Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Future of Free Content, Part 2

Part 1.

The television produces free shows and offers them in exchange for commercials; the social network receives similar commercial revenue and offers the ability to attract more others who can entertain and be entertained by others. People do not visit the social network because of the network's own generated worthiness, but in pursuit of the worth or interaction generated solely by other people who visit the network seeking them in turn. Like nearby female props making a live male baboon more sexually desirable (not "appear more desirable," but actually, per the definition of desirable, to be more desirable) to observing females by being extant, the initial capitalization of the social network, like the dating website and the nightclub and the bride broker and their predecessors, is feigned popularity. A celebrity is famous because the celebrity is noteworthy because the celebrity is famous, we read Harry Potter because so many people are reading Harry Potter, and so forth. At some point, most likely before making any reactive purchase, we convince ourselves that the communal feelings obtained from any aspect of pop culture are organic, like apes worshiping monoliths due to word-of-mouth and/or chance marketplace contact. We generate fake profiles, hire actresses to linger over drinks, and have our cousins falsify prescription rates in order to achieve an artificial consensus, which has greater effect than true consensus, since we're reminded of the former more than of the latter. Accordingly, we orchestrate the very thing that we have promised to orchestrate, for the crowd does appear; if the crowd doesn't appear, judgmental hindsight and critical reviews remind us that failure or success was due to the crowd's choices based upon quality of product.

The removal of mandatory tenure, then of all tenure, from employment, transitions into this newer model, whereby the lifelong employee with benefits becomes separately responsible for benefits, then bereft of pension, then an acceptable target for "lay off," then an independent contractor. The trend must necessarily carry us another step beyond, toward what we witness now on the internet; toward what is taking place right now in this very place, namely, the replacement of the "independent contractor" (the paid worker whose irrelevance is socially and legally formalized) with the purely independent worker (the unpaid worker whose irrelevance is socially and legally formalized), who generates content to benefit the rentier not only without pay, but without "rights" or expectations of any kind. Mere replacement by robots implies that the robots are doing work whereas the human workers are unemployed; more accurately, the development of the trend has the human workers still doing work, just not being paid for it. In a fundamental, albeit arguably nonexistent (yet wrongly so) way, all economic theories are broken by the model of random dunces on the internet exerting labor to spin the news their own way, without pay (or by permitting third-party ads that generate revenue that may be considered either subjectively insignificant or objectively less per hour than door-greeting at the local retailer). The lack of pay snowball-continues the trend of it being acceptable to "fire" workers; of ventures which require more than one person becoming less partnerships and more chain gangs. Offensive to the modern capitalist is the notion of many implied contracts involved in joint ventures. The capitalist believes that the maxims, "I shall murder you and take what you have earned," and, "If I contribute to something successful, none may claim I am not some part owner of it," are equally closed to negotiation, though in opposite directions. This is an act of faith, as indiscriminate now and as alien to our past as the Marxism of the workers' souls and purses inherent in the Nicean Christian invasion. The search for a perfect government or economy, or at least better versions of these things, cannot begin under any such normative rubric, ergo our post-invasion economic philosophies are an odd mix of contradictory arguments between the token alien paladins Marx and Rand.

Terra's 2017 concept of "employment" has endured the diminutions outlined above. We look toward a future, not wholly of robot workers replacing human ones, but of servile employment relationships, including pay, continuing to be phased out in favor of servile unemployment relationships. Not noblesse oblige style servility, which was itself a product of early Christianization and, by comparison to its integrated predecessor societies, the initial reduction of ethnic and familial bonds by subjecting households to centralized power. This was a social problem for actual conservatives at the time that foreshadowed the 1776ian, 2016ian, or 1965ian refugee invasions of the hu-west, except with the difference that the subversion occurring then could more legitimately be considered a first-ever, and people were actually conserving something. Rather, the new model is one of eager, self-directed, pet-bred-labrador-style servility, wherein gaining an audience for some quantity of unpaid work rephrasing news is an achievement worthy of real social respect. Though lacking in ownership, control, tenure, pension, and the many other Nutraditional and pitiful hallmarks of Nurespectability of today's fading scraps of noblesse oblige, we content devourers/producers are so empty inside that we can hand out true respect for someone who more accurately lays out pictographs in a way more akin to our views than do the reviled news outlets, albeit for none of the dignity-preserving tokens we were promised in exchange for noblesse oblige, which was itself a dignity-preserving token promised in exchange for more effective societies.

As always, the conceptions of the future of free employment--the snowball effect that logic dictates will occur as the trend continues--seem ridiculous to the majority of current observers. Sexual website networking is useful here, as instinctual biological mores take longer to change than mental biological ones; how ridiculous is it, to a brahmin female of a mere century ago, that wealthy, well-bred daughters of the bourgeois might one day not merely publicly prostitute themselves for free, but pay for the privilege of doing so? Buying a title, then a job, is nothing new, anymore than acquiring decorations for prostitution. Now, though, the investment has not only outstripped the payoff, but removed the payoff. Enough awareness of that shock might yet remain to remind us that the logical outcomes of production via unemployment will continue its slide toward full expression.

The sometimes ideological, sometimes genetic descendants of what we might've once called "capitalists," then earlier "rentiers," have removed the requirement of land, and capital, from the equation. More valuable, to the point that eventually land or capital to rent ("loan") will be irrelevant, will be the intangible chosenness that defines one's ability to access the powers that generate a false consensus, e.g. the power to subtly orchestrate editorial-, layout-, compliance-, ownership-, and polity-level controls to make it appear that a franchise is successful, which will make the franchise successful. The latent power to grant success, and thereby reproduce wealth and power, and--more importantly--to reproduce the ability to orchestrate that wealth and power, e.g., the true power, already exists, all of its decisions destined, inevitably, to be successes as they--and we--define them. More enduring than aristocratic genes; more subtle; more resistant to the guillotine.

We saw a form of introduction of the modern system in the "submission for consideration" process, wherein artists of all kinds would be encouraged to independently finance their educations, then submit their work for consideration to plagiarizing managers who would, as Henry Ford reminded us, make a living from piecing together marketable ideas from among their rejected projects. This has long been how the arts, sciences, government, and academia work; the internet only makes it faster and offers more plausible arguments for "I never saw it before" in the event of (noticed) copyright violations. A field of quadrillions of interesting new melodies, portrayals, perspectives, et cetera, can be harvested on the internet without waiting for submitted performances, records, or drafts, treating the world's internet users as a generator of almost-random combinations which, despite being somewhat random as a creationary resource, nonetheless by virtue of its creators' uncompensated efforts (human labor) eliminates most of the total pool of randomness (those products not perceptible by at least a single human). Tracking success metrics tells companies what products people like, both objectively--the stolen program works well enough, ergo it has more compliments and fewer complaints on the free software-lovers forum--and subjectively--the song is appealing enough that 913 separate IPs sent it to their friends independent of corporate direction--and allows for market research, then safer market capitalization, of a pre-tested venture without credit to the creator or investment in reactive marketing/communications staff (e.g., the failing business model of a firm capable of accurately evaluating public response to a new product for itself, rather than a firm specializing in allocating advertising funds to achieve an instilled desirable public response).

Mass internet access expands this field, ideally someday subjecting the intellectual output of every human being to selective, retroactive copyright by the owners of the identifying metrics (which metrics, perhaps ironically, they will not have designed themselves, so much as paid unknowing contractors to repurpose the coding acquired by other metrics). The size of the sampling, the ubiquity of the medium, the selectivity of privacy, and the unspoken understanding of the masters of the totally recorded future ensure that the "I never saw it before" or "The basics belong to the human race who have always disseminated some form of this idea" arguments will remain perpetually available to plagiarizers. Offensive, yes, but not much different from the original highwayman/merchant who rapes an eleven-year-old and eventually makes her believe she's glad to have a husband ergo wanted it. The mindfuck, as it were, is the core of the sin, wherein we have to believe in an impartial and/or decent omniscience to tell ourselves that at least someone definitive sees what has happened; that at least the horror isn't getting away with anything, even though the highwaymen have convinced themselves, down to the level of their most private and self-aware moments, that they have been unfairly-persecuted philanthropists.

In a century, maybe less, some entity will propagate as history the theory outlined in this blog post; perhaps as a serious article analyzing economic trends, a sociological dissertation (with or without accompanying self-begging equations as the scholar's "field" demands), or a feelie plot. Whether or not the idea came from someone on the internet is irrelevant, as is whether or not "I" am whining inwardly, outwardly, or not at all at the prospect. The power levels involved were, in their own way, as predestined as the life of a dairy cow. The question is not "will you contribute willingly to market research without compensation?" as it once was, or even "will you produce marketable products without compensation?" as it has been for a while, but "will your uncompensated productions be selected for the killing floor today, tomorrow, or never?"

This one, for one, welcomes the time of ascension; the time of selection. To the front of the herd!

1 comment:

  1. then submit their work for consideration to plagiarizing managers who would, as Henry Ford reminded us, make a living from piecing together marketable ideas from among their rejected projects.

    I'm sure there's some microaggression lurking in old Henry's past, he was definitely not a 21st Century neutered-but-still-genetically male. Once I find the socio-econo-sexual-slights of Henry I can dismiss his observation quoted above.