I am writing this text because when we talk about the relationship between technology and society, despite the many reflections and theories that have been thought throughout human history, I have the feeling that we always tend to miss an important point, to not tell the whole story. A point that travels and develops along with the time frame, parallel to the process of evolution of the human race. Mine is a finalistic perspective but that within it the processes are entirely causal in their realization. A road whose destination was traced in the distant African plain, when the first hominid understood the use of the tool, a story that is perhaps about to reach its epilogue after a journey of more than 2 million evolutionary years. But before I explain this perspective of mine in the technology-society relationship, let’s take a step back and quickly summarize the three schools of thought that are most prominent today in conceptualizing the technology-society relationship.
Instrumentalism conceptualizes technology simply and straightforwardly. It views the technological environment as a collection of tools that people use to achieve their goals. Technology is viewed ambivalently and neutrally, decentralizing and lying at the center of the context of use the individual. Within a three-factor relationship, technology is in the middle, it is the tool by which humans exercise their (individual) will over the world. The thought behind this current is certainly right and completely logical, nevertheless, I have the feeling that it does not come to explain the whole story. It is a completely correct explanation in the short term span in which a conscious agent exercises his will over the world, but it seems to me to miss the larger point in the realization of the “why” within a larger process. Instrumentalism has at its core an attributive purpose vis-à-vis the subject entity through localization of the latter. It explains the individualistic use in the subject but misses the existential process in the evolutionary sphere in the temporal dimension. In short, the ontological explanation in existential terms of technological creation is confused by trying to deal with its applied finalistic terms.
Determinism is another interesting way of conceptualizing the technological relationship to society, but again I feel that something is missing here. In short, determinism conceptualizes technology as a factor external to society, as part of autonomous scientific development. Technology has an inertia of its own, totally separate from the influence of people. At its most extreme, it is technology that causes social change. Essentially there are two technological consequences in the deterministic view:
The first on the macro level, technology produces historical and social change.
The second on the micro-level, technology influences social and psychological processes as individuals use technology as tools (means).
As in the previous case, instrumentalism, I also consider determinism to be undoubtedly correct in its conception of the ideational and reflective processes behind its implementation. However, as I anticipated, it seems to me that however close, it does not get to the point. It seems to me that determinism conceptualizes the technology-society relationship as an epistemological category of representation of the processes of technological evolution, without specifying the reasons for these processes. Again, the ontological explanation of its existential traits is missed.
The third theory we briefly examine is mediation theory. It deviates from its idealization from the other two, it attempts to construct a framework of analysis that explains the role that technology plays in human existence and society. The central idea is that technology, when used, helps shape the relationship between human beings and the world. It does not conceptualize the world in dualistic terms, human object/subject, or as an extension of humans themselves. He conceptualizes it as a mediator of the human-world relationship.
As much as I like this idealization, especially since it gives me the impression that he wants to try to bind the various parts together in relational terms, I always have the feeling that something is missing, and this is always in ontological terms the existential factor of technology. It perfectly explains the mediation of the world through technological use but not the “why” this mediation is enacted.
I have a feeling that these three theories, while fair, logically correct, and offering insights for further reflection, do not cover the whole story. I have a feeling that these theories try more to categorize technology in its relationship to society, but without explaining why it exists, they do not go to the root of the relationship. Below I will attempt to explain a reflection I have on this issue. In ontological-existential terms, I would like to look at the internal history of the technological process. Starting from the first tool, my reflection in its logical process would like to retrace the entire timeline, seeing within it a finalistic scheme of dualistic nature between man and technology.
I am well aware that my reasoning is devoid of scientific arguments, empirical evidence, and consequently has no academic or other validity. My reflection is based on simple abstract reasoning, whose starting point is driven by a logical concatenation at the basis of which is driven by one of the biological instincts of law, survival. As I see it, when you try to explain the relationship between man and technology, the answer must be sought in the foundations.
The society-technology relationship is given by the ontological explanation within an evolutionary process, in the relationship of the biological sphere and the space-time dimension.
Why does technology exist?
Technology is survival, the last step is the defeat of death.
When we analyze the relationship between society – man – technology, from my point of view, we must always start from what is the symbiotic relationship, a relationship of common use: man uses technology for reasons of nature since he is an animal biologically too weak to survive in his environment by physical forces alone, and therefore he had to develop, thanks to his internal characteristics, a form of ability (technological use), while technology needs man so that it can “exist”, although obviously, it is not a living being, but rather a process (or at least in this text we interpret it within this concept). An object is used, and therefore exists, and this preservation of it (it changes in form but not in quality) is within the very dynamic of existence. Let us return to the symbiotic relationship. Man uses the object for his survival, but the object also “uses” man as a means of creation and realization. The object is not a living thing, it is “dead” or better not living since death presupposes that it had a life before, nevertheless there is this form of self-preservation. These dynamics of conservation and common use, I think should be seen beyond the biological discourse alive / not-alive, but instead should be analyzed along the entire axis of the temporal dimension (and in this, we also consider the spatial dimension as a place of manifestation of action and not existence) through the intrinsic property of the physical system of our universe in which we are immersed and subject. Principle of mutual conservation concerning the physical world, but evolution linked to the physical dimension. This state of conservation (+1) is within the dimensional world because it is related to time, the driving force of the process. Time cannot be exited, as it is one of the primordial forces, a brick at the base of the universe itself. It is a property to which everything is subject, it is not modifiable.
So going back to the main speech, if we try to better understand the dualistic relationship between society and technology, it is completely logical that at a certain point of the process their union happens. When two phenomena, not static and distinct, have a strong interaction it is logical to think about their union within the evolutionary paradigm of time.
If we look at this through the historical process of human civilization over the millennia, we can see this phenomenon, and we see it with an evolutionary perspective, made up of achievements along the historical path, step by step. This implementation of the level after level shows how easy it is to understand the dynamic nature of the relationship not static. If at the beginning man used technology, starting from the simplest tool (the first flint tools for example), to survive, then after the survival of species and individual had become an acquired fact, man went beyond, he no longer needed to survive but tried to survive in a more “simple”/”comfortable” way (agriculture, settlements, wheel, etc…). From discovery comes discovery, communication between individuals improves, and the process takes a climb of exponential nature. Up to the point of today, subjugation of the world and dominant species with only two enemies: time and man himself. The interesting thing of the current point is that once you have made your own what is the physical space world, where the only threat is yourself, (the ecological and climatic disaster are indeed prospects that unfortunately are materializing, but, if the whole world is in danger, and thousands of species are at risk of extinction, man as a species is the only one who can be considered safe, does not risk extinction, the speech here falls in the ethical and aesthetic, not in surviving). So after a certain being has arrived at the conquest of his world within the space, the next step as a logical consequence is to push to the temporal conquest, to make his entire space-time paradigm, the primary constituent of the entire universe. A being that arrives at this point inevitably goes in search of a union in his existential experience with the space-time paradigm. One arrives at the search for immortality, the sacred Grail as the ultimate survival, in which even the mere fear of death by biological decay, after that of predators, hunger, cold, child mortality, etc.. become only a distant memory belonged to history (we speak of human civilization as a conquest of technological progress, the world today unfortunately still has major problems of social inequality, and many problems that for us inhabitants of the “rich” world are now linked to distant memories, for others who in the universal randomness have found themselves in contexts where these problems are their everyday reality ). But it is precisely within this search for survival without the end of eternal life, that we then find ourselves in front of a new symbiotic relationship with technology, a unique union, the father meeting the son going to find themselves in a single being. We live in a fundamental point, a moment of passage from a straight line to a circle, in which beginning and end meet, never to be divided again. From here the tool leaves the nest and becomes a being, the birth of global intelligence, the artificial one. Birth of shared consciousness, the cloud. The life of being, beyond the biological shores of reproduction, finds meaning in individual experience. The sharing of this experience in the binary code streams of hyperspace is the beginning of a new global being. The compound trinity of the “Deux ex Machina” has finally made its appearance in the world.
Why this? Because man is data, he is nothing more than an entity that accumulates data in the form of experiences throughout his life. Man is a continuous flow of “input” and “output”, creator of information that in a more or less conscious way uses the input and output for its purposes. What is a computer? A data processor.
So the thing that I think is interesting in what I’ve tried to trace and say, is the end of the process, which began in the distant African plain. This symbiosis, in which technology was created by man to survive in his environment, at the end of the process the relationship has changed. Man is no longer the creator of technology, but technology is the “continuer of existence” (in the sense that technology offers immortality to man, and therefore the possibility of continuing his existence) since the machine feeds on data, but only man with his experience of existence can feed it. The relationship has been reversed.
The last step is an absolute consciousness without end, immortal, composed by the consciousness of all of us, trying to push its own existence experience beyond boundaries that today is not possible to us, inside the universal strings, at particle velocities, because everything is data, everything is “food” with the same taste 0 1.
It may seem science fiction but if we think within the logical process its sense emerges, the thing yet to be determined is the form in which this reality will happen. A despotic world to the matrix in which everything is a simulation, and we are static components of the mega-machine? Or under free forms, like cyborgs wandering in space, always connected to a global mind but in which individuality is still present a centralized dislocation?
To these questions there is no answer, only the random events of the future will determine it, but the outcome is certain. What is described above should not be visualized by the reader as science fiction, as if tomorrow we wake up and suddenly find ourselves in a world where people stop dying and our minds form a global consciousness. No, what is described above should be interpreted along with the linearity of time, just as from the first tools we went from the wheel to navigation and iron, from there to the steam engine, Apollo 11 to the internet and social media. There is historical linearity inside, a history made by men and technology, whose final destination has been traced since the beginning. But surely it’s interesting to see technology from this point of view, part of a process that began with the use of tools (technology) for biological survival, then with the conquest of the world as a species, and then when this too was subjugated, it’s the turn to go to the conquest of time. The defeat of death itself, the completion of survival, an existence without end is the last frontier left to us as a species.
What is survival? It is not dying, passing on the species. Immortality is the last act. Make yourselves comfortable.