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

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Futurological Grammar: An Observation

In futurological discourses, notice that opportunistic slippages between "tech" as a generic trope as against "tech" as wish are often signaled by changes back and forth in verb tense in a futurological account: eg, "nanotechnology is..." (trope), "nanotechnology will..." (wish). In futurology the present tense will almost never indicate a phenomenon that actually exists in the present. Although futurologists regularly talk about what AI is and what its characteristics and implications are -- and say the same of the non-existing and very possibly never-to-exist "technologies" of immersive virtuality, unprecedented longevity medicine, superhuman enhancements, mind-uploading, nanotechnological superabundance, geo-engineering, human diaspora into outer space -- their assertions and disputes are always exploring entailments arising from terminological stipulations from an archive of canonical subcultural futurological texts or widely shared science-fiction fandoms, and rarely make contact with the results of consensus science or technodevelopmental policy, except, occasionally, to extrapolate from highly qualified or speculative technoscientific vicissitudes to activate hyperbolic and superlative aspirations. As always, such discussions have primarily literary and ethnographic rather than technoscientific interest.

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