Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Random thoughts in a pandemic

Compassion seems to be in short supply. It’s being zapped from us right under our noses. The problem is it is not just on the personal level, but it is happening on a global level. The ‘Zapping’ is happening through all the main social media channels and their agenda is shaping our children’s behaviour into one ever-growing and expanding compliance programme of alternative values and altered perceptions level too.

Compliance to what? To artificial intelligence. Yes AI, the thing that some scientists insist we are years away from. Some deny it even exits. Doesnt that sound familiar? But I’m afraid the behavioural modifications designed by humans and perfected by AI is right here and now. I believe humanity and AI is touching nose to nose.

We have become masters of our own destruction. We have surrendered our own intelligence for engaging in tools, that serve only to distract us. We surrender our sensibilities as we become hypnotized by Google and its many tools of compliance, that offer maximum convenience and zero privacy. It’s justified to be in our best interest to embrace technology just as long as we consume, consume, consume. Causing more stress on resources on the planet we inhabit.

But we need to examine this closer. Google and AI is not just trying to manage our consuming behaviour. AI has watched and studied us at a cultural and global level. And as does this it controls the narratives that makes us believe we are in control, or out of control depending on which government they approve of. Here we see how this impacts on international events and our responses to them. This type of behavioural control resulted in the phenomena we now call Brexit.

Cambridge Analytica was exposed for the personality profiling it released over Facebook, and the resultant influence over millions of wavering voters is well document. The result effect was the Brexit outcome.  This outcome was chosen for us, the people, not the other way round. This is how the Google mind works. It is how AI works. It is learning human behaviour, mimicking how we think and feel and in doing so befriends us and gains our unwitting trust before it attacks us. Similar to how viruses attacks surrounding cells in the body. 

Before he died Professor Stephen Hawking warned us that AI is a risk to the future of humanity. He expanded his warning, to say that unleashing AI without ethical safeguards would be catastrophic to our species. I often reflect what does that mean? How could we allow anything to endanger our on species. That’s insane. But look around us now, our species has been fine tuning the extinction of our own making. Climate change, poverty, racism, biological and chemical warfare and the permanent threat of nuclear war which still looks ever present.

This is Hawking’s warning, to trust with extreme caution, but we have already possess a built in trust mechanism based on fear of consequences. This the other side of Google, it knows what we fear and why we fear it. Then it reinforces our basic fears by bombarded with narratives, memes and media reports from the frontline of the escalation of everyday violence, and this reinforces us into compliance.

How do we stop this system of reinforcement? Is it possible to stop using AI? I believe it’s too late to do this because it is here, it is already surrounding every thing we do. But is not too late. We have a fast diminishing opportunity to up our game. How do we begin to engage in non-violent, non-dualistic, non-compliance. We have to become de-radicalized to AI and find our way back to humanity. We must embrace compassion.

Compassion is found in the simple things like how the Barista, on a cold morning in Costa, tries to muster up a smile, the first smile, to the first customer who comes through door. I say hello and asked how she is? And meaning it as I watch how her smile becomes natural and relaxed.

Compassion is also found in attempts made to reach out to the hardest to reach people, who are struggling to make sense of it all when nothing appears to be making sense. And we are seeing a massive resurgence in global pain and suffering during the pandemic.

Compassion is never lessened, stunted or injured by guilt or blame. Acting from a place of compassion means we surrender notions of guilt or blame, it just reaches out into the void of human frailty and gets on with the job.

Dedicate to many of my colleagues who have fallen prey to the virus Covid-19. Working on secondment on the ward has opened me up to the frailty of life. Their personal and professional struggle and sacrifice is not forgotten and their dedicated practice holds us together as one in compassion.

By 67paintings

A dialectical site of poetry, painting and the odd musical excursion into the unknown.

2 replies on “Random thoughts in a pandemic”

What a truly blessed morning to find this post from you, dear Lee. It is a trying time indeed, and hope you are doing well, and staying safe and healthy, as you assist and give hope to covid-19 patients. God bless you!

Thank you Meena I pray you and your family are staying well. These are unprecedented times and l am grateful for each day. Every day brings hope that we will pulled through this stronger as a community of writers. I draw so much strength from revisiting your body of work. Thank you and stay safe.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s