I endured secondhand exposure to NPR recently--just enough of a dose to see their article on digital afterlife. It's cute and horrible, in the typical American way. Like, how do we know that it didn't already happen to an earlier civilization, and we're just a cycle of stored memories, replaying our last messages to a bunch of other people who are, themselves, AIs-in-memoriam? And how stupid and insane would you have to be to spend any portion of your life programming such a creature? And, isn't it painful how a lot of people are going to do it anyway, just like the rest of their lives are already spent in some kind of electronic fetish meant to replace actually living? Now they won't even be able to die well, anymore than they can live well.
The first thing that jumped out at this one, though, is the usual NPR feature--the way that NPR is little more than government funded selective advertising. Under the guise of the common welfare, NPR uses armed gunmen to collect taxes, with which they do basically four things:
(1) Advertise pre-selected political candidates and issues, while marginalizing other candidacies and issues;
(2) Sell various wars (with a heavy dose of using the Eastern European Caucasian language, Yiddish, to replace the swarthy Semitic language, Hebrew, as the popular imagination's version of Judaic language and culture);
(3) Promote new businesses started by the right people;
(4) Advertise entertainment media, working with public libraries to disseminate nationwide recognition for chosen movies, books, television shows, apps, games, etc.
The "digital afterlife" article above is an example of (3), where supposedly "public" funds are spent on an in-depth analysis of some asshole millionaire's new scheme to make money through a website with a quirky, wholly ridiculous idea. However stupid the idea, it can succeed if it gets enough publicity, and when you don't have to pay for that publicity, the biggest part of the "risk" taken by the capitalist is eliminated. Like a railroad baron obtaining free public land, it's cheaper to start a business when the taxpayers are forced to unwittingly give you instant, detailed, nationwide name-recognition and web traffic, than it is to risk your own millions of dollars on some idea that would otherwise have a one in a billion chance of getting noticed by anyone outside your family circle. You can't buy exposure like that--it takes the concerted efforts of a lot of people making up stories about the public good, then rigging a tax code and regulatory agencies to make it all pay off.
If perchance you have any illusions left that this entire thing isn't about a bunch of murdering thieves taking everyone's money and lives, dispel them at once. The last veneer of legitimacy left well over a hundred years ago. Seriously, people. In a couple hundred years, even average people assimilating standardized civic educations will be able to tell that this entire period in American history was like an endless Teapot Dome scandal, except without the political backlash.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm meeting with Terry Gross inside Diane Rehm's gilded ammonia chamber on the Moon. We'll be discussing my white cousin's new hybrid-fusion-retro salsa-rap album, which is sort of a combination of Bob Dylan, Run DMC, and Turkish folk. Samples, and a link to buy the album, will be hosted on the NPR website for the next several months, and Adam Rapaport will be mentioning it in his "must listen" list at the end of the year. Then we'll talk about the new project I'm launching, bananadelivery.com (I've reserved the domain name, but we're waiting on our share of the grant check from the USDA before officially hiring my buddy's tech firm to put the site up), which will revolutionize the world of at-home fruit delivery. Ever sit around your flat cursing yourself for forgetting to buy bananas? Just download our app, and our professional servers will be at your door in five minutes with anywhere from a bunch to a barrel. When we come, we pick up all the banana related scraps from last time, so that you don't have to bother aiming for the wastebasket. bananadelivery.com--Let Us Peel You.®