Venkatesh Rao: Waste, Creativity and Godwin’s Corollary for Technology | RibbonFarm

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If you are at all interested in technology and futurism, and spend even a little time talking about these subjects, you will notice something funny. No matter what you are talking about, be it cellphones or 3d printing or Big Data, if a conversation goes on long enough, somebody will mention either the Singularity or the idea of Collapse. I noticed the phenomenon in the Facebook discussion group we created after Refactor Camp. Then I checked a few other fora and realized it was not unique to our group.

It’s sort of like Godwin’s Law: every Internet discussion that goes on long enough will eventually mention Nazis or Hitler.

So I am calling it Godwin’s Corollary for Technology: every online discussion about technology that goes on long enough will eventually mention the Singularity or Collapse.

Both laws of course, derive from powerful dichotomies underlying their respective overarching grand narratives. In general discussions on arbitrary subjects, good versus evil is most likely to be the framing dichotomy, and that gives you Godwin’s Law. Since technological determinism often involves abandoning the good/evil dichotomy, you end up with the Singularity/Collapse watershed as the frame for Godwin’s Corollary.

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