The Compliance Problem
Compliance is a dirty word.
If you grew up in the 1980s, one of the defining movies (at least for most of the boys I knew) of that decade was the 1987 film RoboCop. “You have 20 seconds to comply,” has been ingrained into the collective consciousness of our generation.
Flash forward to 2020. Robots are far more advanced than the imagined ED-209. Stealth Predator drones are scary. Slaughterbots might be even scarier. There is also a virus on the loose and there are some compliance problems. It seems like a very “American” point of view to be upset at being forced to wear a mask, socially isolate, and not work. It is actually quite a reasonable point of view for those whose livelihoods and businesses appear to be lost forever.
Culturally, I feel like I live in two worlds. I spent much of the second half of my gaming career in Asia. Since 2004, I’ve gone back and forth between the U.S. and Asia, including a four year stint where I lived in Taipei. While I was in Taipei, I would see people wearing masks around town or into work. From a social signaling perspective, it says, “I am sick, so be cautious around me, but I am also too hard working to ever be too sick to work.” Virtue and signaling for what is valued in society. Being polite. Hardworking. 不好意思.
So, the COVID-19 response in Taiwan was the best in the world. Not that there isn’t a shadow side to that, there always is. There is concern that the Taiwanese government may abuse the data they are collecting. People in Taiwan are concerned about the PRC. How do you have a conversation with China if the conversation has deep issues of history and face attached to it? How does China deal with the face issue of having Taiwan being internationally praised as the country with the best COVID-19 response while Donald Trump berates the CCP and blames them for the “China Virus” problems in America?
On the international stage, it seems that America as a whole, not just Donald Trump, appears to be a crazed child throwing a collective tantrum. America’s not the only one, but it’s the loudest. The leadership and media in America has seemed completely schizophrenic since the beginning of 2020 and it seems like it is slowly deteriorating over time.
I received this message from a friend this morning,
“Seems like a zoo down there in the US from our perch up here in Canada and it worries me sometimes!”
American values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness seem to have an implicit license to be an asshole. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck is a #1 New York Times Best Seller. Virtue and signaling for what is valued in society. Rebellious. Self-centered. Free thinking. Pursuing happiness. Neither the Left or the Right have a monopoly on being an asshole.
Meanwhile, the Robots are here. Elon Musk hopes that ultra-intelligent AIs will be benign and that one of the potentially positive outcomes is humans become the equivalent of house cats. His proposed solution is Neuralink, so that human AI centaurs can compete against AIs to better keep human house cats instead. Hmm.
If people are upset at the low-wage workers in Asia stealing American manufacturing jobs, how will they feel when the robot manufacturing armies and supply chain of Asia become fully operational? China is working on the Belt and Road Initiative using Economic Hitman tactics for invisible control and conquest.
Boston Dynamics is currently owned by the Japanese multinational conglomerate SoftBank, and there are rumors that they’re going to sell it to Hyundai because it is an unprofitable hot potato in its current incarnation. DJI, a Chinese company, makes the best consumer camera drones and quadcopters. Beijing based ByteDance, maker of TikTok, has the most powerful social media algorithm in the world. Asia is rising, while America is bickering over who cheated better in the election.
Western compliance needs a rebranding. Would it be ridiculous to consider compliance as “compassionate consideration?” Seems like a good idea before the robot overlords take over.
Day 7: Future of Life Institute #GivingChristmas