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

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tech Progressive, So Regressive.


I am embarrassed to admit my own complicity in the emergence of the technoprogressive term now current in some circles of neoliberal tech talkers and "Thought Leaders." Interested readers will note the appropriated arguments and even phrases in the wikipedia entry for technoprogressivism, alluded to in the 2014 robocultic transhumanist Technoprogressive Declaration, all from my own Technoprogressivism: Beyond Technophilia and Technophobia, published nearly a decade before that Declaration. I realized quite soon after writing that rather programmatic piece that its formulations were being taken up in stealth-reactionary futurological "tech" circles seeking to sanewash eugenic, libertarian, neoliberal, digi-utopian, greenwashing, facile reductionist and determinist views about technodevelopmental politics. I soon came to believe that the susceptibility of my formulations to these deceptive and tech-propagandistic appropriations was a product of my own under-interrogated use of the term "technology" in the piece as monolithic and extricable from and hence apparently substitutable for politics in ways that facilitated what I now recognize as a host of familiar reactionary futurological gestures -- the naturalization of elite incumbent interests as a-political, the substitution of marketing norms and forms for modes of reflection and analysis, the treatment of wish-fulfillment fantasies as scientific predictions, the investment of such speculation with transcendental significance, and the transformation of these discourses into subcultural formations, identity movements and consumer fandoms. For a recent and concise elaboration of the critique eventuating in part from experience of the techno-transcendental appropriation of my early efforts I recommend Futurological Discourses and Posthuman Terrains.

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