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Excerpt from Welcome to the Machine

Billions of Neurons (p. 216)

From chapter "Humanity"

The human nervous network is a complex of billions of neurons and synapses washed in biochemicals sending subtle multileveled messages. Human communities consist in part of millions of these nervous networks interacting. More-than-human communities consist in part of millions of species interacting in verbal and nonverbal ways. We can’t fathom the world, much less control it, much less redesign it after our ambitions’ impoverished goals. By trying to monitor everyone’s behavior and thinking, and by trying to compel everyone to follow the rules, we reveal our ignorance of the complexity and subtlety of human cultures and the natural world. Best to relax our obsessions with security and control, pay attention to what’s going on in ourselves and others as best we can, and respond using our entire sensibilities and collective intelligence. A computer can intercept and record telephone and e-mail messages, but it cannot make sense of them. Computers are no substitute for intelligence. Rules are no substitute for human and nonhuman communities’ evolved ways of interacting together. Closed circuit TV cameras are no substitute for social cohesion. Computers are no substitute for intelligence. Sense-making cannot be tacked together with a computer programmer’s codes. Security cannot be had with weapons and spying. There is no such thing as intellectual property. You cannot protect your privacy. Obedience is never compelled. You cannot keep up with the machine’s schedule of production. You cannot recycle industrial waste. You cannot create or replace a forest, a wetland, a human culture, a nonhuman culture, a language.