~ ITEM: Wiki– Technological singularity
~ ITEM: Hilary White– “In Praise of Inconvenience: Why We’re All becoming Fat, Lazy, Stupid and Immoral”
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IT IS SOMETIMES asserted by futurist-types that humanity is approaching a “Singularity”, a union with technology, you know, because reasons. Evolution. Progress. Robots. Amusement. Keeping up with it all. Entertainment. A new religion….?
I view this horrific possibility as the final destructive insanity of mankind, where we crawl ever further into our own butts, growing ever smaller and smaller, finally to vanish with a ‘pop’, and nothing more. It is mass-suicide and extinction by machine.
The great lie in the middle of it is that it’s all inevitable, can’t be stopped, evolution, you know, it’s totally going to happen. The other great lie is that the technology is somehow ‘evolving’ to this point– except, it’s people who invent computers, programs, technology, and so it’s other people who are actually shaping the world, the future, and people controlling the possible destiny and doom of all the other people influenced by their gizmos and ideas– via machines and technology.
A union with our own technological creations would be the ultimate tyranny, the perfect world of utopians, except not via political means. It’s also the culmination of elites and controllers everywhere:
“They constantly try to escape
From the darkness outside and within
By dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good.”
Choruses from The Rock – T.S. Eliot
Oooo! Perfect systems! Forcing everybody to be good! What’s not to like?
Dreaming Dark Dreams
Yet if there is darkness outside us, and evil and imperfection and blindness within us, how then can we hope to perfectly save ourselves with a de-natured techno-heaven, a digital salvation, if that saving thing itself is made by imperfect sinful creatures which cannot see all ends, and all possible consequences? If I can’t outrun my own shadow, how can we manufacture our own perfection?
You can’t escape yourself. The Mad Hatter is amusing in a story, but you wouldn’t want him making and running your utopia, your mind and your life.
Experimenting On Our Kids
The current vanishing of so many kids, teens, and adults into the tiny hand-held world of the smartphone/ tablet for so many of their waking hours is already a warning about how such a “singularity” is likely to turn out. Badly for all concerned, except the profiteers and rulers.
What do we get in return for worshipping the shiny things? Amusement. Advertising. More amusement. Distraction. Control. Spoon feeding. Tiny flitting memories, attached to wizzled up brains unused to logic, passion, love or truth.
What do we lose? Walking through the soaring blue sky cathedral of a leafy walk in a park,– but hearing and seeing no birds, barely noticing the flowers, not sensing the endless activity of all the flying, crawling, creeping, buzzing things everywhere, smelling no leafy mulch, nor spicy pine trees, hardly noticing the breeze through your hair, nor feeling the thrum of the nature in your own heart and bones and countless cells resonating with the nature all around you, both ongoing and self-making creations of the same Everliving God.
You know, because text, or YouTube vid, or funny picture, selfies, or– Squeee!– teh kittehs! Click clicketty click-click. Shiny Thing makes it all better.
But.. Oops.. We Never Meant…
In the ground-breakingly cool & insightful movie The Matrix, humanity is reduced to the status of Duracell batteries, after a war with the machines which we created blocks out the sun, and so they harvest our biochemical energy to run themselves. In the film, ‘The Matrix’ itself is the simulated reality pumped into each brain, to make them imagine they are living a real life in a real world, although it is a illusory computer program.
The other possibility, of course– and it’s real, not just a Terminator movie-script– is if our misbegotten “artificially intelligent” weaponized machines decide to revolt, and we end up in conflict with them. That, or something bad like a global digital mind, made by us, decides humans are some kind of dangerous virus to be ‘cleaned up’.
Yes, inventors and scientists consider both of these real dangers, and problems to be prevented. Seriously.
Advancing Progressively Backwards
Given that the “incredible, inevitable” social, technological, and mechanical progress of 1900 turned into the machine guns, blistering gas attacks, and slaughter fields of the Somme, and the mechanized Holocaust, and strategic mass-bombing of the Second World War, we have absolutely no reason to be naively optimistic. That is: because of what humans are actually like, our schemes and machines and digital machinations will go awry, and tend more towards a dehumanizing, unnatural, disconnected enslavement to technology far greater and more detrimental to freedom, thought, creativity, justice, love, and faith than the mess we’ve already made of the 20th and the 21st century since Christ’s birth.
How do I know? Because via well-meaning inventions like the television, and then the public internets, and then Smartphones and tablets, we’ve already been doing something horrible and propagandistic and mind-numbing and time-killing and soul-wasting and immaturity-boosting for up to 65+ years. What would magically change for the good if The Machine was somehow everywhere, and inside us, too?
If we pursue this path, we will be fashioning our own damnation, and destruction, our own insane heaven and hell all at once, concocted in our own broken image. I told you so.
….But it seems that something has happened that has never happened
before: though we know not just when, or why, or how, or where.
Men have left GOD not for other gods, they say, but for no God; and this has
never happened before
That men both deny gods and worship gods, professing first Reason,
And then Money, and Power, and what they call Life, or Race, or Dialectic.
The Church disowned, the tower overthrown, the bells upturned, what have we to do
But stand with empty hands and palms turned upwards
In an age which advances progressively backwards?
Choruses from The Rock – T.S. Eliot
Echoes. The abandoned heart of our Western Civilization. Cuz our machines we made will save us and make us perfect. Hopefully. Repenting and believing is not an option.