Is the Digital Revolution Driven by an Ideology?

Chet Bowers


The writings of computer futurist writers such as Ray Kurzweil, Eric Schmidt, Hans Moravec, and Peter Diamandis argue that the digital revolution that is “Reshaping the Future of People, Nations, and Business” (to quote the sub-title of Schmidt’s book) is being driven by the Darwinian forces of natural selection. What they do not consider is how their thinking, as well as the thinking of most computer scientists and programmers, is influenced by the metaphorical language of their culture. As language both illuminates and hides, the main focus in this essay is on the diversity of cultural ways of knowing that are being lost as people rely more on print-based data, information, and other abstract systems of representation. The assumption of the computer futurist writers that the digital revolution is an inherently progressive force is based on the same metaphorical language  that underlies such progress-oriented ideologies as libertarianism and market liberalism. These ideologies, in turn, are based on the Western Enlightenment assumption that traditions are the source of backwardness and a limitation on progress.  This same view of traditions, which ignores that the diversity of the world’s cultural commons carried forward through face to face communication are the basis of less consumer dependent and less toxic destructive lifestyles that will become more important as the ecological crisis deepens, is a key feature of the digital revolution.  The double bind is that the many important uses of digital technologies lead to the widespread indifference about the importance of living cultural traditions that are passed forward face to face and through mentoring relationships. Is the loss of privacy, communication between generations, economic security from being displaced by robots and from hackers, the diversity of cultural ways of knowing––including the exercise of ecological intelligence, to be written off in the name of progress? 


Ideology; Cultural colonization; Evolution; Computer futurists; Oral traditions; Cultural commons

Full Text:



Bateson, G. (1972).  Steps to an Ecology of Mind. New York: Ballantine Books.

Bowers, C. A. (2000).  Let them eat data: How computers affect education, cultural diversity, and the prospects of ecological sustainability. Athens: University of Georgia Press.

Bowers, C. A. (2011). Perspectives on the ideas of Gregory Bateson, ecological intelligence, and educational reforms. Eugene, OR.: Eco-Justice Press.

Bowers, C. A. ( 2011). University reform in an era of global warming. Eugene, OR. Eco-Justice Press.

Bowers, C. A. (2012). The way forward: Educational reforms that focus on the cultural commons and the linguistic roots of the ecological/cultural crises. Eugene, OR.: Eco-Justice Press.

Bowers, C. A. (2014). The false promises of the digital revolution: How computers transform education, work, and international development in ways that undermine an ecologically sustainable future. New York: Peter Lang.  

Brynjolfsson, E., & McAfee, A. (2014).  The second machine age: Work, progress, and prosperity in a time of brilliant technologies. New York: W. W. Norton.

Diamandis, P., & Kotler, S.  (2012).  Abundance: The future is better than you think. New York: Free Press.

Drexler, K. (2013).  Radical abundance: How a revolution in nanotechnology will change civilization. Nook e-book

Dyson, G. (1998). Darwin among the machines: The evolution of global intelligence. New York: Basic Books.

Kurzweil, R. (1999). The age of spiritual machines: When computers exceed human intelligence. New York: Viking.

Kurzweil, R.  (2005). The singularity is near: When humans transcend biology. New York: Viking.

Kurzweil, R.  (2012).  How to create a mind: The secret of human thought revealed. New York: Viking.

Moravec, H. (1990). Mind children: The future of robot and human intelligence. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Morozov, E. (2013). To save everything, clickhere: Technology, solutionism, and the urge to fix problems that don’t exist.  New York: Public Affairs.

Muehlhauser, L. (2013). Facing the intellectual explosion. Kindle e-book.

Schmidt, E., & Cohen, J. (2012). The new digital age: Reshaping the future of people, nations and business. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Spretnak, C.  (2011).  Relational reality: New discoveries of interrelatedness that are transforming the modern world. Topsham, ME: Green Horizon Books.

Stock, G. (1993).  Metaman: The merging of humans and machines into a global superorganism. New York: Doubleday.

Wilson,  E.  (1998). Consilience: The unity of knowledge. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.



  • There are currently no refbacks.


If you have already registered in Journal A and plan to submit article(s) to Journal B, please click the CATEGORIES, or JOURNALS A-Z on the right side of the "HOME".

We only use three mailboxes as follows to deal with issues about paper acceptance, payment and submission of electronic versions of our journals to databases:;;

Copyright © 2010 Canadian Research & Development Centre of Sciences and Cultures
Address: 730, 77e AV, Laval, Quebec, H7V 4A8, Canada

Telephone: 1-514-558 6138