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Colin Barrett: Blog

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February 11, 2015
Posted at 12:47 am

A.I. - Chapter 19

Just one chapter today. It's stand-alone, but the next two go together so I'm saving them for Friday.
This one's indirectly about bureaucrats. They're a species unto themselves. Although I acknowledge that for a short time I was one of their number, I didn't fit in well. I'm not quite sure how they relate to the human race other than genetically.
The bureaucrat sees himself (or herself, of course) as part of an organizational entity above all else. Individuality isn't prized, it's deemed rather a liability. Especially where it's somebody else's individuality that's involved, in particular where the "somebody else" happens to be lower on the hierarchical totem pole than oneself, it's to be discouraged and penalized; it means that person is not being a "team player," properly subordinating himself/herself to organizational priorities. So it's needed to "put him/her in his/her place," that is, to make a big point of showing that the heretical individual can be replaced (ideally, replaced by a small machine that goes "click" at periodic intervals, but if not that, certainly by any other human cog in the organizational structure). The idea that some individualistic underling actually can perform a unique task better than any substitute is bureaucratic anathema. Thus, Richard's situation is actually not that uncommon. And Jack's response is sure to endear him still less to his pursuers. I mean, it's bad enough that he's a potentially dangerous hacker, but it's far worse that he's attacked the order of bureaucratic structure. Let's not lose track of which is the greater sin.