"Marx says that revolutions are the locomotive of world history. But perhaps it is quite otherwise. Perhaps revolutions are an attempt by the passengers on this train – namely, the human race – to pull the emergency brake." —Walter Benjamin It’s so fast that we’re bored of speed. Our brains can’t capture the flow of data at the latency required. The 1950s technobrains thought that this high speed shuffling of matter and energy would bring about freedom: robots liberating us from the toil required to survive. In Hannah Barbera’s 21st century, George Jetson only works nine hours a week, Rosie the robot does the cleaning, and Judy presses a button to produce a cooked meal. But there’s no Rosie the robot, and full-time workers rarely work less than forty hours a week. The Jetson’s mirror of the 1950s nuclear family erodes into the noise of an increasingly unintelligible society. Their rockets and flying cars were too slow compared to the photons inside optical cables. No fulfilling family life, nor flying cars or interstellar space flight, only more noise, waste and speed that becomes increasingly more opaque.
Thanks for this latest essay. Now to get down to another serious round of study. Bill in Fredericksburg VA.