“America seeks only Profit, compete like animals; We socialists are doing it for Humanity, Science, our Future.”
This is an aside, really. I’m not quite done with my shoegaze excursion but the mix here (and I’ve heard some of the songs before) and the accompanying artwork is too precious and I don’t want to lose track of it, which is easy enough to do with so many digital distractions. It’s not even a rabbit hole some days where you are almost guaranteed to exit the way you entered. It’s more of a science fiction wormhole where you enter and end up in some unknown place on the other side of the galaxy. This was too good to risk that.
It is, in this case, back to hauntology. I’d just read an article on electronic surveillance and another on fears of AI, so this fits. Technology is now, and will be, our direction. Barring some cataclysmic event that sends us hurtling back to the Stone Age (yes, a possibility) all these technologies will be an increasingly driving factor in our lives. The difference now from even the 70s and 80s is that our science fiction type fears of technology, and our skepticism has taken more of a hold. The world, regardless of background, was captivated by tech and the Space Age. Now in the century when we thought we were going to have flying cars, more of an instinctual, atavistic fear has taken hold. The Matrix has become a real fear, and perhaps rightly so. The Terminator franchise doesn’t seem that unrealistic, though much of that I’m pretty sure is an externalization of other doubts, political and social. Our certainty over issues of right and wrong and moral and immoral maybe. In short, I do believe that our fears of technology now are more about our fear of ourselves. We are, generally speaking, just self aware enough to know how lame we are and we see the potential of further abuses. We are used to the old types of abuse and look back on it with nostalgia.
The one common existential threat of old was a foreign nation, either the USSR or China, hitting that big red button and incinerating the planet. Now we discuss threat in two disparate terms. One is from people we describe (in a pretty racist way) as Stone Age. The other is that we will create entities so far superior to us that they will decide they no longer need us. The irony is incredibly deep. The human race still hasn’t gone to any great lengths to ensure equal rights for all humans, and doesn’t seem to intend to by and large, and we’re discussing whether or not things we create in labs should have any rights at all. Yes, we are having these discussions. How close to human does an android have to be… how sentient does an AI have to be… before we have to treat it as an equal. You don’t have to imagine the dilemma as we are still embattled in prehistoric arguments about granting each other rights.
But there was a time when some people were looking towards a collective Utopian vision of a technology driven future. And many, many people were excited by the prospect.
This post is a bit redundant, and that’s done purposely on my part. I don’t want to lose this thread. There is a lot more to explore and ponder. Apologies to those who’ve been following along at home. The Sovietwave mixes though really embody this hauntology… this nostalgia for the future that didn’t (any may never) happen. They’re special in that respect. It’s easy enough to write a love song, or something about heartbreak, a cheating girlfriend etc. To capture something bigger in the process though is another story. A vibe. A vision. Whatever. It’s there.