Have you ever noticed.... the weird sense of resignation that most people display toward the advancement of dangerous technology, like artificial intelligence?
Everyone knows about the dangers of technology run amok. We see articles about it all the time. We know it in our hearts:
Technology poses an existential threat to us, if used unwisely.
And yet, most people respond with tired resignation:
"It's inevitable," they tell themselves.
"Technology always marches forward," they recite.
"There's nothing we can do about it," they sigh.
People are willing to take action on anything else.
Terrorism and religious extremism?
Mean words on the internet?
Guns in schools?
Lack of parking spaces?
And those who don't take action still believe action should be taken... by someone, even if it's not them. People want something done.
When it comes to super-intelligent killer-robots taking over the world and enslaving us or wiping us out?
Nope. No action.
"Gotta let that happen!"
"Hey man, progress always advances!"
"You can't stop the march of technology!"
Isn't it creepy how people think like this?
"Yes, now that I think about it, it's a bit strange. Why do we think this way?
Because, for the past 100 years, we've been bombarded by propaganda concerning the "future." We've been shown a series of books, movies, and TV shows, all portraying the future a certain way, with several consistent characteristics:
1. More and more buildings, less and less nature
2. More and more metal, less and less organic substance
3. More intellect, less compassion
4. Endlessly expanding control over our lives by computers
5. Fusion of humans with computers
6. Eventual elimination of (non-computerized) humanity
Think about the "Sci-Fi" genre. Most Sci-Fi productions envision such a world, don't they? They all say that this is what the future will look like.
"Hey, no, not ALL Sci-Fi presents that vision."
Sure, there may be a few outliers, like Star Trek: Insurrection (where a race of space-traveling people settled on a green planet, and gave up most of their technology to live a peaceful, agrarian lifestyle in harmony with Nature)...
...but these types of stories are exceptions to the rule. Most Sci-Fi promotes the gray, mechanistic vision offered by the big-budget movie studios and "bestselling" (i.e. most heavily backed by industry marketing power) Sci-Fi authors.
Star Wars' galactic capital, Coruscant: An entire planet that's just one big city. Where are the trees?
The Jetsons. Even back in the 50's, they were telling us how the "future" was supposed to look.
"Why is this the common theme throughout Sci-Fi?"
The vast majority of movie studios and entertainment industry capital have been owned by a cabal of people with this type of philosophy. So it became the dominant viewpoint peddled by Hollywood, as well as by major print-publishing houses. And hence, it lodged itself into mass-consciousness.
Despite the fact that nobody has a crystal ball, Hollywood seems eerily convinced about how the future will look.
And since most of us have grown up immersed in this 'narrative", we've been convinced that it's our "future."
But books and movies aren't gospel. They're just ideas. And they represent the value systems of the people who made them... and the people who fund them.
And after growing up immersed in this propaganda, most of us just assume it's true - that this is our world's ultimate fate.
But is it?
"Yes, it is. You can't stop progress. As much as you might try to fight it, technology will always march forward."
But what exactly is "forward"? There is more than one direction, you know. There are 360 degrees of possible directions in which we (and our technology) can evolve. You've been shown one of them. But there are many others.
For example, instead of technology becoming increasingly dominant over Nature and replacing Nature, it could instead become increasingly harmonious and able to coexist with Nature.
We'll expand more on this in Part 6.
There are many possible trajectories for technological progress, and you've been propagandized to believe in just one of them, and its name is technocracy.
Have you heard that term before?
"I've heard the term "technocrat" before. Doesn't it just refer to someone who's savvy with tech, and wants to use tech to solve problems?"
No, that is not what it means. Maybe that's how the media uses the term... but it's so much more than that.
"OK... what is it then?"
To understand what technocracy is, we first have to get clear on what technology is.
What is the purpose of technology?
"Hmmm... To make life easier. To eliminate or reduce labor. To grant us more time for leisure."
The purpose of technology is to serve us. To serve humanity. And to do so while respecting the biological parameters of our environment. So, in a sense, we could say technology's purpose is to serve Life.
Technology (in its healthy form), is to be in service to life.
But technocracy is the reverse.
Technocracy is the belief that the purpose of life is to serve technology. Biological life is, in a sense, seen as just a "stepping stone" on the way to some sort of "superior" form of "life" based on self-replicating artificial intelligence.
That's what a technocrat believes.
"Hmmm... I know there are SOME technocrats who believe that, but aren't there others who just want to use technology to solve problems? And wouldn't that qualify as "serving Life"?"
There are two levels of technocracy: primary and secondary.
Primary technocracy is the kind just described. It's the view that Life's purpose is to serve technology.
And this belief filters down into the minds of the general public as a "secondary technocracy", which is the belief that:
"All problems can be solved by more machines, more pervasiveness of machines, and more intrusiveness of machines into our lives."
It tells us that the supremacy of machines will lead to "better qualities of life." And this belief is, of course, used for rationalizing the increasing intrusion of tech into our lives, making it ubiquitous, inescapable, and putting so much of our energy into it.
Secondary is what most people believe, but it's not actually the purpose of technocracy. It's just a pretext. There's a technocratic elite who believe in the primary kind, and the secondary kind is just their way of convincing the public to go along with their agenda, by promising us stuff. They're promising us that it'll solve our problems and make life "better."
Of course it hasn't.
Not by a long shot. In fact, it's done the opposite.
On the next page, we examine the promises of technocracy, and compare them to what actually happened.
As explained in the previous part, the purpose of technology (its true, healthy purpose) is to serve Life.
But has it done that? Especially in recent decades?
If you pay attention to technology news, and read technology articles, you're probably familiar with the fact that technology is making our lives worse in many ways.
The ways are too many to count.
Let's start at the most recent, and work our way backwards through time.
1. Social Media:
Promise: We'll be connected to everyone at all times,
and we won't feel lonely anymore.
What Actually Happened: Electronic communication doesn't satisfy our social needs. Instead, it replaces what little real-life interaction we still had, with pixels, and as a result, we're more lonely than ever.
We lost. The only thing that gained is technocracy.
How Technocracy Gained: More computers; more time spent on computers; massive data collection to enable artificial intelligence to analyze and predict human behavior; breakdown of interpersonal relationships (making us more psychologically vulnerable to technocratic programming); normalization of authoritarianism.
"Hey, but we did become more connected!"
That much is true. But it's not making us happier. That part was false.
And if we're not happier, then what was the point?
The point was to advance along the path of technocracy. That's it.
Promise: We'll be able to use the internet wherever we are, at any time. It will make life better because everything will be more convenient.
What Actually Happened: The price for this convenience was addiction. It's ruined our attention spans. We spend vast swaths of our time on them. That's ironic, because the whole purpose of convenience is to spend less time on a task. Right?
Convenience = Having To Spend Less Time.
And we now spend all day on our phones. It didn't give us more time - it leaves us with less time than ever before!
We lost, but technocracy gained.
How Technocracy Gained: More computers; more time spent on computers; computers held on our persons; 24 hours a day, ubiquitous mass surveillance.
And in the process, we've become zombies. Our attention spans are ruined. We no longer talk to the people standing right beside us.
We did get to perform some tasks more conveniently. That's true. But we're not happier.
And if we're not happier, then what was the point?
Promise: It will entertain us. And by being entertained, we will be happier and more fulfilled.
What Actually Happened: This one's a no-brainer. Television is synonymous with social isolation, broken families that no longer speak to each other, and idiotic programming that's dumbing down our intelligence.
Furthermore, corporations and governments found a new way to condense their propaganda into a concentrated form, 100 times more effective than a newspaper.
With all this information, you'd think we'd be more informed. Yet television-watching is correlated with astonishing levels of ignorance. The most TV-ubiquitous countries (like the USA) display less intellectual curiosity, and less knowledge of other countries. The less television a society has, the smarter and happier they are.
It didn't make us happier. So what was the point?
How Technocracy Gained: Creation of a massive, centrally-controlled programming network with a foothold in every living room and bedroom; breakdown of interpersonal relationships, making us more vulnerable to technocracy.
4. The Automobile
Promise: Cars will enable you to get everywhere so much faster, and make life easier.
What actually happened: Everything was spaced further away. Our civilization's layout was redesigned to place everything further apart:
-Houses further apart from other houses
-Agricultural land spaced further apart from residences
-Work further away from home
-We're expected to rely on people further away for basic social needs.
Everything was simply spread out.
The net result is that we spend the same amount of time in transit as we did in the horse-carriage days. Probably more.
We're right back where we started.
But our quality of life has decreased. We have gaping spaces between houses, creating social alienation, epidemic depression, and mass-shooters.
Our valuable food-growing land has been paved over with vast amounts of dead concrete.
Our living spaces have been turned into hazard zones with deadly huge objects moving at insane speeds, inches from our bodies.
Silence has become impossible, leading to even more mental illness.
Travel has turned from a leisurely activity, in which we could relax... into a white-knuckle game of deadly stakes and infuriating delays. The frustration gets so bad, people get out of their cars and attack one another.
We waste massive amounts of metal on building cars, which has to be mined out of the ground, causing ecological degradation.
We burn massive amounts of fossil fuels, poisoning the air and destabilizing atmospheric chemistry.
Having lost the ability to grow our own food locally (because all the land is now covered in asphalt for cars), we've become dependent on food grown many miles away, by corporations, and transported by corporations, in vehicles built by corporations, on roads maintained by bureaucracies, fueled by poisonous goop drilled out of the ground by corporations.
What did we gain from this?
Nothing. We lost. But technocracy gained. Automobilization filled our lives with more machines than anyone 100 years ago could have possibly imagined. It increased the mechanization of our live by orders of magnitude.
5. Monocrop Agriculture
It didn't make us happier. So what was the point?
What was the point of all of this?
There's only one point: advancing technocracy.
"So why are the tech leaders still telling us that it'll "solve our problems" if they know, deep down, that that's not true? I mean, they've gotta know it. They read the news. They listen to science. They're generally bright people. Surely if WE can see the truth, THEY can see it too... right? "
Of course they can see it. They just don't care, because its not really about solving problems. It's not really about making life better. That's all an excuse, and they know it's an excuse.
It's not about using tech to serve Life - it's about using Life to serve tech.
Each of these steps made life worse for us, and eroded the integrity of Life on this planet, but, at the same time, brought technocracy closer to its ultimate goal.
"Ultimate goal? What would that be?"
A new "god", made from artificial intelligence.
They've been using Life as a stepping-stone to build what they think of as a technological "god" out of computers. And they're willing to throw Life under the bus in order to get there.
"A technological "god"? Really? What in the world are you talking about?"
Have you heard of the "Singularity"?
That's what they're seeking.
Every step along that list made life worse for us, but brought us closer to building a Singularity. And that was the point.
To learn more, continue to the next page.
If you reflect back on your life before you owned a smartphone, and contemplate your likely level of happiness today if you'd never bought one, do you think you'd be more happy, or less happy?
For the vast majority of us, the answer is that we'd be more happy if we had never obtained the things. Sure, our lives might be more interesting... more dynamic... certainly more complex. But are we happier?
Are we working less, or working more?
Do we have more leisure time, or less?
Is technology fulfilling its purpose?
Remember, its purpose (its real purpose) is to make our lives simpler and easier.
Do we have more leisure time than our parents? Than our grandparents? Than people in the Middle Ages?
Do we have more leisure time than cave-people?
"Hey, why are you carving that piece of rock?"
"I'm making a tool."
"A tool? What's that?"
"It's a piece of technology!"
"Why are you making technology?"
"Because it will make life simpler and easier.
We won't have to work as much!"
Thousands of years later, is life easier? Are we laboring less than our ancestors? Do we have more free time? Is anything simpler?
"Hmmm... no. We don't. We're more stressed out than ever. We have more tasks to keep on top of than ever. Cave people got to relax after the day's work, but for us, every waking moment is filled with some task. related to the upkeep and maintenance of our technological lifestyles. The more complex our technology gets, the more neurotic we become."
Right! We're working more now than we were then! So it didn't decrease our amount of work in 5000 years!
So what was the POINT of it!?