Cyber-Utopian or Cyber-Feudalism?

by Cato  11/13/14

60 years later, Micro Center is giving away 16GB thumb drives as freebies. 60 years from now, 100TB wireless ‘enhancers’ the size of grains of sand implanted directly into the brain? No doubt. Will it be a means of individual mental empowerment or of perfect, irresistible control?

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Human evolution is about to be removed from Mother Nature’s mutation engine; we will decide our own genetic future from here on. Is that future about to become self-elevated or self-inflicted? Self-created gods or “we are the Borg”? Freely chosen or imposed?

What, exactly, will it mean to be “fully human” 60 years from now? 600? 6000? In my never humble opinion we should be far less worried about being taken over by super-intelligent machines, than about becoming super-intelligent machines.

My Sumatra coffee is very good this morning, by the way … something “The Terminator” could never understand.

Photo and commentary from TheChive.com


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6 Responses to Cyber-Utopian or Cyber-Feudalism?

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    This isn’t likely the same hard drive, but Dave Jones at EEVblog does a video of an interesting teardown of a late 1980’s $250,000 vintage IBM server hard drive.

  2. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Self-created gods or “we are the Borg”? Freely chosen or imposed?

    we should be far less worried about being taken over by super-intelligent machines, than about becoming super-intelligent machines

    This makes me think of the Star Trek episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” Gary Lockwood’s character develops phenomenal powers after the Enterprise encounters a strange force field of some kind. His powers develop so highly that he sees his fellow humans as little more than ants. At least what happened to him was an accident. Those who create these future monsters may have an unpleasant surprise waiting for them. Unfortunately, the surprise will likely be nasty for the rest of us as well.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      They dealt with a similar problem in the episode “Charlie X”. Note that in the end Lockwood’s character was killed, and Charlie was taken away by the aliens who had raised him. As for what would have happened otherwise, the results clearly wouldn’t have been pretty in either case. The effect of artificial humanity was also an issue in “What Are Little Girls Made Of?”

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Roger Korby/Michael Strong. I was just looking at his career list on IMDB.com and he’s a real who’s who of series TV. He appeared on some shows I had long forgotten about, such as “Judd for the Defense.” I’d like to find some of the “Naked City” shows from the late 50’s.

        • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

          Michael Strong may have been a friend of David Janssen, because I remember him appearing on both The Fugitive and Harry O. I also remember him on an episode of I Spy called “Night Train to Madrid” that guest-starred Don Rickles. He must have been in a lot of other shows as well. I believe he passed away a few years ago.

          Naked City has been running on the Chicago-based METV, although I quickly lost interest in it. It, along with Route 66, might be worth a critical essay on the dead-end of naturalism. On the other hand, in an age of reality TV, which I would rank as three steps lower than naturalism (we might call the steps Melodrama, Uber-naturalism, and then Reality TV), those old naturalistic shows never looked better.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Mr. Kung, thank you for validating my theory “Everything I needed to know about life I learned in the original Star Trek.” That episode, “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” is a tight fit for a lesson here. And as Timothy noted, so is the episode, “Charlie X.” Power goes to man’s head.

      The other part of this equation is that there is a popular worldview that says that the more facts you know, the smarter you are. But there is a distinct difference between knowledge and wisdom. The secular-materialist-atheist paradigm, so widespread in today’s culture, tends to artificially excise from life the “oughts” because the “oughts” sound too much like religion. In this reduced paradigm, the main human motivation is to accumulate power and raw data or technology. And such things will be for the good merely because we say so. It all becomes a fulfillment of what Dosteovsky said, “If God does not exist, everything is permitted.” And to just assume that some “secular” plan or view is good by definition shows how easily man blinds himself from his own evil and foolishness (and I’ll abjure from making any Libertarian comparison at out sheer momentary benevolence).

      And if man becomes god, and there is no restraining influence and only the will to power, everything is indeed permitted. We should not forget the real experiments in this regard that have already been run in China, Russia, Nazi Germany, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Cuba. These were all societies that put an atheistic, technocratic “reason” at the forefront. When man excises the “oughts” and society becomes little more than glorified factories where various technological theories and conceits reign, usually hell is unleashed.

      And it’s nice that technology advances. But we didn’t need hi-tech cell phones in order to do the equivalent of a monkey shaking branches as some kind of primitive display. We may indeed make thumb drives that are capable of storing exabytes worth of data. But will it be an ennobling thing? Look at the miracle of the technology of television and yet look at how much of it is actively put to use to make people more stupid, vulgar, and superficial.

      We have these wonderful computers on our desktops and elsewhere. And yet rather than an explosion of knowledge to accompany the explosion of information, there is a shrinking back of wisdom (and of knowledge). Never before have we been as connected. And yet people cannot figure out that Obama is a fraud. Even when one of the main architects comes out and admits it was a fraud, this information (as Rush noted) barely makes the airwaves.

      Our technology has helped to turn us into distracted monkeys. We bang away at the keyboard and it seems even if enough of us do so we will never get a Shakespeare play but will get something more like “The Big Bang Theory,” a show that mirrors back to us our declining nobility and wisdom. But, gosh, we can create this stuff now using the power of near magical technological devices undreamt of mere decades (or years) before. And the advance of technology (if not wisdom) shows no signs of abating. But human beings just keep getting more trivial.

      And yet I can love the geek aspect of technology for technology’s sake. It’s cool that a hard drive that used to be offloaded from a plane by a forklift can now fit inside my front pocket. That’s progress of a sort, but it’s not the only definition of progress. But it is the very definition of progress if one’s definitions have been shrunk by secularism — much like the effect of steroids on male genitalia.

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