Liang

論工業社會及其未來-技術是比對自由的渴望更加強大的社會力量

125

不可能持續的在技術與自由之間找到折衷方案,因為到目前為止技術是更加強大的社會力量,並且持續地侵蝕自由,讓自由不斷重複的妥協讓步。

想像兩個鄰居,一開始他們各自都有相同大小的土地,但其中一個人比另一個更強大。強大的那個要求另一個人的一塊地。弱小的那個人拒絕了。強大的那個人說:「好吧,那我們各自讓步,給我原本要求那塊土地的一半就好。」弱小的人沒有太多選擇,只能讓步。一段時間之後,強大的那個鄰居又要求另一塊地,然後再一次妥協,如此這般。藉由不斷強加在弱小的那個人一長串的妥協讓步,強大的那個人最終得到所有的土地。

技術和自由之爭也是這樣。


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讓我們來解釋為什麼技術是比對自由的渴望更加強大的社會力量。


127

一個看似對自由沒有威脅的技術進步往往在一陣子之後被發現嚴重威脅自由。

舉例來說,試想動力載具的例子。

原先一個步行的人可以不需要研究任何交通法規,以他自己的步調到任何他想到達的地方,不用依靠技術支持的系統。

當動力交通工具被引進時,他們看似提升了人的自由。

他們沒有剝奪走路的人的自由,任何人如果不想要有車的話可以不要有車,而且那些選擇買車的人可以比走路的人移動的更快、更遠。

但動力交通工具的引進很快的以一種大幅限制人移動自由的方式改變社會。

當汽車的數量變多,大規模管制汽車的使用變得必要。

開車時,尤其是在人口稠密的地區,一個人不可以以自己的步調到想去的地方,而是受到交通流量和各種交通法規的管控。

人被各種責任義務綁住:駕照、路考、更新車輛登記、保險、安全保養以及繳車貸。

此外,使用動力載具不再是選擇性的。

自從動力載具的引入之後,我們城市的配置已經改變,使得大多數人所居住的地方和工作、購物或休閒娛樂區不在步行距離內,因此他們必須要依賴汽車,要不然他們就必須要使用大眾運輸,而使用大眾運輸的話比起自己開車對自己的移動又更加沒有掌控權。

甚至步行者的自由現在也被大幅限制。

在城市中,步行者得被迫不斷停下來等待主要給汽車用的交通號誌。在鄉下,動力交通工具使得沿著快速道路行走變得危險且難受。

(注意我們剛剛以動力載具的案例所闡述的重要論點:當某個新技術物以一種每個人可以自由選擇是否使用的選項被引入時,其不必然保持這種可選擇性。在許多案例中,新技術以一種人們最終發現自己被迫使用這個新技術的方式改變社會。)


TECHNOLOGY IS A MORE POWERFUL SOCIAL FORCE THAN THE ASPIRATION FOR FREEDOM

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It is not possible to make a LASTING compromise between technology and freedom, because technology is by far the more powerful social force and continually encroaches on freedom through REPEATED compromises. Imagine the case of two neighbors, each of whom at the outset owns the same amount of land, but one of whom is more powerful than the other. The powerful one demands a piece of the other’s land. The weak one refuses. The powerful one says, “OK, let’s compromise. Give me half of what I asked. The weak one has little choice but to give in. Some time later the powerful neighbor demands another piece of land, again there is a compromise, and so forth. By forcing a long series of compromises on the weaker man, the powerful one eventually gets all of his land. So it goes in the conflict between technology and freedom.

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Let us explain why technology is a more powerful social force than the aspiration for freedom.

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A technological advance that appears not to threaten freedom often turns out to threaten it very seriously later on. For example, consider motorized transport. A walking man formerly could go where he pleased, go at his own pace without observing any traffic regulations, and was independent of technological support-systems. When motor vehicles were introduced they appeared to increase man’s freedom. They took no freedom away from the walking man, no one had to have an automobile if he didn’t want one, and anyone who did choose to buy an automobile could travel much faster and farther than a walking man. But the introduction of motorized transport soon changed society in such a way as to restrict greatly man’s freedom of locomotion. When automobiles became numerous, it became necessary to regulate their use extensively. In a car, especially in densely populated areas, one cannot just go where one likes at one’s own pace one’s movement is governed by the flow of traffic and by various traffic laws. One is tied down by various obligations: license requirements, driver test, renewing registration, insurance, maintenance required for safety, monthly payments on purchase price. Moreover, the use of motorized transport is no longer optional. Since the introduction of motorized transport the arrangement of our cities has changed in such a way that the majority of people no longer live within walking distance of their place of employment, shopping areas and recreational opportunities, so that they HAVE TO depend on the automobile for transportation. Or else they must use public transportation, in which case they have even less control over their own movement than when driving a car. Even the walker’s freedom is now greatly restricted. In the city he continually has to stop to wait for traffic lights that are designed mainly to serve auto traffic. In the country, motor traffic makes it dangerous and unpleasant to walk along the highway. (Note this important point that we have just illustrated with the case of motorized transport: When a new item of technology is introduced as an option that an individual can accept or not as he chooses, it does not necessarily REMAIN optional. In many cases the new technology changes society in such a way that people eventually find themselves FORCED to use it.)


127 這一段的例子非常絕妙,但以現在的角度來看絕對不是最經典的例子。如果作者現在可以再寫一次這本書,網際網路和智慧型手機可能是一些更加強烈的例子。不論如何,當初作者在寫下此段的時候,可能就已經對於科技物對於自由的限縮達到令人可怖的境地,但現在回頭看,這種對自由的威脅和限縮持續地增加,似乎又到達另一個新的高度。

回首當初為什麼要翻譯這本書,最重要的理由可能就是為了這一段,如今功德圓滿,之後要不要再超譯下去已經顯得無關緊要了。當初想要透過翻譯這本書強迫自己細讀這本書,尤其是關於工業-技術是如何影響社會。這個想法一直沒有付諸實現,一方面是因為我其實不認為作者提出的解決方案是可行的,我更加傾向悲觀地認為沒有任何方法可以阻止技術對於社會的改造,另一方面是因為作者的背景和言詞十分特殊,我有點擔心我翻譯這本書會不會最後去坐牢。

真正讓我下定決心要超譯這本書是去年也差不多是快入秋的時候和高中同學的一次露營。我對於近期露營的興起很感興趣,想知道為什麼現代居住在城市的人到一個偏遠的地方露營是如此的充滿吸引力,與此同時許多人又對於露營裝備的高科技感到著迷,這種衝突深深吸引我。那次露營的營地又剛好完全收不到行動網路訊號,某個人的線上會議被迫無法進行。這種隔絕造成的狂喜很難形容,那幾乎是少數覺得自己真的成為自由人的一小段時間。

而那麼碰巧,那個無法開線上會議的人帶了本 Kevin Kelly 的 What Technology Wants。我正巧是對於 Kelly 的觀點抱持批判態度的,雖然我完全認同 Kelly 對科技的想像,但我不能接受和理解 Kelly 的樂觀,在我看來 Kelly 建構的世界是令我感到不寒而慄的(題個外話,這種感覺在我讀到靈魂綁定代幣的概念時也出現了)。這根本上促成了這個翻譯實驗。我想要為這種不同的觀點發出微弱之聲,哪怕只是徒然。

在超譯的這段時間,我又接觸了許多自己比較陌生的哲學概念,例如無政府主義或是科學哲學的建構論等等(說來諷刺,常被認為是無政府主義的我反倒這麼長一段時間其實從未閱讀和理解無政府主義的思想,就像是那些假文青害我一直和佛洛依德或是漢娜鄂蘭保持距離,因為那些被強調的膚淺重點和口號,什麼潛意識夢分析或性學,平庸之惡之類的,導致我很晚才發現他們著作的價值),讓我又開始深思那些比較偏向悲觀主義的哲學分析。事實上,許多上個世紀的作品基本上預言了現在宏觀社會或微觀個人的處境,但悲慘的是我們似乎無法掙脫這些預言的枷鎖,這個體系可能從歐洲啟蒙時期時就埋下禍因,之後再也沒有什麼能阻止這巨大的機器運行了。

回想不過十年前,當時還沒有手機的我,是怎麼走到今天這個境地的。就在我短暫的人生中見證這工業-科技體系讓我們漸漸的喪失選擇的自由,最終不得不被迫服從。這影響之劇烈,都忘記自己最後一次發呆是什麼時候了,生活的體驗有了很微妙的轉變。

關於網際網路,Nicholas Carr 有個很酷的組合(https://www.roughtype.com/?p=1364):

2010: “As humans rely on the Internet for all aspects of our lives, our ability to think increasingly depends on fast, reliable applications. The web is our collective consciousness, which means web operators become the brain surgeons of our distributed nervous system. Each technology we embrace makes us more and more reliant on the web … For much of the Western world, technology, culture, and society are indistinguishable … Today’s web tells you what’s interesting. It learns from your behavior. It shares, connects, and suggests. It’s real-time and contextual. These connected systems augment humanity, and we rely on them more and more while realizing that dependency less and less … Take away our peripheral brains, and we’re helpless. We’ll suddenly be unable to do things we took for granted, much as a stroke victim loses the ability to speak … A slow-down will feel like collective Alzheimers.” -Alistair Croll

2005: “What will most surprise us is how dependent we will be on what the Machine knows — about us and about what we want to know. We already find it easier to Google something a second or third time rather than remember it ourselves. The more we teach this megacomputer, the more it will assume responsibility for our knowing. It will become our memory. Then it will become our identity. In 2015 many people, when divorced from the Machine, won’t feel like themselves — as if they’d had a lobotomy.” -Kevin Kelly

1995: “[As] machines become more and more intelligent, people will let machines make more of their decisions for them, simply because machine-made decisions will bring better results than man-made ones. Eventually a stage may be reached at which the decisions necessary to keep the system running will be so complex that human beings will be incapable of making them intelligently. At that stage the machines will be in effective control. People won’t be able to just turn the machines off, because they will be so dependent on them that turning them off would amount to suicide.” -Theodore Kaczynski

從這些例子,我已經不知道面對這些技術進展該如何應對。

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