Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All
Friday, June 29, 2012
Okay, so, rather a long time ago I noticed that somebody had created and, it seems, still occasionally polishes and prunes a wikipedia page about me. This is something I try not to pay attention to because it's all rather appalling when you think about it, but I do know that students of mine often check that thing out when they are shopping for courses to take at Berkeley and at SFAI, and heaven only knows why they would go on to take a class with me on the basis of whatever it is that they are finding there. Now, obviously, I cannot in good conscience have anything to do with editing that page personally, since that would be too much like indulging in ugly self-promotional antics and actually seems actively unethical, come to think on it... But, if any of the people who are maintaining that page happen to number among my readers I really do ask you to think about the second sentence at any rate: "He is best known for proposing techno-progressivism as a more rational and sophisticated alternative to both transhumanism and bioconservatism." I mean, quite apart from the, let's face it, graceless and also weirdly congratulatory advertorial tone of that "more rational and sophisticated" remark, which surely has no place in what is supposed to be a reference piece, is it really true that I am "best known" (if I am "known," stricto sensu, at all) for my brief terminological flirtation with that "technoprogressive" tag -- a term I actively disavowed half a decade ago? Surely, I'm better known (if page views are any sort of indication) for my critiques of "geo-engineering" (like this one published by the World Future Society) and, obviously, of futurology (for instance, a bit notoriously, this), of transhumanism, singularitarianism, techno-immortalism, and so on. I also notice that some of the copy for the page is lifted from an old profile published by SFAI, which has since been updated in a way that better reflects my actual work: "Dale Carrico teaches philosophy, critical theory, and science and technology studies, focusing on the planetarity of both environmental concerns and peer-to-peer media formations... and writes about the politics of technoscience, developmentalist ideology, futurological subcultures, and the suffusion of public life by marketing norms on his blog, Amor Mundi." I daresay I'm making too much of this, having just looked at the thing and being a bit heeby-geebied by it, not to mention being terribly passive-aggressive about it, too, but honestly that page really is something of an embarrassment.