Sunday, 10 January 2016

What Would Koko Say To This?


Dear Reader,

On TV the other night a bizarre situation occurred. 

I had been watching a BBC report on the terrible conditions at Madaya, and after some time decided to switch to al Jazeera to see their take on the matter. In fact, al Jazeera  was not transmitting a news programme but a documentary on new technology - mostly about AI (artificial intelligence). 

On the al Jazeera  programme they were talking about how the new technologies were going to revolutionise matters - that we would see so much more in the form of robotics and self-drive cars etc. etc. But, yes, the introduction of all that would cost jobs. But, hey, they said, that's all happened before as technology has progressed.

Now, don't you find all that bizarre? That we know full well that half the inhabitants of the world are suffering in the most alarming way and yet we have people suggesting that the new technologies are going to be the answer to everything. Er, are self-drive cars going to relieve the world's suffering? Are self-drive cars and robotics going to be bought by all the people placed out of work (or into low paid menial/service jobs)?

I find this take on future technology utterly baffling, as much as the suggestion that Climate Change can be dealt with by technology.

Ernst Schumacher would have been appalled. 

Er, Ernst Schumacher - who's he? Well, he wrote a once-famous book in the early 1970s called Small is Beautiful. It was a delightful book about the democratisation of workforces and the scaling of technology to suit different environments and needs. I suspect if the ideas he proposed were carried out, a lot of progress would have been made - but instead the banks and the oil barons fashioned an economy geared to oil and wars (e.g. Iraq) were started to protect those interests.

Now I saw and heard Ernst Schumacher in London in 1976 and I assure you he was in fine fettle and voice, and getting to be heard by more and more people. He was getting to the peak of his impact. Yet he (somewhat mysteriously) died in 1977. "Mysteriously" as in how come that people such as Labour's Hugh Gaitskell, John Smith and Robin Cook disappeared from the scene at critical points in their careers? And others in other fields. People that have died in a certain way and their ideals trodden down by the banking and oil machine. 

Do you hear of any Rothschild (or such-like) suddenly being struck down?

I wonder what Koko would say?