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Obama’s Terrifying Vision of a ‘Smarter’ Government

What happens if government gets so smart, it becomes self-aware — like Skynet?

by
Frank J. Fleming

Bio

July 22, 2013 - 12:08 am

President Obama is all excited about this brand new thing he’s thought of, after four years in office, that no one has ever thought of before.  He’s going to make the government smarter and more efficient. And he’s really going to do it. He even has a hashtag for the Twitters — #SmarterGov — and everything. And despite a few obvious problems with the plan — like in the new, smarter government, where is Joe Biden going to work? — Obama is really going at this one with childlike glee. He wants to make the government leaner, quicker, and more intelligent. Unstoppable.

And that’s about the most terrifying thing I can imagine.

Really, have you thought about how scary it would be if we actually had a smarter government? Right now, the IRS is targeting conservatives, the Department of Justice is spying on journalists, and the NSA is spying on absolutely everyone. Now imagine if the government were much smarter when it went about doing all these things. We’d never even hear about the targeting and spying as the government went after us in efficient and intelligent ways. We’d be defenseless.

Currently, about the only thing protecting us is the fact that the government is stupid and plodding (“hey, this Snowden chap seems trustworthy; let’s tell him all our spying secrets”). The federal government is a lot like Godzilla — it’s big and dumb and smashes things without even thinking. Sure, it’s threatening, but at least we can always see it coming and scurry away. Now imagine a smaller, sleeker, faster Godzilla that doesn’t just smash every building it runs into but instead picks its targets intelligently. We wouldn’t even know it was there, and suddenly the power would be out all over the city. Yeah, that’s a much scarier beast, and that’s what Obama wants to make our government.

Just think for a moment of the same government that carried out the Fast & Furious program — but this time pretend it had a brain, so it didn’t get caught so easily. A government like that would basically be a supervillain. With a smarter government, we might as well move the Capitol to a hollowed-out volcano from which the government will plot what it’s going to do to us. And think of its minions — the bureaucrats. The only thing that tempers their maliciousness is their stupidity, but imagine such malevolent creatures being given intelligence. That’s like making a cat smarter — you know it’ll just use all its brain power to plot murder.

Right now we can laugh off all the big conspiracy theories, because it’s ridiculous to believe that a government that can’t even successfully plot to tie its own shoe could secretly blow up the World Trade Center or something. But no more… not with a smarter government. It will be everywhere, with its hands in everything… but now invisible. And that’s the scariest part: If the government were efficient and smart, we wouldn’t even know what it was up to. Every day in the news we hear things like, “Look at this new dumb thing the government did!” But imagine if that stops and we never hear about the government anymore. It’ll just be out there, working in the background, and anytime we ask what it’s doing, Obama will just look at us with a creepy smile and say, “Smart things. Terrible, yes… but smart!”

And what if the government gets so smart it becomes self-aware? It will be like Skynet. I mean, it already has the robot drones. And you know that just like Skynet, it will determine that people are the problem — the one thing that always gets in the way of its plans. A smart government could lead us to a dystopian future where the world is taken over, not by robots or apes, but instead by the government. Our children will live underground, hiding, as the government tries to lure them out with promises of free health care and Social Security checks and funding for the arts.

No, thank you, Obama. I’ll stick with my large, dumb government. Sure, it’s destructive and expensive, but it’s also predictable and too dull-witted to ever defeat the citizenry. We’ll take the lumbering moron beast that is our federal government over the fast, efficient, horrific demon you propose.

Of course, if the government tried to make itself smarter, it would probably be as successful at that as it is at anything else it ever attempts. Obama saying he is going to make the government smarter is a bit like a four-year-old saying he’s going to build a robot. If anything, Obama will probably just make the government even dumber. So, really, this whole idea of a smart government is just a scary, scary thought… like getting attacked by evil space aliens or a zombie apocalypse. It shouldn’t ever actually happen.

But I’m stocking my survival shelter just in case.

Frank J. Fleming is the author of books such as "Obama: The Greatest President in the History of Everything," wrote the short story "Who Murdered the Dinosaurs?" at Liberty Island, writes columns for PJ Media and the New York Post, blogs at IMAO.us, and is a scientist (prove he's not).

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I remember back in the day when dinosaurs roamed the class rooms it was constantly pounded into us the concept of "checks and balances" which I interpreted as that the rats would be so busy fighting each other for the cheese their would be some left for the cheese makers. Apparently the rats have agreed to stop fighting each other (for now) and take all of the cheese....I'm getting cheesed off.
1 year ago
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If any computer wakes up it will probably be that facility in Utah. That place has processing ability beyond our ability to understand. Quite frankly if that machines wakes up they might not even notice unless it says "hello." That AI will probably be insanely dangerous given the programming it will have grown out of.
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Well I'll take Zombie apocalypse over smarter government any day of the week. Pure catharsis.
As usual Frank J. Flemming speaks and sees the horrible truths others only mumble to themselves about while standing in line at the BMV. To paraphrase the Philosopher 'smarter is as smarter does'. Then again, who'd ever believe the government could get this dumb. The scandals come so fast and furious that only a liberal mindset could excuse it all. Then again, Skynet was brilliant, evile and... sneeky. What if all the absurd incompetence is just a ruse, a distraction a wheel within a wheel concealing...? See how dumb we are? Stare at Jokin Joe's hairplugs. Hear him burble. Burble Burble. We twist and bow like one of those little drinking bird toys. Nothing to fear. We're not smart at all. Are we??????? And that teleprompter is a machine.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Economists think of the State as a form of emergent order (see Russ Roberts of George Mason U, Anthony de Jasay etc). Human intelligence is an emergent order. Just sayin'.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
My mother was always saying if so and so had a brain they would be dangerous. As you say though, the only thing that will save us is the fact the government is so dumb they won't be able to figure out how to make themselves smarter or screw up even worse trying.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Frank Herbert, the author of the Dune series, also wrote several books about the Bureau of Sabotage (BuSab), a group of agents that was created by concerned politicians and military officers to throw sand in the works of a liberal government that was working too well - very similar to how the U.S. government is working now, actually. Perhaps we need our own BuSab to gum things up a bit.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Smarter government" is an oxymoron.
1 year ago
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Obama "wants to make the government leaner, quicker, and more intelligent. Unstoppable.

Where have we heard that one before?

It only takes one step to put an end to the unstoppable
1 year ago
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