The next presidential elections is still more than two years away but Filipinos are already looking to 2016 for that anticipated cool change. It’s not that the current term under President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III can be described as hot. Far from it. The Second Philippine Reich can be considered more of a protracted political ice age — a long winter of discontent that blighted the Philippines’ short history as an “independent” state. President BS Aquino is like the Ice Queen in the movie Frozen. He had a lot of power in his hands thanks to the immensity of the emo popularity he inherited from his late folks. But his ineptness at wielding that power turned the Philippines into a gray wasteland — often literally.A lot of people say current Vice President Jejomar Binay will be president in 2016. Perhaps he will be. President BS Aquino can’t really be considered a tough act to follow. He ascended the Philippine throne the least qualified of the lot and he will be stepping down in 2016 after having proved that to the millions of poor sods who voted for him. The only other bozo who inceeded (that’s the opposite of “exceeded”, right?) people’s expectations is erstwhile promised future president Mar Roxas. Roxas blew it. BS Aquino tried to pave a six-year road to Malacanang for Roxas. But he bungled that journey and ended up paving that way for Binay. In his six years as BS Aquino’s little sidekick, Roxas single-handedly reinstated the true meaning of flashing the “L” hand gesture.
Binay isn’t resting on his Laurels. He’s astutely and deftly laid the groundwork for his ascent to the presidency. Best of all, he’s got the skin colour of the Philippines’ masa — which makes him and his clan a standout in the Philippines’ traditionally fair-skinned feudal oligarchy. It is a perfect media match.
Speaking of media matches, however, we cannot discount Kris Aquino possibly becoming president in 2016. Desperate feudal lords are a dangerous thing and there is no underestimating Uncle Peping’s resolve to hang on to the family jewels. Besides, if you can sell a chump like BS Aquino to the Filipino voter, pitching Kris to the Philippines will be the equivalent of selling Internet porn to a Pinoy seaman. Hacienda Luisita will be saved!Whether it is Kris or Binay, the next Philippine President will be a win na win proposition for Filipinos. Binay’s potential lies in his being representative of the Filipino’s true skin colour (long-forgotten since Nora Aunor’s fall from superstardom), while Kris’s value proposition lies in her being a reaffirmation of da Pinoy’s stariray complex. Both will represent the ultimate revenge of da Pinoy masa. They will be giving the commies a run for their money.
So much for that.
And so now we get to the real point I wanted to make.
The real point I wanted to make is that Philippine Presidents don’t really matter beyond their value as objects of amusement. Whether a brillaint man or an idiot rules the Philippines, the future of this country will not be determined from a river-side palace in Manila. After almost 70 years of “independence”, Filipinos have yet to figure out that singular fact about the character of their nation. And it looks like they never will.
Nah. The future of the Philippines will be determined by a bunch of brilliant scientists working in a bunch of artificial intelligence and robotics labs Google has been busy acquiring in recent months…
Bad news indeed. Filipinos rely on two key types of people to prop up their future: overseas foreign workers and outsourcing industry workers. On these two professions, rests much of the Philippines’ hollow consumerist economy. And Google scientists along with the most brilliant minds working in research facilities all over the world are furiously working on the technologies that will eventually replace such workers.
Former Google Android lead and current Google Robot Guru Andy Rubin’s list of acquired companies reads a bit like a baseline robot kit:
– Redwood Robotics for robot arms
– Holomni for robot wheels
– Bot & Dolly for robotics cameras
– Boston Dynamics for creepy and cool mobile robots
– DeepMind Technologies for artificial intelligence
– Meka Robotics for humanoid robots
– Industrial Perception for computer vision (which may or may not be for robotics)
Google, of course, did not necessarily have the replacement of Filipino caregivers and telemarketers in mind when it acquired these firms. Then again when NASA engineers invented velcro for space flight in the 1960s, they did not have its application in the design of tacky men’s wallets in mind either.
Consider that in the period starting 2008 when the iPhone was born up to 2011 when the iPhone 4S was released, a system called Siri crawled out of an AI lab and installed itself into an affordable mass-produced handheld device.
In just three years, a rudimentary but state-of-the-art AI system went from being a lab curiosity to a consumer product accesible to hundreds of millions of ordinary people.
Tell me again. How many more years before 2016?
And here we are thinking Kris Aquino becoming President of the Philippines is that crazy a thought.
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