Modern Slavery

Currently watching SOLO (film), and came across an interesting idea:

The droids (bots) in the STAR WARS universe are all slaves.

Which is interesting, because there is a lot of philosophy which confirms this idea:

Modern civilization is built on the back of slaves.

But what kind of modern slaves do we have? Unfortunately– almost all of us.

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New Slaves by Kanye West

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“I know we the new slaves, I know we the new slaves.” – Kanye West

I’ve been philosophizing a lot about modern life and modern society– and unfortunately, modern capitalist structures propagate modern slavery.

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To me, I see ‘slavery’ as the opposite of a free person. A free person can do anything he/she desires to do with his or her free time. A slave is a person who has no control over their free time, and thus– their life.

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And just because you have a lot of money doesn’t mean you’re free. In-fact, a lot of people working these high-paid corporate jobs have no free time of their own. Thus, you can be a high-paid slave.

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Can a modern society or civilization exist without slaves?

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A sad epiphany I discovered (more vividly) when living in Vietnam for about a year:

All of our modern conveniences, technologies, and tools are built on the back of slaves.

For example, all the beautiful Apple products I love and use are straight out of China, in FOXCONN factories, which employs people in Henry Ford production-line fashion.

All modern banking institutions are run by suits and ties, who work insane 80+ hour weeks (as I can attest, from some of my friends who work in the banking industry).

With modern software (Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc), we got hordes of programmers– who also churn out similar 60-80+ hour weeks. They get fantastic perks, but end up becoming enslaved to their high salary and comforts of their jobs.

Whenever I go to a nice restaurant or coffee shop, these individuals don’t want to be working there. They simply must work there– in order to pay their bills and purchase food. And a lot of people in developing economies literally have no other choice, if they are born into poverty.

How were the ancient Greeks and Romans so productive?

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Simple — the ancient Romans and Greeks had slaves working for them, doing all the dirty work, which freed up the mental energy of the Greeks and Romans to philosophize, make art, etc.

The future of AI?

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Currently the hope is that we can turn AI (artificial intelligence) into our obedient digital slaves. I like this idea– because the more we can off-load superfluous cognitive load to AI, the more we can focus on meaningful stuff, such as creating art, philosophy, poetry, etc.

Do we control AI, or does AI control us?

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Yet this is what I am a bit concerned about–. This is what I see:

While the purpose of AI should be to make our lives more convenient and free — they actually seem to be controlling us more than we control it!

Let me give you an example: the Google algorithm tracks my behavior a little too well now. The other day I was watching CT Fletcher workout videos on YouTube, then I opened up Chrome, and on the bottom of my web browser, it said something like:

We think you might like these Google search terms: CT Fletcher Chest Workout, CT Fletcher Quotes, etc.

Now this is a problem, because when I initially opened up Google Chrome, my intention was NOT to look at more CT fletcher stuff. Instead, my intention was to search something else. But Google nudged me in a direction that I didn’t want to!

I would love a world in which I could just out-source all of my menial tasks to Google AI/Assistant, whatever. But this is what seems is happening:

My mind is starting to get enslaved to Google services, and thus Google can play puppet master with my mind, without me often knowing it!

How modern slavery is enslaving us

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Anyways, I’m getting off=topic, let me try to take things back.

Problems of modern society:

  1. We are enslaved to jobs we don’t like just in order to pay rent, and provide food for ourselves. However sometimes this slavery is self-inflicted, especially when we let ‘lifestyle creep’ (as you earn a higher income, you become more enslaved to your income) and ‘hedonic adaptation‘ (you adapt more and more to your hedonistic pleasures, stuff, etc, and we seek to earn more and more money in order to increase our hedonic pleasures in life).
  2. Modern AI and algorithms are controlling our behavior and minds, via Facebook-Instagram, Google, Amazon, etc — via these ‘suggestion’ algorithms. We cannot escape our ‘Glass Cage‘ and we end up becoming trapped in our ‘filter bubbles‘ (trapped inside mental boxes and prisons, because our technology filters keep us stuck in a mental bubble).
  3. We are slaves of consumerism, because we have been indoctrinated that consumerism and buying shit is good– ever since we have been children. It really isn’t our fault. It is like being born in the MATRIX, and being fed this false reality.


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I’m not going to complain without offering solutions:

  1. The best way to gain true freedom in modern capitalist society is to become an entrepreneur, and become self-employed. The best use of money is to buy your own freedom.
  2. Decrease your expenses to the bare minimum, and practice ‘simulated poverty’ (via my buddy Seneca), to know that you can actually live a very happy and fulfilling life with very little money!
  3. Don’t desire superfluous stuff. Desire to create, and produce.
  4. You don’t need to be self-employed. If you have an option, quit your job (especially if you are miserable, over-worked, and under-appreciated). Find a job that you prefer.

More thoughts to come.

For further reading, read Nietzsche’s thoughts on Master/Slave Morality on Wikipedia >



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