Technology in the form of hardware and software has evolved from time to time to make real life tasks easy, and more comfortable. As the human civilization advances, so does the technology in its form, shape and scope. Consider a real-life example, on a sunny day you left your home for a ride, once you start travelling but forgot to wear your seat belt, a warning sound comes from your car, advising you to wear your seat belt, you tightened your seat belt, all of sudden the beep stops. As advancement to this, cars nowadays start making this irritating noise, even the stereo of the car stops playing your favourite music when you and your co-passenger are travelling without a seat belt. This unpleasant sound forces the travellers of a car to wear seat belts without much effort in terms of employing human and other resources.
Without going into the back ground of the technology of seat belt reminder (SBR) system, how programming has been done, how different circuits work, but one common logic, that can be derived out of example quoted is that machines are highly obedient in executing the functions for which they are programmed. Machines can be programmed to emulate human behaviour that too with high accuracy.Once programmed machines will offer state of art services as desired, in a particular area. This is highly appreciable in terms of achieving good governance. Due to innumerable benefits and marvellous results that machines yield, machines in near future will completely dominate all spheres of human existence.
Consider a fully automated world, where every day to day transaction is being executed by machines, from ferrying of eatables to cleaning of roads; every task will be executed in a smooth and polished way. It will be a world of no delays, no excuses and no ifs and buts, in making this world an ideal place to live .People will have easy access to elected representatives, quick and immediate redressal of grievances. In conducting their daily transactions humans are surrounded by machines from womb to tomb. Machines have become a part and parcel of human life and are completely integrated into our day to day patterns of living. Machines are controlled and operated by humans.
Consider a situation where in our smart phone by some reason stops working and imagine the havoc it will wreak. It makes us to feel that we have been isolated and deserted from the rest of world. This is one example to quote but there are a thousand others. Machines are rapidly replacing human dominance in every sphere of human life; due to some of the inherent characteristics of machines such as machines are fast, ability of machines to automate repetitive tasks, increased productivity, accuracy, and reliability etc. Adlous Huxley an English writer and philosopher, in his novel Brave New World, published in 1932 presents a nightmarish vision of a future society.
As summarized by “academyofideas.com”, the novel presents the idea of scientific caste system; the idea presented by Alex Huxley is as under:
The society of Brave New World was also organized into a scientific caste system. Prenatal genetic engineering produced children destined to belong to one of five castes. The highest caste, Alpha, was made up of citizens genetically engineered to be intelligent, strong, and beautiful. The lowest caste, the Epsilons, was short, ugly, stupid, and treated as slaves. Each of the castes was forbidden to intermingle. Is a scientific caste system possible today?
While the widespread use of prenatal genetic engineering may not be on the near horizon, postnatal genetic engineering and the technological augmentation of the brain and body is in its initial stages. We are at the beginning of a fateful era in which man may merge with machine, and the result could be the formation of a two-tiered scientific caste system. There will be a caste of human beings who welcome the merger with technology in the expectation of transcending biological limitations. And there will be an all-too-human caste, composed of people who resist the merger with technology. What restrictions will be placed on those in this latter caste? What surveillance and control will be possible on those who accept technological augmentations? What will be the “carrots on a stick” to entice people to transition into a transhumanist era? Time will tell.
If Huxley’s predictions are coming true, what can be done about it? Perhaps nothing needs to be done. Perhaps the Brave New World totalitarianism which Huxley warned of is not feasible in the long term – not as stable as he thought. Perhaps this form of social order is destined to crumble under its own oppressive weight.
But perhaps Huxley was right. With enough advances in science and technology a Brave New World order can be achieved, and once fully instituted, this will be the final revolution. Human beings will be born and bred in conditions of technocratic servitude that they will not challenge or resist, because it will be a servitude that most of them love and defend. If this should turn out to be the case, Huxley’s final words from Brave New World Revisited will prove prescient. “Perhaps the forces that now menace freedom are too strong to be resisted for very long. It is still our duty to do whatever we can to resist them.”
To conclude whether scientific class system will be a perfect reality or not, is an open debate for discussion, but one thing is obvious that machines with each passing day are making humans to realize newer patterns of this universe, which serves as the basis of human existence to discover the creation of the creator.
(Author is Assistant Professor. Feedback at: firstname.lastname@example.org)