In this blog post by a Silicon Valley stalwart we can see the completion of an arc of genuflection and fetishised worship to the great god Data and its sister-deity Profit. Goodbye privacy, hello instantaneous AI-assisted commercial assessments on, well – pretty much anything. And there’s the rub: this particular Brave New World is one in which the exponentially self-inflating information-spaces and autonomous data analytics are critically focused on profit and exploitative value-extraction.
Unfolding tsunamis of information-facilitated extended human cognition and super-accurate recording, measuring, categorising, orientation accelerated returns on investment. The hyper-inflation of the information spaces is being conducted under a blind rush and collective corporate assumption of the intrinsic value of information. While there is little point in railing against the historical momentum, it may be worth considering the assumptions upon which it all rests.
In the blog post where the author states:
The bottom line is, we are heading towards a future where you can know anything you want, any time you want, anywhere you want. In this future, it’s not “what you know,” but rather “the quality of the questions you ask” that will be most important.
I doubt very much whether he means anything like the questions I ask below.
◆ If the primary driver behind the accelerating development of technological information systems (beyond the perennial presence of geostrategy and the potential for international cyber-turbulence and conflict) is the competitive scramble for greater profit, are we then effectively imprisoned by some diminishing spiral process and interior logical surface within which all of this necessarily occurs ?
◆ If the future possibility-spaces of technological, cultural, political and economic development are being fundamentally-shaped and pre-selected by the axiomatic requirements of commerce and a general equivalence of information and value, will this inevitably generate a world in which the only intelligible or communicable concepts have become so deeply steeped in hyper-commercial technological interconnectivity and surveillance that alternate views will become effectively neutered and rendered insensible by the ascendant logic of the zeitgeist ?
◆ Have we all been so entranced by this image of reflexive perfection, completion, control and wholeness (or meaning) apparent in the machines and their logics that we are quite happy to hand over our future living world an environment to an autonomous system which long ago left the value of life and living things behind in its wake and ever since this process began to accelerate in the industrial revolution has consumed human beings as though coal into the steam engine ?
◆ Where bitcoin and associated technologies churn through more material energy resources than they could ever plausibly or constructively return to the world in anything other than profits channeled into the gravitational economic centers of corporate finance, will we end up requiring an augmented reality system to allow us to wilfully obscure the damage we inflicted upon planetary life-support systems ?
This evangelical race into technological singularity is not being carried out with anything other than self-seeking profit in mind. I do not see this as ending in any particularly good way for any of us although, as with all other Prosperity Evangelists, the business model associated with marketing an intrinsic value to the hyper-inflation of information over-connectivity and (the still fairly poorly-defined technologies of) artificial intelligence has proven itself to be extravagantly lucrative for Silicon Valley and their corporate partners.
Postscript, from the blog post:
Abundance Digital Online Community: I have created a digital/online community of bold, abundance-minded entrepreneurs called Abundance Digital. This is my “onramp” for exponential entrepreneurs—those who want to get involved and play at a higher level.
“Exponential entrepeneurs”. “Abundance Digital”. This is a self-propagating mythology of technological salvation in stark contrast to a naked economic fact that there will only ever be so many seats on the Lear Jet of technologically-facilitated corporate hyper-profit. We are all on this fantastic journey technological-civilisation together but most of us are only products, not participants in wealth-creation. I don’t find the hype compelling.