Friday, November 29, 2019

We Wanted The Matrix, We Got Minority Report

It's Philip K Dick's world, we're just imprisoned in it.

Well, let me amend that: it's a world that PKD could have envisioned had he been a little more tech-savvy and a lot more paranoid.

A lot of it is surely hype-- and since we're talking about Silicon Valley here, outright lies-- but more and more we're seeing the kind of shiny happy dystopia pictured in Minority Report, just a lot worse. As I've written before a lot of your early 90s techno-utopians have become downright Jeremiahs, only it's much, much too late.

How much of what we're seeing rolled out was pre-planned and how much was invented as it went along is an open question, of course. I've heard from a lot of people who tell me not to believe all the AI hype, that algorithms work nothing like the Cylons say they do, but it's beyond dispute that nearly everything we do today is being observed and recorded. 

And there's no question that pre-crime-- or most importantly, pre-thought crime-- is a top priority for a lot of people in power. 

Here is a small sampling of headlines from the past several months...


Of course, "pre-crime" and all the rest of it are huckster's jargon, what we're really looking at is broad-spectrum surveillance. And in the case of the British police forces, for instance, spending all their time cracking down on wrongthink in the provincial outposts while violence spirals completely out of control in the cities. 

Just another reason the West-- most particularly Western Europe-- is over. Done. Toast. Again, might be worth your time to pick up a tutorial on speaking Mandarin.

Speaking of the next Omni-power, protesters in Hong Kong are bringing another PKD concept to life with their FRT-foiling face projectors. They've also been knocking down some of the FRT towers as well. 

This enterprising Redditor came up with his own variation on the theme.

And most of you will remember the whole idea of the "scramble suit" from the brilliant adaption of A Scanner Darkly, in which Keanu Reeves played out a more realistic rejoinder to the Wachowskis' cabaret show fantasia of The Matrix and it sequels. 

Interesting that there's Matrix sequel in the works for 2022. The Wachowskis are one of the prime examples of there being absolutely no consequences for losing hundreds upon hundreds of millions of someone else's dollars, providing you can check all the right boxes. 

Of course, Minority Report brings me right back to the very center of my usual hobby-horse paddock, more so now than ever before. 

However, I do realize most casual readers and synchro-novices are tired of hearing about all that by now. And myself, always striving to be a gracious host for my very fine readers, has come up with the perfect solution to that problem. Which is to say I've started a private blog for deep Pearl diving, which will be accessible only to members and unlisted on search engines. If you're interested in joining, please reach out to me and we can talk it over. I look forward to hearing from you.

In the meantime, let me thank all of you who've showed their appreciation for a decade and a half of ad-free content on this blog by buying a copy of He Will Live Up in the Sky! I truly thank you all from the bottom of my heart and guarantee you will enjoy it mightily. 

I realize there's always a bit of justified trepidation with these projects but this is not one of the kinds of medicinal reads you've been conditioned to expect.  He Will Live Up in the Sky is a hoot and a howl from the jump. 

You have my word as a writer on that.


So, you want to keep the Sun shining? Here's how you can do your part: buy yourself a copy of He Will Live Up in the Sky at these fine book-mongers. 

Buy early and often!