Friday, September 08, 2017

Caprica

Following a week with crisp blue skies, rain blew in from the Bothnian Bay late last night. With Anna away on a conference dinner, I decided to mix preparations for my classes next week with revisiting some old episodes of Battlestar Galactica. For someone who believes in bright futures, it is a dark, conflicted and morally ambiguous universe, one that reminds me that I may be the one who is ultimately mistaken.

After my PhD defence in December 2010, Mia gave the most wonderful speech in which she contrasted my Star Trek post-scarcity optimism with the darker “neoliberal” pessimism of Battlestar Galactica. At the time, I had only a cursory familiarity with the series.

The ending of the series notwithstanding, I do not believe that any rejection of technology can be comprehensive enough for anarcho-primitivism to make sense. Like Bruno Latour, I believe that we must rather care for, or even learn to love, our monsters. Though I may be less worried about the “singularity” after my sister got her degree in machine learning and calmed me about the prospects of the toasters taking over the world, I still foresee that accelerating technological evolution, especially with regard to medicine, will give rise to profound ethical dilemmas. On the other hand, technologies sometimes arrive too early for us to understand their true value. For instance, if nuclear energy was discovered today, everyone would immediately recognize it as the “magic silver bullet” it is when it comes to stopping climate change.

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