Just wanted to save this here for future development, four points via ChatGPT on the “totalizing effect of technology,” which I touched on briefly in the last post about the common origins of the AI Lore books and The Algorithm newspaper…
- Societal Integration: Technology has become so deeply integrated into every aspect of society that it is shaping our behaviors, thoughts, and experiences in comprehensive ways. This includes everything from how we communicate and work, to how we form relationships, consume information, and engage with the world around us.
- Homogenization: The “totalizing effect” can also refer to the homogenization of experiences and ways of life brought about by global technology use. As technology becomes more ubiquitous, it tends to standardize experiences and expectations around the world, potentially reducing diversity and local uniqueness.
- Dependency and Control: Another interpretation is the increasing dependency on technology, and how it can control or dictate our lives. The totalizing effect in this case refers to how technology can determine what we can and cannot do, and how it can shape societal structures and systems.
- Mediation of Reality: Technology increasingly mediates our perception of reality. Our understanding of the world is often through the lens of technology – be it through Internet, social media, virtual reality, or augmented reality. This can have profound effects on our cognition, social relationships, and our understanding of truth and reality.
ChatGPT didn’t go there on its own, but I would liken the phenomenon in many ways to more conventional Totalitarianism, except that the focal point is not the power of the state (which decays, abdicating much of its power to technology), so much as generically the power of the corporations that control the technologies…
Wikipedia on “vanilla” totalitarianism:
Totalitarianism is a form of government and a political system that prohibits all opposition parties, outlaws individual and group opposition to the state and its claims, and exercises an extremely high if not complete degree of control and regulation over public and private life. It is regarded as the most extreme and complete form of authoritarianism. In totalitarian states, political power is often held by autocrats, such as dictators (totalitarian dictatorship) and absolute monarchs, who employ all-encompassing campaigns in which propaganda is broadcast by state-controlled mass media in order to control the citizenry.
Obviously there are differences between what I’m describing and these more conventional framings, but it’s what many of the AI lore books, especially the dystopian ones lean towards.