Umair unpacks the ‘sharing economy’ and finds the technology underlying it is not liberating, but enslaving:

What’s the opposite of servitude? Not just freedom — but the thing from which freedom is born.

At it’s best, techne, the Greek root of the word “technology”, which means “skill”, is a miraculous, magical, enchanted thing. Technology, the enlargement and extension of man’s skillfulness, is the closest humanity has come to discovering the sacred amongst the earthly profane: for it gives mankind the power to transfigure the very world. From a place of stasis, into a place of freedom. Through it, man can ascend beyond his natural birthright, and give himself rebirth — from a foul, stinking, starving, powerless beast, to a civilized, enlightened, powerful being. All that is contained in the magic of techne. Techne, skill, endows man with the proficiency, the dexterity, the advantage, the shining chance, to become what he truly is. Not merely a servant of himself, or a servant of another. Buthimself. Human. Homo sapiens. The mindful being.

So the real servitude in the Servitude Bubble is the definition of “technology”. Once, technology meant stuff that went to the moon…cured fatal diseases…extended the human lifespan…enhanced human agency. Now, “tech” means stuff that…hails taxis…organizes butlers…automatically calls dogwalkers.

The Servitude Bubble

Written by

Founder, Work Futures. Editor, GigaOm. My obsession is the ecology of work, and the anthropology of the future.

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