November 05, 2015

"We need to learn to distrust that which we most fervently believe."

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists In a world of complexity and change, perceiving reality is difficult enough without adding the blinders of ideology or simplistic worldviews. by Brad Allenby via sage

'The diagnosis of the dystopians is not far off: We do indeed have deep changes ahead of us. But evolution is what complex systems do, and wishing otherwise is unproductive.

'In other words, it isn’t so much that dystopians get the power of technology wrong; it’s that they make two mistakes. The first is the suggestion that we can know the costs and benefits of any emerging technology a priori. The second is a misunderstanding of the simple reality that, going forward, the “human” is in many ways becoming an emerging technology in its own right. What they get wrong is their assumption that humans are a fixed reality in a rapidly changing world, rather than a constantly evolving, complex, adaptive, inherently unpredictable, increasingly technological process.

'Emerging technologies are not the danger. As always, failure of human imagination, optimism, energy, and creativity is the danger.

'And, given the over-simplicity of the current dialogue on both the utopian and dystopian scales, and the arrogance of assuming knowledge of future states that cannot possibly be known until they actually occur, the probability of a rational, ethical, and responsible embrace of the future is not high.'

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