The good side of Big Tech

No reasonable person will deny that the products and inventions of Big Tech can often be greatly beneficial, especially if you are rich but also if you belong to the majority: the globally poor.

Smartphones can make it easier for poor farmers in Africa to find buyers who have cash to buy their products. Telemedicine is obviously valuable in both developing and industrial countries. The so-called “fourth industrial revolution” will also soon give us cheap artificial meat, and that will eventually put an end to the suffering of animals killed in slaughterhouses today.

Massive surveillance in a cashless society, like we see in China, can reduce crime to almost zero. Women in Beijing can walk safe at night when there are drones to detect attackers and incapacitate them. If microphones and cameras in a house are programmed to activate when detecting both 1) a woman or child screaming, and 2) the sound of beating or yelling, all domestic violence will more or less disappear if a bot in the house stops the attacker.

The problem with 4th industrial revolution tech is that much of it has a double edge. It’s dual-use, in the same way that a scalpel can be used to save a human being or cut his/her throat. It’s the sheer destructive power of many 4th rev technologies that makes the scalpel comparison rather outdated. You can say that a knife in itself is not harmful, because it’s the person wielding the knife who decides whether to use it in a good or bad way. But some 4IR tech are like nuclear power. The scientists who invented this power gave us nuclear plants, but at the risk of WW3. Only luck has saved humanity from being (almost) totally destroyed by atomic weapons, so far, and therefore one can clearly say that nuclear power is inherently bad, or just too evil (if you prefer that concept instead).

Some 4th rev tech are similar to playing Russian roulette, using a revolver having six chambers, with a one in sixth chance of humanity going extinct, and a 1/6 chance of creating a true heaven on Earth. Only a reckless gambler will pull the trigger.

Science and industry in the 1930s made it possible to build the Autobahn. It also made it possible to build Auschwitz.

On the other hand, if you look at dual-use tech, AI robotics and cyborgs from an anti-natalist perspective, it’s actually good if a violent species like us is completely replaced by either peaceful cyborgs or AI machines incapable of experiencing any physical or psychological state that’s negative. In such a state there is never boredom for example.

Whether you support Big Tech or not depends on your basic values in life. Individuals who prefer original humanity will naturally be opposed to Big Tech. But if you are an anti-natalist or a believer in transhumanism, then Big Tech is only second to God, if such an entity exists. However, since there is basically no objective or scientific way to determine which moral tribe has truth and ethics on its side in this case, only a game of (raw) power will ultimately decide who wins.

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