Technological reductionism hypothesis


Artistic representation of the transhumanism movement - PhonlamaiPhoto/iStock

In this article, we will develop a short hypothesis to focus on the relation we have to technology. We will project ourselves to explore what may be this future technological relation tendancy. This hypothesis is built on empirical obeservations, and its goal is to warn about eventual dangers of technology and to open a debate.


Elements:


Reductionism: Reductionism is a philosophical approach which consist in describing associations between phenomena with other simpler — or more fundamental — phenomena.

In this article, we will use the methodological reductionism to produce an explanation built on smaller entities.


Transuhmanism: Transhumanism is an international movement that advocates for the transformation of the human condition by developing and making widely available sophisticated technologies to enhanced human intellect and physiology, logically raising ethical questions about posthuman beings.



Idea shot :


This hypothesis is built on the general postulate that the number of actions required to interract with reality tend to decrease with time and technological progress.

Non-exclusive examples could be the invention of the elevator, the creation of autopilot for aeroplanes or — currently — cars and drones, the e-commerce popularization, the dematerilisation of banking systems, the arrival of touch technology, or the democratization of artificial intelligence.


To fluidly explain the technological reductionism hypothesis we will use the following diagram:

The red arrow represent the status of our relation to technology, it passes through several circles:


  1. Do: Interracting with reality through technology by the use of our body, manually, with movements. Most of our current relation to technology is still in this layer. For example, when you are using your touchscreen, your computer, driving your car, or using the light switch. An incredible example of this concept pushed to its limit would be the technology behind Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair.

  2. Think: Using technology to interract with reality through our mind, our thoughts — doing become obsolete. Less widespread, it already exists, people with severe paralysis may benefit from this kind of technology, presently requiring brain implants. Some great application came from France, enabling a paralyzed person to walk with an exoskeleton. Other application may allow you to control a drone or a robot with your mind, through a dedicated helmet, once your brain activity is modelized. You could even control a prosthetic with your thoughts thanks to artificial intelligence and specialized operations.

  3. Be: Interracting with reality with our biological indentity — reality adapt to our biological needs without necessity for doing or thinking. This layer is mostly experimental and theoretical at the moment but is slowly drawing near. For example, scientists succeed to predict epileptic seizure in mouse with implants up to 2 minutes before it happens using artificial intelligence. This could be helpfull for medical purposes, but in this case, technology outrun the first two layers.


This explanation tend to validate our initial postulate and highlight a — put your adjective here — future. We could summarize the technological reductionism hypothesis by the following sentence:


With time and progress, technology tend to become more and more intrusive into psychic and biological intimacy.



Open to thoughts:


The current relation we have to technology is a mix of the three layers (the circles), and tend to displace itself to the inner layer. Extreme fall into this transhumanist technological future would create a dystopian world. It may be better to ring the alarm before it's too late.


At the inner extremum (the third layer pushed to the extrem), a technology directly responding to our biological needs would be able to read our thoughts, physical needs, and chemical emotions. If it's all managed by artificial intelligence, runned without any human control (in both senses), we would be living with a technological perfusion, truly alarming from a human and ethical point of view — leaving us in a kind of matrix-like fiction.



Note:


The primary goal of this hypothesis is not to defend such a technological development but to trigger reactions:


Is that the future we — as a species — want to create? No, I hope.


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