Here, flagged up by Bruce Sterling, is an absolutely vital rant (by Dale Carrico) for anyone with even the most remotely passing interest in transhumanism, extropianism, the radiant future, etc. etc.
Manages to sum up in a few paragraphs a large chunk of my thinking on the subject since I finished Accelerando and recovered from the dot-bust hangover. Sample:
I have proposed that the "accelerating change" crowed about for the last two decades by futurologists in pop religious cadences and by more mainstream and academic New Media commentators in pop psychology and pop sociology cadences has never had any substantial reference apart from the increasing precarity produced by neoliberal looting and destabilization of domestic welfare and global economies—often facilitated, it is true, by the exploitation of digital trading, marketing, and surveillance networks—a precarity usually seen and experienced from the vantage of privileged people who either benefit from neoliberal destabilization or who (rightly or wrongly) identify with the beneficiaries of that destabilization.Got that?
Shorter version: a big chunk of the "accelerating change" meme actually emerges from our experience of the future shock induced by our Martian invaders — the corporatist liquidation or privatisation of human social structures not mediated by money, culminating ultimately in the experience of disaster capitalism.
Yes, there is rapid technological progress in some areas. It's not all bad. But the beneficiaries of that particular shift (a narrow technological elite, and their masters in the shape of the 0.1%, the financial/social engineers who direct the new hive-organism aristocracy) have made a fetish out of change, ignoring (for the most part) the uncomfortable fact that "creative destruction" is an oxymoron:
... there is an unmistakably faith-mobilizing pseudo-transcendentalizing strain to be discerned in this very PR marketing imaginary, deranging us from our present distress into a yearning toward consumer techno-futures bathed in pastels and robots and cars and DNA helices and chocolate and glossy hair and youthful skin and golden sex.So there! (That's us told.)
Seriously, go read the whole thing. It's an essential reality check for those who are too entranced by transhumanism to notice the sordid reality behind the curtain. (Yes, I am grumpy this morning. Wouldn't you be, if you woke from a diamond-encrusted dream of exponential progress to find yourself in a nation gripped by a double-dip recession induced by economic idiocy?)
Update: There is a rottenness at the heart of the transhuman project, and the biggest symptom of it is blindness to its own origins: a mixture of warmed-over Christian apocalyptic eschatology (which Cory Doctorow and I poke with a stick in "The Rapture of the Nerds") and the Just-So creation mythology of the smugly self-satisfied hypercapitalists who have unintentionally done so much to destroy so many of the moral and interpersonal values of post-Englightenment civilization.