For the past week I’ve been researching a post that will link the rise of synthetic biology and digital identity, under the banner of climate justice, to California’s history of eugenics and fears of “dysgenic degeneration.” Today someone tagged me on an article,Tamagotchi kids: could the future of parenthood be having virtual children in the Metaverse?, published in The Guardian on May 31,2022. It was a related topic that felt important enough for me to take a break and pull together a short post with supporting images that would have bogged down the piece I had underway.
In the article Catriona Campbell, a researcher in Quantum AI for the global accounting firm EY (Ernst and Young), floated the idea of a future where people opt to have digital children in the Metaverse rather than real children. Her corporate biography describes her as a “a renown behavioral psychologist and leader in human-computer interaction (HCI).” She was trained at the University of Stirling and Glasgow and at the Sorbonne.
Campbell led digital operations at Barclays from 1995 to 2000. Barclays is a Scottish firm founded by David Barclay, a prominent Quaker who, while being an abolitionist, also made a considerable part of his fortune lending to companies involved in the African slave trade. For a fascinating look into the mental gymnastics undertaken by Barclay and Samuel Galton, arms dealer and grandfather of eugenicist Francis Galton, to make their business interests meet the tenets of their faith, read Raul Diego’s feature, Bankers, Slaves and Lunatics: The Original Military Industrial Complex and the Anti-Slavery Roots of Philanthrocapitalism.
Following her time at Barclays, Campbell founded her own firm Seren, Welsh for “star,” which was acquired by EY in 2015. EY has been consulting on social impact finance for nearly a decade as documented by a working paper, Social Impact Bonds: Social Impact Platform, prepared with support from the Netherlands Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment in 2013.
Someone else tagged me on a “Hugo Talks” post where the host was breaking down the Tamagotchi baby story and dismissed it out of hand as just so much fear porn. While I would agree that the prospect of digital children may be in the distant future, if at all, the use of human digital twins for predictive analytics is not. Digital enclosures pulling students into the Metaverse educational panopticon is not. Making ESG portfolio bets on behavioral compliance to the UN Sustainable Development Goals is not.
To say that the Metaverse is inhuman, over-sold, and impractical without acknowledging the powerful economic forces pressing for the creation of a new digital empire is irresponsible. Yes, this article is one more example of the mind games being played, but just because it’s propaganda doesn’t mean it makes sense to pretend corporate behemoths like EY or AI experts like Catriona Campbell don’t matter or can be ignored without consequence. If we do that, what we’ll end up with is probably NOT digital babies, but vulnerable children turned into data-mined avatars “living in” schools remade as video games. An example of which is the STEMuli model piloted in Dallas, now ready to scale nationally with $3.25 million in seed funding from venture capitalists.
When looking over the images below keep these things in mind:
- In the global data economy, digital “life” creates value. That is why there’s an imperative to build out the Metaverse. All of it is a fiction.
- Decarbonization will be used to enforce managed human reproduction, which will, in turn, break down families and social relationships around the world.
- Quantum AI will run the digital twin simulations. Blockchain identity is needed to create the twins. Why do they call it “human-centered AI?” It’s because we’re the fuel it needs.
- EY prides itself on diversity, equity, and inclusion. How does this professed ethos mesh with Campbell’s proposal for digital babies? How is this not eugenics?
- How is the life of David Barclay, Scottish Quaker abolitionist / banker financing the slave trade, mirrored in the rise of social impact finance run on coercive Internet of Bodies networks?
This story was dropped even as the ripples of the Roe vs. Wade leak continue to disperse – see this wonderful recent post by my friend Stephers on blockchain, structured water, and managed reproduction. I don’t think this op-ed was meant as parody. I think it was designed as a provocation to train Quantum AI. Shock the public and generate needed signals intelligence, sentiment analysis, to refine narrative tactics moving forward. EY Seren works in exactly this arena, as shown in an April 2020 internal document, Human Signals: Exploring Emerging Human Behavior and Purpose During Covid 19-Tracking Today’s Challenges To Find Tomorrow’s Solutions.
Stay clear-headed, don’t feed the beast, and take time to understand the dynamics behind the game.