As a side-show to Trump’s clownish posturing and to Macron’s rehearsed arrogance, Theresa May was given a few minutes at exploiters’ circle jerkfest Davos last week to talk nonsense to a small crowd that steadily diminished as she spoke. A transcript of her speech is here: Full speech.
Davos is not a meeting of world leaders who exchange ideas on fiscal management of the global economy; Davos is a gathering of wealth terrorists’ gimps who seek to assure their masters (and assure each other) that they are capable of continuing to exploit 99% of the world’s population. Throughout her speech May used “we” to mean the (current) ruling class of exploiters and not to mean the people of the world.
May chose to focus on new technologies. “Today I am going to make the case for how we can best harness the huge potential of technology.” Is that not what human beings have always sought to do? We – meaning humans – have always wanted to improve the tools available to us to make our lives better and easier. However, the “we” as May used the word want to be sure that changes in technology will further enhance their unearned profits.
“Let me start with how we can embrace technology. Key to this is channelling the power of government and business in partnership to seize the opportunities of technology and create high-quality, well-paid jobs right across the world.” Was May reading from her GCSE essay in stating the obvious? “Harnessing the power of technology is not just in all our interests but fundamental to the advance of humanity” declared May to the disappointment of the Amish community.
May’s intent in her speech was to pretend that the Tories want Britain to be a leader in digital technology including artificial intelligence. This pretence was presented as a series of platitudes spliced together randomly alongside namechecks of some Tory pseudo-initiatives including Modern Industrial Strategy, National Retraining Scheme and Institute of Coding. There was nothing illuminating or inspiring within her comments on the requirements for governments and businesses regarding digital technology. It was all vacuous waffle. The reason for her focus on this technology is to try to create false optimism regarding Brexit. Faced with clear calamitous consequences of Brexit, the Tory plan is to say that future unknown benefits of AI and digital technology will save us all, so we shouldn’t worry.
She claimed to be aware of the need to protect the availability of jobs. “We need to act decisively to help people benefit from global growth now. That is why as part of our industrial strategy, there is a focus on supporting new jobs and industries that build on the strengths of local communities. And just as we act to help support new jobs today, so we also need to help people secure the jobs of tomorrow.” As an example of “the jobs of tomorrow” May lauded Uber. “Take the example of Uber – a ground-breaking use of technology that has radically changed how people move around in cities across the world.” Uber is entirely exploitative toward its employees and exists because public transport is inadequate. A city with a good public transport system would have no need for Uber.
“We are delivering the UK’s biggest ever increase in public investment in research and development, which could increase public and private R&D investment by as much as £80 billion over the next 10 years” claimed May. How much of that “investment” will be tax-payers money handed over to the arms industry?
“We are using technology to support the needs of an ageing society, for example by employing powerful datasets to help diagnose and treat illnesses earlier.” This claim was made by May as the Tory government continues to deliberately destroy the NHS.
“Imagine a world in which self-driving cars radically reduce the number of deaths on our roads. Imagine a world where remote monitoring and inspection of critical infrastructure makes dangerous jobs safer. Imagine a world where we can predict and prevent the spread of diseases around the globe.” It’s easy if you try. It is easy if the focus is better technology that benefits mankind rather than just a different method of exploitation and different channelling of tax-payers’ money into the hands of a few. The Tories will always chose the latter option.
May forgot that she is leader of a government (and party) that will gleefully remove any protection for workers in order to maximise exploitation profit and she forgot that the Tories’ main focus with Brexit is a bonfire of workers’ protections and employment rules and regulations. In imaginary opposite world she proclaimed that “we need to make sure that our employment law keeps pace with the way that technology is shaping modern working practices. So employment law needs to preserve vital rights and protections – and the flexibilities that businesses and workers value. But we must make sure those flexibilities really do work for everyone, and don’t become a one-sided deal that can become exploitative.” Due to continuous examples to the contrary, no-one believes these words of May’s are sincere.
The comments about new technology and AI were encased in May’s oft-repeated pleas for capitalism to survive. “Last year, on this platform, I argued that the benefits of free trade were not being felt by all. And I warned that the failure of political and business leaders to address this threatened to undermine popular support for the entire rules based system on which our global security and prosperity depends.” The “rules based system,” a phrase May used four times in her speech, means bog standard international exploitative capitalism. Bizarrely, May’s emphasis of a “rules based system” was an attempt to imply there exists somewhere a capitalism without rules; no such anarchocapitalism operates anywhere.
As people starve to death or freeze to death on the street due to vicious social murder of benefit cuts and sanctions, and many people are employed in zero-hours or sub-minimum wage jobs, Theresa May saw only a fake reduction in unemployment: “In the UK, we have seen productivity rising, unemployment at its lowest rate for over 40 years and more and more examples of government and business working together to bring new jobs and opportunities to communities across our country.” The “working together” of “government and business” under the Tories means more opportunities for businesses to utterly exploit the workforce.
To be fair, May has noted how worried people are about Tories being in charge: “Many fear that because of technology they and their children will lose out on the jobs of the future and they worry too about how new technologies might be exploited by those with malevolent intentions; and what that could mean for the safety and wellbeing of their families and children.” But, she claimed everything has worked out fine: “Right across the long sweep of history – from the invention of electricity to the advent of factory production – time and again initially disquieting innovations have delivered previously unthinkable advances and we have found the way to make those changes work for all our people.” The 1980s Tories handed electricity supply to racketeers who have fleeced the public for thirty years and factory production is becoming increasingly less safe and lower paid.
The Tory government has actively allowed the major international internet companies to dodge billions of due taxes but May stated there are too many “barriers” for e-commerce: “While the likes of eBay, Amazon and Alibaba have grown into global giants, taking on a central role in the lives of billions around the world, the WTO has been struggling to remove barriers to e-commerce trade for almost twenty years.”
May concluded her speech with threats to curtail free speech online. “The Digital Charter we are developing in the UK sets out the principles of our approach to agree the rights and responsibilities of the online world and to put them into practice.” The Tories have already revealed their intent to censor online communication. Via the pretence of attacking fake news the Tories want to remove political criticism and they also asked Lord Bew to concoct a review and a report to over-state intimidation of politicians – see links below.
- Tories preparing to censor revolutionary politics: Fake news
- Tories preparing to censor revolutionary politics: Intimidation of politicians
- Tories preparing to censor revolutionary politics: Bew Report
In an echo of Joe McCarthy, May implored the shareholders of social media companies to assist with the censorship. “Investors can play a vital role by considering the social impact of the companies they are investing in. This is fundamental to the proper functioning of markets, choice and competition. They can use their influence to ensure these issues are taken seriously. For example, earlier this month a group of shareholders demanded that Facebook and Twitter disclose more information about sexual harassment, fake news, hate speech and other forms of abuse that take place on the companies’ platforms. So investors can make a big difference here and I urge them to do so.“
The Tories desire to control goes further. May stated an intent to make sure robots are programmed to serve the same people May serves. She invoked the elite “we” again. “In a global digital age we need the norms and rules we establish to be shared by all. This includes establishing the rules and standards that can make the most of Artificial Intelligence in a responsible way, such as by ensuring that algorithms don’t perpetuate the human biases of their developers. So we want our new world-leading Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation to work closely with international partners to build a common understanding of how to ensure the safe, ethical and innovative deployment of Artificial Intelligence.” There is no intelligence in the Tory party or their co-conspirators; they should be as far away as possible from determining any guidelines for artificial intelligence.
It was another empty speech by May. It was constructed to provide soundbites for the media. It failed to do even that.