What can we learn from the      Unabomber?
What can we learn from the      Unabomber?      Nothing.
But…
But…This doesn’t mean our technological system isbenign.
and…
and…This doesn’t mean radical measures aren’t calledfor.
It means…
It means…The Unabomber is not the go to guy foranswers.
The Plan
The Plan1) Why the Unabomber Manifesto is Weak
The Plan1) Why the Unabomber Manifesto is Weak2) Why the Unabomber Manifesto is Wrong
The Plan1) Why the Unabomber Manifesto is Weak2) Why the Unabomber Manifesto is Wrong3) What is a Better Critique?
The Plan1)   Why the Unabomber Manifesto is Weak2)   Why the Unabomber Manifesto is Wrong3)   What is a Better Critique?4)...
1. Why the Unabomber Manifesto            is Weak
1. Why the Unabomer Manifesto               is Weak1). The bulk of the argument is an ad hominemattack
1. Why the Unabomer Manifesto               is Weak1). The bulk of the argument is ad hominemattack2). The argument relies...
1. Why the Unabomer Manifesto               is Weak1). The bulk of the argument is ad hominemattack2). The argument relies...
On the ad hominem and genetic           fallacies
On the ad hominem and genetic               fallaciesWhat role do they play in the manifesto?
On the ad hominem and genetic               fallaciesWhat role do they play in the manifesto?The Unabomber uses them to di...
On the ad hominem and genetic               fallaciesThe ad hominem fallacy:
On the ad hominem and genetic               fallaciesThe ad hominem fallacy:Argument to the person
On the ad hominem and genetic               fallaciesThe ad hominem fallacy:Argument to the personThe genetic fallacy:
On the ad hominem and genetic               fallaciesThe ad hominem fallacy:Argument to the person.The genetic fallacy:Thi...
The Unabomber on “leftists”7. When we speak of leftists in this article wehave in mind mainly socialists, collectivists,"p...
9. The two psychological tendencies thatunderlie modern leftism we call "feelings ofinferiority" and "oversocialization.”
10. By "feelings of inferiority" we mean not onlyinferiority feelings in the strictest sense but awhole spectrum of relate...
14. Feminists are desperately anxious to provethat women are as strong as capable as men.Clearly they are nagged by a fear...
15. Leftists tend to hate anything that has animage of being strong, good and successful.They hate America, they hate West...
17. Art forms that appeal to modern leftistintellectuals tend to focus on sordidness, defeatand despair, or else they take...
18. Modern leftist philosophers tend to dismissreason, science, objective reality and to insistthat everything is cultural...
20. Notice the masochistic tendency of leftisttactics. Leftists protest by lying down in front ofvehicles, they intentiona...
Masochist?
Masochists?
Masochists?
Masochists?
Reviewing so far…
Reviewing so far…• These attacks are ad hominem
Reviewing so far…• These attacks are ad hominem• They play a role in the genetic fallacy
Reviewing so far…• These attacks are ad hominem• They play a role in the genetic fallacy• In any case, the psychological c...
The Core Argument(1) Humans evolved under primitive, low-tech    conditions, over the past 2 million years.(2) Lived in sm...
Core Argument (cont.)(4) Technological stress will only continue to     worsen:      The environment will become simplifi...
Core Argument (cont.)    THEREFORE: The system must end.In fact, we have a moral obligation to end it.
This argument is not sound.
The argument is not sound.The fact that a situation is abhorrent does notmean we have a moral obligation toexterminate bil...
The argument is not sound.Furthermore, from the claim that people aremetaphorically “enslaved”, it does not followthat the...
The argument is not sound.Furthermore, from the claim that people aremetaphorically “enslaved”, it does not followthat the...
For exampleIf we are going to starve if we don’t kill and eatsomeone it doesn’t follow that we should killand eat someone.
For exampleIf we are going to starve if we don’t kill and eatsomeone it doesn’t follow that we should killand eat someone....
In addition…There is also a missing premise in the step from thispremise:“[if we don’t return to the conditions under whic...
Two missing premises.
Two missing premises.1) Evolution optimizes for freedom, dignity, genetic   stability, and survival of the species.
Two missing premises.1) Evolution optimizes for freedom, dignity, genetic   stability, and survival of the species.2) The ...
missing premise 1Evolution optimizes for freedom, dignity, geneticstability, and survival of the species,so if we return t...
But that premise is false:Evolution doesn’t optimize forfreedom, dignity, genetic stability, and survivalof the species.
But that premise is false:Evolution doesn’t optimize forfreedom, dignity, genetic stability, and survivalof the species.Ev...
But that premise is false:Evolution doesn’t optimize forfreedom, dignity, genetic stability, and survivalof the species.Ev...
But that premise is false:Evolution doesn’t optimize for freedom, dignity,genetic stability, and survival of the species.E...
But that premise is false:Evolution doesn’t optimize forfreedom, dignity, genetic stability, and survivalof the species.Ev...
Missing premise 2Is returning to the original evolving conditionsthe only way to optimize?
Missing premise 2Is returning to the original evolving conditionsthe only way to optimize?No, because that is what human f...
Missing premise 2Is returning to the original evolving conditionsthe only way to optimize?No, because that is what human f...
KU’s Steve IllardiHow to reproduce hunter-gatherer psychology1)   omega-3 fatty acids2)   Exercise3)   Light exposure4)   ...
Is the background assumption true?
Is the background assumption true?Background assumption: human technology isalien to us as human beings.
Perhaps we evolved to be technologicalcreatures.
bees
beavers
spiders
birds
humans
humans
3. What is a Better Critique?
3. What is a Better Critique?An Anarchist critique:
3. What is a Better Critique?An Anarchist critique:Perhaps we are only alienated by technologywhen those in power seize co...
3. What is a Better Critique?An Anarchist critique:Perhaps we are only alienated by technologywhen those in power seize co...
3. What is a Better Critique?A hacktivist critique:
3. What is a Better Critique?A hacktivist critique:We become alienated when the ability is to betechnological is kept from...
We become alienated from technology when wearen’t allowed to see and understand how itworks
We become alienated from technology when wearen’t allowed to see and understand how itworks–that is, alienation occurs whe...
How do we fix the misuse of      technology?
How do we fix the misuse of            technology?Put control of technology back in the hands ofeveryone (not just those i...
How do we fix the misuse of            technology?Put control of technology back in the hands ofeveryone (not just those t...
4. So, Why are We *Really* Here?
4. So, Why are We *Really* Here?
The toll…
The toll…• 16 bombs
The toll…• 16 bombs• 3 killed
The toll…• 16 bombs• 3 killed• 13 maimed
one victimThomas J. Mosser                        •   Advertising exec                        •   North Caldwell, NJ      ...
From the NYTSome neighbors said yesterday that it was onlyluck that others were not injured by the bomb.Mr. McKay said tha...
From the NYT"They had half a dozen kids there with the bombsitting on the table," Mr. McKay said. "His wifesigned for the ...
From the NYTRobin xxx, 13, stayed over for the night and wasin the house with the Mossers and theirdaughters when the expl...
Robert Kusmirowski, Unacabine, 2008
Unabomber Cabin at the Newseum
Newseum• “Probe the Unabomber Cabin:  Explore a mad hermit’s life with  videos and an interactive [sic].”
Jeffrey Dahmer’s Spoon
What Can We Learn from the Unabomber?: Nothing.
What Can We Learn from the Unabomber?: Nothing.
What Can We Learn from the Unabomber?: Nothing.
What Can We Learn from the Unabomber?: Nothing.
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What Can We Learn from the Unabomber?: Nothing.

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These are my slides from the Unabomber panel at Rutgers and at SXSW.

The SXSW presentation is written up here: http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/technolog/tech-vs-society-why-unabomber-still-makes-us-think-1C8780230

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What Can We Learn from the Unabomber?: Nothing.

  1. 1. What can we learn from the Unabomber?
  2. 2. What can we learn from the Unabomber? Nothing.
  3. 3. But…
  4. 4. But…This doesn’t mean our technological system isbenign.
  5. 5. and…
  6. 6. and…This doesn’t mean radical measures aren’t calledfor.
  7. 7. It means…
  8. 8. It means…The Unabomber is not the go to guy foranswers.
  9. 9. The Plan
  10. 10. The Plan1) Why the Unabomber Manifesto is Weak
  11. 11. The Plan1) Why the Unabomber Manifesto is Weak2) Why the Unabomber Manifesto is Wrong
  12. 12. The Plan1) Why the Unabomber Manifesto is Weak2) Why the Unabomber Manifesto is Wrong3) What is a Better Critique?
  13. 13. The Plan1) Why the Unabomber Manifesto is Weak2) Why the Unabomber Manifesto is Wrong3) What is a Better Critique?4) Why are we *Really* Here?
  14. 14. 1. Why the Unabomber Manifesto is Weak
  15. 15. 1. Why the Unabomer Manifesto is Weak1). The bulk of the argument is an ad hominemattack
  16. 16. 1. Why the Unabomer Manifesto is Weak1). The bulk of the argument is ad hominemattack2). The argument relies on the genetic fallacy
  17. 17. 1. Why the Unabomer Manifesto is Weak1). The bulk of the argument is ad hominemattack2). The argument relies on the genetic fallacy3). The argument from evolution is NOT SOUND
  18. 18. On the ad hominem and genetic fallacies
  19. 19. On the ad hominem and genetic fallaciesWhat role do they play in the manifesto?
  20. 20. On the ad hominem and genetic fallaciesWhat role do they play in the manifesto?The Unabomber uses them to dismissarguments that we can use government oractivism to restrain technology.
  21. 21. On the ad hominem and genetic fallaciesThe ad hominem fallacy:
  22. 22. On the ad hominem and genetic fallaciesThe ad hominem fallacy:Argument to the person
  23. 23. On the ad hominem and genetic fallaciesThe ad hominem fallacy:Argument to the personThe genetic fallacy:
  24. 24. On the ad hominem and genetic fallaciesThe ad hominem fallacy:Argument to the person.The genetic fallacy:Thinking that showing the source of a belieffalsifies the belief.
  25. 25. The Unabomber on “leftists”7. When we speak of leftists in this article wehave in mind mainly socialists, collectivists,"politically correct" types, feminists, gay anddisability activists, animal rights activists and thelike. But not everyone who is associated withone of these movements is a leftist. What weare trying to get at in discussing leftism is not somuch a movement or an ideology as apsychological type.
  26. 26. 9. The two psychological tendencies thatunderlie modern leftism we call "feelings ofinferiority" and "oversocialization.”
  27. 27. 10. By "feelings of inferiority" we mean not onlyinferiority feelings in the strictest sense but awhole spectrum of related traits: low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, depressivetendencies,defeatism, guilt, self-hatred, etc. Weargue that modern leftists tend to have suchfeelings (possibly more or less repressed) andthat these feelings are decisive in determiningthe direction of modern leftism.
  28. 28. 14. Feminists are desperately anxious to provethat women are as strong as capable as men.Clearly they are nagged by a fear that womenmay NOT be as strong and as capable as men.
  29. 29. 15. Leftists tend to hate anything that has animage of being strong, good and successful.They hate America, they hate Westerncivilization, they hate white males, they haterationality.
  30. 30. 17. Art forms that appeal to modern leftistintellectuals tend to focus on sordidness, defeatand despair, or else they take an orgiastictone, throwing off rational control as if therewere no hope of accomplishing anythingthrough rational calculation and all that was leftwas to immerse oneself in the sensations of themoment.
  31. 31. 18. Modern leftist philosophers tend to dismissreason, science, objective reality and to insistthat everything is culturally relative. …They aredeeply involved emotionally in their attack ontruth and reality. They attack these conceptsbecause of their own psychological needs.
  32. 32. 20. Notice the masochistic tendency of leftisttactics. Leftists protest by lying down in front ofvehicles, they intentionally provoke police orracists to abuse them, etc. These tactics mayoften be effective, but many leftists use themnot as a means to an end but because theyPREFER masochistic tactics. Self-hatred is aleftist trait.
  33. 33. Masochist?
  34. 34. Masochists?
  35. 35. Masochists?
  36. 36. Masochists?
  37. 37. Reviewing so far…
  38. 38. Reviewing so far…• These attacks are ad hominem
  39. 39. Reviewing so far…• These attacks are ad hominem• They play a role in the genetic fallacy
  40. 40. Reviewing so far…• These attacks are ad hominem• They play a role in the genetic fallacy• In any case, the psychological claims are unsupported and very likely false.
  41. 41. The Core Argument(1) Humans evolved under primitive, low-tech conditions, over the past 2 million years.(2) Lived in small autonomous groups (25- 50), amidst vast wilderness.(3) Modern technological society is radically different than this, and imposes unprecedented stress on humanity and nature.
  42. 42. Core Argument (cont.)(4) Technological stress will only continue to worsen:  The environment will become simplified, manipulated, and contaminated.  Humanity will become either enslaved, genetically- modified, or eliminated.(5) Such a condition is undignified, abhorrent, and profoundly dehumanizing.(6) It is impossible to fix or reform the system, so as to avoid these disastrous outcomes.
  43. 43. Core Argument (cont.) THEREFORE: The system must end.In fact, we have a moral obligation to end it.
  44. 44. This argument is not sound.
  45. 45. The argument is not sound.The fact that a situation is abhorrent does notmean we have a moral obligation toexterminate billions of people to end it.
  46. 46. The argument is not sound.Furthermore, from the claim that people aremetaphorically “enslaved”, it does not followthat the enslavement should end at any cost.
  47. 47. The argument is not sound.Furthermore, from the claim that people aremetaphorically “enslaved”, it does not followthat the enslavement should end at any cost.From the fact that the species is at risk it doesn’tfollow that any action is justified.
  48. 48. For exampleIf we are going to starve if we don’t kill and eatsomeone it doesn’t follow that we should killand eat someone.
  49. 49. For exampleIf we are going to starve if we don’t kill and eatsomeone it doesn’t follow that we should killand eat someone.It certainly doesn’t follow that we have a moralobligation to kill and eat someone.
  50. 50. In addition…There is also a missing premise in the step from thispremise:“[if we don’t return to the conditions under which we evolved]Humanity will become either enslaved, genetically-modified, oreliminated.”to the conclusion.The system must end. In fact, we have a moral obligation to end it.
  51. 51. Two missing premises.
  52. 52. Two missing premises.1) Evolution optimizes for freedom, dignity, genetic stability, and survival of the species.
  53. 53. Two missing premises.1) Evolution optimizes for freedom, dignity, genetic stability, and survival of the species.2) The only way to stay optimized is by being in the conditions in which we evolved.
  54. 54. missing premise 1Evolution optimizes for freedom, dignity, geneticstability, and survival of the species,so if we return to the conditions under which weevolved we optimize for all these.
  55. 55. But that premise is false:Evolution doesn’t optimize forfreedom, dignity, genetic stability, and survivalof the species.
  56. 56. But that premise is false:Evolution doesn’t optimize forfreedom, dignity, genetic stability, and survivalof the species.Evolution only cares about reproductive success.
  57. 57. But that premise is false:Evolution doesn’t optimize forfreedom, dignity, genetic stability, and survivalof the species.Evolution only cares about reproductive success.1) It doesn’t care about freedom and dignity
  58. 58. But that premise is false:Evolution doesn’t optimize for freedom, dignity,genetic stability, and survival of the species.Evolution only cares about reproductive success.1) It doesn’t care about freedom and dignity2) It doesn’t promise genetic stability
  59. 59. But that premise is false:Evolution doesn’t optimize forfreedom, dignity, genetic stability, and survivalof the species.Evolution only cares about reproductive success.1) It doesn’t care about freedom and dignity2) It doesn’t promise genetic stability3) It doesn’t promise survival of the species
  60. 60. Missing premise 2Is returning to the original evolving conditionsthe only way to optimize?
  61. 61. Missing premise 2Is returning to the original evolving conditionsthe only way to optimize?No, because that is what human factorsengineering is for. We engineer for people asthey are evolved.
  62. 62. Missing premise 2Is returning to the original evolving conditionsthe only way to optimize?No, because that is what human factorsengineering is for. We engineer for people asthey are evolved.And there are other ways…
  63. 63. KU’s Steve IllardiHow to reproduce hunter-gatherer psychology1) omega-3 fatty acids2) Exercise3) Light exposure4) Sleep5) Social connectedness6) Anti-ruminative behavior
  64. 64. Is the background assumption true?
  65. 65. Is the background assumption true?Background assumption: human technology isalien to us as human beings.
  66. 66. Perhaps we evolved to be technologicalcreatures.
  67. 67. bees
  68. 68. beavers
  69. 69. spiders
  70. 70. birds
  71. 71. humans
  72. 72. humans
  73. 73. 3. What is a Better Critique?
  74. 74. 3. What is a Better Critique?An Anarchist critique:
  75. 75. 3. What is a Better Critique?An Anarchist critique:Perhaps we are only alienated by technologywhen those in power seize control of it.
  76. 76. 3. What is a Better Critique?An Anarchist critique:Perhaps we are only alienated by technologywhen those in power seize control of it.We are not alienated by technologyWe are alienated from technology
  77. 77. 3. What is a Better Critique?A hacktivist critique:
  78. 78. 3. What is a Better Critique?A hacktivist critique:We become alienated when the ability is to betechnological is kept from us!
  79. 79. We become alienated from technology when wearen’t allowed to see and understand how itworks
  80. 80. We become alienated from technology when wearen’t allowed to see and understand how itworks–that is, alienation occurs when the ability tounderstand and hack technology is withheldfrom us.
  81. 81. How do we fix the misuse of technology?
  82. 82. How do we fix the misuse of technology?Put control of technology back in the hands ofeveryone (not just those in power).
  83. 83. How do we fix the misuse of technology?Put control of technology back in the hands ofeveryone (not just those the powerful).Information wants to be free. Liberate it!
  84. 84. 4. So, Why are We *Really* Here?
  85. 85. 4. So, Why are We *Really* Here?
  86. 86. The toll…
  87. 87. The toll…• 16 bombs
  88. 88. The toll…• 16 bombs• 3 killed
  89. 89. The toll…• 16 bombs• 3 killed• 13 maimed
  90. 90. one victimThomas J. Mosser • Advertising exec • North Caldwell, NJ • Age 50 • Wife, Susan • Daughter, age 13 • Daughter, 15 months
  91. 91. From the NYTSome neighbors said yesterday that it was onlyluck that others were not injured by the bomb.Mr. McKay said that he held a party for theneighborhood on Friday night and that severalchildren wandered from the party to theMossers house.
  92. 92. From the NYT"They had half a dozen kids there with the bombsitting on the table," Mr. McKay said. "His wifesigned for the package on Friday and left it onthe table."
  93. 93. From the NYTRobin xxx, 13, stayed over for the night and wasin the house with the Mossers and theirdaughters when the explosion occurred. Shesaid she took the Mossers daughter Kelly nextdoor after the blast.
  94. 94. Robert Kusmirowski, Unacabine, 2008
  95. 95. Unabomber Cabin at the Newseum
  96. 96. Newseum• “Probe the Unabomber Cabin: Explore a mad hermit’s life with videos and an interactive [sic].”
  97. 97. Jeffrey Dahmer’s Spoon

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