COLUMN 109, SEPTEMBER 1, 2004
(Copyright © 2004 The Blacklisted Journalist)
I don't have to see the
movie, I, Robot. I already know what it's about. Humankind invents a
robot and the robot turns against humankind. Just like in real life. Humankind
invented a robot a long, long time ago and the robot has turned against
humankind. This is the story of a robot we can call I, Corporation.
We must never forget that
as a robot, I, Corporation is not a human entity and has no human
feeling. As a robot, I, Corporation was designed and programmed solely to
accomplish something that a group of humans couldn't do individually. I,
Corporation was invented for no other purpose than to amass wealth and
To accomplish its task, I,
Corporation demands mindlessness from anyone within its embrace and so it is
programmed to roboticize those minds. I, Corporation programs everyone within its
embrace---owners, board members, shareholders, executives, employees, whoever
makes use of what it markets, anyone it provides with sustenance or does
business with---to think the way I,
Corporation thinks. Like a robot. Which is not to think at all. Robots
don't think, they just do! I, Corporation demands that everyone
within its embrace be as programmed as a worker or a soldier ant in an ant
colony. Each ant does its job automatically!
The world is already overpopulated with such robots. We have big I, Corporations. We have little I, Corporations. Many of these robots even have differing personalities. Some show different
faces. But whatever the
face or personality of the robot, we must never forget that the face is a false
Along with its personality, the robot's face has been designed for no other
reason than to enable the robot to attain the robot's aim and to accomplish its
task. And the robot is designed to pursue its goals ruthlessly.
Unencumbered by human
constraints---unable to feel any human emotions or experience human
concerns---these robots are programmed to go to any extreme. To lie, to charm,
to cajole, to deceive, to cheat, to steal, to threaten, to kill. To use whatever
means necessary. These robots are designed to let nothing stand in the way of
what they've been designed to accomplish. Robots can't give birth to babies and so they do not
experience the concerns of parenthood. Of the environment. Of the quality of
human life. I, Corporations don't care if the pollution from its
smokestacks will lead to the ultimate extinction of the human race. Nothing
matters to this robot other than its function, which is the accumulation of
power and profit.
Since these robots were
first invented, they have kept duplicating until they are so numerous and so
powerful that we now have a society of I, Corporations. Robots with
similar tasks have allied to produce super robots, designed to accomplish what
the robots in their alliance couldn't do individually. These super robots are
multiplying and creating alliances to produce super, super robots. Until we have
an unstoppable robotic force. And just like in the movie, these robots have
turned against humankind. They are now in the process of taking over the world
by remaking humans in their own image---by roboticizing the world's
inhabitants. By prograrming us all not to
think but to act automatically. Even against our own best self-interests. ##
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