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  • Hubert Marlin

Technology and Freedom


Jean-Edern Hallier (1936-1997) the French pamphleteer affirmed "There is also an empty freedom, a freedom of shadows, a freedom which consists only in changing prison, made of vain struggles maintained by modern obscurantism and guided by the false day. "

Meanwhile, no human society has developed technological assets, that help the lives of its members without a minimum of freedom. Technology at the outset is the sovereign expression of free thought, one cannot think and give life to its thinking without a minimum of freedom, also in the process of creation or invention of technology, the freedom to think remains the cardinal factor. However, as the principle clarifies, freedom of some only stops where the freedom of others starts. Is it possible to think freely to create what would infringe the freedom of others? Also, if the principle of freedom is something natural, however it is the repression of its expression.

according to the societies that creates issues No human society has developed technological assets that help the lives of its members without a minimum of freedom. Also, if the principle of freedom is something natural, however it is the repression of its expression according to the societies that creates issues. Technological progress is intrinsically linked to the exercise of freedoms. Feudal, religious or conservative societies tend to prevent technological progress, because the expression of ideas is repressed by the rigid codes that these societies set for themselves. The story of Galileo with the Roman Catholic Church is one of the most compelling examples. Furthermore, it is the political power that most of the time influences decisively the technological progress of countries. The industrial revolution took place because Queen Victoria had found it logical to open her country to the world. Likewise, the discovery of the Americas by the Western fleets would never have been possible without the investment of the European kingdoms which, by putting substantial resources into exploration and colonization campaigns, helped in a consistent manner the evolution of new technologies Furthermore, it is the political power that most of the time influences decisively the technological progress of countries. The industrial revolution took place because Queen Victoria had found it logical to open her country to the world. Likewise, the discovery of the Americas by the Western fleets would never have been possible without the investment of the European kingdoms which, by putting substantial resources into exploration and colonization campaigns, helped in a consistent manner the evolution of new technologies.

The history of slavery and colonization that followed enabled the West to progress not only through the labor of slaves, but also by some discoveries that colonists made while exploring the African continent, also if Victorian England had not recovered some principles of ironwork in the kingdom of Ghana; it is certain that the industrial revolution would not have known the incidence it had without an adequate iron work knowledge.

Societies that acquire better means in the free expansion of knowledge recover in return the technological progress of other societies or civilizations, that may know a decline, also the West is not smarter and did not invent everything for the others, but simply benefited from the freedom to disseminate the knowledge in its geographical area whereas the others were losing this freedom including under its negative impulse.

However, it should be noted that in the context of the discovery of America, slavery and colonization, technological progress has been reached at the expense of the freedom of certain peoples. While the Westerners allowed themselves all kind of freedom, the Africans at the same time were losing it drastically. At this level one can legitimately ask the question, whether the technological progress, during slavery and colonization would have been different, if the peoples who lost their freedom had remained rather free? It is easy to understand that the overall level of human technological progress would have been better than the one observed; because people would have coexisted peacefully and would have exchanged knowledge more freely, which could only be beneficial to global human progress. The bullying and the genocide of slavery and colonization, caused humanity to lose, beings who would have been free to think and use their grey matter to find new solutions to the challenge that humanity would face. For the same reasons, a certain knowledge was destroyed in Africa and everywhere else, for the murderous domination, because it did not please those who had the deterrent force to be challenged with inventions, they saw as a threat to the order they were establishing.Also, for example African writings were destroyed, and all the knowledge that it held with, because it was necessary to sell to the world the idea of a barbaric Africa , where the sub humans who lived there were only good at forced labor. Also, as in societies dominated by an entity that enforces repression of thought, slavery and colonization have not allowed technology to evolve despite some examples of brilliant inventor of Africans in the Americas, like Granville Woods.

Many thinkers working on the issue of freedom and technology, insists that, it is not technology that is bad, but it is, its use that can be bad. Arguing that many inventions have often been applied to purposes far removed from what those who invented them hoped to use them for. If this is true for some principle like nuclear energy, which may also have civilian use, it is important to point out that more and more product of inventions have a definite purpose from their inception. One that invents a virus that is capable to steal confidential information, knows very well what the purpose of its invention is. From this point of view its responsibility must be committed, even if on the other side it can be admitted that certain law enforcement entities, for example can use the same program, to recover some information that would help them catch criminals. One should be aware that the same police authority of a given country, would use the same technology to track down honest peoples for shady purposes. Another aspect and not the least is the freedom to create, which would be a luxury that the poor cannot afford. indeed, there is a consistent relationship between inventions and underdeveloped countries because in general to create the mind and the body need to live in an environment conducive to invention, and this implies, an environment that allows the hatching of inventive thought. If the struggle can force some inventive spirits to create solutions, that would make life easier as the pygmy who understands what kind of trap he has to set to catch game necessary to his nutrition, it is important to understand that the state of necessity, does not always force the creative cogitation. It is on the contrary an obstacle to development, especially in a world that is defined in modernity and that excludes some beings of the access to certain tools that would allow their technological evolution. Also, for example how in a modern world, one who does not have access to the Internet or the knowledge of algorithms, can create an application that will help the mail distribution in rural areas in deep Africa, while in the so-called developed countries, it’s well known that computer scientists do not have time to create applications for a market that cannot allow them to make profit.In countries of the Third World, technological repression due to the economic difficulties imposed by the established order that make countries of sub-Saharan Africa entities exploited purely and simply for their raw materials, one can logically witness the repression of the freedom to create, when the rare technology that is tolerated is often the prerogative of rogue governments that use this technology in the repression of fundamental freedoms.

While, the wise African once stated, that it is necessary to turn your tongue 3 times before speaking, Stanislaw JerzyLec, considers that It is essential to refuse freedom of speech before having acquired freedom of thought. New information technologies and social networks have become a double-edged technological tool. The expression of the freedom to think on social networks also leads to the repression of freedom, because in so-called democratic countries like in dictatorships, more and more peoples are free to say what they want but after stating their mind, more and more peoples are losing their freedom, in the sense that the new information technologies have enabled governments around the world to build up an important data bank that now allows them to list those who think good or bad about their policies and take often coercive measures against individuals.

In addition it should be noted that if the technology allows the populace around the world to get information as quickly as possible, it is not without adverse effects; because false or real information disseminated on the Internet can manipulate the masses, whose capacity of judgment can be put to test, with the circulation of information that is sometimes disseminated under the prism of an ideology peculiar to entities that enjoy the greatest deterrent and persuasive power. If some believe that technology can take mankind hostage by turning humans slaves of the machine instead of making it a tool of help, it is not absurd to think that it is to humans first to keep control over what serve them, restrict the freedom of material creation is nothing degrading, unless in the years to come some will believe that computers in the logic of artificial intelligence should also have rights that humans should respect, like animals rights. Ultimately, the freedom to create or invent at any time must be accompanied by morality. If now the technology allows to retrieve the facial recognition data of individuals from their profile pictures on social networks or on iPhone, it’s not a reason sufficient enough to use this scheme against humans, in extrajudicial executions by drones armed with explosive charges that are specially designed to hit dead individuals on the basis of their faciès traits.

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Hubert Marlin E. Jr.

Journalist


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