Big Tech has big dreams for our future. Amazon is bringing us wall-to-wall automation controlled by artificial intelligence. Facebook is constructing a fully immersive Metaverse to keep us occupied. The all-knowing Google God monitors our every thought and movement. And to drive the point home, every man, woman, and child is to be jabbed with pharmaceutical salvation.
These transformational technologies have consumed so much time and money over the years, they’re basically too big to fail.
Yesterday, Elon Musk introduced a new character to the corny dystopian novel we’re being written into. The Tesla Bot promises to end drudge work for anyone who can afford one, pushing the working class closer to the edge of obsolescence. With a blacked-out head and androgynous gray body, the robot’s prototype looks like the Headless Horseman dressed in S&M latex.
Musk took the stage at AI Day to proclaim:
“The Tesla Bot will be real.
“Tesla is arguably the world's biggest robotics company because our cars are like semi-sentient robots on wheels. And with the full self-driving computer—essentially the inference engine on the car—which will keep evolving obviously, [and] all the neural nets recognizing the world, understanding how to navigate the world—it kind of makes sense to put that into a humanoid form. ...
“It's intended to be friendly, of course, and navigate through a world both for humans and eliminate dangerous, repetitive, and boring tasks.”
If Musk actually lives up to his one-year timeline, by 2023 these alien creatures will be wandering our streets beside unemployed laborers and faceless mask-Karens. Their slave-class role will include all the hard work that builds character in regular people, but is obviously beneath those who can’t be bothered to drive their own cars or do their own shopping.
Like the self-driving Tesla car, this headless plastic person will use its various sensors—including eight cameras—to monitor the world around it. From there, machine learning will enable this weird being to learn your home, your habits, and your wants. It will be programmed with a sort of extraterrestrial empathy. According to Musk’s vision, armies of these creatures will populate our cities like illegal aliens hopping over the Uncanny Valley instead of the Rio Grande.
The Tesla Bot fits into a much broader objective. Earlier this year, Elon Musk’s popstar girlfriend, Grimes, took to the Chinese spy-app TikTok to argue that artificial intelligence and automation will provide all the benefits of communism, but without the calloused hands:
“I have a proposition for the communists. So, typically, most of the communists I know are not big fans of AI—but if you think about it, AI is actually the fastest path to communism.
“So, if implemented correctly, AI could actually theoretically solve for abundance. Like, we could totally get to a situation where nobody has to work, everybody is provided for with a comparable state of being, comfortable living.
“AI could automate all the farming, weed out systematic corruption, and thereby bring us as close as possible to genuine equality. So basically—everything everybody loves about communism, but without the collective farm. Cuz, let’s be real, enforced farming is really not a vibe.”
Hearing a cute singer with silly shapes drawn all over her face declare the end of working people is a harsh reminder of how the elite view us. A woman like Grimes could never imagine the insights and dignity that come from close contact with the soil. From her position in the clouds, our labors are thankless, our skills are easily automated, and our work ethic is meaningless.
For the technocratic elite, the working class is no longer an ally to marshal toward common goals. Our very existence is a problem to be solved. If we can’t be replaced by compliant immigrants, robots will do the trick.
Anything you can do, AI can do better.
It’s no surprise, then, that Musk drew applause from the AI Day audience when he declared that “long-term, there will need to be universal basic income. ... Essentially, in the future, physical work will be a choice. If you wanna do it, you can, but you wouldn't need to do it.”
What’s obvious to anyone who works with their hands, but escapes the elite who orbit our mundane worlds, is that human beings derive pride from a job well done. Hardship forges tough men and women. Hard work teaches us to control the urge toward instant gratification. Working in teams, we learn a sense of duty toward our fellow man. We learn to add value to the world.
As “Help Wanted” signs go up across the country, unemployment checks are going out to an increasingly idle population. The working class is now rewarded for disability rather than excellence. It won’t be long before we’ve justified our own replacement.
In the world envisioned by Musk, Zuckerberg, Bezos, and Kurzweil, the gritty world of farm-workers and steel-climbers will be replaced by spindly humanoids with smartphone eyes. At the top of this synthetic social structure will be a spoiled class of brain-chipped man-babies and delusional TikTok stars.
What about the rest of us? The future is always uncertain, but it’s clear that Big Tech has big plans for us, too. For now, they’re keeping it quiet.
If we want to carve out our own paths—as human beings guided by our own agency—we had better come up with viable alternatives sooner than later. Big Tech’s poorly written sci-fi novel is unfolding fast. Before you can say “Slave Bot,” we’ll be living through the disappointing climax.