As a teenager I was quite a fan of Dostoyevsky. I discovered a copy of Crime and Punishment in my parents' bookshelf, but decided against it initially and went out and bought a second-hand copy of The Idiot instead as my first foray into the mind of this genius. I think I just liked the title better. In any case, I found his writing fascinating and embarked on a quest to read as much of his writings as I could get my hands on. Whilst Crime and Punishment is a deserved classic, my favourite was The Brothers Karamazov. A very masculine-oriented novel in no uncertain terms, an epic murder mystery that engulfs the lives of the three sons of a tyrannical father. But this, to me, was no ordinary novel. Dostoyevsky had a knack for reaching deep inside the human psyche, to reveal our most basic vulnerabilities. But this susceptibility is not portrayed as weakness. Instead it is almost celebrated, as a defining characteristic that makes us human. When the poverty-stricken Captain Snegiryov loses his composure in the presence of Alyosha over his desperately ill son - we are not just witnessing the emotional turmoil of a broken man, this is a brutal, yet stark reminder of what it means to be alive, a reminder of the position we all find ourselves in. That realisation that we are all in this together.
Dostoyevsky's unflinching portrayal of the human condition was something I'd never seen before in a novel. For an unsure teenager it was a revelation. But there was one thing about Dostoyevsky's writing that I could never get my head around - the settings. As much as I could relate to the characters, 19th century Russia was just way too fucking weird for me. I couldn't rationalise the social heirarchy, the aimless civil society, the gritty, sombre mood of the place. It was a culture and a time so unrelatable, yet the characters were as real and vital as any I'd ever read.
And yet here we are. 2017. A world so utterly dystopian, hideously complex yet full of rampant, almost sadistic stupidity. The world today makes 19th century Russia look perfectly conventional by comparison. Yet unlike a Dostoyevsky novel, humanity is not celebrated. Humanity is unwelcome here. This is the age of the machine.
While negotiating my life journey from teenager to bitter old man, I quite fortuitously spent a few years earning a university degree. My chosen discipline was so unpopular at the time that the faculty was considering shutting the course down. No need to see anyone's ENTER score - if you applied, you'd be accepted. They were desperate. The course? Mathematics.
So whatever skills I acquired during these few years proceeded to become highly sought-after not long after I graduated. The machines are just lumps of metal and plastic. They need instructions to execute the function for which they have been designed. And the machines only understand one language - mathematics.
So I have spent the past 15-odd years putting my "skills" to "good use". Of course, it's all bullshit. My "skills" are something any bum off the street could pick up in a few hours, and "good use" is anything that makes some rich guy more money, preferably at the expense of someone much worse-off than him to begin with. Let me tell you something you already know, something everyone knows: The machines are not here to help you. They are here to destroy you. They are here to squeeze the last drop of humanity from everyone they are unleashed upon. I know this because I have instructed them to do just that.
The IT industry is an empty vessel. A place where no life can be sustained, where words mean nothing and only money talks. "Big Data", "Agile", "Disruption", "AI", "Natural Language Processing", "UX" - you won't know what any of these terms mean. Nobody does. They exist only for salesmen to insert into their already meaningless sentences. They are manufactured words designed to impress those who are far too easily impressed. If you think you know what they mean, you have already fallen victim.
Humanity cannot survive the advance of the machine. The shills will paint a rosy future of humans living harmoniously among these benevolent servants. This illusion is shattered by all available evidence - while the machines have not yet killed us, we can lay no claim of sovereignty over them. The sword of technology lies firmly in the hands of the warlords. And we are powerless.
I'm done writing for now. But remember, what is mathematics? It is an approximation of our perception of the universe. A simplified view so we can overanalyse what we already know.