I lived through the end of Industrialization in the Fifties – and then the rise of TV. And then the rise of the Computer in the Eighties.
These were huge changes, but the biggest change of all was in us – the way we changed ourselves. We became unable to notice what was going on. And let other forces take over.
This is not unusual – people have always let their technologies take over – for example, in the invention of agriculture. Civilization itself was the takeover (often violent) of many technologies – including writing and metallurgy. But these changes took thousands of years.
The changes that happened to us in 19th and 20th Centuries, were so profound, and happened so rapidly – that we went into shock. And lost that most human of abilities – the ability to think.
And one more thing – the ability to be good to ourselves. We no longer thought of ourselves as human – but superhuman. And entitled to exploit the merely human.
But something else was happening also – the Computer arrived, and brought with it a new way of thinking. In fact, a new kind of intelligence – which we have bragged about to the high skies – but have not bothered to understand.
This is the crisis of our times – understanding what has happened to us – and understanding the impact of the Computer especially. It’s not enough just to learn how to code – we have to understand what we are coding, and why we are coding.
Let me say this again – the Industrial Economy has self-destructed – and the Computer Economy is trying to take over – and we are stuck in the middle – not sure where we are.
The result? We have decided to destroy the whole mess – and start over. This has happened many times in the past – empires have arisen and fallen. Right now, we are helping ours to fall – and really working hard at this.
If we were smart, we would put on the brakes, look things over, and figure out where to go from here.
But we are not smart, and will drive right over the cliff.