Preview of “Roles of Artificial Intelligence in LCFIs and NSFIs”

The digital realm, which made the National Intranet and the World Wide Web (WWW) entertainable, was realized by humanity tapping into the Noösphere. This phenomenon was first achieved not during the 1990s but during the 1940s, when the entirety of Western Civilization had dragged itself and the rest of humanity into the cauldron of the Second World War. The information technologies that helped develop the digital realm grew up alongside the nuclear technologies that achieved nuclear weapons and nuclear energy during that same period. It is significant that America and the Soviet Union were pioneers in nuclear weapons and cyberweapons development. The People’s Republic of China would gradually join their arms races under the “Great Helmsman,” Chairman Mao Zedong.

With the digital realm forming the basis behind Computer Science, Programming and Engineering, it should be mentioned that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation also stem from the same discipline as those three fields. This discipline formed the basis for the Economic Calculation Problem and the Political Organization Problem insofar as both cannot be envisaged without Phenomenology, the philosophical study of human experiences and perceptions. In fact, there are certain passages in both The Road to Serfdom and Der Arbeiter, where von Hayek and Junger were arriving at the issue of “Cybernetics” from very different perspectives and arriving at very different conclusions.

What is Cybernetics and what does it have to do with Automation and AI? Cybernetics refers to a broad discipline studying the theory of communications and control within mechanical, biological and social systems. The name itself comes from an analogy chosen by Norbert Wiener to describe the discipline, which is the steering of a ship by her helmsman. The analogy was derived from Plato comparing the helmsman’s role of steering a ship to that of governance. The Platonic “Philosopher King” rules his Ancient Greek City-State through a combination of philosophical knowledge and political statecraft. The etymology behind the name Cybernetics is a fitting one for Computer Science and Political Science.

The basic theory behind Cybernetics is a causal one: the introduction of Inputs to yield desired Outputs. Inputs trigger a Sensor to cause a Controller to produce a predetermined series of Outputs. A Feedback is employed to inform the observer about the produced result. To give an example:

A machine prompts me to issue a command. I issue that command as an Input, the Input itself triggering a Sensor, which causes the Controller to respond to my command by producing an Output. When producing the Output, the Controller is given a binary choice of ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, ‘1’ or ‘0’. Either the machine complies with my command or the machine does not comply for whatever Intent. Whichever choice the machine makes, the Feedback will be relaying the results of the Output to me, the person who originally issued the command.

It is in this specific process where we encounter the basic logic behind how computer software, automated systems, and even AI programs operate. Cybernetics stipulates that digital and automated machines are designed to perform a predetermined series of executable commands when prompted. The machinery cannot, unless programmed to do so, combine a 1 and another 1 to yield a 2 or deduct a 1 from another 1 to yield a 0. When people become amazed by an AI program achieving something that was never possible, always remember that the program itself is still operating within the parameters set by its developer.    

There are some obvious implications associated with Cybernetics, some of which have already been explored in some detail in The Work-Standard (2nd Ed.) and The Third Place (1st Ed.). Repetitive, monotonous tasks previously done by people can be taken over by machines, allowing the same people to perform other tasks that are far more worthy of their Life-Energy. Mechanical and analog machinery cooperate with the executable programs of digital and automated machinery, both of which are to be brought under the Command and Obedience of the Arbeiter. The Figure of the Arbeiter has the technical skills, philosophical knowledge, economic discipline, and political statecraft to preside over the State of Total Mobilization. The Arbeiter cannot be a Bourgeois; the Bourgeois prefers to retreat from the State of Total Mobilization in favor of the State of Natural Rights.   

After writing “Total Mobilization” and Der Arbeiter, Ernst Jünger’s interest in Cybernetics continued to persist in later works. His brother, Friedrich Georg, would later write Die Perfektion der Technik (The Perfection of Technology) as a critique of Technology’s relation to Arbeit. From an economic standpoint, one could read Friedrich Georg Jünger and come away with criticisms of Keynesianism, Fordism-Taylorism, Utopian Socialism, and Liberal Capitalist conceptions of Technology.

In Economics, it is often assumed that Technology will create newfound sources of wealth and economic growth. This is of course the Liberal Capitalist conception of Technology: the elimination of Arbeit in the interests of Kapital. There is a belief that Liberal Capitalist Technology will reduce the amount of Zeit devoted to generating Kapital and Schuld in a Market/Mixed Economy or a Fractional-Reserve Banking System. Friedrich Georg Jünger insisted that Technology on its own cannot decrease the workweek or increase the Quantity of Kapital with the tradeoff of reducing the Quantity of Schuld. In reality, however, Technology only does the opposite: it replaces Meaningful Work with Meaningless Work, from Arbeit of very high Quality to Arbeit of very low Quality. It is precisely here where the Figure of the Arbeiter finds itself in perpetual conflict with Neoliberalism, and where the State of Total Mobilization is trying to overcome the State of Natural Rights.

The Arbeiter seeks to realize its own version of wealth, its own version of economic growth, and therefore its own version of economic freedom. These notions run contrary to the shared paradigm of Production for Profit and Production for Utility. The Liberal Capitalists are expecting the Arbeiter to somehow ‘rationalize’ all production processes in terms of Profit Maximization and Utility Maximization commensurate with Kapital Accumulation. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to the Liberal Capitalists, the Arbeiter is the true Philosopher King of Technology and not them.

Their defiance to the dominion of the Arbeiter will ultimately yield growing dysfunctionality, inefficiency, unproductivity and incompetency for all Market/Mixed Economies and Fractional-Reserve Banking Systems. Neoliberalism, rather than consolidating its position in the late 20th century and beyond by enriching Liberal Capitalist Parliamentary Democracies with the Arbeiter’s Technology, has instead found the complete opposite. Tax Rates, Deregulations, Outsourcings, Contractors, Interest Rates, Inflation Rates, Government and Consumer Spending, Loans and LCFIs and so forth will only delay the inevitable. Thus, it becomes peculiar to know that Friedrich von Hayek, after writing The Road to Serfdom, would later develop an obsession with Cybernetics for the duration of his lifetime in the late 20th century. He had to have realized the implications that the Arbeiter and the State of Total Mobilization would have on any nation that willingly or unwillingly adopts Liberal Capitalist Parliamentary Democracy after 1945.      

Categories: Digital Realm

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