Sunday, June 3, 2012

The imperial underbelly of futurology: updated with fixed link 6/22/12

The following essay is one of the most thoughtful critiques of techno-futurology I've found coming from a scientific perspective, although I would add to the list of troublesome applications the imminent possibility for privileged elites to irrevocably alter human consciousness through virtual reality constructs, a project that has already gained traction through military mind control experiments, particularly in the areas of microchipping, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence. Additionally, the end of the essay reveals the author's own faith in what might be described as utopian technocracy, a woefully incomplete vision that must be integrated with greater consideration for the natural world.

I have proposed that the "accelerating change" crowed about for the last two decades by futurologists in pop religious cadences and by more mainstream and academic New Media commentators in pop psychology and pop sociology cadences has never had any substantial reference apart from the increasing precarity produced by neoliberal looting and destabilization of domestic welfare and global economies -- often facilitated, it is true, by the exploitation of digital trading, marketing, and surveillance networks -- a precarity usually seen and experienced from the vantage of privileged people who either benefit from neoliberal destabilization or who (rightly or wrongly) identify with the beneficiaries of that destabilization...the more assertively "techno-transcendental" varieties of futurological discourse (like the transhumanists, the singularitarians, the techno-immortalists, the nano-cornucopians, the digital-utopians) are simply extreme and hyperbolic variations of mainstream neoliberal global developmental policy discourse and mainstream marketing, advertising, and PR forms...there is an unmistakably faith-mobilizing pseudo-transcendentalizing strain to be discerned in this very PR marketing imaginary, deranging us from our present distress into a yearning toward consumer techno-futures bathed in pastels and robots and cars and DNA helices and chocolate and glossy hair and youthful skin and golden sex...Advertizing and online profiling practices are the opiate of the masses in the age of digitally-networked corporate-militarism (the present stage of capitalism)...a mass mediated Opium War (and often literal war) distracts the masses from awareness that we have already long since arrived at the techno-scientific level to provide security and equity and hence universal emancipation for all, distracting us endlessly instead into internecine struggles over pseudo-needs and pseudo-strivings that leave the obsolete bloodsoaked hierarchies enjoyed by elite incumbents in place.more...