I am a huge Pirsig fan – even thought of studying with the Liverpool crowd (Anthony McWatt) (might have started if there were distance leaning but not now). Pirsig died last year. To begin with his only book was Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (ZAMM), (I quoted him in my teaching dissertation – loved it Corgi [1976] ). When Lila first came out I couldn’t get into it. Years later I did, and now think it is better. I started a thing where I was bouncing off Pirsig – reading a bit then writing, I might well continue the Pirsig Platform. I saw he had died, I wanted to show my respect.

In ZAMM Pirsig was questioning AI even before there were computers (I surmise). Let me explain what I mean. If you read ZAMM there is tons of stuff, and one theme was motorcycle maintenance. I am not mechanical so I didn’t personally get it but I think my intuition did. He would go on about how you must CARE for your motorbike. He would talk of mechanics who just read the spec, did what they were supposed to, then got stuck and were unable to go anywhere. And there were mechanics for whom it was an art, for whom fixing the motorbike was a feeling of love (my words). They got into it, and the bike was fixed properly; the spec mechanics couldn’t do it.

In the 90s I was in Botswana driving a wreck. I am a getting from AtoB driver, that is what my car means to me; none of Pirsig and his bike. I was also relatively broke so couldn’t afford a decent car, yet apart from the women driving to game parks was my greatest memory of my time there. This part of ZAMM was never a part of me even though I think I got it. But the bush mechanics were magical. You would walk into their lots and there would just appear a load of junk. But they could fix cars. Of course they broke down again, and they could fix them again. These bush guys got ZAMM, and have now been made obsolete.

Now I have a new car, and it is all different. There are maybe car bush guys around in Thailand who could work ZAMM magic, but that is not profit for BIGJapan. They have designed these bush guys out of existence. Bush guys cannot now open the bonnet and tinker the car into working. Under the bonnet is now an intersecting connection of assembly units. If something goes wrong the mechanics find the unit and replace it. These are trained mechanics. BIGJapan trains them with specs. Symptom, spec, change unit. Car fixed. I made a decision to pay this way, and go to the showroom. My car is fine.

I had a motorbike here, and I had a bike bush mechanic – ether are lots of them here. I damaged the motorbike by driving it without oil – fool. A bush mechanic pulled it apart put it back together again, and it worked. Something else happened, he did the same. I had screwed the bike, he could bush-fix it always. But it was not the way I wanted to drive – not AtoB. Now my car is serviced, and AtoB is fine. For the big bikes these bike bush guys have already been designed out of existence, as small bikes are driven by the poor in all sorts of condition bike bush guys might survive.

Difference between bush guys and BIGJapan – I am now paying far more money. BIGJapan has designed people out of the process and I pay far larger amounts of money to drive. In Botswana I had no money, I couldn’t do it and I needed the bush guys. In Thailand I didn’t want a car – until I did. I had a small bike and the bike bush guy was fine. I got bigger and there were problems until I bought a big bike from BIGJapan paid far more and had no problems.

There is a relationship between my incompetence, quality bush guys and BIGprofit. And BIGprofit designs out human quality. Money wants quality now, it has no patience, and it doesn’t care about people. If I can pay the big bucks to the showroom it is not my problem that the bush guy’s family struggles.

So where do you go with this? Do I demand rich guys hang around the old car lots I used to waste time in whilst the bush guys tinkers? How can I?

I see AI in this way. Human quality will be designed out of the process. Our world will be changed to suit tasks that can be carried out by AI. Do the assembled cars have intelligence? No. Does it work? Yes, if you have the money. Will the AI have intelligence? No. Will it work? Yes, if you have the money.

But where are people in all this? Where are the bush guys with their skills? Earning scraps whilst a few trained and fitted in with assembly units. And the showrooms have pretty girls.

When your boffs are in the labs working on AI for BIGprofit to make human qualities obsolete, are they thinking Oppenheimer?

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