The future has arrived only it’s evenly distributed. But where might it tilt in favor of the poor?
A child, any city, any background, can access a $100 tablet, loaded with 1,000 free books bursting with wisdom and magic. They can receive a lifetime of learning from YouTube, connect to the world’s people via Facebook, and to the world’s things and places via Google, all free.
But where might the poor have better? Possibly more?
Those of us not poor look down upon aspects of poor-life, never fully knowing what is feature and what is bug.
A comforting separation that may be leading us from our best selves.
That garish check cashing franchise housed in the strip mall you just drove past? It likely offers greater transparency, more personalized service, and actually lower fees than your 19th century, FDIC-backed banking establishment.
The RiteCheck she worked at charged $1.50 to pay a bill, $0.89 to buy a money order, and roughly 1.95% — as regulated by state law — of the face value of a check to cash it. These small fees add up, but they often pale in comparison to the unexpected charges, maintenance fees, and overdraft fees customers had experienced at banks. The rate for money orders is actually far cheaper than most banks, which commonly charge $5 to $10.
Facebook Lite is designed for those where bandwidth is limited, particularly by price, and who are stuck using low-cost, outdated mobile devices.
It’s also simpler, more intuitive, faster to use, and less a drain on the battery.
Features, not bugs.
I do not wish to lionize the poor, nor pretend I ever want to be among their cohort. Jesus said “blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” Count me among the millions who wish to partake fully of the kingdom of God but not be poor.
Jesus also said, “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.”
The Bible is a makers guide.
It’s parables and powers, proclamations and perceptions proven true, over and over, we just don’t know how or when.
Artificial intelligence — AI — continues to advance, expand, taking over more of our living, more of our decisions, our choices. Our wealthiest, and those possessing the most knowledge, the latest tools, they are more fully immersed in AI than anyone else, certainly more so than the poor, particularly the poorest of the poor.
Might this mean less independence? Less truth? Less liberty?
Analytica’s personality model has allowed it to create a personality profile for every adult in the U.S. — 220 million of them, each with up to 5,000 data points. And those profiles are being continually updated and improved the more data you spew out online.
Your identity is your data. The poor offer less of theirs.
Using those dossiers, or psychographic profiles as Analytica calls them, Cambridge Analytica not only identifies which voters are most likely to swing for their causes or candidates; they use that information to predict and then change their future behavior.
The more tools, services, sensors, and data you consume, then spew back out, the more easily you are to being manipulated.
You’re not even aware it’s happening.
For Analytica, the feedback is instant and the response automated: Did this specific swing voter in Pennsylvania click on the ad attacking Clinton’s negligence over her email server? Yes? Serve her more content that emphasizes failures of personal responsibility. No? The automated script will try a different headline, perhaps one that plays on a different personality trait — say the voter’s tendency to be agreeable toward authority figures. Perhaps: “Top Intelligence Officials Agree: Clinton’s Emails Jeopardized National Security.”
Billionaires, this time Elon Musk, insist that human and tech must literally merge, part flesh, part brain, part sensor, fully connected.
Glorious or hellish? A tragic waste of life?
The richest among us will be first to know.
The frontlines no longer sacrifice the poor.