Wednesday 11 March 2020

Of slimmer chances when washing handses

"As it relates to the creation of artificial intelligence, robots will not be so lifelike as humans are robotic."
—see sidebar, 27 July 2014

Why would a thousand or more attendees at an open air sporting event be dangerous enough to warrant playing matches in empty stadiums but the prospect of hundreds of people on a plane breathing the same air for several hours be an acceptable risk?

Because a primetime broadcast of an empty flight from Milan to Newark would get lousy ratings.

Speaking of which, I just hafta tell you that, being close to someone whose home of origin is on quasi federal lockdown right now (it still has daily flights from the aforementioned capital of the epicentre of its cause to all over the globe), I recognize by proximity an expanded degree of insensitivity as regards gallows humor and wonder — if there were when there's no one to screech at their flashing applause signs, would will Kimmel's and Colbert's fall flat?

Laissez faire is in the air.
The financial threat of the virus would be a reminder — if there were an acknowledgement to be reminded of — that global capitalism has no mechanism to counter the bottoming out of the business cycle other than creating more money and funneling it through hands that need it least and then crippling by a million slashes those who weren't beneficiary of the blown money, until the next crisis selectively blows more. The sustainability of this model follows a logic that persists as long as one person defending the logic still exists.

If a certain amount of this aggregated wealth were, say, secretly set aside to maintain readiness for predictable public emergencies, one might call it socially responsible. Like, if companies that receive free R & D from public projects were to use that savings as an investment to make sure that public health facilities were sufficiently furnished with medical supplies and the bed-space necessary for worst case scenarios... the kind of infrastructure any state executive would be thrilled to be able to boast without brazenly lying. It'd be a means to allay the fears of more than just a narrow base, but'd be unnecessary out of extant public confidence. Per status quo, however, confidence is a cliché that says your average billionaire's got his own masked ventilator and first dibs on the vaccine.

I've read reasonable criticism of Don Dumps in His Pants' handling of the new virus, or not handling of it, whatever that means. I've also read mainstream sensationalists venting anxiety at him devoid of the same valid criticisms. What I haven't read is the slightest whiff of awareness of how the entire world's public health emergency plans are just an improvised crossing of scenarios as they come, which entail doing as little as possible for as long as possible despite the centuries' long lessons about how these things can play out.

Even in the direst of circumstances, this ad hoc arrangement is driven by cost-benefit analyses, though not stated as such and not a consideration of overall public health but a calculation of private industries' potential losses. One aspect of trickle down economics that works reliably well is job insecurity.

So what's advised is to work from home... if you can. Don't take public transportation and avoid crowds. Always be washing your hands. Don't be afraid of your fellow human beings, but be concerned about every surface they may have touched. Not every single surface. That's playing the hygiene poker game like a crazy person. Just all the knobs and handles.

Another vague admonition amidst this confluence of fear and anti-panic mongering that I've seen is one against stockpiling; the collective conscious consensus regarding consumers already ahead of that curve brands them whacky survivalists. Probably anti-vaxers and MAGA-heads, which is ironic given their steadfast faith in their leader who's got it all under control. Who knows, maybe their kind really does have hoards of humongous holder-overs from Sam's Club insulating  their two-truck garages, in which case staying home for three months don't mean shit to them even though they won't have to because, as is established, their leader's got this bug nipped in the bud. Though it might be that survivalist ways & means could kindle a kind of emotional insurance against a critical mass of paranoia.

I wonder if a lesson could be taken by way of an analogy between The Wall and, just spitballing here, a federal policy that bans public gatherings and free movement. If denying refugees and thwarting immigration are reasonable because of the tiny number of scary terrorists or bad hombres that'd slip through your precious borders, imagine if the power to terrorise had potential in every breath, bringing to a head all enemies domestic. My guess is martial law is really bad for business.

Lemme just posit that fear, unwarranted as it is, is also relatable. The most absurd reaction to any crisis is the one filtered through the sneeze-shield of confidence in the manager who heads the empty store, even if it's just a professed faith and nothing more. No matter your opinion of your past several governments, there must be a minimal level of cognitive dissonance if you think there's a WHO out there with adequately proportional influence to trump free market influenza. It's reminiscent of the two kinds of climate change denialists, the latter of which, who've claimed there's a moderate way to incrementalise the world away from the threatened environmental apocalypse — and claimed victory last night in Michigan.

Media driven "Joe-mentum" notwithstanding, I thought maybe his older base would've stayed home out of fear catching their final infection, making Sanders a working class atch-shoo-in. I remind the reader that hacking has a history and there shouldn't be any reason to believe that it is reserved for November — or the chosen villains of your favorite network. I suspect that if anyone could do it it'd be the party machine behind those regularly updating us on who Poo-tin's preferred candidate would be.

This notion that we live in a two-dimensional world of extremes between which there's some magical middle road for everything is proving at least as costly to most people as it is most profitable to those who define the extremes. It won't matter what legislation would or wouldn't have passed parliaments when the gouging industries that shape the now don't get their deserved footnote in the history some future civilisation digs up.

In the meantime, the present and future crises reveal an eventual need for the masses to shut themselves in. If there's an end game, viral paranoia is just another wobbly cobble stone on the road to a world of on-line people, incrementally less averse to having real world experience supplanted by a different claim of experiential enhancement, virtually realistic and less real with an assumed access to a safer environment for continued social entertainments.

If and when the entrainment to the great indoors is complete, it will be impossible to even conceive of the overlords who enjoy the brilliance of a full moon without having to look it up on Is the Moon Full Dot Com. One'll just assume one's alone in the world.