TITLE: The Use And Abuse Of Vegetational Concepts
This episode investigates how machine ideas such as cybernetics and systems theory were applied to natural ecosystems, and how this relates to the false idea that there is a balance of nature. Cybernetics has been applied to human beings in an attempt to build societies without central control, self organising networks built of people, based on a fantasy view of nature.
TITLE: Love and Power
In the first episode, Curtis traces the effects of Ayn Rand's ideas on American financial markets, particularly via the influence on #Alan #Greenspan.
Ayn Rand moved to New York and set up a reading group called The Collective where they considered her work. On advice from a friend, Greenspan (then a logical positivist) joined The Collective.
When published, although critically savaged, Rand's Objectivist ideas were popular, and influenced people working in the technology sector of California. The Californian Ideology, that computer networks could:
- measure - control - stabilise societies - remove political control
People would work only for their own happiness, a utopian belief that became widespread in Silicon Valley.
Greenspan entered government in the 70s, and became Chairman of the Federal Reserve. In 1992, he visited the newly elected Bill Clinton. He persuaded him to let the markets grow, cut taxes, and to let the markets stabilise themselves with the help of computer technology, to create the New economy. This involved using computer models to predict risks and hedge against them, in accordance with the Californian Ideology.
TITLE: The Monkey in the Machine and the Machine in the Monkey
This episode looks into the selfish gene theory invented by William Hamilton, which holds that humans are machines controlled by genes. Curtis also covers the source of ethnic conflict that was created by Belgian colonialism's artificial creation of a racial divide and the ensuing slaughter that occurred in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is a source of raw material for computers and cell phones.
Richard Dawkins took the equations and popularised them and explained that humans are -simply machines- created by the selfish genes. In a sense, reinventing the immortal soul, but as computer code in the form of the genes.
By this point Hamilton was well-honoured. However, by now he supported eugenics. He heard a story that HIV had been created from an accident with a polio vaccine, which it was thought could have been contaminated with a chimp virus.
Curtis ends the episode by saying that Hamilton's ideas that humans are computers controlled by the genes have become accepted wisdom. But he asks whether we have accepted a fatalistic philosophy that humans are helpless computers to explain and excuse the fact that, as in the Congo, we are effectively unable to improve and change the world.
Created 5 months, 2 weeks ago.
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