The Digital Renaissance as Neo-Medievalism
Douglas Rushkoff, interviewed by ERIN LYNCH:
* In one of your recent lectures at The New School you talked about the initial purposes of the industrial age, one of which was to remove peer-to-peer transaction. Do you see that reversing and what would be the overall benefits of it?
I see almost everything about the industrial age being reversed by the things being “retrieved” by the digital age. A renaissance means old, repressed ideas being reborn (re-naissance) in a new context. So industrialism really came out of the last renaissance, which was largely about rebirthing the ideas of ancient Greece and Rome: centralization of authority, empire, and expansion.
Today’s renaissance would retrieve the medieval values (not the lifestyle!) that were stamped out by the renaissance: crafts, peer-to-peer trading at the market, local value creation…even craft beers! Really, it’s no coincidence that the cultural expressions of the digital age – like Burning Man and etsy – share so many medieval qualities.
The benefits of reversing the dehumanizing bias of the industrial age – the drive to reduce human involvement and intervention in production and expansion – is to put the economy and technology back in the service of human beings, instead of letting them continue to devalue us. Because today’s technologies are so much more powerful than they were in the era of the steam engine. If we program them to remove human interference, this time they may be able to do it." (http://www.webvisionsevent.com/2016/01/the-throes-of-change-an-interview-with-douglas-rushkoff/)