The Expanding Technosphere and Its Inevitable Breakdown

Technology And The Coming Global Totalitarianism

Richard B. Wilcox, Ph.D.
br1ka2ma3@yahoo.com October, 2005

Updated Preface: November, 2010 Executive Summary

1. Introduction 1.1 Foundations Of Power 1.2 The Dragon Eating Its Tail 1.3 Stressing The Immune System 1.4 Pandora’s Box

2. Critical Perspectives On Science And Technology 2.1 The Scientific Mission: Order And Power 2.2 The Market Mechanism 2.3 Urbanized Humans And Loss Of Nature

2.4 The Devalorized World And Return To Sumud

3. The Expanding Technosphere: Uses And Abuses 3.1 Power And Control 3.2 The World Expo 3.3 Emerging Technologies

3.4 Surveillance 3.5 Consumerism 3.6 The Weapons Industry And The Science Of Killing

4. Consequences For Cultural And Biological Diversity 4.1 Where Are We Coming From? 4.2 Bulldozing Biodiversity 4.3 Where Are We Going?

5. References

Executive Summary

This paper investigates some aspects of the coming global technological totalitarianism and the expanding technosphere. I argue that this is both a conscious and coincidental agenda of powerful individuals and institutions carried out through the process of reification of ideological beliefs which are transformed into institutions, facilities, technologies policies and ultimately, culture. I believe that by ignoring the costs of new technologies, what we lose in the bargain is immeasurable and potentially catastrophic. History was not or is not entirely inevitable, but it is also a question of human values in relation to natural changes. While there have often been positive effects for large numbers of people from technological development, in fact, the creation and use of technology has largely been abused to further ruling class interests.

1. Introduction

People are so transfixed by the scientific marvels that parade before them, that they are frozen in the act of spectating. — Michael Hoffman (2001, p. 11)

People are becoming more and more like their machines. — Edward T. Hall (1976, p. 39)

First I can give you cancer, then I can profit from your cure. — sign on giant mad-scientist Glaxo/Bayer puppet in anti-biotechnology rally (“Biodevastation,” 2005) This paper investigates some aspects of the coming global technological totalitarianism and the expanding technosphere. I argue that this is both a Wilcox – Technology 4conscious and coincidental agenda of powerful individuals and institutions carried out through the process of reification of ideological beliefs which are transformed into institutions, facilities, technologies policies and ultimately culture. I suggest readers consider these open-ended questions while reading this paper:

1. Is science and technology inherently destructive, or can it be harnessed to do good depending on whose interests are involved?

2. Historically, who has benefited most often from the exploitation of science and technology, elites or the general public (and non-human species)?

3. Are advanced forms of technology (so-called “high technology”) including computers, cellular phones, videos and televisions etc., helpful or harmful toward creating an ecologically sustainable society? Can we distinguish between one form of technology and another in order to determine whether it is “good” or “bad”?

4. What, for example, are the potential human health/environmental dangers of increased amounts of electro-magnetic radiation that exceed amounts humans were exposed to during most of natural history? What may be the possible benefits or harms caused by new technologies such as high-speed computer and internet transmission, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology or genetic engineering?

As an environmental social scientist, I believe that by ignoring the costs of new technologies, what we lose in the bargain: culturally, socially, politically, ecologically, and as a species, is immeasurable and potentially catastrophic. History was not or is not entirely inevitable (i.e., determinism), it is also a question of human values in relation to natural changes (i.e., dialectical materialism; the reification of ruling class imperatives into cultural norms). While there have often been positive effects for large numbers of people from technological development

Wilcox – Technology 5

(e.g., extended life spans through improved public sanitation and medical treatments), in fact, the creation and use of technology has largely been abused to further ruling class interests (Fotopoulis, 1998; Noble, 2001; Jensen & Draffan, 2004).

This entire research paper can be read at the following link:
Wilcox – Technology (2005)

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One Response to The Expanding Technosphere and Its Inevitable Breakdown

  1. Concrete man says:

    Thanks Tom!

    It is true – I DO NOT spend enough time in this paper identifying solutions. Maybe that will be in Part Two!

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