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Man versus Technology

Café-Salon Philosophique #56

March 18, 2000

No. of Participants: 10

Evening's Topic: "Man versus Technology"

Samuel welcomed one and all to our Café-Salon gathering. Participants were given a summary critique to read written by Joel Garreau from The Washington Post, in which he gives a brief synopsis of a longer article written by Bill Joy, Chief Scientist and Co-Founder of Sun Microsystems, Inc.

In Bill Joy's article, entitled, "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us," he outlines the many challenges for humans to stay "morally and ethically sane" in the midst of rapid advancement of 21st century technology. He names Genetics, Nanotechnology, and Robotics (GNR) as "three of the most powerful forces" moving the "Men of Science" today.

He identifies these three areas of science as "potential dangers" and fears possible "mishandling, abuse, and accidents happening," if these forces were to fall into the hands of the "wrong people." Will the human species continue to thrive and survive, or will we over-power our selves with these forces?

He believes that "humans have a difficult time seeing the bigger picture" - The view from the helicopter.

He states, "While we are in the vortex of change, one may fail to understand the consequences of our inventions. In the rapture of discovery and innovation, the common fault of scientists and technologists is their overarching desire to know the nature of science's quest,......not stopping to notice how the progress in technology could take on a life of its own through newer and more powerful technologies, that could eventually over take the human species."

We are in constant motion, never knowing peace. "We are enslaved to the material and technological world."

For most people on this planet, Immortality is thought of as "The Bionic Man" - One who receives nanochips embedded in all parts of the body to compensate for "worn out" and "defective" physical body parts.

On one hand, this could be good. Changes could quite possibly take place at a molecular level. Use of nanochips might lower the cost of solar power, find cures for cancer, the common cold, and other dis-eases through augmentation of the human immune system." Embedded chips may even be used for clean-up of the environment.

Within these wonders, though, lies potential danger. What would happen if nanotechnology were combined with nuclear technology? Dr. Joy states that, "nanotechnoloy has clear military and terrorist uses, and you need not be suicidal to release a massively destructive nanotechnological device."

He also states, "It is most of all the power of destructive, self-replication in genetics, nanotechnology and robotics that should give us pause." Will the world end up like a science fiction novel where robots "run amok," replicating and mutating to escape the ethical constraints imposed on them by their creators? Would robotics become uncontrollable?

We then "bounced" to discussing "the human dilemma." Where are we headed as a human species? Why do we allow scientists and advances in new technologies to entice us into thinking we have no control over the aging process of our bodies, or the ability to keep our bodies fit? Will technology advance so far for us to think that it is the norm to have chip implants embedded throughout our entire body? Would some day we extinct our selves, and allow robots to take over and self replicate?

Why is it that Science and Technology have been allowed to shape the way we live in the world? Because we are a lazy society, and don't put conscious effort towards activating and creating change. Instead, we allow the stupidity of the media and mediocrity of entertainment to shape our intelligence.

We learn to be "suspicious" and "fearful" of each other, forgetting caring, kindness and compassion towards each other. Because we learn to live in a "competitive world," we tend to think about "me," "mine," and "my own little world" first, rather than viewing from the helicopter. Our objective view becomes cloudy, muddled, lost.

In our laziness, the mental muscle atrophies. This continues the cycle and reinforces "massive sheep consciousness, sleepwalking, and passive followers." At this level, we allow ourselves to be manipulated and controlled by others. Where are the true leaders? If we are not careful, laziness can lead to inactivity, boredom, and imbalance both physically and mentally.

Samuel quoted a statistic to emphasize this laziness which is termed "mentally ill." He said, "It is a known fact that possibly sixty percent of our world population is mentally disturbed or ill." That is quite an alarming statistic. What is this saying about our world and the use of our human intelligence? Why is this so? If we were to add artificial intelligence, what would we have then?

The forms of life that exist on this planet is what we have created over the centuries. The forms that we bring into fruition is a reflection of the way we think. Do you like what we are thinking? Oh sure, there are always good intentions to strive towards "new and improved," but things tend to get exaggerated and built from the wrong premise. Or the ego steps in and changes the real intention of something good.

There is alot of pretense and superficiality in the way we relate in the world. Personalities mask our behavior. Automatic and mechanical responses keep us from real change and progress.

So what keeps us as mental thinkers? (linear, analytical, scientific) Why have we for centuries continued to look for the answers outside of our selves? Why are we not "integrated body thinkers?" Why do we not look inward for the answers? What are the questions? What is this life?

The next question asked, "Where are we headed as a species in this high tech world?

Samuel says, "It begins with the thinking." We all perceive and have different perspectives. But, it is not until we change our way of thinking, change our values as to what is important here on this planet that will "really" make a difference.

There has always been outcries in the world for "moral and ethical" changes, but because of ignorance and pre-conditioning, things stay the same. Money, big corporations and special interest groups continue to monopolize and control.

Care is not taken for making better quality of life. But what is quality of life? We get stuck in mental traps, and things continue. Very few initiate self change with purpose and guidance.

Linda stated, "It is very hard not to conform in this world." One can feel at a loss, so it easier for most people not to conform, to not test the unknown, to fight them selves and others in thoughts, beliefs, ideas, and physically.

Samuel asked what might the next phase of evolution be? To become gods and goddesses? To be a human becoming? Maybe immortal?

So, how does one live in this "insane asylum?" How does one maintain sanity? Try shedding competitiveness. Dig into creativity. Strive for excellence.

"Sell your cleverness, buy bewilderment." Rumi

Our next Café meeting will be held April 8, 2000 at the Boulder Book Store located at 1107 Pearl St. in Boulder, CO. Start time is 6:30 p.m.

Hope to see you there! Bring a new and interesting topic. Bring your friends.

Café Summary by Alessandra

"Samuel brings awareness to the soul of people and gives the artists who work under his direction the need, dedication, and love for the world of silence and the beautiful art of movement."


- Marcel Marceau, BIP 1961

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About LCDS

LCDS is an independent school for self-discovery through the human Arts.  The school offers seminars and workshops teaching the concepts of Theater, Mime, and Movement.