will.i.am, twinkies, and why we’ll always be married to our phones


Listening to this podcast of Culturetopia as well as reading the article, I can’t help but wonder what our future is like. This is probably beyond the scope of most “average” folk, but if you’re super-intellectual and well-versed in the internet dialogue of the intelligentia, then listen up. Jay Smooth, in the podcast, describes will.i.am as a chef making the perfect “Twinkie.” By that, he means that there’s a certain type of commercialized grade of song that tops the billboard charts and holds the airwaves at any given time that seems to fit some sort of unnatural formula. It’s like there is some sort of lowest common denominator that to the human ear, incites mass consumption of product. It’s like will.i.am has learned, as industrial society has, how to produce something which superficially satisfies our needs like how an anti-depressant blocks neutotransmitters. It’s as if our culture is becoming so obsessed and entwined with technology, that we strive to be technology.

In Philosophy class, I had encountered the argument that perhaps technology will persist until we find a way to put human souls in robotic bodies. But what if our souls are turning into robots. And that our ‘love’ of all things robotic – our obsessed, confused, intense need and desire to be invincible and perfect and pain-free – is really a marriage of a soul to technology. Only there is no divorce in such an obsessed love. Only an ever-tightening grip on that which because we humans are mortal, is never attainable and thus forever slipping away. What if the reason will.i.am makes those factory tunes slip into our heads and bounce around for hours is that we’ve become so reliant on technology, we wish to become more of it. What if the real virus is technology? Or more specifically, what if the real virus is our addiction to technology?

It’s clear that the computer is here to stay: we have smart phones not because we want to get rid of the comptuer, but because we want a smaller, mobile version to take with us outside of the office and bedroom. We want more of the computer, not less of it. The iPhone is successful because we are becoming a global culture centered around it, living in small quarters building new apps in garages and open source software; the iPad is going to be a huge success because people want an iPhone, but with more accessibility. Tell me, am I missing something here or is the human machine headed towards the point of no return? Will we be reliant on technology forever?