The erosion of diversity by technology

Technology continues to grow stronger, and its force is nearly beyond human control. Moreover, it is becoming more cohesive so that it mimics a living organism with incredibly strong defenses. Even as technology destroys the biosphere, we sit aside and do practically nothing because there are simply very few possibilities left for those who wish to oppose the onslaught of technological development.

How has technology become so strong at resisting us? Of course, I’ve outlined many reasons in past articles: it provides short-term advantages, it stimulates our basal needs for information, and it provides short-term safety in return for a hard-to-imagine promise of destruction years later.

But technology is doing something that is especially dangerous. It is eroding our cultural diversity. Through modern communications networks, our cultures are merging into one. Languages are dying, and customs are fading away. With the spread of culture from the most technologically-advanced societies like the ones of the United States and Europe, we are seeing a uniformization of culture.

Of course, we can’t ignore the incredibly diversity of people. There are still so many kinds of people and cultures out there. But that is somewhat illusory: technology is allowing us to be diverse only with respect to certain variables. Our preferences for music, fiction, and art are still quite diverse, as is our viewpoints of the world. But the actual way in which we run society is becoming uniform: we are all tending towards a consumerist, capitalistic mode where science and technology are holy and where the only God is technological progress.

For example, I visited a shopping district in Brazil a few months ago, and did it ever look exactly like those I’ve seen in North America. More generally, the way we move about our daily lives, how we get around, how we acquire goods, is all being uniformized by technology so that we can see no other way.

It is precisely they way of how we function on a day-to-day basis, or our basic functional cultural diversity, that is being destroyed. In other words, modern technological society is eliminating the diversity of the ways in which cultures manage themselves. We have already seen this destruction early on with various indigenous tribes who take a “relationship-based” view towards the earth, and in modern times, even the Amish are having great difficulty maintaining their way of life against the pressures of technology.

Now if we look at biology, we know that genetic diversity is precisely the thing populations need to survive. Environmental changes can be problematic for populations. But, if a population has sufficient genetic diversity, then at least some traits will help individual organisms survive those changes, and their reproduction will cause a change in the frequency of various genes so that the population can keep on going. But if no genetic diversity exists, then the population is more likely to go extinct.

This is exactly the situation we are being confronted with today. In order to adapt to the rapid social changes caused by rapid technological development that includes artificial intelligence and advanced computing and other devices, we need cultural diversity. It is precisely the diversity of ways of handling technology and social change that could allow us to see the immense folly of continuing with unbridled and unfettered technological development. And sadly, this is the diversity that is being eroded and destroyed by technology.

We see then that technology is an incredibly powerful and adaptive force. Not only does it grow directly through our instincts, it also is efficient at suppressing ideas and approaches that give insight into alternative modes of existence that do not depend on continued technological growth. Ultimately, technology is trying to hide from us the idea that we can be happy beings without it! Just talk to any technologist or most people in fact: they firmly believe that a good life requires technology, and they believe it without any analysis or thought whatsoever.

The only antidote to this particular defense mechanism of technology is to develop a strong attitude and ethic against technology. We need to bring to all the idea that life can be good if we stop our technological development now, and that a society can exist peacefully by using far less energy. It will be a difficult battle, simply because technology is fighting the truth every chance it gets, but it is possible!


All my posts are written without AI. Feel free to download and copy this image to support the fight against AI!

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