This is the fifth installment in the Synthetic Pretenders series examining the proposed CaliforniaTrust Framework within the context of synthetic biology, eugenics, and the Spanish mission system.
Part One: Scientific Management, Robo-Bees, and Digital Babies
Part Two: Apocalypse, Mind Files, and Interplanetary Promises
Part Three: The “Magic” of Radio-Eugenics and Holographic Twins
Tobias Rees’s “Transformations of the Human,” which includes a spin-off consultancy and school, embeds artists and philosophers in life science projects to generate a narrative framework to sell the public on a future world where engineers are authorized to create new life forms to solve “climate change,” technology becomes “natural,” and we forsake society as an organizing construct, replacing it with a data-generating network where relationships are reduced to mere substrates for platform capitalism. This sentiment is expressed in a brief interview Rees gave in 2019 reflecting on his time as a fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation’s center in Bellagio, Italy (featured photo).
In the 1960s, convenings were held at the Bellagio Center to advance the Rockefeller’s “green revolution,” remaking global agriculture as a mechanized, petrochemical endeavor tied to debt finance through CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research), and in the 1990s to establish GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization). The imperative to “transform” the human has been decades in the making. Altering food through the introduction of genetically modified organisms and nanoparticles was key, as is the introduction of bioengineering through injection, aerosol, and frequency.
What is quite concerning are Rees’s closing comments regarding changes that must be made to human rights in the context of burgeoning artificial intelligence. The clip doesn’t come to any resolution as to what those adjustments might look like; but since The Institute For The Future’s stated plan is for machines to have equivalent rights to humans under automated blockchain law, his vagueness seems intentional.
Augmented reality requires a “Trust Framework” of the type that Robert Hertzberg’s California legislation seeks to enact. Within such a framework all “things” will eventually be designated with a unique identifier and managed within the smart contract layer according to how they are “programmed.” The twinned Trojan horses of privacy and compensated data-commoning are the means by which those in power hope to achieve the standardization, tagging, and data interoperability required to run real-time, global simulations.
Rights, actions, and privileges in smart environments will be conditioned on how “things” are encoded. That is why the privacy argument is a red herring. Sure, we’d prefer NOT to have our data stolen or used in ways we do not approve of, but privacy and micropayments will not keep anyone out of the smart contract layer of automated blockchain law. The world is being remade as a vast interlocking sensor network where access can be arbitrarily cut off in real time, an emergent digital empire built on a decentralized domination principle.
The following passage is taken from Bettina Warburg’s 2019 feature for the British Council, The Blockchain Revolution.
A helpful analogy is the experience of using a vending machine. The terms of the transaction are straightforward: you drop in payment, make a selection, and in return receive your soda of choice. Vending machines encode a little contract ‘if I pay you, you will release a product.’ We are not relying on a bank or a salesperson to perform this transaction, rather it is being performed by code on the machine. The state of the vending machine changes over time based on each customer selection, and the machine will stop selling the soda in a given row, once it runs out. We can think of a blockchain as a similar structure: a state machine that manages the inputs and outputs of transactions, and anyone who uses it is dealing with the same reality – the same vending machine. Expand this simple analogy to image a machine that isn’t run or owned by a company. Instead, we can each see exactly the code that the machine uses, and we are able to verify all the transactions ourselves. Rather than only delivering sodas for money, this expanded machine can execute any transaction written in code, helping to automate business logic.
The global brain (and impact investors) demand access to aggregated meta-data associated with our actions to predict what we are likely to do next. The intent is to remake each “life,” which now includes machines, as a node for risk-scoring and an access point for overt and covert optimization through digital Metaverse nudging. Behaviors are gold in the data economy, but without the interoperability created by digital ID the deposits can be accessed only at the most superficial level. Picture panning for gold alongside a stream versus mountaintop removal.
Influencers will attempt to convince the public that they’re the ones “in control,” but all freeDOM money/tokens are programmable and conditional in the CIA’s mixed-reality video game. The new economic construct of planned dispossession and portfolios of human capital in need of “improvement” will turn the masses into segmented data-vaults as public-private partnerships hold knives of economic precarity against their throats demanding the combinations. Do Zelenskyy’s recent holographic “appearances” at European tech conferences proposing a next-gen digital lend-lease program for rebuilding Ukraine offer a glimpse into what that may look like? His proposal for transforming “government” into a digital service delivered on a smartphone is certainly well suited to a scattered population in need of humanitarian assistance linked to digital ID. Not coincidentally, the situation could also turn out to be profitable for global investors like Brent Hoberman of Founders Factory venture capital who underwrote this ephemeral sleight of hand. Building out digital empire will certainly be more palatable if it can be framed as a benevolent intervention.
Source: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky referenced “Star Wars” and World War II as he sought aid from big tech firms on Thursday, appearing as a hologram at a conference in Paris.
Our inability to perform a desired action in the material or digital realm, which could be as simple as not having an up-to-date “token” that allows us access to public transportation or a VR training module, will have serious consequences. Do we want to live under a tyranny of token exchanges that enable the machine to “see,” integrate and compute every transaction we make: neural impulses, our last AI assigned gig, who we marry, the DNA of our extended family, how much piezo-electric energy we’ve produced over X amount of time against our caloric intake and economic productivity?
Carsten Stocker, WEF “Global Future Network” member and CEO of Spherity, is a German physicist working on digital identity and cyber-physical systems in Web 3.0, Fourth Industrial Revolution applications. The following three clips taken from a presentation Stocker made at the 2018 Tech Open Air conference demonstrate the imperative for digital ID adoption and raises questions about how we are expected to relate, as humans, to networked machine systems with their own “hierarchy of needs.”
The concept for digital ID goes back to the 1999 and Erick Hughes’s Cypherpunk Manifesto.
Machines are reimagined as “self-aware” life forms capable of transacting.
Energy audits / provenance (think human energy harvest) is linked to behavior change at a civilizational level (decarbonization).
Carsten Stocker works at Spherity. His company is one of the sponsors of the 11th annual conference of Rebooting the Web of Trust, which is set to be held in the Hague in September 2022. The focus is decentralized identity.
Source: Rebooting the Web of Trust
All of this intersects with Nicholas Berggruen’s plans to redesign democracy as well as transform our understanding of what it means to be human. The goal is for humans to meld with machines through digital contracting arrangements. This is the much-discussed bio-digital convergence. In Web 3.0, our “identity” is at once “fixed” by the unique identifier assigned to us and “fluid” in the amount of information we release for any given transaction. A story is being spun that people will have “choice,” but we know that many will be coerced into agreeing to otherwise unwanted transactions by life circumstance. Taking part in performative forced “choice” rituals is not autonomy.
The Berggruen Institute released, “Renewing Democracy in the Digital Age,” in 2020 after planning meetings took place in London, Palo Alto, Madrid, and Bellagio the previous year. I’m imaging that might look like tokenized rights framed as direct democracy with RadicalXChange’s quadratic voting and Cesar Hidalgo’s avatar voting agents. Something tells me patriot Constitutionalists are not going to approve. The image below is Berggruen’s Democracy Working Group in Bellagio where they were hosted by Rajiv Shah, who worked in vaccine finance at the Gates Foundation and public-private partnerships with USAID before coming to lead the Rockefeller Foundation.
Source: Future of Democracy Working Group, Bellagio Summer 2019
To close out, an interesting side note is that the Rockefeller Foundation came into possession of the Bellagio Center the late 1950s when Ella Walker asked James D. Zellerbach, then US ambassador to Italy, to find an organization to take Villa Serbelloni off her hands. The first wife of Heinz Berggruen, Nicholas Berggruen’s father, was Lillian Zellerbach. Both J.D. and Lillian, via her father Harry Haight, were heirs to the San Francisco paper fortune of Crown Zellerbach, sold to Georgia Pacific in 2000 and now subsumed within Koch Industries. The corporate records are held at the UC Berkeley archives. In doing this research the harms of resource extraction, especially lumber and pulp industries, keep coming to the fore. I sense more attention should be paid to artificial intelligence and nano-technological research into fungal-microbial communication networks in our forests. I don’t think it’s all about carbon sequestration. There’s more to it.
Source: Rockefeller Foundation Feature on Bellagio Center
Source: A Masterly Collector of Art
Source: Zellerbach Family Papers, Online Archives of California
I gave this lengthy presentation on smart cities, digital identity and pay for success pathways in Tucson last June. It provides insights into how the smart-contract mixed reality video game operates.
Part Six: Reject Scientific Management, Celebrate Weeds
Part Seven: Computational Life and Industrial Design Erode the Boundaries of Our Being