Field Note #105. On "Tech: In Medias Res"

Source: Consilience Project, "Technology is Not Values Neutral: Ending the Reign of Nihilistic Design," avail. online (June 26, 2022)

The Context.

In medias res (Latin: "in the middle of things").

Decontextualized tech does not exist; rather, the tech story opens in medias res, infused with particular values that carry forth and bring not just material or 3D impacts, but psychosocial ones, often with a time lag that creates the space for willful ignorance.

Accord. to the Consilience Project's paper ("Technology is Not Values Neutral"):

"[f]uture technologies must be designed according to methods that take human value and experience seriously enough to be constrained by their limits--such as sanity, dignity, and justice." (p. 18)

As my vocational context is investing, the (at present, ill-formed) question I ask is how might we re-orient existing flows of capital toward projects, businesses, and people aware of technological response and responsibility?

It is a difficult challenge to even admit the notion of responsibility in the middle of an "investment orthodoxy" that seems to disrespect the risk of ruin, a mathematical certainty in most investment programs I've seen and been a part of.

But, as implied in Field Note 97, I very likely miscalculated the scale of ruin.

As my bookshelf sections (left side: hardnose finance & right side: philosophy, theory, lit.) start to collide, I opened to a highlighted p. 24 of Hardt & Negri's Empire...some 20 years after highlighting it:

"In disciplinary society the effects of biopolitical technologies were still partial in the sense that disciplining developed according to relatively closed, geometrical, and quantitative did not reach the point of permeating entirely the consciousnesses and bodies of individuals, the point of treating and organizing them in the totality of their activities.... By contrast, when power becomes entirely biopolitical, the whole social body is comprised by power's machine and developed in its virtuality.  This relationship is open, qualitative, and affective.  Society, subsumed within a power that reaches down to the ganglia of the social structure and its processes of development, reacts like a single body.  Power is thus expressed as a control that extends throughout the depths of the consciousnesses and bodies of the population--and at the same time across the entirety of social relations." (Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri, Empire (2000), p. 24)

The first move I can responsibly have here is this discursive one.

N.B. As always, these are my more or less unvarnished daily notes, not a summary or explainer.  My humble hope is that they inspire something in you as they have serendipitously done in me.

The Details.

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