The Perils of Tech-Utopian Thinking
17 March 2023
Discussions on the benefits and harms of technological innovation are often limited to accounts of the merits and disadvantages of particular technologies insofar as they make human life more or less easy, efficient, comfortable, and safe. Less common are discussions that investigate the differences between exactly who benefits, and who pays the costs, of the rollout of any given technological innovation. Rarer still is enquiry into the deep transformations that occur not as a result of the effects of particular technologies, but of the implementation of a logic of technology at the very foundations of human society, culture, and politics. Neil Postman’s concept of the development of ‘technopoly’, a society that subordinates all political and cultural life to the dictates of technology, is particularly clarifying on this point.
Stuart Rollo is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney, currently working on the centre’s Quantum Meta-Ethics project. His research focuses on geopolitics, imperial history, and the US-China relationship.