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Does the Right need techno-Trumpism? His vision is Reaganism with a side order of Jetsons

I have a techno-dream. Credit: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty

I have a techno-dream. Credit: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty


March 9, 2023   6 mins

One of my informal metrics for political cut-through in our synapse-frazzled age is “could you play this sentence over a bass drop and have the crowd go wild?”.

The last time a British politician managed this was early in 2020, when Kritikal Mass remixed Boris Johnson. And while obviously this metric doesn’t tell you anything very scientific about policy, or even a speaker’s relationship to truth or sanity, the fact that it’s impossible to imagine either Keir Starmer or Rishi Sunak saying anything you could sample tells you something about their political style.

I’m being a bit frivolous, but it’s a serious point. Though there are plenty of situations where what’s needed from politicos is competence, today the “Share” button can propel a new mood at warp speed through millions, in minutes. Sometimes, what matters in politics isn’t policy (or even making sense) but the knack that makes a good DJ: the power to channel a vibe.

On that metric, however dubious his track record is of actually delivering, Donald Trump is box office. Love him or hate him, it’s hard to think of another politician who has contributed so bigly to internet memes — or, relatedly, shown such eerie ability to tap into undeclared layers of collective longing.

And for that reason alone, Trump’s latest campaign video deserves attention, even among those not directly affected by American electoral politics. For where his 2016 campaign led on nostalgia (“Make America Great Again”) and a sense of being under siege (“Build The Wall”), now we find the Orange Man is a sunny delight, whose vision is a futuristic one of expansion and excitement, all powered by innovation.

Under Trump, we hear, America will “reopen the frontier”, giving “hard working families” a shot at “home ownership and in fact the American Dream”. He’ll do this, he says, by building “Freedom Cities” on federal land, and turning “forgotten communities” into “hives of industry” via a “strategic national manufacturing initiative” that will make all the stuff they’re no longer going to import from China. Cars will be less expensive. Public spaces will be clean, abundant and safe. There’ll be baby bonuses, flying cars, monuments to American achievement, and new, affordable homes.

Never mind how attainable any part of this vision is. Just depicting it is a bass drop moment: “And they’ll be beautiful homes.” And with this triumphal note of optimism (or if you prefer, salesmanship) Trump has staked is place on one side of a growing tension in the contemporary Right. Namely: where should conservatives stand on technology?

By and large, especially since the pandemic, the populist Right has been in a defensive crouch where tech innovation is concerned. And even if fears are often expressed in conspiratorial terms, this defensiveness may not be wholly unfounded when “technology” conjures up vaccine passports, social credit systems, lab-grown Frankenfoods, and the WEF trying to persuade us to own nothing and eat insects even as Bill Gates hoovers up farmland, and Guardian leftists champion “rewilding”.

Framed in (slightly) less baroque terms, many more on the Right denounce what Emmet Penney called “the revolt of the green elites”: that is, a high-tech version of the future imposed from the top down, in the name of climate change, that is now palpably asset-stripping the conservative petit bourgeoisie. And it’s striking, too, that a critique of high-tech processed food, once the preserve of Left-wing hippies, is now more commonly heard on the Right.

Nor is it just the Right expressing reservations. The climate activist Dougald Hine took aim at the “ecomodernist” consensus in his recent book, arguing that this will form “the political orthodoxy of the 2020s”, from “Silicon Valley visionaries and Wall Street investors, through a broad swathe of liberal opinion, to the wilder fringes”. This worldview aims to deploy every possible technological means at our disposal at “sustaining a version of existing trajectories of technological progress, economic growth and development”, along lines that he fears are growing increasingly authoritarian — but that will ultimately, be “a fast track to nowhere”.

I share Hine’s pessimism about our long-term capacity to defy gravity by shooting for infinite growth on a finite planet. But what if I’m wrong? What if it doesn’t have to be like this? Certainly it’s always easier to offer a critique than a positive vision. The Trumpian version of tech-optimism, though, is just this — for all that it declines to pay any attention to (you might think) important matters such as resource scarcity, emissions or pollution.

Look, the vision says: we don’t have to turn our backs on innovation and become hill farmers in order to evade the pod and the bugs. Instead we can lean in to the power of technology to deliver a better future. It’s an intoxicating promise — and it taps into other green shoots of Right-wing (or at least, definitely not progressive) tech optimism on both sides of the Atlantic.

Aris Roussinos has argued for halting British decline with “Anglofuturism”: a vision of clean skies, revived manufacturing, thriving small towns each with their own small modular reactor, linked by high-speed rail. It’s a popular aesthetic among a section of the very online Right, that leans heavily on airships, sci-fi aesthetics and (for some reason) Peter Hitchens. In the US, meanwhile, we find (among others) assorted Right-libertarian advocates for upgrading the human organism, while others propose seceding from liberal hegemony by creating “Network States” linked not by geography but affinity — and still others herald a return to noble aspiration by reviving the dream of colonising Mars, or perhaps fusing human intelligence and technology with the natural order in Promethean “garden empires”.

Against some of these, Trump’s proposal to pour R&D money into flying cars seems positively mundane. Needless to say, though, even before we get to the practical workability of his proposals, I have some questions — as might the conservative American philosopher Russell T. Kirk. Back in 1962, Kirk famously captured the anti-conservative nature of tech itself, when he described the automobile as a “mechanical Jacobin”, referencing the revolutionaries who sought to tear France down after 1789 and build a new civilisation from the rubble.

The car is, Kirk argued, “a revolutionary all the more powerful for being insensate”; one that “tears the old order apart”. And much has been written in the ensuing six decades, about the changes wrought by mass car ownership across every facet of society, from shopping behaviour, social patterns, urban sprawl or indeed children’s activity levels, for example, to say nothing of carbon emissions.

And this goes far more broadly than just cars. As Jon Askonas argued recently, there’s little point in saying you’re a conservative and all for “tradition”, if you’re also gung-ho about the forward march of technology. For as Marx pointed out some time ago, a society focused on tech innovation is one in which every tradition is subject to permanent revolution.

Transformative technologies, such as the private car, “disrupt the connections between institutions, practices, virtues, and rewards”, and in the process “render traditions purposeless, destroy the distinction between virtuous and vicious behaviour, make customary ways of life obsolete, or render their rewards meaningless or paltry”. Askonas cites nitrogen fertiliser, an innovation that, at a stroke, rendered centuries of settled agricultural practice obsolete — and, with them, the social forms, cultural habits, legal norms and even landscapes these practices had nurtured.

But we might just as well point to the car. Such disruptive innovations sit uncomfortably with a desire to conserve the best of our past and heritage. Mass social changes sweep us all along, even die-hard holdouts: even those who prefer a more slow-moving car-free way of life will be forced to adapt, when there’s no one left to share that way of life with.

And given Trump’s intuitive direct line to the American populist political id, we should view his pivot to tech optimism as highly significant. Even critics such as Askonas of the Right-wing blind spot on technology’s revolutionary principle don’t see this as a reason to try and stuff the genie back into its box — but rather, to be more intentional about the values that underpin the way we use it.  And after all, there’s no obvious reason why the creative destruction of tech innovation should necessarily be ordered to progressive values. The currently dominant progressive tech-optimists imagine green abundance plus social justice; for Trump, the same tech should deliver beautiful buildings, firm policing, cheap cars and more American babies.

In both cases, pursuing the good implies — as Trump puts it — “reopening the frontier”: that is, a restless onward search for new discoveries, new resources and new innovations. And even if, for those on the Right, permanent revolution may feel less congenial than it does for progressives, whether or not it feels like a wise course to follow perhaps depends on whether you think there’s anything left to conserve.

For the great many (including Askonas) to whom the answer to this question is “not a lot”, the creative destruction of tech innovation may genuinely seem like a more fruitful option than sitting about in the ruins muttering about Chesterton’s fence. For this corner of the Right, the question is less what remains to conserve than what we should aspire to build.

In practice, at least with The Donald at the helm, that’ll probably look something like Reaganism with a side order of Jetsons. Perhaps, as Trump suggests, the power of tech really can be reclaimed by conservatives, in service to familiar themes from American conservative tradition such as individual aspiration and family life — and perhaps that really will be different from the Great Reset pod/bugs proposal. And perhaps this time innovation will actually deliver, without in the process further undermining the social order it seeks to enhance. And perhaps this can all happen without running out of ecological road.

I hope my pessimism is unwarranted and this turns out to be true. In any case, where it comes to setting the crowd alight, these such visions have far greater potential than any amount of tweedy stuff about localism. So whether it’s the WEF version or the techno-Trumpist one, this is probably the future we’ll get — at least for now.


Mary Harrington is a contributing editor at UnHerd.

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AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

Which is likely to appeal more? Trump’s ‘Utopia for people as they are’ or the Left’s ‘Utopia for people as I decide they should be’.
Whatever the truth of the matter Trump comes across as supporting ordinary people, not endlessly scolding them.

Last edited 1 year ago by AC Harper
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

He may come across that way but it’s not true. His zealous followers are being duped by a cult leader who tells them what they want to hear, and makes them feel like he cares. Sadly he doesn’t. And since when did telling women that having an abortion is murdering a baby, not scolding them.

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Who is being duped by a doomsday cult? The leftists that want a return to neofeudalism to “save the planet” from carbon emissions, that’s who! Modern life is made possible by cheap abundant energy, harnessed by relatively free markets. Our “experts” on the left assure us that our only salvation is to replace free markets with government controls, and specifically to ban all sources of abundant cheap energy.

Anyone who believes that CO2 is a hazard to the planet should stop breathing. Every time you exhale, you’re emitting CO2.

Using a temperature record of 100-120 years of statistical noise to predict climate cycles lasting 100’s or 1,000’s of years is statistical folly. Both the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods were warmer than it is now. The Paleoclimatology record of Planet Earth contains periods of both snow ball earth, covered completely in ice, and an earth with no ice at all. Scientific explanations for all this variability do not include man made CO2.

No models of climate change based strictly on CO2 concentrations have any statistical significance. If they don’t, they ain’t science. They’re vodoo superstition.

Wind and solar are both intermittent sources of power. On long cold winter nights without wind, where will the power come from? There’s no current storage technology that can store energy for months from summer to winter, and no plans to build any huge battery backup.

Where’s the Net Zero proof of concept pilot project? There ain’t none. Do you implement any software or hardware changes without any testing, and no back out plan?

Trump wants to set us free from regulatory “experts.” As a retired IT expert with 45 years experience and 2 Masters degrees, I think deregulation is much preferable to the alternative. I want government by the consent of the governed, not government by “experts” who don’t know what they’re doing.

Last edited 1 year ago by Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Who is being duped by a doomsday cult? The leftists that want a return to neofeudalism to “save the planet” from carbon emissions, that’s who! Modern life is made possible by cheap abundant energy, harnessed by relatively free markets. Our “experts” on the left assure us that our only salvation is to replace free markets with government controls, and specifically to ban all sources of abundant cheap energy.

Anyone who believes that CO2 is a hazard to the planet should stop breathing. Every time you exhale, you’re emitting CO2.

Using a temperature record of 100-120 years of statistical noise to predict climate cycles lasting 100’s or 1,000’s of years is statistical folly. Both the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods were warmer than it is now. The Paleoclimatology record of Planet Earth contains periods of both snow ball earth, covered completely in ice, and an earth with no ice at all. Scientific explanations for all this variability do not include man made CO2.

No models of climate change based strictly on CO2 concentrations have any statistical significance. If they don’t, they ain’t science. They’re vodoo superstition.

Wind and solar are both intermittent sources of power. On long cold winter nights without wind, where will the power come from? There’s no current storage technology that can store energy for months from summer to winter, and no plans to build any huge battery backup.

Where’s the Net Zero proof of concept pilot project? There ain’t none. Do you implement any software or hardware changes without any testing, and no back out plan?

Trump wants to set us free from regulatory “experts.” As a retired IT expert with 45 years experience and 2 Masters degrees, I think deregulation is much preferable to the alternative. I want government by the consent of the governed, not government by “experts” who don’t know what they’re doing.

Last edited 1 year ago by Douglas Proudfoot
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

He may come across that way but it’s not true. His zealous followers are being duped by a cult leader who tells them what they want to hear, and makes them feel like he cares. Sadly he doesn’t. And since when did telling women that having an abortion is murdering a baby, not scolding them.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

Which is likely to appeal more? Trump’s ‘Utopia for people as they are’ or the Left’s ‘Utopia for people as I decide they should be’.
Whatever the truth of the matter Trump comes across as supporting ordinary people, not endlessly scolding them.

Last edited 1 year ago by AC Harper
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago

I’ll take the Trump version for sure over the WEF version if that is all on offer.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

Yep. It almost doesn’t matter what Trump says. He just makes all of the career politicians suddenly have to take a toilet break. That is enough. Get rid of the grey people controllers.
Still don’t believe in American manufacturing any more than I believed in the American wall.

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris Wheatley
Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
1 year ago

Freedom from the lot of them interfering in our lives is the best option.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

Yep. It almost doesn’t matter what Trump says. He just makes all of the career politicians suddenly have to take a toilet break. That is enough. Get rid of the grey people controllers.
Still don’t believe in American manufacturing any more than I believed in the American wall.

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris Wheatley
Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
1 year ago

Freedom from the lot of them interfering in our lives is the best option.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago

I’ll take the Trump version for sure over the WEF version if that is all on offer.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

“Love him or hate him, it’s hard to think of another politician who has contributed so bigly to internet memes — or, relatedly, shown such eerie ability to tap into undeclared layers of collective longing.”
Isn’t the point, actually, that Trump is not a politician? Why wouldn’t anyone choose the positive vision he offers over the dystopian future that the establishment politicians are proposing. I certainly would.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Because the other side can’t see the dystopian side of the vision, nor do they have the capability to see it whilst their head is firmly planted in front of the MSM.

Ian Lessard
Ian Lessard
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Trump is a politician and his offer is always a con. His supporters like him because he makes them feel good about themselves; especially when there’s very little for them to feel good about.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

bigly? …

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Because the other side can’t see the dystopian side of the vision, nor do they have the capability to see it whilst their head is firmly planted in front of the MSM.

Ian Lessard
Ian Lessard
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Trump is a politician and his offer is always a con. His supporters like him because he makes them feel good about themselves; especially when there’s very little for them to feel good about.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

bigly? …

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

“Love him or hate him, it’s hard to think of another politician who has contributed so bigly to internet memes — or, relatedly, shown such eerie ability to tap into undeclared layers of collective longing.”
Isn’t the point, actually, that Trump is not a politician? Why wouldn’t anyone choose the positive vision he offers over the dystopian future that the establishment politicians are proposing. I certainly would.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

To repeat from an earlier post – the greatest enemy in our lives today is Algorithm Man. He carries a computer and makes predictions from data.
Out comes, ‘We are all going to die because of carbon.’ So our politicians panic and we all die from the reaction to the new policies to control carbon. Heroes come along, people who know nothing but can speak to the cameras and join in protests. The pseudo-sciences, like Economics and Social Studies have been doing this for years. And for some reason we believe them.
I once wrote an algorithm. I asked, ‘What can save us from disaster?’ I fed in the economic data and waited patiently. Then the answer came out. SOMETHING ORANGE.
I remember thinking, ‘How could a can of Tango save us?’

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley
Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

More toxic than Agent Orange.

Caty Gonzales
Caty Gonzales
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

‘What can save us from disaster?’ I fed in the economic data and waited patiently. Then the answer came out. SOMETHING ORANGE.
Trump descends on the escalator…

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

That was a very vague question.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley
Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

More toxic than Agent Orange.

Caty Gonzales
Caty Gonzales
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

‘What can save us from disaster?’ I fed in the economic data and waited patiently. Then the answer came out. SOMETHING ORANGE.
Trump descends on the escalator…

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

That was a very vague question.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

To repeat from an earlier post – the greatest enemy in our lives today is Algorithm Man. He carries a computer and makes predictions from data.
Out comes, ‘We are all going to die because of carbon.’ So our politicians panic and we all die from the reaction to the new policies to control carbon. Heroes come along, people who know nothing but can speak to the cameras and join in protests. The pseudo-sciences, like Economics and Social Studies have been doing this for years. And for some reason we believe them.
I once wrote an algorithm. I asked, ‘What can save us from disaster?’ I fed in the economic data and waited patiently. Then the answer came out. SOMETHING ORANGE.
I remember thinking, ‘How could a can of Tango save us?’

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago

”this defensiveness may not be wholly unfounded when “technology” conjures up vaccine passports, social credit systems, lab-grown Frankenfoods, and the WEF trying to persuade us to own nothing and eat insects even as Bill Gates hoovers up farmland, and Guardian leftists champion “rewilding”.’

Drop in the bucket! You neglected the tool of your bondage, CBDC and AI.

ChatGPT can, right now, do 20% of the jobs people are doing – it just has to shove the person aside and be the interface between the employer and the work. The displaced Person is of no use to anyone at all.. This is not good – and this is NOW.

Yuval Harari – and his power is Immense, says the huge problem looming, coming at us at the speed of a speeding truck – it almost all people, very soon, will be economically, and societally useless. His answer what to do with them – and you can look it up – is ‘Drugs and Computer Games and VR.’ as in living stoned in pods and eating the bugs till they all finally pass away…….

The Right Wing are Terrified of the coming Tech. And this is 100% as reasonable as the toad being in terror of the harrow which is bumping its way down the field towards it.

Left wing are told the coming tractor is bringing then a nice surprise and they are happy it is coming. (Being completely owned by the Social Media, entertainment and education Industries, and the MSM, who are owned in turn by our psychopathic Overlords)

Ultra MAGA can turn the Tractor, possibly – but it is the very last chance…….Trump is the world’s last hope.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

What’s the toad doing in the field in the first place? Shouldn’t it be hanging out with other pondlife, rather than seeking out a harrowing experience?

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Probably looking for bugs.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Not if it is the dreaded Cane Toad!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Well said.

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

You are confusing toads with frogs.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Probably looking for bugs.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Not if it is the dreaded Cane Toad!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Well said.

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

You are confusing toads with frogs.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

“…Yuval Harari – and his power is Immense…”

Yeah, so immense, that he has to take to the graun, jumping up and down shaking his fist at Netanyahu like Yosemite Sam to Bugs Bunny.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

“ChatGPT can, right now, do 20% of the jobs people are doing”
Do me a favour, send this ChatGPT bloke round to fix my boiler, would you? Thanks.

William Simonds
William Simonds
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

If I could give this 20 upticks, I would. Truly great comment.

John Havenhand
John Havenhand
1 year ago

I’ve just asked Chatgtp why my Grant oil fired boiler is not firing up. It gave a very clear and systematic suggestions as to the possible cause. I doubt it could be bettered by a local plumber.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  John Havenhand

But who’s going to actually fix it?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  John Havenhand

But who’s going to actually fix it?

John Havenhand
John Havenhand
1 year ago

I’ve just asked Chatgtp why my Grant oil fired boiler is not firing up. It gave a very clear and systematic suggestions as to the possible cause. I doubt it could be bettered by a local plumber.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Yuk, yuk!!

William Simonds
William Simonds
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

If I could give this 20 upticks, I would. Truly great comment.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Yuk, yuk!!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

I sure hope he’s not the world’s last hope. What a grim prospect.

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

AI rendering everyone redundant is Luddite nonsense. Labor saving devices have always led to the redeployment of labor to other tasks, as long as the market was left unregulated enough to do its job. Only central planners are worried about what to do with all these people.

I am considered Right Wing in the US, at least that’s what my family and friends tell me. I voted for Reagan twice and Trump twice. I also had a 45 plus year career in IT, including cyber security. The Right Wing ain’t scared of tech. It’s scared of federal -private partnerships with Big Tech that censor news and social media in violation of the 1st Amendment. You lot don’t have a written Constitution. We do, and it’s quite clear.

Just to remove any doubt, US courts have already ruled that it’s Unconstitutional for government to even suggest that private companies censor something, even if the company refuses to do it. The paragraphs below come from the Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2023, article, “How to Take the Twitter Files to Court,” By Jed Rubenfeld.

Norwood v. Harrison (1973), it is an “axiomatic” principle of constitutional law that the government “may not induce, encourage or promote private persons to accomplish what it is constitutionally forbidden to accomplish.” That’s exactly what the Twitter Files show officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies doing—inducing and encouraging Twitter to censor constitutionally protected speech.

Backpage. com v. Dart (2015): When a government official unconstitutionally attempts to induce a private company not to carry someone else’s speech, the official’s conduct “is actionable and can be enjoined” even if the company “ignores it.”

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

What’s the toad doing in the field in the first place? Shouldn’t it be hanging out with other pondlife, rather than seeking out a harrowing experience?

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

“…Yuval Harari – and his power is Immense…”

Yeah, so immense, that he has to take to the graun, jumping up and down shaking his fist at Netanyahu like Yosemite Sam to Bugs Bunny.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

“ChatGPT can, right now, do 20% of the jobs people are doing”
Do me a favour, send this ChatGPT bloke round to fix my boiler, would you? Thanks.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

I sure hope he’s not the world’s last hope. What a grim prospect.

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

AI rendering everyone redundant is Luddite nonsense. Labor saving devices have always led to the redeployment of labor to other tasks, as long as the market was left unregulated enough to do its job. Only central planners are worried about what to do with all these people.

I am considered Right Wing in the US, at least that’s what my family and friends tell me. I voted for Reagan twice and Trump twice. I also had a 45 plus year career in IT, including cyber security. The Right Wing ain’t scared of tech. It’s scared of federal -private partnerships with Big Tech that censor news and social media in violation of the 1st Amendment. You lot don’t have a written Constitution. We do, and it’s quite clear.

Just to remove any doubt, US courts have already ruled that it’s Unconstitutional for government to even suggest that private companies censor something, even if the company refuses to do it. The paragraphs below come from the Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2023, article, “How to Take the Twitter Files to Court,” By Jed Rubenfeld.

Norwood v. Harrison (1973), it is an “axiomatic” principle of constitutional law that the government “may not induce, encourage or promote private persons to accomplish what it is constitutionally forbidden to accomplish.” That’s exactly what the Twitter Files show officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies doing—inducing and encouraging Twitter to censor constitutionally protected speech.

Backpage. com v. Dart (2015): When a government official unconstitutionally attempts to induce a private company not to carry someone else’s speech, the official’s conduct “is actionable and can be enjoined” even if the company “ignores it.”

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago

”this defensiveness may not be wholly unfounded when “technology” conjures up vaccine passports, social credit systems, lab-grown Frankenfoods, and the WEF trying to persuade us to own nothing and eat insects even as Bill Gates hoovers up farmland, and Guardian leftists champion “rewilding”.’

Drop in the bucket! You neglected the tool of your bondage, CBDC and AI.

ChatGPT can, right now, do 20% of the jobs people are doing – it just has to shove the person aside and be the interface between the employer and the work. The displaced Person is of no use to anyone at all.. This is not good – and this is NOW.

Yuval Harari – and his power is Immense, says the huge problem looming, coming at us at the speed of a speeding truck – it almost all people, very soon, will be economically, and societally useless. His answer what to do with them – and you can look it up – is ‘Drugs and Computer Games and VR.’ as in living stoned in pods and eating the bugs till they all finally pass away…….

The Right Wing are Terrified of the coming Tech. And this is 100% as reasonable as the toad being in terror of the harrow which is bumping its way down the field towards it.

Left wing are told the coming tractor is bringing then a nice surprise and they are happy it is coming. (Being completely owned by the Social Media, entertainment and education Industries, and the MSM, who are owned in turn by our psychopathic Overlords)

Ultra MAGA can turn the Tractor, possibly – but it is the very last chance…….Trump is the world’s last hope.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

Not sure if it’s a matter of optimism vs pessimism. We typically cannot view ourselves from thirty thousand feet, because our individual perceptions are glacial and we are submerged in a pungent broth of emotions and biological drivers – you cannot typically see the true nature of yourself or others around you, for all the distractions. We swallow whole step-change within a few years, and then forget, both collectively and individually what life was like prior. Smartphones are an example. As a late boomer coming from a tecchie background, I always knew for example this particular change of personal mobile devices (or something like it), would eventually arrive. It arrived later than I expected, but transformed the way we exist much faster than I expected. For what it’s worth, I have the strongest feeling something “uuge” (as the protagonist of this piece might have put it) is coming. No idea if I’m right. No idea if I’ll live to see the heart of it. No idea if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I think you’re right.

One must only hope that cometh the hour cometh the man
 or bot.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Like in 1933 for example?

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago

More 1940

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago

More 1940

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Like in 1933 for example?

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Your inclination is well founded. For the last 200 years, at least, there have been several “huge” innovations that have changed us all very quickly. The issue is that they are coming at warp speed compared to the ancient innovations, which took hundreds of years to gain wide acceptance. The wheel and the printing press come to mind as examples.

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

The adoption of relatively free market capitalism in the mid to let 1600’s was the key change that started the increased speed of innovation. Intellectual property rights were also a key ingredient.

You should note that it’s the left that wants to regulate innovation to a standstill, at least in the US.

Last edited 1 year ago by Douglas Proudfoot
Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

Actual property rights and the Rule of Law to enforce them were even bigger factors.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

Actual property rights and the Rule of Law to enforce them were even bigger factors.

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

The adoption of relatively free market capitalism in the mid to let 1600’s was the key change that started the increased speed of innovation. Intellectual property rights were also a key ingredient.

You should note that it’s the left that wants to regulate innovation to a standstill, at least in the US.

Last edited 1 year ago by Douglas Proudfoot
Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I think you’re right.

One must only hope that cometh the hour cometh the man
 or bot.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Your inclination is well founded. For the last 200 years, at least, there have been several “huge” innovations that have changed us all very quickly. The issue is that they are coming at warp speed compared to the ancient innovations, which took hundreds of years to gain wide acceptance. The wheel and the printing press come to mind as examples.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

Not sure if it’s a matter of optimism vs pessimism. We typically cannot view ourselves from thirty thousand feet, because our individual perceptions are glacial and we are submerged in a pungent broth of emotions and biological drivers – you cannot typically see the true nature of yourself or others around you, for all the distractions. We swallow whole step-change within a few years, and then forget, both collectively and individually what life was like prior. Smartphones are an example. As a late boomer coming from a tecchie background, I always knew for example this particular change of personal mobile devices (or something like it), would eventually arrive. It arrived later than I expected, but transformed the way we exist much faster than I expected. For what it’s worth, I have the strongest feeling something “uuge” (as the protagonist of this piece might have put it) is coming. No idea if I’m right. No idea if I’ll live to see the heart of it. No idea if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Ben Jones
Ben Jones
1 year ago

Great article and lots to think about.

Ben Jones
Ben Jones
1 year ago

Great article and lots to think about.

Chip Prehn
Chip Prehn
1 year ago

Ms. Harrington is always compelling and customarily wise. As to the question of Technology, John Ehrett has a thoughtful response in The New Atlantis (Winter 2023): We must use it (for good). We can’t ignore or neglect it. We must master it — because others are evidently bent on using it to the destruction of the West.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Chip Prehn

Exactly.

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
1 year ago
Reply to  Chip Prehn

I also recommend the excellent book ‘Who Owns the Future?’ by Jaron Lanier.

It’s nice to read about the vision for a tech-mediated future from people who truly are experts in the field, and who are trying to present pragmatic and positive ideas for how we can shape the future into something less dystopian than where we seem to be drifting now.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Chip Prehn

Exactly.

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
1 year ago
Reply to  Chip Prehn

I also recommend the excellent book ‘Who Owns the Future?’ by Jaron Lanier.

It’s nice to read about the vision for a tech-mediated future from people who truly are experts in the field, and who are trying to present pragmatic and positive ideas for how we can shape the future into something less dystopian than where we seem to be drifting now.

Chip Prehn
Chip Prehn
1 year ago

Ms. Harrington is always compelling and customarily wise. As to the question of Technology, John Ehrett has a thoughtful response in The New Atlantis (Winter 2023): We must use it (for good). We can’t ignore or neglect it. We must master it — because others are evidently bent on using it to the destruction of the West.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago

Inspiring dreams are lovely. The pending debt crisis may negate a lot of such inspiration for a time. Given that the debt issue affects nearly every nation, we will find some hard times may be coming.

Mustard Clementine
Mustard Clementine
1 year ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

True, but all things breaking can also offer us the chance to rethink how things are done and conceive of them in new and better ways, in light of why they broke. Thus even in a crisis, you can find new inspiration.

michael harris
michael harris
1 year ago

Well, depends! Certain German politicians (one in particular) found new strength from the economic crisis of the 1930s.

michael harris
michael harris
1 year ago

Well, depends! Certain German politicians (one in particular) found new strength from the economic crisis of the 1930s.

Mustard Clementine
Mustard Clementine
1 year ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

True, but all things breaking can also offer us the chance to rethink how things are done and conceive of them in new and better ways, in light of why they broke. Thus even in a crisis, you can find new inspiration.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago

Inspiring dreams are lovely. The pending debt crisis may negate a lot of such inspiration for a time. Given that the debt issue affects nearly every nation, we will find some hard times may be coming.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago

One thing I think we can be fairly sure of: there is no going back.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago

One thing I think we can be fairly sure of: there is no going back.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago

“For the great many (including Askonas) to whom the answer to this question is “not a lot”, the creative destruction of tech innovation may genuinely seem like a more fruitful option than sitting about in the ruins muttering about Chesterton’s fence.”

Maybe it’s just because I’m middle-aged now, but this seems to me to be at least as funny, clever and perceptive as some of the best stand-up I saw at the Comedy Store in the 1990s before it became all boring, political and self-knowing.

As to the rest of this typically-good article from Mary Harrington, I’m no Trump-fan, but I do have to fall firmly on the side of techno-optimism instead of the dreich, boring and utterly contemptible pessimism of the opposite which only exists at all as a pretext for the extension of statism and all it represents.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago

“For the great many (including Askonas) to whom the answer to this question is “not a lot”, the creative destruction of tech innovation may genuinely seem like a more fruitful option than sitting about in the ruins muttering about Chesterton’s fence.”

Maybe it’s just because I’m middle-aged now, but this seems to me to be at least as funny, clever and perceptive as some of the best stand-up I saw at the Comedy Store in the 1990s before it became all boring, political and self-knowing.

As to the rest of this typically-good article from Mary Harrington, I’m no Trump-fan, but I do have to fall firmly on the side of techno-optimism instead of the dreich, boring and utterly contemptible pessimism of the opposite which only exists at all as a pretext for the extension of statism and all it represents.

Robert Hochbaum
Robert Hochbaum
1 year ago

Trump 2024…. Ugh.
Well, looking back to the original Robocop movie (a quote):
“I want a car that has reclining leather seats, goes really fast and gets really shitty gas mileage!”
The 6000 SUX. If he promises one of those to everyone, I’m in!
What the hell. Why not.

Last edited 1 year ago by Robert Hochbaum
Robert Hochbaum
Robert Hochbaum
1 year ago

Trump 2024…. Ugh.
Well, looking back to the original Robocop movie (a quote):
“I want a car that has reclining leather seats, goes really fast and gets really shitty gas mileage!”
The 6000 SUX. If he promises one of those to everyone, I’m in!
What the hell. Why not.

Last edited 1 year ago by Robert Hochbaum
Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
1 year ago

If conservatives stand for anything, it’s economic growth. It’s the left that is determined to crush growth and spread poverty, leading to a world of cricket eating bicyclists.