On Mars:

  • NASA

Curiosity is now zapping rocks with a laser. An alien actually has a laser gun. All of those science fiction films and novels turn out not be about aliens visiting us but us visiting alien worlds. Science fiction is not a window but a mirror.

On Earth:

The Tesla assembly line is a stark contrast, brilliantly lighted. Its fast-moving robots, bright Tesla red, each has a single arm with multiple joints. Most of them are imposing, 8 to 10 feet tall, giving them a slightly menacing “Terminator” quality.

But the arms seem eerily human when they reach over to a stand and change their “hand” to perform a different task. While the many robots in auto factories typically perform only one function, in the new Tesla factory a robot might do up to four: welding, riveting, bonding and installing a component.

As many as eight robots perform a ballet around each vehicle as it stops at each station along the line for just five minutes.

How can you not be impressed by this vision of the future that's rapidly, wonderfully colonizing the present? But what about the jobs, I hear you say. You are a Marxist, how can you not see this as one arena in capitalism's global war on workers. First: Marxism is only a critique or theory of capitalism; it is not an economic system. You do not replace capitalism with Marxism. The end of capitalism is the end of Marxism. Second: Socialism, which can replace capitalism (as it is an economic theory), has a long history of seeing in machine labor the spiritual and intellectual liberation of humankind. The machines can do all the work and we can finally all become scholars—the root of which, schole, means “spare time, leisure."