Technology and the Nearing of the Singularity: a New Panhellenism? WHITNEY JORDAN ADAMS & OCTAVIYANTI WAHYURINI

We are interested in the relationship and intersection between the ideas of technological advancement and a "singularity," and that of Panhellenism.

Panhellenism was the concept of political harmony among the Greek states focusing on "unity" and enrichment (Flower).

As a concept, Panhellenism was under the guise of being progressive by promoting Greek unity in an otherwise unstable landscape (Martin).

However, this unity allowed for significant 'Othering' in terms of non-Greek "barbarians" and Greek tribes (Bakaoukas).

Technological advancement, like Panhellenism, is oftentimes seen as a progressive entity, and one that promotes unity. Therefore, we are making an important and unique connection between the two.

The intersection of Panhellenism and the Singularity has the ability to delineate certain groups, therefore promoting a new and aggressive form of 'Othering'.

This delineation is already in place through what is known as the "Digital divide" (Hoffman, et al.).

Simply defined, this is those with access to information and those without access.

So you might be wondering why this relationship and intersection is tantamount?

We are looking at the singularity as aggressive technological advancement coupled with the possibility for eventual immortality of human kind.

The issue will be segments of the world's population being left out of this Post-human landscape due to the previously discussed digital divide.

Regional Internet Penetration Figures from January 2016

China encompasses 20 percent of the world's population (http://www.worldometers.info). With a population of 1.4 billion people, China is also impacted by a substantial Digital divide.

Although shrinking, the divide is still significant and poses problematic issues in terms of access to information and the internet (Hung).

In a country where admittance to top universities is competitive, many students coming from regions like Inner Mongolia are at a disadvantage.

In a country considered an emerging superpower where over half the population lacks access to internet, it is important to consider the wide-range implications of this.

Short-term implications include unequal access to information and education. Longer-term implications include disparity of those able to access the technology needed to transcend human form.

If a country like China could be left behind, imagine the consequences for a country like Papua New Guinea. In September of 2016, their National Internet Penetration Figures were at 9%.

According to the survey conducted by the Indonesian Association of Internet Service Providers in October 2016, the number of Internet users in Indonesia is 132,7 million people from the total population of 256,2 million people.

92,8 million people in Indonesia access the internet from mobile phones.

The majority of internet users in Indonesia is in Java Island, which is 86,3 million people.

However, most places in Indonesia are being left out because of the lack of technological access and inadequate internet connection, hence the number of internet users in those areas are less than 16%.

Even in an area close to Jakarta, students are still struggling in their daily walk to school because of poor basic infrastructure, like collapsing bridges.

If basic infrastructure is absent, then technological advancement will not be a priority.

Therefore, the potential for certain areas to be cast out as the Other will increase. Again, this Othering will be in the form of technological disparity.

The continent of Africa is composed of over 1.2 billion people (worldometers.info). However, only 10 percent of the population are internet users.

Most of sub-Saharan Africa is offline and getting the population connected is key to growth in the eyes of many. Access to the internet could be a game-changer for many, but at the same time this is enforcing Western hegemony by the Global North over Southern countries (knowledgecommons.in).

The enforcement of Western hegemony was not the intent of the internet, but it has been an indirect effect. Because the internet and technological advancement are blanketed under the guise of progress and unity, that is where the connection to Panhellenism can be made.

If technological advancement continues unchecked to the realm of the singularity, a true schism will exist between the technological "have and have-nots".

The singularity arguably could represent a neo-digital colonialism; countries with large access to technology will cross the threshold with little to no issue, while other countries and regions of the world could be abandoned.

Credits:

Created with images by RDECOM - "Bio-technological advances" • Tilemahos Efthimiadis - ""The reception of King Othon of Greece in Athens."" • Remko van Dokkum - "Liège Guillemins TGV Station - Calatrava" • LittleVisuals - "jet engine turbine jet" • Rosmarie Voegtli - "connections" • jenschapter3 - "PICT0032" • kuloser - "humanoid robot face"

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