It’s Happening

The musical group ABBA is cutting its first album in forty years as part of a stage performance – as digital avatars! Sigh. . . ABBA, the most popular pop singing group in the seventies, is one of mariner’s favorite singing groups. But as digital avatars? Mariner has never watched the movie ‘Mama Mia’ because no one can replicate the ABBA sound – especially not Pierce Brosnan and Meryl Streep. Mariner listened to a couple of new songs that will be on the album. They still have the same sound but he isn’t sure he wants to see them in their avatar world.

How much sacrifice and damage is digital ‘reality’ causing the normal human experience? Mariner is reminded of occasional events when mirrors and photographs were shown to primitive tribes that were not part of the modern technical world. They reacted fearfully and suspected that their spiritual self had been stolen; certainly the image of self was altered if not stolen. So, too, mariner is suspicious.

Television used to be a handy tool as a remote camera. Mariner was a fan of the Baltimore Colts back in the days of John Unitas; the television broadcast away games. That was handy and appreciated. Now the television camera and telephones have been invaded by surreal reality, loaded with false imagery, false information and false ABBA.

Documentaries have warned us time and again about digital tomfoolery especially when it involves political information or marketing; it is hard to produce a hit movie today without outrageous digital monsters, scenery and abuse to rational comprehension. Where is Bela Lugosi when you need him?

Humans should have known this would happen, that their real human world would be distorted and leveraged. It is only fair, though, because humans have been distorting and leveraging the biosphere for 20,000 years.

It is the spirit and philosophy of humanism that suffers damage. Humanism can be traced to ancient Greek philosophy, which prioritizes human morality. Humanism is the prevalent philosophy embedded in democracy; humanism is the core of compassion; humanism is required for a cohesive society.

But the technical world of computer intelligence feels no need for these qualities. Just as we have plundered the planet’s biosphere, so is computer intelligence plundering humanism. Artificial intelligence is not bound by morality; it is bound only by whether it can be done – without regard or accountability to the human-only world of emotions and 200,000 years of evolutionary responsibility as a tribal species.

Goodbye, ABBA. You are missed.

Ancient Mariner

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