Tuesday, 24 February 2009

The Last Big Decision.

Given that some people will find Class Wars everywhere.  And given that this viewpoint - obviously from the majority, non-upper-class - advocates turning off technology because it gives the "ruling class" tools to rule "the rest of us" with.  Then given that this seems to be the viewpoint of someone that, from all appearances, seems to include themselves as that "ruling class."

Does it seem that there are fools, idiots, and total fricken idiots on both "sides?"  One conspiracy theory seems as good as the other.  "OMG they are totally using technology to rule us!" compares to "OMG they are totally using technology to slip out of our rulership!"

Does it seem the common thread is Luddism? Because, it seems to me that technology is always viewed with such extreme distrust when it gives some kind of social cohesion - cf this article for another, current, shot at social networks - so is it less down to distrust and more to a burying of heads in the sand?

Where I'm hearing people tell me about short attention spans I'm seeing a lot more people able to sequentially multitask, if they are given the chance to.  Where I'm being told that people are becoming all egocentric and self-obsessed I see people who have actually learned to pay attention - in micro slices - to their peers, because the social networks are also the epitome of egalitarianism, you must either pay attention to your peers  - a LOT of peers - or be silently ignored.

In short, I'm seeing people not atrophying and becoming something other than human, I'm seeing them take one of only a very few evolutionary steps left - augmenting and changing within the same generation, not within hundreds or thousands of generations as Darwinian evolution took.

Because there's also the view that we need to start - right now - to work out how we're going to feel when machines are as human as ourselves, and we are as technological (as opposed to biological) as machines.  That time comes closer with every day, every hour.  Don't kid yourselves - look around a bit.  The world becoming hotter, harder for biological lifeforms to live in?  Check.  People more and more in love with technology and willing to sacrifice their world?  Seemingly, check.   More and more people wishing to meld with technology, as evinced by the love affair with cellphones, laptops, PDAs, and portable personal electronics?  CHECK!

Honestly, look around yourselves and think - really think - about this.  It's pretty much irreversible and irrevocable by now - global warming looks set to be worse, get here sooner, and take longer to reverse than anyone could have imagined.  We're developing new technology at a phenomenal rate and seem unable to stop doing it.  And we're melting down the economy, which is one of the last bastions of the old humankind, another of those "control mechanisms" that class conscious conspiracy theorists are fond of quoting.

If I was to think about it, (and I have,) I'd say we've come to a fork in the evolutionary path, and deciding which way to go is going to be on everyone's mind in the next year, or two at the latest.  Is it better to preserve our Earth and go through two to ten generations of a New Middle Ages such as we've not seen in a while?  Or is it better to adapt to the newer hotter less life-friendly world and become well-nigh immortal in the process? Are we human or Borg?  Is it time to get Augmented or time for a tree change?  Either way, it's almost at the point where the decision will be out of our hands/pincers/tentacles...

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