Book Talk – Chapter 8
To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism
by Evgeny Morozov
“The Superhuman Condition”
Nietzsche could not have foreseen the effect of technology on the concept of the Übermensch, or the superman. One could argue that our reality truly became three dimensional once we were able to fluidly access cinematography. As if human life was animalistic, or two dimensional and rather flat, reality prior to video and the “instant replay” rests in two eyes viewing an object, two ears echo-locating a tone, two hands feeling something. Mystical powers divined from “third eye” thinking reveal new definitions when deconstructed. Whatever psychic or supernatural ways of perceiving, tiny cameras embedded in all sorts of devices signal a major shift in human sensory.
SenseCam could be a yoke of oppression if we want it to be. Or we can recognize this as one initial step in the evolution of humans externalizing our minds through material prosthesis. Ever-present access to “instant replay” video of life allows one to curb the flow of time. We bend the arrow of time and shoot a boomerang of time. Let’s not cull an infinite shelf space. Museums are pleasing to stroll through because things tend to be curated, promoted, and exhibited. Curation eats time, yet an algorithmic diet that auto-edits our life’s “instant replay” feed could be trans-dimensional.
Except, natural memories do not cost us as much as renting space in the cloud. Digital data banks rival money banks of brick and mortar past. Socioeconomic stratification, a virtual gentrification of life’s essence haunts the present mind just as home ownership once did. Will your digital afterlife be broadcast in HD, or could you not afford such quality?
“Once the difference between preserving and remembering has been established, one can trace how the former could undermine the latter. It might be that as more is preserved, less is remembered.” (Page 278)
“To expect Silicon Valley to embrace such high levels of cultural paternalism in a responsible manner seems premature.” (Page 290)
Engineered serendipity may never capture the bewilderment that plagues our minds.
“…it might be a mistake to think that better, faster, cheaper communications will solve the problem of communication, if only because misunderstanding might be a permanent feature of the human condition—and perhaps for good reasons.” (Page 293)