If artificial intelligence in the hard sense (real thoughts) is not here yet, the soft kind (with robots) definitely is. In the new Blade Runner we see replicants acting “more human than human.” Humans have become brutal or apathetic, the result of what musician/philosophy David Byrne calls our cultural disconnection. Read THIS. Driverless cars are being created to produce more time for people to be on their screens (iPhones, tablets), allowing the big four to track people everywhere, and customize ads that categorize and target. (The opening of Blade Runner 2049 shows Ryan Gosling asleep in the driver’s seat of his flying car…which is flying.) Spying is everywhere, as today, and as revealed in the books Riveted, Weapons of Math Destruction, The Filter Bubble, Utopia is Creepy, The Four, and Future Crimes. One of the unintended results of customization (besides profits) is to polarize beliefs: you never see alternative views, because The Four only show you (in search and in ads) things you already believe, including conspiracy theories and fake news. Only by reading books can you see the whole picture, because even the networks are in the pockets of advertisers and drug companies. And literacy is slowly declining as more people turn to TV and the internet for one-liners and “factoids,” as Ray Bradbury called them in Fahrenheit 451, about burning books. One of the lines from that movie was rendered by an Overseer: “More sports for everyone.” (He meant it as a substitute for reading, to keep people in line, as slaves to the system.) A giant Coca-Cola sign is seen in both Blade Runners, as part of the brand-washing (read Brandwashed or The Coke Machine: The Dirty Truth Behind the World’s Favorite Soft Drink.) The networks, or Coke itself, never mentioned these books. It is easier to double down on cute commercials for their diabetes and cancer-causing products requiring prescription drugs to treat at massive cost (while the new Drug Czar is a former Big Pharma confidant sponsoring a bill to repress prosecution of drug distributors involved in the Opioid epidemic.) Do you doubt any of this? It may be because you didn’t hear about it on the news. They have vested interests not to tell you. To keep you in the dark. You can bet that 60 MInutes is coming under fire for their report this past Sunday. Once they (and Frontline) is shut down, along with all whistleblowers, what happens then? Blade Runner 2049 happens, for real. That’s what happens. It is predicted that climate change, if ignored until 2100, will cost $600 Trillion to fix. That’s a T, in today’s dollars. Many will need to die first. But even by next year, perhaps, terrorists can sit back and watch as a Category 5 hits Miami and wipes out all those homes now shown on “Beachfront Bargain Hunt” or “My Lottery Dream Home.” In San Francisco, building codes were ignored as people watched TV, so what happens if a 10.0 quake hits the San Andreas? Most of the city (and other cities not yet burning) reduced to rubble. What happens to the economy then? Maybe Leonardo diCaprio is right. Maybe those on Instagram posting images of his satirical movie The Wolf of Wall Street should go to his actual IG account and check it out. Coffee? Time to wake up.
Saw Blade Runner 2049. Great film. Good story, but mostly a moving tribute to the original classic. Ryan Gosling is superb, and the special effects alone make the movie worth seeing. (Finally, an intelligent film after so much superhero madness and one-liners!) Never boring. Not even for narcissists with low attention span. And I didn’t see it in 3D, just standard screen. Cringed to see the giant Coke ad, but it was probably more irony than product placement. Was it a masterpiece like the director’s cut of the original with Rutger Hauer? No, but I’m not complaining. Is Harrison’s Deckard a replicant? Little chance of that. The book says no, too. There’s a bigger surprise I can’t mention. Go see it, then listen to the audiobook, which is like an audio movie. At TowerReview.com I’ve posted links to a book on how the movie was made, plus a fashion tee shirt and the bomber jacket style worn by Gosling in the film. His image appears on the link. BTW, music? No tunes to sing, but an effective and eerie original score that swells to thunder at just the right moments.
Unlike the Flat Earthers, who believe the number one threat to society is NASA lying to people, I believe the real threat is giant corporations who have created our fake news culture as a diversion while they spy on us. Latest case in point is the book THE AISLES HAVE EYES. Author Joseph Turow is a professor at the Annenberg School of Communication, and his subtitle is “How Retailers Track Your Shopping, Strip Your Privacy, and Define Your Power.” Your “power” is becoming illusory. Listen to the audiobook HIT MAKERS by Derek Thompson, subtitled “The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction,” (due out Feb. 7.) We are being distracted while our personal data is being mined and sold to third parties under our noses, often within seconds of downloading a “free” app or turning on a “smart” phone. Who is smart? Not the consumer, for sure. Those posting fake news to distract us (or viral cat videos: same thing) are being used by politicians and corporations to manipulate our thoughts and actions. (And how we vote.) If there’s a conspiracy out there, it’s from people like Alex Jones of InfoWars talking about things that don’t matter. Or ESPN. Dan Patrick has a popular radio show that is also on cable TV, with toys for good old big boys surrounding him. Nothing wrong with that, you say? Well, for anyone watching him, or Alex, or the Flat Earthers, or a thousand TV shows, when is there time to read books? Most don’t, anymore. That’s the point made in Hit Makers. Hits are those things that get the most clicks. How do they do this? By advance publicity from influencers and celebs, by market saturation, by slight of hand and tailored ads. Like football, it is a sport with the biggest prize of all: eyeballs. If they can keep your attention focused on what they want, they can control you. It’s as simple (and complex) as that. What chance does quality content have, in this environment? The same odds as a plow horse running in the Kentucky Derby. It may be a smart horse, but that doesn’t matter at all, in direct rebuttal of the saying, “If you’re smart why ain’t you rich?” Likewise, the best things can get ignored. This extends from songs to products. As Bill Gates told Steve Jobs in the film The Pirates of Silicon Valley, “You have the best stuff, but it doesn’t matter.” (At that point Gates had control of the market with an inferior product: Windows was a ripoff, one operating system stacked on top of another, and prone to bugs and viruses. MacOS is still superior, but not as ubiquitous. Jobs ripped off Xerox and improved on it, eventually going viral with iMac, iPod, and iPhone.) The moral of the story? Buyer beware. You’re basically on your own, especially if you don’t read books. Because the major media won’t tell you this. They are in on the gravy train. Watch NBC or CBS or ABC evening news programs, and what happens every time? They start off with a relatively long report on soundbites and viral videos, then move to shorter and shorter items, the drug commercials building momentum until by the end they are saying, “When we come back” within ten seconds of coming back! Then you see another series of Big Pharma ads for diseases we wouldn’t have if we weren’t on our devices or watching the NFL so much while munching on advertised junk food.