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Is Technology a new religion? (And if so, what is happening at Temple Google?)

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AFP tells us regarding the current Consumer Electronics Show (CES):

>>Tech is the new religion, offering hope of salvation in a troubled world as industry leaders converge in Las Vegas this week.

Technology will not just help us communicate better and give us bolder and brighter screens. It is promising to end urban congestion, treat cancer and depression, and help us live fitter and more productive lives.

As tech industry players large and small converge for the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, an overriding theme is that gizmos, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and super-fast internet connections hold answers to many if not all ills, the new religion.>>

Now, let us cross that with some concerns UD President, BA, has just drawn our attention to, as was reported by The Federalist:

>>The lawsuit James Damore filed against Google on Monday provides a fascinating glimpse into the way the company and many of its employees see the workplace in terms of a demographic hierarchy, and what happens to those who diverge from the consensus view.

Details from diversity training sessions, accounts of alleged reverse discrimination, and screenshots of internal communications on company forums and message boards in the lawsuit cast the company culture as extremely hostile to employees with unpopular opinions, especially heterosexuals, men, white people, and those who hold conservative views . . . .

In screenshots laid out in the lawsuit, “Googlers” as they call themselves, talk openly of blacklisting and purging the company of employees whose views or identities are deemed outside the bounds. Employees were allowed to award those who spoke out against Damore’s memo “peer bonuses” — a company kudos of sorts monitored by the “Google Recognition Team.”

“We want to be inclusive of people not ideas” one employee identified as Alon Altman wrote in a message included in the lawsuit. Damore says that sentiment was backed up at an Inclusion and Diversity Summit he attended in June, when he was told by Google employees the company does not value “viewpoint diversity,” but actively strives for “demographic diversity.”

The lawsuit succeeds in suggesting a sharply divisive worldview pervades Google, in which those deemed worthy of tolerating (women, minorities, transgenders, etc.) are to be protected and agreed with at all costs — the recipients of unbridled compassion and understanding — while those who fall outside the bounds are to be ruthlessly disowned and expelled.>>

What does this tell us about where subjectivism, relativism and “consensus” imposition can go? Given the history of Stalinist Russia, the Red Guards of Maoist China and the totalitarianism of Nazi Germany (especially the fate of Sophie Scholl and her fellow White Rose martyrs), what should we be thinking?

Should we implicitly trust Google to be fair, responsible, balanced and accurate as the number one web site and search engine? Or has Google now joined Wikipedia in the circles of manipulative, soft nihilist digital empires? END

PS: There is a report of the literal founding of a Tech Religion by one of the elite. (It seems that some are taking a Sci Fi theme several stages too far.) Here is Times of London:

>>Tech pioneer Anthony Levandowski founds new religion to worship AI god

Young people are often accused of worshipping technology and will now have a chance to do so for real after a Silicon Valley millionaire founded a new religion with artificial intelligence as its god.

Taking inspiration from the belief that the intelligence of computers will eventually surpass that of human beings, the man who helped to design driverless cars for Google aims to create a new god based on computerised artificial intelligence, or AI.

Anthony Levandowski, the engineer at the centre of a lawsuit between Google and Uber, founded an organisation called Way of the Future . . . >>

 

3 Replies to “Is Technology a new religion? (And if so, what is happening at Temple Google?)

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Is Technology a new religion? (And if so, what is happening at Temple Google?)

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: What should we think, given this voice from the past:

    It is not too hard to figure out that our civilisation is in deep trouble and is most likely headed for shipwreck. (And of course, that sort of concern is dismissed as “apocalyptic,” or neurotic pessimism that refuses to pause and smell the roses.)

    Plato’s Socrates spoke to this sort of situation, long since, in the ship of state parable in The Republic, Bk VI:

    >>[Soc.] I perceive, I said, that you are vastly amused at having plunged me into such a hopeless discussion; but now hear the parable, and then you will be still more amused at the meagreness of my imagination: for the manner in which the best men are treated in their own States is so grievous that no single thing on earth is comparable to it; and therefore, if I am to plead their cause, I must have recourse to fiction, and put together a figure made up of many things, like the fabulous unions of goats and stags which are found in pictures.

    Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain [–> often interpreted, ship’s owner] who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better. [= The people own the community and in the mass are overwhelmingly strong, but are ill equipped on the whole to guide, guard and lead it]

    The sailors are quarrelling with one another about the steering – every one is of opinion that he has a right to steer [= selfish ambition to rule and dominate], though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in pieces any one who says the contrary. They throng about the captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them [–> kubernetes, steersman, from which both cybernetics and government come in English]; and if at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard [ = ruthless contest for domination of the community], and having first chained up the noble captain’s senses with drink or some narcotic drug [ = manipulation and befuddlement, cf. the parable of the cave], they mutiny and take possession of the ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and drinking, they proceed on their voyage in such a manner as might be expected of them [–> Cf here Luke’s subtle case study in Ac 27].

    Him who is their partisan and cleverly aids them in their plot for getting the ship out of the captain’s hands into their own whether by force or persuasion [–> Nihilistic will to power on the premise of might and manipulation making ‘right’ ‘truth’ ‘justice’ ‘rights’ etc], they compliment with the name of sailor, pilot, able seaman, and abuse the other sort of man, whom they call a good-for-nothing; but that the true pilot must pay attention to the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to his art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and that he must and will be the steerer, whether other people like or not-the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer’s art has never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made part of their calling.

    Now in vessels which are in a state of mutiny and by sailors who are mutineers, how will the true pilot be regarded? Will he not be called by them a prater, a star-gazer, a good-for-nothing?

    [Ad.] Of course, said Adeimantus.

    [Soc.] Then you will hardly need, I said, to hear the interpretation of the figure, which describes the true philosopher in his relation to the State[ –> here we see Plato’s philosoppher-king emerging]; for you understand already.

    [Ad.] Certainly.

    [Soc.] Then suppose you now take this parable to the gentleman who is surprised at finding that philosophers have no honour in their cities; explain it to him and try to convince him that their having honour would be far more extraordinary.

    [Ad.] I will.

    [Soc.] Say to him, that, in deeming the best votaries of philosophy to be useless to the rest of the world, he is right; but also tell him to attribute their uselessness to the fault of those who will not use them, and not to themselves. The pilot should not humbly beg the sailors to be commanded by him –that is not the order of nature; neither are ‘the wise to go to the doors of the rich’ –the ingenious author of this saying told a lie –but the truth is, that, when a man is ill, whether he be rich or poor, to the physician he must go, and he who wants to be governed, to him who is able to govern. The ruler who is good for anything ought not to beg his subjects to be ruled by him [ –> down this road lies the modern solution: a sound, well informed people will seek sound leaders, who will not need to manipulate or bribe or worse, and such a ruler will in turn be checked by the soundness of the people, cf. US DoI, 1776]; although the present governors of mankind are of a different stamp; they may be justly compared to the mutinous sailors, and the true helmsmen to those who are called by them good-for-nothings and star-gazers.

    [Ad.] Precisely so, he said.

    [Soc] For these reasons, and among men like these, philosophy, the noblest pursuit of all, is not likely to be much esteemed by those of the opposite faction; not that the greatest and most lasting injury is done to her by her opponents, but by her own professing followers, the same of whom you suppose the accuser to say, that the greater number of them are arrant rogues, and the best are useless; in which opinion I agreed [–> even among the students of the sound state (here, political philosophy and likely history etc.), many are of unsound motivation and intent, so mere education is not enough, character transformation is critical].

    [Ad.] Yes.

    [Soc.] And the reason why the good are useless has now been explained?

    [Ad.] True.

    [Soc.] Then shall we proceed to show that the corruption of the majority is also unavoidable, and that this is not to be laid to the charge of philosophy any more than the other?

    [Ad.] By all means.

    [Soc.] And let us ask and answer in turn, first going back to the description of the gentle and noble nature.[ — > note the character issue] Truth, as you will remember, was his leader, whom he followed always and in all things [ –> The spirit of truth as a marker]; failing in this, he was an impostor, and had no part or lot in true philosophy [–> the spirit of truth is a marker, for good or ill] . . . >>

    (There is more than an echo of this in Acts 27, a real world case study. [Luke, a physician, was an educated Greek with a taste for subtle references.] This blog post, on soundness in policy, will also help)

  3. 3
    News says:

    Predictions are difficult, as Woody Allen said, especially with respect to the future. But here is one I will risk: “We want to be inclusive of people not ideas” one employee identified as Alon Altman wrote in a message included in the lawsuit. Damore says that sentiment was backed up at an Inclusion and Diversity Summit he attended in June, when he was told by Google employees the company does not value “viewpoint diversity,” but actively strives for “demographic diversity.”

    Prediction: Google will stop innovating so much because it will consume more and more house time socializing, propagandizing, policing, and punishing. Competitors will arise who offer the public viewpoint diversity. That’s the diversity the public is interested in paying for.

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