(OPE-L) Re: The Church-Turing thesis

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Tue Jan 20 2004 - 08:07:16 EST

Ian wrote:

> Honestly, there is nothing to fear from this.

So long as capitalism prevails, decisions about technological
change will be made by capital.   Their imperative is to increase
the rate of surplus value.  Workers have _cause_ to be concerned
about this process -- particularly when there are those who claim
that all of the mental (and physical?) capacities of workers can
be replaced (or surpassed?) by machines.

Under capitalism, it is true,  many technological innovations
are stimulated by the state rather than by private capital. 20th
Century examples include the computer, the Internet, radar, GPS,
jets, and nuclear power.  Here, again, I think working people have
great cause for concern.  Many of those innovations were first
'field-tested'  during imperialist wars (indeed, it was R&D by the
military that led to the inventions to begin with).  The belief that
we have nothing to fear from technological change was, quite
literally, blown asunder in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Afterwards,
working people were told by engineers and scientists (as well as
state and corporate representatives) that we had nothing to fear
from the 'peaceful' development of nuclear power.  Then, as the
title of the John G. Fuller book says, "We almost lost Detroit" in
1966.  Then there was Three Mile Island.  Then -- within the
context of a different institutional setting -- there was Chernobyl.

If capitalist relations still prevail and if the 'Universal Turing Machine'
is developed, do you really think that it will be used only for the
benefit of our species and the world we live in?   Wouldn't Universal
Turing Machines become soldiers, police, and scabs? What
would happen to workers in this futuristic scenario?

In solidarity, Jerry

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