He that builds a fair house on an ill seat, committeth himself to prison."
And what now develops, in the space of hardly a century, is a drama of such greatness that the men of a future Culture, with other soul and other passions, will hardly be able to resist the conviction that "in those days" nature herself was tottering.
…The intoxicated soul wills to fly above space and Time. An ineffable longing tempts him to indefinable horizons. Man would free himself from the earth, rise into the infinite, leave the bonds of the body, and circle in the universe of space amongst the stars…
Hence the fantastic traffic that crosses the continents in a few days, that puts itself across oceans in floating cities, that bores through mountains, rushes about in subterranean labyrinths, uses the steam-engine till its last possibilities have been exhausted, and then passes on to the gas-engine, and finally raises itself above the roads and railways and flies in the air; hence it is that the spoken word is sent in one moment over the oceans; hence comes the ambition to break all records and beat all dimensions, to build giant halls for giant machines, vast ships and bridge-spans, buildings that deliriously scrape the clouds, fabulous forces pressed together to a focus to obey the hand of a child; stamping and quivering and droning works of steel and glass in which tiny man moves as unlimited monarch and, at the last feels nature as beneath him.
And these machines become in their forms less and ever less human, ascetic, mystic, esoteric. They weave the earth over with an infinite web of subtle forces, currents, and tensions. Their bodies become ever more and more immaterial, ever less noisy. The wheels, rollers, and levers are vocal no more. All that matters withdraws itself into the interior.
"Those who dream of feasting wake to lamentation."
|Ursula Le Guin|
"One cannot suppress a certain indignation when one sees men's actions on the great world-stage and finds, beside the wisdom that appears here and there among individuals, everything in the large woven together from folly, childish vanity, even from childish malice and destructiveness. In the end, one does not know what to think of the human race, so conceited in its gifts."
Society often forgives the criminal. It never forgives the dreamer. The beautiful sterile emotions that art excites in us, are hateful in its eyes, and so completely are people dominated by the tyranny of this dreadful social ideal that they are always coming shamelessly up to one at Private Views and other places that are open to the general public, and saying in a loud, stentorian voice, “What are you doing?” whereas “What are you thinking?” is the only question that any single civilized being should ever be allowed to whisper to another…But someone should teach them that while, in the opinion of society, Contemplation is the gravest sin of which any citizen can be guilty, in the opinion of the highest culture it is the proper occupation of man.
Looking into the future (Viggo Mortensen in “The Road”)
We are unable to imagine it. I will be quick to add: that includes me. I too have difficulty in describing an exciting future for all of society in 100 years that seems plausible given what is happening today. I can imagine singular threads of the future rolling out positive — massive, continuous, cheap, real time connection between all humans, or total genetic control over crop plants, or synthetic solar fusion energy — but it is hard to see how all these threads weave into the other threads of climate change, population decrease, habitat loss, human attention overload, robot replacement, and accelerating AI.
Will networked, automated, artificial intelligence (AI) applications and robotic devices have displaced more jobs than they have created by 2025?
In the end, a number of these experts took pains to note that none of these potential outcomes—from the most utopian to most dystopian—are etched in stone. Although technological advancement often seems to take on a mind of its own, humans are in control of the political, social, and economic systems that will ultimately determine whether the coming wave of technological change has a positive or negative impact on jobs and employment.