Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Interview on Ecotopia

Our guest was Dmitry Orlov, author of Shrinking the Technosphere: Getting a Grip on Technologies that Limit Our Autonomy, Self-Sufficiency, and Freedom, published by New Society. He writes about the "technosphere," the world of technology that claims to make our lives simpler and more efficient, from microwaves to cell phones, from radios to satellite TV. He says that the technosophere (which he contrasts to the more natural "bisophere") has a mind of its own that seeks to homogenize Homo sapiens with an amoral focus on growth, control, "progress," and obedience and conformity. His solutions principally involve downsizing and simplifying, stepping outside oneself to break the control of technology in our lives.

Listen to the interview.


arendvancampen said...

Great Interview Dimitry. When we are in Holland, we too live on our boat. What I wanted to share is this as an attempt to use systems theory / systems thinking to solve the issues you discuss in your various articles and interviews. Goodluck, Happy 2017!

Dec. 28, 2016
This is an excerpt from my upcoming book ‘Coltan, Congo’s Curse’

Pauline has a chance to address the US President and the United Nations Secretary General on solving global crises such as the one on conflict minerals in Africa.

Pauline suddenly realised that a more senior and more powerful audience than today would be impossible and with a nodded encouragement of Erik, she cleared her throat and tried to simplify her answer because this would be one unique chance only.
‘Gentlemen,’ she started, ‘Systems theory or Systems Thinking is science. It is a rather recent, but not a new science of how we see, understand and experience our world. It emerged around the nineteen twenties based on the vision that the whole cannot be understood from the parts alone. We see this world, our earth or planet as a living system where everything on it, the people, the sky, the plants, the water, all, are interconnected and interdependent because only as a complete system it can create, function and sustain life. (Continued on my blog: www.businessethicsweekly.blogspot.com )

Kelvin said...

I just read this alarming article posted at the Intercept, and, corroborating what Dmitry said in this interview about the Technosphere knowing no limits, not even our thoughts and emotions are off limits from it, Virtual Reality (VR) is poised to be yet a further encroachment of the Technosphere on human life:


Jim R said...


Perhaps one of the best ways to evaluate a technology lies along the local/global axis ... essentially local=good, global=bad. Big "solar farms" = bad, but some panes on your roof = good.

... Which ties in with the power of 150, and the ancient principle of "power corrupts".

This occurred to me when Cochabamba was in the news, the "water wars". Which organization does a better job of managing the local water resource, the natives in Bolivia, or a multinational corporation operating out of Belgium?

Of course, the current denigration of Russia is based on the attempt by the psychopaths-in-charge to establish a global government. More stuff for them, and a giant fuck-you to almost everybody else.

Opposing the establishment of local government, we have the enormous advantage of large organizations, which can mobilize thousands (100s of 000s?) of soldiers to press that advantage for an even more lopsided advantage. And supporting the local movement, is the tendency of large organizations to rot in the cesspool of their own inbred management ranks.

Do we want to be more like ancient Egypt, maintaining a steady status-quo for thousands of years? (well, it's too late for that) ... Or continue this organic existence, with its boom and bust cycle. . . just thinking randomly here.

The thing is, absent major advances in AI (these self-driving cars have less intelligence than cockroaches), I don't see the technosphere getting too much farther down the road. As you were saying, it has blind spots. And it will run out of energy and collapse, sooner than later.