Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

White Guys Forever!

I went over to the stealth-Robot Cult transhumanist "techno-ethics" outfit IEET website to see what silliness might be preoccupying them these days (to make fun of them for it, of course), but I was stopped short by the portraits that accompany each of the articles they are offering up at the moment...

Every single one was a white guy.

Look: I'm a white guy... I kiss a white guy every night before I go to sleep... I take philosophy seriously which usually means reading white guys more or less endlessly... I respect and honor my many wonderful white guy students... I don't have anything against white guys as, you know, a cohort, by any means.

But white guys are a minority in the world. White guys are a minority of the people with useful and interesting and intelligent things to say on every existing topic. White guys are not the world. White guys are not The Voice of any actually-possible "future."

If you are in a group or a forum or a subculture or a movement of any size that is radically unrepresentative of the world of which it is otherwise a part, especially if this unrepresentativeness is a long-ongoing phenomenon, this is telling you that there is something probably very wrong going on with that group or forum or subculture or movement.

If you see nothing but white guys in your Tea-Party event or your Ayn Rand fan club or your transhumanist meet-and-greet, you should ask yourself what the hell you have gotten yourself into exactly. Of course, if you find yourself hob-nobbing among Teabaggers, Randroids, or Robot Cultists in the first place, I suppose it probably already indicates that there is something fairly faulty going on in those critical faculties of yours anyway, come to think of it.

Still.

4 comments:

Mitchell said...

I find this thoroughly unpersuasive. It's like saying only white men will ever have nukes or be hackers. If we analyse transhumanism as a cultural and existential response to a certain level of technology, then what exactly is going to stop it from springing up everywhere else that has Internet and biotechnology?

Dale Carrico said...

If we analyse transhumanism as a cultural and existential response to a certain level of technology, then what exactly is going to stop it from springing up everywhere else that has Internet and biotechnology?

"Cultural and existential response"? Sounds like a science fiction fanclub or convention to me -- the sort of thing I thoroughly approve of as a big old geek -- but the thing is the "transhumanists" seem to want their sf fandom to be treated as a policy think-tank, a political movement, or a religious/philosophical organization providing members the meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything.

"[W]hat exactly is going to stop it from springing up everywhere"? What exactly is the "it" you fancy will "spring up" inevitably everywhere?

Have you noticed that the Robot Cultists have been indulging in roughly the same song and dance for over two decades by now and yet the Robot God, the nanobotic genies-in-a-bottle, the gengineered sooper-bodies, the cyberspatial immortalization and sexytime Holodecks are no closer to materialization or even to making sense, and self-described "transhumanists" planetwide have never managed to be more than the same few handfuls of white guys? At what point does "inevitable" start looking to you like the "dumb" it looks like to actually technoscientifically literate politically aware people more generally?

Digital networked media and non-normativizing medical techniques are already available, after all -- is everybody "transhumanist" now, has "transhumanism" swept the world, whatever that is supposed to mean?

If you really make the effort to characterize just what you think "transhumanism" consists of as some "thing" that will "happen" or in some sense "prevail," I predict you will either say something general to the point of vacuity that can be described without introducing the term "transhumanism" -- new techniques will alter conduct -- concerning your marginal handful of sf fanboys who cannot distinguish science from science fiction to capture "it," or you will say something hyperbolic and hilariously implausible that immediately reveals you to be a wish-fulfillment fantasist who would be better off in therapy than in a Robot Cult.

Not to be rude, Mitchell, but do you happen to be a transhumanistical white guy yourself? Do you think transhumanistical white guys are The Voice of the "transhumanism" that will "spring up" so inevitably soon enough in The Future?

Kevin said...

Totally, bro. And have you seen those early civil rights activists? All black. Therefore civil rights are invalid.

Your logic is flawless.

Dale Carrico said...

I'm not your "bro."

Ew, just ew!

It remains exactly as true as it has done every other time that I've pointed this out, that only a minority of people in the world are in fact white guys, only a minority of people with whom tomorrow will be made and shared are in fact white guys, only a minority of people in the world impacted by technodevelopmental changes are in fact white guys, and only a minority of people in the world who are well informed and have important things to say about matters of technoscience are in fact white guys and hence the endless ongoing parade of techno-transcendentalizing white guys fancying themselves spokesmen for "The Future" is actually an enormously problematic thing for Robot Cultists.

You can hide behind what you fancy to be an unassailable "logical" position that occludes the obvious, but you're still a douche.

And by the way -- on a separate note -- nanotechnology won't give you any ponies, the Robot God will never kiss all your boo boos away, and you are going to die like everybody else.

On top of everything else, by the way, you are wrong about civil rights activists (in more ways than one, and quite apart from the ill-conceived uses to which you want to put your wrongness argumentatively). I wonder if your understanding of "civil rights activists" extends to labor struggles, feminist struggles, queer struggles, and so on...

Don't worry your empty little head about any of that tho', techno-sooperman.