Hobgoblin of the Hypermind

2023.06.26 by Josh Erb; 334 words.

"AI doesn't replace work [...] But it does change how work is organized."
-- Erik Duhaime, quoted in Inside the AI Factory

Recently, as I was reading this well researched article in The Verge: Inside the AI Factory, a small, sad truth began to nibble at the edges of my mind. The technology of today creates the potential for massive coordination of efforts. Coordination at a scale so immense that it might conceive and accomplish projects that a single member of the species is incapable of fully comprehending. A networked mind on a nearly planetary scale, dedicated to solving problems. A veritable hypermind to address the hyperobjects we are beset by.[1]

We see this potential being half-understood and wrestled into the service of "Artificial Intelligenceā„¢," as demonstrated by the article linked above. But, as is the case with so many things in our unimaginative and misguided century, it has been harnessed by the vampiric whims of global capital. More concerned with increasing the likelihood that you will buy a trinket or pay for a service than any grand vision of the future it might engender, save for the vague one mentioned in the endless surge of marketing schlock. Capital has no respect nor interest in cultivating such a networked mind beyond chasing the diminishing chemical thrill of increased returns from financial quarter to financial quarter.

The defining spirit of our age is a perverse fable, wherein we continue to believe our salvation will be handed down by some benevolent technologist. Always blind to the truth that we are both the engine that builds it and the minds that might bend it toward a more inspired future.

  1. This is meant to be a riff on the term "hyperobject" coined by Timothy Morton when referring to an object that is so widely distributed across time and space that its full extent cannot be grasped from a single, localized perspective (e.g. Global Warming, Plastic Pollution, Nuclear Weapons, &c.)

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