzweil collaborate with Google and the NASA Ames Research Centre, to announce the creation of the Singularity University Training Centre for corporate executives and government officials. The mission of the university is to “assemble, educate and inspire a cadre of leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies and apply, focus and guide these tools to address humanity’s grand challenges”. [2] Ray Kurzweil does for transhumanism what Maurice Strong did for UN Agenda 21 since he appears to be on the advisory board of almost anything remotely AI or transhumanist-related. Which is why he is also on the board of Martine Rothblatt’s Therapeutics Corp.)

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Raymond Kurzweil at the Singularity Summit at Stanford in 2006 (wikipedia)

Moscow was the venue for the Global Future International Congress “A New Era for humanity” which took place in February of 2012 and in June 2013. Organised by the Global Future 2045 (GF2045) a non-profit organization that has: “… the goal of creating a network community with the world’s leading scientists in the field of life extension and to support them as an investment hub, contributing to various projects.” [3]

Hosted by Kurzweil, it offered an uncompromising vision of a future for post-humanity where bio /nanotechnology, AI, cognitive applications, and cybernetics would allow the mass replacement of our drearily inadequate selves. The distinguished panel of speakers and guests were writers, anthropologists, astrophysicists, NASA scientists, historians, sociologists, psychologists, philosophers and many others from specialist fields of technology. The message was yet another indication that the “accelerated” nature of technology and the “race to save the world” hadn’t lessened in its intensity, nor had the belief in technology as saviour.

On the website an introductory 7 minute video with a soaring orchestral score has a narrative which imparts the following nuggets to look forward to:

  • 2012: the emergence of new transhumanist movements & parties amid the on-going socio-economic crisis
  • 2012-2013: new centres for cybernetic technologies to radically extend life
  • 2014: The “race for immortality” starts
  • 2015: “Find ways to transfer our personality to an artificial carrier – the robotic human copy or “Avatar.”
  • 2015-2020: Robots to replace human manufacturing & labour, servant tasks; thought controlled robots to displace travel needs; flying cars, thought-driven communications implanted in bodies or “sprayed on skin.” timecover
  • 2025: The creation of an autonomous system providing life support for the brain that is capable of ‘interacting with the environment’; brains transplanted into avatar bodies greatly expanding life and allowing complete sensory experiences.
  • 2030-2035: Reverse-engineering of the human brain already being mapped out, wherein science comes “… close to understanding the principles of consciousness.”
  • By 2035: First successful transplantation of personality to other data receptacles and the “epoch of cybernetic immortality begins.”
  • 2040-2050: Bodies “… made of nano-robots” taking any shape, alongside holographic bodies.
  • 2045-2050: Drastic changes to the social structure and sci-tech development. Tipping the hat to the UN, conflict and violence is “not permitted.” Instead, the priority is given to “spiritual self-improvement.” “A New Era of neo-Humanity Dawns”…

According to the website: www.gf2045.com the Russian GF2045 group met to draft a: “resolution that will be submitted to the United Nations demanding the implementation of committees to discuss life extension Avatar projects as a necessary tool in the preservation of humankind.”

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Martine Rothblatt in 2010. (wiki)

An attendee of the follow up conference in 2013 was aforementioned Martine Rothblatt founder and CEO (and fittingly transgender) of biotech company United Therapeutics Corp. Rothblatt has introduced the concept of “mind clones” where the human mind is created from a “mind-file” of our social networking data and other personality sources. S/he believes the capability to do so will be made possible in under twenty years time. She even used the personality of her dead wife to create a droid template example of what transhumanists would love to see as commonplace.  Cartesian dualism and atheist paradise? Or merely the next stage in our evolution?

Rothblatt sees “… the market opportunities as limitless” where everyone will be seeking to make a digital copy of their thoughts of their memories, thoughts and feelings to be made manifest in a droid of their making. Grabbing a slice of the artificial action, Rothblatt believes is inevitable: “We all want an i-phone, we all want a social media account and we are all going to want a mind clone.” [4]

Speak for yourself Martine.

And what would you know? Amazon and Google are extremely keen on this type of artificial intelligence.

(The concept of transgenderism and androgyny has an occult-esoteric element within transhumanist discourse, something  which Rothblatt appears to personify and something that will be explored further in the Occult Transhumanism).

To reiterate, it could be said that these imaginative interpretations of one possible future without awareness of the ponerological basis of psychopathy “demanding” anything (and worse still, receiving it) would be a recipe not for human freedom but more ways to welcome its opposite. An alternative future that is drawn from exactly the same technocratic tenets will be a decidedly Dystopian one and no less probable should we allow ourselves to be guided down these grandiose beliefs. That’s not to say we have not been affected positively by technology since the Industrial Revolution. Improvements in health and sanitation; air travel; photography; computers, medical advances and information technology have positively reshaped the world. Once again, it is the perception of reality that will define how these technological innovations are used and whether a healthy techno-culture can exist.

Biocomplexity_spiral

“The biocomplexity spiral is a depiction of the multileveled complexity of organisms in their environments, which is seen by many critics as the ultimate obstacle to transhumanist ambition.” (wikipedia)

The other problem with transhumanism is the adherence to a belief that evolution is dependent on machines to take us to the next level. Nature is inherently unpredictable and disruptive since that is the whole reason how non-linear evolution occurs – far from equilibrium. It is therefore outside human-implanted notions of intelligent design. Aside from obvious hubris, attempts to replicate, emulate nature may be partially possible, but to try and go beyond bio-complexity itself is to re-enact an unnecessary mythology which is Promethean/Luciferian in its ambition. 

There are many advocates who advise caution in the development of technology. Kurzweil, to be fair, does his fair share of warning the faithful of its potential slip into Darth Vader territory. Nonetheless, once the momentum gains more traction it is unlikely that any safeguards will be present, let alone feature as a primary component to secure an ethical and moral foundation. Indeed, as this series of posts has hopefully indicated, there are signs it is being absorbed into exactly the same mainframe of Official Culture and its overseeing Establishment.

At present, such an ideology is highly attractive to a variety of intelligent people, many of whom are sincere in their beliefs to improve societies. One advocate defined transhumanism in simplest terms as: “… the idea that human kind can use science and technology to become more than what we are and help those interested in doing the same and in protecting the freedom for all to decide for themselves how to be happy, in other words ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness’.”  Surely, is this not something we ALL want? Unfortunately, the reality of transhumanism routinely goes way beyond such simple definitions, and their lies the problem since it plays into – and is promoted by – the more pathological elements of the movement.

Moreover, it is precisely this pathology to which transhumanism in particular lends itself, namely: clusters of psychopaths and social dominators straddling all social domains for whom this ideology undoubtedly appeals to the workings of their “machine minds”. Naturally, this won’t be acknowledged by its adherents since the dependence on our chosen belief tends to prohibit negative associations. Consequently, wealthy techno-psychopaths bring with them a great deal of charisma, PR and investment disbursed through the various connected branches that make up the movement: from Hollywood, media, social science and the military-corporate complex.

As rapid advances in AI, quantum computing, neurology and robotics continue then it is simple logic that the time will approach when a digital map of the human brain will be placed into machines and eventually surpassed just as Rothblatt has indicated. It is then that a potential separation will occur between two types of human beings, perhaps labelled the “organics” and the “post-humans” and in much the same way as normal people are unconsciously separated from a variety of psychopaths and sub-categories of the same.

If we are already embedded in the SMART infrastructure how likely is it that we will have a choice which breakaway civilisation to follow? Or, will “group consciousness”, communitarian “consensus” and SMART “efficiency” simply decide for you?

 


Notes

[1] ‘Who wants to live forever? Russian project aims to transplant a human brain into a ‘Davros’-style robot body within 10 years’ By Rob Waugh Daily Mail, March 2 2012.
[2] ‘The Singularity Is Near: Mind Uploading by 2045?’by Tanya Lewis, June 17, 2013. | ‘Future of Artificial Intelligence in Mind Clones’ bloomberg.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bqZp9TPYVk
[3] FAQ | “Singularity University.” Singularityu.org. September 9, 2008.
[4] Gf2045.com

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Technocracy X: Nano-Science (2)

 “We cannot rely on trial-and-error approaches to deal with existential risks… We need to vastly increase our investment in developing specific defensive technologies… We are at the critical stage today for biotechnology, and we will reach the stage where we need to directly implement defensive technologies for nanotechnology during the late teen years of this century… A self-replicating pathogen, whether biological or nanotechnology based, could destroy our civilization in a matter of days or weeks.”

― Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology


dna_nano_tech-wideThe military is the largest investor in the U.S. Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). The share of the NNI budget given to the Department of Defence (DoD) since the program started has reached $6.6 billion with part of the expenditure going to DARPA and the departmental laboratories of the Navy, Army and Air force, the rest ending up at universities as research grants or as part of the Multi-University Research Initiative (MURI).[1]  Though spending has been fluctuating since 2007, there remains steady interest in nanotech’s military capabilities. Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) revealed from their research that: “… government funding for military R&D dwarfs that spent on social and environmental programs across the industrialized world …” with military R&D fixed towards “… a narrow weapons-based security agenda.” [2]  Which means the marginalisation of conflict prevention and analysis of the roots of conflict and its links to poverty, the environment, security and health issues continue to be under-funded. Nanotech advances are being hijacked away from improving civilian life with “game-changing” technology as the culprit.

A fervent need to make these grand visions a reality was given a sturdy platform for realisation back in 2007 from the DoD and their little known advisory body called the Defence Science Board (DSB) whose paper entitled: “DSB 2006 Summer Study on 21st Century Strategic Technology Vectors” laid some important groundwork for the future. In an attempt to place nanotech at the top of the military agenda the paper drew their attention to “synergistic combinations” of all forms of nanotech and their “… truly revolutionary capabilities in human performance enhancement, medical treatment and prophylaxis, miniaturization, life extension, robotics, and machine intelligence …” [3]  It was unabashed in its agenda for clandestine tagging and tracking, where: “A combination of nanotechnology, biology, and chemistry promises to provide significant increases in capability to conduct pervasive surveillance on a global basis.”

spybee

prototype for cyborg-bee © unknown

Some of these other applications currently in R & D or primed and ready for action include the following:

Nano-biotechnology – or miniaturized biotechnology is the recent development of merging biology research with nanotechnology, most notably using biomolecules, bio-membranes and nano-photonics for vaccinations and virus research. Particularly active in medical fields the new science is seeking to generating cures; develop stem cell treatments, creating muscle tissue and artificial proteins. The convergence between computers and biology is of primary interest where eventually computing will be sourced from a biological platform where “Colonies of live neurons can live together on a biochip device.” [4]

Nano-electronics – The development of molecules with useful electronic properties which can then be used in nano-devices. This includes synthetic chemical methods and the creation of synthetic molecular motors. Other forms include carbon nano-tubes which have taken over from silicon-based chips. Now, the race is on to fit billions of these tubes onto computer chips thereby increasing the chip performance to “… run at more than three times the frequency and consuming just a third of the energy.” [5]

DNA nanotechnology – the construction of structures out of DNA and other nucleic acids. This branch has a special relationship to nano-medicine and “SMART drugs” for targeted drug delivery, the development and creation of vaccines and the adjacent field of nano-electronics with real world applications in both fields looming large. [6]

Nano-robotics/weaponryself-sufficient machines operating at the nano-scale. Applying nano-robots in medicine are proving difficult due to a multitude of problems adapting to the biology of organic systems, though progress is there. However, military nano-robotics in combination with cybernetics is moving ahead in leaps and bounds. There are still very little scholarly articles on the nature and pace of advances on military robotics along with only a sluggish attempt at raising the ethical and moral issues inherent in the use of such weaponry. What is clear is that the military is getting very excited by it all due to the unlimited scope of applications. Reduced to the size of perhaps 0.1mm or less, autonomous mini and micro-robots could be deployed on the ground, in water and in air, using the same propulsion principles found in larger electronic and mechanical systems. All forms of movement are mimicked such as human legs, various types of hopping, flapping wings like a bird, flagella, and even side-winding movements of a snake. The multi-purpose nature of robotics means that weapons systems targeting, reconnaissance, communication and surveillance are easily utilized. Insects and small mammals are already being integrated into bio-cyborg hybrids with nervous system and brain interfacing with cybernetics, software and electrodes.

cyborg-mothcyborg moth | © unknown

Returning to our whacky friends down at DARPA and their various sponsored companies and subsidiaries, we find they are still churning out helpful prototypes for new ways to spy, maim and murder. Some of these latest offerings are still prototypes, in the manufacturing stage or on the drawing board. They comprise:

1) Nano-Scouts – real insects and simulated bird-like technologies which act as the eyes and ears of intelligence. Flies and mosquitoes have embedded nanotech capabilities which allow them to determine the presence of certain chemicals, changes in moisture levels or barometric pressure, and be able to sense movements, temperature, and vibration.[7]

2) Nano-Poisons – A variety of toxic substances with nanomolecules carefully tailored to illicit the correct responses. By interfering with neuro-chemical inhibitors and release agents introducing precise “onboard” quantities of synthetic poisons behaviour modification is taken to a whole new level. Almost any type of mind control would be available from encouraging the victim to lie obsessively to provoking suicidal thoughts; stimulating a person to react violently or to kill. And of course, a Brave New World of somatic release could be programmed where the person cannot help but love everyone and where anger and aggression is blocked. Nano-molecules would effectively quadruple the effectiveness of purely psychological methods of mind control.

3) Nano Force Fields –nano-coatings which can hermetically seal a vehicle or building by allowing particles to seek out air gaps and block them.

4) Nano Mind Erasers – Want to take out a politician or spy without fuss or bother of assassination? Then, inducing the equivalent of instant Alzheimer’s is the answer. Wiping the sections of the brain clean using micro fields programmed to flare up as tiny, molecular neutron bombs would do the trick.

5) Nano Needles – With no visible wounds and invisible to the naked eye these weapons represent an up-dated version of the old KGB poison-tipped umbrella. The needles could be shot from a suitably modelled gun to paralyse people. Presumably the lethal nature of the needles would be dependent on their carrier capability.

6) Nano Heart-Stoppers – Nano-blood flow restrictors and Stroke Inducers – Long known to be a part of military-intelligence operations the assassination of sensitive targets such as politicians, heads of state and celebrities. Undetectable in the blood stream, nano-molecules could mimic heart attacks or strokes; restrict the blood flow causing an array of symptoms, even inducing personality disorders.

7) Nano-Naut Swarms These are ‘SMART dust’ particles which act as an information or sensor clouds capable of analysing areas with sharp detail and relying back information to HQ. As reported in the MSM in early February 2013, the British Army has been deploying tiny nano-drones in Afghanistan for over two years. At just 10cm long and weighing only 16 Grams they are used to relay full motion video and still images back to the devices’ handlers. But technology is advancing as fast as weapons can be bought.

8) Cyborg Insects – could be the delivery tool of much of the above allowing viruses and lethal substances to be to their individual or mass target, something that Bill Gates and his forays into mosquito-driven vaccines would no doubt happily welcome. Spying and surveillance capabilities have also been successfully tested and deployed. One of DARPA’s less malevolent offerings, the Nano Hummingbird was named One of Time Magazine’s 50 best inventions of 2011. Shaped like a humming-bird the mini robot is remotely-controlled without an external power source and can fly, hover, move forward and backward in the air while shooting Hi-Resolution video.

9) Programmable Matter – Starting in 2007, with DARPA support, Carnegie Mellon delved into the possibility of creating hardware and software to make material that can programmed to morph into 3-Dimensional shapes – essentially, shape-shifting. Named the Claytronics Project, the brains behind this venture believe that it has the capacity to change every facet of human experience. They consider claytronics to be a platform for a new form of called “Pario” with the reproduction of moving 3-D objects the primary goal. In other words, the quest to program the world around us. Just a few years later in 2010 with a “self-folding origami” robot which can literally fold itself up and crawl away. Meantime, shape-shifting sand made an appearance in 2012 where; “New algorithms enable heaps of ‘smart sand’ that can assume any shape, allowing spontaneous formation of new tools or duplication of broken mechanical parts.” This of course begins to the blur the whole fields of nanotechnology bioengineering, cybernetics, biological-based pharmaceuticals, programmable vaccines and the advance of synthetic biology.

The US Department of Defence is also researching the feasibility and applications of robotic mosquitoes. So far testing has found that they can be remotely controlled with an on-board camera and a microphone. They will be able to land on unsuspecting dissidents or terrorists with the potential to take a DNA sample or leave RFID tracking nanotechnology on your skin. Flying in through a crack in your window or attaching itself to your clothing in passing would prove no problem for these adorables. No doubt law enforcement and Homeland Security are salivating at such a prospect. [8] In fact, sightings of insect-like drones have been occurring for years in the US, most frequently at activist demonstrations and marches. According to a 2006 Flight International report: “… the CIA had been developing micro UAVs as far back as the 1970s and had a mock-up in its Langley headquarters since 2003.”

robot_insectAssuming such machines can fly onto a local protester’s arm and then wing its way back to its controller with a fresh little DNA sample to analyse, this compliments another disturbing scenario as described by authors Andrew Hessel, Marc Goodman, and Steven Kotler who “…outline futuristic human genome work that evolves from the very real GE $100 million breast cancer challenge.” In this scenario: “freelancers receive bids to design personalized virus offering customized cures for the sick.” An individual succumbs to colon cancer and instead of going the route of standard chemotherapy he chooses an immediate payment of $1000 to have his genome decoded over two days. Virologists of the near future will have information about the disease and the exclusive genome sequence. The design cure will be outsourced the winning bid providing the formula to rid your body of the specific cancer. Targeting the US President by criminal cartels or terrorist cells would be relatively easy.

A 2010 release of secret cables by WikiLeaks, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered US embassies “… to surreptitiously collect DNA samples from foreign heads of state and senior United Nations officials.” [9]With that in mind, an article by Atlantic magazine takes the next logical step in personalised bio-weapons and micro-drones.

Picture an African President busy with civil war and child soldiers. Perhaps his DNA had been sampled as part of a UN / US mandate. A drug is tailored to that genome sent to an online bio-marketplace and synthesised into actual genetic material. The authors explain that it is here that “… the future of drones and virology could intersect.”

The article continues:

A few days later tablets are delivered to a group that dissolves them and injects the liquid into a handful of micro-drones. The team releases the drones and infects the people in the African leader’s circle of advisors or family. The infected come down with flu like symptoms, coughs and sneezes that release billions of harmless virus particles — but when they bring their symptoms in the vicinity of the African leader — the particles change. Once the virus particles are exposed to that very specific DNA sequence, a secondary function within their design unlocks.[10]

Perhaps the formula contained a “fast-acting neuro-destructive disease that produced memory loss and, eventually, death.” For the African leader or any other head of state which was proving an obstacle to US hegemony “the symptoms could be tailored an infinite number of ways. Designed to reflect a uniquely local affliction like Dengue Fever, or to appear like symptoms of a genetic condition.” [11]Combined with the inherent nature of the military-coporate-banking complex and with their puppet Obama who sees no problem with murdering American citizens via remote drone attacks discarding any notions of law and democratic due process, then you can be sure that such a scenario will take place in the very near future – if it hasn’t already.

The above scenario set against military nanotechnology and other forms of “non-lethal” warfare is justified due to the threat of terrorism and the belief that we can all bring an end to the world’s violence and crime. It is believed that technology will save the day on the battlefield and in civilian life. If left to these people it would rapidly start to resemble an endless battle in itself, which is the general idea. Convincing people not to act on their “evil” thoughts by allowing nano-dust particles to seep into their brains is bread and butter behaviour modification. For anyone else, it is a step towards a Huxleyian nightmare.

Although many commentators prefer to believe that the fail-safe mechanisms of quantum computing and the intelligence apparatus would be enough to protect mainstream society, they fall into the trap of believing that those of conscience are presently guiding humanity. Once again, you cannot use a juvenile dictionary to explain a psychopathic reality that is operating on an entirely different cognitive and perceptual mainframe.

The fractal nature of the nano-world of military applications means that advances in weaponry would take place exponentially with a modus operandi that would excite any social dominator beyond all measure. Using the premise of the molecular assembler, a device capable of breaking and creating the chemical bonds between atoms and molecules, it means duplication is not only feasible and efficient but a requirement once the technology is up and running. Think of the white Storm-trooper clones in the Star Wars films – very much military-technocratic ambrosia. As nanotech guru Eric Drexler explained: “a state that makes the assembler breakthrough could rapidly create a decisive military force – if not literally overnight, then at least with unprecedented speed.” He further observes: “A nation armed with molecular nanotechnology-based weapons would not require nuclear weapons to annihilate a civilization. In fact, it seems that a rather surgical system of seeking and destroying enemy human beings as cancerous polyps could be developed–leaving the nation’s infrastructure intact to be repopulated.” [12]

irobotStill from ‘I Robot’ (2004) Twentieth Century Fox

A research paper sponsored by the European Commission for a 2004 conference on the military uses of nanotechnology and the hazards to society at large, came to some sobering conclusions. While the benefits in medical and non-military domains was clear and should not be unduly hindered provided regulations and ethical boards were swiftly introduced, there were a number of indirect ways that society could be: “detrimentally affected” through the “diffusion of the technology.” The paper offered some examples, including the temptation for the National Security State and related agencies, corporations and criminals to purloin micro-sensors and robots for spying, as well as: “the use of small autonomous systems for criminal attacks – and in particular terrorism – including attacks on critical infrastructures.” They also included a third possibility, that of:

“… implanted systems and other forms of body manipulation for ‘improving human performance’. Deciding what kinds of body manipulation should be permitted, and under which circumstances is a problem of peacetime civilian life, and should be handled by civilian society. However, military R&D and deployment of such systems could establish a fait accompli before society is able to carry out a thorough debate on the desirability of particular technological developments.”

And there’s the problem.

The last thing psychologically compromised persons enjoying their place at the helm of Official Culture is to see the involvement of local communities and civic society. Genetically modified organisms and foodstuffs went this way as did television, banking, media, warfare and most other socio-political power structures which required either secrecy, perception management or corporate monopolisation to ensure a singular reality. Nanotech will be no different if it is allowed to continue without regulations and in the hands of those who wield power for their own ends. If we have humans behaving in psychopathic ways then it doesn’t require the greatest leap of imagination to realise that military robots will be a reflection of their state of mind and intentions. Pathocratic control systems require global dominance in all domains and nanotech represents a mighty leverage in the race to achieve it. Horizontal proliferation would be nearly unavoidable with small, self-replicating systems where in principle, a single copy would be sufficient for growth in another country or sub-state entity.

The report goes on to state:

Military robots with sizes from nanometres to metres would bring threats on an unknown scale. If they could kill, they could constitute new forms of weapons of mass destruction more potent than known biological warfare agents. With non-lethal effects, such as disruption of personality, mass attacks could lead indirectly to the breakdown of a society and the death of a large portion of its members. Partly as a result of their smallness, but mainly owing to their potential for self-replication and the production of additional weapons on site, nano-robots would create extreme uncertainty. [13]

Given the nature of nanotech, automated decision making would grow based on its tendency for a kind of peak, fractal replication to emerge, once technological thresholds have been reached and surpassed. When this level of technology fuses with the mentality of unlimited growth much like the standard economic mind set currently dominating, then a virtual arms-race at the molecular level could ensue with entirely unforeseen consequences. Military production overlaid with ideological insanity.

C60a

“Buckminsterfullerene C60, also known as the buckyball, is a representative member of the carbon structures known as fullerenes. Members of the fullerene family are a major subject of research falling under the nanotechnology umbrella.” (uploaded by Mstroeck at English Wikipedia Later versions by Bryn C at en.wikipedia)

Alongside the massive drive to foist genetically modified foods on global populations agribusiness is fascinated by the part nanotech can play in making food production and consolidation more efficient. However, using molecular assembly principles “nano scale carriers” will soon be used for delivering fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and plant growth regulators. A case is being made to reduce environmental impact with nanotech. It is believed that this will improve stability and lessen environmental degradation in terms of chemical runoff and other related problems. An example of these carriers would be the use of clay nanotubes for pesticides which will apparently reduce the amount of pesticide use by 70–80 per cent. Nanoparticles can act to help mollify and transform resistant chemical compounds in to non-toxic ones while waste water treatment and disinfectants have the potential to be markedly improved. Fluorescent labelling by “quantum dots” (QDs) using bio-recognition molecules for anti-bacteria and disease control will be supplemented with an array of rapid detection and enzymatic biosensors. There is even a device called the “E-Nose” inspired by the human nose which, through the use of nanoparticle gas sensors can detect precisely the quality and quantity of gas present. [14]

Socio-economic demands will ensure that wireless nanosensors in crops designed to monitor and collate data on agronomic intelligence processes such as planting and harvesting cycles will become more and more important. Water levels, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and other treatments will also be under the nanosensor umbrella in the hope that maximization of crop yields and a reduction in resource input will be the end result. [15]

Biotechnology at the nanoscale is already having some success in the battle against plant resistance and environmental stresses such as drought, salinity and diseases. Nanobarcodes will be used for authentication and tracking in agricultural food and husbandry products. As knowledge grows in the area of plant gene traits and nanotechnology-based gene sequencing it is taken for granted that such process will offer new ways to reduce costs and maximize profits. [16]  With undoubted benefits that nanotechnology can provide, this is still inside the constraints of Official Culture. Farming has already been transformed into a leviathan of corporate efficiency where community, civic and independence has been sacrificed. Nano-farming may increase the overall efficiency and provide intermittent benefits, but will it have the capacity to transform agriculture away from agribusiness corporatism?

If new endeavours are dominated by the matrix of the 4Cs and the 3EM then it will limit the hope for social renewal and become just another tool to increase exploitation still bound by the same lowest common denominator. Consumerism, far from being modified or somehow reduced under this new technology will only intensify mechanisation, commodification and the encoding organic life, this time at the molecular level. Nanotechnology may have a place in improving humanity’s lot but not by being grafted onto a socio-political and economic framework that caused the problems in the first place.

Quite apart from providing new innovative tools for medical advances and the promise of an agricultural revolution, evidence so far in relation to health and environmental concerns doesn’t exactly promote confidence. Some of the latest research results show that:

  • Rats breathing in nanoparticles were found to exhibit inflammation, skin aging and stress responses.
  • DNA and chromosome damage which in turn “linked to all the big killers of man, namely cancer, heart disease, neurological disease and aging”.
  • Carbon nanotubes – the possible replacement for silicon – have shown to have the potential to cause mesothelioma ( a form of cancer).
  • Nanoparticles and nanofibres have shown to cause lung disease in a similar way to asbestos. [17]

Mark Wiesner Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke University in Durham N.C., has argued for a rethink as to the way nanoparticles are selected and defined in relation to potential impacts on human health and the environment. His international team of researchers from the federally-funded Centre for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEINT), based at Duke University in the United States, have raised a number of issues which need to be addressed if nanotechnology is to prove viable and ethically responsible. He believes there is presently confusion as to what truly constitutes a nanoparticle where “… materials often do not meet full definition of having special properties that make them different from conventional materials.” According to Wiesner, a key question that needs to be answered: “… is whether or not a particular nanoparticle has toxic or hazardous properties that are truly different from identical particles in their bulk form,” and this due to the fact that: “Many nanoparticles smaller than 30 nanometers undergo drastic changes in their crystalline structure that enhance how the atoms on their surface interact with the environment.”

The professor explains further:

“…because of the increased surface-area-to-volume ratio, nanoparticles can be highly reactive with other chemicals in the environment and can also disrupt certain activities within cells. … “While there have been reports of nanoparticle toxicity increasing as the size decreases, it is still uncertain whether this increase in reactivity is harmful to the environment or human safety,” Wiesner said. “To settle this issue, toxicological studies should contrast particles that exhibit novel size-dependant properties, particularly concerning their surface reactivity, and those particles that do not exhibit these properties.” [18]

Perhaps it is not the health and environmental issues which are really the problem. We humans are extraordinarily creative and ingenious. All the above is driven on the assumption of cybernetics and its systems theory as viable working models; the idea of “nested” organic systems and dissipative structures which are interrelated and interconnected by virtue of their functional similarity. *This means that bio-engineers and technocrats look at nanosystems as providing the potential for exponential growth via automatic and autonomous emergent properties. As described previously, this opens up a whole new pandora’s box when matter becomes programmable.

nanotubes_carbone

Carbon Nanotubes Source: tpe-nanotechnologie-cb.e-monsite.com/

According to nano scientists this follows that society and the human condition is about to “reshaped” in very positive ways: cleaning the environment, easing the pressure for natural resources, tackling hunger, curing AIDS and other invasive diseases; giving new life to paraplegics whilst enhancing the human body. However, will these laudable aims be set against a background of unresolved questions which threaten to undermine the human species? What has happened to new advances in technology in the past?

Nanotech advocates display frightening naïveté in this regard and an often ironic binary evaluation of what are highly complex issues, notwithstanding an ignorance of ponerology and psychologically compromised cultures. It is a contradiction to say that strengthening our democratic processes will somehow ensure responsible ethics which will insulate against the darker applications of nanotechnology when overwhelming expenditure is already focused in the hands of those who seek weapons advancement and shareholder profits. A barrier to accountability will remain as tenacious as it has proved to be in narcotics, conventional weapons and trafficking. It benefits the Establishment just as nanotechnology promises to do.

Futurist David Brin’s prescription to cultivate a “transparent society” where privacy is effectively non-existent is dangerous as it opens the backdoor for just about every totalitarian precept going. The self-replicating nature of molecular nanotech has given rise to end time scenarios where machines take over the world replacing humanity and organic life. Eric Drexler coined the term “grey-goo” otherwise known as ‘ecophagy’ to illustrate such a cybernetic apocalypse.[19]Think along the lines of “the Collective” from the Borg in the Star Trek TV series or the “Hive mind” so beloved of humanists and transhumanists. Expansion derives from assimilation and adaptive properties – “group think” in a futurist setting.

transmission-5speed-gears.ai

Corporations will be regulated insofar as it does not impinge on the market value of nanotechnology. This means regulations in medical and consumer arenas where it matters less will be followed. Where it is most needed however, is in domains such as weaponisation and agriculture and which will likely follow the traditional route of lobbyists and cartel economics – the path of least resistance. Meanwhile, legislation will have a very tough time keeping up with the rise of nanotechnology especially when environmental and privacy laws are only applicable to those adhering to the public domain and wholly irrelevant to government /corporate experimentation outside such accountability.

Although the military is driving nanotech advances (as with all things) the testing ground has begun with many “passive” or “first generation” commercial applications finding their way to the market place. As explored in the previous post the list is endless. If sunscreen products in the US contain nanoparticles and thus freely pass through the blood-brain barrier then the background of complex toxicology issues must remain at the forefront. In the same way, as GMOs, Wi-Fi and cell phones all have serious health questions hanging over them and health and environmental concerns of nanomaterials at this early stage have been completely ignored. Issues of privacy and confidentiality are also profoundly important.

The precautionary principle means that it is essential not to jump in feet first with this technology when there is an absence of suitable definitions regarding nanoparticle properties which could help scientists determine what represents a threat to the environment or human health. Despite certain advocacy groups calling for government regulation, the only principle which governs decisions is the one leading to the quickest possible profit. Nanotech forges ahead, in love with itself and its seemingly unlimited potential.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that it will go the same way as GMOs since the focus behind the drive to conquer nature, deny death and embrace immortality is exactly the same. Until regulation, insurance and extensive public discussion is forthcoming it is likely the more negative scenarios surrounding nanotech will play a greater role. After all, once the perceived genie is out of the bottle the consequences of its “magic” are more difficult to manage. This means that with all the wondrous potential for cleanng up the environment patents will arrive forcing us to pay for such ecological magic just as it was with the so-called “Green Revolution” of genetically modified crops. This means an expansion of selective wealth where transformation happens according to your pocket and status thereby replicating the same old divisions and class divides.

To reiterate the immovable direction of technology: it is the military and nano-weaponry which will determine the future of nanotech as a whole not whether a surgeon can provide life-saving operations or the disabled individual can begin to walk again. Altruism is not the primary currency of social exchange in a world shaped by psychopaths. Nanosystems will be nurtured on the same directive until such time we can wrest control.

 


* Dissipative Structure – A system that exits far from thermodynamic equilibrium thus dissipating the heat generated to sustain it. It has the capacity of changing to higher levels of orderliness leading to self-organization. These systems contain sub-systems that continuously fluctuate.


Notes

[1] ‘More soldiers in nanotechnology labs?’ By Michael Berger, nanowerk.com August 22, 2007.
[2] Ibid.
[3] http://www.acq.osd.mil/dsb/reports/2006-02-Summer_Study_Strategic_Tech_Vectors_Vol_I_Web.pdf
[4] NanoMedicine – A Review by K.K. Senthil Kumar, International Journal of Innovative Drug Discovery, Vol. 2 / Issue 1 / 2012 / 40-47 (from International Journal of Biopharmaceutics)
[5] ‘Carbon nanotubes fit by the thousands onto a chip’ By Jason Palmer, BBC News, 29 October 2012.
[6] DNA nanotechnology and transhumanism seem to fit snugly together in terms of their technological vision for humanity. Whether or not most persons working in the field are predisposed to this belief is irrelevant but the belief that vaccinations across the board are absolutely necessary and beyond reproach is a powerful part of the medical establishment. As such, the transhumanist paradigm naturally joins forces with materialism, atheism and corporatism to unfold their agenda accordingly. Journalist Sayer Ji has this to say on the subject:

“Not only have humans strayed from their mammalian roots by creating and promoting infant formula over breast milk, and then promoting synthetic immunity via vaccines over the natural immunity conferred through breastfeeding and sunlight exposure, for instance, but implicit within the dominant medical model is to replace natural immunity with a synthetic one. This is the philosophy of transhumanism, a movement which intends to improve upon and transcend our humanity, and has close affiliation with some aspects of eugenics.
The CDC’s immunization schedule reflects a callous lack of regard for the 3 billion years of evolution that brought us to our present, intact form, without elaborate technologies like vaccination — and likely only because we never had them at our disposal to inflict potentially catastrophic harm to ourselves. The CDC is largely responsible for generating the mass public perception that there is greater harm in not “prophylactically” injecting well over 100 distinct disease-promoting and immune-disruptive substances into the bodies of healthy children. They have been successful in instilling the concept into the masses that Nature failed in her design, and that medical and genetic technologies and interventions can be used to create a superior human being.
In this culture of vaccination, the non-vaccinated child is “inferior,” “dirty,” perhaps even “sub-human” to those who look upon vaccination as the answer to what perfects the human immune system.
Transhumanism participates in a dialectic which requires a simultaneous and systematic dehumanization of those who do not share the same way of thinking and behaving. The eugenic undertones of mass vaccination and the cult of synthetic immunity are now only thinly veiled, as we move closer to the point where a psuedo-scientific medical dictatorship lays claim to our very bodies, and the bodies of our children.
The point of no return (if not already traversed) is only around the corner: the mass introduction of DNA and Recombinant Vector Vaccine technology. Vaccines moved through the following stages (a tortured history of failures and massive “collateral damage”): Live Vaccines > Attenuated Vaccines > Subunit Vaccines > Toxid Vaccines > Conjugate Vaccines, only now reaching towards converting our living tissue into “vaccine-making factories” through the use of DNA and Recombinant Vector Vaccines, which are designed to directly alter cells within the vaccinated person’s body so that they create the antigens normally provided by vaccines themselves.
While not yet in use, clinical trials are now underway to obtain FDA approval. If we do not educate ourselves now and act accordingly, their mass implementation is inevitable, and our very genomes will become the next target of the vaccination/transhumanist agenda.” – ‘The Vaccination Agenda: Implicit Transhumanism’ By Sayer Ji, Contributing editor, Activist Post, January 24, 2012.
[7] Most Innovative Defense Technology’ 2008 Award Nominee – Nano SCOUT AeroVironment Inc.| http://www.defense-update.com/ | ‘The dragonfly built to spy – Tiny flying robots have the military abuzz, says Mark Harris’ http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tech.
[8] A COMBINED EXPERIMENTAL-NUMERICAL STUDY OF THE ROLE OF WING FLEXIBILITY IN INSECT FLIGHT Lingxiao Zheng, Xiaolin Wang, Afzal Khan, R. R. Vallance and Rajat Mittal1 Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, George Washington University, Washington DC 20052 Tyson L. Hedrick 2009. http://www.me.jhu.edu/fsag/Publications/Papers/AIAA-2009-382-170percent5B1percent5D.pdf
[9] ‘Hacking the President’s DNA’ November 12, The Atlantic Magazine, By Andrew Hessel, Marc Goodman and Steven Kotler.
[10] ‘Micro-Drones Combined With DNA Hacking Could Create A Very Scary Future’ By Robert Johnson, Oct. 28, 2012. Business Insider | http://www.businessinsider.com/
[11] Ibid.
[12] ‘A Glimpse Into China’s Post-Nuclear Super-Weapons: An Interview with Lev Navrozov on Nanoweapons by Ryan Mauro for http://www.worldthreats.com Sept. 26, 2003. | Quotes sourced from Engines of Creation By Eric Drexler (1986).
[13] ‘Military Uses of Nanotechnology – European Commission’ ec.europa.eu/research/conferences/2004/ntw/pdf/soa_en.pdf
[14] ‘How helpful is nanotechnology in agriculture?’ By Allah Ditta 2012 Adv. Nat. Sci: Nanosci. Nanotechnol. 3 033002 doi:10.1088/2043-6262/3/3/033002 Vietnam Academy of Science & Technology, 29 May 2012. IOP Science | http://iopscience.iop.org/2043-6262/3/3/033002/article#ansn431989bib05
[15] Ibid.
[16] ‘The potential and challenges of nanopore sequencing’ Nature Biotechnology 26, 1146 – 1153 (2008) Published online: 9 October 2008 | doi:10.1038/nbt.1495
[17] ‘Tiny Inhaled Particles Take Easy Route from Nose to Brain’ August 3, 2006, University of Rochester Medical Centre. | Wu, J; Liu, W; Xue, C; Zhou, S; Lan, F; Bi, L; Xu, H; Yang, X et al. (2009). ‘Toxicity and penetration of TiO2 nanoparticles in hairless mice and porcine skin after subchronic dermal exposure’. Toxicology letters 191 (1): 1–8. doi:10.1016/j.toxlet.2009.05.020. PMID 19501137. | Jonaitis, TS; Card, JW; Magnuson, B (2010). ‘Concerns regarding nano-sized titanium dioxide dermal penetration and toxicity study’. Toxicology letters 192 (2): 268–9. doi:10.1016/j.toxlet.2009.10.007. PMID 19836437. | Schneider, Andrew, ‘Amid Nanotech’s Dazzling Promise, Health Risks Grow’, March 24, 2010. | ‘ Nanofibres ‘may pose health risk’,’ BBC News, August 24, 2012. | ‘Is Chronic Inflammation the Key to Unlocking the Mysteries of Cancer?’ By Gary Stix, Scientific American, July 2007.
[18] ‘When Nano May Not Be Nano’ Duke University, Depart. Civil & Environmental Engineering September 14 2009.
[19] ‘Some Limits to Global Ecophagy by Biovorous Nanoreplicators, with Public Policy Recommendations’ By Robert A. Freitas Jr. April 2000. | www.rfreitas.com/Nano/Ecophagy.htm

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 VIII: DARPA’s Technophilia (2)

“Twenty-five years from now, we may be to the point where the sensors are embedded in the skin and the person becomes the processor …

– Tod Lovell, a technology director at Raytheon


It is no secret that DARPA was at the forefront of electronically tagging US combat soldiers parallel to the initiative of tagging criminals in the prison industry currently making huge profits. The chipping project is called “Individual Force Protection System”, the manufacture of which was gleefully taken on by US defence contractor Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). In January 2007, a presentation was delivered outlining IFPS details later found in a PDF document freely available on the internet. It described a 3-inch tag “without GPS” attached to a soldiers uniform with a “LOS range = 113 miles.” The wholesale cost is “$100 per tag.” [1]

As we have seen, Verichip and RIFD technology has its physical drawbacks aside from its ethical and civil liberty implications. From creating a “sixth sense” brain implant through which infrared light can be detected to implanting a chip that controls the brain; allowing thoughts, memory and behaviour to be transferred from one brain to another, these DARPA teamsters are riding high with possibilities. However, in the latter case it was scientists working at the University of Southern California, home of the Department of Homeland Security’s National Centre for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events which came up with that little gem. Working in the fields of “neural engineering” and “Biomimetic MicroElectronic Systems,” chips which have been implanted into rats’ brains can be used as a storage device for long-term memories. Attempts to record, download and transfer memories into other rats with the same chip implanted.

A microchip implanted into a rat’s brain can take on the role of the hippocampus—the area responsible for long-term memories—encoding memory brain wave patterns and then sending that same electrical pattern of signals through the brain. Back in 2008, Berger told Scientific American, that if the brain patterns for the sentence, “See Spot Run,” or even an entire book could be deciphered, then we might make uploading instructions to the brain a reality.

In one study the scientists had rats learn a task, pressing one of two levers to receive a sip of water. Scientists inserted a microchip into the rat’s brain, with wires threaded into their hippocampus. The chip recorded electrical patterns from two specific areas labeled CA1 and CA3 that work together to learn and store the new information regarding which lever to press to obtain water. Scientists then shut down CA1 with a drug and built an artificial hippocampal part that could duplicate such electrical patterns between CA1 and CA3, and wihch was inserted it into the rat’s brain. With this artificial part, rats whose CA1 had been pharmacologically blocked, could still encode long-term memories. And in those rats who had normally functioning CA1, the new implant extended the length of time a memory could be held.

In terms of the new cyborg, it opens up huge potentials for brains training and entrainment. It also gives an extremely updated version of an Orwellian “thought Police” as an adjunct Pre-Crime technology, the fine tuning and enhancements of which are in parallel development.

According to a Los Angeles Times report in 2002, when Donald Rumsfeld was Secretary for Defence in the Bush-Cheney Administration he made it his priority to “… redesign the U.S. military to make ‘information warfare’ central to its functions.” [2] The strategy of “information dominance,” according to American military experts, consists of 1) Building up and protecting friendly information and degrading information received by your adversary. 2) The ability to deny, degrade, destroy and/or effectively blind enemy capabilities. [3]

ghost-recon-soldier

‘DARPA’s Squad X initiative seeks ‘innovative’ tech to enhance troops’ real-time situational awareness’ – DARPA’s Squad X initiative is inviting bright minds to submit their ideas for an integrated digital system to enhance situational awareness on the squad level. Squad X hopes to combine the cornucopia of different technologies into one grand “system of systems” to “organically extend squad awareness and influence” on the battlefield.”

PSYOPS and Information Dominance was ex-U.S. Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld’s favourite playground. His enthusiasm gave rise to Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) which encompasses everything from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), to nanotechnology, robotics, and biotechnology. RMA is full of wild beliefs about the future of warfare, modern information, communications, and space technology. “Transformation” and “total systems integration” are keywords that make the military technophiles shudder with delight. The defeat of US foreign or domestic adversaries through surveillance technologies, advanced weaponry and the suppression and degradation of communications networks is all part of the RMA and DARPA vision of technological supremacy.

The project which has caught RMA and DARPA’s attention is the “network-centric warfare” designed to turn cities, any city, into a limitless “battlespace.” And the evolution of ID alongside information warfare:

As urbanization has changed the demographic landscape, potential enemies recognize the inherent danger and complexity of this environment to the attacker, and may view it as their best chance to negate the technological and firepower advantages of modernized opponents. Given the global population trends and the likely strategies and tactics of future threats, Army forces will likely conduct operations in, around, and over urban areas–not as a matter of fate, but as a deliberate choice linked to national security objectives and strategy, and at a time, place, and method of the commander’s choosing.  [4]

From DARPA’s own website at http://www.darpa.gov these include various programs and projects supported by millions of dollars of tax-payers money. We have the Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO); Cognitive Systems Office working on a project called “Learning Applied to Ground Robots” and the Command & Control brief described as “the exercise of authority and direction by a properly designated commander over assigned and attached forces in the accomplishment of a mission.” This comprises of “Deep Green” an “innovative approach to using simulation to support on-going military operations while they are being conducted.”

real-iron-man-suit-technologymilitary-plans-to-build-real-life-liquid-armor----iron-man----suit-yhcdfiso

Promotional still from Elysium (2013) in which the film’s protagonist is fused with cybernetic “enhancements” to carry out an important mission. DARPA’s dream on celluloid.

Then there is the Heterogeneous Airborne Reconnaissance Team (HART) which is due to:

“… the complexity of counter-insurgency operations especially in the urban combat environment demands multiple sensing modes for agility and for persistent, ubiquitous coverage. The HART system implements collaborative control of reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition (RSTA) assets, so that the information can be made available to warfighters at every echelon.”

Alongside this program are Persistent Operational Surface Surveillance and Engagement (POSSE), which involves:

“… building a real-time, all-source exploitation system to provide Indications and warnings of insurgent activity derived from airborne and ground-based sensors. Envisioning a day when our sensors can be integrated into a cohesive ‘ISR Force’, it’s building an integrated suite of signal processing, pattern analysis, and collection management software that will increase reliability, reduces manpower, and speed up responses.”

Ready to track those pesky dissidents fully integrated into SMART society?

UrbanScape offers the capability to “provide the warfighters patrolling an urban environment with an up-to-date, high resolution model of the urban terrain that can be viewed, manipulated and analyzed.” Whereas the Strategic Technology Office (STO) will “… focus on technologies that have a global or theater-wide impact and that involve multiple Services.”

Other programs well underway with funding from Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman include: Integrated Sensor Is Structure (ISIS) whose goal is to develop and deploy a “stratospheric airship based autonomous unmanned sensor with years of persistence in surveillance and tracking of air and ground targets;” and VisiBuilding, which will cater for “a pressing need in urban warfare [by] seeing inside buildings.” [5]

One of the main programs which DARPA provided for the TIAO was called “Combat Zones That See” (CTS). Journalist and author on police state surveillance Tom Burghardt reveals the details:

The plan was to install thousands of digital CCTV networks across occupied cities in the belief that once the system was deployed they would provide ‘warfighters’ with ‘motion-pattern analysis across whole city scales.’ CTS would create a nexus for mass tracking of individual cars and people through algorithms linked to the numeric recognition of license plate numbers and scanned-in human profiles.

The program was denounced by privacy and civil liberties advocates’ for its potential use as a mass surveillance system that could just as easily be deployed on the streets of American cities. In theory CTS, or a similar program could be further ‘enhanced’ by Scaleable Network Social Analysis (SSNA)… SSNA’s aim is ‘to model networks of connections like social interactions, financial transactions, telephone calls, and organizational memberships,’ according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s 2003 analysis. Once license plate numbers are ‘mined’ from raw CCTV footage, investigators could: a) identify a car’s owner; b) examine her/his web-surfing habits; c) scan e-mail accounts for traces of ‘inflammatory rhetoric;’ d) monitor recent purchases for ‘suspicious’ items. [6]

A check-point police state is hardly something that comes to the ordinary person’s mind as they go about their daily life but the end of privacy is fast approaching if governments continue to have their way. Location analysis, DNA, retinal scans, fingerprints and tagging and now chemical profiling of subject.

A laser-based “molecular strip-search” was the latest bright idea to be rolled out by the US government’s Homeland Security Agency and implemented across airports, check-points, large-scale venues and anyway that government sought an opportunity for surveillance. The technology has the capacity to instantly scan the bio-molecular structure of your body which includes the prescription drugs in your bag; cocaine residue on your dollar bills and any trace substance that we have come into contact with such as marijuana or gun powder. Ten million times faster and one million times more sensitive than any other system currently available, it can do all this invisibly and from a range of up to 50 metres.

tsascanner1The technology is a “scanner … called the Picosecond Programmable Laser. The device works by blasting its target with lasers which vibrate molecules that are then read by the machine that determine what substances a person has been exposed to. This could be Semtex explosives to the bacon and egg sandwich they had for breakfast that morning.” [7]

So, what will happen if you’ve been smoking pot that day or been down at the firing range? You will be tagged and “detained.” And in a climate of social unrest and false flag terrorism it is likely to be promoted as an unfortunate but necessary part of the world in which we live. We will have to be willing to give up some of our freedoms if the government is to protect us and retain the integrity of the greater good… And so the media will sell it …

By 2015 however there had been such a backlash against the privacy and health concerns that many of the x-ray scanners were taken out of airports and the hands of the The Transportation Security Administration (TSA). This is likely to be only a minor setback before the re-introduction of scanners which have been suitably modified.

As the government document: ‘Strengthening Federal Capacity for Behavioral Insights’ attests, the technocrats are losing no time in finding ways to merge technology and social engineering. Looking to make society much more “efficient,” we can add the latest bright idea by the federal government to hire a “Behavioural Insights Team” (BIT) to change US behaviour, taking its lead from the UK who spearheaded the initiative. Its own Behavioural Insight Team has been up and running for several years.

Commensurate with Common Core education the Obama administration took the opportunity to implement a new executive order in October 2011, after the Bradley/Chelsea Manning whistleblowing scandal. This Orwellian initiative aims to target future whistle-blowers, leaks and security violations by ordering federal employees to report suspicious actions of their colleagues, all of which is based on the very shaky science of BIT. It is part of what is called the “Insider Threat Program”, which covers every federal department and agency and where: “millions of federal officials, bureaucrats and contractors must keep their eyes peeled for watch “high-risk persons or behaviors” among co-workers. Failure to report could result in “penalties” or “criminal charges.” Such reports are bolstered by an integrated computer network monitoring system which detects “suspicious user behaviour” linked to Insider Threat personnel.

Seeing people as numbers in a Game Theory algorithm is bound to cause problems, not least the obvious flaws in trying to predict the future with unproven psychological techniques. Wide open to the usual privacy and civil liberty violations a National Research Council Report highlighted by McClatchy News on July 9 20013, was just one of many science bodies which saw no value in such initiatives stating in 2008: “There is no consensus in the relevant scientific community nor on the committee regarding whether any behavioral surveillance or physiological monitoring techniques are ready for use at all.” Quite apart from the fact that this executive order is on top of some of the most draconian legislation ever enacted in law and which continues to be rolled out in the face of continuing State violations against civil rights.

policestate2The marketing of the Obama myth has permitted the enactment of the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) which destroys due process and the Bill of Rights. Since your profile indicates dissension and disagreement with government policy then you will be labelled a “terrorist-sympathiser,” “terrorist enabler,” or prone to “incitement” or any other nonsense deemed subversive in order to detain you much longer, without any rights to a phone-call or access to a lawyer. Even if you are not a drug-user the laser will reveal what prescription drugs you are currently using to what stage you at in your ovulation cycle to the presence of cancer. A comprehensive bio-psychological profile will be created ready to be used against you should you become a non-compliant citizen able to think for him or herself. Used cocaine in the past? Then your civil action against the government for abuse of civil liberties is dead in the water. Since traces of cocaine exist on all forms of paper currency so theoretically anybody can be detained and charged with possession should it deemed expedient to do so. This technology will become a useful political tool with almost endless “Big Brother” applications.

As Noel Sharkey, professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield said of the new military “Cheetah” robot which can run faster than a human: “an incredible technical achievement, but it’s unfortunate that it’s going to be used to kill people”. [8]  The same could be said for the intention behind all the above technology. Put it all together with a rising Police State, social engineering and a SMART growth society, the outlook doesn’t look good for the ordinary citizen. It is however, a perfect direction for the technocratic psychopath to take and his intent to centralise and consolidate power through technology.


See also: Cyborgs 2030: The Military’s Vision of Remote Controlled Soldiers


Notes

[1] Individual Force Protection System (IFPS)Overview2007 Worldwide Personnel Recovery Conference. | http://proceedings.ndia.org/7040/11percent20IFPSpercent20bypercent20Marshall.pdf
[2] ‘The Office of Strategic Influence Is Gone, But Are Its Programs In Place?’ fair.org, November 27 2002.
[3] ‘Information dominance,’ by David Miller, The Guardian, January 8, 2004
[4] Urban Operations, Field Manual No. 3-06, Headquarters, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C.,October 26, 2006.
[5] http://www.darpra.gov
[6] ‘America’s Cyborg Warriors’ by Tom Burghardt, Global Research, July 23, 2008.
[7] ‘New Homeland Security Laser Scanner “Reads People At Molecular Level” declares a CBS News headline’ CBS local, via GIZMODO July 11, 2012.
[8] ‘Cheetah robot “’runs faster than Usain Bolt”’BBC News, September 6 2012.

Technocracy VII: DARPA’s Technophilia (1)

By M.K. Styllinski

 “Fifty years is ample time in which to change a world and its people almost beyond recognition. All that is required for the task are a sound knowledge of social engineering, a clear sight of the intended goal – and power.”

Arthur C. Clarke


In 1964 the director of the CIA Richard Helms who was overseeing much of the experiments in mind control came out with a statement in his memo to the US senate and the Warren Commission which said: “Cybernetics can be used in ‘moulding of a child’s character, the inculcation of knowledge and techniques, the amassing of experience, the establishment of social behavior patterns … all functions which can be summarized as control of the growth process of the individual.’”

Such a wish to mould the masses has not been relinquished.

The human enhancement – or “optimization,” as the military now like to call it – has been a trenchant fantasy for decades. Recall Hollywood movies such as The Terminator (1984) Robocop (1987) and Universal Soldier (2001) which explore the idea of a comic-book annihilator dispensing justice and vengeance against those who don’t have a taste for American culture. Making soldiers into a literal army of unquestioning, bio-genetic, pharmaceutically-enhanced killing machines has proved problematic to say the least. This is partly due to the fact that while huge numbers of soldiers are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and record numbers committing suicide on duty and during their return to civilian life, they understandably don’t fancy having their body transformed into a Captain America cyborg, even if their emotional body has been put through the shredder.

However, Pentagon financing keeps rolling in to the Defence Advanced Research Projects Area (DARPA) with national-security goals and the War on Terror acting as guidelines for military R&D and the convergence of nanotech. (Their website features competitions and public-friendly history lessons on how essential these types of innovations are to our human survival). Artificial systems including neuro-functional implants and ‘biological input/output devices’ will form the basis of a modified biochemistry to counter sleep deprivation, muscle fatigue, reaction time and endurance. This would be complemented by nano-medical monitoring of the soldier’s performance and the administering of therapeutic drugs and hormones according to programmed cycles of release. Other enhancements are possible. Electrodes might be connected to sensory organs, sensory nerves, motor nerves or muscles and appropriate brain-cortex areas. [1]Layered over the fleshly part of this “Terminator” would be a finely-tuned integrated system of equipment, body armour and uniform designed to achieve optimum levels of combat (and carnage) capability if required.

Indeed, in 2015 the DARPA boys have been using gene modifying optical technology to develop a ” ‘cortical modem’ which plugs directly into a person’s DNA and visual cortex.”  Thus, according to online journal CNET: Not only does this unique device help someone overcome blindness or poor eyesight, it generates a built-in heads-up display (HUD) that appears right in before their very eyes.  The implants create an augmented reality projection that appears like magic in your natural vision and without the need for helmets or special eyeglasses.” [2]

Undoubtedly, this new technology named optogenetics has positive implications for the blind and visually impaired. So too, it may prove an exciting prospect for virtual reality enthusiasts and computer gamers with an upgrade that would go beyond and integration of the virtual and material world never before experienced.

Mouse OptogeneticsMouse Optogenetics | Source: Guardian

Whenever there is a public and political reaction to transhumanist philosophy military or otherwise, the PR adapts and words change. Though $4 billion dollars has been syphoned away from cyborg soldier research to the SMART technology of unmanned drone warfare, R & D is still going on in the background. [3]The spiralling growth in military spending has long been out of control with over $152 billion going unaudited each year – and that’s not including CIA funded black operations under the radar of Congress. The outer layer of fraud, abuse and overtly criminal behaviour that’s going about its business behind such contracts is being missed by the Defence Department’s Inspector General. A 2008 report to Congress described: “undetected or inadequately investigated criminal activity and significant financial loss,” where: “personnel, facilities and assets are more vulnerable to terrorist activities.” [4]

Yeah and we know who the real terrorists are…

Part of the U.S. Department of Defence and created 50 years ago in response to the Soviets’ launch of Sputnik, DARPA are clearly dedicated to countering asymmetric warfare. They also acquire significant amounts of tax-payers cash to do it. The team are particularly excited to be re-designing our notions of what it means to be human, using the guinea-pigs of the US military as the model. Though no longer listed on DARPA’s website and only included those projects safe for public eyes, we can go back just a few years and read about all sorts of whacky “breakthroughs” such as the $4.5 million attempt to build a miniature, unmanned Osprey that can perch discreetly on trees, rooftops and flagpoles to spy on “foes” (or civilians, which is essentially the same thing.) $5 million was given to work laser-guided bullets able to turn at a 90 degree angle and “with a greater than 2km range.” Not forgetting the “cognitive swarm recognition technology” which is part of a program to spot rocket-propelled grenades before they are actually launched. Apparently this might involve a crossover project called “transparent displays” which exploits “… the optical plasmon phenomenology characteristics of nano-scale structures.” [5]

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of DARPA’s modus operandi is the delving into the world of psychology and neurology in order to produce an invincible human fighting machine. Mind reading, cognitive enhancement, pharmaceutically-based mind control, and brain-machine interfaces all offer avenues of million dollar research contracts sourced from the same MKULTRA influences which have changed little over the past fifty years. Adaptation and synthesising of the hapless soldier’s brain is a primary target of research. As a 2003 Wireless News report stated: “Direct neural control of complex machines is a long-term U.S. military goal. DARPA has a brain-machine interface program aimed at creating next-generation wireless interfaces between neural systems and, initially, prosthetics and other biomedical devices.” [6]Or the $3 million funded Systems of Neuro-Morphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics, or SyNAPSE, a program that will: “… develop a brain inspired electronic ‘chip’ that mimics that function, size, and power consumption of a biological cortex,” … “If successful, the program will provide the foundations for functional machines to supplement humans in many of the most demanding situations faced by war fighters today.” [7]

The latest experiments have called for the next step in understanding the portion of the brain called the neo-cortex which is used for sensory and motor commands, spatial reasoning, language and those requiring conscious thought. In other words, higher brain functions. On September 19, 2013, Networld reported that DARPA is most interested in: “… new concepts and technologies for developing what it calls a ‘Cortical Processor’ based on Hierarchical Temporal Memory.”

In April of the same year, the Obama Administration announced a project called “Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies” or the BRAIN Initiative which was funded by the 2014 budget. With DARPA lurking in the background and giving “support,” the initiative involves the collaboration of several science foundations and organisations. Dr. Francis Collins, the Director of the National Institutes of Health who shared his enthusiasm in a White House statement explained how: “… the BRAIN Initiative will focus largely on realizing new tools for imaging, recording, and eventually controlling neurons.” He said that project stresses the: “Great promise for developing such technologies” including: “… intersections of nano-science, imaging, engineering, informatics, and other rapidly emerging fields of science and engineering.” [8]

This research falls under the $3bn allocated by the Obama White House to develop technology identifying brain circuits, with financial assistance once again, from National Institute of Mental Health, who has: “… promised to move its seven-figure funding away from research into conditions such as schizophrenia and depression towards a system that looks at how brain networks contribute to difficulties that are shared across diagnoses.” The project is called Research Domain Criteria or the RDoCProject, rumoured to be an “… eventual replacement for the diagnostic system used by current-day psychiatrists.” The identification and modification of key brain circuits is the overwhelming interest in this field. [9]

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA© infrakshun

There is no question that medical advances involving nanotechnology, neurology and neuropharmacology are destined to improve those suffering from disabilities and diseases ranging from blindness to multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. In this context, the medical future is bright. Whether the desire to achieve a healthier and happier humanity will achieve pole position is a moot point at this stage. It is exactly the same mentality behind DARPA and the MKULTRA programs of mind experimentation of the 1940s-1970s which provides the majority of financial support and thus the continuation of that mind-set, with their attendant goals. The pace of change is awe-inspiring in the field of neuroscience and outsourced military applications spreading tentacle-like through Big Pharma, medical and educational institutions. Scientists have reached the point where computers can analyse MRI data from the brain and reconstruct thoughts, while others have broken new ground in making the first brain-to-brain interface. Rats were the primary focus followed by the human subjects using  Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. [10]

Although almost all advances in neuroscience necessarily feed into the military-intelligence apparatus, the real action can be found in the marriage of cybernetics, biology and artificial intelligence. For instance, though it might seem like trying to count the flames in an inferno, one of the avenues of exploration currently occupying scientists is how to unlock memories stored in the brain in order to create a fully autonomous brain – housed in a robot.

In 2008, Kevin Warwick, a professor at the United Kingdom’s University of Reading explained in an Agence-France Presse report that the robot (named Gordon) has a brain which is: “… composed of 50,000 to 100,000 active neurons. Once removed from rat foetuses and disentangled from each other with an enzyme bath, the specialised nerve cells are laid out in a nutrient-rich medium across an eight-by-eight centimetre (five-by-five inch) array of 60 electrodes.”

The report continued:

“This ‘multi-electrode array’ (MEA) serves as the interface between living tissue and machine, with the brain sending electrical impulses to drive the wheels of the robots, and receiving impulses delivered by sensors reacting to the environment.

Because the brain is living tissue, it must be housed in a special temperature-controlled unit — it communicates with its ‘body’ via a Bluetooth radio link. The robot has no additional control from a human or computer. From the very start, the neurons get busy. ‘Within about 24 hours, they start sending out feelers to each other and making connections,’ said Warwick.

‘Within a week we get some spontaneous firings and brain-like activity’ similar to what happens in a normal rat — or human — brain, he added. [11]

Across the pond four years later, Brown University based in Rhode Island had created the first wireless, implanted, brain-computer interface. The wireless BCIs were implanted in pigs and monkeys for just over a year. The opportunities to test human subjects is imminent.  Not wishing to be outdone by their colleagues down the road, the University of Rochester Medical Centre in New York have carried out revolutionary work in the diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders. They hope their latest research will push new boundaries – ethical constraints notwithstanding. In the same year, scientists successfully grafted human glial cells into the brains of mice, thereby sharply enhancing their cognitive capacities. Improvements were seen across most brain operations such as memory, learning, and adaptive conditioning. The fact that scientists created human chimeric mice which is open to public scrutiny should give you some idea as to what is happening with those fully-funded projects which are conveniently away from public and judicial oversight. [12]

Just in case chimeric mice become passé then it will no doubt come as a relief to those whose bread and butter relies on such innovation that they can just grow their own brains in test tubes. At least, according to the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology in Vienna. On August 28, 2013 it was reported by the UK’s Independent about a beakthrough which saw scientists “grow a brain in a laboratory for the first time.” Affectionately named: “cerebral organoids” these miniature human brains were grown from skin cells in a laboratory and are no more than 4mm and: “… equivalent in development to the brain of a human foetus at about nine weeks’ gestation, and even have the complex three-dimensional structure of a real embryonic brain.” [13]  Brain resource issues may not be a problem for the Post Human.

DARPA has pooled its own resources to come up with yet another deterrent against the (largely non-existent) threat to the techno-military complex. The idea is to combine brain data from human sentry duty with machine-vision systems. Named logically as The Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System (CTTWS) it consists of: “… a wide-angle camera and radar which collects imagery for humans to review on a screen, and a wearable electroencephalogram device that measures the reviewer’s brain activity. This allows the system to detect unconscious recognition of changes in a scene—called a P300 event.” [14]

800px-Actroid-DER_01

“The Intelligent Robotics Lab, directed by Hiroshi Ishiguro at Osaka University, and Kokoro Co., Ltd. have demonstrated the Actroid at Expo 2005 in Aichi Prefecture, Japan and released the Telenoid R1 in 2010. In 2006, Kokoro Co. developed a new DER 2 android. The height of the human body part of DER2 is 165 cm. There are 47 mobile points. DER2 can not only change its expression but also move its hands and feet and twist its body. The ‘air servosystem'” (wikpedia)

Distinct from artificial intelligence systems which rely on standard computer programming, researchers have complemented cerebral organoids by constructing a tiny machine that “looks and thinks” like a human brain allowing robots to act independently. Substantial amounts of data from decades of studies into electrical activity in the brain, otherwise known as electroencephalography (EEG) played a vital part in advancing robotics to the next level. Teams based in various locations over America have managed to create robots which, according to James K. Gimzewski, professor of chemistry at the University of California: “… will be able to be able to learn and explore the terrain and work its way through the environment without human intervention.” Using the cybernetic and systems theory concepts of self-organisation this led the researchers to the creation of: “… nano-scale interconnected wires that perform billions of connections like a human brain, … capable of remembering information” thus processing data transcends current notions of computer capability. Gimzewski believes: “This could represent a revolutionary breakthrough in robotic systems.” [15]

DARPA’s continuing quest to find the perfect cyborg has resulted in the Darpa Robotics Challenge started in 2013. That challenge consists of developing software to bring to life a 330Ib cyborg named Atlas with a funding tag of $34m available to the winning team. According to The Guardian, copies of the Atlas Cyborg were given to teams that will: “… compete to win military prizes for designing the best software to bring Atlas to life. Already Atlas, and its predecessors, can rapidly climb stairs, do more push-ups than any human, and even pass for a person while donning a chemical protection suit.”

atlas

Atlas Robot developed by DARPA Source: http://makezine.com/

The Pentagon is as coy as can be about the future applications for a number of reasons, not least because they are a dangerous liability and ethically dubious. CIA drone attacks in Pakistan have killed up to 3,587 people since 2004, up to 884 of them civilians. Human Rights Watch has created a campaign to raise awareness about the rise of drone warfare based on the unethical premise of machines. According to the organisation robots will have: “… the power to make their own decisions about killing humans” which is not exactly a pleasant thing to consider. An international coalition has now formed which hopes to: “… call for a global treaty that would impose a ‘pre-emptive and comprehensive ban’ on artificially intelligent weapons before they are developed.” [16] This has led to the formation of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC).

As Obama’s drones are increasingly deployed in the skies over many American cities and happily carving up civilians with asymmetric glee, we can be sure that this is a revolution of sorts. Officials thought it prudent to throw an “official statement” to assuage the minds of those ready for such meaningless PR, and stated in Nov. 2012 Defence Department policy statement: “Autonomous and semi-autonomous weapon systems shall be designed to allow commanders and operators to exercise appropriate levels of human judgment over the use of force.” The document added further that: “complete engagements in a time-frame consistent with commander and operator intentions and, if unable to do so, [must] terminate engagements or seek additional human operator input before continuing the engagement.”


See also: “The Pentagon is building a ‘self-aware’ killer robot army fueled by social media” By Nafeez Ahmed


The above essentially means that the military will be permitted to do as they please with their new toys. If the machines don’t do as they are told then humans will take over to complete the missions. Exercising “judgment” seems to be the fail safe, which is even less reassuring considering the woeful legacy of the US military.

If you imagine getting machines to think like humans in a military setting is disturbing, medical discoveries will continue to surge ahead nonetheless, serving to buffer the disquiet forming in most minds – outside of DARPA, that is. Apparently, the excitement of the challenge is paramount, regardless of the consequences. The idea is to create machines which are as close to functioning humans as possible with the added bonus that they will kill on command. This will take us further down a road of mind control research in programmed assassins which characterised the post-World War II and Cold War machinations. This time, with the added dimension of cybernetic, bio-engineering. After all, developing cyborgs are much less expensive than fully automated robots and far more predictable than the fallibility of hypno-programmed humans. A blend of the two brings expendability to new levels.

What if the government could change people’s moral beliefs or stop political dissent through remote control of people’s brains? A leaked document reveals that the US government, through DARPA research, is very close to accomplishing this. (See The Manchurian Reality for the historical background)

A program using “Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation” (TMS) where the temporal lobe of the brain is stimulated with electromagnetic fields, continues the tradition. The objective in this particular example is: “… to remotely disrupt political dissent and extremism by employing in tandem with sophisticated propaganda based on this technology.” Such research is given the PR gloss that its focus is foreign war games when in fact, it is more likely to target a domestic populace as social and economic strife increases. According to phase 3 of the study paper entitled: entitled “Toward Narrative Disruptors and Inductors: Mapping the Narrative Comprehension Network and its Persuasive Effects,” the ideal is to terminate lines of thinking in favour of thoughts they we would not normally be prepared to believe. In a military context we can assume that this is not about persuading people to see through Establishment deceptions – quite the opposite. [17]

Electro-stimulation and ultrasound technology have a long history in mind control experimentation upon which DARPA has eagerly capitalised. As part of its Faculty Award Program, the department kindly made a grant available to Dr. William J. Tyler, Assistant Professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University and co-founder and the CSO of SynSonix, Inc. With initial work supported by the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) Army Research Laboratory (ARL). So, we know that medical uses are secondary here. After addressing the undoubtedly welcome potential for curing neurological diseases and brain injury, the professor informs us in a US Dept. of Defence article that: “… we have been working to develop methods for encoding sensory data onto the cortex using pulsed ultrasound.” He explains that a new technology has been developed: “… which implements trans-cranial pulsed ultrasound to remotely and directly stimulate brain circuits without requiring surgery. Further, we have shown this ultrasonic neuro-modulation approach confers a spatial resolution approximately five times greater than TMS and can exert its effects upon subcortical brain circuits deep within the brain.”

The upshot of this work and other research into brain circuitry is that it will be applied to US war-fighters where the professor states he will be putty in his benefactor’s hands looking forward: “… to developing a close working relationship with DARPA and other Department of Defense and U.S. Intelligence Communities to bring some of these applications to fruition over the coming years depending on the most pressing needs of our country’s defense industries.” [18]

I think we already know what those “pressing needs” are.

What is effectively a “Helmet of obedience” opens itself to a wide range of applications. Tyler is a busy worker bee. He has also created another plaything for military loons on his website MyBrainCloud.net which offers: “… a concept application of non-invasive brain stimulation using pulsed ultrasound, which is likely to emerge in the future. The concept is essentially to provide individual users with a personalized connection port through which various brain stimulation protocols can be administered in an open access manner using cloud computing. This technology has many broad applications ranging from at-home medicine to recreational applications such as interactive video gaming and virtual experience downloading.” [19]

The page has since been taken down.

HAARPHigh Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP)

At this point, we might usefully remind ourselves of the relatively modern use of High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP).

Before it was apparently “closed down” it was based in Garkona, Alaska, and jointly funded by the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force, the University of Alaska, and DARPA. HAARP was officially designated as an advanced weather research project focused on the ionosphere. It has been cloaked in mystery as to its true nature, in part due to an official stance of “national security” and the repellent legacy of US experimentation in the field of technotronic warfare and mind control. It seems part of the experimentation involved the use of electromagnetic frequencies and directed energy beams pulsed into the delicate upper layer of the atmosphere called the ionosphere around 1000 km above the Earth’s surface. The aim was/is to heat up specific areas which can create lenses of magnified effects. On the official website at http://www.haarp.alaska.edu/we can read: “HAARP is a scientific endeavor aimed at studying the properties and behavior of the ionosphere, with particular emphasis on being able to understand and use it to enhance communications and surveillance systems for both civilian and defense purposes.”

Though there is very little to go on regarding the nature, development and future direction of HAARP, Physicist Dr. Bernard Eastlund has given a lot of food for thought from his 1985 US patent entitled: “Method and apparatus for altering a region in the earth’s atmosphere, ionosphere, and/or magnetosphere” filed in 1985. If such a patent can be made available publicly you can be sure classified research is well in advance of similar prototypical research. From this patent, he states:

[The] temperature of the ionosphere has been raised by hundreds of degrees in these experiments.

A means and method is provided to cause interference with or even total disruption of communications over a very large portion of the earth. This invention could be employed to disrupt not only land based communications, both civilian and military, but also airborne communications and sea communications. This would have significant military implications.

It is possible … to take advantage of one or more such beams to carry out a communications network even though the rest of the world’s communications are disrupted.

[This invention] can be used to an advantage for positive communication and eavesdropping purposes.

Exceedingly large amounts of power can be very efficiently produced and transmitted.

This invention has a phenomenal variety of … potential future developments. Large regions of the atmosphere could be lifted to an unexpectedly high altitude so that missiles encounter unexpected and unplanned drag forces with resultant destruction or deflection. Weather modification is possible by, for example, altering upper atmosphere wind patterns or altering solar absorption patterns by constructing one or more plumes of atmospheric particles which will act as a lens or focusing device. Ozone, nitrogen, etc. concentrations in the atmosphere could be artificially increased.

Electromagnetic pulse defenses are also possible. The earth’s magnetic field could be decreased or disrupted at appropriate altitudes to modify or eliminate the magnetic field.

Though differing in scope and logistical capabilities this is exactly the type of experimentation which HAARP may still be carrying out, albeit under a entirely different set up.

Though many researchers posit HAARP was indeed a vast geo-engineering project linked to reducing climate change by saturating the atmosphere with specific chemicals – the infamous chemtrails controversy – it seems this was a sub-division of experimental research and a likely cover for something else. The evidence may surface that it is not restricted to weather but a continuation of experiments gained from mind control research, something which the Establishment has been interested in since the days of Nikola Tesla. The real action may stem from this long rumoured experimental mass mind control, in line with the US military’s goal of full-spectrum dominance by 2020.

Author and researcher Nick Begich Jr. and his influential book: Angels Don’t Play This HAARP, suggested that experiments in the ionosphere have advanced greatly to the extent that earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes can be triggered (Hurricane Katrina, 2005, Haitian earthquake of 2009) and localised as part of an on-going geostrategy. More importantly, he theorises that it is the product of decades of research which has resulted in a mind control device of considerable power.

Given that there has been decades of proven experiments in mind programming, huge advances in military technology such as Silent Sound Spectrum carried out by the US government, this is very far from outrageous. Begich’s claims and that of other researchers are supported by public patents relating to HAARP a sample of which follows:

  • C. W. Hansell (1945) “Communication system by pulses through the Earth”, U.S. Patent 2,389,432.;
  • R. L. Tanner (1965) “Extremely low-frequency antenna”, U.S. Patent 3,215,937;
  • G. F. Leydorf (1966) “Antenna near field coupling system”, U.S. Patent 3,278,937;
  • B. J. Eastlund (1987) “Method and apparatus for altering a region in the Earth’s atmosphere, ionosphere, and/or magnetosphere”, U.S. Patent 4,686,605;
  • B. J. Eastlund (1991) “Method for producing a shell of relativistic particles at an altitude above the earths surface”, U.S. Patent 5,038,664.

The history of DARPA’s main avenue of research has always been neuroscience, nanoscience and cybernetics adapted to military applications.  Though often designated as a classic conspiracy theory and therefore not worth investigating, it appears even the European Parliament expressed unease at the project in the document: “Minutes of 28/01/1999 – Final Edition, Environment, security and foreign affairs, A4-0005/1999: ‘Resolution on the environment, security and foreign policy’: stating that it: “… considers HAARP by virtue of its far-reaching impact on the environment to be a global concern and calls for its legal, ecological and ethical implications to be examined by an international independent body before any further research and testing.”

Good luck with that.

 


Notes

[1] op. cit. ‘Military Uses of Nanotechnology – European Commission’
[2]’DARPA implant could give people Terminator-like vision, coldorbit.com February 18, 2015
[3] ‘The Rise and Decline of Military Human Enhancement’ By Michael Burnham-Fink, Science Progress January 7, 2011. http://scienceprogress.org/2011/01/the-rise-and-decline-of-military-human-enhancement/
[4] ‘Pentagon Watchdogs Swamped by Military Spending; $152 Billion a Year  Goes Unaudited’ Wired May 2008.
[5] Ibid.
[6] ‘Toward a Brain-Internet Link,’ Rodney Brooks, WirelessNewsFactor, 10 December, 2003.
[7] ‘DARPA 2009: Brain On A Chip, Transparent Displays’ by Noah Shachtman, Wired February 2, 2008.

[8] ‘Obama has announced a $100-million brain mapping project’ io9.com, September 19, 2013.
[9] ‘Vaughan Bell: news from the borders of mental illness’ guardian/Observer September 29, 2013.
[10]’Computer can read letters directly from the brain’ Science Daily August 19, 2013.
[11] A ‘Frankenrobot’ with a biological brain, (AFP) Aug 13, 2008
[12] ‘First human brain-to-brain interface allows remote control over the internet, telepathy coming soon’, extremetech.com/ August 28, 2013
[13] ‘Scientists ‘grow’ a brain in a laboratory for the first time.’ by Steve Connor The Independent,August 28, 2013.
[14] ‘Sentry System Combines a Human Brain with Computer Vision’Lucas Laursen, MIT Tech Review, November 27, 2012.
[15] ‘DARPA Building Robots With ‘Real’ Brains’ http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org 9 Apr 2013.
[15] ‘Rights group launches campaign to ban ‘killer robots” phys.org Apr 23, 2013 by Danny Kemp
[16] ‘Secret DARPA Mind Control Project Revealed: Leaked Document’ – Whistleblower Reveals Military Mind Control Project At Major University. Activist PostJuly 29 2013.
[17] ‘Remote Control of Brain Activity Using Ultrasound’ Armed with Science, http://www.science.dodlive.mil
[18] http://www.tylerlab.com/projects/ultrasound/future

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.