Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All
Thursday, March 06, 2014
"Google, Please Solve Death!"
When I first saw this image I assumed it was a parodic skewering of corporate-militarist techno-utopianism in the spirit of the Yes Men, but at least some people seem to regard it as a legitimate "Street Action for Transhumanism." Not to put too fine a point on it, but picketing a corporate headquarters not to protest its crimes but to promise to buy more of its products in the hopes that they will eventually make you effortlessly rich, sexy, and immortal isn't exactly my idea of a "Street Action" in any emancipatory politics worthy of the name. I have long argued that transhumanoid, singularitarian, techno-immortalist, nano-cornucopian, digi-utopian futurisms always tend to support reactionary corporate-military politics, even when their advocates earnestly do not mean them to do so, by substituting passive gizmo-fetishizing consumer fandoms for political organization, by endorsing elite technocratic circumventions of democracy through proposals of social change primarily or even exclusively through profitable design interventions, by reducing to the terms of technical amplification any aspiration for progress for which political struggles among stakeholders in history in the direction of equity-in-diversity are always required in fact, and by celebrating current hierarchies through a paradoxical naturalization of them in which fantasies of status quo amplification are peddled as if they constitute "disruption" and "accelerating change" when they disrupt and change little that matters for real social justice.