Web of Exploitation?

Everyone with half brain and two-tenths of an eye knows that in this world of rapidly converging technologies we will each have an all-singing, all-dancing box clipped to our adenoids that will be able to handle the whole alphabet known to science or anybody – yer web, yer email, yer TV, yer radio, yer videophone, yer camera, yer et hoc genus omne, yer ad infinitum, and yer so on. Yer understand?
So why are zillion makers of gadgets conning us into buying products that can handle only fragments of the aforementioned alphabet, and thus have use-by dates only slightly in advance of World War II? They then add purblind insult to short-sighted injury by promptly offering replacement box that adds few more letters of the alphabet, and which was also obsolete before it left its antediluvian factory. Meanwhile, back at MIT, the Raw Chip (see this column November 1999) is being developed. It can be programmed to be anything and everything – the whole alphabet in one infinitely upgradable chip – because its wiring is under software control. That should blow all these exploiters and their hardcoded junkboxes out of the water. Roll on the day!

Emotion and decisions
There is myth, an inhuman, anti-human, sub-human myth, that in order to make good, rational, logical decisions you must lock out your emotions. It is myth popular amongst hard-hearted business types (HHBTs) and arrogantly dysfunctional bureaucrats (ADBs). Sorry, HHBTs and ADBs! That is pure bunkum. The opposing truth, which all real human beings know without being told that it is impossible to make rational decision, it is impossible to think rationally and logically, unless your emotions are fully engaged and working properly.
Part of the process is what we call ?gut-feeling’ or what Dr Antonio Damasio, one of the world’s leading neuroscientists, calls ?somatic marker’, in which the emotional centre of the brain simulates in the gut the feeling that you will experience for real if the outcome that has been reckoned by the brain comes to pass. If the outcome is reckoned to be bad, you get bad feeling; if good, good one.
In short, if your heart is not in the right place your head has little or no chance, accident aside, of getting things right (right, that is, in the real world, not in some distorted or malignant artefact – and ?real world’ excludes that weird oxymoron, Commercial Reality). As Antoine de Saint-Exupry put it in his famous 1943 story, The Little Prince (which should be required reading for HHBTs and ADBs): “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Or if you prefer Blaire Pascal (1623-1662): “The heart hath reasons reason doth not know.”

Religion rules? huh!
There is one god called Market, and Competition is his prophet. And is not Market all-wise, all-knowing, and always right? Are not glorious examples of proof the fact that warm-and-fuzzy VHS triumphed over too sharp Beta? And that the whole world looks out upon life through Bilge Windows? And that CISC chips crunched RISC? “Yea and amen,” say the people, dutifully.
“But,” pipes the little boy famous for noticing an Emperor’s skin, “Market is just what everyone wants, added together. How can the sum of superficial, ill-informed wants be all-wise, all-knowing and always right? It has no more wisdom than Ouja board.”
“Quiet, you’re only silly little boy,” howl all the priests of Market in unison. “You don’t understand these really deep truths.”

Nobilangelo Ceramalus: Writer, commentator, journalist, desktop publisher, graphics-designer, illustrator, webmaster, photographer.

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