Technopoly: Dangers of AI

code projected over woman

Welcome to the wild world of Technopoly – a cultural rollercoaster where technology reigns supreme, according to Neil Postman. In this thrilling journey, we’ll explore how technology, particularly Artificial Intelligence (AI), has evolved and intertwined with our lives. As we embark on this adventure, keep in mind the profound impact that Postman foresaw, where culture seeks direction and satisfaction in the ever-expanding realm of technology.

Defining Technopoly: Postman’s Vision

Picture this: a society so overwhelmed by information that it turns to technology for answers, satisfaction, and even orders (Postman, 1992, p. 71). Postman’s concept of Technopoly sets the stage for our exploration, laying the groundwork for understanding how our culture seeks solace and direction in the ever-advancing realm of technology. It’s not merely about the integration of technology into our lives but the transformation of our culture into one that worships at the altar of technological advancement.

As we delve into Postman’s vision, we see that Technopoly is more than a mere state of culture; it’s a state of mind. The deification of technology becomes a central theme – a culture finding authorization, satisfaction, and even orders from the technological realm (Postman, 1992, p. 71).

Technopoly Unveiled: Social Media as the Driving Force

Hold on tight as we dive into the social media sea, where smartphones steer the ship. Postman argued that Technopoly happens when a culture is drowning in information and resorts to technology for direction (Postman, 1992, p. 72). The social media landscape, with its flashy interfaces and targeted ads, perfectly embodies technology’s control over our satisfaction and choices.

In the realm of social media, the dominance of smartphone-driven interactions takes center stage. Unlike passive mediums like television, social media engages users directly through technical interfaces. As Postman pointed out, Technopoly occurs when a society finds satisfaction in media, and this is evident, especially with the immersive nature of social media platforms.

The AI Twist: ChatGPT and Decision-Making

But wait, the AI plot thickens! Enter ChatGPT, a public AI release sparking debates about giving technology direct control over decision-making. While some dismiss the idea as a bad one, the gradual integration of AI into our daily lives blurs the lines. Beware, though; giving AI executive power is like creating the perfect psychopath – devoid of emotion and moral compass (Lam, 2023, para. 4).

In the year 2023, the public release of ChatGPT has ignited discussions about the role of technology in decision-making. The idea aligns with Postman’s definition of Technopoly, where the potential for control and authority over people becomes glaringly visible. The consensus, for now, leans towards skepticism about granting AI such executive power, as it lacks the essential human qualities of emotion and empathy crucial for decision-making.

Regulating the Tech Storm: AI on Smartphones

Regulations might save us from AI dictating global affairs, but the real battleground is on our smartphones. As AI assistants and ChatGPT-enabled tools become our digital BFFs, dependence grows. Brace yourself for AI not just being an assistant but the ultimate arbitrator of truth in your Zoom meetings.

While regulations might serve as a safeguard against AI control on a global scale, the everyday reality of AI’s influence on social media and personal devices presents a more intricate challenge. The integration of AI as an everyday utility, primarily through smartphones, implies a growing dependency on these technological tools. The advent of various AI assistants and their integration with ChatGPT suggests a future where reliance on AI becomes as commonplace as using search engines in our daily lives.

The Symbiotic Vision: AI and Humanity

Now, meet UCLA professor Katherine Hayles, foreseeing a symbiotic relationship between AI and humans (Hayles, 2023, para. 9). While some may embrace this, Postman hinted at a loss of moral decisions in our tech-driven world (Postman, 1992, p. 79). As religion fades, AI steps in, potentially becoming the guiding force for truth and reality.

Katherine Hayles envisions a symbiotic relationship between AI and humans, suggesting a mutual benefit. However, Postman’s concerns about the loss of moral decisions in a technologically driven society come to the forefront. With the waning influence of traditional religious and spiritual frameworks, AI is poised to step into the role of a guiding force in determining truth and reality.

Clash of Perspectives: Fundamentalism in the Tech Age

But hold your horses; not everyone’s thrilled about AI’s rise. Postman foresaw a clash between those embracing technology and those yearning for moral responsibility (Postman, 1992). The debate isn’t just left or right; fundamentalists on both sides might have a point – a moral high ground, even. It’s not about ditching technology but acknowledging the problem.

Postman’s anticipation of a clash between proponents of technology and those emphasizing moral responsibility comes into sharper focus. This clash isn’t confined to political ideologies but extends to fundamentalist perspectives on both ends of the spectrum. The debate is not about rejecting technology outright but recognizing the challenges and ethical considerations it brings.

Capitalism’s Role: The Driving Force Behind AI

Enter capitalism, the driving force behind AI. Postman warned about viewing humans as machines, a perilous path leading to a utilitarian lens on people (Thinkr, 2023). As AI takes center stage, society risks becoming unsustainable, with people seen as mere cogs in the capitalist machine.

Postman’s cautionary words about the mechanistic view of human beings in the pursuit of artificial intelligence resonate in the context of capitalism. The inherently utilitarian nature of capitalism, always seeking greater efficiency, has led to the perception of humans as machines. This shift in perspective raises concerns about sustainability and the potential dehumanization of individuals within society.

Postman’s Hero: Responsibility in a World of Efficiency

Postman’s hero? Vaclav Havel, preaching responsibility in a world obsessed with efficiency (Postman, 1992, p. 82). Yet, bureaucracy evolves into a meta-institution, with experts gaining priestly charisma (Postman, 1992, p. 90). Deep state or not, a clash between freedom-loving humans and AI legitimized by its supporters might define our future.

Vaclav Havel emerges as a beacon of responsibility in Postman’s narrative, contrasting with a world fixated on efficiency. However, bureaucracy’s evolution into a meta-institution and the charismatic authority bestowed upon experts hint at a complex interplay. The potential clash between advocates of human freedom and AI enthusiasts, whether within a deep state or not, could shape the trajectory of our future.

The Call for Humanity: Rediscovering Ourselves

In a world dominated by AI, Stuart Rollo urges us to rediscover our humanity through art and intellect (Rollo, 2023, para. 18). It’s time to re-humanize before AI shapes us more than we shape it. Welcome to the AI revolution – where humans and machines dance, and the beat is yet to be determined.

Stuart Rollo’s call to rediscover humanity takes center stage as a response to the encroaching influence of AI. Through the blending of artistic and intellectual pursuits, Rollo encourages a reconnection with our intrinsic human qualities. The plea to “re-humanize” underscores the urgency of preserving our unique characteristics in the face of advancing technology. As AI becomes an integral part of our lives, the balance between human expression and technological integration becomes paramount.