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The Inverse of Tech and Freedom

Universal basic income (or UBI) is an inevitability.

Everyone will receive a deposit in their bank account each month from the government. A living wage. A universal basic income. Several years ago, I began to notice tech leaders talking about this idea, particularly in relation to artificial intelligence and automation. Because as those things become more sophisticated and more prevalent, there will be less and less low-skilled jobs available. Fast food, factories, delivery drivers, truckers, warehouse workers, retail . . . these are all jobs that will be replaced by AI. It may not happen for a few decades, but the takeover is coming. The argument goes like this: in order to prepare for the new world economy, we need to build UBI so people won’t be totally obliterated by these changes.

It made me realize this: freedom and technological advances have an inverse relationship. The better the tech, the less free we become. The better the tech, the more we are monitored and coddled and dependent. Your car now has a GPS but you’re never truly off the map. It’s easy to have a conversation with someone on the other side of the world, it’s also easy for those conversations to be monitored. Your emails can be accessed. The internet gives you unlimited ability to browse your interests, but it allows advertisers to spam you with those same interests. Your income, your interests, your conversations, your relationships, what you look like, what your kids look like, what your friends look like, the web of relationships and who knows who and how, your habits, your locations, your political beliefs, your religious beliefs, your fears, your medical concerns, your prescriptions, your purchases, even the route you plan to take on the road trip . . . there are already enough data points that have been recorded and stored to know everything there is to know about you. It just hasn’t been assembled in one place. Yet.

But it will. Really soon it will. And that profile will be how you get your UBI. It’s so clear to me how this is going to play out.

On principle I’m opposed to this kind of nanny state. Obviously if you’ve read anything I’ve written that’s clear. I don’t want an economy where the working man vanishes and sits on the couch day in and day out. I don’t want the blue-collar mentality to become a thing of the past.

The future cannot be stopped. It’s coming. AI is coming. UBI is coming. We’re being slowly conditioned to expect it.

I didn’t see the whole picture until the pandemic. Until we began to hear about vaccine passports. And then it dawned on me how all of this would work. We’re going to have a national database and everyone will have a profile. They’ll know if you’ve received your payment. They’ll know if you own weapons. They’ll know everything about you and will be able to pull it up as easy as you can pull up a twitter or facebook profile.

The book will not be physical, but rather digital. And it will not be in your possession but in the possession of those who control you. Who restrict you. Who give you permission to live and prosper so long as it doesn’t interrupt the plan.

And this is the plan: they want to take care of you by taking care of everyone, all at once, all together.

You’ll get your money, but it will come with strings attached. If you act up, or speak up, or cause a scene, you may not get your check. If you don’t take your vaccines or your medications, you may not get your check. And of course the temptation will be to reject it, to go work. But what if you cannot be employed without a profile in good standing?

What if it’s illegal to hire people with profiles that aren’t in good standing?

People are already getting payments.

They’re getting child tax credits.

There’s already talk of vaccine passports to participate in society, and that’s in place in New York and around the world. Banks are already closing relationships with people they feel are political dissidents, like Mike Flynn and American Bank. Tech is already monopolizing news and reach, and in conjunction they’re deplatforming dissidents like Donald Trump. Amazon Web Services is already monopolizing control of the internet and in conjunction removing sites that they don’t like. And as this is happening, robots are being developed and showcased. All that exists outside the central government’s control, like cryptocurrencies, are soon to be devoured. They’re going to tax them into oblivion en route to a singular, worldwide currency.

In a Brave New World Alduous Huxley writes: “A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.”

You will love your servitude. The monthly check. The superhero movies. The championship game. The manufactured crises to make you scared and also drive television ratings.

You’re going to love it.


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