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

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Open Futurity Against "The Future"

Open futurity arises out of present practices of collaboration and contestation, while "the future" is a racket parochially owned by self-appointed "elite" minorities who pretend to the power of prophesy while seeking to implement outcomes undemocratically to their preferential benefit.


seth said...

someday a stem-cell generated god-child (perhaps several) will have blogs which will include recurring entries under the heading "today's random Carrico." sometimes i love my world.

peco said...

"the future" is a racket parochially owned by self-appointed "elite" minorities who pretend to the power of prophesy while seeking to implement outcomes undemocratically to their preferential benefit.

"the future" is used in a lot of other ways, but "open futurity" is hardly used at all. Everybody calls what they want "the future," including people who don't want ^^.

Anonymous said...

Just today, I heard two graduate students at a conference describe their own use of open futurity in their research methods. Both of them emphasized the importance of helping people to imagine different scenarios, rather than to make any predictions. I didn't know the idea had become so popular.

Michael Anissimov said...

Seth, in the same vein, Carrico is more likely to become a famous figure if a Transhuman Revolution *actually does* occur, rather than if it doesn't. He could become one of the better-known naysayers in history that way.

Dale Carrico said...

I'd certainly rather be right than famous.

Anonymous said...

But what if you could have it all -- veracity and popularity? Don't sell yourself short.

Dale Carrico said...

I prefer to be a peer than to be popular.

seth said...

My comment stems from the notion that critical insight which is simultaneously pleasurable to digest is more likely to stay and expand in and across folks minds than critical insights which are only depressing.

Dealing with, and re-dealing with the types of vapid and verbose "arguments" put forth by >Hism seems to me incredibly boring work (inspite of the fact that, dammit, somebody's got to do it), sort of like analyzing a cow's dinner between each of its five stomachs, continually looking for something other than grass and stomach acid.

I like what Dale has to say because it rings true, becuase it's grounded in reality, and most of all, because he is focused on the verifiable needs of the extant species to which he belongs, hence the continual and valued use of the term 'peer.' This matters to me because I'm a human, and what matters most to me is improving the human condition and experience. Whatever structural problems we haven't deal with if your >H "revolution" occurs, would neccessarily follow us into that (I shudder to say it) new realm of existance. Revolution is supposed to be about addressing such structural problems. In this light, a >Hist "revolution" would actually be counter-revolutionary.

What blows my mind is the way the religious zealots here continually speak as if the matters of thier faith had already been made manifest. Like the notion of "transhumanist advocacy." What a joke. There are no transhumantists to be advocated for! What that phrase means to say is "transhumanit proselytezation." I would have run out of patience ages ago.

And doesn't it seem just the tiniest tad bit audacious to throw out a label like "naysayer" when what's being nayed *doesn't exist* and moreover has no more substance than fantasy? If it's not audacious it's at least banal. I can think of things far more exciting to fantasize about once I resign myself to the realm of fantasy.

Dale Carrico said...

I would have run out of patience ages ago.

Oh, I did.

The transhumanists, singularitarians, techno-immortalists and so on are primarily interesting as symptoms of actually more widely prevailing techno-utopian, eugenic, and technocratic attitudes that are rendered clearer in their perniciousness through the extremity of their superlative formulations.

Also, exposing the deception, hyperbole, and confusions perpetrated by superlativity at the organizational level is a worthwhile project as a straightforward matter of investigative journalism quite apart from the theoretical interest of superlativity to technocultural theory.

Dale Carrico said...

a >Hist "revolution" would actually be counter-revolutionary

Yes, I think this is very true -- it's correlated to my own sense that superlative futurism is always really a retro-futurism.

Most of the parochial visions of "the future" for which superlatives pine and for which they eagerly would substitute the pleasures and dangers of open futurity, peer-to-peer, amount to the superficial conjuration of sweeping transformation at the level of detail, but always in ways that leave intact all sorts of key right-wing status quo assumptions about "liberty" as consumption from a menu provided by elites, "competition" as market exchange however duressed, "innovation" as looting of the commons, "value" as price, "endless expansion" as an iron law rather than an offense to logic and common sense, "value-maximization" as a model of rationality even though it is actually a recipe for insanity, and so on.

As you say, some "revolutionaries."