Technology does not come from geniuses
By Denis G. Rancourt
High technology is evidence of a high collective intelligence in technologically advanced societies. Instant communication, accessible mass communication, fast travel, efficient resource distribution, lethal war technology, advanced entertainment, information, medical and building technologies, and so on, are all conclusive evidence of high collective intelligence.
Technologically advanced societies nonetheless preserve animality in that habitat and resource competition and dominance hierarchies remain intact and are the main determinants of social order.
The high degree of advancement of the technology is such that no individual in the society can alone reproduce or repair, not to mention understand, most technological devices.
This has the psychological impact to infantilize the individual in that the individual must accept technology as a given, produced and supplied by some meta-parent. The individual does not participate in the creation of his/her environment but instead only is allowed to inhabit the given technological environment, via compliance with the established order or dominance hierarchy.
It further infantilizes the individual by communicating that since the surrounding technology cannot be understood or created by the individual, then the parent-like others who create this technology must possess high intelligence and qualitatively superior knowledge.
Technology intimidates us into concluding that all or at least top-level engineers, doctors and scientists must individually be highly knowledgeable and highly intelligent.
This is true to the point where even when we personally know top-ranking engineers, doctors and scientists and know them to be normally moronic in their interactions with us we nonetheless assume that they must be brilliant in their work.
In fact, it is a fallacy to conclude that high technology implies intelligent scientists and engineers. It is a fallacy to conclude that high collective intelligence must have originated in and be supported by at-least-a-critical-mass of individual brilliance.
The fallacy stems from not recognizing that, contrary to Western scientific progress mythology, technology is a living and evolving macro-structure that does not require exceptional individual intelligence. Instead, technology has developed by common trial, error and adaptation, for over one hundred thousand years. It is the product of an evolution; a unique evolution tied to all of its historical circumstances and geopolitical textures.
It is an evolution in the same sense as biological evolution as we understand it -- with accidents, mass extinctions, spontaneous mutations, competition for survival, rapid population growths in niche environments, and so on. Most biological mutations are dead ends -- most patents are useless certificates; species invasion can transform a regional ecology -- a new gizmo can make the practices of an entire production sector obsolete; unneeded features of animal physiology persist (appendix, goose bumps, etc.) -- unneeded technological practices and steps persist (most of medicine and nutrition , etc.); and so on.
Just as over four billion years of biological evolution has produced a biosphere so impressive that it infantilizes us to the point of believing in ghosts and concluding that their must be a god-creator or gods, the technophere is so impressive that it leads us to conclude that it must be the product of geniuses. Indeed, we venerate idolized scientists and inventors as gods in the human realm.
The truth is that technology is the product of centuries of tinkering, accidents, adjustments and applications -- with cross-culture fluxes and multiple drivers -- without any need for high-priests, only practitioners who conserve the recipes and perpetuate the methods.
This is also true of the highest technology (quantum dot electronics, etc.) where the narrative that this highest technology stems from theoretical scientific advances is a scam mostly only perpetrated by the theoretical scientists themselves .
The truth is nobody knows how that gadget works. But, collectively, we know how to make it and, collectively, we will "improve" it. Many experts can talk "brilliantly" about how that gadget works but these talkers will not play a significant role in "improving" the gadget or in producing the new revolutionary gadget. They mainly only produce and maintain the system's control mythology .
We need to stop believing that there are geniuses and an intelligent elite class among us and start thinking for ourselves. We have succeeded in a cultural understanding that politicians are dangerous and manipulated idiots. That was progress. We need to understand the same point about researchers, doctors and scientists; technology's talking heads.
Let's not trust experts to sell us anything, including lifestyle changes and light bulb changes, whatever.
 "On the sociology of medical meta-science: Exposing the Truth supports the Lie" by Denis G. Rancourt, 2011, and references therein.
 "On the False Science of a Fundamental Basis for Progress" by Denis G. Rancourt, 2011.
Denis G. Rancourt is a former tenured and full professor of physics at the University of Ottawa in Canada. He practiced several areas of science (including physics and environmental science) which were funded by a national agency and ran an internationally recognized laboratory. He has published over 100 articles in leading scientific journals and several social commentary essays. He developed popular activism courses and was an outspoken critic of the university administration and a defender of student and Palestinian rights. He was fired for his dissidence in 2009. His dismissal case is in court hearings that will extend into 2012.