Why I Am a Neo-Luddite
I don’t mean that I am entirely anti-technology; I oppose certain technologies that will fundamentally change or destroy humanity.
200 years ago, the Luddites in England saw the development of weaving machines as a threat to their way of life, a means to make their skills as weavers obsolete. As much as their views have been put down on the grounds that that the Industrial Revolution benefited humanity as a whole, I believe they had a point. They did become obsolete. There was no use for their skills, so to survive, families moved to cities, where the parents worked more hours for less pay and children had to work to help make ends meet. These people's standard of living decreased drastically.
Today we are on the brink of a new Industrial Revolution, also known as the Singularity. And now the stakes are much higher. The losers in this new revolution will not just be small-town weavers. What we are set to lose are the concepts of the humanity as it has been for the last 100,000 years and civilization as it has been for the past 5,000. I am, for the most part, satisfied with the state of technology today. It has served us well. What I don't want is what new technologies promise. Advocates of the Singularity claim that advances in nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and genetic engineering will allow us to be smarter, immortal, and governed better. Much talk has been made of the possible disasters that these technologies could cause (Terminator, Gray Goo, etc.), but this is not what I take issue at. I am opposed to what Singularity supporters view as the upsides of these developments. I want our descendents to see us as we know see the Athenians and Romans, not as we see Lucy the ape-woman. I'm fine with humanity the way it is, not the way people like Ray Kurzweil say it should be, and that’s why I am a Neo-Luddite.
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