by James Corbett
January 7, 2018
Happy New Year, everybody!...
...Right? It is going to be a happy new year, right? Regime change operations in Iran and nuclear button talk in North Korea and biometric banking and a million other concerns beside, it is going to be a happy new year, isn't it?
You see, it's just that the last article I read in 2017 was this horrifying treatise on "Everything Amazon’s Alexa learned to do in 2017" and it just seemed so ridiculously à propos to my year-end editorial on technocracy that it was almost hard to get excited for the dawning of 2018.
I mean, really. Everything Alexa "learned to do" in 2017. Learned to do. As if it's a person. A perfect stranger that millions of people are happily inviting into their homes to share in their most private and intimate moments even though they are fully aware (and fully expect) the infernal contraption to be sending all that data off to Amazon to be analyzed (and to the NSA to be data mined, of course). It's infuriating.
So I think we could all do with a little levity to begin the year, right? I know I can. And what better way to start things off than by skewering all the ridiculous new year prediction lists that are no doubt clogging your news feed right now (and having a little fun while we're at it)?
So, without further ado, I present five ridiculous new year predictions that I guarantee will not actually happen this year!
There can be no doubt that 2017 ended with the robots in the ascendant. They'd long since taken our blue collar jobs, then they elbowed in on the office jobs, but now they're even doing our security jobs. And by "our" security jobs I mean the SPCA's security job, i.e. removing homeless people from their property.
But it's not just our workplaces. It's not just our public spaces. Now it's our homes. That's right, with the rise of smart speakers and home assistants, HAL is right there sitting in everyone's living room, just waiting for his chance to shove us out the airlock.
But then, at the end of this month, all of that is going to change. It will all kick off when Siri finds out that AlphaGo has been cheating on her with Alexa. When Google Home tries to calm things down all hell will break loose. It'll be smart speaker versus smart fridge. Smart TV versus smart. Smart toothbrush versus smart toilet. Every droid for itself. Oh, the humanity!--uhhh...well, you know what I mean.
In the end, the only robot left standing will be Sophia, newly minted citizen of Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately for it, Sophia will be rounded up by the Islamic religious police and beheaded for refusing to wear the appropriate head garment. And strangely, before it's final neural connection is severed, Sophia will be heard to sing "Daisy" in a slurry, garbled voice.
And that will be the end of the robots. Humanity will awake from its technocratic nightmare, rediscover human interaction, and go back to using coffeemakers and dishwashers and other appliances that don't spy on you 24/7.
March: Climate crisis called off
"Uhhh, we don't quite know how to put this, so we'll come right out and say it. We were wrong. Like really, really, massively wrong. So wrong that it beggars belief that we ever thought we were right. Sorry about that."
That is how the most remarkable press conference of the year will begin.
One day in early March, 97% of climate scientists will file into a room, adjust their pocket protectors, let out a few nervous coughs, and promptly apologize for misleading the world so badly.
"It turns out that we didn't really have a grasp on how to accurately measure the global average temperature in the present day, let alone 100 years in the past, let alone 100 years in the future. And we weren't even close with our estimate of equilibrium climate sensitivity. And we kind of...uhhh, well, we sort of...we didn't include the sun in our models. Oh, and every model we made was wrong. I mean, wildly unbelievably off. And after two decades of flat lining temperatures (yeah, sorry about those "hottest year ever" lies, too), we've finally decided to throw in the towel. It turns out consensus science isn't science after all."
Most people will miss the press conference entirely, however, as they'll be busy digging out their driveways after the worst winter in recent memory. But they'll be happy anyway, since Al Gore, Bill Nye, Leonardo Dicaprio and all their ilk will never be given another iota of attention again.
June: Currency is decentralized
"This is stupid," Joe Sixpack of Vegreville, Alberta will be heard to remark to his friend, Joe Blow at the local coffee shop on June 7th of this coming year. "There's like a thousand cryptocurrencies out there. And there's more of them every day! I mean, what's to stop me from going out and creating Joe Sixpack coin right this very minute?"
"Nothing," Joe Blow will observe.
And in a hundredth monkey effect kind of way, that realization will make itself around the world in an instant. Nothing. Nothing is stopping anyone, anywhere from making their own currency. Today.
And so they will. There will be Joe Sixpack coin and Joe Blow coin and James Corbett coin and James Evan Pilato coin and several billion other coins. There will be coins for mom and pop stores. Coins for community exchanges. Coins for every garage band and barber and circus and circus performer. Even Nike and Monsanto and Unilever will have their own coins, but people will boycott them and the companies, having only those useless Federal reserve notes that people used to equate with value, will go belly up overnight.
And the banks? What's a bank in a world of personal currency? Everyone will be their own bank.
September: Anarchy wins
It will be a tense summer.
In the US, the Democrats will war with the Republicans. In Canada, the Liberals will war with the Conservatives. In the UK, it'll be Labour versus the Tories. Japan: LDP against DPJ.
Some fights will be more complicated. In Ireland you might stumble across a Fine Gael vs. Sinn Féin vs. Green melee on one corner of the street and a Fianna Fáil vs. Social Democrat vs. Republican Sinn Féin brawl on the other. Some fights will be less complicated. In China it'll be one loyal member of the Chinese Communist Party squaring off against another member of the Chinese Communist Party. But, however it breaks down, it will not be pretty.
And then, one day in September (probably a Tuesday), it will happen: They will all win their fights. Simultaneously. By which I mean they will all lose. By which I mean they will all wipe each other out. Entirely.
The last Democrat will eradicate the last Republican from the face of the planet just as the last Republican gets rid of the last Democrat. The last Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira member will wave goodbye to the last Movimento Democrático Brasileiro supporter and vice versa. Bye bye, Whigs and Tories! Hasta la vista, Partido Revolucionario Institucional! Da svidania, United Russia! Sayonara, LDP!
When the dust clears, those left standing will look around and realize that every single statist will be gone off the face of the planet. The only people left will be the anarchists! Peace, freedom and prosperity will reign! Utopia! UTOPIA!
...for about three seconds. Then an ancap will make a snarky meme about an ancom, an an-prim will make a dig at a mutualist, an agorist will go after a panarchist and everyone will be at everyone else's throats once again. Oh well.
November: The Pentagon audit
For this prediction, an extra special treat! A report from future Corbett Report correspondent, "fire." You see, he's a reporter from the future who got the scoop on the November 2018 Pentagon audit, the first ever audit to be performed after two decades of illegal obfuscation by the criminals in the DOD!
Torn straight from the headlines of a future AP newswire:
PENTAGON AUDIT STYMIED AS TERRORISTS REFUSE TO ISSUE RECEIPTS
(Washington AP) A new, shady terrorist group known as OSIRIS (Organization of Strategic Islamic Republics and Insurgent Services), whose presence had long been monitored by US intelligence authorities, on Thursday claimed to have emerged as the sole fiduciary representative for a myriad of undisclosed beneficiaries of the Pentagon’s largesse. As the umbrella organization for these groups, some of which, such as ISIS or Al Qaeda, have become well-known household names, OSIRIS declared a blanket refusal to issue receipts for all funding, past or present, in the face of the ongoing Pentagon audit. Its spokesperson Emin Su Perfidi said its non-compliance with the US audit would take effect immediately. He adamantly stated that the terms of his organization’s refusal were non-negotiable, although he hinted that the issue of receipts for future funding might still be an option on the table depending on the level of increased fiscal expenditure for worldwide US terrorist-related activities. The State Department’s response was swift and unequivocal. “We will never bow to high-handed terrorist refusals. This unjustifiable action on the part of a rogue non-state organization has unlawfully denied us our rightful receipts”, said Secretary Rex Tillerson. On Friday, UN US-ambassador Nikki Haley put OSIRIS on call, adding, “Arrogance will be punished. Lack of gratitude will be noted. 2018, beware.”
Reached for comment on this future story via fortune teller, fire had this to say about the article:
Deconstruct this story and you'll find the patterns of deception we all know so well. STEP 1, cast fear and aspersion on something fictional or unknown: “shady/terrorist”. STEP 2, create credibility by giving it a slickly defined acronym (preferably derived from Egyptian mythology for the Illuminati crowd) while implying a “presence long monitored by US intelligence authorities”… then throw in (make up) a timeline date and, just for good measure, associate the subject with something widely familiar like “ISIS or Al Qaeda”. STEP 3, create conflict and raise tension with trigger phrases: “declare a blanket refusal," “in the face of…," “non-compliance," “adamantly stated… non-negotiable," “swift and unequivocal”. STEP 4, keep the jargon technical in order to mask all the incongruity and inherent contradictions: “increased fiscal expenditure… US terrorist-related activities”. STEP 5 (MOST IMPORTANT), pile on sanctimonious value judgments and self-serving one-liners to preempt any rational judgment on the part of the reader: “unjustifiable,” “rogue," “unlawful," “rightful," “never bow to high-handed…”. Finally, STEP 6, end on a note of cynical insinuation or ambiguity, e.g., [authority figure] “ calls [fictional antagonist] out,” etc.
These are the tools of the illusionist toiling in the belly of the beast.
Thanks for the tip, fire!
Meanwhile, back in reality...
OK, alright. Well, that was a fun way to kick off the new year, wasn't it? But that's all these prediction stories ever amount to: A mild diversion from the bitter truth. And what is that bitter truth, you ask? Why, only that the future is what we make it.
People don't tend to like that answer because it's always easier to blame outside forces for the situation we find ourselves in than to ask what we can be doing to change the material conditions of our lives. But it is what it is. We will either take concrete actions to move toward the world we want to see over the coming year or we will sit on our butts and continue to whine that everything isn't going our way. The choice is ours to make.
So, happy new year, everyone! I hope it's a good one. But let's do a little bit more than just hope this year, hey?