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What does it mean to be human in the age of technology? (Tom Chatfield – The Guardian)

Here are my highlights (essentials are italic)
  • If there’s one thing our swelling collective articulacy as a species brings home, it’s that people care above all about other people: what they think, do, believe, fear, hate, love, laugh at – and what we can make together
  • This is an astonishing, disconcerting, delightful thing: the crowd in the cloud becoming a stream of shared consciousness
  • We think of ourselves as individual, rational minds, and describe our relationships with technology on this basis.
  • Our machines aren’t minds yet, but they are taking on more and more of the attributes we used to think of as uniquely human: reason, action, reaction, language, logic, adaptation, learning. Rightly, fearfully, falteringly, we are beginning to ask what transforming consequences this latest extension and usurpation will bring.
  • Much of the best recent work in economics, psychology and neuroscience has emphasized the degree to which we cannot be unbundled into distinct capabilities: into machine-like boxes of distinct memory, processing and output.
  • What makes all this so urgent is the brutally Darwinian nature of technological evolution. Our machines may not be alive, but the evolutionary pressures surrounding them are every bit as intense as in nature, and with few of its constraints. Vast quantities of money are at stake, with corporations and governments vying to build faster, more efficient and more effective systems; to keep consumer upgrade cycles ticking over. To be left behind – to refuse to automate or adopt – is to be out-competed.
  • Cutting people out of every loop to assure speed, profit, protection or military success is a poor model for a future

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