Media, Information and Technoculture 2500A/B Study Guide - Final Guide: Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Teleology, Postbiological Evolution

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Published on 19 Apr 2013
School
Western University
Department
Media, Information and Technoculture
Course
Media, Information and Technoculture 2500A/B
Professor
Singularity Kurzweil
- If we continue to develop technology we will achieve our destiny (this is a lie)
- A bright, though somewhat psychotic inventor whose writings obsess with laying down a
timeline for the eventual dawn of a mathematically predictable point of time in which human
intelligence will be rendered obsolete by the capabilities of super advanced machines
- Conveniently erases our fear of death; once we physically merge with technology we will
become immortal
- 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 it is not true because nothing is inevitable, there is no destiny)
- Promise of singularity is a world without death
- Capitalism is pushing the singularity, it is produced by the spectacle(singularity is the
essence of the spectacle)
- It is a dream and frequently presented as non-political
- It is political however, politics demands non-interference with corporate operations
- Singularity is the moment when human experience as we know it comes to an end
- It is a concept mired more in mysticism and religious thought rather than scientific process.
- the singularity is the ultimate goal of politics: the final outcome world governments strive
for. It is a point of progress that eliminates the need for progress itself. Hunger and poverty
could eventually become concepts alien to humanity, as we eliminate the inherit need to
consume food for biological reasons.
- “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 Teleology should not be taken as fact, it is just the way we present history
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)
- His theory is only logical in the logic of technique all about efficiency and rationality
- New self has no limitations
- Kurzweil believes we have exhausted our bodies capabilities
- 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 mechanic).
- 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
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- Invisibility of the labour behind technology is what allows the digital age to exist in the way
it does
- Capitalism exploits people in ways; we are benefitting from the suffering of others
- Steele believes people that 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)
- Kurzweil says that nothing will be lost, only gained
- We are not the ones who pay the price
- We need to be aware of how blind Kurtzweil is
2001 and Singularity:
- Playboy mag Stanley uses the language of inevitability
- 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 movement
- Logistics refers to efficient management in the flow of technology from one place to another
in precisely scheduled times
- Each supply chain is connected to another through these networks (ie, linking oil fields to
gas stations)
- Every supply chain relies on other supply chains to remain functional; nothing is separate
- Logistics is the expression of Gestell as Bestand in motion
- We believe that there is no other way, because any other way will lead to disaster, but really
the complete opposite is true
- The system is to mobilize what we see as standing reserves
- The faster we mobilize, the more efficient these networks become, but the chance for
disaster increases (the faster we go, the worse the accidents get)
- Marinetti sees the ocean as a battery of stored energy being wasted because it was not being
utilized for its energy (Bestand) he sees nature as something that can be functional and
productive
- “The Accident” Virilio, accident is an analysis: what crops us (accidents) is a techno-
analysis of what is beneath (substance) any knowledge. The accident is the meaning of
technology.
- Virillio- we see hills and cliffs, high seas etc as somrthing that put the brakes on the
acceleration of technical progress
- The accident reveals the substance (Aristotle) invention of the substance is the invention of
the accident
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Document Summary

If we continue to develop technology we will achieve our destiny (this is a lie) Conveniently erases our fear of death; once we physically merge with technology we will become immortal. 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. Singularity presents us with a picture of the future which is perfect and inevitable (steele says it is not true because nothing is inevitable, there is no destiny) Promise of singularity is a world without death. Capitalism is pushing the singularity, it is produced by the spectacle(singularity is the essence of the spectacle) It is a dream and frequently presented as non-political. It is political however, politics demands non-interference with corporate operations. Singularity is the moment when human experience as we know it comes to an end.

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