A bitter irony of modernity is that the age-old dream of freeing people from work’s tedium has been answered by robots, but capitalism has turned that “freedom” into a barren life with little left to lose, writes poet Phil Rockstroh.
By Phil Rockstroh
Humankind, being an inherently tool-making species, has always been in a relationship with technology. Our tools, weapons, machines, and appliances are crucial to forging the cultural criteria of human life. At present, amid the technology created phantomscape of mass media’s lurid — yet somehow sterile — imagery, one can feel as if one’s mind is in danger of being churned to spittle.
On a personal note, an informal consensus has formed among my friends who share a passion for reading: We read far fewer books since the time we became enmeshed with the internet. Worse, we find the feelings of isolation that we have attempted to mitigate by an immersion in online activity, at best, provides only a palliative effect. Yet, in the manner of addiction — or a hopeless love affair — we are prone to trudge deeper into the psychical morass by further immersion into the very source that is exacerbating our feelings of unease and ennui.
Yet we insist on remaining mentally epoxied to electronic appliances, as the oceans of our technology besieged planet die, as the atmosphere is choked with heat-holding greenhouse gas emissions, and, as a result, exquisite, living things disappear forever.
Therefore, it is crucial to explore why we are so isolated from each other but so connected to our devices, and are married to the belief system that misinforms us, technology can and will lift us from our increasingly perilous predicament. When reality dictates, if the past remains prologue, a fetishising of technology will further enslave us in a de facto techno-dystopia. A reassessment, for numerous reasons, of the relationship between humankind and technology must come to pass.
Moreover, the reevaluation must include machines, at present and in the future, we have created in our own image. For example, those such as artificial-intelligence technologies, that on an increasing…