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Well I suppose it all makes sense

If someone didn’t invent the theory first at some point over the last 6,000 years – the period during which, I was once informed by someone who should know, human civilisation has existed – in my previous existence as a fictional blogger I came up with the concept that reality was in fact a dream – and, of course, that our dreams were reality.

For about a fortnight, I was mightily impressed with the profundity of this breakthrough scientific theory.

Most remarkable about the circumstances of its origination was the fact that personally I very rarely dream. Or perhaps I should have said ‘I very rarely remember my dreams’, because some suggest that human beings dream every time they sleep and those who claim otherwise are either deceiving themselves or just plain wrong. Apparently, dreaming is part of the process of the brain’s memory bank reviewing the video rushes of the day just gone and filtering out the data that is not worth retaining from that which is.

One of humanity’s eternal dilemmas is that a manifestation of its genius for research and inventiveness is the ability to devise easier, often mechanical or robotic, ways of performing key tasks such as harvesting, processing and delivering food to the table, or indeed mouth, that is many times more efficient that a human being doing it for themselves. Think aqueducts, threshing machines, flour mills, electricity, the Industrial Revolution, factories, supermarkets, the internal combustion engine and computers – to mention but a few.

I call it a dilemma because, of course, if we were ever able to create a society in which machines and robots could undertake all our vital tasks for us, it would begin to beg the question whether human beings are actually needed at all. The Luddities of the early 19th Century (who gave their name to the term) may have had a point – in a world where automatons can deliver all ‘the boring bits’, and yet there is an ever-growing number of human beings on the planet [currently estimated at 7.2 billion and rising], what are we all going to do?

How are we all going to earn a living? What happens when the food runs out? If the key motivator in life is the struggle to survive, what’s left when you don’t have to struggle anymore because a robot is doing it for you?

Three-minimum decades ago, a captain of industry once gave me a word of advice at a dinner table – “The key to success in business is keeping a lid on your costs, most importantly your employee numbers”. How so? “Well, people are problems. They need salaries and holidays, they get ill, they go off on maternity leave, they sue you for unfair dismissal, they want promotion … and then they leave anyway. The ideal business would have no employees at all!”

The implications of this problem are not going to go away as technological advances sweep us forward into the future.

I was reminded of it when reading this piece by Lucinda Everett on the website of Daily Telegraph this morning. In the scheme of things – despite the brilliant effects already seen in countless movies – the art of creating or ‘capturing’, and then manipulating, the images of actors is in its infancy. Nevertheless, it present a vortex of possibilities – current actors preserving themselves for posterity, never having to do stunts, even making money for their descendants from way beyond the grave.

Alternatively, of course, why would movie makers employ actors anymore when they can create the perfect cast in a computer.

Think of the benefits!

No more having to deal with overbearing agents, the ridiculous demands of your stars for perks, house-sized trailers and social drugs, or indeed their diva-type behaviour on set – that is, of course, if they even bother to turn up at all.

Don’t forget the key point, as mentioned by that industrialist all those years ago – people are problems.

Read Lucinda Everett’s article here, in the – DAILY TELEGRAPH


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About Henry Elkins

A keen researcher of family ancestors, Henry will be reporting on the centenary of World War One. More Posts