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Helpless Lost


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I love this quote. It has probably never been more topical, (the phone obsessed drones) though they may have said the same thing when cars took over horses, or the television over radio. As we become more reliant on computers and soon driver-less cars, are we in danger of becoming redundant? Helpless? Lost?





The quote is from Dr. Keller's first professionally published science fiction story, "The Revolt of the Pedestrians". It was published in Amazing Stories in 1928.




It seems Keller (48 at time of this story) was a controversial figure. He was far right ideologically. He was also a trained psychologist. Despite his late start and some unflattering opinions regarding his writing style, he was quite inventive and had many publications before dying forty years later in 1966.









Was Keller wrong?

What is the state of technology today? 
Our we way off track?
Where is it heading? 
Does anyone care?
Would it matter if we did?



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5 comments:

  1. Just wrote a speech on the technological singularity for an assignment for uni. And that speech, written for someone to read other than myself, mentioned computer learning algorithms that are enabling machines to be better readers, listeners, writers and data analyists than humans. Computers could take over 40% of all service jobs, including work done by lawyers, journalists, accountants etc not to mention clerical jobs within the next decade. The technology singularity depends on artificial intelligence to build computers smarter then us that then control and write programs for nanotechnology and genetic engineering, and the newest kid on the block, the 3d printer. It seemed to come out of nowhere, now the Chinese have printed houses with them and NASA has printed rocket parts, and there's a company that says it will be able to print functioning human eyes. Someone, right now, could be finishing a deep learning algorithm for a computer that makes it smarter than us. So the technology singularity could take off next week, out of nowhere, like the 3d printer. And by the way, this algorithm doesn't mean the AI will be self-aware and go terminator on us, it will just be capable of learning how to do everything really fast, much faster than humans.

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    Replies
    1. That's incredible. I had no idea it was that close. There's many benefits in that but its hard not to contemplate the dangers. With more reliance comes less personal responsibility. Perhaps Keller's quote will have even more resonance very soon.
      Thanks for that info Graham. Great response.

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  2. I suppose it doesn't matter, depending on one's perspective. Us old schoolers are already redundant.

    Keller sounds like an interesting one.

    Be well, friend. xo

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  3. I believe we are already on the road to ruin (because of "technology").
    Everything in our lives is now related to a computer, or the internet. If there is a major power outage, even the minor things in our lives won't be possible. I thought it was already screwing things up when, people stopped knowing how to make change. They just give you the change that the automated register tells them to. Remember when a grocery checker at a market was a good job? These days, they know about the same as a stocker, or a box "person."

    Our new president swears he is going to bring all the manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. (including the auto industry). A very smart person I know, said the "industries" themselves may come back, but the jobs never will. In the auto industry today, only a fraction of the tasks that were preformed by humans remain, almost all of it is being done by robots. If they bring general manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. (non-automobile related), rather than pay "high" wages to the U.S. employees, they will automate wherever possible, and mechanize where they can't. Nobody that has moved their mfg. overseas, will NEVER pay full "union" wages again. It's not about "jobs" any longer, it's about profits. Technology has been the driving force behind this change for several decades now. In my opinion, we are in deep shit...

    Oh yeah! One more thing. My wife pretty much refused to carry cash around. She says it is much easier just to use a card or device to pay for things. I always carry cash. When the power goes out, she (and people who agree with her) won't be able to buy squat...

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    Replies
    1. That's a great comment Pat. Thank you. Yes I agree. Programs are already running certain sectors and I think we are going to see a huge rise in automation across all sectors in the coming decade. People will become redundant. Thereyl only be those at the bottom bringing goods in and those at the top crunching the numbers.
      With more people on earth and less jobs, how will people survive? Gone will be the days when people owned their own homes. There will be generations of families in one household. There will be squalor and massive poverty and with that, crime. The haves will live in ivory towers. It will be like the days of old. The rich live in castles, the lucky ones, those mostly serving them, inside the walls.. while the commoners have to thrash it outside. I truly believe that.
      Already computer glitches are bringing down entire power networks. An over-reliance.
      Bartering will return too I believe.

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