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Josh
Joshua Bond
Tyrant of Words
Palestine 40awards
Joined 2nd Feb 2017
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MadameLavender said:


Right up there with Yuval Noah Harari -- another transhumamist false prophet.  Here's an excerpt from the link below, that describes his thinking:

https://www.ted.com/speakers/yuval_noah_harari

"Harari's 2011 book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, explores what made homo sapiens the most successful species on the planet. His answer: We are the only animal that can believe in things that exist purely in our imagination, such as gods, states, money, human rights, corporations and other fictions, and we have developed a unique ability to use these stories to unify and organize groups and ensure cooperation. "

^^so everything is imaginary to him-- God, money, human rights, etc. and believes these "fictions and stories" can "unify, organize, and ensure cooperation "

Basically saying that it's a way to control the masses.  Read up on this guy & his views on AI & tech-- all the big name globalists love him because essentially he's pushing their agenda of hooking us all up to technological control .  Or "cooperation"  a more gentler, lulling term.

Do we really want our brains, wired into the internet cloud and have a handful of people remote controlling our every move?  Human rights are imaginary?

Technology is a great thing when used correctly.  Replacing our humanity and humanness with it, isn't a good use of it.


Well put.
Part of the Harari's confusion is that just because we invent words and concepts in our minds, that does not mean that it is only imagination. We are trying articulate real experiences (eg: love, sadness) and valuable theories of what is right and humane (eg: human rights) -- and though we may not articulate it very 'accurately' due to limitations in language and consciousness, nevertheless something akin to our expressions existing 'in truth' is not ruled out.
Harari's thinking therefore carries all the hallmarks on an ideology, leading to ends justifying means and other such actions.
(See also my answer above to Ajay's comment).

Carpe_Noctem
Tyrant of Words
Spain 8awards
Joined 3rd Mar 2013
Forum Posts: 2906

Josh said:


Well put. (See my answer above to Ajay's comment).


You are the creator and narrator

Or..

A 0 1 mindless automaton algorithm

Josh
Joshua Bond
Tyrant of Words
Palestine 40awards
Joined 2nd Feb 2017
Forum Posts: 1588

Carpe_Noctem said:

You are the creator and narrator

Or..

A 0 1 mindless automaton algorithm


I am indeed the creator and narrator, (and have been programmed to write that by an algorithm).

Carpe_Noctem
Tyrant of Words
Spain 8awards
Joined 3rd Mar 2013
Forum Posts: 2906

Josh said:

I am indeed the creator and narrator, (and have been programmed to write that by an algorithm).


Merrily merrily
Life is but a dream

There are theories that the 5th temple will be AI

ajay
Fire of Insight
England 2awards
Joined 21st Mar 2023
Forum Posts: 1009

Josh said:

Hi Ajay,

Thank you for the question, and for promoting some further contemplation concerning Technology.

Here are some of my initial thoughts in response.

1). Technology (like money, religions, weapons) is a form of power. As with all forms of power, they accrue to those already in power which they then use to cement their position.
Remember how the internet was hailed as the great democratising power-to-the-people technology - and what has it become in 20 years? A means of global surveillance and the basis Technofeudalism (Yanis Varoufakis's latest book).

2). You list a number of artefacts as being ‘Technology’. This is true in the physical form of tools but it is only one aspect Technology.
Technology, more essentially, is a carrier of values. It carries a way of thinking, the mindset of those who develop them. A hammer, by design, says “give me something to hit”, enframing and objectifying the world as ‘hittable’.  IE: technology is not neutral.
The ‘way of thinking’ for the last 500 years is to “subdue nature and make her our slave” (Francis Bacon, 1521-1626), and more recently to have Nature “on tap” and as “standing reserve” (Martin Heidegger’s (1889-1976) “Bestand”).
Since humans are part of Nature, it is not surprising “on tap” technological thinking has resulted in things like the gig economy - as well as social-media companies getting free work input (information), and then renting it back.

3). Technology’s much vaunted ‘neutrality’ (“guns don’t kill, people do”, implying we have to control the humans, not the technologies) is also falsely derived from Science’s much vaunted ‘neutral’ activity as the open and honest objective exploration of ‘how Nature works’.
Apart from the fact there is no such thing as ‘objectivity’ (see Sociology of Science, eg: Steve Woolgar’s “Science: the Very Idea”), Science is considered ontologically prior to Technology (as in Technology = ‘merely’ Applied Science), meaning that all the fundamental philosophical questions about technology are claimed to be answered by the Philosophy of Science — and it is this that gives rise to both thinking that Technology = Neutral, and which then leads towards the widespread belief in, and worship of, The Technology Fix (eg: geo-engineering to fix global-warming).
Science as practiced is not an ‘objective search for truth’ — it is a religion with its high priests and its heretics and its power-games — and all further distorted by the agendas of those who fund it (biggest funder is the military, by courtesy of governments).

4). The above three points are all situated in the longer-running ideology of Technology=Progress. Partly this arises from not distinguishing between technical progress (which there certainly has been) and technological progress (a mixed bag, where technology meets society).
Those who believe humans are at the cutting edge of history’s Technology Development have not seriously considered how some temples, thousands of years old, were built.
As with all ideologies, Technology=Progress sounds good, has an element of truth, and is therefore hard to pin down and refute.
And partly the idea of progress, and especially progress through technology, has religious roots in eschatological thinking and the ‘God given task’ to bring about a ‘new earth’ with a 1000 years of peace (I need to look up what American evangelical christians and their Republican spokespeople are saying, to confirm this statement).

5). What makes humans human is to be able to say “no” (or “yes”) with equal ease and legitimacy. If we never say “no” to certain technologies (or are simply unable to say ‘no’ because there is no viable alternative), we will be left with “what technology can do, it must do” — and narrative-makers abound to support that mantra as the way of the future (eg: Yuval Noah Harari. Ray Kurzweil). Given the global lurch towards authoritarianism, you can easily imagine where what-technology-can-do-it-must-do is going to take us.
It is increasingly difficult to live out of the technological-system, so to speak; digital-only money will hugely close the net further, reducing genuine choice regarding the right to self-determination, the right to privacy, and more besides.


Cheers,
Josh.


Hi, Josh.

I've just now noticed your reply. It's not often my eyes stray this far down the board.

I must confess to being somewhat baffled by your response. My original post made the assertion that technology had made mass starvation a thing of the past. In no way did you engage with this point.

However, letting that pass for the moment, let me first of all say that throughout all of your points from point two on you repeatedly assert that technology is not neutral. In my view, the neutrality or otherwise of technology is a moot point, being entirely relative.

In respect of your first point, I'm not quite sure of your meaning. Are you unaware of the way human society developed, the formation of different classes with opposing interests etc., and how and why we got from, say, the Stone Age to our present level of development? See below for my discussion of this.

As far as point two is concerned, I'll explain it the way I see it. To me, the hammer you mention has two values: a use value and an exchange-value, of which only the first value is relevant to this point. To illustrate this, let's say that the first hammer was a rock. The present day hammer is merely a technical development of this rock. Now, Johnny Caveman instead of looking around for pointy shaped flints to stick on the end of his arrows realises that he can shape his own if he uses a rock as a tool to this end. This he does and consequently has a better weapon with which to kill things as food for his family. Johnny Caveman has realised that the world is indeed 'hittable' and that this fact this is a very good thing.

Points three, four and five, insofar as I understand them, relate back to what I said concerning your first point. You consistently talk about a collective 'We' and 'Humans' as if we are one homogenous lump. You make no differentiation between the classes that formed as human society developed and the natural antagonism existing between them because of their opposing interests. You conspicuously fail to recognise this crucial fact when in point five you say that:

"What makes humans human is to be able to say “no” (or “yes”) with equal ease and legitimacy. If we never say “no” to certain technologies (or are simply unable to say ‘no’ because there is no viable alternative), we will be left with “what technology can do, it must do” — and narrative-makers abound to support that mantra as the way of the future (eg: Yuval Noah Harari. Ray Kurzweil). Given the global lurch towards authoritarianism, you can easily imagine where what-technology-can-do-it-must-do is going to take us."

Could the English peasantry, for example, say 'No!' to the Enclosures of the 17th and later centuries which kicked them off their land and forced them into the towns and factories? Obviously, they had no choice in the matter.

Rather than go on nit-picking at the  individual things you said, I'll simply state how I see the question of technology and its vital role in the development of human society, hopefully answering all the points you made in points three, four and five.

[Continued below.]

ajay
Fire of Insight
England 2awards
Joined 21st Mar 2023
Forum Posts: 1009

[Continued from above.]
So:

In the following, what you refer to as 'technology', I shall instead refer to as the 'forces of production', relate it to the 'relations of production', and show the role of the classes in the qualatitive changes of those relations.

The forces of production are the engine of the development of human society and were responsible from the earliest times for the formation of different social classes. As an illustration, hugely simplified, of this process, taking a random point in time and using England as an example when society was organised along feudal lines, it was the increasing efficiency of the forces of production – better tools, farming methods, manufacturing processes etc – that allowed the creation of a larger and larger surplus of goods. This in tandem created a class of increasingly powerful merchants to deal with this surplus, buying/selling and such. As the forces of production continued to develop, these forces, by increasing the surplus of goods and increasing the power of the merchant class and the market, correspondingly increased the pressure on the existing 'relations of production', feudalism, which hitherto had been the most efficent form for the organisation of society. In order for human society to be able to develop/evolve, different relations of production were necessary. The increasingly wealthy and powerful new merchant class, the revolutionary class, if you like, wanting the power to match their wealth, organised itself and took action to get rid of the old relations of production – the English Civil War was an expression of the irreconcilable differences  between the old monarchic order and the new capitalism – clearing the way to replace them, eventually and messily, with new capitalistic ones, more beneficial to themselves.

[Continued below]

ajay
Fire of Insight
England 2awards
Joined 21st Mar 2023
Forum Posts: 1009

[Continued from above]

Under capitalism, as time went on and as the forces of production continued to develop and become increasingly efficient, for the first time in human history the world had wealth enough, an end of famine; there is now enough for all. Consequently, the existing relations of production have become obsolete. The previous revolutionary capitalist class has become reactionary, with its Accumulate! Accumulate! Accumulate! mantra of production for the sake of profit and not for the sake of need. (The gig economy you mentioned is merely a way of extracting the maximum profit from the worker.) It's become harmful – global warming, filthy rivers etc. – and is holding back the development of human society. What's now necessary in the evolution of human society is not a competitive society – which is the way the birds and beasts live – but a co-operative society, in which classes don't exist, under which all humans, your 'we' if you like, can become truly civilised. It's the development of the forces of production – technology – that has made this desirable state of affairs possible.

In the same way that the forces of production under feudalism gave birth to the class which would eventually overthrow it, so the forces of production under capitalism in its turn gave birth to the class which hopefully will eventually overthrow it, the newly created, back then, working class, the exploited class, the revolutionary class. If we are able to get ourselves together sufficiently to bring about a new, worldwide co-operative society, technology will become our friend, of benefit to everyone. Just imagine AI machines – which are only another tool, another tool at present building up the pressure inside the capitalist straitjacket – doing all of the necessary work, leaving the collective us free to do whatever we liked – to paint, write, sculpt, even grow potatoes and live off the land, if a person should so desire. Indeed, then there would be no need for 'bad' technology, such as guns, bombs, pollutants etc. Why should there be? Our [and that's a real collective 'our'] scientists, freed from restrictions of the profit motive could then concentrate their energies on developing the really important technological things, clean, renewable energy, for example.

However, this desirable state of affairs is not going to come about unless we – and by that we I mean basically the collective working class of the world – become organised, join together and fight against a f*cking ruthless opposition to bring it about, fully conscious of that for which we're fighting. That's the crucial thing. If we are unable to achieve it, the planet is probably doomed. Despite the many painful defeats of recent years, I believe in it. If I thought that the way things are now is the only way it can be, I'd step in front of a bus tomorrow. The boss class, though, as history shows, does not voluntarily concede its hegemony.

To reiterate. The forces of production/technology is not the problem. The problem is the relations of production. I can't stress that strongly enough. All of the above, crudely, I admit, sets out my position on AI and eveything else: I'm a materialist; I have no time for idealistic nonsense.

I'll conclude with a quote from Marx:

'The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.'

The second sentence of that quote is the part that many people fail to understand.


Best wishes,
ajay.

See:
Base And Superstructure: Chris Harman.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/harman/1986/xx/base-super.html

mysteriouslady
Tyrant of Words
United States 15awards
Joined 11th Aug 2012
Forum Posts: 2340

Tallen said:chat bots cannot duplicate a writers' style, IMO

There are many, here, at DU
whose style cannot be generated by a bot -- at least not yet.

Just sayin'
and just my 3 dollar bill sense worth


what wrong with the $2 bill?  lol

Josh
Joshua Bond
Tyrant of Words
Palestine 40awards
Joined 2nd Feb 2017
Forum Posts: 1588

ajay said:

Hi, Josh.
I've just now noticed your reply. It's not often my eyes stray this far down the board.
I must confess to being somewhat baffled by your response. My original post made the assertion that technology had made mass starvation a thing of the past. In no way did you engage with this point.

However, letting that pass for the moment, let me first of all say that throughout all of your points from point two on you repeatedly assert that technology is not neutral. In my view, the neutrality or otherwise of technology is a moot point, being entirely relative.
...............
...............
...............
...............
However, this desirable state of affairs is not going to come about unless we – and by that we I mean basically the collective working class of the world – become organised, join together and fight against a f*cking ruthless opposition to bring it about, fully conscious of that for which we're fighting. That's the crucial thing. If we are unable to achieve it, the planet is probably doomed. Despite the many painful defeats of recent years, I believe in it. If I thought that the way things are now is the only way it can be, I'd step in front of a bus tomorrow. The boss class, though, as history shows, does not voluntarily concede its hegemony.

To reiterate. The forces of production/technology is not the problem. The problem is the relations of production. I can't stress that strongly enough. All of the above, crudely, I admit, sets out my position on AI and eveything else: I'm a materialist; I have no time for idealistic nonsense.

I'll conclude with a quote from Marx:
'The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.'
The second sentence of that quote is the part that many people fail to understand.
Best wishes,
ajay.

See:
Base And Superstructure: Chris Harman.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/harman/1986/xx/base-super.html


Thank you for an interesting reply to my thoughts on technology. Here’s some things that spring to mind from what you wrote.

1). “technology had made mass starvation a thing of the past”. To a certain extent, it is true that technology has enabled a surplus to be created — but only done so in the hands of a capitalist system using wage-slavery (creating the working class, as you point out later in your Marxist (I think) analysis of the history of production processes — and with which I generally agree that’s how it happened — Land Enclosures Act etc starving people off the land into the factories).
Meanwhile globally, roughly 8 million still die each year of starvation, and a further billion live very close to that margin. Technology per se has not made their lives better. It could indeed contribute to a better life, but it’s scuppered by wars and global power-games.

2). Almost at the end of your reply you write: "To reiterate. The forces of production/technology is not the problem. [i]The problem is the relations of production. I can't stress that strongly enough. All of the above, crudely, I admit, sets out my position on AI and eveything else: I'm a materialist; I have no time for idealistic nonsense.”  [/i]
My first point about technology being a form of power, accruing to (appropriated by) those already in power, would agree with the bit I highlighted, a key point of yours.. And this is why we now have techno-feudalism, (insecure work, gig-economy, union-bashing, Amazon, etc).

3). The relations of production are in part determined by technology itself, in the name of (capitalist) efficiency. Think ‘Taylorism’ or Henry Ford’s production line with job-cycles of 30 seconds repeated throughout the day. The only way Ford could get people to do that kind of soul-destroying work was to double their wages.
The production-line with its dehumanising work is determined because the technology itself carries (ie: it is a “carrier of values”) a narrow concept of ‘efficiency’, technically determined, built in to the machine, and compatible with business’s remit to maximise return for their shareholders - and the whole shebang only possible by structured violence (ie: work or starve).
I think this is another way of articulating what you said in that technology has “a use value and an exchange-value”.

4). The Communist experiment (1917-89) which tried to leap-frog Capitalism's ultimate self-destruction and go straight to a peaceful utopia did not work. Why is that? Because, I suggest, the few who rule the many (a pattern established and perpetuated over millennia) took a supremacist and overly materialist view of the world, regarding the masses as ‘unpeople’. Stalin got rid of 20 million of them to the gulags. Switching to working-class ownership of the means of production, though a valuable concept (idealism?), was not enough to rebalance power-relations.

Continued below

Josh
Joshua Bond
Tyrant of Words
Palestine 40awards
Joined 2nd Feb 2017
Forum Posts: 1588

Continued from above

5). You state: “However, this desirable state of affairs is not going to come about unless we – and by that we I mean basically the collective working class of the world – become organised, join together and fight against a f*cking ruthless opposition to bring it about, fully conscious of that for which we're fighting.”
I agree with you that there is fight to be had against the few (authoritarianists - capitalist or communist, - makes no difference - ) who rule the many.
But I have a different suggestion for a practical way to rebalance power-relations; it comes from one of my heroes: Percy Redfern, a leading light in the co-operative movement. In that I am also in agreement with you about a more co-operative society. However in a different way. In 1920 Redfern stated:
“In our common everyday needs the great industries of the world take their rise. We – the mass of common men and women in all countries - also compose the world’s markets. To sell to us is the ultimate aim of the world’s business. Hence it is ourselves as consumers who stand in a central relation to all the economies of the world, like the king in his kingdom. As producers we go unto a particular factory, farm or mine, but as consumers we are set by nature thus to give leadership, aim and purpose to the whole economic world. That we are not kings, but serfs in the mass, is due to our failure to think and act together as consumers and so to realise our true position and power.”
Sometimes fighting the oppressor is best done by withdrawing from the ‘game’, and/or a withdrawal of labour.
As a 17-year old in Feb ’74 I was in the NUM (National Union of Mineworkers) working as an apprentice with the NCB (National Coal Board as it was then). Stepping out of the then game, a strike for 4 weeks after some months of an overtime ban, brought down the Conservative Heath government.  An example of people power (helped by OPEC quadrupling the price of oil, making coal more desirable again to fire electricity-generating plants). Of course, Thatcher got her own back a decade later.
Redfern’s angle on things is why I don’t have a smart-phone - even though it’s becoming increasingly difficult to do stuff without one. That’s one way in which I mean that technology is “not neutral” — it brings with it a whole way of lifestyle/living according to some ‘design’ of a so-called ‘good-life’ and general ‘progress’ with which I am not in agreement (due to surveillance, etc). Your statement “The previous revolutionary capitalist class has become reactionary, with its Accumulate! Accumulate! Accumulate! mantra of production for the sake of profit and not for the sake of need” seems to agree with Percy Redfern’s suggestion.

6). I agree with you that a huge amount of talent which could be used to make socially useful products, is wasted on designing and building evermore disgusting military stuff. I did an M.Sc in Robotics & Automation in 1984/5 and 75% of the students went to work for the MOD, because they paid more … and because robotics technology was used to develop better missile guidance systems at the time. As an engineer I thought it was treason against the profession. (Factoid: The word “Civil Engineer” was coined in 1818 to distinguish themselves from Military Engineers)

7). To conclude, the Marx quote you ended with opens up a question bigger than Technology, (the forces of production). Given today’s global meltdown, real change requires a new story where Nature is not an enemy to be subdued and overcome and exploited as a ‘thing’ through Science & Technology (Francis Bacon, Karl Marx, Neo-Darwinism) — but a living system which requires our co-operation and understanding at a more profound level.

Cheers,
Josh.

Carpe_Noctem
Tyrant of Words
Spain 8awards
Joined 3rd Mar 2013
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Uncle Teddy was somewhat correct

ajay
Fire of Insight
England 2awards
Joined 21st Mar 2023
Forum Posts: 1009

Josh said:
Redfern’s angle on things is why I don’t have a smart-phone - even though it’s becoming increasingly difficult to do stuff without one.


Hi, Josh.

I'll get back to you in a bit on the rest of your argument (yours and Percy's), but just for now I can't see how not having a smartphone fits in with it. If you'd renounced the interweb as a whole, I could see your point of view, but you haven't, obviously, otherwise I wouldn't be reading your words. If you're bothered about the interruptions from emails and such, you could simply turn off notifications for them and read them at a time of your own choosing, as you do now, I assume, on your PC or laptop. I'm by no means a technohead – the phone I'm typing this on cost £60 – but there's no doubt that having the interweb in my pocket comes in useful sometimes. The concluding part of your quote above leads me to believe that you would find it useful, too.

Anyway, all the best and thanks for taking the time.
ajay.

Josh
Joshua Bond
Tyrant of Words
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Joined 2nd Feb 2017
Forum Posts: 1588

ajay said:

Hi, Josh.

I'll get back to you in a bit on the rest of your argument (yours and Percy's), but just for now I can't see how not having a smartphone fits in with it. If you'd renounced the interweb as a whole, I could see your point of view, but you haven't, obviously, otherwise I wouldn't be reading your words. If you're bothered about the interruptions from emails and such, you could simply turn off notifications for them and read them at a time of your own choosing, as you do now, I assume, on your PC or laptop. I'm by no means a technohead – the phone I'm typing this on cost £60 – but there's no doubt that having the interweb in my pocket comes in useful sometimes. The concluding part of your quote above leads me to believe that you would find it useful, too.

Anyway, all the best and thanks for taking the time.
ajay.


Hi Ajay,
The trouble with technology is that it's like a net, closing down options. Without it, I can't do banking for example. I see the value and consistency of a more all-or-nothing approach regarding tech/internet - perhaps I'm like King Canute by stubbornly believing I can 'hold back' the tide of techyfication in my life. And do I go 100% off-grid with lithium batteries, etc, given very uneco footprint of lithium mining? It's complex and I'm just trying to gain some clarity for myself.
So don't feel obliged to respond to my lengthy thoughts on technology, -- but I highly recommend reading some Pery Redfern and the founding of the co-operative movement. (Being a Mancunian of course I say that).
Cheers, Josh.

Carpe_Noctem
Tyrant of Words
Spain 8awards
Joined 3rd Mar 2013
Forum Posts: 2906

Josh said:

Hi Ajay,
The trouble with technology is that it's like a net, closing down options. Without it, I can't do banking for example. I see the value and consistency of a more all-or-nothing approach regarding tech/internet - perhaps I'm like King Canute by stubbornly believing I can 'hold back' the tide of techyfication in my life. And do I go 100% off-grid with lithium batteries, etc, given very uneco footprint of lithium mining? It's complex and I'm just trying to gain some clarity for myself.
So don't feel obliged to respond to my lengthy thoughts on technology, -- but I highly recommend reading some Pery Redfern and the founding of the co-operative movement. (Being a Mancunian of course I say that).
Cheers, Josh.


Why is the Internet called such?

ajay
Fire of Insight
England 2awards
Joined 21st Mar 2023
Forum Posts: 1009

Josh said:

Thank you for an interesting reply to my thoughts on technology. Here’s some things that spring to mind from what you wrote.

1). “technology had made mass starvation a thing of the past”. To a certain extent, it is true that technology has enabled a surplus to be created — but only done so in the hands of a capitalist system using wage-slavery (creating the working class, as you point out later in your Marxist (I think) analysis of the history of production processes — and with which I generally agree that’s how it happened — Land Enclosures Act etc starving people off the land into the factories).
Meanwhile globally, roughly 8 million still die each year of starvation, and a further billion live very close to that margin. Technology per se has not made their lives better. It could indeed contribute to a better life, but it’s scuppered by wars and global power-games.

2). Almost at the end of your reply you write: "To reiterate. The forces of production/technology is not the problem. [i]The problem is the relations of production. I can't stress that strongly enough. All of the above, crudely, I admit, sets out my position on AI and eveything else: I'm a materialist; I have no time for idealistic nonsense.”  [/i]
My first point about technology being a form of power, accruing to (appropriated by) those already in power, would agree with the bit I highlighted, a key point of yours.. And this is why we now have techno-feudalism, (insecure work, gig-economy, union-bashing, Amazon, etc).

3). The relations of production are in part determined by technology itself, in the name of (capitalist) efficiency. Think ‘Taylorism’ or Henry Ford’s production line with job-cycles of 30 seconds repeated throughout the day. The only way Ford could get people to do that kind of soul-destroying work was to double their wages.
The production-line with its dehumanising work is determined because the technology itself carries (ie: it is a “carrier of values”) a narrow concept of ‘efficiency’, technically determined, built in to the machine, and compatible with business’s remit to maximise return for their shareholders - and the whole shebang only possible by structured violence (ie: work or starve).
I think this is another way of articulating what you said in that technology has “a use value and an exchange-value”.

4). The Communist experiment (1917-89) which tried to leap-frog Capitalism's ultimate self-destruction and go straight to a peaceful utopia did not work. Why is that? Because, I suggest, the few who rule the many (a pattern established and perpetuated over millennia) took a supremacist and overly materialist view of the world, regarding the masses as ‘unpeople’. Stalin got rid of 20 million of them to the gulags. Switching to working-class ownership of the means of production, though a valuable concept (idealism?), was not enough to rebalance power-relations.

5). You state: “However, this desirable state of affairs is not going to come about unless we – and by that we I mean basically the collective working class of the world – become organised, join together and fight against a f*cking ruthless opposition to bring it about, fully conscious of that for which we're fighting.”
I agree with you that there is fight to be had against the few (authoritarianists - capitalist or communist, - makes no difference - ) who rule the many.
But I have a different suggestion for a practical way to rebalance power-relations; it comes from one of my heroes: Percy Redfern, a leading light in the co-operative movement. In that I am also in agreement with you about a more co-operative society. However in a different way. In 1920 Redfern stated:
“In our common everyday needs the great industries of the world take their rise. We – the mass of common men and women in all countries - also compose the world’s markets. To sell to us is the ultimate aim of the world’s business. Hence it is ourselves as consumers who stand in a central relation to all the economies of the world, like the king in his kingdom. As producers we go unto a particular factory, farm or mine, but as consumers we are set by nature thus to give leadership, aim and purpose to the whole economic world. That we are not kings, but serfs in the mass, is due to our failure to think and act together as consumers and so to realise our true position and power.”
Sometimes fighting the oppressor is best done by withdrawing from the ‘game’, and/or a withdrawal of labour.
As a 17-year old in Feb ’74 I was in the NUM (National Union of Mineworkers) working as an apprentice with the NCB (National Coal Board as it was then). Stepping out of the then game, a strike for 4 weeks after some months of an overtime ban, brought down the Conservative Heath government.  An example of people power (helped by OPEC quadrupling the price of oil, making coal more desirable again to fire electricity-generating plants). Of course, Thatcher got her own back a decade later.
Redfern’s angle on things is why I don’t have a smart-phone - even though it’s becoming increasingly difficult to do stuff without one. That’s one way in which I mean that technology is “not neutral” — it brings with it a whole way of lifestyle/living according to some ‘design’ of a so-called ‘good-life’ and general ‘progress’ with which I am not in agreement (due to surveillance, etc). Your statement “The previous revolutionary capitalist class has become reactionary, with its Accumulate! Accumulate! Accumulate! mantra of production for the sake of profit and not for the sake of need” seems to agree with Percy Redfern’s suggestion.

6). I agree with you that a huge amount of talent which could be used to make socially useful products, is wasted on designing and building evermore disgusting military stuff. I did an M.Sc in Robotics & Automation in 1984/5 and 75% of the students went to work for the MOD, because they paid more … and because robotics technology was used to develop better missile guidance systems at the time. As an engineer I thought it was treason against the profession. (Factoid: The word “Civil Engineer” was coined in 1818 to distinguish themselves from Military Engineers)

7). To conclude, the Marx quote you ended with opens up a question bigger than Technology, (the forces of production). Given today’s global meltdown, real change requires a new story where Nature is not an enemy to be subdued and overcome and exploited as a ‘thing’ through Science & Technology (Francis Bacon, Karl Marx, Neo-Darwinism) — but a living system which requires our co-operation and understanding at a more profound level.

Cheers,
Josh.


Hi, Josh.

Nice to know you're a Manc. I'm a Scouser (from the red half of the city). If you're into football and you're a United fan, I've gone right off yer, lad.🙃

But enough of that. Thank gawd for the weekend and a bit of time for myself.

Briefly, To deal with your first point, the forces of production/technology, call them what you will, has allowed a surplus equal to a sufficiency to be created, not to a certain extent, as you state, but to the full extent. What other thing could have created that surplus? That it has done so under necessarily capitalistic relations of production is irrelevant to our discussion. That is the way it happened. This is the way things are. This is what we have to deal with. I'm a materialist, remember.

[Continued below]

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