Commentary & Opinion
12:45 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Paul Elisha: The Robots Are Coming!

After viewing an especially well crafted Public TV video-history on the Scottish/American naturalist, John Muir’s role in the preservation of America’s National Parks and the founding of The Sierra Club, this commentator was moved to dig deeper and came across an observation, by biographer Donald Worster, who noted Muir’s belief that his mission was  “…..Saving the American soul from total surrender to materialism.”

The impact of such a statement (made in 1912} was enough to inspire this observer to pursue its necessity to the utmost.

Attention to current news on radio or TV in any mode, aside from their incessant marketing interventions, reveals a drum-beat repetition of the reported invention and testing of drone and varied robotic technology; most relating to military necessity but others, created with intended delivery to commercial sources, for specific sale to and use by targeted areas of business and other mercantile or household activity.

The kicker in all of these is the implicit design and dependence on computer directed robotics and related software.  Any dependence on human analysis and creative mental capability has been eliminated.  The proof of this dangerous condition now abides in the oft-dependent alibi, encountered in countless commercial situational disruptions:  “You’ll have to try again, later.  Our computer is down!”

There’s a more insidious  danger at work, here, that threatens the odds of our survival, as capable members of a free and functioning elective republic:  The ability to think beyond our dependence on robotic technology; analyze problems and create usable solutions.  This was the great talent of those in the so-called: ‘Greatest Generation,’ that achieved victory, in WWII:  The ability to act with independent inventiveness, that could overcome robotic obedience.  It was this quality that inspired John Muir, in 1912 and an entire generation of Americans, in 1941.

The question now is:  Can it inspire this generation of Americans to think beyond robotic reliance, to master tawdry materialism and generate a new and vital American inventiveness, in Two-thousand and Fourteen?

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.

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