Kevin Kelly has written another amazing tickling-brain post about the scary side of technological progress. The title is more an attempt to catch eyeballs. He states twice in the essay that, off course, he doesn’t think that what the Unabomber did was right. But he does think that Ted Kaczynski was on to something with his theories of how “the machine” is going to enslave humanity.
Ted Kaczynski, the convicted bomber who blew up dozens of technophilic professionals, was right about one thing: technology has its own agenda. The technium is not, as most people think, a series of individual artifacts and gadgets for sale. Rather, Kaczynski, speaking as the Unabomber, argued that technology is a dynamic holistic system. It is not mere hardware; rather it is more akin to an organism. It is not inert, nor passive; rather the technium seeks and grabs resources for its own expansion. It is not merely the sum of human action, but in fact it transcends human actions and desires. I think Kaczynski was right about these claims. In his own words the Unabomber says: “The system does not and cannot exist to satisfy human needs. Instead, it is human behavior that has to be modified to fit the needs of the system. This has nothing to do with the political or social ideology that may pretend to guide the technological system. It is the fault of technology, because the system is guided not by ideology but by technical necessity.”
It’s longish, but if you have been aroused by the philosophical implications woven in the Matrix, Fight Club, and the Amish, you’ll love it.