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

Thursday, January 15, 2009


A Robot Cultist disagrees in the Moot with my assertion that [1] superlative discourse devoting so much energy in the present to "futurological" topics [2] freighted with the hyperbolic hopes and anxieties occasioned in the present by disruptive technoscientific change, [3] conspicuously tapping into the transcendentalizing iconography and faith-based formations of incredibly ancient and deep organized authoritarian religiosity reverberating into the present (for example, a conjuration of omni-predicated agency, millennial imagery and themes, promises of salvation yoked to a soul/body split, truth conceived as the secret word of "God/Nature's God/The 'Book' of Nature" and known truly only by priestly-elite authorities, and so on), all the while [4] providing rationales for reductionist, technocratic elitist, centralized-industrial, eugenic-"enhancement" neoliberal, hence corporate-militarist, global developmental priorities [5] in an era -- again, the present -- when emerging planetary environmental consciousness and proliferating p2p-formations otherwise threaten incumbent elite interests, yes, disagrees any of this will have any impact on our understanding of and responsiveness to the problems, possibilities, and the priorities of technoscientic change in the present.

While one can argue about the urgency of the dilemmas at hand, the actual mechanisms in play, the proportions of influence accorded various elements in the critique, proper contextualizations and the relevant history at hand, likely interventions and so on, I honestly can't make sense of a blanket disagreement with the statement that presumably inspired this Robot Cultist's denial, namely:
Well, my point, obviously is that literally everything you write in the mode of superlative discourse could very well contribute to a pernicious skewing of funding priorities (among other things -- the framing of technodevelopmental problems, the perception of possibilities, and so on) away from proximate developmental concerns.

I mean, notice that the claim is actually a qualified one ("could very well"), it doesn't propose an absolute causation ("contribute"), and it directs itself to many dimensions of influence (not only are "skewed funding priorities" mentioned but also problems of "framing" and "perception") and all this in what is clearly a tossed-off and abbreviated sketch of a much more richly elaborated critique. I don't even know what to make of a response to this critique that takes the form of the bald assertion "I disagree."

I guess, "okay," will have to suffice for now.

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