Friday, January 18, 2019
In e-flux Yuk Hui explains the Dark Enlightenment.
Modern technology synchronizes non-Western histories to a global time-axis of Western modernity. As both opportunity and problem, the synchronization process allows the world to enjoy science and technology, but it also draws the world into the global time-axis which, animated by humanism, is moving towards an apocalyptic end, whether it be the technological singularity, the “intelligence explosion,” or the emergence of “superintelligence.” Martin Heidegger already described this global time-axis in 1967: “The end of philosophy proves to be the triumph of the manipulable arrangement of a scientific-technological world and of the social order proper to this world. The end of philosophy means: the beginning of the world-civilization based upon Western European thinking.”15
Orientalists may respond with an uncanny smile: what an exaggerated statement! But the truth easily emerges when we observe the technical apparatus surrounding us and the gigantic force that is pushing us towards an apocalyptic end. What Heidegger calls the “end of philosophy” is nothing but the victory of the anthropological machine, the victory of a humanism that aspires to reinvent Homo sapiens as Homo deus through technological acceleration. Neoreactionaries and transhumanists celebrate artificial intelligence in the name of a posthumanist triumphalism, because superintelligence and technological singularity demonstrate the “possibility of sublime humanity.”
The so-called Dark Enlightenment is an effort to push the Heideggerian “end of philosophy” to the brink through a catastrophic intelligence explosion.
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