I love epiphanies, and I’ve been having more of them lately. While everyone is talking about Artificial Intelligence (AI), I’ve been learning how to grow different strands of beneficial bacteria, to rebuild my gut microbiome from the damage of antibiotics (see the book Super Gut by William Davis). I’m also relearning how to stand, sit, and lie down like I did when I was a young girl. I’ve come to realize that in order to be healthy and strong, I must consciously unlearn a whole bunch of things that our high-tech commercialized world has taught me over the past three to four decades.
Hype over AI and cloud computing drove investors to bid up stocks of companies that had any part or plan in its future. The Nasdaq 100 surged more than 40% this year, outdoing the S&P 500 by roughly 15% in mid-November. Meanwhile, central banks are buying physical gold hand over foot. For the latest on central banks buying gold, read this recent post from SchiffGold.com. A few weeks ago, gold made an all-time high, and Barron’s published the following on December 8: Gold Prices Are Near Record Highs. They May Keep Climbing for the Next 10 Years.
Some people, like supposedly Elon Musk, think AI is bad news for the human race. While it could be, if we had infinite energy and resources to keep it going, I kind-of doubt we will. What will happen is this—after the government has spent billions or trillions of dollars fixing all the transportation infrastructure in America, you’ll buy a beautiful state-of-the-art vehicle with all the latest and greatest technologies, bells and whistles galore. Then there will be a gas shortage which spins into an electrical grid outage, and your fancy car will become inoperable.
While society is energy blind, and we know this for a fact, I want to look at AI from a holistic perspective today. I’m thinking about it as an artificial being with a physical body and a digital mind. It makes our lives easier in so many ways, but it’s made by human intelligence to be anti-human-intelligent. When I was a girl, I had to learn how to spell big ole words, but not anymore. Google and Microsoft figure out what I’m trying to type before I do, and corrects it on my behalf, encouraging me not to think about or concern myself anymore with spelling.
The word artificial is defined by Google as “made or produced by human beings rather than occurring naturally, especially as a copy of something natural.” In the Cambridge Dictionary, it is “made by people, often as a copy of something natural.” From these definitions, I think it’s fair to assume that anything artificial is the opposite of everything natural, yet cleverly disguised. Margarine, for example, is artificial. It’s made to taste like butter, but it’s not butter. It’s fake butter, and fake butter comes with unnatural side effects.
The word intelligence is defined by Google as “the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills,” and “the collection of information of military or political value.” AI is simultaneously both, and seemingly more about data collection that’s of military and political value. In the Cambridge Dictionary, intelligence is “the ability to learn, understand, and make judgments or have opinions that are based on reason.” Unfortunately, our anti-intelligent society now rewards a dualistic approach to thinking, and punishes people who think analytically and reason.
The AI machines that think for us are made and powered by natural resources we take from the earth. No matter how well programmed, AI cannot think up energy out of thin air to mine, make, and transport its bodily parts any more than we can make food and water out of thin air that magically appears in our homes or stomachs. Only the Federal Reserve can—for the moment—print money out of thin air, fueled by the greater fools theory. Raw materials and energy are generally finite, unprintable, and deep inside the earth.
AI does what it’s programmed to do on data chips that we make using machines that we build and power from natural resources we take from the earth. I suppose if we make a programming error without taking into consideration all the external factors that could play into the equation of what AI thinks up, then it could destroy us. But destroying humanity and human systems would destroy tech, because any disruption in energy flows would make AI machines inoperative.
AI promotes social interaction through its machinery, but people isolate themselves to engage with it. It’s a catch 22, coined by Joseph Heller in his satirical novel that highlights the never-ending circular bureaucracy of war and governments. While AI helps us engage with others in a high-tech world from anywhere, it hurts us in the long-term by stealing our joy of intimate relationships, our joy of having purpose and working hard, and our natural design for movement.
Societies always worship something, and our modern society worships technology. At the same time, our society has enslaved technology and the energy it uses for the things we want. In the modern world, Papa Big Tech is to his son AI as Father God is to his son Jesus. This makes AI a fake savior, a false idol, and the soaking wet dream of Lucifer (the “light-bringer” in Latin). But as I mentioned earlier, without natural energy, AI has no real legs to stand on, let alone run…
(a) The Energy Return on Investment (EROI) is getting lower and lower every single day, making it unprofitable and useless when it takes a barrel of oil (in energy terms) to extract a barrel of oil from the physical ground.
(b) The world is forever borrowing more and more against future reserves of less and less natural resources we need for farming, pharmaceuticals, transportation, production, etc.
(c) Shrinking economies, enormous financial leverage, and a huge credit bubble is not a recipe for flying cars in the future. It’s a symptom of energy-blindness, privilege, and entitlement. The signs of the times.
(d) More difficult and more expensive-to-extract natural resources from the earth make it more and more impossible for us to maintain the current economic system built on debt, abundance, and a profit-over-people mentality.
(e) A concept and book called Overshoot by William R. Catton, exponential growth of the human population, and the St. Matthew Island reindeer herd explain this in simple, easy-to-understand terms.
What does all this mean? If you wake up from energy-blindness, there are more important things to worry about than Big-Papa Tech and his obedient son AI. I’m worried about the other side of overshoot. My mind is on acquiring land, a clean water source, seeds to grow edible plants, and multiple sources of independent energy when all this Artificial Illusion (the real AI) of material wealth falls apart and the global economic system malfunctions and fails. If life support were to fail in a hospital, even for a short while, the price paid for that failure would be the life that depended from it.
I’m worried about my gas bill soaring or gas shortages in the winter in Michigan. I’m worried about there not being enough food in the markets for everyone or not having gasoline to drive anywhere. I think about how people will change when the stock and bond markets collapse, with their enormous derivatives and debts. I think about all the ways in which people are being deceived by modern medicine, big corporations, academia, Wall Street, Uncle Sam and his iron grip on the mainstream media. I’m obviously not worried enough to do much about it yet, but I’m getting there.
I think about what will happen to people around me while the population is dropping from 8.1 billion to 3 billion or less. I want to survive and thrive, and help others do the same. I want my sons to have real skills that will be compatible with a future world that looks entirely different than it is today. I have a deep hunger for community, to commune with people who want to help themselves and others, much more than I care about wealth and achieving the American dream. The American dream is exactly what keeps people spinning like hamsters on wheels.
From what I’ve learned through history, science, and religion, I believe that nature will trump society’s false gods, and this will help us in the long run get back to the things we’ve lost during the industrial revolutions. We will have to accept nature for who she is, and stop trying to change and hack her into what we would like her to be. Through this process, we will be born again into a former way of thinking and believing. I am sick and tired of the way so many people blindly follow the false promise of prosperity. There’s a hole inside all of us, and I know it’s because we’ve forgotten our natural state of being.
Here’s something to ponder. If AI were the future, why are insiders selling the hype? On December 5, the headlines read that Zuckerberg sold a bunch of Meta shares after 172% surge. Nvidia insiders unloaded shares too, after it surged over 200%. I don’t know about you, but I’m not buying the Magnificent 7 stocks here. No siree! Margaret Mead said it right, “What people say, what people do, and what they say they do are entirely different things.” To see properly, focus your inner eye, using your own natural intelligence and skills.
If you enjoy my work, please pass it along to others via Twitter, Facebook, email, or any other way that feels right. All I want and need for Christmas is for more people to hear me. “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well” —Ralph Waldo Emerson.