This is a fine essay by James Poulos on the failure of “mass enlightenment” to occur via technology and the urge of the institutional elites to add more technology to fix the problem:

On those premises, the internet arose. By the light of the institutionalists, digital technology — developed and implemented by people intelligent enough to know that humans had to be saved from their humanity — would achieve a degree of automated peace and harmony unparalleled in the history of life on earth. Those who fixed their imaginations on using the newest machinery of enlightenment to build networks of universal connectivity would change humanity to comport with what they imagined.

As some of those institutionalists are now reluctantly recognizing in horror, that is not what happened. Instead of consummating their imaginative project, the internet is disenchanting their imagination. Rather than a new age of universal harmony, automated by machines programmed to critically interpret reality in perfectly authoritative ways, digital technology has unearthed and organized deplorably bad factions, bad individuals, and bad content on an unimaginable scale. And it has caused that innate human malevolence to burst from the confines of the digital realm, re-infecting the real world that had seemed to have been so fully sterilized of threats to health and safety.

 

 

Posted by Matthew Loftus

Matthew Loftus teaches and practices Family Medicine in Baltimore and East Africa. His work has been featured in Christianity Today, Comment, & First Things and he is a regular contributor for Christ and Pop Culture. You can learn more about his work and writing at www.MatthewAndMaggie.org

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