03 February 2021

Technology is destroying us. What is to be done?

In the cacophony of the interesting times in which we live it has been difficult to sustain a coherent picture, let alone a coherently articulated explanation for why such chaos has now enveloped us. This may partially explain the long silence of the Realm of Threalm through the time of Trump and COVID. There has been all too much to talk about in recent years but not really a lot to say that makes sense of it all. 

I have been prompted however to return from my social commentary somnolence to blog again here by a Nation Review article of 23 January 2021 by Cameron Hilditch entitled "Technology Will Destroy Us". I might just have been shown a plausible story that helps coherently explain what the hell is happening in this noisy, fractious, partisan and unforgiving world we now seem to live in.

Here's a summary (using the article's own words) of what appears to be its thesis:
Technology allows human beings to shape reality in such a way that it conforms to their own needs and desires...  
...(we) replace nature with technology, so that human beings no longer have to bump up against any intractably resistant reality that might hamper the fulfillment of their desires.
...The Internet has allowed us to subjugate information to our own desires much in the same way that older technologies allowed us to master the elements...  
...If our technology allows us to filter and control the information that gets to us so that it always conforms to our own desires, what hope have we of sharing a common experience of reality...
...Having left us collectively estranged from intractable reality, technology has conditioned each of us to select the information that best suits our desires. And so we follow the logic of technology through to its conclusion...
...reality is less and less likely to penetrate the layers of self-serving, reality-curating technology with which they wrap (themselves) ...the endpoint of all this ... 
virtual reality: a technological end-state in which no individual has to confront anything contrary to his own desires...
What’s troubling is that technological development has now spiraled out of human control...We are its servants rather than its masters. The real problem with technology is that “it has become a reality in itself,”...
This process is plunging many of us into a kind of political solipsism, whereby we’re increasingly intolerant of any state of affairs that doesn’t express and execute our own desires...
How we can pull ourselves out of this tech-driven death spiral isn’t at all clear."

Sobering stuff from Cameron Hilditch, who cites Aldous Huxley and Jacques Ellul as authorities in earlier recognition of this potentially awful and seemingly inevitable plight for humanity. And this plight sounds and feels plausible enough based on what we are increasingly seeing and experiencing in the hyper crazy mixed-up uncivil polarized world we now exist in.

So how indeed are we to pull ourselves out of this tech-driven death spiral? 

I guess the first step in solving such a problem is acknowledging we have one. OK. 

Houston. We have a problem.

The next steps would probably be finding and then executing a solution or a work around...

Now that's a little tougher...

What about starting with say

...less screen time ... and more outside playtime?  


 

 

 

 

 

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