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The Book

 
I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success. Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything.
— Nicola Tesla
 
The dignity of humans consists in choice
— Max Frisch

The book ‹Voluntary Enslavement› fundamentally questions our technology culture. The inquiry is rooted in the view that the variety of our human essence – e.g., that we are social and cultural beings – as well as human choice and freedom are beautiful and valuable aspects of the human experience.

Our species’ age-old approach to technological progress is to apply the tools we are capable of inventing – if they give us an advantage. But our abilities to assess, manage, and culturally integrate our technologies are increasingly lagging behind those abilities that enable us to create more capable and more complex technology. The widening gap between these two sets of abilities creates problematic dynamics.

The book argues that in today's highly sped up technological development, keeping with our old approach towards technology creation and use will inevitably reduce diversity, undermine choice and freedom, and displace values and beliefs from human life.

The book examines the fueling of technological progression through some of our primal, instinct-like motivations, such as curiosity or our human herd mentality. It is described how fairly recent historical developments have “supercharged” these natural human behaviors. The systematic over-empowerment of these innate inclinations is becoming increasingly detrimental to our specie’s long-term health and survival. 

Basic features of an improved technology culture – i.e., one that sustains a diverse and free human experience – are discussed as well, as are some of the ways we can contribute to such a transition.

 

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