The myth of technological inevitability

“The myth of technological and political and social inevitability is a powerful tranquilizer of the conscience.
Its service is to remove responsibility from the shoulders of everyone who truly believes in it. But, in fact, there are actors!”

“As we ourselves have also observed, the reification of complex systems that have no authors, about which we know only that they were somehow given us by science and that they speak with its authority, permits no questions of truth or justice to be asked.

I cannot tell why the spokesmen I have cited want the developments they forecast to become true.

Some of them have told me that they work on them for the morally bankrupt reason that “If we don’t do it, someone else will.”

They fear that evil people will develop superintelligent machines and use them to oppress mankind, and that the only defense against these enemy machines will be superintelligent machines controlled by us, that is, by well-intentioned people. Others reveal that they have abdicated their autonomy by appealing to the “principle” of technological inevitability“.

Joseph Weizenbaum, Computer power and human reason. From judgement to calculation, 1976

Weizenbaum è il signore che fece Eliza, il primo chatbot della storia.

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