On our way...
(image by Denver Open Media)
om-nis-cient: adj. having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding.
Hebrews 4:13 CEB: No creature is hidden from it, but rather everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of the one to whom we have to give an answer.
There is much hullabaloo swirling around the spying of the NSA these days. And the revelations of how deeply this particular agency's penetration has been into our daily lives have been correctly publicized by Glenn Greenwald and others. In some instances, the revelations have shocked people around the world. But, as we know or should know, spy agencies in almost every country would love to have the resources of the NSA. And, as we also should know, every spy agency is rushing toward the same goal: universal knowledge of every moment in every person's life. Omniscience.
One way of attaining the goal of omniscience is to have a super-computer that can process information without hindrance and retain all information in a storage facility. Instant access and instant linkage of one piece of information with another is also necessary, so that when I want information about Jack and all his exploits, I will find out exactly when and where he accessed the beanstalk, how he climbed it, exactly how he engaged the giant, and what profits he reaped from the goose he took from the giant. Of course at the same time I would want to know whether or not Jack's golden-egg income is taxable, whether he can be prosecuted for having robbed the giant, and whether or not he has done irreparable environmental damage by cutting down the beanstalk as well as committing murder when the giant fell to his death. All this information on Jack, and his mother, who seems to have been complicit in his crimes, must be available and be coherently linked.
Of course, once I have built my case against Jack, I will want to trace his steps back to the market where he made the exchange of cow for magic beans. Who was this stranger who gave him these beans? Are there any clear pictures of his face on the surveillance cameras around the market? Have we any information of him being active in other markets? Are the beans the genetically engineered tools of a terrorist network bent on destroying world order by enabling even the lowliest and poorest among us to climb to the highest pinnacles of power and rob the "giants" of their wealth? And what about the goose? Does every "giant" have one? Is therefore every "giant" in danger? Can Jack clone it and use it to subvert the power structure by making everyone self-sufficient?
If the machine can't answer these questions instantly and accurately, it's of no use. It will not be able to extend the power of the owners of the machine. Even the quantum computer everyone seems to be heralding as the precursor to the omniscient God machine will not be able to complete the task as needed. So, how can a so-called God machine come into existence?
Well, it's not all that difficult really. What we have in place now is the infrastructure for such a machine. In fact, we add to the infrastructure daily with each new computer and each new cell phone that we buy.
Every time we make a call or visit a website, information is collected by some company or other as well as by spy agencies. Everybody knows about the collection habits of Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook. But they are just the tip of the iceberg. Every phone company, every auto manufacturer, every bank, every clothing store, every coffee shop, every bar, and every bus and taxi and streetcar has information about us that is stored on a database. Much of this information is visual. Each time Jack passes the local betting shop, the video cameras watching the entrance to the shop see him pass by and store the information. Each time Jack goes to the supermarket he is seen and his purchases are recorded, as well as his progress through the aisles and, if the system is sophisticated enough, how his eyes travel along the shelves and which products he sees, how long he looks at them and which ones he eventually chooses. Jack's behavior in the supermarket is monitored as well. Does he smile or frown when in conversation? How does he react to stimuli like music, lighting, other customers, special displays? Can we hear what he is saying?
Market researchers and their teams of psychologists have been doing this kind of spying since the early years of the 20th century, first on small groups of subjects, then with focus groups, and now on anyone and everyone who enters a controlled environment. Their goal is to bend the customer to their will. The propaganda machines of governments learned these techniques as well and the masses were bent to their will and led into war like animals to the slaughter.
The NSA and the marketeers are just different departments in the apparatus of the state -- the one that in the USA is still partially civilian but is being transformed hour by hour into a corporate state in what the corporations hope will one day be a corporate world. So it's not the NSA quantum computer we have to be afraid of, it's the melding together of the marketing forces of the corporations with the agencies of the state, linked by a kind of dark underground Internet, an interface for information exchange, a symbiotic relationship thath maintains the dominance of the omniscient few over the malleable many. That is the God machine that is desired -- a machine we all have to answer to. That is the God machine that is on the event horizon. And once that machine goes to work, no light will escape from the black hole we will all be in.