Voluntary Enslavement

Technology's fast developement reduces diversity and freedom


Our relationship with technology needs redefining

The release of atomic power has changed everything except our way of thinking ... The solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind.
— Albert Einstein

Our technologies are marvelous and powerful. They give us many great advantages and are becoming more fantastical with every passing year. It was Arthur C. Clarke who remarked that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Yet there is an enormous question mark: how do we handle the magic's increasing potency?

Mass surveillance, overpopulation, overuse of natural resources, growing dependency on electronics, environmental pollution, looming redundancy of human labor, arms races, etc. Phenomena like these have a common root: humanity's technological self-empowerment.

When technology was just one of many facets of human life, progressing (very) slowly, the conflicting dynamics between humanity’s and technology’s development were not obvious. But over the last 250 years – and increasingly so – this has been changing.

The speed and broadness of technological development is shaping into the biggest struggle our species has ever faced. It is the struggle for the continuation of the human experience.

Should freedom and diversity be part of the human experience?

Science and technology would be used as though, like the Sabbath, they had been made for man, not as though man were to be adapted and enslaved to them.
— Aldous Huxley

Up until now we humans have used a technology we were capable of inventing – if it gave us an advantage. As our technologies become more powerful and complex, so do their negative effects become more far-reaching and complex; they are undermining humanity's essence.

As unrestrained technological development more exactly dictates the diverse aspects of our existence, it gradually pushes aside anything that is not itself – including humankind's basics.

Human values and beliefs, cultural diversity and freedom (of choice) have no inherent worth for technology’s progression. It is only functionality & efficiency that technology’s further development must obey. How can we protect the human experience from emptiness?

If we let technological development* become all-engulfing and all-dominant, we will dissolve the soul of our species. And that soul is amazing, beautiful, and precious. Should we protect basic human aspects – such as our social, cultural, or spiritual ones – for future generations?

* E.g.: artificial intelligence (AI), genetic engineering (GMO), robotics, biotechnology, military technology, material sciences, information & communication technology, nanotechnology, etc.



Questions can help stimulate the much needed discussion about the relationship between us humans and our technologies.
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A collection of articles by James Heim which discuss various aspects of our technology culture.
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"This is a very fascinating topic and highly relevant. 'Voluntary Enslavement' is well written and suspenseful to read."
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