On the occasion of the passing now in Las Vegas CES philosopher Eric Sadin gave an interview to Le Figaro, in which warns about the threat of modern technoliberalism, representing a considerable danger to humanity.
Le Figaro: You make a connection between the 1960-ies and new technologies, Jimi Hendrix and the modern Internet giants. What is it?
Eric Sadin (Eric Sadin): In the 1960-ies San Francisco was the most active hotbed of the counterculture. This course had many representatives, but all they wanted to approve new conditions of existence in isolation from the outdated norms inherited from the American society of the 1950-ies. The city formed a cultural boiling pot, which sought to create the conditions for local democracy, uphold social justice, to counteract the rigid distribution of roles between the sexes, conduct community events, experiment with presses on the sensual feelings of artistic and cultural forms. Such a motley mixture formed previously unseen in the world of the painting and tried to create a new left that would like from Orthodox dogmatism of communism, and the apathy and inactivity of the traditional left.
Anyway, this utopian impulse is asleep. Some of those who were near, this broad movement, decided to revive it, but outside the collective framework. They wanted almost single-handedly to provide answers to these aspirations. This was solved by shifting towards a pragmatic means by the era of personal Informatics, which was expected (it is not clear how rhetorical and analytical judgments), carries the same values of personal freedom and socio-political emancipation.
It was at that time formed a sphere of ideas, which then became the “cybercultures”. She aspired to new forms of creativity thanks to the opportunities provided who was then still in its infancy computers.
Later, the advent of the Internet has opened the prospect of forming a “global village”, which prophesied in those 1960-ies of Marshall McLuhan (Marshall McLuhan). The protocols have made possible communication between people at great distances at little cost, as well as access to materials of a very different kind. All this has led to allegations that the man allegedly eventually gets greater independence.
However, in the period of rapid spread of the Internet in the mid 1990-ies it massively flooded the private sector. First, he used the network as a new distribution channel of products and services, opening the “online shopping”. Then appeared a rudimentary banner ads. Next, we saw a new model, which relied on the tracking page visits, and the formation of giant databases of a personal nature where the main role is played by Google.
All three of these areas are being actively developed in the 2000s and cemented the dominance of economic powers in the digital environment.
Today, we are entering a new phase in the expansion of the digital environment in the world. We are talking about the ubiquity of connectivity. In the future it is planned to connect to the network of everything: people, houses, cars, urban and working environment… Such a technological architecture is closely monitoring our environment and allows the digital economy to cover all areas of our existence, to form a kind of “industry life”, which seeks to benefit from every step of the way.
— In your opinion, economy startups — utopia. How to draw faces?
— Startup is a new socio-economic utopia of our time. Any person armed with an “idea”, will surround themselves with other programmers and will attract funds from the capital-the risk that you may henceforth consider yourself the master of life, to work “for the benefit of mankind” dream “become a billionaire”.
The startup becomes the young face of capitalism. Capitalism, which is surrounded by a glowing halo, is not based on exploitation of most of the participants, and the “equal dignity” and offers all (“founder-visionary”, “creative employee” and “independent entrepreneur”) the ability to achieve “freedom” and “development”. That is why this concept enjoys almost unanimous support as “progressive” and liberal forces: one can find here suitable arguments. In this perspective, a startup embodies the ideological liberal social consensus of our time.
However, if you look closely, the myth falls apart. Most start-UPS quickly fail. Their situation is extremely precarious. The need to get the result of forcing to work extra hours. They often produce options for the purchase of shares, for which people in the end get nothing.
In General, technoliberalism has created management techniques that shape the belief that everyone is free to succeed. Besides, the conditions of production equipment in the Asian factories do not stand up to scrutiny. As for “independent” workers who tie themselves to a particular platform, they are forced to take her set requirements and is not protected by any collective agreement.
Finally, the big companies use complex schemes to avoid paying taxes. In technoliberalism also there is crime, but not in white collars, and hoodies. However, this model everywhere are singing the praises. Where did this blindness?
— What do you think about political rhetoric, which is a new technology, a kind of Eldorado for economic growth and prosperity?
— Political leadership is at the forefront of this “kremlinological the world.” It is afraid to “miss the train of history”, convinced that any support of the digital industry will solve all the economic difficulties and social problems. This, for example, refers to the school, where now there is mass adoption of digital media, which are considered a panacea for the stagnation in national education. This also shows kremlinological the world. The private sector penetrates everywhere (supposedly to increase the effectiveness) and structures such key industries without the consent of the citizens.
The situation contributes to the active lobbying of the digital industry, both in Washington and in Brussels. For example, in France, the Secretary of state for digital technologies Axel Lemer (Axelle Lemaire) was the Ayatollah “kremnitsa” and praises the model of French startups French Tech with complete ignorance or indifference to the consequences caused by her.
The national Council for digital technologies, in turn, seeks to facilitate the development of a data economy and focuses only on economic issues with a disregard for civilizational consequences. It is worth noting that two-thirds of its members — representatives of the enterprises of the economy data, although it is a state organ. Here we clearly see a conflict of interest. This is completely unacceptable, as we should say publicly.
— In the book “the Revolutionary, the expert and the geek” Gaspard Koenig (Gaspard Koenig) predicted by 2050 social unrest as a result of the Silicon valley economic revolution. Do you agree with this point of view?
— For 30 years it is always possible to prophesy without much risk. I would say that today, the digital environment began the conquest of all spheres of life and means at its own discretion to shape our society, home, work, town planning, education, health…
The company also overwhelmingly demonstrates the regrettable passivity. The political class is completely allowed to bewitch itself, and came to a screeching halt. Look at the current CES in Las Vegas French politicians of all stripes, from françois Fillon to Michel Sapena, extend in front of the guru from Silicon valley and talking about the bright future of the data economy. They do not realize that that implies the commercialization of all spheres of life, and the automated organization of society. They think that kremlinological — a kind of historical miracle. It seems to them unexpected Savior that will allow them to cross through its own inability to deal with raging here for a decade of economic crises.
The political class is not just virtually absent in the solution of such important issues, and blissfully and mindlessly obey in the name of sacred cows in the interest of economic growth and employment. Therefore, policy must become the concern of all forces of civil society. So far, the signs for too little, but I see that the situation is gradually changing. It is hoped that the saving of the opposition will manifest itself wherever it is needed. If this happens, it will be one of the main directions of the struggle of the coming years.
Man has always been the owner of the car, but why is he incapable of it kremniyorganika in the world?
— The nature of technology is changing. The one that appears now has to carry not only a functional task but also an organizational role. There was a sharp turn. Now artificial intelligence is called “best way” to solve people’s issues.
Artificial intelligence is elevated to the status of “super-ego”, which sees the truth should guide our lives in all circumstances for maximum efficiency and comfort. The symbolic indication is provided by digital assistants, Apple’s Siri and Google Now, which is not yet characterized by high efficiency, but should in future accompany us throughout the day. About artificial intelligence has been said a lot, in particular, that in the end he will turn against the creators. Grotesque and delusional. At stake is not the human race, and man as a creature that is able to make judgments, freely and consciously act. Under attack is our ability to make decisions: instead of allegedly omniscient system that should make “optimal” choices in the best of worlds, but ultimately are at the service of private interests.
— You will complete the book with a discussion of borders. Where should the line be drawn?
— Xavier Niel (Xavier Niel) said that the principle of the school he founded L’école 42 — “no limit”. These words echo the superheroes of Silicon valley and leaders in the digital industry, who all want to “break the system”. We are talking about the new activists of the counterculture of our time (the link to the San Francisco of the 1960-ies). To break the system so to gain life, to compensate for the imperfection of the world and a man of unimpeachable and omniscient artificial intelligence to change life, to defeat death. Can’t you see here the desire to subordinate reality to their desires and fantasies?
The tragedies of Aeschylus and Sophocles talk about the dramas that occur when some of the boundaries violate against common sense. All this inevitably leads to disaster, when covered by the all-consuming passion people are immersed in arrogance and sooner or later will know the punishment of the gods.
Overall, the line crossed under the action of three factors. The irrepressible thirst for power, which leads to a disregard for existing norms in order to achieve targets. The greed that pushes so he doesn’t care about the rules, exploit others and to hide shameful actions. A little less is observed, the refusal to accept their own mortality, a kind of “metaphysical revolt” with the ambition to transcend the scope of human nature on the example of Faust. The motive in most cases operate independently from each other. Sometimes the first two overlap each other, and all three interact only in exceptional cases.
Technoliberalism relies on a combination of three of these ambitions. The desire for omnipotence, the thirst for infinite enrichment and rejection of the unpredictability of life and death reflected in the insanity of transhumanism. These factors do not work out, but reinforce each other. Their destructive impact is multiplied when in contact with others, which entails a loss of orientation in all levels of society. This becomes now possible thanks to the arrival of “exponential” technologies. This expression means that existed before the present boundaries no longer make sense and that using all of them sooner or later will cross. It is, consciously or unconsciously, establishes the language of this irresistible hurricane, which deprives society of the ability for conscious self-expression and collective discussion contrary to the basic democratic requirements.
However, the border is both the awareness and proof that some things are bigger than us, and that reality can not be constantly changing in favor of our whims. Awareness of this fact allows us not to build illusions about the scale of our own strength. Digital industry seeks to negate this desire to control things.
As albert Camus said, man must keep himself in hand. We add that this applies not just to the person but also the society and even civilizations, which have to set ourselves limits, unless you want to sink into chaos. It is inconceivable that people who are obsessed with the desire for omnipotence, are trying to reshape our lives without any resistance from the opposing forces.
— In your opinion, is the election trump due to concerns of the American middle class against the Internet giants?
— An open rejection of the trump of Silicon valley during the campaign was part of a strategy of criticism of the current “elite”. But it was just words. Silicon valley is the jewel of the American economy along with the military-industrial complex. The new government will support her no less than did the Obama administration, in particular through a series of measures and laws. Personally, I wouldn’t count on any politicians to counter predatory behaviour of the Internet giants.
So we need at different levels of society (citizens, unions, associations) to defend the common good and the right freely to decide their fate.
In addition, we are not only citizens, but also consumers and you can simple but effective steps to bury this model. Therefore, I urge you not to buy network-connected objects, and designed to help us “smart” protocols like counters Linky that you remember all our steps in our home.
Refusal to purchase has never had such political and even civilizational values. Contrary to the foolish desire of technoliberalism to control the course of our lives, we must defend the inviolable part of ourselves, independence in decisions and actions. The fact that we are talking about the confrontation between two models of civilization, and all have to make a choice. One is guided by the humanism and strives to maintain our independence of judgment and right to act freely. The other wants to monetize all aspects of life and guide the person through the system.
Let’s hope for the acceptance of the initiatives and concrete steps to counter the digital anarcho-liberalism and the approval of a way of life, respecting the integrity and diversity of human life.
If we don’t do this, technoliberalism will redraw our personal and social life, which is totally unacceptable.