Technopolitics

berlin-1429878_1280Elected politicians need find their proper roles with respect to technology policy as regards the technologies of the future as laissez-faire is as unhelpful as are typically suffocating state monopolies. Considering that societal change is spearheaded by technological change need elected officials take a proactive role in ethico-politically welcoming the emerging technological future.

A predominant perception in industrial modernity has long been that societal change is primarily a function of ideology and economy. While superficially speaking this is no doubt true, the fact is that both ideological change and economic change are outcomes of technological change and therefore ultimately originating in technological innovation and technological development.  

The question of technopolitics has therefore typically for the most part been sorely disregarded in political discourse in open societies of liberal democracy. There is in particular a profound contemporary confusion among elected representatives and elected governments alike about their roles with regard to government policy concerning technology. One common contemporary view is that governments should be neutral regarding different technologies as deployed for similar functional purposes and so technological change is therefore regarded as always being an intrinsic outcome of competition in free markets.

For example, all the necessary technologies for ending the highly detrimental contemporary climate change that is global warming are already available. Solar power is highly developed and virtually no other form of energy is needed. Electric cars are highly developed and can therefore be powered by electricity as produced by solar energy. The most despicable Animal Industry of Evil significantly contributes to global warming and there is a tremendous global diversity of plant-based dairy products and plant-based meat products. Plant-based agriculture should move indoors with food being grown on walls inside factories with sunshine being efficiently reflected onto the agricultural walls and the technology is already ready and available. Most agricultural fields worldwide should subsequently be planted with forests as should most deserts and other open areas globally where forests can be planted. The investment in global reforestation is not impossibly high considered what is at stake as wealthier countries should therefore also fund reforestation in countries lacking in financial resources.

The technologies are in all the above cases already developed and available and would easily put an end to global warming. All that is needed is an international agreement by say the US, the EU and Japan to outlaw the very technological practices that cause global warming and start a global reforestation program. Such a decision would at least retroactively become accepted by most other members of the international community since ultimately it is obviously in their interest too to end global warming and so other governments would increasingly also sign the new international convention and also join the global reforestation program.

However, most governments seem to quite peculiarly believe that change with regard to global warming should be decided by the markets and that government intervention should be limited to government manipulation of markets. This is highly peculiar as all that is required in resolving this extremely important issue is developing international law in simply outlawing the very unethical technologies that cause global warming and jumpstart a global reforestation program. The cause of this bizarre behavior on the part of the governments of the international community is simply confusion among politicians about the proper role of governments with regard to vital political issues concerning technologies.

Another important political issue concerning technology is VR (virtual reality). While most futurologists do agree that the future indeed belongs to VR, the assumption is that this change too should be solely be driven by free markets. However, the universal introduction of VR is an important political issue and governments therefore have an important role to play here too. For example could a government decide to universally introduce VR in that country’s public sector. This would save enormous amounts of taxpayers’ money as the universal introduction of VR in the public sector would enable the closedown of most classrooms, hospital rooms and offices in thus saving vast sums of money for the public sector as most labor in the public sector would be performed from home in VR. A government could also task major technology companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple to power this change.

Again, all that is needed is a government decision as the private sector would no doubt follow suite in universally introducing VR in the private sector as well including with regard to the closedown of IRL (in-real-life) offices, IRL stores and even IRL factories that would be largely be supplanted by at home 3D printers recycling materials from previous, yet no longer wanted products at home. For example could new clothes with the desired functional and fashion specification therefore be printed out every day in thus simply ending the need for washing clothes. Using at-home 3D printers to print out purchased products means that most IRL products purchased in VR could be almost instantly be put to use IRL.

However, introducing VR universally certainly requires political vision and the issue of the right to freedom of communication is therefore paramount. This is both a liberty and a right; a freedom in the sense that freedom of communication is essential to digitized open society and a right in the sense that it must be available wherever you live. VR society will increasingly end the current intrinsic advantages with living in IRL cities and IRL cities are therefore quite likely to increasingly become depopulated as the quality of living is higher and available at a much lower cost in the countryside. This means that clean environments will for the first time be valued as a valuable commodity by the markets.

This also means that it is a vital political issue to make sure that excellent high-quality telecommunications are available everywhere in e.g. enabling children to attend education in VR no matter where they live and for anyone to start an online business no matter where she lives. This does not mean that all telecommunications must be supplied by governments but rather that governments must ensure that excellent, high-quality telecommunications are available everywhere, no matter where you live just as governments in the 20th century made sure that ordinary telephone services became universally available everywhere no matter where you lived at a standardized cost.

It also means that the current conflict between freedom of communication and intellectual rights must be intelligently resolved without restricting open society. Intellectual rights must therefore be redefined in the digitized age. Most products sold in VR will no doubt be virtual, whether for printout by at-home 3D printers or entirely virtual in cyberspace without any physical presence IRL.

It is therefore essential to limit the timespan of intellectual rights on the simple criterion of novelty. This means that novelty would determine copyright of e.g. technological innovation, yet the copyright period for technological innovation should be as short as possible. Patents therefore must be abolished to be replaced by technological copyright as patents are an intrinsic obstacle to innovation by ordinary citizens who in most cases simply cannot afford patent litigation by major corporations. The timespan of copyright must therefore become as short as possible in ensuring rapid introduction in the markets and encouraging other innovators to rapidly make improvements to existing innovations.

As the economic era of Capitalism is being gradually supplanted by emerging economic era of Talentism and where no longer economic capital but advanced cognitive skills requiring emotions (i.e. idiosyncratic talent) such as creativity, empathy, thinking out of the box and intellectual teamwork increasingly become paramount. This also means that the system of education must be completely revamped so as to meet the challenges of technological change so as to allow citizens to remain relevant as professionals in an economy where current major professions both blue-collar and white-collar become mostly supplanted by technologies except where advanced emotive cognitive skills (i.e. talent) are needed.

Most technologies can be used ethically, unethically or ethically neutral and legislation with regard to technology must therefore emphasize ethical conduct and usage with respect to consumers, non-human persons, the environment, employees, business partners and certainly health.

Technology policy is therefore needed in most forms of government policymaking and decision-makers thus need to grasp the vital importance of ethico-futuristic policymaking with respect to the technologies of the increasingly imminent future.