May 242024

I am watching HBO’s recent miniseries, The Regime, and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. The satire is great. The allusion to historical or present-day political personalities, from Rasputin To Ceausescu, from Orban to Putin, are unmistakeable.

Yet it hits a little too close to home. OK, far too close to home. Which is to say, the world of 2024 resembles the fictitious world of The Regime a little too much. Authoritarians on the rise, wars of conquest, pardon me, “peaceful reunification”, meddling by China, efforts to undermine trust in the fundamental institutions of Western democracy… And frankly, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between the “real” CNN vs. its fictitious depiction in The Regime.

Indeed, I was just reading about Argentina’s new head of state, Javier Milei. El Loco, he calls himself, and it’s fitting: if Time’s article is to be believed (and it is certainly consistent with what I’ve been reading elsewhere), what we have here is a delusional conspiracy theorist with a messianic complex. Yikes!

But just in case nutty politicians in a distant land in the southern hemisphere don’t bother us, here’s another piece of news and this really gave me the creeps the other day. Dutch firm ASML, the world’s premier maker of extreme ultraviolet lithography equipment (i.e., machines that can make the highest of the high tech chips) assured us that it has the capability to remotely disable their machines, used by chipmaker TSMC in Taiwan, in case of a Chinese invasion.

I find the fact that ASML even thought it necessary to reassure us that this option exists deeply unsettling. It makes me believe that the question of the next Great War is not if, but when… and the most likely answer is, sooner than we’d like.

Seriously, can’t we just hand the world over to AI-assisted cats to manage? I am seriously inclined to believe that we’d all (cats and humans as well as machines) be better off that way.

 Posted by at 2:34 am