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Chilling: Emilio Aguinaldo on How Science Will Perfect Humans and End All Wars

Aguinaldo had a lot to say about science and how technology can perfect humans.
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On February 11, 1929, Emilio Aguinaldo delivered a speech in Spanish that was one of the first ones ever broadcast on television. Back then, TV was a revolutionary piece of technology that many people, including Aguinaldo, knew would change the world forever.

The moving pictures with audio was such an important invention the Philippine president thought it was appropriate to deliver a speech about it.

“The machine that you operate is wonderful because it reproduces moving figures at the same time as it produces voices,” said Aguinaldo, in Spanish, referring to what could have felt like a magical picture tube.

“When this invention is perfected over time, the world will be surprised at the living and talking pictures that it will exhibit over time,” Aguinaldo said.

Aguinaldo's words could eerily apply to not only modern-day videography, but also to holography.

At the time, perception of technology, at least for Aguinaldo, was ambiguous: he knew its pitfalls and its benefits, but he was optimistic about it.

“Science has increased the accelerated pace of modern advances. Through science, we conserve health and even return youth to those who have lost it. Science has also promoted inventions that are aimed at the destruction of man by man. These two contrary tendencies still tell us that the amount of savagery in us is very great,” said Aguinaldo, in Spanish.

‘Science will Perfect Human Morality and End All Wars’

Perhaps the most chilling part of Aguinaldo’s speech was not the eerily accurate foresight he had about moving pictures, but his conception of the role of science and technology in ‘correcting’ human morality—a controversial ethical issue.

From talking about moving pictures with audio, Aguinaldo proceeded to discuss how technology will aid in correcting humans.

“When will science perfect devices that can reform and improve men? When will our humanity be able to say that it is already on the path of moral perfection as regards to the fraternity of all men, of all peoples, of all races, and of all creeds?”

Of course, he had no idea what his words could pertain to nowadays (e.g., artificial intelligence policing human morality), but they are frightening, nonetheless.

Aguinaldo closes his speech with a most sinister conclusion.

“When that day arrives, we will have cleared the borders, destroyed all instruments of war, and we will only admire an invention, an apparatus, the most wonderful, and the one that has brought peace and concord among all the men of the whole universe.”

Watch Emilio Aguinaldo's speech below: 

Transcript of Aguinaldo's speech:

Me pide usted dos palabras. Diré algunas ideas mías sobre los inventos.

El aparato que usted manipula es maravilloso porque reproduce la figura movible al mismo tiempo que emita el sonido de la voz. Cuando con el tiempo se perfeccione este invento, el mundo quedará sorprendido ante los cuadros vivientes y parlantes que ellos exhibirá sobre el tiempo.

La ciencia ha acrecentado del paso acelerado de los adelantos modernos. Por medio de la ciencia, conservamos la salud e inclusive devolvemos la juventud a los que la han perdido. La ciencia también ha impulsado los inventos que se dirigen a la destrucción del hombre por el hombre. Estas dos tendencias contrarias todavía nos dicen que la cantidad de la animalidad en nosotros es muy grande.

¿Cuándo podía la ciencia perfeccionar aparatos que reformen y regeneren a los hombres? ¿Cuándo podrá nuestra humanidad decir que va camino de perfección moral de la fraternidad de todos los hombres, de todos los pueblos, de todas las razas, y de todos los credos?

Cuando llegue ese día, habremos despejado las fronteras, destruido todos los aparatos bélicos, y sólo admiraremos un invento, un aparato, el más maravilloso, y el que haya traído paz y concordia entre todos los hombres del universo entero.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION:

You ask me for a few words. I will share some ideas of mine about inventions.

The machine that you operate is wonderful because it reproduces the moving figure at the same time as as it produces voices. When this invention is perfected over time, the world will be surprised at the living and talking pictures it will exhibit over time.

Science has increased the pace of modern advances. Through science, we conserve health and even return youth to those who have lost it. Science has also promoted inventions that are aimed at the destruction of man by man. These two opposing tendencies still tell us that the amount of savagery in us is very great.

When will science perfect devices that reform and improve men? When will our humanity be able to say that it is on the path of moral perfection of the fraternity of all men, of all peoples, of all races, and of all creeds?

When that day arrives, we will have cleared the borders, destroyed all instruments of war, and we will only admire an invention, an apparatus, the most wonderful, and the one that has brought peace and concord among all the men of the whole universe.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
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