A SMAC in the Face #63: The Future is Dangerous

2023 saw Biden play hide and seek with the exit from the podium a number of times while Trump played hide and seek with the truth, the Republication debates and his innumerable court cases.

Internationally, the ‘special operation’ in Ukraine droned on, much to the horror of around 300,000 Russian mothers, not that Putin cared.  His ‘chef’ Prigozhin tried to execute a coup d’etat and failed.  It didn’t take long for Putin to execute a coup de grace and change him into pulled beef by placing a bomb on his plane.  He got off lightly.  He was dead before he knew it.  Normally it takes years to die in a forgotten Siberian Gulag, or between minutes and weeks to die by Russian poisoning as you reflect on your reckless ways, or about 3 seconds of wondering what the world record is of surviving freefall onto concrete from your 10th floor apartment.

It was turning out to be a boring year until Hamas put on their one act production of egregious killing, rape of the most sexually repressed kind, beheadings, mayhem and hostage taking of innocents across the age spectrum.  The Israeli response to the deaths of about 1400 was, “We raise you 20,000.”

On the home front, things meandered on and one could just platz from all the platitudes spewed out in Squirrel’s ‘Family Meetings’.  He did once wistfully wish that we could be less negative like the Chinese.  What planet does he live on? Negativity and criticism results in immediate cancelling by the state and strenuous re-education to teach you the error of your ways.  Just ask Jack Ma, probably China’s richest man. 

6 years after it began and 18 months after the last volume of the Zondo Commission into State Capture thudded onto Squirrel’s desk, 5437 pages in all, the Prison’s Department still has to put out a tender for orange jumpsuits. Ho, hum.

2023, though, will be remembered as the year the electricity died.  Future parents will tell their kids about how tough it was growing up without electricity and how they went through gate and UPS batteries like Malusi Gigaba goes through teeth whitener and baby oil.

So Much for 2023.  The forecast for next year is mild with a chance of meatballs, or big Macs with a side order of bone spurs if Trump wins, but the coming years don’t look good – actually, sunny, too sunny.

One of a Bored Panda collection of lost-in-translation signs reads: The future is dangerous. Don’t go any further please.

Internationally we have the ongoing war in Ukraine which has drawn together the unholy trinity of Russia, China and Iran.  The grievous military losses concern the dead-eyed Putin not a bit.  The Ukrainians sarcastically refer to the reckless Russian assaults as meat attacks.  They also remind the world of the new Russian heavy metal space program in which they estimate that the highest altitude achieved by a Russian tank turret is about 100m so far.

Gaza is a running sore and will continue thus far into the New Year irrespective of worldwide opprobrium at the Israeli spendthrift attitude to collateral damage.  Hamas’s outrage had the full backing of Iran and has pulled in the Houthis in another unholy trinity and possibly a quarternity as Hezbollah can’t seem to stay away from the fun.

In America we have Trump who has more than an even chance of whining to a second term. The question is, how can a single person encompass all the most disagreeable traits of humanity and still attract so many supporters.  God help America, Biden and geopolitical sanity.

These will most likely be contained but there are two huge long term threats to human existence.  The first is the old one of climate change.  COP28 attracted about 100,000 delegates and another 300,000 influencers, A-listers, wannabes and similar wastes of space.  Worse than all that jet fuel was all the hot air and pandering platitudes.

But 2023 will forever be known as the year that AI kicked off.  (This piece was not written by AI – pinkie promise.)  Although it is early days still, this will probably be the most destructive disruptive technology which could implode humanity.  Never underestimate man’s ability to abuse discoveries particularly one as powerful as this.  All previous disruptions involved physical developments which inherently limited their scope.  This one has few physical limitations and, more important, has the ability to alter our perception of what is real. Scary stuff.

On the home front there is not much to look forward to except that Eskom will become increasingly irrelevant as the private sector and ordinary citizens eat its lunch.  The bad news is that electricity prices will increase disproportionately as Eskom sells fewer units with the same staff, loan repayments and capital equipment. With the ANC under the knobkerrie and an election looming, we can expect populist rhetoric and policies to counter the EFF and Zuma’s disaffection.  The deck chairs have been reupholstered to accommodate a new swathe of tenderpreneurs with even more severe racially discriminatory state procurement rules effecting over R1trn per year. 

This could be the year that the ANC stops dancing around its socialist/communist central planning core. We could finally see it giving flesh to the NHI, Expropriation Without Compensation, limited land ownership, particularly foreign, and even more draconian BEE and Employment Equity targets.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

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