Joseph Ratliff Writer, Researcher, Thinker

Idiocracy and Technology

Left as a comment on this post by the esteemed Doug Hill, author of Not So Fast.


The movie Idiocracy showed people in their recliner chairs, reduced to insignificant blobs of meat that lacked basic intelligence. Everything ordered from the Internet, and all of it was major brand name.

Endless media consumption, medicine vending machines, and Monster truck shows.

Is that where we really want to head?

Sad thing is, most people will read these types of articles and write them off as some “crank” had written them. These people will think that some Luddite is spouting nonsense (not knowing what the Luddites were).

So the brands will win with their normalcy-invading brand advertising. The drones will become a thing because endless, unadulterated “Progress ™” is NECESSARY DANG IT!

Comcast Doesn’t Care (At All)…

Well, Comcast is at it again.

In another one of its seriously crazy business decisions, Comcast has decided to charge customers that actually use its Internet service data fees if they use more than 1024GB of data in a month.

They will charge you $10 for each 50GB over that amount of data, up to $200 more per month in total if you were to carry your usage to 2048GB or more (in addition to your regular bill).

There is an option to pay for “Unlimited” data, but that will set you back an additional $50 per month to forget about data.  (And, you have to call them to do it).

They claim it’s all in “fairness” to their customers who, they say, average only 60 GB of usage a month (according to a response I received when I filed a FCC complaint).

It used to be that when an ISP charged for service, they were charging you one flat monthly fee to “access” the Internet.  Now they are metering your usage, so anyone who streams will likely incur this excess charge.  (Cable cutters like me, perhaps?)

BUT…

EVEN if you are an “average” user according to their letter in response to my complaint, they won’t “reduce” their monthly fee for you, even though you’re only using 6% of your allotted amount.

So … they have figured out how to get paid from the “average” user, AND get paid MORE for the power user (like streamers, video watchers, gamers etc.).

You can go here if you wish to file a FCC complaint like I did (for whatever it was worth), complain to Comcast, or file a BBB complaint.

But my suggestion is to do something, because it can only get worse from here folks (AT&T users, I’m looking at you).  I can firmly state that Comcast doesn’t care, at all.

This starts an era of the bigger corporations making it very hard to leave their services and go to the competition.  There isn’t much competition (Comcast certainly made sure of that), and if you want to access the Internet, you’ll pay for it … way too much for it.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

  • Don’t let Comcast trick you by saying “fairness,” this isn’t fair, it’s only a way for them to get more money out of you because you use the service you’re paying for.
  • Comcast has some X1 with Netflix offer, don’t fall for it.  They are trying to get you back on their cable TV program, and include Netflix as part of a package.  You’ll likely pay for it, in spades.
  • And DON’T let Comcast try to pull the “Well, we will just charge everyone on a per unit basis for data…” because then everyone will be paying them just like a power company.  They aren’t even close to reliable enough to be a power company for Internet.

I truly hope the FCC will investigate Comcast for this, and any other company that follows suit.  I’m afraid the reality is we will be gouged for using the Internet.

Net Neutrality, which Comcast states that it supports, doesn’t allow Comcast to “block” access or “throttle” your service.  Instead, Comcast has found a way to monetarily do almost the same thing to streamers, Netflix users, gamers etc.

The Technological Progress “Prove It” Manifesto (Redux)

This is an article I had written back in 2015, lost it during a transition of my blog, and I have used the Wayback Machine to recover it.  It is republished here … “Redux”:

I’m sick and tired of hearing the same tropes, over and over again, about some part of technological progress…

  • “We’re really close to being able to…”
  • “This breakthrough technology could do…”
  • “This technology has the potential to change the world by doing…”

And on, and on…

This whole manifesto is going to be centered around one (tl; dr) idea … quit talking about it, writing articles about it, getting news media about it etc…

Instead, let’s just see your whiz-bang technology prove it.

And don’t take me for a person who doesn’t keep up with exponential thinking, the possibilities of technology, artificial intelligence, desalination technology etc…

I’m not that person.  I geek out, like most geeks do, when I see the possibilities being offered by technology we can create.

So, when you’re saying that nano-technology will destroy viruses, change the world, or better yet, influence energy production … I want you to prove it.  Quit talking about potential, “in the future” stuff … prove it.  Make it available for everyone to use, not just wealthy people.

Because if you can’t do that, if everybody can’t use your whiz-bang technology right now, today, to do all (not just some) of the things you’re getting marketing, money and media attention for…

Then you’re a bullshit artist, and nothing more.

Re-read from the word “Because” above.  Companies, people, etc… are getting benefits from talking about tech, but not showing everybody the benefits of the usable technology they’re promising.

I don’t care about predictions, articles, rhetoric, “investor related news,” etc… until you can show me results.

I want my nanotechnology, my bio-hacking, my artificial intelligence, and my desalination plants to give water to every single person on this planet.  I want to be able to feed every single person, provide cheap and clean (in terms of output) energy to every person, and not forget to take care of the full inventory of costs associated with this production.

As a fellow human being on this planet, I want all of that potential to exist in my life, right now.

Why?

Because you, the person or business entity promoting your whiz-bang technology, are in the media everywhere … telling me what your technology could do, has the potential to do, or that it “will change the world!”.

But until you come to the general market with your technological solution that benefits every single person on this planet … you’ve failed, and miserably.  You can’t eat (or drink) potential, might, could, grok, or even changing the world … until there IS something to consume (again, for everyone, not just the wealthy elite).

Here’s the bottom line (and the reason for this Manifesto)…

We are coming into what will likely be the hardest, most challenging, and resource-depleted decades or centuries our species (Homo-sapiens) has ever experienced.  Climate is changing (partly because of us), the economic conditions are terrible, and people just need a reason … a real reason … to be able to look forward to freedom, relative comfort, and a modest existence.

You, the person or entity responsible for your carnival barking (which includes media that groks on potential tech WAY too soon), your tech is the link between an easier couple of centuries, or a fatalistic couple of centuries.

By promoting, getting excited about, and telling all of us what your whiz-bang technology could do, has the potential to do, etc… you have put yourself in the position and have the responsibility to deliver on all (not just some) of your promises.  Otherwise, you’re just selling a fantasy, and that is completely worthless.

I can get “fantasy” from my science fiction book seller.  What am I going to get from you?

Because you see, we don’t have time (any longer) for empty platitudes and potential. We need technological superheroes to actually deliver the goods, as they say.

Dr. Peter Diamandis (whom I respect greatly) has written in his book titled Abundance (which I recommend) about the need to quit paying attention to negative news.  That the reason we do so, is because of a primal survival instinct from long ago.

Well, Dr. Diamandis, if negative news is what we are paying attention to … you must counter that with overwhelmingly positive news in order to take the attention away from the fear-mongers.

So, part of this manifesto is for you sir, because that positive news cannot be filled with empty promises any longer.  We’ve heard about hover boards and “World Fair” potential long enough.

Now it’s time for you, Dr. Diamandis, and all of your highly skilled “techno-utopians” out there to do one not-so-simple job… prove it.