The Computer Is Not Human
We have always made our technologies part of us – or to put it another way, we have always made ourselves part of them. Looking at it from the perspective of power (which is our primary obsession) – our technologies have overpowered us. Once they are in place, we cannot control them. And they control us instead.
This is not a new observation, it is part of the reaction to the Industrial Revolution – which has taken over our lives so completely we cannot imagine any other way of life. Business (the new incarnation of Industry) has become our new religion, and we worship it with the same passion we always do.
The most powerful part of the business world (its computers) have displaced us as the center of our world, and reduced us to nothing more than its reproductive organs. A job we seem happy to fill.
When I refer to the computer, I am speaking of the computer/software/internet complex of technologies, and will refer to these as the CSI. I have a good reason to do this – these are now the dominant technology in our world. Even more important than the television, still a very important technology – and the automobile, also a very important technology.
And I want to emphasize, from the beginning, that the CSI is mechanistic – a distributed machine, and one distributed in an new and unusual way – that people (who haven’t changed much since the Stone Age) cannot comprehend, since it has a clever user-interface that makes it seem human. And rather than try to comprehend this, most people simply give up and assume (entirely incorrectly) that it is human – when it is nothing but machine with that looks alive - it has the computer screen, which is a direct transcendent of the movie screen and the television screen.
People are annoyed when I insist on this distinction – because they have merged with this machine so successfully they have become machine-like (or computer-like) themselves. They do want to be reminded that they have lost the human part of themselves – which indeed they have.