April 29, 2018

Punch Clock, finished since Last Week

A bit of heavily distorted imagery from Hubble, our eye in the sky, made the universal, cosmic stupidity of punch clocks and their ilk complete. They're not that common anymore, as far as I know -- more subtle and devilish means keep the modern worker in check...

It's bleeding too! Perhaps from the souls trapped within?

The punched hand was decided on an early stage -- much of the rest (colouring, little details etc.) was a matter of improvisation. Such as the hint of numbers... (one might someday ponder the difference between tattooing numbers into people and punching holes into the workforce in effigie through cards or their present digital counterparts. But now it's late, I'm tired, and I think too much. And I don't even know what my thoughts are thinking.)

April 22, 2018

Hands, from a Work In Project

A bizzle late, as this artist spent yesterday seeing friends instead of blogging. In the long run, I still presume this will make the Artist an better Artist... This is what's brewing:

I can not compete with Peter Tillberg who might've made the ultimate painting on this subject. But the time might be ripe for an addendum. It's for my perpetual book project, by the way.

April 15, 2018

Oily Details

Yours Sinc. is rather tired (there has been much to do) and won't be too wordy this week. Anyhow, here's a detail in oil:

As you see, very much remains to do... we'll see when.

April 08, 2018

Feeding Cell Phones to Fish

For my perpetual book project – I might be halfways done. You can see that I’ve been working on it for a while – the cell phone is a classic Nokia. You could text on it, with painstaking, Morse-like care. And make actual phone calls. It also had some simple games onboard that could keep a soul entertained for seconds.

The fish is a Northern Pike. And fine fish don’t have to answer phones, not at all.

My original sketch was actually intended for oil colouring (being made on paper that is specially coated for this, with quite heavy grain). I’ll never get around to that. So I went all digital above it but kept some of the texture and tinted it.

The reason why our main character is feeding phones to fishes has to do with the abundance of stupid calls that he received. (It’s not good for our seas, don’t do it. And it isn’t very healthy to the fish. All those daft calls might make them insane.) Sadly, present models do nothing to make a certain brand of calls less silly (salespeople, frauds and obnoxious souls in general) and one might expect future generations of cell phones to make certain stupid calls intelligent. That would be an improvement.

April 01, 2018

Hugging Robots – on Universal Basic Income and Why You Can't Just Sit and Wait

I am for Universal Basic Income. I wish that I could do more for this noble idea. But I must confess that some among us just seem to sit back and wait. Lo, the Robots are Coming and the End of all Work is Near... The Latter-day Believers in Tech would have it that Soon, when most of all work is automated, The Guys Above won’t have any choice but to give us a free wage to live on. Every headline in the field of automation is heard as yet another bell of freedom chiming -- “Listen! Bill Gates has proposed a Robot Tax!” -- and so on.

This is a naïve yet grave mistake. Power is
a) very unwilling to give in and accept such changes and
b) has always been...

...I’ll start with b). Why just robots? Why not personal computers, combustion engines, steam engines? All of these changes could’ve been taxed through the ages, analogous to the Gates’ Robot Act:
-- Steam tax: Young children could’ve been sent to school (with steam money) instead of toiling in factories in Manchester of the 1830’s.
-- Computer tax: All secretaries that were laid off when personal computers came (and indeed did write and spell better) could’ve been compensated. The same goes for typesetters.
-- and so on.
The pressure has always been on the humans to find new means to survive after having been declared obsolete, never on the owners of the machines. So why on Earth do some people think this would change now? I am very sure that those in Power haven’t changed the least since Anytime. They’ll remain true to themselves as long as they aren’t laid off by robots. The Upper Ten won’t care as long as only the other 90% is replaced. Which brings us to a)… And this is where I’d like to introduce you to Dr. Ludwik Fleck.

The belief in Paradigm Shifts goes back to Thomas Kuhn and Company. In its most naïve and simplified form, it goes sort of –
“First we all believed that the Earth Was Flat and then we were subjected to Overwhelming Evidence and now we all Know It’s Round” – apply this happy short story to whatever Great Change that comes to your mind. Now, Dr. Fleck was of a different opinion. Every “thought collective” (Denkkollektiv in his German) has a certain Sluggishness. It will go on thinking that the Earth is flat until it’s totally impossible, and go on claiming flatness long thereafter. Fleck (I am happy to have a copy of his major work, The Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact) gives us several examples on how the Empire of Consensus beats back on unwanted new data, the different levels being:

1. “Anything that contradicts the System [of Thought] is Unthinkable.”
Of course the Earth can’t be round! People would fall off! …Or, in our case: We’d never afford Basic Income, taxes would be too high! Funny – we do seem to afford the great number of workers that get burned out, the social expenses of keeping the unemployed in poverty, imaginary work implementations, supporting failing industries and banks with tax money and so on. It’s ridiculous. Insanity! But if you’re very set on keeping things as they are, no matter what, sane measures must thus be declared utopian and impossible.

2. “That which does not fit into this System remains unseen…”
Instances where the Earth might appear to be round may be written off as exceptions to the rule. In our case: Of course tests have been carried out. Trials with Basic Income in Canada, Finland and so on made the recipients happier, more likely to get a better education, gave them better means to take care of their lives and so on. Hard matter! You may write it all off as happy exceptions to whatever rule you prefer (especially if this rule keeps you in power). Back to Fleck, it doesn’t quite matter if the exceptions completely overshadow the rule; you may get back to the latter like an oblivious parrot. (Politicians are well trained in this.)

3. “…or stifled, even if it is known”.
You can not count on Power to bring up aforesaid ‘exceptions’ itself. All those pesky signs of Earthly roundness are rather overlooked, especially if they grow many. Now imagine the parrot shouting something irrelevant louder every time Basic Income is brought up and you get the idea. – ‘Sir Parrot, what about Basic Income?’ – ‘We must create new jobs! Polly wants a cracker!’

4. “Huge efforts are made to explain those [exceptions] as not contradictory.”
For instance, one may claim that Basic Income wouldn’t work on the Grand Scale (no matter on how large a scale it is tested) – and no matter how round the Earth may seem, it is still flat. Medieval astronomers spent some good time accounting for all those stars that seemed to orbit around the Sun in their strictly geocentric world…
It’s like loosing weight, sort of. You’re prepared to do anything, just anything to get slim but to exercise or changing your diet. And we can count on the implementations of our officials to grow increasingly weird (‘you ain’t seen nothing yet!’) trying anything but Basic Income as the economical situation grows increasingly severe.
For instance, huge efforts are already being made to explain how robots that replace humans are creating more “job opportunities”.

5. “Despite all reasons for a differing opinion, one sees, describes and visualises all facts as analogous to the theory; they, so to speak, get realized.”
Like no. 4, but worse. Here, contradictions are not merely overlooked or whitewashed – they’re cannibalized by the old delusions. Even if we were to get Basic Income, all the blissful effects that could follow would get credited to other factors until the very end. ...At which stage you may count on the Upper Ten to not only endorse it, but to claim that they were for it all along – the same dance has been done with democracy, feminism etc. (You may also count on them to silently work against progress anyway.)


The deep irony is that the Robot Believers follow the same Fleckian pattern of blind faith and selective understanding. Convinced as they are that robotics will reach a critical mass just by itself, they pose no real threat to status quo.

As for how to actually overcome the official (and inofficial) mental blocks on the road to Basic Income, I yet don’t know. But I deeply believe that it’s a psychological problem. It hasn’t got that very much with actual economy to do. Few economical problems really do. It’s all in your mind.