The current stage of human societies on Planet Earth has three defining characteristics. One: The extremely rapid penetration of science and technology into human societies, with concomittant changes in their social, economic and political structures. Two: An explosion in the totality of energy-use by industrialized and industrializing human societies, resulting in planet-level (climate) changes posing an existential threat to human and also other species. Three: The development of machines which are becoming more and more “human-like”.
The idea of “natural stupidity” is based upon the belief that machines doing something more quickly than humans is necessarily good. This has captured the minds of most leaders of societies worldwide, with the notable exception of Gandhiji. Such leaders are sold on science and technology (S&T), perhaps out of a respect based upon their inability to understand “scientific” knowledge because it is esoteric. This is partly due to our faulty education system and partly due to the jargon, hype and promises of science and technology, or due to sensing material or political benefit from the use of those technologies. This is reflected in the fact of the widely held belief that S&T can solve all sorts of problems including social problems, and justifying poorly planned introduction of S&T into all aspects of governance.
Power centralization by digitization
Data has been referred to as “the new oil” of the digital economy. Data is a prized commodity and strategic asset. The real-time value of data is when it is acquired, organized as a database, and interpreted as an asset, to enhance national strategic/political aims and objectives or business/commercial interests. Management of the asset can provide valuable, actionable information. Creation and management of a large database can only be done with huge financial, technical and infrastructural resources. Such resources are available only with large business corporations or governments, resulting in centralization of political power, and making data the “oxygen of the digital economy”.
Centralization of political and economic power through deep penetration of digitization would be self-reinforcing and self-perpetuating, determine the nature of transactions and relations within and between digitized societies, and widen existing class and economic gaps. Dissent and protest by under-privileged sections of society arising from asymmetry of power-and-authority within society, will be easily suppressed using digital techniques of surveillance-and-tracking (use of drones), crowd control (using drone-mounted “plasma guns”) and biometric (face-in-the-crowd) identification of leaders of agitations.