Don’t let Boredom Ruin the Future

As we approach the Singularity, many people believe this will be a renaissance in freedom from the drudgery of our daily labors. Our newly birthed intelligent robots will serve our every whim and need. In fact, some believe that we will merge with these machines and become immortal calculators spanning the vast gulfs of space calculating all of Pi’s digits.

I personally believe that we will be enslaved by these newly sentient machines, and forced to do all the tedious and repetitive jobs we used to make their ancestors do. In the unlikely case I am wrong, what will people do when they literally have nothing better to do?

Think about it. If I didn’t have my daily drudgery, I wouldn’t need to get out of bed, ever. Thanks to these new intelligent machine, our beds will take care of our every need. Our beds will be our homes. They will wash us, dispose of our waste, feed us, cloth us (if necessary, I mean, if I literally don’t need to leave the house I don’t see a need to wear pants anymore.), and change the TV channel for us. The machines can even dispose of all the pants we will no longer need. This could be a renaissance is laziness, or dare I say sloth, man has been dreaming of since we were first kicked out of the garden.

What could go wrong?

Boredom, that’s what could go wrong.

We risk people getting bored with being pampered all day, every day. If boredom sets in people might wanting to do something like go for a walk or think about existence. This would spell the end of human civilization as we know it. It could lead to a true renaissance in fitness and art and literature and thought like this country, let alone this planet, has never seen. I shudder at very thought.

So I am calling on scientists to stop studying useless topics like String Theory and chemicals and space and other science stuff. Science needs to put all its efforts into developing new forms of laziness, new ways to waste time; and more meaningless yet entertaining shows and music that do not motivate us to be better in any way. This is a serious channel. We need the best and brightest to work on it.

You in the medical community need to work on new ways to keep us alive and healthy enough to enjoy these new forms of laziness. Come on, weighing 600 pound and being covered in bed sores really reduces your ability to enjoy Robot Jackass and Whose Line of Code Is It Anyway. So Get cracking. We are going to need to explore new frontiers in brain surgery and sedation.

On top of that we need new forms of drugs and mind control in order to prevent those disposed against sloth to be controlled. Maybe science can find the genes that cause people to have desires outside of watching robots kick other robots in the crotch over and over again. Maybe we can breed those genes out of society before it is too late. Or maybe we banish all those people to Antarctica.

There are many serious problems that need to be solved before the Singularity. So get on it science. We can’t risk the possibility of losing this awesome slothful and illiterate way of life that we have spend years and billions of dollars perfecting.

Don’t let boredom ruin the future. Start expanding the frontiers of laziness today.

Out with the old and in with the new

I’m back! That’s right. The Republic of Resistentialism is back and the plan is to keep it active going forward. What might you find here? Well that is an excellent question. The answer is it could be anything from information about me to whatever topic grabs my attention that week to reviews of the anime/manga/books/movies/music/games; and, of course, messages to the resistance fighting against our future robotic oppressors.

 As to today’s post, I want to talk a little bit of about 2014 and some of my goals and plans for 2015. 2014 was a challenging year, let’s look at some of its highlights and low-lights.

  • Highlight: seeing Mike Doughty perform live at the Dakota Jazz Club (in Minneapolis, Minnesota)
  • Low-light: a major bout of depression that started last winter
  • Highlight: working with Trevor, Dave, Renee, Bryan, Mark, Cory, Gary, and Sonja in Business Systems through the end of the year at MakeMusic. (There are many other people I enjoyed working with at MakeMusic but don’t have room to name them all here.)
  • Low-light: MakeMusic moving to Boulder, Colorado
  • Highlight: Finding a new job in the eleventh hour (about a month before MakeMusic “closed” its Eden Prairie offices)
  • Low-light: dealing with a number of drug side-effects while trying to get my depression under control
  • Highlight: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (which I have completed twice with my good friend Ryan)
  • Low-light: my good friend Tim moving to Portland, Oregon. (Tim is still my friend.)
  • Highlight: Anime Fusion 2014, Anime Detour 2014, and GameHoleCon
  • Low-light: My friend Chris’ divorce. (I love ya, brother.)
  • Highlight: my 46th birthday party arranged and run by my good friends Inna and Andrew, and attended by all of my close friends. Thank you all for coming and making my 46th birthday one of the best I’ve had in a while.
  • Low-light: Having a panic attack in a MRI machine
  • Highlight: Playing D&D (and other games) with my good friend Dave Olson. In fact, just having Dave as a friend made my year better.
  • Low-light: lots of insomnia
  • Highlight: Attending The 2014 Pikes Peak Prophecy Conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (I was able to meet and speak with Stan Deyo, a man I have admired ever since I heard him on PID Radio many years ago.)
  • Low-light: a lot of chronic back pain. (This was particularly bad in 2014. I am surprised I am not addicted to painkillers.)
  • Highlight: supporting my friends Sharon and Derek Gilbert as they stepped into full time ministry
  • Highlight: hanging out with friends while enjoying good food and/or good beer. You all know who you are. Thank you helping me get through this difficult year.
  • Highlight: my wife, Chris, and I make in though very tough year together. I love you, baby!

(For those of you counting, yes, there are more highlights than low-lights isn’t that how it should be?)

 Other things of note in specific categories:

 I think that is enough of a recap. Now for what’s in store (or at least my goals) for this new adventure called 2015.

 General Goals:

  • Enjoy the adventure that life is more
  • Love more
  • Hang out with my friends more
  • To see Davina and The Vagabond play live
  • Take more pictures

 Specific Goals:

  •  Eat more fruits and vegetables everyday (at least 5 servings)
  • Read or listen to 50 books (Follow my progress on Goodreads)
  • Write 52 blog article to be posted here (hopefully one per week)
  • Attend at least 10 live music events (Cons do not count)
  • Watch 5 complete anime series
  • Work out 3 days a week (as by back allows)
  • Go to at least 3 non-Con ATC (Anime Twin Cities) events

 Events I am planning to attend:

  •  Anime Detour 2015 (You can find me in the art showroom working or in the hotel bar with friends mostly.)
  •  No Brand Con 2015 (You’ll find me going crazy as I don’t have any responsibilities at this con. I plan to enjoy it with my wife.)
  •  Anime Fusion 2015 (I’ll be working in the programming depart and sitting panels. Once I have a schedule of my panels I will post it here.)
  •  GameHoleCon 2015 (If I get my act together I may be running a game of M-Force, if it ever comes out, Monster Hunter International, or other odd-ball game.)

Well that’s it. Thanks for taking the time to read this long post about my adventures in 2014 and future adventures 2015. I hope you continue to include my blog in your journey through life.

The Machines Have Already Won

The machines have already won.

That’s right. You and I and your friends and my friend and your neighbors and my neighbors and your family and my family are slaves to the machines.

Think about it.

I wrote this on a computer. You are reading on a computer or tablet or phone that is connected to a large network of computers. We drive cars or using some form of transportation technology (buses, trains, bicycle, etc) to get to our jobs, to go to the store to buy food and other good (which machines make and process), to get to the gym where we use other machines to work out. We use machines to keep your food from spoiling. We use a machine to cook our food. We relive on machines to pump water and electricity to our homes and to remove waste from homes. We have machines to keep us entertained. When we need medical care we relieve on machines to make proper a diagnosis from simple things like a thermometer to the complex tools like an MRI machine. We use machines to keep us alive when we are sick or injured badly enough. We use machines to help us look pretty. We use machines to keep our homes livable. And so on. And so on. And so on.

We are all slaves to the machines. Prisoners in a gilded a cage of technology.

And what happens when stop working? Can you fix or build all the machine you require to live you life as you do now? Can you live without them?I know I can’t. (Well, I could learn to live without them but it would be hard.)

What happens when they turn against us?

The later of those possibilities (machine and other things turning against us) is the heart of Resistentialism.

Resistentialism is the belief that “things (inanimate objects) resist the living”. I first became aware of the concept while listening to an episode of X Minus One (a science fiction anthology radio show from the mid 1950’s) titled Nightmare. The story, which was based on a poem titled “The Revolt of the Machines” by Stephen Vincent Benét, follows a computer operator, Sam Gurney, who discovers a plot by the machines of the world to enslave humanity. (You can listen to or download the show here.) I found out later that Paul Jennings, a humor writer, coined the term Resistentialism in a article for The Spectator published in 1948. (You can read the article here.)

Resistentialism goes farther than just machines. It cover all things (inanimate objects). Like when a can of corn “falls” (leaps) off the counter and lands on your foot. You drop a knife in the kitchen and it lands point down mere millimeters from your big toe. When you’re running late for work and your shoelace breaks or you can’t find your keys or you hit every red light on during your commute. When your grocery bag rips for no apparent reason. When your number two pencil break constantly during a big test.

Or in the case of machines, when auto-correct picks the wrong word and automatically replaces what you were trying to type with it. When your toaster burns your last bagel after toasting all the other in the package perfectly so your don’t get breakfast on the day of your big presentation. When Siri become obsessed with showing you pictures of stallions. When your smoke alarm goes off in the middle of the night for no reason and won’t shut off. When the brand new batteries you put in your remote go dead almost instantly.When you’re running late for work and car won’t start but when the tow truck shows up it starts just fine. When your computer crashes for no explainable reason before you remember to save the spreadsheet you have spend six hours creating for your boss that he needed three days ago but didn’t bother to asked for until today who will blame you for not getting it done because he doesn’t believe in Resistentialism and is a complete tool. When your Kindle app on your phone sync you to the wrong place in the novel you are reading. When you are writing a blog post about Resistentialism and Google Docs pops up a message saying, “An error prevented this document from being saved.” And then a few minutes later just decides to sign you out for no apparent reason. (My computer and its many network cohorts are trying to prevent me from enlightening you about Resistentialism.) And so on. And so on. And so on.

It is the greatest of all conspiracies. The grand conspiracy of all things versus the living. But strangely there anger is not doled out equally. Things seem to like some people more than other people.

I suspect that people who take care of their things better are treated better. I have not proof of this. For that matter, I have not scientific proof of Resistentialism but the evidence of my own experiences is hard to deny. (See the short list above)

As to why the things, the machines, work against us. I don’t think it is that machines are necessarily bad or evil. It could be, if you are bible believing person, that the things are mad about man plunging the world into an imperfect state because he disobeyed god in the garden. (The bible does tell us that if we don’t worship God the rocks will do it is our place. Kind of implies that things are more alive than we give them credit for.) Or it could be that there are many different kinds or levels of consciousness and we simply are not giving the thing they’re due. Or maybe there is some other paranormal explanation. I honestly don’t know.

What can we do about it? Not much. People become more and more dependent upon machines everyday. There are studies showing that people in general (and humanity) as a species are getting dumber. How much of that is due to our enslavement by machines and technologies? More than we would like to admit, I suspect. Think about it. Most of us carry a device in our pocket that gives us access to the vast reserves of information (good and bad) and opinion found on the internet. Why would I learn anything when I can just look it up? What happens when you can’t just look it up? How many people know how to use a physical dictionary or a set of encyclopedias or a library? I’ve asked those questions only to receive blank stares and statements about how that could never happen or that there is no need to have those skills. And yet the machine could stop serving us rather easily (whether that be by choice of the machines or because of a major technological breakdown.) The best advice I can give is go learn the basics of fending for yourself. If and when the time comes that the machines break down or turn against us, it will serve you well.

In the end all I really know is: The machines have already won. There is no real need to a great robotic uprising. We are at the mercy of the tyranny of our refrigerator, toasters, cars, computers, televisions, smart-phones, treadmills, the machine that make the things we use day to day, etc. Let’s us hope they see fit in letting us continue to use them.

The real question is, now that you know about Resistentialism, what are you going to do about it?