Are you a robot? Or human?

Judging from the quasi-racist, anti-Russian war hysteria gripping Western publics, one suspects that they are media bots with, at the very least, diminished humanity.

I wondered why Captcha was constantly asking me to verify my humanity — but its import didn’t to sink in until now.

Captcha is all over the internet because it has been increasingly difficult to tell “bots”, digital beings with programmed values, goals and capabilities from…well…ordinary people. In some cases, as when people surrender their autonomy to the mob, there really isn’t that much difference.

This is an ontological issue, just looking “human” doesn’t mean you are. Heidegger called it “forgetfulness of being”. Sartre called it “bad faith”. Humanity is a choice.

The interent Captcha challenge tests some of the unique human capabilities that define what it means to be an independent, caring and sharing consciousness — a true human being — and not a morally vacant, intellectually stunted machine obeying its programming

The most advanced Google Captcha test which distinguishes humans and bots using 9 squares or boxes.

For example, you are asked to identify an object, say traffic lights, and click on the boxes where they or part of them appear as part of single image behind the boxes with a lot of other things — poles trees, etc.

Or you may be asked to distinguish various kinds of seaplanes and passenger aircraft.

Such tests are simple but no bots can do them. They require you to a.) distinguish between disparate artifacts in the imagery b.) verify whether they are in — or extend outside the boxes.To do this creates flexible, non-linear cognitive functions.

“I think there I am”?

No. As the philosopher Merleau Ponty said it is “I see, therefore I think therefore I am”. NOT: “think first, “see later”, or see what to you think you should see rather than what is actually there. That is what bots do.

Human beings first “see”. Then think. After that — are. If they don’t this they are not.

Increasingly, our society tries to dehumanize its members, limiting their perceptions. It wants compliant robots. Enslaved minds.

“Official narratives”, propaganda, and cancel culture are all about enslavement of the mind.

As I have indicated, the Ukraine War and the massive, mindless, hysteric one-sided outpouring of hate against all that is not American confirms that a majority of people can no longer what they have not even programmed to expect: they cannot see outside boundaries. And cognitive dissonance makes them frustrated, angry and violent.

Ted Rall: Support him.

They have surrendered what psychologists call “executive function” in the brain as an individual and autonomous function to the media.” We cannot see contradictions or appreciate ironies.

To be truly human we have to look outside our cognitive boxes; we have to recognize disparities, know when things don’t add up, figure out the difference between “seem” and “is”. We have to question — and learn. And question again. And relearn.

ARE YOU A HUMAN? How do you know?

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Canadian media analyst / writer. 40 years in Japan. Study evolution, psychology, anthropology, zoology, music, art, neurology. I see, think, am.

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Julian Macfarlane

Julian Macfarlane

Canadian media analyst / writer. 40 years in Japan. Study evolution, psychology, anthropology, zoology, music, art, neurology. I see, think, am.

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