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

Monday, August 29, 2011

"What If They're Not Bluffing?"

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the cyberspatial sprawl, I have been engaging in a debate about a post of mine from a few days ago, Ten Reasons to Take Seriously the Transhumanists, Singularitarians, Techno-Immortalists, Nano-Cornucopiasts and Other Assorted Robot Cultists and White Guys of "The Future." I wanted to republish a snippet from one of the exchanges here, part of a debate with one "n8chz," who asks:
"What if they’re not bluffing?"
"They," by the way, are Robot Cultists of the Kurzweilian Singularitarian sect and higher profile Robot Cult funders and theorists like Peter Thiel or the folks at the eerily N.I.C.Esque Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford. "n8chz" continues:
The political conduct of the current generation of ultra rich suggests that they are entirely at peace with the prospect of a future that doesn’t need most of our services, and whose economy doesn’t “work” for very large numbers of people. This suggests to me that they must know something that isn’t publicly known about the feasibility of total social exclusion; basically gated communities on steroids. Either that, or I’ve seriously been overestimating the intelligence of the Power Elite themselves -- and not just their sometimes self-appointed and sometimes hired spokescritters in the “Robot Cult”
To which I replied:

"Heck, are you kidding? Aristos are always completely convinced of their superiority and indispensability.

"Believe me, they don’t have a secret robot army or enslavement aerosol spray. They’re completely full of shit.

"Dubai isn’t immune to the environmental devastation its cocksure entrepreneurs are exacerbating and handwaving away. No gated suburban Los Angeles wall will protect its Republican gangsters and Limousine Liberals from the pandemics unleashed by ghetto-globalization.

"If people who work for a living actually both vote in their actual interests for a change as well as taking to the streets to protest elite-incumbents you better believe these consummately overconfident jackholes will go to jail and get taxed to within an inch of their lives.

"I am far from denying the conjunction of architecture and surveillance stratifying and hierarchizing space and time in the service of exploitations and precarization (I have learned and taken to heart more than I can bear on these realities from both Fanon and Harvey!), but remember, we never know enough to justify despair. These architectures and media are rife with opportunities for subversive redeployment -- look at ATTAC, Alter-EU, Democracy Real Now, Anonymous, Take the Square, GAIA, and so on.

"Just because I give actually earned credentials their due by my lights doesn’t mean I think a credential makes one an unanswerable aristocrat, and just because I push for reform where alternatives are scarce doesn’t mean I think the status quo is acceptable, you know?"

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