Culture

Change the direction of technology? Think about it!

A random article hit my news feed, and yet, it was one of the most thought provoking reads in months (if you remove all the Heisenberg I read on investing).

The gist of the article goes something like this … from a quote by Timothy Leary after visiting MIT Media Lab very early.

Quote: “Look at the index,” he said, “of all the names, less than 3% are women. That’ll tell you something.”

Per Leary, what are all those men REALLY trying to do? Quote: “He went on to explain his core problem with the Media Lab and the digital universe these technology pioneers were envisioning: “They want to recreate the womb.” As Leary the psychologist saw it, the boys building our digital future were developing technology to simulate the ideal woman — the one their mothers could never be. Unlike their human mothers, a predictive algorithm could anticipate their every need in advance and deliver it directly, removing every trace of friction and longing. These guys would be able to float in their virtual bubbles — what the Media Lab called “artificial ecology” — and never have to face the messy, harsh reality demanded of people living in a real world with women and people of color and even those with differing views.”

The futurist then gives us a warning about the potential consequences of this continued distortion of privilege. Quote, “For there’s the real rub with digital isolation — the problem those billionaires identified when we were gaming out their bunker strategies. The people and things we’d be leaving behind are still out there. And the more we ask them to service our bubbles, the more oppressed and angry they’re going to get.”

But the best part is the closing remark, prompting us to really consider if this is the future we want to create, as it’s not yet too late to change it. Quote, “But don’t let this passing — yes, passing — crisis fool you into buying technology’s false promise of escaping from humanity to play video games alone in perpetuity. Our Covid-19 isolation is giving us a rare opportunity to see where this road takes us and to choose to use our technologies to take a very different one.”

Made me think.

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