11. 1010011010 – The Number of the Beast? Technology, A.I.s and Digital Apocalypticism
‘We don’t know who struck first – us, or them. But we know that it was us that scorched the sky… Morpheus (The Matrix)
For some, contemporary technological advances, the pace of change and its visible effects are a disturbing force. Alongside developments in technology runs a cultural discourse of fear, warning of apocalyptic consequences to come from its path of development. The aim of this lecture is to explore some of these extreme responses to the contemporary world, covering techno cults such as ‘Heaven’s Gate’; individual terrorist responses such as the Unabomber’s campaign and his anti-technological manifesto; ideological responses to technology such as anarcho-primitivism and radical environmentalism, as in the work of John Zerzan and Daniel Quinn; fears of human conflict over the future choice of path, as in the ideas of De Garis, and popular cultural fears of the consequences for human life of evolved machinic life, such as in The Matrix and The Terminator series.
Obviously much of the reading for the weeks covering The Matrix, posthumanism, and machinic evolution and A.I, is relevant here too. More specificially look at:
On the Unabomber:
‘FC’ – (2005) Industrial Society and its Future (‘The Unabomber Manifesto’) Fliquarian Publishing , available online at: http://www.thecourier.com/manifest.htm
Katz, J. (1998) ‘The Unabomber’s legacy I’, at:
(1998) ‘The Unabomber’s Legacy II’ at: http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/1998/04/11819
‘Theodore Kaczynski’ on Wikipedia, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unabomber
Kaczynski, T. (2002) ‘Hit Where it Hurts’, at:
‘Interview with Ted Kaczynski’: http://www.primitivism.com/kaczynski.htm
‘An Interview with Kaczynski’:
On John Zerzan and Anarcho-primitivism:
Zerzan, J. (1996) Future Primitive and Other Essays, New York: Semiotext(e)
Zerzan, J, (2002) Running on Emptiness. The Pathology of Civilisation, Los Angeles: Feral House.
Zerzan, J. (2005) Against Civilisation. Readings and Reflections, Los Angeles: Feral House.
Zerzan, J. (1999) Elements of Refusal, Columbia, MO: Cal Press.
Zerzan, J. ( ) ‘Future Primitive’, at: http://www.primitivism.com/future-primitive.htm
Zerzan, J. (2002) ‘Why Primitivism’, at: http://www.insurgentdesire.org.uk/whyprim.htm and http://www.johnzerzan.net/articles/why-primitivism.html
Zerzan, J. () ‘Whose Unabomber?’ (pre-1995), at;
Zerzan, J. (2003) ‘No Way Out’, at: http://www.johnzerzan.net/articles/no-way-out.html
Zerzan, J. (2006) ‘Seize the Day’, at: http://www.johnzerzan.net/articles/seize-the-day.html
John Zerzan’s website, at: http://www.johnzerzan.net/
Green Anarchy. An Anti-Civilisation Journal of Theory and Action, at:
For other influences upon this movement see also:
Freud, S. (2004) Civilisation and its Discontents, London: Penguin .
Ellul, J. (1973) The Technological Society, New York: Random House .
Marcuse, H. (2002 ) One Dimensional Man, London: Routledge .
On Hugo De Garis:
De Garis, H. (2005) The Artilect War: Cosmists vs. Terrans, Etc. Publications
On Machinic Life and A.I War:
See the reading on The Matrix for week 3 and watch:
Cameron, J. (2003) The Terminator, MGM [DVD 1984]
(2003) Terminator 2: Judgement Day, MGM [DVD 1991]
Wachowski, A. and L. (1999) The Matrix, Warner Bros [DVD]
(2003) The Animatrix, Warner Bros [DVD] – especially ‘The Second Renaissance, pts I and II’)
(2003) The Matrix Reloaded, Warner Bros [DVD]
(2003) The Matrix Revolutions, Warner Bros [DVD]
(2004) The Ultimate Matrix Collection, Warner Bros [DVD] 10 disc set.
Proyas, A. (2004) I Robot, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment [DVD]