The cacophony of technology
January 3, 2012
By Amir Taaki (genjix)
A solitary planet circling a star begins to stir. On the surface, life begins to form. A kaleidoscope of species emerges, culminating in evolution’s magnum opus; intelligence.
And then technology is invented. In a flash, they create planetary scale artifices. They adapt the environment to themselves, instead of being forced to adapt to their surroundings as they once did. They dream of grand cosmic conspiracies and futures, and safely pass their perilous infancy.
Others, not so lucky or prudent, perish.
This may be a common pattern in the universe, and explains why life is uncommon. That life develops high technology and then in a flash, promptly wipes themselves out. A glimmer of brilliance before the long enveloping dark. Billions of years wasted because of unforgiveable carelessness.
We stand at a unique vantage point in the history of our species, the history of all species and the history of our planet. We face dangers to ourselves, and everything around us. We are living through an anthropogenic extinction epoch 10,000 times greater than anything since the meteor that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Nation states play a shrewd game of chicken with nuclear weapons, probing the other side’s weaknesses. We have constructed a false economy based on greed and lies.
It’s as if we are standing waist deep in petrol with a match in one hand, in a deadly doctrine of deterrence. Our ignorance, endangers our future.
The timescale for change is not millenia or even centuries, but decades or even years.
This will involve changes in government, industry, ethics, economics and religion. We’ve never attempted such an undertaking before. At least not on a planetary distance.
And it may be too difficult. Better to stay at home, they say. Or that large changes are deemed impractical or impossible- as if destruction is practical! The right change may not happen. There may be too many quarrels between nations, ethnicities and politics. Corruption may be too endemic.
But we humans have a history of overcoming adversity and rapid change. We’re an adaptable species that aspires; sometimes dreams of the impossible well outside our means- and then reaches them! We have pulled together to explore new lands and new worlds, and have overcome diversity. Or defeated a common enemy.
And a new emerging economy. It started with software, but has expanded beyond its humble origins. The bazaar of the free software world is seriously challenging the old logic and dogmas of the cathedral. People are now exploring how to use this peer economy in non-software and non-computer contexts. We can look forward to a 21st century of liberty, free speech, education, information, environment, wealth, capitalism, community, culture, sharing, innovation. We will have a future no longer dominated by the dominance hierarchies of the past.
We have computer technology, a tool so dramatic and empowering in its nature. Anyone with access to the internet has knowledge and information. Knowledge and information is power. Commercial power. Political power. Power to change things. And this power can be wielded against us if we become too sated or ponderous.
Technology can used to destroy human freedom. Equally it can enlarge it. It can destroy or create. Make war, or peace. This revolution could lead to terrible consequences or the greatest advances humanity has ever known. Today’s computers are clunky drones, but they are rapidly becoming immensely powerful and immensely versatile systems.
We are building a new world. And that scares some. We fear the dark and the unknown troubles us. Anything can happen. Ironically, it’s our fate to venture into the dark. Our glory is not from the mindless humdrum of our automated lives, but when we allow our minds to soar above our physical constraints. All throughout history there were those who had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the future, but would have rather stayed at home.
This epoch will enhance the value of human talent, and devalue unskilled human labour writ democracy.http://bitcoinmedia.com/the-cacophony-of-technology/