An Insider’s Take on Technical Fanaticism

thisiscolossal.com

Previous Installments:

Introduction

Engineering Illusions Part I: Religion and Technology

Engineering Illusions Part I: Religion and Technology — II

Engineering Illusions Part I: Religion and Technology — III

The modern scientific and technical enterprise is celebrated for its rational thought and sound technology programs that serve humankind. Religion has little place in the technologist’s mind, modern opinion goes. Through the application of sober science and earnest engineering, the enterprise walks a path of reason, seemingly overcoming religious motivations of the past. It is but an exercise of casual analysis and brief work in Silicon Valley, today’s vaunted exemplar of technical…


An Insider’s Take on the Tech Industry

thisiscolossal.com

Previous Installments:

Introduction

Engineering Illusions Part I: Religion and Technology

Engineering Illusions Part I: Religion and Technology — II

CRISPR has emerged as one of the most exciting tools for gene editing in the world of biotechnology. Short for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, it allows for the targeted alternation of DNA sequences to modify various gene functions. Researchers believe CRISPR can upend how diseases are diagnosed and treated. For instance, CRSPR could fix defects by targeting specific anomalous gene sequences. The tool and its applications in gene editing are being extensively studied around the world, and news of…


An Insider’s Take on the Tech Industry

thisiscolossal.com

Previous Installments:

Introduction

Engineering Illusions Part I: Religion and Technology

Centuries before the advent of SXSW and A.I sermons by tech CEOs, Descartes continued his investigations of mind-body duality. The prevalent ‘mechanical philosophy’ of the time led him to seek a complete understanding of the physical interactions between mind and body. The mechanical philosophy held that the world can be understood as a machine, built by the super-engineer in the heavens. Hence, its constitution was not unlike various mechanical machines and contraptions of the day. These machines were fully explainable, and there were no occult phenomena that controlled the devices…


An Insider’s Take on the Tech Industry

thisiscolossal.com

Note: Introduction to the Engineering Illusions running series is here.

On June 9, 2000, the Heritage Foundation released a report titled The Technology Revolution: Road to Freedom or Road to Serfdom? Written by James Glassman, founding executive director of the George W. Bush Institute, the report began by celebrating the then phenomenal growth in the stock market:

“Something profound has been happening in the stock market. Yet, during all this time, during this amazing rise in the market — a 20-fold increase in 18 years — what have we heard from academics, from Wall Street analysts, from media pundits? We’ve…


Reviewing the unchecked promises of technology and the abuse of technology by the powerful

thisiscolossal.com

Amidst our breathless technological mania, a gadget that can disabuse us of our extravagant dreams about technology is sorely needed. If only our technical trance was an energy source; then it could perpetually power our automobiles, phones, social media and aerial taxis. Elaborate tales about the wonders of technology have always animated our scientific and technical enterprise. At once tangible and available, yet intangible and distant, technology touches all aspects of our lives, even as we await and gossip about its unknown but assuredly transcendent effects on a later day. …


thisiscolossal.com

Previous Installments:

Introduction

Engineering Illusions Part I: Religion and Technology

Engineering Illusions Part I: Religion and Technology — II

Engineering Illusions Part I: Religion and Technology — III

Engineering Illusions: Religious Thought and Technology

Engineering Illusions Part II: State and Technology

In his 2019 statement to the House Armed Services Committee, then DARPA Director Steven Walker detailed four focus areas for DARPA:

Defending the homeland from varied threats through cyber deterrence, bio-surveillance and biodefense techniques, and the ability to sense and defend against weapons of mass terror/destruction. Deterring and prevailing against peer adversaries through new capabilities across land, sea, air…


An Insider’s Take on the Tech Industry

thisiscolossal.com

Previous Installments:

Introduction

Engineering Illusions Part I: Religion and Technology

Engineering Illusions Part I: Religion and Technology — II

Engineering Illusions Part I: Religion and Technology — III

Engineering Illusions: Religious Thought and Technology

In August 2018, the National Defense Authorization Act for 2019 established the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI). Its primary directive is “to consider the methods and means necessary to advance the development of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and associated technologies to comprehensively address the national security and defense needs of the United States.” Its commissioners were appointed by the Secretaries of Defense and Commerce…


black and white world © Hans Splinter

Moral Justifications

Cognitive linguist and author George Lakoff has observed that all politics are moral. Moral reasons are always available after the fact. Decisions are made with a different rubric — profit, power, control, comfort — and then moral arguments are developed to justify said decisions. Indeed, some of the most blatant violations against humanity have had moral arguments made for them:

  1. The two American original sins — native genocide and slavery — were explained away because the more enlightened, civilized people were simply liberating the savages from their animalistic ways. Ostensibly, the animals welcomed and cherished the blessings of their superiors…


Branko Marcetic is a Jacobin staff writer and the author of Yesterday’s Man: The Case Against Joe Biden. We discuss how Joe Biden has empowered Republicans at every turn, often even taking the reins for a right-wing agenda, a record that may become a serious liability in the 2020 general election.

In Yesterday’s Man: A Case Against Joe Biden, you make the case that Joe Biden has been a key architect of the Democratic Party’s rightward evolution, accelerating the end of the liberal New Deal order and aiding the political takeover of the radical right. …


Class Contradictions

After the Great Recession of 2008, underlying class conflicts in American society, ever-present like a dormant volcano, exploded on the political life of the country. The words ‘billionaires,’ ‘wealth and income inequality,’ and ‘strikes’ started to become more common. Freshly agitated communities began taking action. And today, the number of strikes has been the highest since the 1980s.

From Occupy Wall Street to the rise of Bernie Sanders to national prominence as a champion of the working class in 2015, American politics has once again been jolted into an arena of battle and reconciliation between the ruling class and workers…

Tech Insider

Writing about politics, philosophy, technology and current affairs. Questioning ideologies of power and discussing alternatives. Twitter: @ap_prose

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