[I came across this article by Bernhard Stiegler, which peaked my
interest in the context of the discussion of accelerationism. But as I
was reading along, what struck me even more is how good the standard
automatic translation has become.... Felix]
Bernard Stiegler: "Accelerating innovation bypasses all that contributes
to the development of civilization"
Disruptive". The term, says the dictionary of the French Academy,
derives from the Latin disrumpere, "break into pieces to burst." In the
language of digital companies, "disruptive innovation" is the
breakthrough innovation, one that challenges the established positions,
bypassing the rules, requires a paradigm shift. Google to Uber, the
"disruption" upsets our connected lives. But at what price? Director of
the Institute of Research and Innovation Centre Pompidou, founder of the
association Ars Industrialis, the philosopher Bernard Stiegler dedicates
his work to the effects of technological changes. In his latest book, in
the disruption, how not to go crazy? (Links editions that release), he
analyzes this phenomenon which "overtakes the social organizations' risk
of disintegration and collective melancholy. And calls for a
"bifurcation" that makes us into a "new era."
__You describe the disruption, the acceleration of innovation, as a "new
form of barbarism." Why?
In that it is opposed to civilization. The disruption began in 1993 with
the cross-linking - the network structure - digital and widespread
connection. This comes at no dove, and rather as something enchanting,
with its promise of changing the world - a change which I still believe.
With the crosslinking by the algorithms, we are witnessing an
unprecedented acceleration of innovation, which had already risen
sharply after World War II. But now the reticular bypassing technical
systematically everything that contributes to the development of
civilization. What happens to us in Silicon Valley just liquidate the
rule of law as a state based on thoughtful deliberative legitimacy. In
France, the "startup accelerator" thefamily, which is based in Silicon
Valley, is in this formula ". The barbarians are attacking" It would be
for these néobarbares to sow chaos in all sectors - social housing,
transport, education, real estate, environment ... During the terrible
year 2015, we met the barbarity of Daech . [Arabic acronym for EI, note]
alongside this horrific barbarism, there is another form of barbarism
more "soft", a technological barbarism that feeds the terrorist barbarity.
__How we live is different from previous major technological breakthroughs?
Destabilization became permanent. The problem is not the technology
shock: the increase of knowledge in all its forms, is always the
aftermath of such a shock, near or far. A great moment of breakthrough
technology produces what philosophers call a épokhè : interruption,
suspension of everything that seemed "to flow naturally." Technological
épokhè always generates a second épokhè affecting it, the life of the
mind - art, science, philosophy, politics, law ... And it produced a new
era in the strong sense. But technological breakthroughs occur at
intervals more frequent. And for a short time, with digital
cross-linking, we are in a device that makes everything moves
constantly, that nothing is stable. And that society can no longer be
nourished: it finds the contrary disintegrated.
__There is no "new thinking" that is emerging but, you write, a lack of
We can no longer develop knowledge. A technology is a pharmakon : This
Greek word refers to what is both poison and cure. Pharmakon technology
holds promise, but it always starts with thousand cause problems,
because it starts with destroying composed frames. After this phase of
destruction appears that Rimbaud called "the new" which makes pharmakon
remediation: a different lifestyle, a different time. This is what
happens over us: the disruptive process systematically cultivated by the
knights of industry overtakes any socialization. But this is not
sustainable. This forward flight produces a colossal acceleration of the
Anthropocene, an era in which the human has become a major geological
factor, resulting collective melancholy and various forms of despair.
__What we disruption "fact", individually and collectively?
It makes us mad. This collective of madness surprisingly similar to what
Foucault described in his Madness and Civilization : the late Middle
Ages is a time of very great changes, which produced countless speeches
on the register where 'the world went crazy "," everything goes wrong
"... in the 60s, we still felt at a time. From 70-80 years, it weakens.
After 1993, it collapses. What characterizes our time, that is what the
philosopher Maurice Blanchot saw coming as the lack of time. And what
sets this fact is the lack of what I call "positive collective
protentions" shared expectations that characterize the time that
secretes and allow to project into the future: progress, modernity,
against-culture of the 60s which initiates a transition. Now, collective
protentions turned negative; thus the change we announce climatologists
as threat to life in full, and on the human species first. This installs
a state of paralysis and regression teeming with symptoms ranging
departures to Syria to scapegoating by the National Front, through the
words of Florian, a young man of 15 who says his generation is "one of
the last before the end" ...
__The situation is so desperate? Yet there is resistance, attempts to
recreate deliberative spaces ...
All is not to despair, but everyone is desperate - sometimes in the
expression or in the passage to the act, but mostly in denial. We must
assume and verbalize this fact, make it a subject of debate and a space
of projections. We must stop making the denial, saying that everything
will work: it will work out if one does it. This requires analyzing the
process that causes so much suffering. Disruption occurs in the
fulfillment of nihilism in the sense that Nietzsche describes it: as
destruction of all values. This is what we are living through an economy
of predatory given exclusively, based on the removal of singularities by
calculation. It all sounds ominous. And yet it is here that also opens
the possibility of developing what may be not only a new era, but a new era.
It is neither slow nor out of industrial society, or to stop the
disruption, but to transform gained speed time to think and to automate
the service of what désautomatisation thought . With Ars Industrialis, I
ask that we must re-appropriate the digital to produce what the
physicist Erwin Schrödinger named "negative entropy" : the
diversification of living that opposes entropy, the tendency to
degradation physical systems. We need to make Uber allowing a new
possibility, on an entirely different register. This implies a "good
disruption": question everything, not bypassing the deliberation but
rather, by making the object of the deliberation, to change methods in
all sectors - education, work, planning, research, and citizenship ...
We support the transformation of the urban community Plaine Commune, in
Seine-Saint-Denis, in "contributory learning territory." with support
from the Ministry of research, twenty doctoral students will work with
residents within a transdisciplinary laboratory, to develop new web
platforms, develop new ways of teaching and sharing knowledge and test a
contributory income of the show inspired the intermittent regime to
redistribute productivity gains from automation increasing collective
__Create opportunities first passes today by experimental territories?
As the Constitution provides, but without being localist: this project
accompanied by an international network, the Digital Studies Network,
has echoes in Belgium, England, Latin America and China. But the
invention of a new macroeconomy through the territory, which is an area
of synthesis problems and solutions ... This is qu'ignorent disruptive
companies: they identify a "segment" and attack without worrying of
what's around. It's totally irresponsible. We must on the contrary redo
the synthesis, to work together all local dimensions to create a new
coherence and the first day of a new era.
__The exaltation of the "digital revolution" has given way to
disenchantment. However, Internet is carrying an emancipatory
imagination. Should we reinvent a digital utopia?
I do not speak only of utopia. With Ars Industrialis, we have always
said that digital was also carries many problems and dangers. We need a
new political economy and a new industrial policy, science and social.
We must rebuild critical thinking, open a real debate, identify real
issues serving fruitful struggles and non sterile brooding. It is to
this requirement will emerge an alternative model. If we are so anxious,
so melancholy, so desperate at times, it is because we have reached a
limit. We need to find a new economic rationality. And if it is
possible, contrary to what skeptics think all this is because we can not
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