2004 – “One-Half Manifiesto” Por Jaron Lanier

Jaron Lanier es un músico e informático estadounidense, pionero en la década de 1980 en el campo de la “realidad virtual” . En 1985 fundó  VPL Research, Inc., la primera compañía que vendió gafas y guantes de realidad virtual.

SCREED GRAB

One-Half of a Manifesto

Why stupid software will save the future from neo-Darwinian machines.

By Jaron Lanier

For the last 20 years, I have found myself on the inside of a revolution, but on the outside of its resplendent dogma. Now that the revolution has not only hit the mainstream, but bludgeoned it into submission by taking over the economy, it’s probably time for me to cry out my dissent more loudly than I have before.

And so I shared the following thoughts with the members of Edge.org, many of whom are, as much as anyone, responsible for this revolution, one which champions the ascent of cybernetic technology as culture. That first “One-Half of a Manifesto,” as technology manifestos sometimes do, quickly blossomed across other Web sites and beyond.

The dogma I object to is composed of a set of interlocking beliefs and doesn’t have a generally accepted overarching name as yet, though I sometimes call it “cybernetic totalism.” It has the potential to transform human experience more powerfully than any prior ideology, religion, or political system ever has, partly because it can be so pleasing to the mind, at least initially, but mostly because it gets a free ride on the overwhelmingly powerful technologies that happen to be created by people who are, to a large degree, true believers.

Readers might be surprised by my use of the word “cybernetic.” I find the word problematic, so I’d like to explain why I chose it. I searched for a term that united the diverse ideas I was exploring, and also connected current thinking and culture with earlier generations of thinkers who touched on similar topics. The original usage of cybernetic, as by Norbert Wiener, was certainly not restricted to digital computers. It was originally meant to suggest a metaphor between marine navigation and a feedback device that governs a mechanical system, such as a thermostat. Wiener recognized and humanely explored the extraordinary reach of this metaphor, one of the most powerful ever expressed.

The fear: cyber-Armageddon in our lifetimes, a cataclysm brought on when computers become ultra-intelligent masters of matter and life.

I hope no one will think I’m equating cybernetics and what I’m calling cybernetic totalism. The distance between recognizing a great metaphor and treating it as the only metaphor is the same as the distance between humble science and dogmatic religion.

Here is a partial roster of the component beliefs of cybernetic totalism:
1. Cybernetic patterns of information provide the ultimate and best way to understand reality.
2. People are no more than cybernetic patterns.
3. Subjective experience either doesn’t exist, or is unimportant because it is some sort of ambient or peripheral effect.
4. What Darwin described in biology, or something like it, is in fact also the singular, superior description of all creativity and culture.
5. Qualitative as well as quantitative aspects of information systems will be inexorably accelerated by Moore’s law.

And finally, the most dramatic:
6. Biology and physics will merge with computer science (becoming biotechnology and nanotechnology), resulting in life and the physical universe becoming mercurial; achieving the supposed nature of computer software. Furthermore, all of this will happen very soon! Since computers are improving so quickly, they will overwhelm all the other cybernetic processes, like people, and will fundamentally change the nature of what’s going on in the familiar neighborhood of Earth at some moment when a new “criticality” is achieved – maybe in about the year 2020. To be a human after that moment will be either impossible or something very different than we now can know. (…) ”  

Lee el artículo completo en inglés

Traducción al castellano de fragmentos de la primera parte del artículo
“Durante los últimos 20 años, me he encontrado en el interior de una revolución, pero ajeno a su resplandeciente dogma. (…)
El dogma que cuestiono está formado por un conjunto de creencias entrelazadas y aunque todavía no tiene un nombre aceptado de manera generalizada, a veces lo llamo “totalitarismo cibernético”. Tiene el potencial de transformar la experiencia humana con mayor fuerza de lo que lo ha hecho antes cualquier ideología, religión o sistema político (…)
El miedo: ciber-Armageddon en nuestras vidas, un cataclismo provocado cuando las computadoras se conviertan en amos ultra-inteligente de la materia y la vida.
Espero que nadie piense que estoy equiparando la cibernética y lo que estoy llamando totalitarismo cibernético. (…)
Aquí está una lista parcial de las creencias que componen el totalitarismo cibernético:
1. Patrones cibernéticos de información proporcionan la mejor y definitiva manera de comprender la realidad.
2. Las personas no son más que modelos cibernéticos.
3. La experiencia subjetiva no existe, o no es importante, porque es una especie de efecto ambiental o periférico.
4. Lo que Darwin describió en biología, o algo parecido, es de hecho también la descripción singular, superior de toda creatividad y cultura.
5. Tanto los aspectos cualitativos como cuantitativos de los sistemas de información están sometidos, inexorablemente, a la ley de Moore.
Y finalmente, la más dramático:
6. La biología y la física se fusionarán con la informática (convirtiéndose en biotecnología y a nanotecnología), haciendo que la vida y el universo físico se conviertan en mutables; logro de la supuesta naturaleza de los programas informáticos.(…)”