Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Destroying the Genie's Bottle

Dehumanizing technology doesn’t just happen.  Face-recognition surveillance systems, genetically altered salmon, and smart bombs are not inevitable results of the accumulation of knowledge, simple data points marking our progress, milestones on an upward path of ever increasing sophistication with respect to our ability to make and use tools.  Dehumanizing technology emerges from within a complex infrastructure that itself is designed—on every facet and at every level—to maximize exploitation, exploitation of the natural world, exploitation of human behavior, exploitation of the residue of previous exploitation.  And any new technology that emerges from within this infrastructure serves to enhance the capacity to exploit.      

The technology that emerges from within the global corporate industrial machine is not designed to promote human (or any other creature’s) wellbeing.  It doesn’t come into existence through the remote labor and insight of really smart people struggling alone to overcome specific problems in order to improve the human condition.  It comes into existence as a function of the operation of the machine itself.  It is not designed to service human ends.  It is designed to service the ends of the global corporate industrial machine.  And in almost every single case, technological “innovation” leads to the impoverishment of human experience. 

This is perhaps most obvious with electronic distraction technology, things such as cell phones and iPhones and high definition television, things that isolate us and insulate us from the world even as they provide us with an illusion of integration and connectivity.  But even something as superficially beneficial as pharmaceutical tech enfeebles us by increasing our dependency on the corporate machine and weakening our bodies’ natural coping mechanisms.

More to the point, the technology that emerges from the machine is not the result of our species’ natural developmental progression.  It is a byproduct of industrial civilization—our specific version of industrial civilization, a version that reflects countless accidents of history and geography.  It is a heinous and unnatural beast that needs to be destroyed before it destroys everything else.

Interesting: the archetypical genie bottle would make an ideal Molotov cocktail.    

No comments:

Post a Comment