In an ideal world, technology was supposed to make our lives easier, taking care of the drudge while we got on with the important things in life. Just one of the things it was supposed to do was help us communicate more effectively with each other. Instead it has replaced meaningful face to face interactions with screen based ones. We all know how screen based communications can easily be misinterpreted and end up in toxic rows that divide us!
Look, we’re not complete Luddites – this blog is written and published using a laptop. That’s one example of how design and print technology can democratise the way we communicate our ideas. The Net was supposed to have done that but as pretty much everyone who’s an activist can tell you, the unholy alliance of government and the tech corporations are working together to increasingly censor what we want to say online.
It’s legitimate to question who controls technology and who benefits from it. It sure as heck isn’t us! From online censorship and all pervasive surveillance in supposedly public spaces through to digital vaccine passports, digital identity and the acceleration of the move towards a cashless society, technology is being weaponised against us. QR codes were originally devised to make stock control of items in a warehouse more efficient. That’s fine if that’s as far as it goes…
We’re at a point where if we don’t put up a fight, we’ll be obliged to rely on having the right QR code to access colleges, schools, hospitals, supermarkets, sports stadia, entertainment venues, restaurants, pubs…the list goes on. We’ll end up being controlled like items of stock. That’s how the corporations and governments see us – as mere items of stock that can be discarded if we get too difficult. This is the dehumanising future these bastards have in store for us as part of their coveted ‘fourth industrial revolution’ – if we let them that is. We won’t let them though, will we?
A debate has to be had about the direction we’re going in. Anarchists need to discuss what their attitude towards technology is, although, given the range of opinion from primitivism all the way over to anarcho-transhumanism, somehow, we don’t think a consensus is going to be reached! For those new to the issue, we recommend reading this pretty well balanced primer as a starting point:
A brief introduction to the politics and philosophy of technology – a simple guide to how interacts with society and the world around us.
Technology is everywhere. Its influence on our lives is enormous.
But how does it function?
How does it affect us?
Who does it serve?
Can it support radical social change towards free and equal societies living in harmony with nature?
Are humans fated to wind up as pets for hyper-intelligent robot hamsters?
These are -mainly- important questions. However, the dominant view is that technology is apolitical and inevitable, that it represents human progress, making our lives easier, more fulfilling, or just ‘better’. Let’s dig a little deeper.
We are at a unique moment in human history – an ecological precipice, perhaps a social tipping point. Whatever path we take, unravelling technology and the dilemmas it presents will give us a clearer view of the horizon ahead of us.
This book is a brief introduction to the politics and philosophy of technology – a simple guide to how interacts with society and the world around us. We hope you find it useful.