Cultocracy note :
“In this place a mind was at work to negate the image of a free and intact man. It intended to rely on man power in the same way that it had relied on horsepower. It wanted units to be equal and divisable, and for that purpose man had to be destroyed as the horse had already been destroyed.”
Ernst Jünger – The Glass Bees
What Happens When Technology Takes Us and Makes Us Backward?
Umair Haque – eand.co
Here a tiny thought. If you feel — as many do — that the world feels like it’s moving backwards, then perhaps it’s not just about economic stagnation and political extremism — but because fueling those, technology isn’t really innovating anymore, but reinventing a bygone past of serfdom, feudalism, and tribalism.
History’s repeating itself because technology’s recreating ancient history. Not creating the future. And worse, because history isn’t something you’re rewarded for studying in Silicon Valley, it calls all this “progress”, when it’s really turbocharged regress. Hence not by accident, nor by design — more through ignorance, blindness, and folly — technology is moving us backwards now, not taking us forwards.
That is a bleak vision, of course. But not just because it is inhumane. Because it is a totalitarian one. We don’t often see it this way, do we? Yet Silicon Valley’s neofeudal dream is totalist in three related senses. It has no truck with democracy — it demands subservience: it doesn’t care what impact it has on norms, values, trust, and decency. It is total because it is centralized and absolute — it pervades every aspect of life, by design. And it is totalizing because it controls our thoughts, behaviour, actions, and choices — it’s goal is total power, which is what people must then lease back, piece by piece.
But that is the goal of every totalitarian movement: total power. “Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” Now, substitute “the algorithm” for “the state” in that sentence and reread it. That’s a near perfect summary of Silicon Valley logic, isn’t it? Guess who said that? Mussolini.
Now. Why does totalism seek total power? To cleanse away imperfection, until human beings are perfect at last. Alas, it is our imperfections in which meaning, grace, truth, wisdom, and beauty are found — because in them, and only ever in them, do we discover the prices and the rewards both of freedom and possibility. Silicon Valley’s tragedy is that, never having attended a difficult play, stared at a renowned painting, or struggled to understand a great novel, those words do not compute. They are not part of the syntax of the computer program of the mind it does not even know is running it: a totalitarian algorithm remorselessly computing its way right back to feudalism.
Read the full article here at eand.co
- Artificial Intelligence: How Algorithms Make Systems Smart
- How algorithms rule the world
- Rule by Algorithm? Big Data and the Threat of Algocracy
- AIs and the Decisive Advantage Thesis
- The Real Privacy Problem
- Technologically Coded Authority: The Post – Industrial Decline in Bureaucratic Hierarchies (PDF)
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