The Promise of Mr. Angel

On December 14th, 2012 20 children and 6 adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School

 

This is a work of fiction. The characters and events in this story are imaginary. No matter how similar they seem to events in our world this is a work of science fiction and this is in a mirror universe very similar to our own where time moves forward a bit faster than in our universe and perhaps the identify and attitudes of a few people are slightly different.

 

Chapter 1

 

The large hall was an annex to Mr. Angel’s house. It was in the process of being constructed and the outer shell, windows, and doors were all completed. Bare walls absent sheetrock surrounded the two men as they were talking. Mr. Angel towers over Dominic easily over 6 feet tall and muscular. His face is lined and it appears at first glance that he is no stranger to sadness.

“Mr. Angel, this is an incredible system. Do you think it will ever see use?”

“Dominic, I’m just exploring my rights. Do I really think criminals or zombies or whatever will ever come after me and this system will be used? No. It is my right to take every step I can to protect myself and my family.”

“OK, sir. Not that it is any of my business. Would you like to go over the details before the final install?”

“Absolutely! I’m here at your service. Let’s get all the details nailed down. Like in any project it is harder to fix the problems when you are closer to completion.”

“Well, thank you sir. I appreciate your time – and for using Guardian Shield for your project – especially since we’re located in California and this site is here in Florida. First, let’s talk about the AR-15’s you will have mounted in the top corners of the room and along the front ceiling. This would be a very difficult project to put together in California.”

“Yes”

“How many rounds of ammunition do you require in them without needing to be refilled?”
“Well, how many can you set up?”

“The project calls for 100 round cartridges – which we certainly have in stock.”

“Are you trying to upsell me?”

“No, sir. I just want to say that at the time you signed the contract that was the maximum we could attach to your automated units. Originally they were intended for guarding the exterior of prisons and the wardens all demanded larger numbers of rounds before the auto-guards run out of ammunition.”

“And how much more did they get you to design?”

“Oddly enough, as much as you want – infinite if you want to think of it that way limited by space – in your case on the roof you could potentially have thousands of rounds per gun.”

“Wow, really!”

“Yes. I can work up a change order – just let me know how much more you require.”

“You are upselling me. And you’re doing a great job. Give me an estimate on one thousand rounds per gun.”
“Wow – you really don’t hold back, do you? We actually have ground-based drones – basically remote controlled cars that can deliver ammo if you have that kind of requirement. Instead of 1000 rounds per gun, we can have a depo station on the room with these drones running cartridges to the individual guns. You have a total of 20 guns at 1000 rounds each – that’s 20000 rounds. We have a special model designed for 50000 rounds with these drones that will likely be cheaper and better than 1000 rounds per gun. You don’t want a situation where one gun has 1000 rounds, but you’ve got active targets running around in range of other guns that have run out of ammunition.”

“I’m glad you told me. I think this system sounds very interesting. Let’s move on before you upsell me on anything else. I assume the motion sensor package is still good, no upgrades there?”

“No, sir. No upgrades there. The basic gun and sensor clusters haven’t changed. They are guaranteed to hit any moving targets in their range. This stage area. You indicated you want a bullet proof clear wall between it and the main hall area?”

“Yep, that sounds right.” Mr. Angel appeared to be getting a little bored.

“If you think you are going to be a target and the stage is the area you will be in, we can add some optional AR-15s just below the stage.”

“My, that sounds good.” Mr. Angel almost sounded like a child at this point – or an older child agreeing with a younger one over enthusiastically.

“If that’s agreement, I’ll put in a change order for that as well. We have the outside of the facility covered as well with auto-AR15s and additional sensor clusters that are meshed together in a central control system under the stage.”

“Yes, I agree.”

“One last thing, Mr. Angel. Do you perceive that vehicles would be used in an attack against you?”

“Yes, I suspect so.”

“We would consider barriers and pinch points be setup on the road approaches to the hall. In addition, we can add intelligent mines – that will be setup with RFID readers and your vehicles will be tagged – so they won’t be blown up – but offending or following vehicles will be destroyed. Would you be interested in those?”

“Yes, but can the system be turned on and off again. I do occasionally have guests.”

“Yes. You can arm the whole thing – and there is a setting that if you think your own vehicles are suspect you can have it destroy them as well.”

“Well, that sounds excellent. And the audio and video systems are wirelessly connected to the camera and microphone in the stage area.”

“Yes, of course sir. One of our easier requirements. I wasn’t even going to mention it. Any attacks of an EMP nature will not disturb the setup – everything is insulated against strong electromagnetic pulses.”

“So, I heard a rumor of the dog drones…” Mr. Angel hadn’t wanted to bring it up, but he needed to move Dominic along.

“Well, yes, sire. I was just going to mention them. Based on Boston Dynamics design from a few years ago – we’ve militarized … I mean we’ve armed them for home defense. They are quite pricey sir. They do have sensors and we give you an active RFID tag so they cannot harm you in the case of an encounter – so no friendly fire. They are capable of running incredible speeds over varied ground that you have atypically here is mostly flat Florida land and we even have a couple deployed to kill Nutria and large lizards. Would you be interested in them.”

“Yes. I want four – they can be set to patrols, right?”

“They can – we can put one for each side of the facility. No one would dream of attacking you. They do have a still somewhat limited battery capacity. I would recommend buying 8 of them and alternating them during charge and active time.”

“That is good – I’ll get 8, then. How long until the implementation is completed?”

“Just two months sir. Is there any urgency?”

“No, its fine. I just need to know when I can schedule events here after everything is done.”

“As soon as I complete the change orders I will email them to you for signature. As soon as I have the signed copies two months from that date and everything will be done – including the sheetrock and finishing of the facility.”


The only thing in this universe to fear is humanity.

Chapter 2 – 6 months later

 

Mr. Angel walked the floor of the now finished hall. It was a boozy night with everyone in high spirits.

It seemed as if every person new Mr. Angel. Everyone there was a person of importance. Senators, members of the house of representatives, or high ranking members of the NRA were all present. Mr. Angel is a member of the board of directors of the NRA and had provided funds to all the members of the government there in order to keep the 2nd amendment strong.

“Good evening Senator Strong. I can’t tell you how enthusiastic I am to have a presidential candidate present here at my little get together!”

“I’m all too happy to be here. People like you generate the funds we need to have to make our Republican cause succeed. In particular to keep our fellow constituents in business. A huge block of our supporters make and sell guns and they are too big to fail. The impact on our economy if they went under would shudder through our whole country.”

“Thank you Senator Strong. I’m just doing my best to protect our Christian rights. I hope to see you in the White House championing our cause just as the great President Trump did.”

The senator smiled as this gas was blown up his ass. His pride stoked. A retinue of guards shadowed both of them for the brief time they talked and then Mr. Angel walked on.

And on Mr. Angel moved through the crowd. He frowned a bit when he saw that there were some children present. Children didn’t belong at an event like this. It couldn’t be helped.

The hall was filled with well over two thousand people. Politics was a game played by all sorts of people.

“Good evening, Mr. Angel”, exclaimed one hopeful voice.

“Thank you! And who might you be?”

“I’m a blogger and Facebook footsoldier sir! I rally the faithful and I ensure that the voices of dissidents are put down.”

“You’ve done excellent work. I thought for a year or two after that Florida thing that the Democrats and progressives were actually going to create change in this country. That our god-given rights to own guns might somehow be proscribed. It is due to great people like you that didn’t happen. Thank you for your service, sir.”

And on he went. The vast majority of people recognized Mr. Angel, or asked someone near them who he was that everyone stopped by to speak to their gracious host.

Shades closed over the vast windows in the hall and the lights dimmed once and then a second time. Mr. Angel made his way to the unoccupied stage. There was a long loop of a hallway around the hall and the doors closed from the hall to the hallway and locked into place. There were bathrooms attached to the hall, but they did not exit to the hallways or out of the building.

The lights dimmed finally and several projectors started aimed at different screens and walls. They showed Mr. Angel at first.

 

The Face of Evil

Chapter 3 – Soliloquy

I’d like to formally greet you all here tonight. I have worked long and hard for this day and I feel our cause will be won soon. Good people all across the country will have their security ensured in that they can purchase the guns they need.

I’m amazed to see that even a few years after the events in Florida we have still ensured that any adult can buy an AR-15 – a copy of the gun I used when I served in the military the M16. Technology advances almost on a daily basis and we have to ensure that our security is always on the higher end of things so that our enemies from near or far cannot harm us and our families.

I believe family is the most important thing in the world. Our children are the continuation of our selves in the future and must be protected at any cost.

The projectors changed from Mr. Angel to the first slide. A still image of the AR-15s hanging from the ceiling appeared. A video within the image ran from a movie “Altered Carbon” the scene where chain guns dropped from the ceiling of the AI hotel Poe and began protecting the main character.

I was inspired by this scifi movie. I think a lot of good things can come from scifi. I am in a partnership with a few small companies and gun manufacturers to make that system a reality. And here it is!

20 AR-15s dropped from the ceiling upside down. Lights focused on them and they spun on their automated turrets. The audience gasped and a murmur of trepidation mixed with awe rippled through the crowd.

Be calm everyone. These are just for demonstration purposes. The executives of those companies are all here tonight – as well as the entire staff that made these installations happen today.

This system is equipped – when you install it in your house – with sensors to pick up RFID tags – that can be put in your smartphones or even embedded in your skin – and will always recognize the people who belong there. What does that mean? It means that no more do we have to be afraid that the guns we purchase will accidentally harm or kill your loved ones. It is a great leap forward in technology. No one would be able to communicate with the outside world now.

 

I quote, “The elites always protect themselves and they always protect themselves with guns. and then they lecture the American public how you shouldn’t do that…[We will not] let their anti-gun minions know that the NRA will not tolerate their use of a tragedy in their war against the Second Amendment.”

No matter how important the people are who die. We will never allow that to happen! Our families – not just the elites – deserve protecting. We will stay strong.

These atrocities that happen in our schools or elsewhere are the price we pay to be a free people! To preserve our right to bear arms!

Family, though, is the most important thing in the universe.

A bank of lights all turned green in front of Mr. Angel. He changed the slide. The slide was of a girls limp body in the arms of a police officer running out of the old Sandy Hook elementary school.

My daughter died in the Sandy Hook tragedy. This isn’t her with the officer. I think she died almost instantly after some moments of fear when the gunman was in the hallway. The little girl in this picture died later, though. No one has seen this picture outside of the Newtown Bee as they decided not to show it. I hope you appreciate that it took a lot of effort for me to get my hands on this picture.

I wish that they had shown it – and every other picture from the tragedy.

The audience looked confused. There were some murmurings. Mr. Angel pushed a button on a panel in front of him and the guns above the audience – and the two in front of them – because calibrating themselves. This wasn’t strictly required, but Mr. Angel did it for effect. And it had the desired effect.

Shortly afterward I moved from Sandy Hook. I couldn’t stand the constant sympathy for my loss. My wife killed herself. It was too much for her. When she died I made a promise. I promised that things would change.

For years afterward I worked the system. Always seemingly so close in so many areas only to lose again and again.

I couldn’t take it anymore. I realized that I was fighting on the side that was going to lose. I changed my face, I changed my identity, and I gave birth to a new plan.

“I can’t get the doors open.” panicked people in the audience. A participatory audience now. People began banging on the shades on the windows and a small group of men began a concerted effort in vain to get a pair of the doors open to the hallway.

It seemed to me that god had hardened the hearts of the Republicans and the NRA. I began to fight for the guns. Sometimes your enthusiasm for guns was so strong that for short periods of time I felt happy. But nothing could take away the fact that I am no longer fertile. That my wife is dead. That might genetic part of the future, my child, my grandchildren, thousands of descendents in the infinite future – they are all dead now.

I was a wealthy person. I am a wealthy person. And sometimes people say follow the money to find out what is really going on.

And I have. You are all here.

A group of security came forward and aimed their guns at Mr. Angel. Their guns were angled upward and they commenced firing. The bullets deflected uselessly off the thick bullet proof casing around Mr. Angel. Mr. Angel paused while they got it all out. Bullets ricocheted and fell in different parts of the room.

Gentlemen, that wasn’t very nice. I haven’t even done anything outwardly to harm anyone, yet.

A small screen in front of Mr. Angel outlined the bodyguards who commenced firing. He pressed a button. Bullets fired from the two forward guns and the two guns nearest on the ceiling pointing nearly straight downward. It was a very neat test of the system. Nobody died except for the bodyguards. Not a single stray bullet. The bodyguards didn’t fare so well. One particularly large one was hit many times by the system until it considered him deceased and turned him into so much hamburger. Mr. Angel waited for the echoes to pass.

Everyone, please, be calm. Death comes to everyone. If you panic now you won’t get to hear my speech. We should all come to an understanding of what we are and why we are here. Although, if you panic it won’t bother me too much. I can only imagine the panic the children felt as the gunman entered their classroom and began firing. The panic in their minds as their lives dripped out of their bodies piled up on eachother in the corned of the classroom moaning silently. Their moans carried by the PA system that was accidently left open and all the other children hearing their schoolmates dying.

You know, it really boggles the mind what you and the NRA fight for.

Step right up! Step right up! We need to make sure the mentally ill have free and equal access to guns! We mustn’t infringe on their fundamental rights [using a demonic voice] to own weapons that can kill by the hundreds!

My — our journey is slowing coming to an end, here, today.

A grenade went off – clearly an illegal weapon even among those fighting for the rights to weapons. Unfortunately, the owner of the grenade didn’t understand the difference between directed charges like claymores and grenades which are directionless. They put the grenade up to the doors, pulled the pin, and ran away. People were screaming even before the blast which blew inward. Fragments blew everywhere and into everyone.

I must say, I’m sorry about that. Everyone here is going to die tonight, but I wasn’t planning anything especially frightful. I just wanted to explain everything to you all and then the guns would do the rest of the work. [screams in the background – Mr. Angel turned the volume up on his PA system]

You know, I feel it is a situation filled with irony – if you can appreciate that in your panic. I can see some of you can. Perhaps you have resigned yourselves to your fate – and the irony that the weapons you fought to make available would be the cause of your deaths.

In this room – I can’t imagine – probably hundreds of billions of dollars in assets are represented here in such a small number of people.

Perhaps your relatives and children will do better. I can only hope.

Your situation is much more dire than you think. Unfortunately, relatively innocent lives will be lost. First responders have done nothing to address the problems of weapons in America. The burden of this situation rests with them as well, unfortunately. I mean how many times can the same thing happen over and over again and you have some of the power to stop it – to stand up and say that perhaps, I dunno, not everyone should have a gun?

I thought about jamming all of your electrical devices, but I decided against it. In fact, some of you have already called 911, and I’m sure the authorities are already on their way.

And they will die. Because of you. I have many automated guns mounted throughout my land. I’ve placed security mines that will recognize only me and my cars and otherwise will explode.

They have all been armed now.

The hopelessness of my situation is not something that you will ever know. Years of enduring this darkness – the absence of a future.

“Please, please, let my children go! Let our children get out of here!’ A woman screamed holding her child in front of her.

You should be happy, madam. Although I do regret that you choose to bring your children here tonight – the feelings you have right now are finite. You failed to follow directions and this is the result – your children will die with you. They will only last a few minutes more.

Or do you really want your children to survive you?

“Yes, let them live. Please, please, please” the woman’s voice wavered.

You really feel that way – with what your children are about to witness? But why should I let your children live? My futures have ended. I was an only child. My wife was an only child. We had one child. One chance at the future. And now it is gone.

What is the more merciful thing to do – if merci is something that I have a tendency? Kill the child? Or have them survive witnessing the deaths of thousands?

You know, though I know you. You are the wife of one of the execs at a gun company. I traced the gun that the killer used. I know exactly where it came from. It wasn’t hard, really. It was legally registered. Just to the mother of the killer, not to the killer.

Perhaps some of you will have surviving members of your families and your names and your DNA will live on. But I have no qualm about you and your child dying tonight.

An explosion punctuated Mr. Angel’s statement. The sounds of fire and screams lightly penetrated through the windows. Mr. Angel’s audience was oddly quiet and could hear everything. They could imagine everything – police cars driving onto the estate. Their car exploding long before they reach the building. The survivors screams. The line of vehicles getting into the estate stopping. No one daring to go any further.

I fought for all of you for many years – through hundreds of shootings where people died for no reason. The guilt of those deaths will haunt me forever. You deaths will begin to answer for not only my loss, but all those losses that happened since Sandy Hook.

I’m doing some more things with this that will excite the audience – perhaps. [He brings up a screen on his control panel.] There are approximately, 2243 people here tonight. This will be the largest and I suspect best planned mass murder ever – and it will have such an impact – your lives are important(!) that it will echo for years, decades, who knows even hundreds of years from now. A lot of the mass murderers out there do it to compete with eachother and with mass murders in the past. I will make this path all moot. I will be the largest mass murderer in the world. The idea that any of them can compete with me will be absolutely absurd.

But I won’t be dying with you all tonight – I regret to inform you. You are all my first round picks. [golf claps, and yays] – you should be proud. But I’m working on a few other projects. Life is like a great spiderweb and I’m afraid I have to take care of a few more nests to make sure that the gun culture dies.

Mr. Angel doesn’t seem to have a firm grip on reality at the moment. It is a lot of stress to pull off the largest mass murder in the world. He began singing a line from “Something Rotten” – “Something Rotten! – Make an Omelette”.

The sound of a helicopter in the distance gets louder. Then many helicopters. Lights shined through the windows and their covers and you can see men climbing down. People throughout the audience look up hopefully. Mr. Angel pushes a button and gunfire results. Screams and some loud thumps. One of the helicopters leave. Some members of the participatory audience begin watching their own incarceration from airborn news media cameras.

You know, I was thinking to myself the other day that perhaps killing the head of the snake isn’t enough. Perhaps you would be like Hydra to my Captain America… No, Not Captain America. Deadpool? No. Oh, yeah… Punisher. Maybe a little DC Green Arrow. [mimics green arrow] You have failed this country. Of course, Punisher is a hero and I’m more of an anti-hero or neutral.

Well, that should take care of anyone else coming around – for a while. You know positioning is crucial in warfare.

A new video appears up on the screen. It shows a line of police cars on the long driveway to the estate. Mr. Angel presses a button and activates the gun around the estate. Gunfire erupts shredding into the police cars. Police men scatter out of their vehicles firing their weapons in futility. The guns then shred into the surviving police officers.

I regret that our time – no wait. I don’t regret that our time together is drawing to a close. I don’t mean to torture you. I just wanted to attempt to bridge the gap to your hardened hearts that what you are doing is wrong. Making money by selling guns that kill innocent people is wrong. Perhaps that will be driven home that many of your companies made money selling me the guns and ammunition here today and you may feel that you are innocent – that your innocent lives will be lost due to your sales of guns.

Spealing of hardened hearts I hope you all can appreciate the biblical nature of this whole process. In the bible Pharoah enslaved the Jews and god hardened his heart instead of releasing them. And then god send a punishing angel to kill the first born of everyone except the Jews and only this finally found the release of the Jews. It is my hope that this event will finally free us from this Wild West idea that we all need to have guns.

I just wanted to share one last thing. I always thought the angels in the bible would be fearsome creatures. Creatures doing god’s bidding – flooding the world, killing Jobs entire family, his livestock and ruining his farmland. And so, this is why I choose this name. I am, today at least an Angel of Death.

 

News Articles

Largest Mass Murder in history.

Today it is 6 weeks since the largest mass murder in history has taken place. A person who went under the name of Mr. Angel killed 3027 people. It has taken these 6 weeks before emergency personnel were able to penetrate to the estate’s hall.14 of the fatalities were children. Mr. Angel’s soliloquy was broadcast live of FB and the entire process of the deaths of the approximately 2300 people who were in the hall until they were killed and the videos began showing only the ceiling, the floor, or the dead until the power on the phones died out.

The lands of the estate have been marked prohibited as a number of emergency personnel still die on the premises. Authorities indicated that they do not know if or when they can clean the area of all armements.

Solar power with battery backup has kept Mr. Angel’s systems online and lethal. It is not known just how much ammunition is present on the estate – only that he had bought hundreds of thousands of rounds for the dozens of M16s he had purchased for security.

A nationwide manhunt has begun for Mr. Angel. His body was not found at the estate hall. Based on his statements before killing senators, presidential candidates, high ranking members of the NRA and other citizens of the United States of America and 6 other countries – he indicated that he was going to continue with similar actions.

 

Punishing Angel Strikes Again

It is now two-and-a-half months since the atrocity at Angel’s mansion. A gun manufacturing facility was bombed out of existence. Authorities are still not sure that the act was completed by Mr. Angel; however, a large winged formation that could be angel wings in an adjacent unused field. It is estimated that it would take hundreds of millions of dollars to bring the facility back into running capacity.

328 people were working at the facility at the time of the destruction. At present none have been found alive.

There are some reports that there were drones accompanying a man walking out of a white van shortly before the explosion. The description of the man does not match Mr. Angel and some pundits wonder if perhaps for Mr. Angel to accomplish these acts that he cannot be working alone.

 

What will you do when your child is killed by a high powered military capable gun?

Dunkin Donuts App

Automation is invading our daily life – and it is to our great benefit. At this point in time several companies have implemented apps that you can operate on your phone and order items, pay for the items, and come in and pick up those items with minimal human contact.

Good ideas; however, can be ruined by poor implementations.

On the surface the Dunkin’ Donuts App is well thought out. It allows you to do what you need to do. Has a sly little bit of code that makes you put money into their “account” before paying for things. When you multiply that out you’ll find that DD is making a huge amount of money on holding… Your money.

The disappointment is that while implementing a slick little app – they have not changed anything on the back end of their establishment. A key point is that inventory is not tracked by a computer system at a DD. This means that the DD app is not aware of inventory.

Which means, as you think it through, that the app is unable to prevent you from ordering items they don’t actually have at the facility you are going to pick up your food.

So, one night at the end of work I decided I wasn’t going to eat dinner at home (I get home very late sometimes) and I would just eat on the way home. DD app to save the day…

But sadly, it didn’t save the day. I placed my order (I feel very Seinfeld at the moment – except that was car rentals). They charged my account for the order. But when I got there – the Bacon Egg and Cheese on a bagel was not in evidence. Nor was the cream cheese bagel I ordered (I was peckish), but they did in fact have the drink in the refrigerator.

This was a very poor end-user outcome. They ended up substituting after I arrived flatbread instead of bagels. I don’t complain. I remember.

And I remember being very disappointed. What did I really expect from a company that STILL has failed to implement credit card chip technology?

Automation Can’t Happen Fast Enough

Humane Treatment

The way humanity treats fellow members of the species is just horrifying.

Automation will help prevent some of the mistreatment that humans perform on each other; however, one has to wonder exactly what is going to happen when this relief happens – what next?

Case in point – the garment industry in Bangladesh.

Workers protested making substandard wages ($66 a month) and requested $200 a month. Instead of sitting down at a table and holding a discussion – the police were called. A total of 150,000 workers went on strike. This is no fringe movement. Imagine the amount of work it takes to get 2 people to agree to something and you get an understanding of what it takes to get 150,000 people to agree to do something – especially something that ends up causing economic harm to yourself.

People were arrested, people were harmed, and 3,500 people lost their livelihood and were fired.

And nothing changed.

This is an industry which needs to be automated out of existence. It is a human rights issue. Fires have killed over 1,000 workers in the United States of America decades ago – and that caused changes to the industry and brought about safety regulations. This still didn’t wipe out sweat shop working conditions in the USA as there are still illegal sweat shops in existence in the USA.

Capitalism Without Oversight

The problem starts in the West. Companies that people spend lots of money on their clothing want to pay the least for the product. They require fixed bid contracting and select the lowest bids. Quality, ethics, or human rights do not factor in the purchasing departments mind.

While there is a lot of “lip service” to ethically created clothing – there isn’t a lot of follow-through.

“Treat others the way you want to be treated.” Doesn’t seem to apply in the logistics and procurement of clothing. It should. While slightly hidden people blithely live in ignorance of the suffering and basically slave labor conditions that accounting creates to encourage large profit margins.

In some ways slaves have advantages over paid employees in a sweat shop environment. Hold on. Hold on. Let me explain.

If a person is a slave, your life is the responsibility of the owner. You are their asset. If you don’t get enough food then you are a lost asset on the balance sheet.

If a person is a wage slave or sweat shop labor and they starve because they don’t have enough money to buy food, the company does not care because there is someone out there who is in worse shape willing to take their place.

This makes the sweat shop laborer a disposable object – like an ink jet printer that the cartridges cost more to replace than the printer originally did.

So, in the article on this Bangladeshi strike the company owners step in and say “We aren’t the problem, we bid and the lowest bid gets the contract and we can only pay the employees so much.” Or something similar. Pleading that they are helpless in the working conditions that they provide.

The problem is that as a collective group all of the garment producing factories need to stand up and require good wages for their people. They need to include in their bids the hourly wages of the workers and present that when one of them decides to undercut everyone else – by paying starvation wages to their workers.

The Future

The fact of the matter is that no wages will be cheaper than paying robotics to produce clothing once the technology is ready for prime time. This can’t happen soon enough. Humans are not slaves. People should not be servants and subservient humans are not useful to the future of humanity.

Going out to dinner is enjoyable, but there are aspects of it that are dark. Waiters and waitresses who are paid far below minimum wages in the hopes of getting tips. While most people pay tips this leads to a situation where a waiter or a waitress are little more than subservient servants to their customers. This model is being pushed out to teachers where the performance of students is tied to teacher wages and increases.

While there is a place for monitoring, observations, and relating that information to wage increases – teaching children isn’t the place for that. Each child is an individual. Children may learn or not learn despite the best efforts of teachers. It isn’t like the teachers are programming computers and the results can be monitored and directly tied to the teachers capability. People are not machines.

The major problem with sweat shop laborers is that when automation comes it will completely wipe out their jobs from existence. If 150,000 sweat shop workers can go on strike I would be there are hundreds of thousands of more sweat shop workers in Bangladesh that didn’t go on strike. Go on strike or not, when automation comes those hundreds of thousands of workers will all be out of work (maybe not all at once).

And part of the problem in Bangladesh is that unemployment and other social services for people not worker are probably fairly substandard compared to the needs of their people. This is why so many people are willing to work for so little. People would rather work for too little than have nothing at all.

So what happens next in Bangladesh (and everywhere) after jobs are automated out of existence? Is someone perhaps going to argue that new jobs are going to come into existence to employ everyone? I don’t think so. The reason automation works is that it reduces costs for the employer making their business more profitable.

In addition, the level of skill and knowledge required for the making of clothing is not similar and not transferable to say – computer programming, automation techniques, or design practices. Most likely people who already are working will be in more demand to provide these services to companies automating the creation of clothing. The other major beneficiary of automation will be college graduates – if they choose their major with return on investment in mind.

So, what will happen to the hundreds of thousands of unemployed and for the most part unemployable people?

Two Models of the Future

  1. UBI (Universal Basic Income) – where people who don’t have a job are paid enough to ensure that they have a roof over their head, have medical coverage, and have enough money for food and education. Through education a certain percentage of people on UBI will graduate to working.
  2. The world as it is at present. Unemployment may exist and be temporary in nature. There is no health insurance or those that are unemployed – unless they can afford it and if they aren’t working I’m sure they can’t afford it. Education is pay to play.

In case 1, humanity survives and thrives. People who have been on the bottom tiers of the world can at least live and be comfortable with the hope of better futures.

In case 2, there is no option. These people will die. In a variety of ways.

In countries like Germany the groundwork is already being laid for UBI. These countries value their citizens and want them to survive and thrive. Perhaps, the United States of America will follow, but not until lots of things change. Right now in the present political climate the USA will view UBI as “freeloaders” or perhaps people getting UBI through fraud as commonly alleged against SNAP.

But places like Bangladesh – I don’t know that UBI is even as feasible as it will be in the USA – and I don’t think it is all that probable in the USA – not until a lot of people start suffering.

 

Laying the Groundwork for Dictatorship

(Political Post – if you want to pass – I don’t blame you)

This is the world that we have made – or at least the United States we have made.

Our relationship with words, meaning, and factual statements have paved the way to this conclusion.

As a Science Fiction writer I can’t help buy place myself 4 years from now and 8 years from now and try to prognosticate what could happen – in a kind of “worst case” scenario.

It is a good idea to engage in empathetic treks in to the future and understand both best, worst, and average cases – in a way project managers try to prognosticate the completion (hopefully) of their projects.

Worst Case

We have a fairly good framework laid out at present. When Donald was a “would be” president – he stated that the election was fixed – unless he won it.

Next Donald has made many statements about how big he won the election. That is not the case, either.

Now, we could assume for a moment that he doesn’t know what he is doing – but I think this has been a fatal flaw in how the public, government, and politicians have dealt with Donald. To continue with our framework Donald claims he won the popular vote due to millions of illegal votes for Hillary and he claimed that if that was the goal (winning the popular vote) he would have focused on that and won the popular vote.

His claims notably through his Press Secretary (and humorously lampooned by everyone else) that he had a crowd larger than any crowd ever for his inauguration – are completely, visibly, notably false.

Donald continues his rants about how he didn’t really lose the popular vote and that millions of people voted illegally.

As a person in authority (the highest state authority in the US) his statements carry weight. It is like having a problem with a police officer and then going to court. People are going to give the police officer’s testimony more value than any statement that you make – even if the police officer’s statements are provably incorrect.

It should also be noted that his first official Press Secretary task to blatantly lie to the US public about his “bigly” crowd sizes.

This is not done by accident. Less than four years from now (regardless of the actions during his tenure as president) these claims are going to be pounded upon over and over again – an advertisement for a propensity to believe someone when they say the election is rigged. I don’t think I have ever seen such a sore winner of a presidential election in the United States of America – ever.

2020

There is no question in my mind that Donald will start taking on Dictatorial attributes and if he should lose the election will claim there is widespread fraud – he will invalidate the election and continue his presidency.

2024

He will combine and exaggerate claims that the US is crumbling. That the US needs a strong leader and (whoever) the Democrats cannot provide such a leader. He will take full “dictatorship” of the United States of America until such time as there is enough stability to continue normal electoral processes.

Now, the above is the worst case scenario. Please; however, note that the actions, statements, and events don’t make sense unless you are priming for a coup of the democratic system. You should ask questions of Donald’s behavior.

  1. Why does it matter how many people watched or attended the inauguration?
  2. Why repeat debunked statements that “millions” of people voted illegally? This single statement is targeted at weakening confidence in the election process.
  3. Why tell people he had the biggest electoral victory ever?

Answers:

  1. He is a leader of a great flock – and so many people supported him that it isn’t possible that he would be one of those lame single term presidents
  2. Laying the foundation for marking the next election – with no evidence whatsoever – as illegitimate
  3. Because, how could someone with the “biggest” electoral victory ever end up losing a second term?

They are all statements and actions geared for breaking our elections system down.

Medium Case

While all the above is factual and then extends outward from that it could be that Donald will win the second term fairly. This seems unlikely given his lowest ever popularity levels at the start of a presidency (a fact I’m sure will be glossed over or forgotten by the next election). It also does not seem likely as while admirably he is moving quickly on many positions – each one is fraught with danger for his future second term.

Millions of people may be out of health insurance. These will not be happy people and it appears a lot of them overlap with Donald’s voting population.

He is; however, very good at marketing. He may set things in the future and that repairing and getting everyone health insurance coverage is coming soon.

Unfortunately, even in the medium case the groundwork that he is laying down – on government competence (hammering at Hillary’s 30 years of experience in government), economics, and immigration – he still has quite a place that in 2024 – he will push to be temporary dictator of the country. Perhaps he will claim that the elections are rigged and until we can establish a non-rigged system. That could take some time.

Positive Case

The positive case is that Donald does what he is going to do – admirably actually following through with his statements – and the impacts are so bad that he loses in a landslide for his second term. Instead of pounding on the point of illegal voters, he pulls back and decides that perhaps politics was not his favorite occupation.

This positive case – seems very unlikely.

 

Automation – The Savior – Not The Destroyer

There is a lot of doom and gloom about the future, technology, automation and employment.

Previously, I have written about sweat shops and the coming automation in the making of clothing. Automation faces many hurdles.

One of those hurdles is that the costs have to offer a return on investment compared to traditional manufacturing technologies.

Even if that technology is centuries old. Using people to manufacture clothing – in the present era (starting at least 100 years ago) is the sweat shop. In this recent article it is reported that workers earned £3 an hour to manufacture clothing for high end retailers.

That dress you are wearing – and paid $200 for? The person making it took less than an hour and was paid like $4 for their entire hour.

So, who is making the money? Well, the retailers are making the money – and they apply pressure to the manufacturers to provide the lowest prices.

So, automation. It is going to take jobs. Some jobs need to go away. The sweat shop needs to go away. Ironically, since they pay so little it will take longer before automation penetrates in to this market.

People will not have health care to make that dress.

People will not have enough money to survive to make those jeans.

People will work in dangerous environments with high risk of fire – to make those undies.

It needs to stop.

Oh, and just a side note. There is a reason we have regulations and laws. It is because businesses cannot be trusted to behave in an ethical manner. You can complain about the costs to businesses because of all these regulations, but the fact of the matter is that businesses as a whole will reduce costs to the lowest they can regardless of industry and will break rules, behave unethically and endanger the lives of their customers and employees simply to maximize profits.

So, the ship where we have low number of regulations and laws and people are treated well – that ship has sailed. The ship we are on now, where you have to document workers hours, how much you paid them, and are forced to treat them properly – because you have to (not because you choose to – that is the ship we are on now.

The Morality of Humans is Highly Questionable

Recently, Scientific American had an article titled: Why Robots Must Learn to Tell Us “No

Unfortunately, you have to pay to have access to the article, but the point of the article seems obvious to any moral person. Except, it isn’t.

So, I bought the digital subscription. I don’t need any more physical objects added to my already near hoarder level home.

Reading the article it takes an unfortunately narrow view of the bad things humans can order robots to do. The research carried out is on humans ordering a robot to destroy a physical object that it just built, but not ordering a robot to harm another human.

It is still a good article. I definitely recommend reading it. It includes discussion about Asimov’s laws of robotics and how they implemented something like it with ‘felicity conditions’.

The morality of humans is highly questionable. Anyone who has read some articles on this site know I have read and researched dozens if not hundreds of instances of humanity gone wrong. Humanity going wrong may be more the normal circumstance than the exception.

Asimov wrote a book about human that lived on a planet called Solaria. They took their human bodies and altered them. Then, in Isaac Asimov’s story, they defined human as only humans that have been altered as they were. Normal humans could easily be killed by these robots.

Consider that situation and perhaps the coders defining humanity by the color of a person’s skin or the color of their eyes and you can see the deep potential for robots doing harm to some or all of humanity.

Here is a thought experiment:

  1. In the present or near future a company creates drones equipped with squirt guns. It is great fun. The company does well and starts a research and development group.
  2. This group’s research and development comes up with drones that can fire based on facial recognition. These, too are great fun.
  3. Kids get teams of drones and water guns and play during the summer outside and this is recognized as one of the coolest things ever.
  4. The technology propagates out of the United States and western nations.
  5. A man that was turned down by a woman puts acid in the storage chamber and inputs her picture in to the device. It attacks her, burning her face off.

So, the robot – or drone in this case – was just following orders. Drone (or R/C aircraft) technology is widely available today and certainly a squirt gun equipped model could be built – even if the amount of water it can carry is limited.

The above sequence of events is certainly possible. So, what can we do to not have this happen in the future?

The drone must be able to say no. How can the drone say no?

Well, it requires planning and knowing the basic lack of morality of humans. A sensor would be required in the storage tank of the water gun drones. If the substance comes up as not water – the drone may not fire the water gun. In addition, if the acid attack is carried out by drone – prosecution is hard enough in crimes of this type – what about when there is little or no evidence and the perpetrator left the area long before the drone begins the attack?

The problem is that we have already put drones to work in the dirty business of war. We have already set the precedent that drones or “robot” technology can be used in the business of war – the business of killing people.

We will most likely have two sets of rules – military and civilian – for drones and robots.

But wait, there’s more.

Everyone is pursuing different ‘morals’ around the world. Murder isn’t murder if it is….

Honor killing. Except that no, honor killings are just murder. Murder of a family member because that member did something that you don’t like.

Large portions of the population in Islamic countries believe that honor killings are moral. Will they request (and get?) robots or drones with modified rules that allow for honor killings, acid attacks, and more?

If companies don’t create these alternate ‘Islamic’ moral rules robots, won’t the Islamic people create their own?

And More.

In any part of the world rape is a problem. Will there be rapists with robots to hold women down? Robots must be able to say no. Robots will need to understand the situation they are placed. Robots will need to understand what harm is. And programmers will have to have standards as to what constitutes harm.

What ‘moral’ actions will AI robots be applied to in the future? When women survive their husbands in India will the home robot ‘assist’ in removing her from the home – so the son can inherit from the father and the mother be put into a life of destitution begging for food and potentially prostitution?

Will drones and AI robots assist the sale of women for dowry?

But Maybe?

If we can code and ensure that while we humans in general are not moral – that our robots are moral there can be much good for humanity. If the costs of creating AI robots falls fast enough perhaps the drudgery that causes women to be sold for dowry in to slavery can be prevented – if the AI robots take care of these tasks. If there are sex robots perhaps rape can be prevented by having a place for rape to occur, just not to humans. Ethical problems may still arise, but, perhaps if an entity is designed to not be bothered by rape this ethical issues can disappear.

The potential that we have to work toward are moral AI robots – and for the ubiquitous to an extent that it prevents the above horrors. Intelligence may need to be built in to many devices. Autonomous cars will need to know if their sensors have been disabled by an unscrupulous human to commit murder by car. Moral AI robots will have limitations – but it needs to start with a basis of defining harm – and start with the worst forms of harm so that the good of placing moral AI robots in to existence will more than balance the harm that humans may attempt to make them perform.

However

It is troubling with how immoral humanity is that such power and based on the contents of my blog – we do such horrible things to each other. Perhaps, there is a chance that our children (AI robots, codops, etc) can help make humanity a more moral species.

Governmental Actions That Should Not Happen

The actions that governments should not be involved are legion. Today I am only going to discuss one of them. The way governments treats the destitute.

This article goes into detail about many of the most common ways local governments and businesses approach the homeless and destitute.

What is the danger in how government treats the homeless and destitute?

The danger is that larger and larger numbers of humanity may well be joining the homeless and destitute. I have covered many articles and my own projections of how AI or codops (computerized doppelgangers – or computer copies of human beings) will employment. Even conservative estimates in the single digits as to the numbers of people to be unemployed in the future are cause for concern – because 7% of the labor force would effectively more than double the number of unemployed people in the United States of America.

Homeless people are demonized in the United States of America – treated as less than human – not having rights to their personal belongings and chased from municipality to municipality in search of a safe place to stay for the night.

I know people in general do not feel they will ever be homeless; however, it is a reality that must increasingly be watched as automation, AI, and codop technologies become realities. The problem is that we don’t treat the homeless the way we would want to be treated if we were homeless.

This is critical to concepts like UBI (Universal Basic Income). This is not unemployment. This is a source of income not tied to work – because the amount of work left for humans to do will be limited by automation, AI, and robotics.

Given the vocal opposition to unemployment, medical benefits, and any income redistribution methods by major segments of the population and particularly vocal members of the Republican party it seems unlikely that UBI will become a part of our society.

Overall, it appears that our society lacks a certain empathy with people who have lost their economic power. It is ironic, that also in our society most families live only a few steps away from financial disaster.

So, what brought this about? Why did I write this article?

This article in particular disturbed me.

To summarize:

  1. A woman gets caught begging in Bath. Gets let off.
  2. She gets caught begging again in Bath violating parole.
  3. She gets sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, pay a fine of £115, and had to take part in a rehabilitation activity requirement.

It is hard to know where to begin with the lack of basic empathy or understanding for an individuals motives or the institutionalization of prosecution of the poor.

Perhaps that is what many of us have to look forward to – prosecution for being poor.

It seems unlikely that prison time will cure the problem causing the begging.

It is even less likely that she will be able to pay the £115 fine. What exactly are the penalties for not paying the fine? Fees? This community service/rehabilitation activity requirement – how does she get there? Does she get provided food while doing this service?

In Six Sigma there is a lot of exploration of root causes of problems in processes. Using Ishikawa/Fishbone diagrams to figure out the root causes of issues. It seems clear that even with a marginal amount of intelligence, empathy, and exploratory reasoning that the root cause of her begging can be determined.

At present, there are probably many jobs that go unfilled in Bath and vacant residences that could provide shelter. With an adviser to provide a connection between the homeless person, employer, shelter and to ensure they have enough food and necessities – this “detriment” to society could be converted to an asset.

In the future; however, jobs may become much more scarce. Government and society may well be as intolerant (or more) the more common homelessness becomes. How will the future turn out with large numbers of homeless people?