by John Ward
JOBS FOR PEOPLE, NOT FOR ROBOTS
I had another little run-in with Artificial Intelligence (AI) on Monday. A close friend had recommended some vitamin supplements, and so I went to a French site, painstakingly looking up each product and adding it to my basket. We’re talking about an order in the region of €500. The AI on the site confirmed that I was “a member”…I had no recall of that, but I duly signed in and clicked ‘I forgot my password’.
I was then told that my gmail address (the one on this site I’ve been using for twelve years) was ‘invalid’. There was no “but we can send you a new password if you like”. Just “compu’ooter sez no”.
In the first place, there’s no big security issue here: I wanted to stock up on some recommended vitamin products, not half a kilo of cut heroin with some crack cocaine on the side. It was just that, very simply, the AI (as usual) had fucked up.
In the second place, AI is not (as advertised) “artificial” intelligence (although if human intelligence is available, why would we need it?) it is what I call “prosthetic” intelligence – ie, a false leg nowhere near as useful, flexible and functional as a real one. With the presence of a well-trained call centre operative, this was a non-issue that could’ve been sorted out in two minutes. As things stand, however, the company has lost a large order and I’ve had to go back to Square One.
The rise and rise of the accountant in corporate entities has led to horrible, inhuman terminology like “headcount”. This was the perfect potting soil for the arrival of Silicone Valley hucksters and their non-stop spin BS about hitech ‘creating far more jobs than it destroys’ – a falsehood that’s up there with ‘trickle-down wealth’.
To support my contention, here’s a chart from Statista that looks at the global trend in unemployment this century so far:
The first health warning on this one is that the projected levelling off and then dip in unemployment in the 2021-22 years is modelled. The second point to note is the shedding of staff after the 2008 bank rescue and during the Covid19 lockdown madness. In both those cases, large globalist concerns switched to AI and mechanisation….the flatline during the 2009-19 period suggests very strongly that jobs lost to hitech are not replaced by new ones. Thus, the forecast 2022 rise in employment is what we data technicians call horseshit – because (a) it denies the reality of previous empirical data and (b) it is blindingly obvious that financialised bourse globalism is going to correct in 2022…as a result of which there will be yet more job-shedding.
Putting some numbers on reality (follow the link I gave above) we are staring at this fact: between 2019 and 2020, the number of unemployed people worldwide increased from 187.3 million to 220.7 million, the biggest annual increase in unemployment in this provided time period. As for this century as a whole, the ranks of the unemployed jumped from 161 million to 221 million – an increase of almost exactly 25%.
I know this may seem like a blanket knee-jerk reaction on my part, but my feeling as a human being – a believer in the sovereignty of the consumer, and a certainty that without a job, people cannot consume – is that the mass of people are far more important than the shareholders…the latter so often presented as investment entrepreneurs for and on behalf of The People, even though the most cursory examination shows that short term profit, dividends and a tiny superstructure of clients are the only things they care about. For much of the last five years, in fact, bourse prices have been kept high by a weird combo of loose, cheap money and the directors of quoted companies trading in their own shares in the most anti-social manner imaginable.
So overall, I make no apology for this plea to initiate a radical policy as follows: let’s say phooey to the shareholders until such time as all the sixty million worldwide are employed to create real customer loyalty, real after-sales service satisfaction – and to apply their emotional intelligence to make sales more straightforward.
Mechanisation, robotics and digital hitech represent change designed to improve corporacratic efficiency. But only a fool equates that automatically with human progress.
Expanding on that point beyond the single issue of employment, I have no doubt in my mind at all that computerisation and digital data collection have transformed the Surveillance State from a totalitarian fantasy into dystopian nightmare reality. Smart phones are a weapon via which security bureaucrats can know where you and what you’re saying to others. Smart cards are the means by which all future secret police can spy on us, liaise with the banking community to monitor what you’re buying, and sell data to the marketing sector in order to make State security agencies self-sufficient….in the exact same way that the CIA already self-funds by selling weather, population, political, economic and social trend forecasts to all-comers.
Automation technology (alongside financialised service) has been an important catalyst in the shift of power from labour to capital. But equally, digital ID techniques have been the primary cause of the shift in power from the electing citizen to the corporate State.
Small wonder, therefore, that what The People face as 2021 draws to a close is an alliance of globalist bankers, State spooks and amoral tecchies…with Useful Idiots drawn from politics, Green hysterics, Race activists, Sexuality zealots and Marxists in order to signal virtue to the auto-pc voters.
Corporate power + political dictation = fascism. (See Mussolini fascism)
It’ll be interesting to watch the reaction of the Allies of Convenience when they realise they’ve been had.