MIT 2500 final exam review .docx

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Department
Media, Information and Technoculture
Course
Media, Information and Technoculture 2500A/B
Professor
Warren Steele
Semester
Fall

Description
Singularity  Kurzweil - If we continue to develop technology we will achieve our destiny - Singularity is an idea that tells us capitalism is awesome, tells us all needs will be met and no one will ever die if we stick to our guns and continue what we are doing - Image of the future, not the future - Singularity presents us with a picture of the future which is perfect and inevitable (Steele says is it not true because nothing is inevitable, there is not destiny) - Promise of singularity is a world without death - Capitalism is pushing the singularity (spectacle) - It is a dream and frequently presented as non-political, it is produced by the spectacle - Singularity is the moment when human experience as we know it come to an end - “Ultimately, the entire universe will become saturated with our intelligence. This is the destiny of the universe.” (Kurzweil) - Teleology: o Teleology is a deeply embedded assumption about the nature of time; o Where time is equated with change, change is equated with progress, progress is synonymous with improvement, and improvement is not just our destiny, but destiny is the essence of human history; o Teleology presents a linear view of time and defines history as a set of events that can only be accounted for as stages in the movement towards a pre-ordained end; o Even the present moment is understood to be inevitable, where what is happening right now is thought to be the only possible outcome of history. Since the present is as it is precisely because it could be no other way. #spectacle o History seen as paved road that we are all forced to follow, instead of a rugged haphazard path. History is a play who’s ending is already written Kurzweil: - Is not the only person to believe in the future of the ideal self (invulnerable to death) - New self has no limitations - Kurzweil is a transhumanist: o Transhumanism (H+) is about rethinking or redesigning the human condition so that people are no longer limited by their biology. o Transhumanism advocates the almost unrestricted use of science and technology to improve humanity so that death, disease, suffering can be overcome. o For some, transhumanism is about finding ways to become post- biological (i.e. disembodied or machinic). - We don’t have to worry about the world right now because all of these problems will solve themselves in the future - Real people are in pain now, but the future of the singularity will relieve us from this - Steele believes people in third world countries that do not have access to technologies now will not benefit from Kurtzweil’s theory of the singularity (they are the ones laboring and making technologies for us) - We are not the ones who pay the price - We need to be aware of how blind Kurtzweil is 2001 and Singularity: - The concept of singularity is not exclusively defined by linearity. That is how Kurzweil supports his argument that the singularity is inevitable--it's a product of our linear evolution, i.e., we've only accelerated in development over time, and with the exponential increase of acceleration in our modern age, we will undoubtedly reach a period of development well beyond what we currently comprehend our potential to be. This is why it's called a singularity, an event: we simply cannot know once this event happens, what life will be like. The world as we know it will be over. For Kurzweil, this means (though, again, he states we cannot know what the singularity will bring) we will merge with machines and eliminate our reliance on biological systems. For Virilio, on the other hand, this means the demise of humanity, the biological and ethical implications of which are far more worrying to him. Now, to understand how 2001 and the singularity relate, you should pay most attention to the narrative of evolution that Kubrick depicts in the film, and particularly where you can see the 5th and, arguably, the 6th stage of Kurzweil's evolutionary model being depicted. If you keep in mind that both Kubrick and Kurzweil are interested in the transcendence of the human condition (vulnerability to death and disease) you should see the connections. Kubrick's interview with Playboy is really useful, so make sure to review it. Logistics  Virilio - Technological world is so banal to us we do not realize its presence (ie, factory worker becomes so used to his job, so repetitive, he doesn’t even notice it) - Logistics is the total mobilization, perpetual movement - World designed explicitly to facilitate m
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