TokyoFreePress
      An interactive and taboo-free journalism based in Japan




     
 
Welcome to TokyoFreePress Thursday, March 23 2017 @ 11:17 PM JST
   

No one but yourself can manipulate you

OUR GOAL HERE IS TO MAKE YOU STOP TO THINK, AS WE ALWAYS DO, RATHER THAN STOP THINKING.






MOTOMAN making pancakes

State-of-the-art system called
SAP Management Cockpit
As I have said many times before, my only concern is whether humanity has a future. That's the only thing that will make a great difference to my last glimpse of the people and things I leave behind. Paradoxical though it may seem, I am cautiously optimistic in that respect because of my MEism which is something 180-degrees different from egomania.

From my MEist point of view, any doomsday scenario is not only counterintuitive but also logically flawed. So many people say "we" have no future because "they" have successfully manipulated "us" so "we" are headed for ruin.

Simply this is ridiculous. If "we" were really doomed, certainly some of "them" who outsmarted "us" would be able to survive "us" and other groups of "them." And there would be no reason to deny the winning part of "them" the right for survival because "they" now proved the fittest. "We" would have to bow out as underdogs.

I know I am not manipulable. You can manipulate apes but I am a small part of humanity.

At the same time I hope I'm not alone in understanding no other creature puts itself in mauvaise foi (bad faith.) That should mean that some of these "I's," if not many of them, are aware that the word "conformism" should not be defined in such a conformist way as so many of "us" and "them" casually do. I know these "I's" agree to my heretical way of defining conformism. Let me reiterate this: conformism is not an ism, but a disease caused by developmental failure. Sometimes you might be able to remedy it, as you always should try to, but you can never correct it. It doesn't make a bit of sense to discuss whether it is correctable.

Actually the more quickly "they" or "we" degenerate as doomsayers argue, the more likely it is the narrowly defined humanity goes on evolving. It doesn't matter anymore if these "I's" are the smallest minority.

I was ruminating my optimistic view of humanity when I received a mail from Diogenes of Arkansas. He is one of the small number of visitors to this website who are always willing to share their thought-provoking ideas with us. In his mail he alerted me to a full-page advertisement placed in the August 30 edition of the Wall Street Journal. As usual I appreciated the input from Diogenes because now he brought in a new perspective to the issue we have been discussing in the last couple of months.

My take on the recent development in robotics has very little in common with the way most people in the industrialized countries view it. I was impressed by the ad in two different ways.

Firstly, I now learned that managers and technologists in America's service industry are quickly getting used to the idea that practically everyone working there can be replaced by machines. In a sense it is encouraging to know they no longer take it for granted that providing junk food, or other worthless products and services to one another is what man's economic activity is all about.

On the other hand, it's amazing to know the gap lying between technologies and social systems still keeps widening at an accelerated pace. In Britain the Luddites movement was started in the early 1810s. These artisans in the textile industry had a good reason to rise up against the newly-introduced labor-saving machinery. But the union-backed minimum wage initiative by EPI (Employment Policies Institute) is yet another confirmation that there isn't the slightest sign American workers and consumers are waking up anytime soon from their 200-year-long sleep. Small wonder they have chosen the Black Kenyan Monkey as their leader and still let him propagate the absurd idea that jobs are something that can be artificially created out of thin air.

As a result of the yawning gap between technologies and sociopolitical systems, contemporary Americans in every walk of life have become unable to do things any better than a robot. Now it's next to impossible to find a whitecollar or bluecollar worker who can't be replaced by an AI-equipped machine. You may even find one which is able to write a book titled something like The Coming Collapse of China. Another writing robot may publish a book about "the 9.11 hoax".

The MOTOMAN robot was developed by Japan's Yaskawa Electric. But the company has carefully refrained from promoting it locally. Instead, Drives and Motion Division of its U.S. subsidiary Yaskawa America, Inc. is manufacturing the specific type of robot. Obviously the management of Yaskawa made the right decision. On the one hand the company developed MOTOMAN by leveraging Japan's leading-edge technology in robotics, while on the other, the company has been marketing it in the U.S. where practically everything can be automated.

As the company's management is well aware, the cultural climate of Japan is diagonally different from America's. Although the Japanese people are suffering the same mental illness the Americans are suffering, i.e. conformism, its symptoms are quite different between the two peoples. For one thing, the clinical history of the Japanese is three times longer, to say the least. It dates back at least to the mid-19th century. As a result, even today the Japanese value face-to-face contact over modern forms of communication. It's the single most important thing in this "close-knit" society. It's evident from this trait that technophobia always goes hand-in-hand with its reverse side, which I call technology fetishism. And that is why Japanese technologists concentrate on making friendly robots such as Toyota's companion robots, animal robots and those who play the violin for you.

Japan is considered one of the most advanced countries in robotics, nonetheless. I hypothesize that the reason behind Japan's superiority in this area can only be explained by the behavioral patterns of its people which are quite similar to those of robots. These people have always proved as subservient as robots. Not only that, they are sometimes even more efficient than robots. I don't know which is the cause, and which is the consequence, but it seems as though people try to emulate robots as much as robots do people. Either way, it must be an easy task for robotics engineers here to develop robots who are good at mimicking human beings.

All in all, the last thing the Japanese would think about is to replace human beings en masse with AI-enabled machines. As I told you in my recent post about the insanity of Tokyo's bid to host the 2020 Olympics, Masao Yoshida, former chief of the Fukushima Fifty died on July 9 of esophageal cancer. Even today we know absolutely nothing about the fate of the Fukushima Fifty, or Fukushima Forty-Nine, because of the total media blackout. And not a single individual has come forward to say something like this: "Tokyo Electric Power Company should have assigned robots to the suicide mission. At least TEPCO should immediately replace all of them with robots." It's all the more inconceivable that someone insists the entire TEPCO management should also be replaced.

In the last ten years or so, my former employer SAP has been selling what it calls "Management Cockpit" (photo) which shows the company management all the necessary information derived from the SAP proprietary "Business Information Warehouse." At least in theory, the state-of-the-art system can kick all these executives out of their high-paying, cushy positions.

Even in the era of the Internet, there are many other allegedly important tasks which can't be taken over from human beings. Just to mention a few, even the most modern robot can't perform the following tasks:

● Offer sincere apologies for what is not his fault, let alone dramatize the situation by bursting into tears on his knees.
● Deceive himself.
● Constantly be duped into doing anything in unconditional compliance with the order from above or pressure from peers.

Last but not least, the robot never kills himself when he has to kill someone else, instead. Since the war defeat, Japanese individuals, more often than not, have substituted a symbolic suicide for actually performing the ritual of Seppuku (disembowelment,) but what Ian Buruma calls a "Death Cult" still remains there essentially intact.

The most relevant question, therefore, comes down to this:

"How would the Japanese have acted if they had been able to develop a suicide machine in the last days of the Pacific War?"

Without a doubt, they would still have continued the same Kamikaze tactic if Yaskawa or any other company had been able to develop an unmanned aerial vehicle that outperformed the V-2 rocket of Nazi Germany.

As I told my audience more than four years ago, researchers at Japan's Aeronautical Research Institute, including my father, were strongly discouraged, or even prohibited from working on UAVs simply because when it came to the show of loyalty to the Divine Emperor, these young living pilots were considered irreplaceable by anything else.

It's very hard for me to remain optimistic about the future of humanity when most people constantly manipulate themselves and claim they are the innocent victims of a real or imaginary crime.

But I still believe in my ontology that unequivocally says humanity is not manipulable. ·

Story Options

Trackback

Trackback URL for this entry: http://www.TokyoFreePress.com/trackback.php?id=20130831084656221

No trackback comments for this entry.
No one but yourself can manipulate you | 7 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
No one can manipulate you but yourself
Authored by: samwidge on Wednesday, September 04 2013 @ 01:50 PM JST

You pointed out that, "The MOTOMAN robot was developed by Japan's Yaskawa Electric. But the company has carefully refrained from promoting it locally." In the advertising world this is quite logical. Here's the way it works; Advertising is expensive. Japanese media will already have given this Japanese product an appropriate amount of coverage and promotion.

They do this for a Japanese product simply because it is Japanese and everyone is interested (and proud).

Such products are given paid promotion in the US because we are the prime target for sales. Moreover, Korea is the world's epicenter for production of robots and the Japanese desperately need a good share of that market.

We Americans, of course, choose largely to remain consumers of this marvelous technology. I think that the big names in international economics analysis would not claim that we are lazy but rather that we are predictable during this short time when things are easy.

Things will soon become difficult and we figure that we can dig ourselves out later.

This minor correction to your words; A cyborg is defined as, "a living being whose powers are enhanced by computer implants or mechanical body parts." Therefore such a thing/person could rationally apologize for an error. For that matter, a cyborg could fool you or you could fool he/it.

Your idea that, "humanity is not manipulable," is a conundrum. There is no way to prove this. If humanity is not manipulable then there is no hope for humanity. If humanity is manipulable then we have no way to know whether we succeed or fail in this manipulation. We only have hope that we have some purpose/value.

In the end, it becomes a discussion of Schrödinger's cat, only another polemic.
No one can manipulate you but yourself
Authored by: Y.Yamamoto on Wednesday, September 04 2013 @ 09:13 PM JST

Thanks for educating me on advertisement. Although it's off the topic here, I thank you for bringing it up. When a TV commercial makes you decide to buy the product, it's YOU, no one else, who wants to have it. For this very simple reason. I've repeatedly said, no one but yourself can manipulate you. I think I can't stress this too much.

You wrote: "Your idea that, 'humanity is not manipulable,' is a conundrum. There is no way to prove this. If humanity is not manipulable then there is no hope for humanity."

I don't have the foggiest idea of what you are talking about here. In the last couple of months I repeatedly PROVED there is a way to PROVE it. Now I think it's your turn to PROVE "there is no way to PROVE this."

Also I'd like you to PROVE "if humanity is not manipulable then there is no hope for humanity."

Let me add that I wrote "humanity is not manipulable" here simply to avoid repeating the title of this post which reads: "No one can manipulate you but yourself."

Yes, you can manipulate yourself as much as you like. Maybe your way of saying the same thing is: "WE can manipulate OURselves." I think what makes your comments so hard to understand is the fact that you always substitute "WE" for "I." This time you used "I" only once while using "WE" eight times in your post. This is really amazing.
No one can manipulate you but yourself
Authored by: Diogenes on Wednesday, September 04 2013 @ 02:22 PM JST
A few months ago, I was in one of the large building supply stores, HomeDepot. Although there was a checkout line that was customer operated, I always found at least three checkout lines with cashiers. One day, all that changed. All but one of the checkout lines was converted into these self-checkout machines. I asked the frustrated girls, there to assist in getting the customers conditioned to using them, "What's the deal? Are they trying to eliminate your job?" They all in unison said, "Yes." Around this same time, I noticed that Walmart did the same transformation, but adding about eight of these AI machines, and leaving a dozen or more of the regular ones intact. This is only the beginning. They aren't aiming at my generation. They are aiming at conditioning the younger generation, the ones that are already in the nascent stages of trans-humanism. Operating these robots is just another video game or text message for them. Who can see the problem with that? Right?

At some point, in the U.S. and elsewhere, where robotics begin to seriously replace human workers, there will have to be a second Luddite movement. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luddite But this AI/machine threat is not the only challenge to workers. All of the "free trade" deals currently signed by the U.S. government have caused hundreds of thousands of factories to close, and those jobs getting exported to other nations. This is, of course, treason, but that word is considered a taboo like the word nigger, but it needs to be said loud and often, and the names of the perpetrators published.

Currently, there is a new, monster, "free trade" agreement that is being negotiated in secret called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). http://www.citizen.org/TPP

This little stab in the heart, when passed (not if passed, because every one of these treasonous treaties passes) will do the following:

1. offshore millions of American jobs (the few that are left),

2. free the banksters from oversight,

3. ban Buy America policies needed to create green jobs and rebuild our economy,

4. decrease access to medicine,

5. flood the U.S. with unsafe food and products,

6. and empower corporations to attack our environmental and health safeguards.

The question is going to be: will the public negatively effected by this agreement say no, and if so, what are the possibilities of an organized resistance in each effected country? Those countries include: the U.S. and Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam; with other countries, including China, potentially joining later.

I know for a fact that the Japanese and Canadians will be one of the least likely to resist. In the U.S., with all the laws already in place for martial law, and with the police state already here, there is a chance that there may actually be a full blown civil war--something that I thought for years was impossible. For me, the question is: if there is actually a genuine, organized, fightback, will this real resistance occur in my lifetime? If the answer for me is yes, I will then need to decide which country I will escape to ahead of time. The trickle of ex-pats is slowly growing, and it may prove much more difficult in the future when a flood of escapees begins.

I'm just grateful that I have no children, who will some day challenge me by demanding to know, "How did you let this happen to us?"

None of this is going to end well.
No one can manipulate you but yourself
Authored by: Y.Yamamoto on Wednesday, September 04 2013 @ 09:23 PM JST

Yes, you are absolutely right: many more people will be out of work and many more factories will be closed down. But honestly, that is not my problem. I already have too many headaches and heartaches of my own to care about someone else's problem. I'm not an egomaniac. I'm just saying I can't do anything about it – except lip service which I’m not very good at.

I don't know how far the U.S. Netizens and TV viewers are advised of TPP. But as you may remember, I talked a lot about TPP in most of 2011. In those days, most of us knew very little about the multilateral trade agreement except that it was a black box that contained a lot of poisons such as an ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) Clause. But now it's no longer a secret here in Japan that TPP is yet another attempt to solidify and perpetuate the worldwide U.S. dominance at the cost of its 51st state (Canada,) 52nd (Japan) and other "Pacific-rim" nations. There's nothing new in it.

Like many other Japanese who aren't farmers, I have been quickly losing interest in TPP. Of course, this is not to say American workers in any industry won't have to suffer its consequences, although the tradeoff for your country as a whole is always positive.
No one can manipulate you but yourself
Authored by: Diogenes on Thursday, September 05 2013 @ 07:24 AM JST
I came across this story that gives us a chance to see the future.

http://singularityhub.com/2013/09/02/harvest-automation-brings-affordable-robotics-to-big-ag/

Watching the short video, I could see that at least two of the people working with these robots are likely scheduled to be replaced. The guy on the right standing is probably the straw boss or owner. Now, this is a website that appears to be dedicated to the concept of "singularity or the singularity." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity

"The technological singularity, or simply the singularity, is a theoretical point in time when human technology (and, particularly, technological intelligence) will have so rapidly progressed that, ultimately, a greater-than-human intelligence will emerge, which will "radically change human civilization, and perhaps even human nature itself."

Some, totally out of touch with their humanity, claim that at some stage, this is considered a natural evolutionary stage, so humans will no longer be necessary. This is the point when "the singularity" has reached its next evolutionary stage. Of course, then we'd have the robots plotting to eliminate us, because we were their masters, as in the film "I, Robot." This is an old idea. The author of R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), Karel Capek, coined the term robot, based on a Czech word for boring, meaningless work. In the end, these R.U.M. rose up and killed their creator, in a Mary Shelly, Frankenstein fashion. Creepy? Far fetched? Imagine fifty or one hundreds years from now?
No one can manipulate you but yourself
Authored by: Y.Yamamoto on Thursday, September 05 2013 @ 06:33 PM JST

This is a real intellectual challenge. I would have appreciated it even more if I weren’t bogged down once again in the new phase of the never-ending tax battle amid the lingering heat. Hopefully I’ll address the issue more from the angle of singularity theories when I’m in the next lull. But in the interim, let me think aloud about some other points.

When an inventor or entrepreneur starts up a small venture to build robots, it will be advisable and practicable to simplify the man-vs.-robot issue as much as possible as the founder of Harvest Automation did. He seems to be saying there are only 2 types of activity, “what humans can’t do” and “what humans can do but don’t.” But actually there are many more categories such as “humans can’t do, robots can’t either,” “humans can do, robots want to as well,” etc.

Even the type the CEO has singled out branches out into many subcategories, such as “humans don’t do because they don’t think they need to,” “humans don’t do because they just don’t want to,” “humans don’t do because they are not allowed to,” etc.

We are neither an inventor nor an entrepreneur. So we have to look at other categories, as well. One example is automakers like Toyota. I don’t know it exactly but I’m reasonably sure they are now working on GPS-guided and fully-automated cars. At a glance, they are going to deprive drivers of the “fun to drive (Toyota’s catchword.)” But the fact of the matter remains that at least in Japan, a growing number of people are now having fun in being driven by the machine, and looking forward to more to come.

But we are not a Toyota salesman, either. That’s where something to explain stages of evolution more comprehensively kicks in.

When working for SAP Japan, I had a contact with a professor of Ontology Engineering at Osaka University’s Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research, named Mizoguchi. A couple of times I had a chance to talk with the prominent professor over Artificial Intelligence. But I found out that he is a person that you would describe as one of those who are “totally out of touch with humanity.”

To me, the word humanity is a collective noun for individual “I’s.” So I have no interest in delving into their theories which only expedite the emergence of “new intelligence.” They all end up ushering in the Sci-fi kind of societies where drones are flying around and GPS-guided people are roaming around aimlessly. That’s exactly why I stick to MEism which is my own version of Sartrean ontology.

BTW: How is your “Electric Slave” doing these days?

No one can manipulate you but yourself
Authored by: Diogenes on Thursday, September 05 2013 @ 08:13 PM JST
It turned out to be one of those: "I should have known better" cases. Two months after the two-year warranty expired, so did the hydraulic pump motor. No problem, said I. I contacted the manufacturer for a replacement motor, but to my surprise, it was "no longer available." Since this log splitter had only been on the market for four years, that's a pretty bad "must supply" inventory policy. This is typical of garbage made in China. Probably, if I'd spent extra money, I could have gotten the model "SR" that was programmed to self repair. It seems that an invisible Wilberforce was designed inside to liberate this slave with a suicide feature. My R.U.R. needs to go back to the factory for the Lazarus upgrade. In the meantime, it's back to the sledge hammer and wedges.