Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Sociomorphic view of tech ("All Tech is Human") lends itself to cultural determinism

This is also why American STS is what it is. The critique of ideological distortion of science inverted itself into the committed insistence that science is and must be subsumed by sociopolitical determinism.

For this, the notion that science allows conceptual access to preconditions of the human (and the fundamentally non-human) is not some sort of epistemological ideal but a dangerous smokescreen for power.

Social reductionism/ cultural determinism are especially keen to debunk the possibility of this exterior, because the premise that there is so much outside of self-referential socio-political interiority would undermine their claim to the throne of symbolic/ ethical arbitration.

The litany of crimes laid at sci/tech is nothing compared to the crimes done in the name of culture and *meaning*. The accusations against sci/tech amount to an epistemological ad hominem, not a precise critique of anything other than the Humanism they are supposedly defending.

And so, the mobilization is against the exteriority of tech and indeed exteriority itself. Culture is drawn as a closed loop totality, for which the only outside is another closed loop culture which determines its own unique world in parallel.

I find this to be the central commitment of American STS and the adjacent projects of AI ethics, ontological turn, etc: Reality is basically a projection of identity/ sociopolitical alignments and thus tech is only sociomorphic. This is the new California Ideology.