Automation itself is not the problem. It’s the automation mindset that’s behind our adversarial relationship with corporations, institutions and government agencies. It’s nothing new. Think of how long ago we threw off the tribal tradition of having a wise elder bring judgements to disruptive or contentious behavior. We now have laws, upon laws, upon laws, multiplying like the rats they are, all in the name of automating behavior correction. Here’s a quote from a newsletter by JC Collins:
“The advancement of AI and robotics are on the verge of merging and emerging into something which will forever change the concepts of time and labor. The citizens of the future will be issued credits based on a host of personal key performance indicators. As an example, one person may have a genetic pre-disposition to a certain disease. Through the use of an integrated Blockchain technology, that person will be prevented from purchasing certain food and drink products which can aggravate their pre-disposition.”
Just as some technologies are non-adversarial, such as the wheel or fire, some automation is non-adversarial, such as the habit of brushing one’s teeth each morning or beginning the day with a cup of tea followed by meditation. It’s when a person with an automation mindset is let loose to prey upon the rest of the population that problems arise. This may be forcible automation, such as our legal system, or it may be elective automation, such as buying an i-phone or a self-driving car. The automation mindset sees efficiency and ease as paramount concerns. It’s the reptilian brain doing its best to be pertinent in the frontal lobe age. But this is duality and we operate in a sea of polarities. For every up there is a down, for every step forward there is a step backward. The automation mindset thinks that it can outwit nature and the universe, that they’ve discovered a loophole in nature’s laws. But that’s pure illusion. So called efficiency becomes reckless abandon and ease becomes burden. The outcome is obvious if we just stand back a moment.
I am reminded of the the outcome for Yellowstone Park when all the PhDs descended upon it. After becoming a national park the urge to manage it arose. After close examination by our brightest minds it was decided that the park was fine except that the wolves had to go, and so they did. In a relatively short time everything degraded. The elk expanded without limit and ate all the baby aspen trees, causing a domino effect. Before long the entire ecosystem was ruined. Decades later the wolves were brought back, but the lesson was ignored in every other way.
The automation mindset is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It is the reptilian brain interpreting the world as if it were the best new tool in the toolbox. It is a charlatan, but a successful one. What else can we expect from upside-down land? Here survival is easy, but thriving is difficult – unless one chooses the strategy of the parasite. The reptilian brain, in adopting the automation mindset, has chosen exactly that role.