A friend of mine, with no intended malice, labeled my perspective in a particular thread on G+ as providing “a yummy dystopian outlook.” At first, I was taken aback, surprised that he would consider me thus, and a bit hurt, too. Then, he went on to explain when I challenged the charge. He said:
I find that many of your outlooks on society verge on the dystopian.
Personal opinion of mine, but I’m not ready for my robot overlords to take over or a Basic Living Wage. That’s very nightmarish to me although incredibly realistic in regards to how fast society is buzzing along.
And, yes, thinking on it, I tend to agree with his evaluation. I, too, am not ready for robot overlords or robot servants, for that matter, and, while the basic income model may make some sense, it’s neither practically functional nor possible, not in our present economy, neither the national one nor the global one. It’s beside the point, though. Yet, I will provide you my response, which was:
What I aim to do with my ‘dystopian’ posts is to bring an awareness of potential consequences, consequences that we are already seeing. I’m not and have never been ready for some of the horrible, absolutely horrible, consequences that have come to pass since I was a kid. I’m watching the worst and the best unfold, and it’s a compelling experience.
But Ken Beghtal’s words stirred some thinking, always a dangerous thing, yes. So, here, in a nutshell, is my outlook encapsulated in two, short bullet lists:
- Advances in technology and science across every field have opened up the greatest potentials for us to truly move ourselves from primitive savages to a responsible, enlightened, benevolent species, capable of achieving wondrous things.
- Multitudes of us care, share, and work hard to tame our species’ destructive nature, promoting good for all, promoting tolerance and caring, preserving what’s best and what is wonderful and native to our planet, from nature and the biosphere, from cultures, our own and not our own, from intellect, reason, and, yes, even ideology, utilizing every tool possible, including artificial intelligence.
- Simultaneously, advances in technology bring us ever closer to enslavement, loss of freedom, loss of our own free will and thought, along with hellish war machines and weaponry so destructive that we face planetary annihilation every moment of ever breath.
- Multitudes of us fear and hate, craving violence and wishing death upon those, human and other, with whom we share the planet, but of whom we have no tolerance. From microbes to plants and every type of animal on up to other humans, we eradicate, destroying, in ignorance, greed, arrogance, intolerance, and callousness, life around us, life that sustains our very own existence.
We live in a wondrous age of extraordinary potential. We live on the brink of self-imposed and self-perpetuated annihilation.