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Myth of Technology

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posted by alias Charlie Frye on Sunday 10th of January 2021 08:23:21 PM

Politicians and representatives of the IT business keep on telling us, that we are just at the beginning of the digital revolution. Not joining in for “industry 4.0”, the “internet of things”, driverless cars and so on means, so they say, missing the future and being left behind by global competition. There it is again: the narrative of an unstoppable, mono-directional development called “progress”. According to the industry’s plans, autonomous cars will use a new 5G mobile communication technology, transmitting for each car 50 Gigabytes of data per hour – about the amount that today an average internet user transmits per month. For this purpose, the whole country and the whole continent must be equipped with a completely new, extremely resource- and energy-intensive infrastructure of transmitters and computing nodes. There is absolutely no public debate about the enormous environmental hazards and possible health impacts. Or about the costs, for example in relation to 800 million people starving on the planet. Or about the massive new opportunities for surveillance as well as for dangerous hacker attacks. The most absurd phenomenon, however, is, that one simple question is never asked: What for? What sense does all this make? Because there is a much simpler, cheaper and environmentally sound alternative, which is to go for a user-friendly public transport system instead of the outdated and irrational individual motor car traffic. But this is not even mentioned. The example shows that all of this is not about meeting needs but about keeping the machine of accumulation running, a machine that will finally run the whole planet into the ground, if do not stop it before. Giving away the world for a few gimmicks If you are taking all this into account, it becomes evident that with the boundless digitalization, promoted by governments and industries we risk some of the most precious values of life, namely our freedom, a sound environment and our health, while on the other side we are getting hardly more than a few gimmicks. Think about it: Is watching 4K-movies on a screen of the size of your palm, or standing with a driverless car in a traffic jam, really worth all the destructive drawbacks? Again: digital technologies have created brilliant inventions. But if someone offers you nice, shiny glass beads for all your land and belongings, the question is not if the glass beads are beautiful. Sure they are. The question is what you give away on the other side and what relation there is between giving and taking. But this weighing up is not happening. We are all mesmerized by the glass beads, while the traders are taking away our land, our health and our freedom. - Fabian Scheidler

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  • Published 12.09.21
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