The Ghost in the Machine May Well be Marshall McLuhan
This comment was prompted by the linked Salon article below
What I find interesting here is that, on the one hand, the author seems to recognize at least a bit of what McLuhan was talking about in how electrified experience retrieval (as opposed to typography) would change the working dynamics of the environments we now live within. But then, on the other hand, he still demonstrates virtually no clue as to the full extent of what is being demanded of us as regards the organizational model we have; the one still based on typographic thinking.
Context sensitive AI expert systems are now creeping up on the professions, turning them into the same wage slaves as mechanics, machine operators, and other factory workers have already been for quite some time. But the author still thinks that the factory/commercialized delivery of learning, as well as health care, will benefit the masses.
And in all of this the great take away is that the source for Progressives will shift way from where they used to come from.
Where in all of this is the fundamental realization that electrified experience retrieval has changed the entire basis on which Capitalism was founded?
That, firstly, human skill as commodity is an absurdity.
Secondly, that information cannot be allowed to remain the commodity it has now become by default.
And lastly, that the segmented linearity so basic to social organization as a factory cannot work within massively complex, interactive matrices of process flow; especially when so much of it runs at the speed of light.
In other words, complex systems and holistic thinking demand completely new ways to meet social needs; methods the old task bounded, assembly line, and commodity/consumption model is absolutely ill equipped to respond to.
The whole notion of Progressive and Conservative is meaningless in that context. When a complete rethink of how to best balance personal liberty with collective needs is required all of the old labels should be thrown out. The questions now should be how do we make the best use of the way information can be applied now? How do we do that so we can not only govern ourselves but share in both the responsibilities and benefits of these new productive methods, as well as the results of that production.
The sooner we realize this new reality the more we increase our chances of taking the next steps a sentient species ought to take as it leaves behind the economics of scarcity, as well as the primitive tribalism that we've always fallen back on to get us through it.