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Implications of New Technologies


Implications of New Technologies

Unbeknownst to us, the domination of Science and technology over the lives of common people is scaling irreversible and thorough heights. Technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Metaverse, and others are the new frontiers that will shape the present and the future. They already pervade the daily gadgets and technological platforms we use on the Internet in our everyday lives, from personal mobiles to large home appliances and vehicles. Most of our interactions in virtual space are mediated by AI. Social media has already created a different world for us. This new virtual world is driven by a combination of human psychological manipulation and endless corporate greed which seeks to weaponize even the most microscopic level of personal information for the sake of acquiring more profits.

In such a world, we are simply misled to think that we are buyers of products. Instead, we have ourselves become products – grass and fodder for the vital forces controlling corporate greed to devour. Having first destroyed our environment, oceans and space, we have now embarked on the firm journey to destroy ourselves. The era of AI will be the inception of this dawning reality. AI is already taking over most of the economic sectors pertaining to industry, but now its pervasiveness in the service sectors which require human agency is also visible and fast increasing. Education, journalism, law, administration, health and defence are rapidly undergoing automation. With the rise of AI, the Internet itself is becoming individualized. While the virus of Utilitarianism has already damaged the core of our societies irreparably, the rise of AI has added an even more devastating dimension to this.

The scenario of the emerging technologies can be mapped by the rise of AI, the progressive development of the Metaverse and associated virtual technologies, and, the equation of these new technologies with the physical-vital functions and parts of the human individual. The latter will span the impacts of these technologies on most basic aspects of human life such as food and reproduction to the most advanced frontiers of Science such as clear transcendence of limitations of gross matter.

The following sections will explore the potential implications of these emerging technologies on various aspects of individual and collective life.

Sectoral Impacts:

The wide-ranging effects of the new technologies are most obvious in various sectors. In particular, in recent times, they can be seen in the education and corporate sectors. The education sector has been under an immense shock due to the advent of a new, hardly developed technology like the Chat GPT, which can easily generate coherent content, thus dispensing the need for thinking process on the part of both teachers and students. It has been called a ‘mini university’ due to the easy learning and content generation it has inaugurated. Many other such AI-powered platforms are rapidly being developed. Besides the education sector, they will completely devastate other professions such as legal profession, academics, research, art, corporate management etc. These fields will no longer need human beings.

Even big companies like Google are feeling insecure of Chat GPT – that they are just search engines and can provide data. As a result, now the company has asked all its employees to jump into the field of AI and create a similar chatbot like Chat GPT. This is especially so as Microsoft – Google’s rival – has thrown a direct challenge to Google by unveiling a multibillion-dollar investment in Open AI, the parent company of Chat GPT. Within one year, the subscribers of Chat GPT are expected to touch one billion users – this will finish the education industry. Further, in response, Google has also launched its own competitive rival to Chat GPT – known as the ‘Bard’ – which is under testing and will soon be available to users. With this, the race has been inaugurated. Microsoft has already taken a massive step forward by integrating its search engine – Bing – with AI features. Whenever users now use Bing search engine, they will automatically get AI-enabled results combined with data. This is already threatening to finish Google search. When even basic Internet search becomes AI-enabled, it is an indicator of where the state of affairs is moving.

The way such AI technologies are moving will make all human effort redundant. Right now, we are witnessing a change in the education sector only, but it will also make everything else redundant – all committees, all socialization etc. It can process huge troves of data within seconds which is impossible for humans, leaving no employment or engagement for humans in the very near future.

Impacts on Human Relationships:

Amongst the most devastating impacts of the rise of AI will be in the area of human relationships. It is plausible that AI dolls or figurines, resembling, speaking and acting like human beings, will enter to fill the vacuum in broken human relationships, by providing the service of ‘companionship.’ The concept is already being depicted in the world of cinema and is there in practice in a limited form seen through humanoids such as ‘Sophia.’ Once such humanoids go beyond mere artificial intelligence and cultivate emotional intelligence, they can even go rogue, overstepping or controlling their computer programming and becoming susceptible to emotions such as possessiveness, jealousy, anger and ambition. This will be a very likely scenario once the development of AI goes beyond human control.

In the Metaverse, something similar is possible. The digital avatars will begin to increasingly resemble our human selves in behaviour and physical appearance. It portends another typal world, but one which would be subject to the interventions of vital beings from other worlds.

Psychological Impacts:

The technology deployed in an immersive realm like Metaverse will significantly depend on the person’s psychology, being based on the continuous indulgence and bombardment of the senses. It will show the person not an objective but a subjective reality. Indeed, the subjective part will alone play a major role here. Otherwise, nothing convincing can be created. To do that, the person must feel it intimately; for, the world we live in is a world of our own making. It has certain objective things also, and those objective things may be present in Metaverse too, but the subjective element will be a major part, much more major than anything we have seen.

A person’s being is composed not only of his physical form, but mental, vital and subconscious parts of the being. Japan has developed a programme to monitor dreams and project them coherently on a screen. If such dream mapping can be made to delve deeper into unexplored realms, then it raises questions about bringing the subconscious elements of the person to the fore.

Such immersive technologies will engage one or the other part of man more than others, especially the mental part. It will not only symbolize the height of vital self-satisfaction, but also the pinnacle of mentalization of man, such as Hiranyakashipu, the Asura, who symbolized the epitome of mental being. Mentally immersive technologies like Metaverse signify such a state in their potential.

Already, there are discussions of potential technology to transcend and challenge death – virtually till now. Technologies, existing in potential, such as ‘mind uploading’ have caught the fascination of human race. It involves scanning a person’s brain in great detail to be recreated in a computer simulation. The person’s mind and memories, emotions and personality would be duplicated. In effect, a new and equally valid version of that person would now exist, in a potentially immortal, digital form.

According to scientists, the science of the brain and of consciousness increasingly suggests that mind uploading is possible and there are no laws of physics to prevent it. It can preserve people in an indefinite afterlife. This will have manifold implications for human societies.

Impact on Human Ego:

Such technologies will bring an increasing concentration on the ego, on the superficial external parts of ourselves, which cannot fail to incur misery, potentially leading to complete derangement and unhappiness. For example, a man indulging in greed and lust initially gets satisfaction out of it, but it always makes him unhappy. An act of doing anything by greed sucks the soul and leads to immense damage. Out of all the advancements of Science, not a single one has brought any lasting happiness or well-being to anybody. In the Metaverse, this will happen on a colossal scale. Therefore, it is, psychologically, an unmitigated disaster.

Fortress of Imaginations

The move towards Metaverse and AI and all the related technologies will have two opposing pulls.

On the one hand, it will have a devastating impact on human society and collective psychology, making humans playthings and puppets of the vast machinery erected by their vital ego and mental advancement. It will completely engulf man because of his tendencies towards lower instincts.

On the other hand, this rise of technology can also accelerate the movement of some select groups of human beings towards spirituality. For, an excess of vital and material satisfaction never fails to lead to commensurate cycles of recoil and disgust with the state of life, leading to the search for a simple escape route. The immersive world of Metaverse can offer such an escape route, leading to hallucinating creations of imagination often mistaken for what the West hollowly calls spirituality. The West has witnessed a period of recoil against excessive materialism after the 1970s and 1980s, at the height of the drug culture, leading to search for so-called ‘spiritual’ or other-worldly ecstatic experiences brought about by the consumption of psychedelic substances. The immersive world of Metaverse can trigger similar temporary movements, devoid, however, of any genuineness or substance.

The Twin Denial

This leads us to the twin denial that Sri Aurobindo had spoken about viz. the denial of the materialist and the denial of the ascetic. First, the Metaverse will, obviously, be an acme of the materialist denial of spirituality. Materialists believe that we should indulge ourselves and enjoy life. With the Metaverse technology, they will now argue that there is no use of having limitations of matter also, since the Metaverse helps to overcome limitations of matter as well.

Already, the technology of shape-shifting robots overcoming limitations of gross matter is here amongst us. This is in the form of a miniature robot that can melt and reform back into its original shape, allowing it to complete tasks in tight spaces or even escape from behind bars. Such robots are made out of a metal called gallium – which has a low melting point of about 86 degrees Fahrenheit – and embedded magnetic particles within it. Because of these particles, scientists can control robots with magnets, prompting them to move, melt or stretch. The new robot could jump up to 20 times its body length, climb walls, solder a circuit board and escape from a mock prison. It could support an object about 30 times its own weight in its solid state. Its applications can be used in the biomedical field for traversing inside the human body to perform scans, operations etc.

Second, even the ascetic denial of materialism will take its fulfilment from the Metaverse. Ascetic denial implies living in private, uncharted worlds, shaped by one’s own mentality and own experiences. In the Metaverse that part will have much more room. People of this type will increase. In fact, it is possible that no one will be left. Nearly everyone will come into that fold. It will become a so-called ‘spiritual’ trip of the human mind within the prison of the mental walls.

This will have no impact on real, integral spirituality. But it can hasten the human journey towards that part for some, while most will go through tremendous unhappiness. Thus, it will take the materialist denial to the extreme, and also lead to ascetic denial, and, in the process, expose both of them.


From a deeper perspective, the world that is heralded by these technologies is devastating in nature and spirituality is the only way out if man is to avoid being hijacked by the machines which his devilish tendencies have created. He must recognize that he has immense possibilities within himself, and in him lies the universe and all its secrets. The kind of destruction of human societies that these technologies will bring in their wake will likely be beyond the realm of human solutions, and spirituality will be the only solution present – the only saving boat in the storm that will devour all that has been created. For, only the Spirit is invincible. The intuitions of the mind will remain and the truth of the spirit will prevail, rest will not survive in the coming storm where everyday something new is coming and eating at the core of the present structure.

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