There's a long history of using tech and rhetoric around tech as a way out of Malthusian limits on resources. Tech as salvation has been a dominant way of thinking, but needs to be challenged/critiqued. #Domains19
I bookmarked a great post by Jim Luke (@econproph) a few weeks ago on scale and scope. I suspect that tech’s effect on education is heavily (if not permanently) scale-limited, but scope may be a better avenue going forward.
I also suspect that Cesar Hidalgo’s text Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies may provide a strong clue with some details. To some extent I think we’ve generally reached the Shannon limit for how much information we can pour into a single brain. We now need to rely on distributed and parallel networking among people to proceed forward.
Mark Zuckerberg’s manifesto outlines his vision for a centralised global colony ruled by the Silicon Valley oligarchy. I say we must do the exact opposite and create a world with individual sovereignty and a healthy commons.
The verbiage here is a bit inflammatory and very radical sounding, but the overarching thesis is fairly sound. The people who are slowly, but surely building the IndieWeb give me a lot of hope that the unintended (by the people anyway) consequences that are unfolding can be relatively quickly remedied.
We are sharded beings; the sum total of our various aspects as contained within our biological beings as well as the myriad of technologies that we use to extend our biological abilities.
To some extent, this thesis could extend Cesar Hidalgo’s concept of the personbyte as in putting part of one’s self out onto the internet, one can, in some sense, contain more information than previously required.
Richard Dawkin’s concept of meme extends the idea a bit further in that an individual’s thoughts can infect others and spread with a variable contagion rate dependent on various variables.
I would suspect that though this does extend the idea of personbyte, there is still some limit to how large the size of a particular person’s sphere could expand.
While technological implants are certainly feasible, possible, and demonstrable, the main way in which we extend ourselves with technology today is not through implants but explants.
in a tiny number of hands.
or in a number of tiny hands, as the case can sometimes be.
The reason we find ourselves in this mess with ubiquitous surveillance, filter bubbles, and fake news (propaganda) is precisely due to the utter and complete destruction of the public sphere by an oligopoly of private infrastructure that poses as public space.
This is a whole new tragedy of the commons: people don’t know where the commons actually are anymore.
📖 Read loc 1-682 of 12932 (5.27%) of American Amnesia by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson
This portends to be very interesting in that they plan to show what has changed over much of the 1900’s to indicate the drastic evolution in American politics, life, and philosophy over the recent decades. In light of the political battles between the left and the right over the past several years, this could provide some much needed help and guidance.
Their basic thesis seems to be that a shift away from a mixed economy has slowed American growth and general prosperity. While they do seem to have a pointed (political) view, so far it’s incredibly well documented and footnoted for those who would like to make the counter-argument. They’ve definitely got some serious evidence to indicate how drastic the situation is, but I’m curious if they can directly tie their proposed cause to the effect. If nothing else, they’ve created a laundry list of problems in America which need to be addressed by some serious leadership soon.
In some sense I’m torn about what to think of a broader issue this touches upon and which I mentioned briefly while reading At Home in the Universe. Should we continue on the general path we’ve struck out upon (the mixed economy with government regulation/oversight), or should we continue evolving away? While we can’t see the complexity effects seven levels further in, they may be more valuable than what we’ve got now. For example Cesar Hidalgo looks at the evolution along a continuum of personbyte to larger groups: firms (firmbyte), governments, and mega-corporations in Why Information Grows, so I can easily see larger governments and corporations like Google drastically changing the world in which we live (operating at a level above what most humans can imagine presently), but the complexity of why and how they operate above (and potentially against) the good of the individual should certainly be called into question and considered as we move forward.