Sep 9 2009

From Kevin Kelly’s The Technium

From Kevin Kelly’s The Technium

Martin Heidegger: “No one can foresee the radical changes to come.  But technological advance will move faster and faster and can never be stopped.  In all areas of his existence, man will be encircled ever more tightly by the forces of technology.  These forces, which everywhere and every minute claim, enchain and drag along, press and impose upon man under the form of some technical contrivance or other–these forces…have moved long since beyond his will and have outgrown his capacity for decision… Technology is in no sense an instrument of man’s making or in his control. It is rather that a phenomenon that is centrally determining all of Western history.”

These technophobes are right about so many things. The technium is the phenomenon that is centrally determining all of Western history. It is outgrowing our capacity of understanding. It is advancing faster and faster without end. It is proceeding on an autonomous course. It is an end in itself. It is a kind of fate.

This is scary. We have birthed a child more powerful than us, rocketing off to remake our essential nature, yet it zooms beyond our capacity to understand or control, accelerating in power, yet biased in its direction. No wonder the autonomy of the technium provokes such genuine concern.

Yet the very same innate forces of extropy and self-organization that nurture the technological imperative, also are responsible for real progress. We have birthed a child more powerful than us, rocketing the advance of diversity and intelligence,  it multiples on its own, yet it is headed in the direction we’d all like to go — more options, choices, possibilities and free-will.