Matrix, a machine-ruled society, is a pet nightmare for science aficionados. Matrix is expected to emerge due to the impartial justice that machines can offer through technology, but we hate it due to our pretence that human morality is a better tool for governing a society than machine-enforced equality.
A recent accident I saw has made me wonder if matrix is worth rejecting for India in the new age where social forces have weakened against the onslaught of individuality.
The alleged accident was caused by an alleged drunken man who first hit a school-rickshaw and then nearly killed a bike rider (PS: Before suing me, please note the careful use of alleged; as, after investigation and judicial review, it may turn out to be fault of drunk children, getting in the way of a patriotic blackbuck who stood up while driving as national anthem was playing on the radio).
Like a good Indian, he stumbled out and claimed complete innocence by stating that the man who was driving the car has vanished in the thin air. Either due to intervention of Saint Martin (protective saint of alcoholics) or other mysterious forces that operate exclusively in India, a PCR van materialized immediately on the scene to save him from the anger of frustrated Indians who populate our streets.
Interestingly, at no point during this episode, the man involved felt guilty of having injured innocent kids or appeared to fear that hard scientific evidence of being drunk or being in driving seat would come his way.
If a drunk hits a school bus in immoral West, the driver would surely see no real merit in claiming his absence or abstinence, as he will be perfectly aware that Big Brother science is watching him. A breath analyzer, a blood test, CCTV camera footage and swift judgment will send him behind bars, without requiring multiple layers of judicial review to check if machines are laying or not.
There is a critical difference between us and the West. West is comfortable living under the shadow of matrix because there is a social acceptance of equality that machines bring. We don’t allow such insensitive application of science in India because science is blind to social hierarchy that our society is organised around.
We may pretend otherwise, but we can’t bear to see a movie-star or politician go to jail because a machine said that there was alcohol in his blood. We innately accept that equality before law is not part of our culture.
Interestingly, most of our problems that we endlessly complain about on social media can be cured with technologies that are now available and affordable. It is easy for science to catch every red-light violator or every illegal construction, but we can’t allow it to do so because science-induced equality is against our cultural ethos. So, we rather pretend that we don’t need machines because we are a society-fearing culture.
The morning episode tells me that we need to review this now because we appear to have embraced western individuality and diluted our social fears. No man would have lied so comfortably in past when social forces were alive and powerful.
Today, we have lost the moral bearing, so machines worth considering as a replacement mechanism. We have no real choice left if we want to retain social order after substantial weakening of social, and in turn, moral fabric that we see all around.
Before complete chaos hits us, let us embrace technology to govern us. Matrix may be lurking in a distant future; but, to survive till then, we need the machines to take over, as our morality has tendered her resignation.