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Technology as Ideology -research project

Introduction – phase one:

Technology is a human phenomenon and, to the extent it is one, it is a human problem. If we learn to read it, technology expresses something of our (hidden) desires and drives. All the foundations to the problems brought out by technology exist in the relations between human beings.

We live in times where the persistent day-dream and ideological foundations of reducing human life and -experience to calculable data is conquering more and more ground. Especially mainstream sciences are today largely based on an “algorithmic mentality”, arguably expressive of a need to control and thoroughly explain the human experience as something reducible to repeatable, predictable, relations and the need to gain control and dominance over those relations.

This ideological drive and its predicament informing and shaping our current collective technoscientific ‘understanding’ of the world and human relations, gives rise to new questions, challenges and concerns on psychological, social and political levels.

For instance, while one of the strongest drives of modern technoscience is to expand human power, control and dominance over life and nature, it is exactly this very drive that is simultaneously causing the creation of a reality of intense uncontrollability, unpredictability, dependency, vulnerability, and in some sense even fatalism/determinism (un-freedom).

In terms of social and interpersonal relations again, contemporary digital- and ‘smart’ technologies thrive on a kind of frenzy of ‘consumer enjoyment’. As these technologies start to immerse themselves in our everyday experiences, becoming almost unnoticeable aspects of it, our fetish desire for the virtual stands on the brink (but always on the brink) of totalization. The destructive effects of this upon the human psyche have obviously already become part of public discourse. But do we, in our current socio-political reality, stand a chance against the force of our own creation and self-deceptiveness?

Technology, and its underpinning ideological drive, is arguably one of the most influential factors forming our collective lives today, while it simultaneously is one of the least well understood phenomena and consequently one of the least well politicized ones. In this sense a technological ideology reigns more or less undisturbed in our times. Due to the immense epistemological, ontological, cultural as well as political challenges posed by modern technology, any effective and clear analysis and critique cannot hope to be established in any other fashion than as a long-term effort to pierce the many layers of confusion, ideology, fantasies, hopes and fears injected into the concept and practice of modern technology throughout (mainly western) history and each individual’s life.

As a first phase of the research, two workshops and conferences during 2019 will begin the mapping of the terrain, inaugurating the establishment of a long-term and comprehensive research platform and network for the study and critical analysis of technology and its effects upon human understanding, social and interpersonal relationships, politics, political economy, art, culture and the environment.

Main coordinators: Niklas Toivakainen & Sakari Laurila
Contact: kammari (at) kammari.org