Forgotten Relics and a Schizophrenic Present: An Analysis of Big O

Written by Alexander Greco

August 9, 2020

Ah, yes.

Big O.

It’s been a long time coming.

Big O could’ve gone down in anime history alongside Neon Genesis Evangelion as one of the best giant mech anime of all time, and even as one of the best anime in general of all time.

However, Big O suffered not only similar flaws as Neon Genesis, but enough other of its own flaws that it is hardly even remembered (ironically). It’s a forgotten relic of the late 90’s and early 00’s: a giant robot anime that tried to fuse neo-noir Gotham-City-style action and mystery with the Modernist techno-dystopia style of movies like Metropolis, Bladerunner and Dark City.

Underlying this neo-noir, Modernist dystopia are questions of existentialism: free will, purpose, meaning, the relationship of the individual to society and the universe, the nature of being. And here, we can begin to see how Big O inevitably failed where an anime like Neon Genesis succeeded. Big O spread itself out across too many themes.

Both shows ran for 26 episodes, both were unique takes on the giant mech genre, and both were incredibly ambitious—delving into depths many “deep” anime only scratched at. The problem with Big O was that it was too scattered, too schizophrenic and too self-aware. Where Neon Genesis never felt like it was trying to be anything other than Neon Genesis, Big O felt like it was trying to be Kafka, Huxley, Orwell, Joyce, Bradbury and Asimov all at once.

Where Neon Genesis had a solid structure, a solid core to it (albeit a structure/core that was difficult to articulate at times, but was at all times clearly felt), Big O feels unstable, loose and uncertain. It’s difficult to even know how one should feel about it.

And, as one final critique, Hideaki Anno is simply a better story writer. Neon Genesis was able to wedge its characters and the central plot into our minds almost immediately, then develop the characters, plot and themes at a perfect pace (until, of course, the very end). Big O just has too much going on: too many sub-plots, too many mysteries, too many revolving-door-characters and standalone story-arcs.

The plot of NGE builds and stacks itself, like the stories of a tower, where Big O schizophrenically assembles the disparate and thinly-associated pieces of a broad puzzle. 90% of the characters appear in only one or two episodes; most individual or standalone story-arcs support the broader plot and themes, but are much more self-contained; and the philosophical themes of the story can never agree with each other on what questions they ought to be asking.

While this style of storytelling—the neo-noir, mystery/detective style of a succession of standalone plots supporting a larger plot—can work incredibly well if executed properly (such as in Cowboy Bebop), Big O was too cluttered to execute it as well as it should have been.

However, I did in fact start this analysis saying, “Big O could’ve gone down in history…” and I mean it. I want there to be no confusion here, despite my criticism, how I feel about this anime.

I love this anime.

Big O has such fucking style, such unique blends of themes and aesthetics, and such memorable, if not at times flawed, characters, plot points, scenes, settings and tone.

God, I fucking love this anime.

Big O was ambitious. In many ways, it was an homage to the science fiction, noir and modernism of the 20th century, and borrowed quite a lot from series like NGE and Batman (yes, there’s a lot of Batman in this show), but in many was its own, wholly unique show, tempered by the style and storytelling of anime.

This show is incredibly fun and unique—the robot fights, by the way, are sweet and plentiful—and the show contains quite a lot of depth to it, as well as good complexity beneath all the not-so-good complexity. And so, with the rest of this article, I will delve into the depths and attempt to come to terms with Big O.

There is a lot I won’t be able to cover. There is a lot you will simply have to experience for yourself and try to understand in your own fashion. But this analysis will hopefully provide a solid framework to understanding Big O.

If you don’t want spoilers: stop reading, go watch the short 2 seasons of Big O, and come back and read this when you’re done.

I will try to keep the initial explanation of Big O as short as I can, but, if you know Big O well enough, feel free to skip to the Literary and Structural analysis. Or, feel free to skip the next part and come back to it as a reference (or just do whatever).

Setting, History and Plot of Big O

Big O is set in Paradigm City, “a city of Amnesia”. There are a number of domes throughout the city: giant, spherical, glass-and-steel enclosures that separate the rich from the poor. The city within the domes is affluent, clean and often beautiful—the parts of cities you see on post-cards or Google-image searches—and the massive domes provide artificial skies and sunlight. The city outside the domes are run-down, dirty and bleak—the parts of cities you see when you actually drive through the cities in post-card—and are fully exposed to the “real sky”, a perpetually overcast sky where the Sun, stars and Moon are never visible.

On one side of the city is an ocean, where hundreds of drowned skyscrapers peak out from the water’s surface. On the other side of the city is a vast, desolate wasteland—a desert where even more of the city’s past is buried beneath the sand (evidenced by images of buried buildings, abandoned military outposts and even a sand-covered amusement park).

It is suggested that there is no civilization outside of Paradigm City­—no countries or other cities beyond the ocean and the desert—but there is a mysterious group known as “The Union”, led by Vera Rondstadt, who are comprised of “foreigners”. However, even the legitimacy of these people being “foreigners” is called into question.

There are a number of other factions in Paradigm City in addition to The Union, but the two most important ones are the Military Police, led by Dan Datsun, and the Paradigm Corporation, led by Alex Rosewater. The Military Police act, as the name would imply, as both the domestic police force and the military army of Paradigm City, though they are also work under Paradigm Corp as the corporation’s “watchdogs”. Paradigm Corp essentially controls or rules over Paradigm City and all the organizations and business within the city.

It is remarked at one point that a business Roger is asked to work for is controlled by a parent company, and Roger states that anytime “parent company” is mentioned, it inevitably refers to Paradigm Corp.

The nature, design and isolation of Paradigm City, the perpetually gray skies and the drowned and buried cityscape surrounding Paradigm City are all a result of the City’s past.

No one in Paradigm City can remember anything prior to 40 years ago, though there are many relics of the past—such as the titular mecha, Big O—and many citizens of Paradigm City have scattered or partial memories of the past. While these memories play a large part in the show, they are also a great mystery in the show, even after its conclusion

What we can surmise from these memories, and from revelations throughout the show, is that there was some great and likely worldwide catastrophe 40 years ago. We are shown visions of Paradigm City engulfed in flame. Giant mechas known as Megadeus, or the plural Megadei, are rampaging through the streets or flying through the skies. While there are only three individual Megadei in the show’s present time—Big O, Big Duo and Big Fau, with a number of other “Bigs” that don’ qualify as Megadei—in the memories of 40 years ago, we see vast armies of Megadei.

Hundreds of Big O mechas march through the streets, with hundreds of Big Duos flying through the sky, and at least one Big Fau. On top of this, we see a number of other “Bigs” battling the Megadei, many of which are also present throughout the contemporary story of Big O.

In addition to the Megadei, there are also human-esque androids that have survived from the past. While most of these androids are quite obviously robotic, a few of them, such as R Dorothy Wayneright (one of the main characters of the show). The existence of androids like Dorothy also calls into question who is and who isn’t an android. These androids were constructed in the past, and only a few survivors of the past apocalypse remember how to construct androids. The same goes for the Megadei—only a few people know how to construct or repair the Megadei, and even fewer know what the nature or purpose of the Megadei are.

With the past ever-looming over the present events of Big O, the plot revolves around Roger Smith, Paradigm City’s “top negotiator” (or just, “The Negotiator”) and the pilot of the Megadeus, Big O. While working for a plethora of clients throughout the City as “The Negotiator”, Roger Smith secretly pilots Big O and protects the residents of the City from various attacks and catastrophes, and slowly works to unravel the history and the secrets of Paradigm City.


Roger Smith

The protagonist of Big O is, of course, Roger Smith and his Megadeus, Big O.

Roger Smith is characterized as a sort of Bruce Wayne/Batman character: a wealthy individual who possesses an array of technology and resources, and secretly protects the city as the pilot of Big O (which could be argued is Roger Smith’s alter ego). Roger Smith as The Negotiator works outside of the various political and social forces of Paradigm City, and, as the pilot of Big O, works outside the law.

At one point in the rememberable past, Roger Smith worked as a Military Police, but left, presumably, because of the police’s connection to Paradigm Corp and the resulting corruption of the police. Nonetheless, Roger is still friends with and frequently works in tandem with one of the primary officers/commanders of the MP, Dan Datsun.

However, as the history of Paradigm City unfolds, Roger Smith’s character likewise unfolds. It is suggested that Roger Smith is a creation of the Paradigm Corporation. It is also suggested that Roger Smith was one of many “creations” of the Paradigm Corporation from the City’s past, and even, possibly, a member or associate of Paradigm City.

If one reads between the lines a bit, it may even be that Roger Smith himself is an android (and once you see it, it’s hard to unsee it). For me, this is evidenced in Roger Smith’s mannerisms and behavior throughout the show, particularly in Roger’s dialogues with Dorothy. Roger’s speech patterns, logical processes and behavior seems to mirror Dorothy’s own, much more pronounced mechanical behavior and logic.


Dorothy is probably the second-most primary character in the show, though her place in the show is often rivaled with Angel (who plays arguably the largest role in the show’s conclusion).

R Dorothy Wayneright is an android created by Miguel Soldano, who was commissioned to create her by the affluent Timothy Wayneright. Timothy Wayneright presumably had a now-deceased human daughter named Dorothy, whom the android Dorothy was modeled after.

The show begins with Roger saving Dorothy as a part of his contract with Soldano, learning after this that Dorothy has a “sister” who is in fact a giant mech, or Big, who Roger defeats in robot-combat. Dorothy eventually decides to stay with Roger in his mansion and work for him out of gratitude. While initially she mostly does housework alongside Roger’s butler, Norman, she begins assisting Norman with the repair and maintenance of Big O and aids Roger in his negotiation contracts and his giant robot side hustle.

You can just barely see it… but it’s there…

Dorothy is a unique android in several ways. While most androids in the city follow Asimov’s three rules of robotics, Dorothy frequently does not, particularly in her relationship with Roger (though this may be evidence of Roger’s own robotic nature). In addition to her passive aggression and, at times, blatant insults towards Roger, she begins developing a romantic attraction towards Roger, which, to the despair of Dorothy, Roger denies. This also shows that Dorothy is capable of human emotion, particularly jealousy, but she also is shown to possess other human capacities, such as fear, sadness, contempt, self-awareness, and (in one short but glorious shot) smugness.

Dorothy is also one of a few androids who appears on the surface level to be entirely human, and Dorothy has some sort of unexplained connection to Big O. On top of this, she has some sort of empathic connection to other “Bigs” and other androids or machines.  


Angel appears early on in the show, going by the alias Casseey Jones, and then later as Patricia Lovejoy. After calling herself “Angel”, Roger remarks that she is a “Fallen Angel”. Angel works for Paradigm Corp, though she seems to have her own agenda. Later, it is revealed that Angel is a part of the Union, which is a group of foreigners living outside of Paradigm City (though it is mentioned by their leader, Vera, that they were actually “cast out” of Paradigm City 40 years ago) who rebel against Paradigm Corp/City.

Angel often works either alongside Roger Smith, or at odds with Roger Smith—their motivations and agendas oscillating between allyship and conflict. However, as the show progresses, Angel and Roger seem to develop a romantic relationship, which is at odds with Dorothy’s romantic attachment to Roger (which at one point results in Dorothy’s aforementioned smugness).

It is later revealed that Angel has two scars going down her back, which is even later suggested to be where “wings” have been “cut off”. There are frequent allusions to Angel being Lucifer, or something equivalent in the story’s narrative. In the show’s conclusion, she becomes the pilot of Big Venus, the fourth Megadeus. Big Venus—Venus being an allusion to the Morningstar, being a name for Lucifer—essentially “resets” the show and returns Paradigm City to the amnesic state it was at the beginning of Big O.


Schwarzwald (“Black Forest” in German) is only an active character in a handful of episodes, but he is a major character in these episodes, and his presence is felt throughout the show—particularly in philosophical narrations permeating the show, even after his death.

Schwarzwald, born Michael Seebach, is the pilot of the Megadeus, Big Duo, and is motivated towards exposing the truth of Paradigm City’s corruption, its many secrets and its forgotten past. In addition towards this motivation, which he frequently gives manic monologues about, he seems to revere the Megadei as godly creations, or perhaps even as gods themselves (the Megadei and other Bigs as gods being a semi-frequent theme throughout the show).

Schwarzwald uses his Megadeus, Big Duo, to combat Roger Smith and Big O, but, while initially having the upper hand, is finally defeated by Roger and “dies” in the event. However, it is implied that Schwarzwald’s “ghost” may still be lingering in the City, still searching for the Truth.

Alex and Gordon Rosewater

Alex Rosewater is the leader of Paradigm Corp, the corporation in control of Paradigm City, and eventually becomes the pilot of Big Fau, the “Third Big” or third Megadeus. Alex Rosewater looks down on the poor population of Paradigm City, who reside outside the domes, and uses the Military Police to pursue his own goals, rather than for the protection of the City. Alex possesses something like a God Complex, and believes himself to be a superior Dominus to Roger Smith (“Dominus” being a term referring to the pilot of a Megadeus).

However, while Big Fau seems to be technologically superior to Big O, Alex does not seem to be as capable of a pilot as Roger and cannot maintain control over Big Fau as Roger maintains control over Big O.

Gordon Rosewater is the father of Alex Rosewater, and in some ways seems to be the ultimate “king” or patriarch of Paradigm City. He was in charge of Paradigm Corp before Alex was, and it is revealed that the construction of the contemporary Paradigm City (the domes, in particular) and the construction of androids was done under Gordon’s rule.

In the present times of Paradigm City/Corp, Gordon resides in his own personal dome where he lives on a large and beautiful farm and raises tomato crops. The tomato crops are implied to be something of a metaphor for Gordon’s creations—including the androids, “humans” such as Roger and Alex, and possibly even the Megadei themselves. After Roger Smith’s first encounter with Gordon Rosewater, Roger begins questioning if he himself “is a tomato”—a creation, crop and commodity of Gordon and Paradigm Corp.

The Megadei

While Big O and the other Megadei aren’t necessarily characters in the same sense that Roger Smith, Dorothy, Angel and so on are, they do play an integral role to the plot and history of the show, and it is frequently implied that they possess some level of sentience. The Megadei and other Bigs are also semi-frequently referred to or revered as gods.

The three primary Megadei are Big O, Big Duo and Big Fau. With frequent allusions throughout the show to Behemoth and Leviathan from Judeo-Christian myth and lore, it has been speculated that the three Megadei are partially symbolic of Behemoth, Leviathan and Ziz, Big O is entirely land-based, which would align with Behemoth, a giant land monstere; Big Duo is capable of flight, with the Ziz being a flying creature in Jewish mythology; and Big Fau is capable of maneuvering through water, with the Leviathan being a sea creature.

While typically not included in the roster of primary Megadei, there is the fourth Megadeus, Big Venus, which, as stated before, could be symbolic of Lucifer. This may also complete the metaphor of land, air and water, with Lucifer often being associated to fire (the “fourth element” of classical philosophy and alchemic writings). In the conclusion of Big O, Big Venus seems to be the force that brings an end to the current iteration of Paradigm City, resulting in the new era of Paradigm City where everyone has lost their memory once again.

In addition to the three/four primary Bigs, there are a number of other Bigs, as well as giant monsters, including (but not limited to):

– Dorothy-1, Dorothy’s Big sister

– The Archetype, a proto-Megadeus that appeared in one of the Schwarzwald

– Bonaparte, a Big controlled by the Union

– The Bigs created by Beck, various Bigs created and controlled by the recurring side character, a criminal known as Beck

– Eel and Hydra Eel, organic Bigs that utilized electricity (which appear both in the contemporary story and in memories of the past)

– Leviathan, a serpent-like mechanical Big that came from the desert

Structural and Literary Analysis

As you may have surmised from my “brief” summary of Big O, there are a lot of details and moving parts to this anime, as well as many things I didn’t mention.

I’ve only “briefly” discussed the main components of the anime, and there are single episodes that could have their own, individual analyses written over them. Just like Big O’s Big Brother, Neon Genesis, there’s too much to comprehensively discuss in one analysis, so—like I did with NGE—this analysis will be a broader exploration of the show, attempting to provide something more like a foundation or framework to understand the many individual components of the show.

Hopefully, however, this will be a shorter analysis.

First, we have to examine the setting of Big O, Paradigm City.

Paradigm City has as handful of major components: its history, its design and the ocean and desert surrounding it.

However, while the design of Paradigm City and the geography it is embedded within are meaningful, the history of the City is most important to understanding Big O.

Paradigm City is a city with amnesia. No one can remember anything about its history prior to 40 years ago, with the exception of a small number of people who can recall fragments of its past in brief glimpses.

At the conclusion of Big O, Paradigm City is essentially reset to its initial state at the beginning of Big O. The City is being rebuilt, and, presumably, none of the characters remember the events that took place throughout the anime. There are implications that Paradigm City has changed after its latest “apocalypse”, with the City still partially destroyed and Angel and Dorothy being shown together, possibly as friends or companions rather than beginning the show not knowing each other.

However, we can also presume that the state of Paradigm City at the beginning of the show was different than the state of Paradigm City prior to 40 years ago, and we can presume that history will repeat itself again.

This, in many ways, is the state of society and civilization as it is now—as it ever is, was and will be in “the now”.

While our history looms over us as an ever-present ghost, or maybe more accurately as a revenant, so much of our history is lost to us. Even the history that we can remember, the brief glimpses of the past that is recorded in our history books, is lost to most of us. We are so caught up in the tides of the present that we forget the lessons of the past.

And with this forgetting of the past, we forget our place in history. Nietzsche described Modern Humanity as begin disassociated from the rest of history, as being unmoored from its past, and so having no clear understanding of who or what they are, what their place, purpose or meaning in existence is, and no understanding of where to move on from here.

With Paradigm City’s past being so shrouded, it’s nearly impossible to understand the ongoing, historical narrative that one is a part of.

It is implied that the Megadei were created, and even mass produced, by Paradigm Corp under the rule of Gordon Rosewater, but what was their function or purpose? Why were they created and what was their function?

We don’t even necessarily know that Gordon and his intentions were evil, as his character is highly ambivalent to the plot and meaning of the show. If we don’t know what happened 40 years ago and why it happened, then how can we understand what is currently happening.

In addition, it is implied that androids, even Roger Smith androids, were created and mass produced by Gordon/Paradigm Corp. What were their purposes? Roger Smith is shown in a flashback as wearing a military uniform while piloting one of the mass produced Big O’s during the great event that resulted in the end of the previous historical era. It is also revealed that Roger Smith as The Negotiator had a contract with Gordon Rosewater prior to 40 years ago, which is contrasted to Roger’s current distrust and contempt towards Paradigm Corp. What was Roger Smith’s purpose?

And what does Roger Smith’s shrouded history say about his current purpose in the present era?

Why does Robert Smith pilot Big O? Why is he The Negotiator? Why does he disdain Paradigm Corp, and why is he constantly seeking the Truth of Paradigm City’s history?

While Schwarzwald in many ways is a foil to Roger Smith, he is also a mirrored image to Roger Smith. Just like Roger Smith, Schwarzwald seeks the Truth, battles against the perceived corruption of the City, and pilots the Megadeus, Big Duo.

Schwarzwald might in fact be the underlying or unconscious manifestation of Roger’s obsession with uncovering the secrets of the past and present, and his motivation to do good for the world. Schwarzwald is like a ghost throughout the show—a spirit that refuses to die, even after physical destruction. Schwarzwald is the manic, unconscious motivations we shroud and repress, but that still emerge from beneath our surfaces in all our beliefs, motivations and actions.

This repression, however, may be healthy. The irony of Schwarzwald’s search for the Truth is how blind he is to his own actions and decisions. Where Roger is tempered by his self-awareness and his awareness of the ethics of his actions, Schwarzwald is reckless and blind to the destruction his own pursuit of Truth and righteous vindication engender upon the innocent and down-trodden.

Here, we can find something I’ve personally been thinking quite a lot about lately: the relationship of moral values and the resulting actions and motivations.

Schwarzwald is obsessed with uncovering the Truth and executing vengeance upon Paradigm Corp/City. These are his highest values.

However, while these values are important to Roger, they are subordinated under his desire to protect the citizens of Paradigm City. Whatever Roger’s past is, whatever his purpose and role in Paradigm City was and is, he is driven by his current moral obligation to protect the City.

Roger even mentions on several occasions that he is not defined by the past—something Gordon Rosewater also mentions. Gordon at one point says that he hopes one of his creations can break free of its pre-ordained purpose or role, and decide its own fate.

Still, it is ambivalent whether this is accomplished or even possible.

Not exactly a flattering picture of ol’ Rogey

If Roger was a soldier and Megadeus pilot prior to 40 years ago, as well as a Negotiator working under Gordon Rosewater, and if Roger became a Military Police member before once again becoming The Negotiator and pilot of Big O, then has Roger simply returned to his prior role? And will he return to this role with the resetting of society?

Has and will Roger always be a soldier, Negotiator and Megadeus pilot whose role in the grand narrative of Paradigm City always been to protect the citizens of the civilization?

And one final, and quite obvious note, on Paradigm City and Paradigm Corp is the name itself, “Paradigm”.

The original and primary definition of a paradigm is as a pattern, a reoccurring set of events or circumstances, or an underlying structure.

Plato used the idea of a paradigm in his metaphysical notion of the Demiurge creating reality from a model or pattern.

Merriam-Webster defines a paradigm as “a philosophical and theoretical framework of a scientific school or discipline within which theories, laws, and generalizations and the experiments performed in support of them are formulated; broadly: a philosophical or theoretical framework of any kind.”

When speaking more cynically about a paradigm in the context of society, government, law, etc., the paradigm of a society is essentially the ruling ideology, the ruling narrative or the ruling way of thinking and being. While the definition of paradigm is a complicated one, the use of paradigm in Big O in all its complexity may be intentional.

In this way, Paradigm City may be a City of Patterns, a City of Eternal Reoccurrence. But, Paradigm City may also be referring to the ruling ideology that permeates a society or culture.

The Paradigm, on the surface, may be the oppressive and dominant paradigm of the City’s rulers and elite—the paradigm created by Alex and Gordon Rosewater. But underlying this, the Paradigm of Big O may be the cyclical pattern of history, and the cyclical pattern of roles that individuals play in that history.

Roger’s paradigm is that of protector and Negotiator—mediating between the citizens and the higher powers of Paradigm City.

In concordance with a paradigm is a paradigm shift, a revolution in the ways of thinking. While this idea of a paradigm shift originated and is used more in the sciences—with Einstein and Darwin being two of the biggest examples of people who caused a paradigm shift—the idea can be applied to nearly anything with an ideological, legal, social or philosophical framework.

In Big O, the paradigm shift is the shift in society Alex Rosewater and Vera Ronstadt both seek.

Alex Rosewater as the figurehead of Paradigm Corp seeks to cleanse the city of “undesirables” (poor people, essentially, but also foreigners and others) and create a better, more perfect world. Vera Ronstadt as the figurehead of the Union seeks to destroy Paradigm Corp and create a world that accepts the “undesirables”, and possibly even where the “undesirables” are in power.

It could be argued (though it would be a pretty reductionist argument) that these two forces and their desired paradigm shift are equivalent to the two primary political forces, particularly in Western society: Liberalism and Conservatism. However, the term “Liberal” has been somewhat bastardized as of late, so a better comparison would probably be: Progressivism and Conservatism.

At their ultimate examples, Communism and Fascism (in many ways similar, but still the hyper-products of far-left-wing and far-right-wing politics), we see direct parallels to Paradigm Corp and The Union. The Union seeks a grand levelling of a society, essentially calling for a destruction of culture where the disempowered rule, and Paradigm Corp seeks a grand cleansing of a society, essentially calling for a Holocaust of those outside the ruling culture where the empowered rule.

Shit gets very confusing in the end

Angel, who works both for Paradigm Corp and the Union, and is frequently allied with Roger Smith, sits squarely in the middle of this Paradigm Shift, and inevitably is the driver of the final Paradigm Shift resulting in a New World, or new iteration of Paradigm City. She is the pilot of the Big Venus, the Morningstar—the Lucifer or Light-Bearer of the apocalypse who brings about and oversees the final battle of the revolutionary moment.

Not only this, it is (confusingly) revealed that Angel is the daughter of Vera Ronstadt and/or Gordon Rosewater—the Matriarch of the Union and Patriarch of Paradigm Corp/City. Angel worked throughout the show on both sides, working both for Alex Rosewater and for the Union.

Very confusing

And Roger Smith is the Negotiator, the person mediating between these two political forces. Roger is both a wealthy, powerful elite himself and is the protector of the average citizen, and he ultimately stands as the savior of Paradigm City. Roger Smith mediates between the various conflicting forces of society, and, in the end, confronts Angel as the revived pilot of the Morningstar.

The destruction of society and culture is stopped, the average citizen and the down-trodden are saved, and the cycle of history begins once again.

Now, there is still more to get into here, and this is in part where Big O starts to fray.

There is still the matter of the androids—of Roger as an android/tomato—and the Megadei. While these do fit within the underlying theme of the reoccurring conflicts and the revolutions of society, they can distract from this underlying theme, both philosophically and narratively or as events/plot points in the show.

So, the androids. The androids are creations of the state, creations of Paradigm Corp. In the end of the show, there are a few moments that imply everyone might be an android, or at least that it’s impossibly to really know who is and who isn’t an android. This could mean that everyone is a product of the state—everyone is a tomato, or a crop that is grown and harvested by the ruling class of society.

Roger, for example, often goes into existential spirals wondering if he is in fact a tomato, and this, connecting back with the cyclical paradigm shifts of history, gets into a question of free will.

Free will has always been a topic that comes up with Artificial Intelligence or Robotics of any kind, and one of our biggest fears is that sentient machines will rise up against us. Maybe this is the same fear that those in the ruling class have of those they rule: they will gain a higher sentience and self-awareness, causing them to rise up against those in power.

However, free will in Big O is more nuanced and much more personal than this. It isn’t necessarily about political movements, it’s also about us as individuals. Do we have free will? Or are we pawns in the machinations of culture at large?

For Roger, are his actions free? Or is his role in society pre-ordained by history and by contemporary culture?

There’s some ambivalence here though, because perhaps having this role in society is necessary. While Roger’s actions both reset the cycles of history and return him and everyone else to a more blissfully ignorant state, he does in fact save Paradigm City—moreover, the innocent people of Paradigm City.

And, there’s even more ambivalence here. Who is actually in charge of these roles? Who is in control of the narrative? Alex Rosewater certainly isn’t in control of the narrative, or in control of the roles people play in the narrative. If he was, Angel and Roger wouldn’t have “won” (or whatever you’d call what happened).

Gordon Rosewater certainly doesn’t seem to be in control of anything by the end of the show. Vera isn’t in control. Angel isn’t in control. Roger isn’t in control.

So what is in control? What is the paradigm or source of the paradigm that pre-ordains the narratives and roles of society? Is this simply “how things are”? Is this simply how things always were and always will be?

And of course, to follow Roger’s personal desire and Gordon’s desire for his creations, will it ever be possible to break out of this paradigm?

And would we want to break out of this paradigm? What would happen if we did? What would that reality be like?

And how could we break out of this paradigm without actually being an unknowing participant in the paradigm?

Is the act of trying to break free of these pre-ordained structures, narratives and roles in fact a part of the paradigm itself? Is the act of trying to obtain free will a part of what creates, drives or perpetuates the paradigm?

And finally, the Megadei.

Borrowing a bit from my Neon Genesis analysis, the Megadei and the other Bigs can likely be seen as a number of things, but, most relevantly, the Megadei are like transcendent manifestations of various aspects or forces within the paradigm.

The Megadei and the Bigs are manifestations of the various conflicting forces, ideologies, motivations within the grand narrative of Big O.

Big O is the manifestation of Roger and Roger’s motivations:

– Big O being the “Behemoth” or land creature is “grounded” or terrestrial, rooted in the reality of everyday people and everyday existence

– Roger seeks to protect the people of Paradigm City; Big O is the ultimate protector of Paradigm City

– Roger seeks to mediate between the various forces of Paradigm City; Big O is the vehicle that meets Big Venus in the end to “compromise” on a new society or reality

– Roger seeks free will and the ability to act as his own individual; Big O is that power, or at least what gives Roger the ability to act as his own individual

Big Duo is the manifestation of Schwarzwald and Schwarzwald’s desire to seek the truth and strike vengeance on Paradigm Corp/City. Big Duo is literally “above it all”, Big Duo is capable of flight, and is capable of reaching heights that are impossible to reach for the other Megadei. Schwarzwald is also blind to his own actions, blind to what his manic ambitions to him and others. The final destruction of Big Duo flying into one of the lights at the top of the dome alludes to Icarus, and mirrors Schwarzwald’s desire to see the truth of the artificiality of Paradigm City. Schwarzwald as a ghost or spirit might be manifested in the “resurrection” of Big Duo later in the show.

Big Fau is the manifestation of Alex and Alex’s motivation. It is gaudy, it is technologically superior, and it is used to bring about the destruction of the undesirable aspects of Paradigm City. In addition, Alex throughout the show believes he is in control of everything, including Big Fau, but in the end is just a pawn himself. Big Fau acts on its own accord, and seems to control Alex more than Alex controls Big Fau.

The list goes on.

Beck’s Bigs are gaudy, useless, lack the capabilities the other Bigs have.

Bonaparte, the Big controlled by the Union, is an amalgamation of various other Bigs, just as the Union is an amalgamation of various foreigners of different backgrounds, lower class individuals from different walks of life, and even androids and human-android hybrids such as Alan Gabriel.

Big Venus is a manifestation of Angel as “the fallen angel”, as the central figure in the paradigm shift, and as the child of two conflicting political forces (the creation of God that eventually opposes God and brings about Armageddon), but also more literally as the Morningstar, as the light heralding the new day (the new day being the new cycle of history).

The Archetype is the manifestation of the unconscious and unconscious forces, but also of the past and the underlying influence the past has on the present.

The Eel, Electric City as a blue collar residence eventually used by the Union; the Construction Robot, working class hijacked by the Union; Chimera, the horrors of science; Osrail, the revenant of revenge; Eumenides, a Big used for assassination/vengeance.

The Megadei and the Bigs are all the manifestations of some grand, underlying force of society. They are a collective of individuals who share an ideology or common motivations, or they are an inevitable force of culture and society, which emerges as a grander force or active agent.

The only exception might be Big O, as Big O might be more of a manifestation of individuality itself. However, even if Big O is this manifestation of individuality (Roger the “Negotiator” being the Ego of the psyche), Big O might be a manifestation of the collective desire for individuality present in society.

And while I could go on for several thousand more words on giant robots, this is a good place to stop.


Big O, like its Big Brother, NGE, is a dense, complicated and opaque anime.

There’s a lot to digest, and it doesn’t give its secrets away readily.

I remember watching this show as a wee lad and being both incredibly excited by the giant robot fights and incredibly confused by everything else. But, even as a young lad, I knew there was something to this anime.

As an older lad, I still love the robot fights and am still incredibly confused by everything else, but I think less confused.

The show is definitely underrated, and I don’t think it or many other giant robot anime have been given the proper acknowledgement or understanding they deserve. The metaphors I’ve discussed, both in this analysis and the NGE analysis, of robots being manifestations of socio-cultural, individual and potentially metaphysical forces and realities are grossly under-analyzed and under-appreciated.

Still, Big O doesn’t do itself any favors.

I’ve simplified the show quite a bit, and so it might sound like I’ve got Big O pinned down, but I really don’t.

Big O feels like it contradicts itself, or that it’s confused as to what it’s trying to portray, but the show is such an elusive tangle of exposition and events at times that many of these internal contradictions and confusions are nearly impossible to even pin down.

It might simply be the execution in parts of the show, and the show did have a somewhat rocky production at times, but so did Neon Genesis—so do most shows and movies.

It could be that Big O was trying to do too much—to be too much—and that the show became too cluttered with its own aesthetics and its own ambitions.

It could also be that I’m a dull, incompetent, uncultured swine who doesn’t understand the nuances of modernist neo-noir/giant-robot/vintage-sci-fi fusion anime, and I’ve certainly taken this into consideration.

Still, I do think the best way to see where Big O went wrong is to look at where Neon Genesis went right.

Both shows are incredibly complicated, dense and opaque, rife with tangled philosophy and psychology, and both possess a large cast of complex characters.

However, Neon Genesis had a solid focal point or central plot-mover that moored the complexity of the show: the battles between Eva and Angel.

Big O doesn’t have this focal point to the same degree.

The show is about Roger Smith working as The Negotiator, and all the shenanigans he gets into. It’s also about Roger Smith protecting Paradigm City with Big O. It’s also about Roger Smith uncovering the truth of Paradigm City and its past. It’s also about Roger Smith’s conflict with Paradigm Corp and Alex Rosewater. It’s also about a lot of other things.

While Neon Genesis had many sub-plots, tangential exposition, and labyrinthian character development, the entire show, from start to finish, was focused on the Eva-Angel conflict, which, ultimately, was about the Third Impact.

The events of the past were the result of previous Impacts, the present events were the inevitable steps leading to the Third Impact, and the finale of the series was the Third Impact.

While, yes, the various focuses of Big O were all centered on the apocalypse of the previous era, and the finale of Big O was the new apocalypse that brought about the next era, these were all too disassociated from many of the events of Big O. It didn’t feel centered, and Neon Genesis was very powerfully centered on the Eva-Angel and Third Impact plot.

Maybe Big O was too opaque. Maybe it didn’t give us enough information, and the information it did give us was hand-fed and little was left to the imagination. The pieces of the puzzle were always present in Neon Genesis, and we were given the freedom to put a few of the pieces in ourselves; whereas the pieces of Big O’s puzzle were like disparate islands that eventually (kinda) came together in the end, but only by the hands of its creators.

Big O is nonetheless a terrific anime. It’s flawed, but everything is flawed.

The confusion and schizophrenic plot development of Big O might just be the confusion and schizophrenic state of modernity as it is. Big O is cluttered: life is cluttered. Big O is confusing: life is confusing. Big O is scattered, the pieces don’t all fit perfectly, and a few are missing: have you figured out life yet?

And flaws aside, when the pieces of Big O are put together, they’re absolutely brilliant. What the creators of Big O tried to do—and the things they did do—were incredible and impressive.

Flaws aside, Big O is a fun fucking anime. The setting of Paradigm City is wicked cool; the constant mystery mixed with the action mixed with the retro-modern aesthetic is A+; the characters can be a lil’ flat at times, but they’re still great and very memorable; and the giant robots and monsters are sick, bruh.

Fuck the philosophy.

Fuck the psychology.

Fuck the mythology.

Fuck the “But, what does it mean?”

Giant. Fucking. Robots.

Watch this anime.

Xander out.


When the Machines Come (2.0)

By Alexander Greco

Artificial Intelligence is coming. In fact, it’s already here—it’s already been here, in its early stages.

We saw automation occur in small, almost laughable ways, like switchboard operators and bowling pin re-setters. Then automation partially replaced bankers with ATM’s, and factory and manufacturing jobs. Bridge toll collection is becoming automated. Drones are becoming like automated fighter pilots. Soon we’ll have automated cars, which means trucking and taxi driving will be automated.

There’s been a narrative in America the last few years that immigrants and foreigners are taking all our jobs. This is partially true. Sure, a whole lot of work gets outsourced to and from America to people across the world, but this doesn’t account for the whole pie.

A vast number of jobs has already been lost to automation, and it seems highly probable more will soon be replaced.

According to the Ball State University, Center for Business and Economic Research, over 5 million manufacturing jobs have been lost due to increasing automation in factories.[1] This isn’t going to stop, it’s only going to increase.

Artificial Intelligence is being developed at a rapid rate. Various forms of Artificial Intelligence have already beat the world’s best Poker[2], Go[3], and Dota 2[4] players. In addition, AI has begun to:

  • Read handwriting
  • Classify images
  • Recognize objects
  • Understand speech
  • Explain itself (sometimes referred to as Explainability)
  • Self correct

This names just a few groundbreaking capabilities AI has, which, until now, only humans could do with any high-level proficiency.[5]

Let’s synthesize a few of these things and see what we get. Let’s say you have a machine that can understand human speech, it is able to recognize and classify objects, and it can communicate with its “supervisor” to tell them why they did a certain thing. You tell it to sort all the freight in a retail store, and it does so faster than the hardest working employees at the store.

  • It moves with near-perfect efficiency
  • It doesn’t get bored (or bitter, resentful, or passive aggressive)
  • It doesn’t get tired
  • It doesn’t need any bathroom breaks or lunches

In one day, it does the same amount of work as three employees. If it makes any mistakes, the new, more sophisticated forms of AI will be able to correct their own behavior, and it won’t forget the correction the next day (since AI won’t have the same memory problems humans do). People can’t compete with this. Automation is going to take over a huge portion of jobs in America, and it’s going to happen much sooner than most people are prepared for.

Here are the top 15 jobs in America[6] [7], as well as the likelihood that AI will replace that job in the next 10-20 years[8]:

Occupation Likelihood of Automation
Retail Salesperson 92%
Cashier 97%
Office Clerk 96%
Food Prep and Service 87%
Registered Nurse 1%
Waiters and Waitresses 94%
Customer Service Reps 55%
Material Movers 85%
Janitors 66%
Warehouse Stock Clerk & Order Filler 64%
Secretary 96%
Bookkeeping, Accounting & Auditing Clerks 94%
General Managers 16%
Tractor & Trailer Drivers 79%
Elementary School Teacher 0%

These top 15 jobs are comprised of millions of people, an enormous proportion of the nation’s workforce. Millions of people. There are nearly 5 million people working as retails salespersons, 3.4 million working as cashiers, and around 3.1 million people working as office clerks. The top three occupations are held by over 11 million people, and those are three of the most likely to be lost due to automation. The only people who are at all safe on this list are registered nurses, general managers, and elementary school teachers.

And this isn’t anywhere near a comprehensive list of jobs that might be replaced with AI. The following list isn’t even fully comprehensive either, yet it illustrates the expansiveness of the AI Revolution:[9]

  • Factory Worker
  • Chef
  • Surgeon
  • Security Guard
  • Pharmacist
  • Food Delivery
  • Journalist
  • Soldier
  • Receptionist
  • Telephone Salesperson
  • Construction Worker
  • Tour Guide
  • Mixologist/Bar Tender
  • Compensation and Benefits Manager
  • Advertising Salesperson
  • Low-level Legal Work
  • Couriers
  • Proofreading
  • Computer Support
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Data Entry Clerk
  • Taxi Driver
  • Insurance Underwriter
  • Claims Representative
  • Bank Teller/Rep
  • Financial Analyst
  • Inventory Manager
  • Inventory Stockers

The list goes on, but what can be learned from the list?

AI will primarily take over jobs that involve:

  • Repetition or Routine
  • Algorithmic or Methodical Tasks
  • Data Entry
  • Data Analysis
  • High Levels of Vigilance or Monitoring

AI will primarily take over jobs with predetermined routines or procedures, or jobs that require predetermined responses to events. In a factory setting, an automated machine will be programmed to repeatedly perform the same task over and over again. In a bar or restaurant setting, an order will be placed, and the machine will respond by going through whatever pre-programmed procedure it has to make that order.

As a security guard, a robot will monitor its surrounding, and if there is a set of stimulus that the robot perceives to be some sort of threat, it will set off an alarm or investigate. With self-driving taxi cars (which will become obsolete if you own your own self-driving car), you tell the car where you want to go, and the car uses GPS to determine the route it goes. With the variety of software we have now, there are already some automated versions of proofreading. Even Microsoft Word has a simple form of proofreading that alerts you if something is misspelled or grammatically incorrect. We even have software that can tell if a text has been plagiarized.

This means two things.

One. It means there will be a whole lot of shitty jobs that people don’t actually like (even a lot of those jobs where people tell themselves, “You know, I actually like my job.”) that will be taken over by machines. It means that many people will be liberated from the drudgery of their 9-5. It means so much of the work that people can’t stand will be automated by machines that are much better at doing these jobs than we are.

Two. It means there will be a whole lot of people out of work. I don’t just mean a whole lot, I mean a WHOLE lot of people. MILLIONS.

Well, you might say, they can just go find another job.

All the jobs are taken, or the jobs that will be left will likely require some form of higher education, certification or specialized skills. Here are the jobs that will remain:

  • Executive or Leadership/Management Roles
  • Educational Jobs, Like Teaching
  • Human Resource Jobs
  • Engineering Jobs
  • Financial or Legal Advising Jobs
  • Medical Jobs (some, a lot are going to be taken over)
  • Creative and Entertainment Jobs (which aren’t known for their widespread, lucrative outcomes)
  • And a Handful of Vocational or Trade-School Jobs (though not all)

This is quite a list, and each of these fields are rather broad, but the jobs that remain in these fields will require some form of higher education or training. In addition, there will be jobs that remain in the Computer Science fields, and some jobs that will be created by AI, but these almost exclusively require expansive knowledge in Programming, Software Design, Computer Engineering, and so forth.

So, to summarize this all, many jobs will be taken over by AI. Most if not all of these jobs are jobs that people don’t particularly enjoy. However, whether or not they enjoy these jobs, the people occupying these jobs need them to pay their bills. If they want to get another job once theirs is lost, many will have to go back to school (which means either draining their savings, or going into debt for student loans), or receive training in an occupation they have little to no experience in.

Now we come to the question, “What Will Happen When the Machines Come?”

Having AI will be a huge economic advantage to any company using them. Because of the productivity and efficiency of AI machinery, automation will rapidly pay for itself, and churn out more products, more services and more completed tasks than any human could ever have done. This means there will be more goods and services provided to society, presumably at a cheaper price.

This is an important note. In theory, automating the production of goods and services will make them cheaper.

Having AI also means that many people will be out of work. Some of those people may be able to find work, some of those people may not.

Now, to begin understanding what may happen as a result of this, we should look at two previous parallels in recent history:

  1. The Luddite Movement during the Industrial Revolution
  2. The Great Depression

The Luddites were a faction of English textile workers who protested the automation of textile factories by destroying textile machinery[10] [11]. Why? Because, as horrible as it was to work in one of these factories, that’s how they survived. They provided food and shelter for their family by working long hours in harsh conditions. When their jobs became automated, it meant that all their skills and work experience would be a waste, and that they would no longer have a means to provide for their family.

Imagine something like this happening on a much grander scale.

What will a truck driver do when their $40,000-80,000 salary disappears, and is replaced by a self-driving freight truck? What will that trucker do if they’re not certified for any other well-paying job, they no longer have the funds to get any new form of education, and all the entry-level jobs that don’t require training are gone? What will millions of truckers do when their salary disappears because a self-driving truck took their job, they’re unable to receive training in another vocation, and most entry-level jobs are automated?

Now, what will happen when millions (MILLIONS) of retail workers, taxi drivers, office clerks,  factory workers, and so on face similar predicaments?

The next parallel, The Great Depression, in a nutshell (for anyone unfamiliar with or rusty on the subject), happened in the late 1920’s and lasted until the late 1930’s. It began with a huge crash in the stock market, where the worldwide GDP dropped around 15%.[12] During this time, unemployment peaked in the United States at around 25%[13] (meaning 1 in 4 American citizens didn’t have a job), and by the end of the Great Depression, an estimated 50% of Americans lived below the poverty line (this meant that 50% of Americans lived on less than ~50 cents per day)[14].

Why does this parallel matter for when AI comes?

With AI, prices of goods and services will drop drastically (in theory), but so will the wages of everyday people. In many cases, the wages of everyday people will drop to $0. It is possible we will see rates of unemployment and poverty increase drastically as AI takes over more and more jobs, and this doesn’t even account for the potential economic bubble we may be in right now (which I may write about in the future).[15] [16] [17]

Even the overall cost of living, for everyone in America, should drop substantially once AI becomes more and more prevalent in different industries, but is that much consolation for the mass of people who might become unemployed by this?

It is highly possible we will see a mix of the Luddite Movement from the Industrial Revolution, and the economic collapse of the Great Depression. Massive amounts of products will be created, but massive amounts of workers will be displaced.

But, life in America will be improved drastically with more and more automation.

This is a crazy situation. It’s a technological revolution, and an economic conundrum we’re about to face.

So, what do we do?

Assuming we don’t want massive riots, or an even worse Great Depression, we have to figure out a way to survive this coming revolution.

There’s a handful of popular, generalized perspectives on what may happen, and how we should prepare:

  • AI is not a threat, nor will it be a threat in the near future OR if AI does begin replacing jobs, it will not replace as many as people project, and it will replace jobs slowly
  • AI is one of the greatest existential threats humans will have ever faced, and we should be highly cautious and pro-active about AI
  • AI will be massively beneficial to the human race, and people across the world will see an increased standard of living and well-being
  • The Libertarian Approach: If AI begins replacing jobs, and if the economy shifts, let the markets correct themselves.
  • The Social Free Market Approach: If AI begins replacing jobs, we should redistribute the wealth accumulated by Automation in order to offset the loss of jobs, and keep the economy functioning
  • The Regulatory Approach: The use of AI and the potential detriments and benefits should be monitored and regulated by the government.

Personally, I am rather optimistic about AI, but I am also fully aware the possible risks we face with AI (not only with automation, but with the potential supra-human intelligence of AGI). I teeter between, “This will be the greatest things humans have ever created”, and “This is an existential crisis for humanity.”

As far as economic policies, I am torn between laissez faire economics (we’ll call it the Libertarian Option), social redistribution (the Social Free-Market Option), and regulation (the Authoritarian Option). I see merit in all of them, but I also see dangers in all of them.

  • The Libertarian Option
    • The economy will self-adjust, so that as people lose jobs and cannot make money, the prices of goods and services will naturally deflate.
    • However, there is the potential of a “Winner-Takes-All” outcome, where the few companies who successfully utilized the most advanced forms of AI will quickly out-compete all other companies.
    • There is a possibility of a cultural and individualized economy (something like a decentralized economy), but there is also potential for oligarchical rule by tech companies.
  • The Social Free Market Option
    • To offset the economic changes caused by AI, and to offset national job loss, citizens should be given a Universal Basic Income (UBI) to at least pay for food, gas, insurance and so forth.
    • The problem with this is that it tampers with the natural flow of economics (and thus could negate any positive re-balances of an economic low), and it also runs dangerously close to Socialist and Communist politics/economics (though it is technically neither).
    • This Option may reduce the suffering of people that have lost their jobs, but it may also negatively influence the economy in ways that will lead to future suffering and economic failure.
  • The Authoritarian Option (or, the Current-Economics Option)
    • To limit the potential negatives of automation, the government will regulate the use of AI. This will also regulate the use of AI by third-party users, government officials (in theory), and any potential “bad actors” who might use AI.
    • However, any sort of regulation (especially when regulation borders on Authoritarian control) could result in corruption, difficulties for small and large businesses to utilize or develop new technologies, and could lead to social/political tensions.
    • This option may mitigate the reckless use of AI, but it might also centralize power even more than laissez faire Capitalism.

Out of these, I want to focus on the Libertarian Option and the Social Free Market Option—although, despite the fact I am personally not a fan of the “Authoritarian” Option, as my name implies, it is certainly not off the table in political debate.

The Libertarian Option revolves on the idea that the economy will deflate rapidly, so that even people with very little money will be able to pay for goods and services, and that people will become more self-reliant and financially independent in the absence of our inflated economy. In the Libertarian sense, most people are quite adaptable and will find ways to make it in the new economy.

Now, the Social Free-Market solution would utilize UBI (Universal Basic Income). The running idea with Universal Basic Income is that every person old enough to work will be given a $1000 dividend per month to live off of. The $1000 dollars a month is just enough for people to buy groceries, pay for gas, and maybe pay rent and utilities (maybe).

Part of this money would come from the massive savings that automation will bring, cutting spending from things like Welfare, and from VATs (Value Added Taxes), which will be collected from companies utilizing automation. This money will provide a financial safety net for people, in addition to stimulating the economy.

If half the country is living off of a few dollars a day, how can there be any economic growth? If half the country has at least $1000 dollars to spend a month, most of that money will go back into the economy, and people will be able to at least survive.

So, out of the two of these, which is a better option?

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this, and I think the best solution is a mix of the two.

We are currently at the peak of human achievement. The things we’ve created in the modern age might’ve been seen as tools of the gods in ancient civilizations. The ability to talk to people across the world. The ability to pull a plastic rectangle from your pocket, and have all the world’s knowledge at your fingertips. The ability to write a blog post, upload it to this global net of information, and display it to millions of other people.

We are currently at the peak of human achievement, and we’ve never had more opportunities to be the masters of our own lives than ever before.

It’s never been easier to survive and flourish than ever before.

Just imagine the grassy meadow on the other side of the AI Revolution. That warm, sunny meadow where we’re all self-employed, or we managed to push ourselves into getting a job we’re proud of, or we’ve learned to live with less and stop putting so much emphasis on material wealth. If people want to rise to the top, they’re free to. If people don’t mind living a simpler life, at least they’ll be fed, and their families will be fed.

But, if we want to get to those grassy meadows on the other side, we have to get over this coming hill. If we can figure out a path forward once Automation comes, and we can hold this ship together while the economy (not just the American economy, the global economy) realigns itself, then we can make it to that grassy meadow.

Let’s say AI comes, and it displaces half of all workers.

  1. The Economy deflates:
    1. Wages drop (for everyone, low, middle and upper class)
    1. Prices drop
    1. Cost of living drops
  2. Everyone is given a $1,000 dividend to make ends meet.
  3. Since the economy is deflated, that $1,000 goes further than where it goes now
  4. But, everyone is still out of work, and many people (particularly families with children) are still struggling to get by
  5. So people learn how to be self-reliant, and people learn how to adapt. The culture shifts to a culture of making money on your own terms, by your own means, or the culture shifts into a culture of mastery, where more individuals receive the training or education to enter a more skilled workforce.

Not everyone will be able to adapt, but maybe we can at least help them survive. Not everyone will be successfully self-reliant, but they can survive. Not everyone will have a great lot in life, but at least they won’t be scared about their children starving.

And if the society can at least survive, then there will be people who learn to live happy and successful lives in this environment. There will be able who discover a way to make a living doing something they actually enjoy. There will be people who learn to live healthy, fulfilled lives, even without a $1,000 dollar dividend.

We can become a society that learns to live without the excesses and the inflation we have today. Despite the fact that multi-billion-dollar companies will have access to armies of robot-workers, I think we’ll see a positive change in income inequality. All the bullshit jobs we work right now, all the money we scramble to receive, and all the rising prices we have to put up with, the value of these things will drastically drop.

And I think the value of these things will drop not only economically, but culturally as well. How many shitty jobs are there? How many shitty jobs are there where you’re forced to smile and say, “I love it here”? Is there anything better you’d like to do with your 40+ hour work week?

My hope is that we’ll see just how unnecessary so much of our stress and struggles are, that maybe we’ll stop caring so much about money, and learn to live with different value systems.

So, when the machines come, I’m hoping we see a drastic shift in the way we live our lives, and the way we view our lives. Maybe we’ll see how worthless a lot of these jobs are (tell me, will you really miss it?) if they can be replaced so easily by machines. Maybe we’ll remember all the things we wanted to do with our lives before we stumbled into this mad struggle. Maybe we’ll learn to live without big corporations telling us how much we’re worth, and without a government holding our hand and spanking us when we’re bad.

Maybe, when the machines come, we’ll learn how to be human again. Maybe we’ll learn how to live independently again, and come together as communities more. Maybe we’ll learn how to be happy again.

[1] Michael J. Hicks and Srikant Devaraj. 2015 & 2017. “The Myth and Reality of Manufacturing in America”. Ball State University Center for Business and Economic Research.





[6] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Retail salespersons and cashiers were occupations with highest employment in May 2015:






[12] Garraty, Great Depression 1986

[13] ISBN 0-07-319397-6, Frank, Robert H.; Bernanke, Ben S., Principles of Macroeconomics (3rd ed.). Boston: Mcgraw-hill/Irwin, 2007