Thanking Mister Roboto

Unfortunately, we do not have to learn what it means to be human. Humanity is defined in Merriam-Webster Online as “human beings collectively”. It is not a warm, fuzzy feeling or a certain set of criteria, rather humanity is the state of existing as human animals together. Some would claim that we are human beings because we transcend the animal. I would argue that if we transcend the animal, we are no longer human for this reason: to fully realize our potential as human beings we must not lower ourselves or raise ourselves from our own natures and existence, we must accept ourselves and strive for bettering what we accept. Denial of part or all of the human being’s natural states of existence in the name of seeking transcendence simply obliterates the right to continue to exist in human form. Transcendence can, in effect, become a form of dehumanization and this can be most clearly seen in the development of technology as human beings struggle to understand the implementation, possibilities, and evolution of our own knowledge.

Automation, when it first appeared on the scene in the United States with Henry Ford in 1913, was touted as both a way to free the common worker and an evil that would eliminate the need for men. We have come a long way since then in our societal acceptance and use of technology’s capabilities.  Our fear of uselessness and replacement gave way to understanding how to implement machinery and computers to create more efficient and productive styles of living. Today, we pursue the possibilities of rapidly changing and always developing technical improvements as an entire culture hell-bent on faster, better, and less expensive technology modifications for the masses to embrace.  Our machinery and computing systems evolve so quickly these days that learning the latest and greatest is the biggest part of evenings at home or of job security or of maintaining socially.

Transcendence of the human state through technology is not dehumanizing in the manner of eliminating or replacing man. Technology’s transcendence is dehumanizing man by causing human beings to forget. We are losing the knowledge we have possessed before, forgetting the things of animal, plant, and mineral that please and keep us, and distancing ourselves from basic needs that are removed from our everyday consciousness.  We are forgetting ourselves in our headlong pursuit of purer and better knowledge.

Human beings do not have to be taught to be human. By our very nature, we discover our own strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities. However, I do believe that we do have to be taught to remember the knowledge we do not regularly use, explore, and train ourselves upon. With the passing of the Information Age and the dawning of the Age of Communications we have removed our innate natures to a distance created by the dehumanizing forgetfulness induced by advanced technology.  I am thankful for technology. I am happy with advancing our developments to enhance our lives. I hope we remember to remain human.






2 thoughts on “Thanking Mister Roboto

  1. I really enjoyed this piece. It reminds me of some of the concepts in “Ishmael”, but extrapolates further on the possible ramifications of technology.

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