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technology is neutral

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Caiman del Barrio
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Apr 19 2005 17:40
crwst wrote:
If the past was so great how come we ended up in the present?

See, what the fuck does that even mean??

they are all lying
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Joined: 19-04-05
Apr 19 2005 18:26

Hello

im new here and my name is cedric

Hello

Basically none of you can comment on the positives or negatives of technology, because none of you have ever lived and we cant even imagine a world without technology. Your all assuming but seem to think you have fact or something. roll eyes

We can assume, as you seem to. You assume that the world is better with technology. I can also assume that the world wasnt in such a mess before technology came along. But we dont really know do we.

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pingtiao
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Apr 19 2005 18:46

cedric: have you read this thread?

You have added nothing whatsoever to the debate.

You are new: here is a bit of advice- stop posting, have a look around the site. Read the posting FAQ. Get an idea of the politics of the board, the people who post here, and whether you can add anything to it.

Then start posting.

crwst
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Apr 20 2005 09:56

I liked the Perlman book because it was so different to most other anarcho lit I've read. Forgot about Jennsen though, Doh. I would n't ever recommend the other "biggy" of star green black thought Zerzan though coz he's so fucking boring! Reading his books is like listening to Chomsky speak angry

hullo Cedric, read the thread mate go on I dare you tongue

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Steven.
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Apr 20 2005 10:02
crwst wrote:
I liked the Perlman book because it was so different to most other anarcho lit I've read. Forgot about Jennsen though, Doh. I would n't ever recommend the other "biggy" of star green black thought Zerzan though coz he's so fucking boring! Reading his books is like listening to Chomsky speak angry

I thought Chomsky'd be well boring, but I went and heard him a few months ago, and he was actually really interesting, and pretty funny! A nice surprise 8)

Garner
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Apr 20 2005 11:11
crwst wrote:
...I have no desire to return to the stone age but a wish to move forward out of this fucked up world whilst taking inspiration from people who live with little to no more impact on their surroundings than any other creature.

Fucksake, have you seen what other creatures do to their surroundings?

It's entirely possible to completely trash the environment with no technology whatsoever. The damage we do to the environment by, for example, shitting, can be minimised by technology (if we use it wisely).

phoebe
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Apr 20 2005 13:15

Technology isn't neutral. It's a device for promoting useless shite like this when there's a revolution to be had.

Crypt
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Apr 20 2005 13:45

yeh, because we would all be out starting a revolution this second if it wasn't for:

technology/beer/weed/tories (delete as appropriate) smile

sorry life don't work that way, we'd always find some other way to waste time

Caiman del Barrio
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Apr 20 2005 13:55
phoebe wrote:
Technology isn't neutral. It's a device for promoting useless shite like this when there's a revolution to be had.

Yeah...when Enrager went down for a day or two a few months back the street level proleterian rage and revolutionary fervour was palpable.

phoebe
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Apr 20 2005 14:11
Alan_is_Fucking_Dead wrote:
phoebe wrote:
Technology isn't neutral. It's a device for promoting useless shite like this when there's a revolution to be had.

Yeah...when Enrager went down for a day or two a few months back the street level proleterian rage and revolutionary fervour was palpable.

Seriously, it's true. There was a revolution. Noone told you about it because they thought you'd fuck it up bickering about alienation by machines and other weird crap that doesn't make sense.

(Honestly, I think tech is neutral, or awesome. I'm just shit stirring.)

pi3
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Apr 20 2005 14:19

http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/~susan/complex/nanotalk.htm

Always good to throw in to a discussion about the evils of technology.. Read the bit about 'problems'..

Garner
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Apr 20 2005 14:51

"Rogue nanites might get loose and disassemble the world, reducing it to grey goo."

Beautiful. grin

Crypt
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Apr 20 2005 14:58

Good artical pi3, but I think the problems pointed out in the artical are a bit abstract for the moment. The author points out several worst case scenarios, such as grey goo eating the entire earth. I don't think this is very realistic at the moment given the fact that we've yet to invent a nano machine thats capable of doing any real effective task. We're a long way off from self-replication and even further off from a machine thats able to communicate with other nano machines.

This may become an issue in 10 - 15 years, but i don't think we have to worry about it for a while yet

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pingtiao
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Apr 20 2005 15:03
pi3 wrote:
http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/~susan/complex/nanotalk.htm

Always good to throw in to a discussion about the evils of technology.. Read the bit about 'problems'..

That person is a fucking ace science communicator.

pi3
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Apr 20 2005 15:31

Too true, it's a nice article.. One of many on the subject, as Crypt said that is probably something which the next generation will have to fear more than the current one..

I think what we will experience, which is equally as frightening, is 'A.I'.. We already have varying degrees of 'A.I'.. I would go deep in to this as this is something which I am studying at the moment and, in part, trying to have a go at coding..

Nothing special of course, just something which is capable of talking to my test gear in the office, deciding if there is any problems, fixing the problems, storing the results, cross-referencing these with other results and storing new conclusions..

Basically, at the moment if you really want to bring it down to the most basic level, it only knows what I have told it in the past, or what another version of itself tells it (they link through a UDP server on a PC on the network) and variations of the original information which I have given to it.. However, for example, I've never actually told the software how to fix every type of each error, but by trial and error when exsisting methods did not work, using mixes of different techniques from related problems it has fixed some errors without any assistance from me as far as code or editing the DB's went, stored the new fixes in the DB's and communicated that to the other pieces of software which in turn updated their own DB's..

It's not A.I as such, but I suppose it all depends on what you deem to be A.I..

I should also add that it has made mistakes.. But as they say, no-one's perfect..

AnarchoAl
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Apr 20 2005 16:16

I doubt we'll see AI than can outthink a human enough to do anything nasty in my lifetime. True, there was the Deep Blue/Kasparov episode, but chess has a fixed, if very large, number of possibilities. Deep Blue could be programmed to cut down the space further with rules-of-thumb, and scan through thousands of possibilities a second.

The real world has an almost infinite set of possibilities, so beating humans at say a real war is almost impossible for computers. Personally I do believe that you could make a computer that was humanlike but faster in its processing of information and responses (I will leave it up to the reader to decide if the computer would be "conscious" o) ) , but constructing such a machine is beyond us and will remain so for a long time.

We'll have electronic brain enhancements for humans before we have super-AIs wink

pi3
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Apr 20 2005 16:38

Hmmm, I would say that it would depend on what you would consider to be nasty..

As you said it's possible to out think a human when playing chess because the software can calculate every possible permutation and make the best move.. What happens when you apply the same principles to something other than the basic limits of a chess game is a different matter altogether..

What one person considers a nightmare scenario might be another persons wet dream.. It all depends on perspective..

they are all lying
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Apr 20 2005 20:03
Garner wrote:
Fucksake, have you seen what other creatures do to their surroundings?

Ummm, what do they do exactly? Have you been outside recently? The last time i looked their werent badgers chopping down the rainforests or dolphins polluting the seas.

[

Quote:
It's entirely possible to completely trash the environment with no technology whatsoever. The damage we do to the environment by, for example, shitting, can be minimised by technology (if we use it wisely).

Um, shitting doesnt damage the environment, its good for it. Where do you think mud comes from? Its not made by machines you know.

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888
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Apr 20 2005 20:58
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
If you're going to have those things in a communist society I think you're going to have far far fewer of them. Without cheap raw materials from the former-colinial world and cheap labour in the same than many of the components for those products will not be able to be made in such vast quantities.

I think any communist society would be 'primitivist' by default, since no one is going to want to do dangerous, harmful labour -- such as putting together the very toxic components for computer chips that Intel gets done in India. Or even smelting steel, etc. Who's going to want to do that? If everyone who wanted an MP3 player had to take part in making it -- or know that friends and comrades far away were doing so -- then I think there's be far fewer made.

Bollocks - it's possible to radically change the nature of work and technology so that electronic devices are "easily" built from just carbon and a few other elements. Why do people always bring up the appeal to guilt technique of pretending that anyone who is pro-technology is pro-forcing third world miners to work for a pittance? Completely lacks understanding or any interest in looking into how the world *could* (and does) work. Technology has made mass production at very low effort easy - it's just that it's implemented incredibly badly. Primitivism would mean hours of backbreaking work for everyone just to scrape by (rather than dishonest myths of noble savages), high technology used properly would mean the opposite.

shelaw
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Apr 21 2005 10:02

The first and last pages of this thread are very sensible, everyone remained calm, composed and stuck to the point, the arguments were well put.

I wonder what happened in the middle of the thread? I supose we'll never know.

whatever

Garner
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Apr 21 2005 11:15
they are all lying wrote:
Ummm, what do they do exactly? Have you been outside recently? The last time i looked their werent badgers chopping down the rainforests or dolphins polluting the seas.

Locusts and army ants, on the other hand, aren't quite so benign. And there are plenty of plant species that poison the soil so nothing else can grow. My point was that the poster I was responding to was being hopelessly romantic. Every species impacts on its environment to some extent. And there's no natural balance or any such hippy shit either, or there wouldn't be evolution. We impact on our environment largely through our use of technology. Sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad way.

Quote:
Um, shitting doesnt damage the environment, its good for it. Where do you think mud comes from? Its not made by machines you know.

It mostly doesn't come from shit either, as it happens. But that's beside the point.

If humans didn't exist in large concentrated populations, you'd be right, shitting wouldn't damage the environment. But we do, so it does. Unless you're advocating the death of most of the human population and the dispersal of the rest, shitting will continue to damage the environment, and the only way we're going to deal with that is through technology.

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Rob Ray
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Apr 21 2005 12:04

Actually, on the subject of large populations, it is noticable that only in the most high-tech of western nations, where better knowledge on contraception, biology, medicin, food production, water distribution etc prevails is the population remaining stable or declining. In places where technology and education are failing to reach, the birth rate - and accompanying impact on the environment - is through the roof.

This is because while with no technology populations are kept low through dangerous birthing, starvation and a host of diseases, and with some technology this stops, but high birth rates continue, with the higher scale techs and education people simply don't birth as often.

Given long enough (and a sensible eco-friendly technological policy, unlike today), pollution will drop across the board, as will birth rates, thus lowering our environmental impact on the world. Simultaneously, our lives will be easier, there will be no famine, and we will have time to make life, and our surroundings, ever more perfect.

That's one possible outcome of technology. The other is the apocalypse, starvation, dehydration and megadeath we all know from sci-fi books. The mere fact that both are possible, surely, suggests that technology is NOT in itself bad but is merely a tool of awesome power - one which depending on who wields it, can create paradise or hell.

they are all lying
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Apr 25 2005 15:09
Quote:
Locusts and army ants, on the other hand, aren't quite so benign. And there are plenty of plant species that poison the soil so nothing else can grow. My point was that the poster I was responding to was being hopelessly romantic. Every species impacts on its environment to some extent. And there's no natural balance or any such hippy shit either, or there wouldn't be evolution. We impact on our environment largely through our use of technology. Sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad way.

I believe that there was a natural balance, but obvious human activity has completely destroyed it over the last howevermany thousands of years. We only have to go to places like the amazon or mata atlantic rainforest(the 9% of it thats left!!!!) to see nature in action. I see no scientific theory (read guesswork) on evolution to stand up against nature in action. Obviously army ants etc are so deadly cos there predators populations have been destroyed by human activity, otherwise im sure they would have covered the whole planet tens/hundreds of thousands of years ago.

Quote:
Actually, on the subject of large populations, it is noticable that only in the most high-tech of western nations, where better knowledge on contraception, biology, medicin, food production, water distribution etc prevails is the population remaining stable or declining. In places where technology and education are failing to reach, the birth rate - and accompanying impact on the environment - is through the roof.

This is because while with no technology populations are kept low through dangerous birthing, starvation and a host of diseases, and with some technology this stops, but high birth rates continue, with the higher scale techs and education people simply don't birth as often.

Given long enough (and a sensible eco-friendly technological policy, unlike today), pollution will drop across the board, as will birth rates, thus lowering our environmental impact on the world. Simultaneously, our lives will be easier, there will be no famine, and we will have time to make life, and our surroundings, ever more perfect.

Saii, im afraid that that is just nonsense. Population rates is controlled by culture not being well off or not. Western culture is based on small family units and not the extended family like in the past cos its more suitable. People in the west are too busy to have babies, capitalism is seen as more important than family etc etc People in third world countries generally have more time to have babies, cos they aint got jobs or like in africa and south america the cultures are completely sexist and women are still seen as pieces of meat (more so than in the west) also abortion is still illegal in a lot of these places.

Also the world is already going down the shitter VERY FUCKING FAST with production rates at their current levels, if you want everyone in the world to live like people in the west then what do you think thats gonna do to the planet?

Cedric

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Apr 25 2005 15:21
888 wrote:
Bollocks - it's possible to radically change the nature of work and technology so that electronic devices are "easily" built from just carbon and a few other elements.

Tell me more.

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pingtiao
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Apr 25 2005 15:30

He's mostly talking about nanotech, which is unlikely to achieve that level of technological maturity until everyone posting on this forum has died.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Apr 25 2005 16:24

Ah. So no real techno-fix, then.

Here's a brief look at the current state of play regarding nanotech:

http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/newsletter/issue22/issue22_part6.htm

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Rob Ray
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Apr 25 2005 17:30
Quote:
Population rates is controlled by culture not being well off or not.

Er, bollocks, frankly or there wouldn't be such a massive disparity between well-educated elite birth rates and poorly educated underclass birthrates.

Quote:
People in the west are too busy to have babies, capitalism is seen as more important than family

What the hell are you talking about I've never heard that used as a reason in my life. People NEVER talk in terms of the aims of capital being more important than family unless they're complete psycho uber-tories.

Too busy to have babies? The most commonly used reasons I've heard are that they don't want to bring any more children into an overcrowded world, they'd be better off adopting, they don't want to bring a child up without being able to care for it properly and get it a good education... People do put off children til later in life certainly, but that's because technology has given them the option to do so not because they don't want to put down the keyboard. Also, less children are had because they aren't going to die - a function of technology not of culture.

Quote:
People in third world countries generally have more time to have babies, cos they aint got jobs or like in africa and south america the cultures are completely sexist and women are still seen as pieces of meat (more so than in the west) also abortion is still illegal in a lot of these places.

Jesus fucking christ that's the worst piece of analysis I've ever seen on these boards, and I'm including the worst of gangster in that. Women in Africa have more kids because they don't have jobs and too much time on their hands? What kind of fucking fantasy world are you living in have you not seen the LIBRARIES of video footage of women doing 3/4 of the chores including back-breaking farm labour, walking miles to water etc etc?

You know why abortion is illegal? Because the catholic church says so and people aren't educated enough to fucking argue! Given a better grasp of how technology works, birth rates would drop across africa - as opposed to now, when certain technologies are banned and subsequently a fucking AIDs crisis has developed. If ever there were an argument for the benefits of technology Africa is it.

Quote:

Also the world is already going down the shitter VERY FUCKING FAST with production rates at their current levels, if you want everyone in the world to live like people in the west then what do you think thats gonna do to the planet?

Don't be a fucking twat. I never said that technology was without its problems, there is huge short-termism, waste of resources, research pointed in the wrong direction, greed, overproduction and the like and only a fool would say otherwise. That's not an argument against technology however, as I said before that's an argument against how it is currently being deployed.

This is the problem with the primitivist outlook in general, they don't understand that technology is infintely malleable depending on who takes control of it. You can shut down industries until you have found a way to make them environmentally viable. You can redistribute manpower to offset aspects of technology which currently substitute low-impact human labour for high-impact chemcal/machine labour. You can replace outmoded, wasteful means of production with highly efficient ones. What's more, you can do this and feed the 6 billion people whose lives depend on it, and over time watch the population level drop, as opposed to the completely unacceptable alternative, which is the wiping out of most of humankind to place us, as a species, back in a position where a few dozen disease-ridden, scarred, starving terrified tribesmen eke out an existence in the shadow of 10,000 years of wasted effort.

To wish for mankind to get rid of technology is a fucking pathetic and unrealistic self-delusion, because the one thing we as a species will not do is wipe ourselves out for the sake of a ball of rock with some pretty trees on it. Humans are arrogant enough to look for the different option. Always have been. that's why I'm sending this message from a computer and not throwing faeces at you. There is only one option and that's to take control of the technology that can stop our apocalypse and use it.

Nick Durie
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Apr 25 2005 17:42
Quote:
Where do you think mud comes from? Its not made by machines you know.

Primarily from weathering of the earths crust due to innumerable factors and the leafmould created by plants. Foecal matter, and organic waste deriving from animals, plays only an adjunctive role really. wink

Garner
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Apr 26 2005 11:04
they are all lying wrote:
I believe that there was a natural balance, but obvious human activity has completely destroyed it over the last howevermany thousands of years. We only have to go to places like the amazon or mata atlantic rainforest(the 9% of it thats left!!!!) to see nature in action. I see no scientific theory (read guesswork) on evolution to stand up against nature in action. Obviously army ants etc are so deadly cos there predators populations have been destroyed by human activity, otherwise im sure they would have covered the whole planet tens/hundreds of thousands of years ago.

Nonsense. There are temporary local equilibria, certainly, but if an overall stable balance was ever achieved then, by definition, it would still be in place. And human activity, being part of nature, would be part of that balance. Unless of course you believe that humans are some kind of special creation that sprang into existence fully formed a few thousand years ago, or that we're aliens or some such.

As for army ants, they've been doing their thing for longer than we've been around. Fortunately there are a number of factors that limit their expansion, of which predation is only a minor one.

And as for the rest of your shit, luckily Saii's dealt with that far more eloquently than I could.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Apr 26 2005 12:15

The ice ages and the meteor strike were all 'natural' phenomenon, and they all led to dramatic falls in the biodiversity of our planet. Now human activity is having a similar effect. The question is: do we see this as a bad thing, and if so, can humans change the way that we impact?

And it looks like no one has answered my point about an inevitable drop in production/extraction in a communist society. Mr. T