Bytes, Bitcoins and Modern-Day Barbarism

By Mark Antony Rossi

AT THE BEGINNING of the 21st century, humanity is caught in a technological tsunami threatening to dissolve the foundation of civility and democracy. Global trade and human treachery have exposed advanced technological techniques and equipment to hostile governments like North Korea, Iran and Iraq. Modern societies must battle criminals on two fronts: the obvious culprits of visible narcotic trafficking and the vast invisible empire of underground drug financing that has become a major subsidizer of terrorist organizations in Columbia, Peru, Palestine, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and the Recently resurgent Taliban of Afghanistan. The technological phenomena of electronic mail is freely used by the full spectrum of terrorist entities to send anything from complex codes to wire transfer of large sums of currency.

The basic digital cameras built into consumer cellular phones can transmit photos of secret locations, documents, attack plans, assassination targets–the list is endless. Digital bandits as young as fourteen are creating and launching computer viruses causing major disruptions in corporations and billions of dollars in damage. Local governments use EZ Pass toll systems that build personal movement databases on the citizens who use them and freely pass this private information on to policy authorities and police agencies.

Giant corporations engage in technological espionage in quest of great profits but only succeed in enriching spy agencies of foreign powers.

Enron, Tyco, WorldCom are but a few examples of technological manipulation of stocks, bonds and accounting books that weaken the national economy from within and integrity of the country from without.

The primary goal of mass-murdering terrorists is the death of democracy by any means necessary. It is the individual they fear the most. For the individual making choices is a direct threat to their worldview which is committed to religious cult of personality. Thus, freedom must be exercised from the world body like a cancerous growth. The grim fictional predictions of Huxley and Orwell may very well be upon us. Are we ready to meet the challenge of a new kind of Fascism brought about through superior technology and historic apathy? These uneasy questions and their possible horrific results are examined throughout this timely and topical collection of accessible essays and research. Unlike self-help hucksters and futurist gurus who populate the bookshelves with strange diets and new age claptrap, I do not claim to possess a crystal ball to predict every outcome. I am merely a concerned citizen of the world marking the infernal exits dotting tomorrow’s Information Superhighway.

In the new War of Freedom what will the forces of Democracy do to combat homicidal fanatics bent on world domination? Will we torture suspects until we start losing our humanity? Will we pass new laws that hurt the very freedoms we claim to protect? Will we become the monsters we claim to despise? These and other questions must be asked not only for the sake of fair-minded evaluation but because they are intertwined in the new technologies unleashed on a distracted public not aware of electronic ballot boxes vulnerable to hacker invasion, candidate’s images digitally changed to invoke scandal, embryos implanted with biotechnological devices, the very makeup of the human species ma undergo transformations unimagined by the best science fiction minds.

What will concern citizens and warriors and liberty do to prevent the horrors lurking in the not-too-distant future? Or do we even care? A nation of couch potatoes willing to act only when personal interests are in jeopardy? The 21st century, unlike any other period of humanity, will test the boundaries of humanity and the true strength of the human spirit. Will we finally forsake hatred or just clothe it in a uniform wired for sight and sound? Twenty centuries of con men have woven into our thoughts the maxim, “sounds too good to be true.”

Super advanced technology might turn that wise phrase upside down, “Sounds too true to be good.” For the dark side of technology is identical to the dark side of human nature. Every piece of fantastic machinery dreamt or built are haunted by techomens–an existential Murphy’s Law that presupposes a thing with unintended side effects will be eventually be used for that negative purpose. At the risk of sounding mystical, techomens are the whispering voices steering us to perilous paths. They are cold hands disconnecting conscience from action. They are stone hearts making pebbles of noble monuments.

They inhabit mind and mechanism like original sin—infecting progeny of future generations from the second of conception. Technomens are unlearned lessons of yesterday’s tragedies revisiting the proud and the profane. Is technology really changing the world, or merely making it easier to subjugate the masses again?

About the Author: Mark Antony Rossi is a poet, playwright and author of the bioethics volume “Dark Tech” now available from Amazon. His most recent plays have been produced in Liverpool and New York. He also hosts a podcast called Strength to be Human.

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