Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dystopic technology - our Golden Calf

This video from YouTube which is part of the required viewing for the edcmooc paints an interesting if not dystopic view of technology. I think far from being a racist depiction of islander culture (it's too obvious to be that) we see our own enslavement to technology, obsession with the newest and latest and hence throwaway culture, and the idolizing of technology as our Golden Calf (how's that for a long sentence?)

The relationship is clearly an uneasy one as depicted, sometimes following, sometimes fleeing. This mock essentialist view (of technology or us?) is that the human heart seeks to worship something, and so technology helps fill that God-shaped void within each one of us. As an instrument of extending the reach of free market capitalism, it appears to destroy culture, literally shown in falling on its faithful worshipers.

Whether or not this view is entirely fair, I often think of the program on SBS here in Australia, Global Village and how often cottage industries and ways of life were falling in the face of the march of Western culture, often advanced by TV and the like. While we think western liberal democracy is the bees knees, what does it carry with it in its essentialist and pragmatic approach to technology that destroys things that are both genuinely other than it (cultures, practices, worldviews and whole ecosystems) and genuinely good?

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