Monday, 12 May 2014
War of the Worlds
While you are getting frothy over the forthcoming elections, there are foul doings and goings-on afoot. The enemy is at the gates. Forget your Agenda 21 and The Illuminati. Pay no heed to the distraction of the chem-trail theorists and dismiss your thoughts of lizard creatures hell-bent on world domination. There is a far worse danger out there; it is all around us and too late to stop. Fear the march of the machines.
The Luddites knew a thing or two, I tell you, but once they were consigned to history the machines just got craftier and quietly carried on, taking over. Now, they rule our lives and distract us from their evil purpose with the wizardry that is their domain and theirs alone. Some people believe they have tamed the beast and it dances to their command but they delude themselves. This many-headed monster is nobody’s pet.
If anybody is on a leash here it is humanity, pegged to a stake and paying out daily only for the monster to get stronger and stronger. Nobody is immune and ultimately there can be only one winner. When it first arrived you thought it might become useful, given time. Then you convinced yourselves that you would be in the driving seat. But then it began to play its tune and like the Pied Piper of Hamlin, you all followed it to where you sit today, deceiving yourself that you are the puppet-master.
How do I know all this? Because the other day I started to look into the possibility of getting a new laptop. Now here’s the problem – I have no meaningful relationship with Information Technology. I have a degree in the subject but I may as well have a qualification in stone masonry for all the dialogue there is between me and the kit; it doesn’t talk to me. I foolishly posted my dilemma on Twitter and I got advice! Advice? I’m a man, for heaven’s sake, I have no gracious way of dealing with advice. Help me out here – no, don’t!
You see, I want my phone, my table, my PC and my laptop to work in seamless harmony with each other. In the past I have spent entire lost weekends installing, configuring and ultimately removing all kinds of software. But it turns out that while I can USE the tools, I can’t sharpen them. Give me a chisel and a whetstone and I’m your man, but give me a computer and an operating system and I’m screwed. This is no accident.
For all you adherents of Linux or Ubuntu or the dread OS X there is still not one unified, harmonious solution. Mention Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, or 8i and prepare for a clamour of hostile invective? This is intentional. This is what the machines want. They want some of us dumb humans to believe we are in fact in control when nothing could be further from the truth. And all the while we bicker and backstab, the internet – autonomous alien entity that it is – is collecting data about who we are and how stupid we can be.
Make no mistake, friends, the Information Age is no such thing. If you disbelieve me, consider how much of your time you now spend voluntarily telling strangers your innermost thoughts. You can’t even remember what you used to do before the world of Wi-Fi stole your leisure time from you. You are willing slaves to the digital world and not the other way around. And things will only get worse…
Because while in days gone by your views were shaped by the social groups you interacted with, as real people with real daily lives, nowadays you get your views of the world from people you may never meet; people who not only don’t give a fig about you as an individual, but who might quite happily consign you to oblivion with the simple act of unfollowing, or not liking; a virtual thumbs down. The same now applies to politics.
Once upon a time you voted in your blocs for the party whose overall package of policies appeared to best fit the aspirations of your societal groups. This was simple and effective and before the machines arrived we were more or less content with the outcome; we felt we’d made an informed choice. But now, separated from the group, the flickering screens pick up our individual dreams and send them to the politicians who try and package their policies to suit.
If you don’t believe me, check out some of the more stupid things otherwise responsible people have been made to do: Ed 'Robot' Miliband, the incredible repeating man, Nick Clegg and his apology, Boris Johnson on the zip wire… and now Michelle Obama with 'that' sign. What was she thinking? It has since become symbolic of how the most sincere of gestures can be hijacked and held to ridicule; we now put the words in the politicians’ mouths. This is democracy taken to its inevitable and ludicrous extreme. Welcome to machine politics and god rest your souls!