Wednesday 1 May 2019

Why is automation everywhere? Think Ahriman!

I used to think automation was about saving money, but now I don’t think so. That’s just an excuse, which is often Not achieved. Automation is almost-never removed even when objectively worse than what preceded it, so long as it is minimally functional or can be made so.

For example the automated scanning tills in supermarkets have much slower throughput of customers, and require supervision/ multiple interventions by several staff. Automated telephone answering likewise. In general automated systems are considerably slower, and of course utterly inflexible - which means that less work can be done per unit time.

So why are automated systems introduced everywhere and with reckless disregard for effectiveness and efficiency? (Aside from that fact that 'implementing' any disruptive organisational change is a positive achievement for careerist managers...)

I think that, as almost always nowadays, we need to 'Think Ahriman'; that is think first about the dominant modern form of evil, and especially the totalitarian agenda at the heart of all bureaucracy.

We need to think Monitoring and Control. In automated systems everything is logged, everything that can happen is predetermined – everything can be audited...

With automation (of anything, including driving cars and the like), management has potentially-total surveillance – and management is part of the single bureaucracy/ The System – and the extension and empowerment of The System is the primary drive.

Adapted from my comment at Orphans of Liberty.


Adil said...

As someone who watches and enjoys football, they recently introduced a technology called VAR (Video assistant referee) to monitor the game and minimize the margin of error in decision making. Yet this has immediately had a horrifying effect on the game. What used to be an open-ended journey of a football match has now become a closed-off, controlled environment. And what used to be a referee (the personally responsible human authority of the pitch), has now turned into impersonal, bureaucratic traffic police, blindly implementing the rules rather than intuitively judging the game as it unfolds. Everything has been reduced to technically correct/incorrect decisions through technological predictability, with the secondary effect of squeezing the spirit out of the game. Personal agency is replaced with automation. Yet this surveillance and micro-management is totally welcomed by the media, most of the fans and managers, as a necessary 'good'.. As if rules and mechanization were to be more important than the game itself.

Strange, strange times.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Eric - I feel much the same about the use of technology in cricket. Instead of celebrating a wicket, many such celebrations are curtailed while the decision is appealed.

Sport is supposed to be a form of entertainment, but test match cricket (over five days) is supposed to be a bit more: a microcosm of life - so maybe its becoming nigglingly bureaucratic is 'realistic'...

Adil said...

@ I don't get why we assume artificial technology would in any way be superior to the organic 'technology' of consciousness and its innate capacities such as intuition, telepathy etc. Technology can't 'do' that - it forces everyone into the objective perspective of the camera lens.

The other week I was watching a Champions League tie between Manchester City and Tottenham. City needed a goal to pass through to the next stages and scored in the last minute. The stadium exploded in celebrations, but then VAR stepped in and said the goal was apparently about 1 centimeter offside. The celebrations simply didn't "count". Technology rewinded time to "correct" something that has already happened. After this, the Tottenham away fans artificially celebrated instead.

This kills the entire experience/momentum and manipulates emotions. And according to my estimation it will only get worse - until it gets "normalized".

Bruce Charlton said...

Excellent example of the problem - makes a mockery of the experience.

Adil said...

The whole thing reminds me of American wrestling - a show for the cameras. We love cameras so much, don't we. Sometimes I think the Muslims are right when they say taking pictures is a sin. Because indeed, in the camera you are two-times removed from reality.

Daniel said...

Late to comment but I would like to point out that Automation is simply the robotic implementation of policy. Not much different between automation now and the series of commissars of the past other than speed. Commissars still depend on people in control points with in the system.

Divine automation is the same. Sun and moon and stars still travel their assigned paths. Your actions are know and recorded.

If anything Ahriman is a system without grace or mercy, where as God's is a system with grace and mercy.