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

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Krugthulu Spies More Signs of the Singularity!

The Kitchen Test:

By any reasonable standard, the change in how America lived between 1918 and 1957 was immensely greater than the change between 1957 and the present.

Accelerating, ever-accelerating, into the digi-nano-robo-transcendent future!


jimf said...

> . . .the change in how America lived between 1918 and 1957. . .

The change my grandparents lived through.

Have you ever seen "The 1900 House" on PBS? It's an

The biggest change for me personally (since my childhood in
the 50s and 60s) has to be the Internet. Having Google
and Wikipedia at my fingertips really does represent a
qualitative change -- for one thing, they give deep
context (if you're interested to pursue it) to information
and events that, before the Internet, could only be
experienced on the surface (and an ephemeral surface it
was!) without having already accumulated a lifetime's
worth of knowlege and experience, or having access to
specialized tools like a university library or a
newspaper archive.

Other changes, while worthwhile (from an American middle-class
point of view, putting aside sustainability, resource
exhaustion, eco-collapse, etc., etc.) are more evolutionary
than revolutionary. Cars are reliable and last a **long**
time, compared to back then. TVs actually have decent
pictures. Anything electronic is vastly cheaper (relatively
speaking) and **vastly** more reliable than before
(and not just consumer goods, but industrial stuff as
well, like the computers that big corporations use).
And entertainment (movies, TV shows) are more like books
in a library than a circus coming to town -- you can
watch them at your own convenience, and as often as
you like. It's cool. (A friend of mine recently commented,
"I had a bootleg 16mm film copy of a Twilight Zone episode
that was a prized possession -- it was so amazing to have
my own copy even of just one TV episode that I could
watch whenever I wanted. Now my daughter is watching the
entire run of the series on YouTube.)

Impertinent Weasel said...

Well, modern kitchens don't have June Cleaver in an apron cooking up dinner for her man like they did in 1957. I'd say that's an advancement.

As a matter of fact, I'd be willing to bet that the ongoing lack of innovation in kitchens has much to do with the fact that they don't get as much use as they once did. In many homes, they're little more than ornamental.

Dale Carrico said...

Needless to say, the exposure of phony techno triumphalist futurology provides no comment on gains achieved through education, agitation, and organization (even though it is also true that a proper framing of technodevelopment regards it as a mode of social struggle).

Futurological framings of progress as an inevitable, accelerating, socially indifferent accumulation of technical accomplishments, like futurological framings of freedom as amplifications of force or of already-given capacities in already-given terms yield endless mischief for those who would reconcile political hopes with histories sensibly.