The Future Of Artificial Intelligence (According To Pop Culture)

The unpredictable nature of super-intelligent, self-improving machines lends itself quite nicely to the dramatic storylines of movies and books.

It’s a science fiction writer’s dream – as Visual Capitalist's Jeff Desjardins warns: if AI becomes smart enough to create more advanced versions of itself, pretty much every outcome is on the table. Machines could empower humanity to become enlightened and virtuous. On the less optimistic side? Machines could instead ruthlessly enslave all of humankind to tickle their own warped sense of satisfaction.

POP CULTURE PERSPECTIVES

From the plot of movies like The Terminator to The Matrix, pop culture offers up innumerable examples of what could happen from the rise of the machines – and most of them, as you can imagine, steer towards the less optimistic side of the spectrum.

Today’s infographic from BBC Future provides an entertaining take on these scenarios, organized by potential likelihood.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

Some experts see AI having a $15.7 trillion impact on our economy, but pop culture offers up a slightly different perspective of what the future may hold.

FUTURE AI SCENARIOS

Here are just some of the scenarios offered up in mainstream movies, books, and television shows. Some are apocalyptic and dystopian, and some seem just plain bizarre:

Seductive Siris: In 2013’s Her, Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with an intelligent operating system named Samantha.

 

Self-Replicating AI: In 1995’s Screamers, scientists create a self-replicating weapon with one purpose: to destroy all life.

 

The Singularity: AI vies to take over the world in 1982’s classic Tron.

 

Rampaging Robots: In 1973’s Westworld, recently re-envisioned as a different TV series by HBO, murderous androids go on a killing spree in a futuristic Disney-style theme park.

 

Feeling Machines: In the 1999 movie Bicentennial Man, a household robot experiences emotions, creative thoughts, and eventually develops sentience.

 

Androids Among Us: Artificial beings infiltrate society undetected in TV series Battlestar Galactica.

 

Human Enslavement: In the 1999 movie The Matrix, all life on Earth is an elaborate facade. The robots are really the ones in command, but you wouldn’t know it until you take the “red pill”.

 

Mind Upload: Digitized humans gain immortality and then wreak havoc, such as in 2014’s Transcendence.

ONE CERTAINTY

While some of these ideas seem far-fetched, it’s worth noting that not all future scenarios are as distant as they may seem.

With computing power increasing exponentially, the tail end of the hockey stick could happen sooner than we may think.

Paul Craig Roberts Exhorts “Whatever Happened To America?”

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

Dear Friends and Supporters, this is my quarterly call for your financial support. There is no one who will write for you more frankly and truthfully than I do. This article is long. Read it. Twice, three times. You will learn an important part of your history that has been cast into the Memory Hole. You will learn the nature of the danger that we as a people face. And you will learn a lot about yourselves. PCR

Whatever Happened to America?

Over the course of my lifetime, America has become an infantile country.

When I was born America was a nation. Today it is a diversity country in which various segments divided by race, gender, and sexual preference, preach hate toward other segments. Currently white heterosexual males are losing in the hate game, but once hate is unleashed it can turn on any and every one. Working class white males understand that they are the new underclass in a diversity country in which everyone has privileges except them. Many of the university educated group of heterosexual white males are too brainwashed to understand what is happening to them. Indeed, some of them are so successfully brainwashed that they think it is their just punishment as a white male to be downtrodden.

Donald Trump’s presidency has been wrecked by hate groups, i.e., the liberal/progressive/left who hate the “racist, misogynist, homophobic, gun nut working class” that elected Trump (see Eric Draitser, “Why He Won,” in CounterPunch, vol. 23, No. 1, 2017). For the liberal/progressive/left Trump is an illegitimate president because he was elected by illegitimate voters.
Today the American left hates the working class with such intensity that the left is comfortable with the left’s alliance with the One Percent and the military/security complex against Trump.

America, the melting pot that produced a nation was destroyed by Identity Politics. Identity Politics divides a population into hate groups. This group hates that one and so on. In the US the most hated group is a southern white heterosexual male.

To rule America, Identity Politics is competing with a more powerful group – the military/security complex supported by the neoconservative ideology of American world hegemony.

Currently, Identity Politics and the military/security complex are working hand-in-hand to destroy President Trump. Trump is hated by the powerful military/security complex because Trump wanted to “normalize relations with Russia,” that is, remove the “Russian threat” that is essential to the power and budget of the military/security complex. Trump is hated by Identity Politics because the imbeciles think no one voted for him but racist, misogynists, homophobic gun-nuts.

The fact that Trump intended to unwind the dangerous tensions that the Obama regime has created with Russia became his hangman’s noose. Designated as “Putin’s agent,” President Trump is possibly in the process of being framed by a Special Prosecutor, none other than member of the Shadow Government and former FBI director Robert Mueller. Mueller knows that whatever lie he tells will be accepted by the media presstitutes as the Holy Truth. However, as Trump, seeking self-preservation, moves into the war camp, it might not be necessary for the shadow government to eliminate him.

So the Great American Democracy, The Morally Pure Country, is actually a cover for the profits and power of the military/security complex.

What is exceptional about America is the size of the corruption and evil in the government and in the private interest groups that control the government.

It wasn’t always this way.

In 1958 at the height of the Cold War a young Texan, Van Cliburn, 23 years of age, ventured to show up at the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow. Given the rivalry between the military powers, what chance did an American have of walking away with the prize? The cold warriors of the time would, if asked, had said none.

But Van Cliburn electrified the audience, the Moscow Symphony, and the famous conductor. His reception by the Soviet audience was extraordinary. The judges went to Khrushchev and asked, “Can we give the prize to the American?” Khrushchev asked, “Was he the best.” The answer, “Yes.” “Well, then give him the prize.”

The Cold War should have ended right there, but the military/security complex would not allow it.

You can watch the performance here:

In other words, the Soviet Union, unlike America today, did not need to prevail over the truth. The Soviets gave what has perhaps become the most famous of all prizes of musical competition to an American. The Soviets were able to see and recognize truth, something few Americans any longer can do.

The supporters of this website are supporters because, unlike their brainwashed fellows who are tightly locked within The Matrix, they can tell the difference between truth and propaganda. The supporters of this website comprise the few who, if it is possible, will save America and the world from the evil that prevails in Washington.

Van Cliburn came home to America a hero. He went on to a grand concert career. If Van Cliburn had been judged in his day, as Donald Trump is today for wanting to defuse the dangerously high level of tensions with Russia, Van Cliburn would have been greeted on his return with a Soviet prize as a traitor. The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, NPR and the rest of the presstitutes would have denounced him up one street and down another. How dare Van Cliburn legitimize the Soviet Union by participating in a music competition and accepting a Soviet prize!

Did you know that Van Cliburn, after his talented mother had provided all the music instruction she could, studied under a RUSSIAN woman? What more proof do you need that Van Cliburn was a traitor to America? Imagine, he studied under a RUSSIAN! I mean, really! Isn’t this a RUSSIAN connection?!

How can we avoid the fact that all those music critics at the New York Times and Washington Post were also RUSSIAN agents. I mean, gosh, they actually praised Van Cliburn for playing RUSSIAN music in MOSCOW so well.

Makes a person wonder if Ronald Reagan wasn’t also a RUSSIAN agent. Reagan, actually convinced Van Cliburn to come out of retirement and to play in the White House for Soviet leader Gorbachev, with whom Reagan was trying to end the Cold War.

I am making fun of what passes for reasoning today. Reason has been displaced by denunciation. If someone, anyone, says something, that can be misconstrued and denounced, it will be, the meaning of what was said not withstanding.

Consider the recent statement by the Deputy Prime Minister of Japan, Taro Aso, in an address to members of his ruling political party. He said: “I don’t question your motives to be a politician. But the results are important. Hitler, who killed millions of people, was no good, even if his motives were right.”

To anyone capable of reason, it is perfectly clear that Aso is saying that the ends don’t justify the means. “Even if” is conditional. Aso is saying that even if Hitler acted in behalf of a just cause, his means were impermissible.

Aso, a man of principle, is instructing his party’s politicians to be moral beings and not to sacrifice morality to a cause, much less an American cause of Japanese rearmament so as to amplify Washington’s aggression toward China.

The response to a simple and straight forward statement that not even in politics do the ends justify the means was instant denunciation of the Deputy Prime Minister for “shameful” and “dangerous” remarks suggesting that Hitler “had the right motives.”

Arrgh! screamed the Simon Wiesenthal Center which saw a new holocaust in the making. Reuters reported that Aso had put his foot in his mouth by making remarks that “could be interpreted as a defense of Adolf Hitler’s motive for genocide during World War Two.” Even RT, to which we normally look for real as opposed to fake news, joined in the misreporting. The chairman of the Japanese opposition party joined in, terming Aso’s statement that the ends don’t justify the means “a serious gaffe.”

Of course the South Koreans and the Chinese, who have WWII resentments against Japan, could not let the opportunity pass that the Western media created, and also unloaded on Japan, condemning the Deputy Prime Minister as a modern advocate of Hitlerism. The Chinese and South Koreans were too busy settling old scores to realize that by jumping on Aso they were undermining the Japanese opposition to the re-militarization of Japan, which will be at their expense.

Aso is astonished by the misrepresentation of his words. He said, “I used Hitler as an example of a bad politician. It is regrettable that my comment was misinterpreted and caused misunderstanding.”

It seems that hardly anyone was capable of comprehending what Aso said. He clearly denounced Hitler, declaring Hitler “no good,” but no one cared. He used the word, “Hitler,” which was sufficient to set off the explosion of denunciation. Aso responded by withdrawing Hitler as his example of a “bad politician.” And this is a victory?

The media, even RT alas, was quick to point out that Aso was already suspect. In 2013 Aso opposed the overturning of Japan’s pacifist constitution that Washington was pushing in order to recruit Japan in a new war front against China. Aso, in the indirect way that the Japanese approach dissent, said “Germany’s Weimar Constitution was changed [by the Nazis] before anyone knew. It was changed before anyone else noticed. Why don’t we learn from the technique?” Aso’s remarks were instantly misrepresented as his endorsement of surreptitiously changing Japan’s constitution, which was Washington’s aim, whereas Aso was defending its pacifist constraint, pointing out that Japan’s pacificist Contitution was being changed without voters’ consent.

An explanation of Aso’s words, something that never would have needed doing prior to our illiterate times, has its own risks. Many Americans confuse an explanation with a defense. Thus, an explanation can bring denunciation for “defending a Japanese nazi.” Considering the number of intellectually-challenged Americans, I expect to read many such denunciations.

This is the problem with being a truthful writer in these times. More people want someone to denounce than want truth. Truth-tellers are persona non grata to the ruling establishment and to proponents of Identity Politics. It is unclear how much longer truth will be permitted to be expressed. Already it is much safer and more remunerative to tell the official lies than to tell the truth.

More people want their inculcated biases and beliefs affirmed by what they read than want to reconsider what they think, expecially if changing their view puts them at odds with their peers. Most people believe what is convenient for them and what they want to believe. Facts are not important to them. Indeed, Americans deny the facts before their eyes each and every day. How can America be a superpower when the population for the most part is completely ignorant and brainwashed?

When truth-tellers are no more, it is unlikely they will be missed. No one will even know that they are gone. Already, gobs of people are unable to follow a reasoned argument based on undisputed facts.

Take something simple and clear, such as the conflict over several decades between North and South leading to the breakup of the union. The conflict was economic. It was over tariffs. The North wanted them in order to protect northern industry from lower priced British manufactures. Without tariffs, northern industry was hemmed in by British goods and could not develop.

The South did not want the tariffs because it meant higher prices for the South and likely retaliation against the South’s export of cotton. The South saw the conflict in terms of lower income forced on southerners so that northern manufacturers could have higher incomes. The argument over the division of new states carved from former Indian territories was about keeping the voting balance equal in Congress so that a stiff tariff could not be passed. It is what the debates show. So many historians have written about these documented facts.

Slavery was not the issue, because as Lincoln said in his inaugural address, he had no inclination and no power to abolish slavery. Slavery was a states rights issue reserved to the states by the US Constitution.

The issue, Lincoln said in his inaugural address, was the collection of the tariff. There was no need, he said, for invasion or bloodshed. The South just needed to permit the federal government to collect the duties on imports. The northern states actually passed an amendment to the Constitution that prohibited slavery from ever being abolished by the federal government, and Lincoln gave his support.

For the South the problem was not slavery. The legality of slavery was clear and accepted by Lincoln in his inaugural address as a states right. However, a tariff was one of the powers given by the Constitution to the federal government. Under the Constitution the South was required to accept a tariff if it passed Congress and was signed by the President. A tariff had passed two days prior to Lincoln’s inaugeration.

The South couldn’t point at the real reason it was leaving the union—the tariff—if the South wanted to blame the north for its secession. In order to blame the North for the breakup of the union (the British are leaving the European Union without a war), the South turned to the nullification by some northern states of the federal law and US Constitutional provision (Article 4, Section 2) that required the return of runaway slaves. South Carolina’s secession document said that some Northern states by not returning slaves had broken the contract on which the union was formed. South Carolina’s argument became the basis for the secession documents of other states.

In other words, slavery became an issue in the secession because some Northern states—but not the federal government—refused to comply with the constitutional obligation to return property as required by the US Constitution.

South Carolina was correct, but the northern states were acting as individual states, not as the federal government. It wasn’t Lincoln who nullified the Fugative Slave Act, and states were not allowed to nulify constitutional provisions or federal law within the powers assigned to the federal government by the Constitution. Lincoln upheld the Fugative Slave Act. In effect, what the South did was to nullify the power that the Constitution gives to the federal government to levy a tariff. Apologists for the South ignore this fact. The South had no more power under the Constitution to nullify a tariff than northern states had to nullify the Fugative Slave Act.

Slavery was not, under the Constitution, a federal issue, but the tariff was. It was the South’s refusal of the tariff that caused Lincoln to invade the Confederacy.

You need to undersand that in those days people thought of themselves as citizens of the individual states, not as citizens of the United States, just as today people in Europe think of themselves as citizens of France, Germany, Italy, etc., and not as citizens of the European Union. In was in the states that most government power resided. Robert E. Lee refused the offer of the command of the Union Army on the grounds that it would be treasonous for him to attack his own country of Virginia.

Having explained history as it was understood prior to its rewrite by Identity Politics, which has thrown history down the Orwellian Memory Hole, I was accused of “lying about the motivations of the South” by a reason-impaired reader.

In this reader we see not only the uninformed modern American but also the rudness of the uninformed modern American. I could understand a reader writing that perhaps I had misunderstood the secession documents, but “lying about the motivations of the South”? It is extraordinary to be called a liar by a reader incapable of understanding the issues. President Lincoln and the northern states gave the South complete and unequivable assurances about slavery, but not about tariffs.

The reader sees a defense of slavery in the secession documents but is unable to grasp the wider picture that the South is making a states rights argument that some northern states, in the words of the South Carolina secession document, “have denied the rights of property . . . recognized by the Constitution.” The reader saw that the documents mentioned slavery but not tariffs, and concluded that slavery was the reason that the South seceded.

It did not occur to the reason-impaired reader to wonder why the South would secede over slavery when the federal government was not threatening slavery. In his inaugural address Lincoln said that he had neither the power nor the inclination to forbid slavery. The North gave the South more assurances about slavery by passing the Corwin Amendment that added to the existing constitutional protection of slavery by putting in a special constitutional amendment upholding slavery. As slavery was under no threat, why would the South secede over slavery?

The tariff was a threat, and it was a tariff, not a bill outlawing slavery, that had just passed. Unlike slavery, which the Constitution left to the discretion of individual states, tariffs were a federal issue. Under the Constitution states had no rights to nullify tariffs. Therefore, the South wanted out.

It also does not occur to the reason-impaired reader that if the war was over slavery why have historians, even court historians, been unable to find evidence of that in the letters and diaries of the soldiers on both sides?

In other words, we have a very full context here, and none of it supports that the war was fought over slavery. But the reader sees some words about slavery in the secession documents and his reasoning ability cannot get beyond those words.

This is the same absence of reasoning ability that led to the false conclusion that the Deputy Prime Minister of Japan was an admirer of Hitler.

Now for an example of an emotionally-impaired reader, one so emotional that he is unable to comprehend the meaning of his own words. This reader read Thomas DiLorenzo’s article (http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/08/21/lincoln-myth-ideological-cornerstone-america-empire/) and my article (http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/08/28/weaponization-history-journalism/) as an “absolution of the South” and as “whitewashing of the South.” Of what he doesn’t say. Slavery? Secession? All that I and DiLorenzo offer are explanations. DiLorenzo is a Pennsylvanian. I grew up in the South but lived my life outside it. Neither of us are trying to resurrect the Confederacy. As I understand DiLorenzo, his main point is that the so- called “civil war” destroyed the original US Constitution and centralized power in Washington in the interest of Empire. I am pointing out that ignorance has spawned a false history that is causing a lot of orchestrated hate. Neither of us thinks that the country needs the hate and the division hate causes. We need to be united against the centralized power in Washington that is turning on the people.

Carried away by emotion, the reader dashed off an article to refute us. My interest is not to ridicule the reader but to use him as an example of the emotionally-impaired American. Therefore, I am protecting him from personal ridicule by not naming him or linking to his nonsensical article. My only interest is to illustrate how for too many Americans emotion precludes reason.

First, the reader in his article calls DiLorenzo and I names and then projects his sin upon us, accusing us of “name-calling,” which he says is “a poor substitute for proving points.”

Here is his second mistake. DiLorenzo and I are not “proving points.” We are stating long established known facts and asking how a new history has been created that is removed from the known facts.

So how does the emotionally-disturbed reader refute us in his article? He doesn’t. He proves our point.

First he acknowledges “what American history textbooks for decades have acknowledged: The North did not go to War to stop slavery. Lincoln went to war to save the Union.”

How does he get rid of the Corwin Amendment. He doesn’t. He says everyone, even “the most ardent Lincoln-worshipping court historian,” knows that the North and Lincoln gave the South assurances that the federal government would not involve itself in the slavery issue.

In other words, the reader says that there is nothing original in my article or DiLorenzo’s and that it is just the standard history, so why is he taking exception to it?

The answer seems to be that after agreeing with us that Lincoln did not go to war over slavery and gave the South no reason to go to war over slavery, the reader says that the South did go to war over slavery. He says that the war was fought over the issue of expanding slavery into new states created from Indian territories.

This is an extremely problematic claim for two indisputable reasons.

First, the South went to war because Lincoln invaded the South.

Second, the South had seceded and no longer had any interest in the status of new territories.

As I reported in my article, it is established historical record that the conflict over the expansion of slavery as new states were added to the Union was a fight over the tariff vote in Congress. The South was trying to keep enough representation to block the passage of a tariff, and the North was trying to gain enough representation to enact protectionism over the free trade South.

It is so emotionally important to the reader that the war was over slavery that he alleges that the reason the South was not seduced by the Corwin Amendment is that it did not guarantee the expansion of slavery into new states, but only protected slavery in those states in which it existed. In other words, the reader asserts that the South fought for an hegemonic ideology of slavery in the Union. But the South had left the Union, so clearly it wasn’t fighting to expand slavery outside its borders. Moreover, the North gave the South no assurances over the South’s real concern—its economic exploitation by the North. The same day the North passed the Corwin Amendment the North passed the tariff. Clearly, it was not assurances over slavery that mattered to the South. Slavery was protected by states rights. It was the tariff that was important to the South.

Whereas the tariff was the issue that brought the conflict to a head, correspondence between Lord Acton and Robert E. Lee shows that the deeper issue was liberty and its protection from centralized power. On November 4, 1866, Lord Acton wrote to Robert E. Lee: “I saw in State Rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy.” Acton saw in the US Constitution defects that could lead to the rise of despotism. Acton regarded the Confederate Constitution as “expressly and wisely calculated to remedy” the defects in the US Constitution. The Confederate Constitution, Acton said, was a “great Reform [that] would have blessed all the races of mankind by establishing true freedom purged of the native dangers and disorders of Republics.” 

Lee replied: “I yet believe that the maintenance of the rights and authority reserved to the states and to the people, not only essential to the adjustment and balance of the general system, but the safeguard to the continuance of a free government. I consider it as the chief source of stability to our political system, whereas the consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it.”

A present day American unfamiliar with the 18th and 19th century efforts to create a government that could not degenerate into despotism will see hypocrisy in this correspondence and misread it. How, the present day American will ask, could Acton and Lee be talking about establishing true freedom when slavery existed? The answer is that Acton and Lee, like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, understood that there were more ways of being enslaved than being bought and sold. If the battle is lost over the character of government and power becomes centralized, then all are enslaved.

Lee’s prediction of a government “aggressive abroad and despotic at home” has come true. What is despotism if not indefinite detention on suspicion alone without evidence or conviction, if not execution on suspicion alone without due process of law, if not universal spying and searches without warrants?

What I find extraordinary about today’s concern with slavery in the 1800s is the lack of concern with our enslavement today. It is amazing that Americans do not realize that they were enslaved by the passage of the income tax in 1913. Consider the definition of a slave. It is a person who does not own his own labor or the products of his own labor. Of course, if the slave is to live to work another day some of his labor must go to his subsistance. How much depended on the technology and labor productivity. On 19th century southern plantations, the slave tax seems to have been limited short of the 50% rate.

When I entered the US Treasury as Assistant Secretary, the top tax rate on personal income was 50%. During the medieval era, serfs did not own all of their own labor. At the time I studied the era, the top tax rate on serfs was believed to have been limited to one-third of the serf’s working time. Given labor productivity in those days, any higher tax would have prevented the reproduction of the labor force.

So what explains the concern about wage slavery in 1860 but not in 2017?

The answer seems to be Diversity Politics. In 1860 blacks had the burden of wage slavery. In 2017 all have the burden except for the rich whose income is in the form of capital gains and those among the poor who don’t work. Identity Politics cannot present today’s wage slavery as the unique burder of a “preferred minority.” Today those most subjected to wage slavery are the white professionals in the upper middle class. That is where the tax burden is highest. Americans living at public expense are exempted from wage slavery by lack of taxable income. Consequently, the liberal/progressive/left only objects to 19th century wage slavery. 20th Century wage slavery is perfectly acceptable to the liberal/progressive/left. Indeed, they want more of it.

People can no longer think or reason. There seems to be no rational component in their brain, just emotion set into action by fuse-lighting words.

Here is an example hot off the press. This month in Cobb County, Georgia, a car was pulled over for driving under the influence of alcohol. The white police lieutenant requested the ID of a white woman. She replied that she is afraid to reach into her purse for her license, because she has read many stories of people being shot because police officers conclude that they are reaching for a gun. Instead of tasering the woman for non-compliance, yanking her out of the car, and body slamming her, the lieutenant diffused the situation by making light of her concern. “We only shoot black people, you know.” This is what a person would conclude from the news, because seldom is a big stink made when the police shoot a white person.

The upshot of the story is that the lieutenant’s words were recorded on his recorder and when they were entered as part of the incident report, the chief of police announced that the lieutenant was guilty of “racial insensitivity” and would be fired for the offense.

Now think about this. A little reasoning is necessary. How are the words racially insensitive when no black persons were present? How are the words racially insensitive when the lieutenant said exactly what blacks themselves say? And now the clincher: Which is the real insensitivity, saying “we only shoot black people” or actually shooting black people? How is it possible that the officer who uses “racially insensitive” words to diffuse a situation is more worthy of punishment that an officer who actually shoots a black person? Seldom is an officer who has shot a black, white, hispanic, Asian, child, grandmother, cripple, or the family dog ever fired.

The usual “investigation” clears the officer on the grounds that he had grounds to fear his life was in danger—precisely the reason the woman didn’t want to reach into her purse.

For a person who tries to tell the truth, writing is a frustrating and discouraging experience. What is the point of writing for people who cannot read, who cannot follow a logical argument because their limited mental capabilities are entirely based in emotion, who have no idea of the consequence of a population imbued with hate that destroys a nation in divisiveness?

I ask myself this question everytime I write a column.

Indeed, given the policies of Google and PayPal it seems more or less certain that before much longer anyone who speaks outside The Matrix will be shut down.

Free speech is only allowed for propagandists. Megyn Kelly has free speech as long as her free speech lies for the ruling establishment. Her lies are proteced by an entire media network backed by the Shadow Goverment and the Deep State.

My truth is backed only by your support.

So, if you want the truth, or as close as I can get to it, support my website.