What Do Robots And Racists Have In Common? Automation And The Alt-Right

09/21/2017 06:57 am ET Updated Sep 25, 2017
Alt-Right backer multi-millionaire Robert Mercer
Huffington Post
Alt-Right backer multi-millionaire Robert Mercer

What do robots and racists have in common? Disaffection.

The election of Donald J.Trump was only a preview of coming attractions. Automation, both through robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI), are the economic force driving American fascist funders of the Alt-Right.

Their dark view of humanity goes well beyond Nazi and KKK cries for a white homeland. They want a “new” America, complete with its own revised Constitution, and a lot fewer “inferior” poor whites and people of color.

Sounds like a lunatic fantasy? Maybe. Then again, who thought Trump was a serious presidential candidate?

In a recent interview on Pod Save America, Hillary Clinton noted:

“Remember the Right Wing, aided and funded by the Mercers, Koch brothers, etc, is very serious about calling a Constitutional Convention. They need thirty-four states. Last I checked, they were at like twenty-eight, twenty-nine. Part of their gerrymandering is to control state legislatures, elect Republican governors, and to call a Constitutional Convention and, if you really get deep into what they are advocating, limits on the First Amendment, no limits on the Second Amendment, limits on criminal justice... I mean there is a very insidious right-wing agenda.”

There is more to that agenda than you, Mrs. Clinton, and most Democrats, for that matter, are aware.

Alt-Right funder Robert Mercer is a dark, white-power genius. He made hundreds of millions in the hedge fund game, but he began with patented programming in voice recognition used as part of the IBM AI called Watson.

Mercer is the smarter version of the guy at Google who was fired for his anti-woman, racist dog-whistling anti-diversity memo, because he built up billions to put his money where his mouth is.

What robots are to physical labor, AIs like Watson are to intellectual and process labor. They can free humanity from a lot of drudge work in almost every avenue of our endeavors.

Watson can generate legal contracts, read radiological materials, empower a handful of doctors in massive robotic surgery suites, plan crops and harvests, and much, much more.

AI also has a darker side. Mercer used code to create and unleash “bots” posing as real people into social media to spread alt-right propaganda during both Brexit and the U.S. election.

Their mission? To disaffect and manipulate the voting franchise of a lot of blue collar and middle-income white voters who are being permanently unemployed, using the very same technology that unemployed them.

Not scary enough? “But WAIT!” as they say on infomercials. “There’s MORE!”

The Kochs, Mercers, and other major funders of AltRight and Tea Party fascism are largely Social Darwinsts. To their world view, they are wealthy and superior by genetic design. Everyone else serves them, at their pleasure.

The drive to break Obamacare, its last ugly push being the Graham-Cassidy is the first of many pink slips to the human race.

With little or no need for humans’ participation in the means of production, the majority of the American workforce is increasingly not necessary.

Robots & AI, not foreigners or exporting jobs have quietly been replacing you. 45% of working-age Americans are already permanently unemployed. That’s 91.2M Americans. People who physically can’t work, stay at home to take care of others, or have given up any hope of finding a job.

If you think that your education, profession or position protects you, think again. AI and robotics will replace or eliminate the need for millions of:

  • Professionals - Doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers, pharmacists, bankers, brokers, analysts, and dozens of other high-paying professionals
  • High Paying Skilled Jobs - All drivers, brick layers, construction workers, surgical nurses, grocery clerks, IT technicians, and other good paying jobs.

People who lose those jobs will not find new ones, especially if Republicans break the Affordable Care Act.

  • Older workers will struggle to survive - High insurance premiums that make them unattractive hires. Pre-existing conditions and co-pays will eventually drive anyone turning 50 into financial stress and/or poverty. Companies won’t invest in retraining for remaining new jobs someone with such high costs.
  • New jobs will require skill-sets that many people will either lack, lack interest, or ability in learning. New jobs created by technology will not replace enough of the old ones. Many people will not have the skills for higher paying jobs. Few welders will become coders.

Why is no one in authority, or the media, having a serious, grown-up discussion about the most existential threat to the future of humanity behind Trump’s nuclear brinksmanship, global warming and a giant comet ending life on the planet?

How will humanity define itself when work, and income from work, are no longer a possibility for 80% or more of us?

Instead of discussing existential threats to humanity, technological unemployment and global warming, we fill our airwaves with junk-food news: Emails and Trump-Russia and GOP threats to kill millions of the working poor by eliminating their access to health care.

This is not a can that politicians can kick down the road. More than 73% of CEOs recently surveyed by IBM stated that AI will play a “key role” in their businesses, with 50% pushing to adopt it by 2019.

Forbes estimates that 15% to 30% of the existing labor force will be impacted. Add that to the 45% already permanently unemployed and more than 60% to 75% of the working-age American population will be unemployed by mid-century.

So what do we do with all of the people?

There are two versions of the future. The one owned by the Robot Robber Barons, and a humanist-globalist world view that, right now, has no leadership in the United States or the UK, no focus, no economic or political power promoting it, and no voice in government or public policy.

Without those white hats we see the outcomes of little hope and no future:

  • No jobs, no purpose, and fear;
  • Epidemic substance abuse,
  • High suicide rates
  • Neofascism

Which is why so many Americans are highly susceptible to the xenophobic and racial dog whistles spoon fed them by Fox Propaganda and the powerful network of political entities that the Robot Robber Barons have deployed.

MAGA, Make America Great Again, is a big lie. Mr. Mercer and the Kochs use the same people, whose throats they will gleefully cut, to troll their message now, but, as AI has proven in the Trump election, you can emulate an ignorant racist troll on Twitter and Facebook just fine.

We have choices. We can continue to let the wealthy puppeteers pit us against one another, distract and divide the entire political and social fabric of the leading nations of the world or we can start tuning out the daily distractions, the Trump outrages and the emails, and the rest of the shiny objects used to draw off the media and the public debate on important subjects like technology and global warming and the rights of man around the globe.

We need a media that will pull itself out of the distraction machine and focus on reporting the bigger picture.

Disaffect. Distract. Divide. Dominate

We have one weapon, our votes, to take our governments back, return experts and thinkers to purposeful discussions about how to deal with robotics, AI, global warming, and the other pressing issues that are about to crush us.

The Robot Robber Barons have decades of execution and billions in the game, to win. You didn’t think it was possible for them to install a puppet like Donald Trump in the White House? Get votes for Brexit?

Wait until they use a Constitutional Convention to turn America into their fascist nirvana. They only need three more states to get there.

America is hurtling towards a Blade Runner-style future with a permanent human underclass that struggles to survive in a world where technology has left it behind.

This is not a movie.

This is not a joke.

This is not a far off problem.

You need to see it. You need to demand action, and accountability from your political leaders. Your life, your future, and your children’s futures absolutely depend on you fighting back.

Waiting for someone else to do it for you is not an option.

You are the white hats.

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
CONVERSATIONS