Android Nightmares

Google’s plot to take over mind, body, and soul

| January-February 2011

  • Eric Utne 2

    2009 © Chris Lyons /

  • Eric Utne 2

Creation of Android 

Have you noticed the latest TV ads for the Droid, a Verizon mobile phone that uses Google’s Android operating system? One features a handsome young man sitting in a business meeting. He pulls out his Droid, flips open the keyboard, and begins typing at increasingly superhuman speed. First his fingers, then his hands, and finally his arms turn into sophisticated circuitry—the bionic man. The sell line comes via a voice-over at the end of the commercial: “Turning you into an instrument of efficiency.”

Another ad for the device shows the iris of the user’s eye transforming into digital circuitry as he merges with his technology.

What’s the message here? I believe it’s that Google, the company whose maxim is “Don’t be evil,” has given itself over to a vision of the future in which human and machine morph into a monstrous hybrid. As Google’s cofounder Sergey Brin recently declared, “We want to make Google the third half of your brain.”

Brin and Larry Page, the visionary entrepreneurs who together founded Google, are unabashed enthusiasts and promoters of what has come to be known as “the Singularity,” a vision of the near future in which human beings and machines merge so that illness, old age, and even death become things of the past.

Computer pioneer Bill Joy sounded the alarm about the Singularity a decade ago, in a Wired article titled “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us.” He argued for voluntary relinquishment of genetic, robotic, and nano technologies, warning that intelligent robots could soon dominate humanity, and that all of nature could be swallowed in an oozing sea of tiny “gray goo” machines.

10/13/2011 12:30:45 PM

I sure as hell don't want to be connected to a machine nor would I wish to live forever. Life is splendid and one of the reasons why is that its unpredictable, and fleeting. Man won't rest until he has completely undone himself. His satanic need to be GOD! Remember the Tower of Babel.

Billy Obvious
3/15/2011 8:57:02 AM

A little over a hundred years ago, two new machines were developed: the bicycle, and the motor car. Just look at the mess we've made by choosing the wrong one.

Jeffrey Fried
2/21/2011 5:44:49 PM

Because i have ADHD i rely on my Droid/iphone/Palm to help me keep track of tasks and meetings. Because i have a degree of dyslexia that makes reading all the different fonts that can occur in any book impossible, i use a Kindle to ensure that i always get the same font shape and size with minimal reflection so that i can finally read - i recently finished reading a set of full length fiction and non-fiction books that would have been impossible without the Kindle or something equivalent. Because i was born with a number of autoimmune disorders i am kept alive with various techological marvels (that also have some not so fun side effects). I have more items on my list, but i think you get the point. I appreciate that we've taken tens of thousands of years to get where ever "here" is and it clearly must be a delicate balance that maintains not only our bodies but our minds. But the quality of my life is very dependent upon these marvels and i hope that we can learn to add them into our lives safely going forward, or, we shall have to practice euthanasia to kill off people in my position rather than leaving them to slowly suffer.

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