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

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Weekly White Guys of "The Future" Report

Seven days have passed, and so I made my weekly jaunt to the website of the stealth-transhumanist Robot Cult outfit, IEET.

The acronym stands for "Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies." It should be noted, however, that "ethics" seem a rather tangential preoccupation there as compared to science fiction fanwanking misconstrued as policy deliberation. Also, the "technologies" under consideration there tend to be rather more fantastical than actually emerging, strictly speaking. (It is worth noting, in this connection, that even their occasional references to actually emerging technoscience tend to frame discoveries and impacts not in the technical or political terms that actually beset us, but always only as "stepping stones" along hypothesized trajectories toward imaginary superlative outcomes, thus investing even the actual with the fantastical, so that even what is actually emerging is treated as an insinuation of the "emergence" in reality of what remains utterly imaginary.)

But even if the imaginary technologies on which the futurologists of the IEET are fixated aren't exactly emerging, definitely a pattern is:

I can report again that this week, just like last week, of the fifteen portraits of today's featured authors and speakers there you will find none that is not a white guy. You may recall that in the two months I've been doing these weekly reports only two folks who are not white guys have ever been so featured on the IEET website (unless you count cartoon aliens and robots of indeterminate race and gender, which are also better represented at IEET, despite not even existing, than are non white guy humans).

Unlike post-biological superintelligent Robot Gods, unlike biological minds "uploaded" into cyberspace or scooped up into shiny Robot Bodies or therapized into superlongevity, unlike desktop nanobotic Anything Machines or ubiquitous automation or Holodeck whorehouses and treasure caves or energy too cheap to meter delivering superabundance (superintelligence, superlongevity, and superabundance are in my view little more than the theological omnipredicates omniscience, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence ineptly translated for neoliberal reductionist consumerist promotional-hyperbolist societies into the super-predicates of superlative futurology construed as faith-based initiatives for wish-fulfillment fantasists who fancy themselves paragons of Scientific Reason), unlike all the endlessly relentlessly regurgitated paraphernalia of the Robot Cult... racism and sexism actually do exist, they go on making their pernicious play in the present world.

And I'll say it again, like I say it every week:

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, peer to peer, are in fact white guys.

Only a minority of people in the world impacted by technodevelopmental changes are in fact white guys.

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 given these salient facts IEET's endless ongoing parade of techno-transcendentalizing white guys fancying themselves spokesmen for "The Future" is actually an enormously perplexing and problematic thing.

Of course, the public participants of this stealth-Robot Cult outfit have far more problems on their hands than just this weirdly abiding issue of non-representativeness. Their insistently nonsensical mistaking of science fiction for science and fanwanking for policy deliberation as well as their consistently undemocratic dis-identification with the humans with whom they share the present world and identification with imagined post-humans in "The Future" (usually just surrogates enabling parochial moralizing in the present world) provide an iceberg-tip of deeper difficulties that beset these superlative futurologists. For more on some of these problems I recommend the six pieces assembled in this Condensed Critique of Transhumanism.

Be all that as it may, I do think that their apparent inability to take seriously or be taken seriously, institutionally, at least for long by anybody but white guys is a symptom that graphically gives the lie to their pretensions to represent anything like a serious professional academic mainstream-intelligible bioethics or technoscience policy think-tank rather than just a clumsy sanewashing operation for their rather deranged, and certainly deranging, not to mention reactionary, Robot Cult.


Impertinent Weasel said...

In the absence of white guys, there could be no progress.

muzuzuzus said...

you know what you can do with 'progress' then right? or do you want me to tell you?

Dale Carrico said...

I definitely want you to tell me. I can't tell yet if you grasp Weasel's irony and are going to say something mean and clever about little boys and their big guns that is going to make me laugh in a comradely way, or if you fail to grasp's Weasel's irony and so are going to say something earnest and clueless that is going to make me laugh (but, you know, fondly), or if possibly you are one of the futurologists who lurk at my blog because I critique their impoverished triumphalist worldview and occasionally expose that they really think that things like ever-increasingly powerful bombs are a measure of "progress" and so make me laugh by saying something all Robot Culty and insane.

muzuzuzus said...

no you got the wrong guy. you read me wrong like you say i read he wrong

Dale Carrico said...

Hey, it's cool. As I said, I actually didn't know what to read in what you said so I welcomed more. Which of the three reads came closest?

muzuzuzus said...

I had missed the 'progress' link. I dig the irony now. We are most definately all on the same page!
From what I know of their bombs, there is an interesting terminology they use for these weapons like 'baby' for example 'my baby'---this is unmistakable and revealingly the patriarchal warrior mindset attempting to usurp the woman's role (you will know all about this in their myths and practices) in childbirth

Their whole transhumanist (etc) enterprise is exactly trying to take over nature's role. They have always associated nature with the mother, female who they then seek to constantly murder in a loop