18 May 2017

"The Circle"

We can confirm Josh Matthews mixed comments on the recently-released film "The Circle." Adequate acting but poor dialog, unmotivated actions, and an unbelievable conclusion. On the other hand, as Matthews observes, 
This is a movie of potent ideas about our use of technology. It points out how prevalent cameras are and how much we depend on algorithms that tell us what’s good and what’s not. It really wrestles hard with the loss of privacy in a time where everything can be recorded, stored forever, and potentially accessed by anybody.
Technology has always influenced human life, of course, but with the increasingly self-referential nature of the digital world, life in community has become ever more susceptible to manipulation.
I'm not a technophobe. I do, for example, appreciate living in North Carolina in an air conditioned house. Yet, from sex robots to artificial wombs, our existence in intimate relationships is becoming less "natural" even though it's part of our created nature. (Alan Jacobs thoughts here are, as usual, insightful.)
Of course, how any of us will be necessary much less flourish in our labor is increasingly open to question with the progress of artificial intelligence.
Over the past 200 years or so we in the West have become increasingly occupied, and now preoccupied, with lives of comfort and ease. Means of avoiding pain relentlessly drive us away from thinking about the ends (or the end) of human existence.
This is also the case in my academic field of contract law where many attending a conference where I presented an early draft of a paper could not fathom the idea that the purpose of contract law aimed at commutative justice and not increasing net social welfare.
Little more than internet hand wringing, I suppose. I have few answers to the question of stopping technologically-enabled human degradation but can hope that readers who have young children will take seriously the need to keep technology in its place.

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