Science & Technology

 

 

The capitalists are ploughing billions into artificial intelligence, salivating at the prospect of an AI-generated economic boost and keen to grab a slice of the new gold rush. But there is no technological solution for capitalism’s fundamental contradictions, and the investment party will inevitably be followed by a hangover.

After years of frenzied, debt-fuelled investment into on-demand content, the media industry is now facing an almighty crash, with studio staff, creative workers, and streaming customers paying the price. The chaos of capitalism is to blame.

For the past week, the world has been treated to a macabre piece of theatre: an international, multi-million-dollar operation to save the lives of five crewmen of the Titan submersible, who – it now turns out – were almost certainly known to have died from the start. Life is sacred: who could object to any expense to save just a single soul? But if all life is indeed sacred, then some lives are clearly more sacred than others.

Recent developments in Artificial Intelligence have provoked a mixture of fear and enthusiasm across the world. In this article, Daniel Morley, examines the claim that AI is ‘conscious’ or ‘superhuman’, draws out the real potential for this technology, and explains how we are really enslaved by the machine under capitalism.

The most recent launch of a rocket by Elon Musk’s spacecraft manufacturing company SpaceX ended dramatically on Thursday, as the vehicle touted as the most powerful rocket ever built went up in flames just off the coast of Texas. Despite being heralded as a “successful failure”, SpaceX’s escapades show the frivolous wastefulness of the capitalist class, who grow fat on government handouts, while the standard of living for workers only continues to worsen.

“It’s bananas,” exclaimed Dr Erica Nelson, co-author of a paper on a collection of fuzzy, red smudges of light from distant galaxies picked up by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST): “These galaxies should not have had time to form.” And yet, there they are! Massive, mature, insolent galaxies, shining brightly, in complete disregard of the fact that the Big Bang theory says they cannot exist.

The future of our planet depends on the successful transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. We are in a race against time. Climate scientists estimate there is a 50 percent chance of global temperatures exceeding pre-industrial levels by 1.5C in the next five years. Recently, a flurry of major breakthroughs in fusion energy have demonstrated the viability of this technology as a limitless, zero-carbon source of energy, harnessing the same process that powers our sun. And yet, scandalously, investment in this technology has been throttled for the past 50 years. Why? Because it was deemed unprofitable.

Mass sackings are occurring across the tech industry, including at online behemoths such as Twitter and Facebook, portending trouble for investors, users, and employees. It is time to take Big Tech under public ownership and workers’ control.

Thirty years after the launch of the Hubble telescope, its successor, the James Webb telescope is now operational. Big Bang cosmologists expected it to show young galaxies just a little after the universe’s own ‘beginning’. But having peered deep into the cosmos, the James Webb telescope is sending back images that defy the established cosmology, and point to a universe that is infinite in time and space. This article is included in issue 39 of the In Defence of Marxism magazine, click here to buy a copy and subscribe!

The recently awarded 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics has been accompanied by much chatter in popular science columns about how the work of the three awarded scientists has proven that there is no such thing as ‘objective reality’, and the world is not real. Even the Nobel Prize committee itself succeeded in misrepresenting the science. Idealist mysticism has made much headway in the sciences, and is expressed most crudely in popular science journals. Perhaps the worst specimen is the once highly regarded New Scientist magazine, as the following article from issue 37 of In Defence of Marxism magazine explains.

On April 25, Twitter announced that its board of directors would accept a $44 billion bid by Elon Musk to purchase the social media company. Pending shareholder approval, the deal is set to be finalized over the next three to six months. Musk, currently the richest person on Earth, with a net worth of $259 billion, would thus own one of the most influential social media sites in the world, used daily by over 200 million people.

We all know we are supposed to recycle plastic. We are taught the three R’s in school, at home, and at the workplace: “reduce, reuse, recycle.” From an early age, we learn to separate plastics from trash using the recycling triangle and to put the blue bins out on the sidewalk once a week since doing so can help combat pollution, in particular the pollution of the oceans. We are taught that we can all be a part of the solution—if only we recycle.

In April 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) released an annual report, once again warning that little progress has been made in developing new, desperately needed antibiotics. Overlooked by most in the midst of the raging COVID pandemic, the report analyzed 43 antibiotics currently in the development pipeline.

Lenin once said that “war is terrible, terribly profitable.” The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic measures up to warfare, not only in terms of the lives it has taken, but also the grotesque windfall it has provided to capitalist profiteers. The US-based company Pfizer has emerged as the most egregious example of Big Pharma exploiting a horrific public health crisis to swell its coffers.