The Giant Robot Theory of the Presidency

“[I]t fits with what I’ve been calling in my head The Giant Robot Theory of the Presidency (and, to some extent, some other offices, public and private). I suspect that occupying the white house is to no small extent a lot like climbing into the cockpit of a large and complex piece of anime mecha. It mediates your senses, your reality is “augmented” in a number of ways, you have information being fed to you from various subsystems. You’re also somewhat isolated by the cockpit, too, and it’s easy for me to imagine that you start to think in terms of what those feeds are telling you and in terms of the controls in front of you… at first because it’s all so new and awesome and exciting, later because you’re used to it. The system itself shapes your perceptions and thinking… you start to think less like what you were before you climbed in and more like the system. Ellsberg’s perspective is crucial to minimizing the isolation. I’m not sure Obama has it. But Ellsberg might even be implying that it’s really only in the next year or two you could expect most intelligent mortals to actually be picking it up.”

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