Douglas Shikov published a book ” Cyberia: Life in the Trenches of Hyper Space” to discuss the emerging Internet subculture, the global brain theory based on the Gaia hypothesis and the theme of neo – shamanism. In the book, he compared Internet space to the unexploited Siberian continent at the end of the 19th century, and any possibility will happen here.
Douglas Lowe Shikov is regarded as one of the pioneers in commenting on the digital public domain because the book came at the right time.
Douglas Lowe Shikov mentioned at the beginning of ” Sabrina:” A special moment in our history today – this moment is very likely to happen. When the whole subculture – like the ecstasy of a child trying virtual reality for the first time – saw the wild potential of combining the latest computer technology with the most intimate dreams with the oldest sublime truth. “
Fifteen years later, Douglas Lowe Shikov has published a new book called ” Human Team”, which also discusses the Internet culture. However, unlike previous idealism and optimistic expectations, his ideal of digital public is gradually fading.
It is obvious from the contents of the new book that Douglas Lowe Shikov’s enthusiasm in the past is gradually turning into frustration. He is aware that the technology that can bring people together is dividing people. This media, which can show multiple views online, is showing a phenomenon of centralization of power offline. In the book, everything about the Internet is strongly criticized, and there is no escape from ” anti – human” economy to artificial intelligence.
Douglas Lowe Shikov mentioned that people used to naively think that digital media is inherently more influential than other media, regardless of its dispersity and diversity. When a new media revolution starts, there will naturally be an expectation that it can change from bottom to top, empower the public through knowledge, and enable the public to seize power from a few elites. However, when the Internet is not consciously grasped by those seeking empowerment, the technology is still controlled by a few people in the end.
” The problem with the media revolution is that it is easy for us to ignore what is truly revolutionary. Instead, we focus all our attention on the attractive new things and ignore the potential of the media to empower human beings – making us finally surrender the power that has emerged,” Douglas Lowe Shikov said.
Despite many warnings, Douglas Lowe Shikov did not seem to have reached the point of despair. He called on mankind to unite and surpass technology in order to continue to safeguard human values. ” We are not alone, we have to find others.” He said.
When The Economist asked him if he thought it too utopian to expect human beings to change the digital media they created by themselves, he strongly denied: ” There are many people who understand the negative effects of social media nowadays. I just suggest designing a technology for human use, not using human technology. I am not looking forward to a utopian technological space, I just hope to have a better one. ”
In addition, he also stressed that human economic development in the past placed too much emphasis on capital growth, which forced enterprises to expand excessively, hindering the development of companies of ” appropriate size.” Twitter, for example, is not allowed to have an annual income of only US $ 2 billion. Part of the reason is that the tax rates on dividends and profits are much higher than capital gains. ”
Douglas Lowe Shikov wishes to remind readers of the position of mankind in technological development. He took public education as an example. Initially, public education was set up to compensate workers. After working in a coal mine all day, one should have the dignity to go home and read and understand novels or newspapers. ” Now, we seem to have forgotten the core value of education, only turning the school into a vocational training institute, which leads to the lack of interest, wisdom and creativity for adults. Similarly, the Internet is deliberately creating a field of fear and confrontation because of its strong connections. ”
As for how to solve the out-of-control situation at this stage, Douglas Lowe Shikov believes that human beings should slow down or control the development speed independently, instead of relying on supervision. ” I encourage people to treat every technology they are using as drugs, whether it’s Facebook, Snapchat or Netflix.” Once people realize that their actions are being observed and used, they can regain their autonomy more consciously.
” The main argument of this book is to refute supporters of the Technological Singularity, who believe that computers will eventually become smarter than human beings, and that human beings should accept this established fact with a modest attitude. I must say this is wrong, and mankind will still have a place in the digital future. We should not abandon human beings or even technologies. We should find the basic values of human beings and embed them into future technologies. ” Douglas Lowe Shikov said.